Saturday, August 21, 2010

Deficit Hawks?

Why in the world would anyone not in the top one percent of income earners, and CEOs of multi-national corporations, vote for a Republican?
Okay, so maybe you don't go along with some of the Democratic ammendments trying to make there way through Congress, and you approve of the record number of filibusters used by the Republicans to obstruct these bills.
But what are they obstructing?
Let's remember now that the Republicans in the House and Senate are currently acting as Deficit Hawks, so, so concerned about the bulging budget deficit, seemingly above and beyond any other consideration. Never mind the fact that when they were in power, and when George Bush had the White House, you never heard a peep from them about runaway budgets. War funding was hidden away in emergency spending measures not part of the official budget. What did they think, because you couldn't see it in the budget it didn't exist? Maybe.
I had a friend one time, Richard Bennet from "The Salvation Diary" book, that used to place electrical tape over the flashing red warning lights on his car so he could continue to drive with some peace of mind. Maybe that kind of denial works for the Republicans as well, but in my mind it is a form of the highest irresponsibility one can manifest.
Well one of the reasons the deficit is so high is that President Obama has pulled the cost of these military actions (I hesitate to call them wars, as they have advanced, or declined, to the point of being "occupations") out of the shadows and into the world of reality. Yes, the numbers are daunting, but so is the amount of my cable bill... I still want to know how much it is though, so I can do the responsible thing and pay it.
So the Republicans are complaining about the deficit and obstructing, well, they're obstructing everything, using the deficit as the reason for their "do nothing" policies (as they have no policies of their own other than the "cut taxes," "deregulate," and "keep the wars going as long as possible," tactics of the previous administration, the very same policies that have got us in this economic downturn that the Republicans are now bitching about!
What happened to Dick Cheney's position that deficits don't matter? I guess they've forgotten all about that. Now they say the deficit is all that matters, because the size of the deficit is the only tool they have to rationalize their constant obstructionism. And they obstruct simply because they don't want anything the Democratic Congress or the Obama Administration proposes to advance the country as a whole to pass. Anything!
Anyway, there's a big hoopla about keeping the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in place. Keep in mind the Bush tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 (let's not forget this was the only time in American history when taxes were cut during a time of war) have cost the country (estimates vary by who is providing the information, but even asking representatives of the conservative Heritage Foundation, the following amounts are probably correct, give or take 25%) 1.8 trillion dollars in lost revenues, thereby adding to the deficit (and adding interest costs to maintain that deficit), and if made permanent, as the Republicans wish to do (all of the sudden they are very concerned that raising anybody's taxes during this weak recovery period would be detrimental to the recovery as a whole, as are some Blue Dog Democrats), it would cost the country "$4.4 trillion, assuming that the tax cuts remain deficit-financed." - Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
$4.4 trillion. That's 4.4 thousand billion, or 4.4 million million dollars. Probably more than I'll ever make.
A lot more.
And whose saving all of that money, who is gaining from these tax cuts, who has been gaining from these tax cuts for the last ten years?
Those who need it least, those top two percent of income earners, and CEOs of multi-national corporations I spoke of earlier, that's who.
As usual our friends on the Republican side are dead wrong about this issue, as they are with most others they are confronted with (the DNC is finally stepping up to the plate and airing ads asking "If the Republicans (RNC) can't handle their own finances (losing money in its recruitment of big donors, caught spending $2,000 at a lesbian-themed nightclub, etc.), what makes anyone think they can handle the country's?).
Of the five or six strategies designed to stimulate this weakened economy (due to Republican malfeasance, remember), the Congressional Budget Office found that the least effective was extending tax cuts for the wealthy. Why? "The higher-income households . . . would probably save a larger fraction of their increase in after-tax income," the CBO said.
There our more effective ways to keep the stimulus on track other than to continue providing tax breaks to those who don't need them. Helping to pay for the states Medicaid programs would be one, as well as providing money to keep teachers from being laid off, both which have been voted down by the Republicans (fortunately the Democrats were able to finally pass a state aid bill).
Of course the Republican reaction to the idea of letting the Bush tax cuts expire is to lie about it, claiming the country will now face the biggest tax increase in history, laying the phoney blame squarely on the Democrat's lap.
Again, taxes will increase for those making $250,000 or more. Taxes will remain the same (after having been cut already due to the stimulus, and Recovery Act) for those making less.
The Republicans frame the issue in a fallacy. They would have you believe that taxes will increase for everybody, hoping the general public is too stupid to investigate the issue on their own, or simply rely on Fox News for their information. They may be winning the debate. Various polls report various findings, but many Americans state they belive tax cuts should be extended for everybody.
I can't believe that if presented with the facts... the real facts, that Middle Class Americans would continue to promote tax breaks for the top 2% of the country's wealthiest individuals (let alone corporations that do not pay taxes at all, many actually receiving subsidies, being paid tax payer money to stay in business and avoid their fair share of the tax burden).
The Republicans are Deficit Peacocks (those who "like to preen and call attention to themselves, but are not sincerely interested in taking the difficult but necessary steps toward a balanced budget. Peacocks prefer scoring political points to solving problems." Michael Linden, Center for American Progress), not hawks.
To be continued.

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