Friday, September 3, 2010

Deficit Hawks 3, The Peacocks

3. They support policies that make the long-term deficit problem worse.

Michael Linden points out that this one seems it would be obvious, and it is. We've already discussed the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthiest among us, the top 2 to 5% of wage earners in this country that President Obama wishes to let their tax breaks expire for those making over $200,000 to $250,000 a year, thereby saving at least $700 billion to 4.4 trillion over the next ten years. The Republicans of course say they will fight this "tax increase (it is not an increase, it is an expiration that President Bush himself signed into law ten years ago restoring taxes to the year 2000 level)," with everything at their disposal. Well, they've fought everything President Obama has done with everything at their disposal (propaganda and the filibuster). On this particular issue they claim the expiration of tax cuts for the wealthy (remember the cuts Bush put into place for the rest of the country, those earning less than $200,000 will remain in place under Obama's plan) will hurt small businesses. And media outlets like the Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine claim that the 2 to 3% of small businesses that will be affected by the expiration tie their personal income tax in with their businesses, and will be unduly affected, and no longer be able to hire and create new jobs.
I suggest they separate their personal income from that of their business, and they're not hiring now anyway!
All right, the point being the Republicans in Congress wish to extend these cuts without offering to pay for them. They've offered in the past the explanation that the cuts will pay for themselves through the economic stimulus that all of this extra money will provide once the rich start spreading it around (Reagan's Trickle Down Economics. I don't know about you, dear readers, but I don't like to be peed on), and we know this to be BS because the rich have had the cuts for the last ten years and the economy is just now climbing out of the toilet the cuts helped cause in the first place. The rich stay rich because they tend to already have everything the want or need, which is the definition of being rich, and tend to keep what money they have.
So if the Republicans have blocked or obstructed every major piece of legislation the Democrats have tried to pass sighting the fear of increasing the deficit as their reason (this includes, remember, stopping unemployment benefits, denying help to our first responders, and cutting funds for teachers), what do they say about the obvious increase the deficit will take when the Bush Tax Cuts are made permanent, as they would like? How do they propose to offset the huge costs?
Here's a couple of examples of what they say as evidenced on Aug 15th's Meet the Press. A sample of the exchange between David Gregory and the Brown One, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH):

GREGORY: You’re not being responsive to a specific point which is how can you be for cutting the deficit and also cutting taxes as well when they’re not paid for?

BOEHNER: Listen, you can’t raise taxes in the middle of a weak economy. […]

GREGORY: But tax cuts are not paid for is that correct?

BOEHNER: I am not for raising taxes on the American people in a soft economy.

GREGORY: That’s not the question. Are tax cuts paid for or not?

BOEHNER: Listen, what you’re trying to do is get into this Washington game and their funny accounting over there. …

GREGORY: Do you believe tax cuts pay for themselves or not?

BOEHNER: I do believe that we’ve got to get more money in the hands of small businesses.

By golly, Rep. Boehner just couldn't get his tongue around an answer... any answer, let alone the truth... the cuts would not be paid for thus would add to the deficit which they claim to be so concerned about... making him and his fellow Republicans who would extend these cuts not the deficit hawks they would have you believe, but in fact 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."

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) had the same trouble later in the same show:

GREGORY: This tension that I got out with Leader Boehner. Republicans want more tax cuts seems to me he acknowledged that they’re not paid for and yet at the same time they want tax cuts but they’re so worried about the deficit. How do you resolve that tension?

PENCE: Well I think the way you resolve it is you focus on jobs. …

GREGORY: But congressman, you’re asking Americans to believe that Republicans will have spending discipline when you’re saying extend the tax cuts that aren’t paid for and cut the deficit, how is that a consistent credible message?

PENCE: Well I understand the credibility problem. …

GREGORY: You acknowledge, tax cuts being extended cannot be paid for, it would be borrowed money.

PENCE: Well no I don’t acknowledge that. … I think it’s apples to oranges.

Apples to oranges?! WTF does that mean!? This is like talking to a two year old who gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Mitch (Turtle Man) McConnell, (R-KY), the Senate Minority Leader, when asked the very same question by Gregory on last Sundays MTP show (Jesus, with so many freaking Republicans on Meet the Press, who needs Fox News Sunday?) said, the tax cuts were existing tax policy and didn't need to be paid for.
That makes less sense than Boehner and Pence, who didn't make any sense at all. The existing tax policy is for the tax cuts to expire. To extend them would be creating new tax policy, that would need to be paid for, and McConnell knows it, or if he doesn't know it he has no business being in the Senate.
This kind of behavior by the Republicans (and some Democrats, for shame) does not restrict itself to the Bush Tax Cuts unfortunately. Oh no! It affects almost every freaking thing else as well.
America's Senator, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) recently introduced legislation to eliminate $35 billion in big oil and gas company tax loopholes, and was shot down in a vote of 61-35. That's $35 billion in revenue (for one year) that would go to decrease the deficit, or could be used for any number of domestic projects, but nooooo, the Republicans shot that down (as well as 6 freaking too many Democrats) because it would affect their masters, big business, specifically, Big Oil. Want to know how much BP and Exxon does pay in corporate income tax, two of the most profitable companies in history? Zero. Nothing, nada. Hell, they even received a $158 million refund!
Pentagon spending. Normally the Republicans would rather eat their young than cut DOD (Department of Defense) spending, but when the Republican Secretary of Defense recommends cuts in what most everybody agrees is an expensive and unnecessary program, one has to take notice.
Secretary Gates and President Obama both want to scrape allocations from the defense budget for an alternate engine on the Joint Strike Fighter, or F-35, a $1.8 billion to $2.9 billion expense. But lawmakers are expected to include it in the budget despite it being unnecessary and expensive. Why? Defense contractors in their home districts who supply parts for the program would be adversely affected. In other words lawmakers wish to keep shoveling money into a defense industry despite the fact their is no need to do so, fulfilling the dire prophecy foretold by President Eisenhower of a perpetual Military Industrial Complex that cannot stop growing (i.e., perpetual war (i.e., Afghanistan)).
I could go on and on. Eliminate the cap on Social Security payroll tax so everyone pays the same despite their income: Save about $337 billion a year. That would be an increased tax on the wealthy. Will the Republicans allow that despite the income that could go toward decreasing the deficit. No.
$108 billion saved annually by eliminating other unfair tax deductions and advantages the rich have over the poor. Will the Republicans go along... you know the answer.
On and on. Mr. Linden states: "...there are 34 senators who have co-sponsored recent legislation offered by Senators Conrad and Gregg to 'create a bipartisan task force to address the nation's long-term budget crisis.' Strange, then, that 25 of them recently voted to slash the estate tax so that the 3,000 richest families in the country can get another tax cut, a policy which would increase the deficit by $100 billion over 10 years. When someone supports a deficit commission one day and votes to use another $100 billion of red ink on tax cuts for the rich the next, it is perhaps an indication that his or her commitment to real deficit reduction leaves something to be desired."


4. They think our budget woes appeared suddenly in January 2009.

Or lets put it this way; they pretend to think our budget woes appeared suddenly in January 2009.
Our deficit problems began the moment President Bush stepped into office, way back in 2001. He entered office with at least a 84.6 billion budget surplus which he squandered by cutting taxes and increasing spending, just the opposite of what the Republicans now say should be done (they say one thing when out of power, then do the opposite when in).
"By the time President Obama took office in January 2009, the Congressional Budget Office was projecting a budget deficit of $1.2 trillion for the year. The dramatic decline from record surplus to record deficit under President Bush resulted in a nearly $3 trillion increase in publicly held debt, the largest debt expansion in American history."
In conclusion, the Republicans in Congress obstruct any attempt at forward moving progress to advance their own political, selfish, short-sighted agenda. They lie about budget concerns, and I can prove it.
Put them back in power and see what happens.

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