A Budget for the Rest of Us

The other budget that the House won’t consider 

June 5th 2011

The GOP made about the worst mistake a doctrinaire political party can possibly make. They started believing their own propaganda.

They somehow managed to convince themselves that people were so distressed over government spending and the deficits that they would happily throw retirees under the bus and put Medicare on a for-profit voucher system, effectively destroying it. All the billions of dollars and thousands of manhours the right wing noise machine spent only succeeded in convincing the wrong set of people that Medicare had to be cut.

The Teabaggers said they wanted it, but the Teabaggers are for the most part dupes of the Koch brothers, who haven’t noticed that behind the populist rhetoric lies a Wall Street agenda. And the vast majority of Americans are not Teabaggers. They like Medicare, and would be pissed off if they figured out that most of the debt comes, not from government spending, but slashing government revenues in order to give the wealthy and unneeded and even unwanted tax break, whilst getting into pointless and expensive wars in central Asia.

Five in six Americans opposed privatizing Medicare. Most REPUBLICANS opposed it. And now the GOP is caught in a cycle of tail-biting bluster, in which they are trying to disown the plan without appearing to disown it, while at the same time pretend that it’s no longer a priority, even as they try to extort the Senate into accepting the same plan it voted down two weeks ago as a part of raising the debt limit so as to avoid a catastrophic default.

One of the questions the belligerent stooges of the GOP have been demanding is why don’t {Obama, The Democrats, liberals in general} come up with something better if they’re so smart.

That creates a false impression. Obama presented his budget several months ago, and to the utter mortification of the GOP, actually had more spending cuts than their original budget did! The Ryan Plan was, in part, meant to pave over that embarrassment, a humiliation that was exacerbated when the CBO scored their original budget and discovered that it only had $3 billion in cuts for the first year, and would increase deficits!

But if the Main $tream Media are ignoring the original Obama budget, they are completely shutting out mention of the fourth budget proposal that has been presented in Congress.

This budget would, according to the Congressional website on which it is detailed:

• Eliminate the deficits and creates a surplus by 2021
• Put America back to work with a “Make it in America” jobs program
• Protect the social safety net
• End the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
• And is FAIR (Fixing America’s Inequality Responsibly)
Full details are available at this website:

In fact, it promises to eliminate deficits by 2014, and create millions of desperately-needed jobs right here in the United States.

Actually, here’s what one of the plan’s detractors, Moe Lane from The Minority Report, had in the way of complaints about the plan:

“Increase payroll taxes. Both sides. Reintroduce the tax hikes on small businesses that were threatened last year. Impose new tax hikes on highest bracket, reaching 47%. New taxes on foreign earnings. “Crisis responsibility fee.” Which sounds better than “Soak stockholders of banks for accepting TARP money tax.” “Financial speculation tax.” Which sounds better than “the twenty-first century equivalent of the Stamp Act:” it’s a tax on electronic stock transactions. $1,450,000,000,000 in new spending. Public option. Cuts to military. “

The horror. The horror. Now let’s look at the details that have Moe so horrified.

Quoting from the plan itself, the increase in payroll taxes is as follows: “Raise the taxable maximum on the employee side to 90% of earnings and eliminate the taxable maximum on the employer side and increase benefits based on higher contributions on the employee side ” Not only would that assure SS would remain solvent once and for all, but would give it latitude to increase benefits, which have failed to react to massive increases in food and health care, two of the main expenses the elderly have to cope with. The plan is to tax ALL income with no upper cap, but reduce employee share from 50% to 45%.

The “tax hikes on small businesses” that were supposedly “threatened” last year was the move to close off tax loopholes for “small businesses” such as Exxon and GE. Similarly, the tax on income is a tax on money coming back into the US from businesses that have moved overseas to avail themselves of cheap labor and no health, safety, or environmental regulations. The government has been subsidizing them in doing this—at our expense. It’s time it stopped. It also makes tax havens like the Cayman Islands a bit less appealing to the legal tax cheats.

The TARP tax entails getting money back from banks who accepted it on grounds that they would use it to alleviate the mortgage crisis and then failed to do so.

Similarly, the “financial speculation tax” is an effort to bring speculators to heel. Food prices are up 29% over the past year, and gasoline has doubled, and it is NOT an issue of supply and demand. It’s caused by speculation, huge money games at our expense. It’s part of the “taxing money coming back into the US” that has Moe so exercised. They’re overseas where we can’t regulate the greedy bastards, but we can make them pay for using the security of the US to save their income.

The budget also calls for more progressiveness in income. Cap gains would be taxed at the same rate as regular income, and there would be new tax brackets: 45% for income over one million a year, and 49% on income over one billion a year. The estate tax would be changed so all estates under $3.5 million (which is well over 99% of the estates in America) would be exempt, and “a 45% rate on the taxable portion of estates up to $50 million, a 55% rate on the portion of estates up to $500 million, and a 65% rate on the portion of estates worth over $500 million. ”

The plan also includes a public option in health care, and ending the “emergency funding” for the military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq by 2013.

The plan would increase investment in education, transportation and infrastructure, three areas that without exception pay back to society far more than they cost. The way America has been going about things has been the equivalent of quitting your job so you don’t have to drive to work. This plan would invest “Invest $1.45 trillion in job creation, education, clean energy and broadband infrastructure, housing, and R&D ” These are all areas where the private sector simply isn’t capable of doing the job, and only the cooperative and non-profit efforts of government can manage it. All items are vital to America’s future as a country.

The Chinese understand this. They are spending vast amounts in these areas in order to overcome their structural weaknesses and become the dominant economic power of the 21st century. America, under the mad delusion that the “free market” can address these items, is abdicating its role.

Does anyone remember Clinton’s plan to fix the economy and address the issue of “deficits” as far as the eye can see”? He proposed to raise taxes on the wealthy, and put money into infrastructure.

Republicans warned that his plan would smash the economy and leave the Dow Jones below 1,000 points by 1994. Clinton got his tax plan through congress without a single Republican vote, and not only did the economy fail to collapse, it boomed—the biggest boom in American history. And by the time his second term was up, deficits were a thing of the past, and Bush and Gore debated over what should be done with the coming string of budget surpluses. Bush fixed that in short order, didn’t he?

So when Republicans tell you it can’t be done and will destroy the country, remember they said the same things in 1992, and they are just as wrong and wrong-headed now as they were then.

Obviously, with the Republicans controlling the House, this budget won’t even get a hearing. Instead, we’ll play mad games of chicken with Republican ideologues who will threaten to smash the economy through a forced default unless we follow the ongoing GOP road to ruin and funnel all the national wealth to the undeserving rich while reducing American workers and families to abject poverty.

We won’t see the Progressive budget this year, or next.

But vote the Republicans out, tell Wall Street to go fuck itself, and you might see it in 2013.

At which point, America might begin to heal from the Republican attacks on everything the country once represented.

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One response to “A Budget for the Rest of Us

  1. REALITY!!

    ( http://my.firedoglake.com/iflizwerequeen/2011/05/16/how-about-a-little-truth-about-what-the-majority-want-for-health-care/ )

    ( Gov. Peter Shumlin: Real Healthcare reform — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yFUbkVCsZ4 )

    ( Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator — http://www.cepr.net/calculators/hc/hc-calculator.html )

    ( Briefing: Dean Baker on Boosting the Economy by Saving Healthcare http://t.co/fmVz8nM )

    START NOW!

    As you all know. Had congress passed a single-payer or government-run robust Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one, our economy and jobs would have taken off like a rocket. And still will. Single-payer would be best. But a government-run robust Public Option CHOICE! that can lead to a single-payer system is the least you can accept. It’s not about competing with for-profit healthcare and for-profit health insurance. It’s about replacing it with Universal Healthcare Assurance. Everyone knows this now.

    The message from the midterm elections was clear. The American people want real healthcare reform. They want that individual mandate requiring them to buy private health insurance abolished. And they want a government-run robust public option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one. And they want it now.

    They want Drug re-importation, and abolishment, or strong restrictions on patents for biologic and prescription drugs. And government controlled and negotiated drug and medical cost. They want back control of their healthcare system from the Medical Industrial Complex. And they want it NOW!

    THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL NOT, AND MUST NOT, ALLOW AN INDIVIDUAL MANDATE TO STAND WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.

    For profit health insurance is extremely unethical, and morally repugnant. It’s as morally repugnant as slavery was. And few if any decent Americans are going to allow them-self to be compelled to support such an unethical and immoral crime against humanity.

    This is a matter of National and Global security. There can be NO MORE EXCUSES.

    Further, we want that corrupt, undemocratic filibuster abolished. Whats the point of an election if one corrupt member of congress can block the will of the people, and any legislation the majority wants. And do it in secret. Give me a break people.

    Also, unemployment healthcare benefits are critically needed. But they should be provided through the Medicare program at cost, less the 65% government premium subsidy provided now to private for profit health insurance.

    Congress should stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on private for profit health insurance subsidies. Subsidies that cost the taxpayer 10x as much or more than Medicare does. Private for profit health insurance plans cost more. But provide dangerous and poorer quality patient care.

    Republicans: GET RID OF THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE.

    Democrats: ADD A ROBUST GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION TO HEALTHCARE REFORM.

    This is what the American people are shouting at you. Both parties have just enough power now to do what the American people want. GET! IT! DONE! NOW!

    If congress does not abolish the individual mandate. And establish a government-run public option CHOICE! before the end of 2011. EVERY! member of congress up for reelection in 2012 will face strong progressive pro public option, and anti-individual mandate replacement candidates.

    Strong progressive pro “PUBLIC OPTION” CHOICE! and anti-individual mandate volunteer candidates should begin now. And start the process of replacing any and all members of congress that obstruct, or fail to add a government-run robust PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! before the end of 2011.

    We need two or three very strong progressive volunteer candidates for every member of congress that will be up for reelection in 2012. You should be fully prepared to politically EVISCERATE EVERY INCUMBENT that fails or obstructs “THE PUBLIC OPTION”. And you should be willing to step aside and support the strongest pro “PUBLIC OPTION” candidate if the need arises.

    ASSUME CONGRESS WILL FAIL and SELLOUT again. So start preparing now to CUT THEIR POLITICAL THROATS. You can always step aside if they succeed. But only if they succeed. We didn’t have much time to prepare before these past midterm elections. So the American people had to use a political shotgun approach. But by 2012 you will have a scalpel.

    Congress could have pass a robust government-run public option during it’s lame duck session. They knew what the American people wanted. They already had several bills on record. And the house had already passed a public option. Departing members could have left with a truly great accomplishment. And the rest of you could have solidified your job before the 2012 elections.

    President Obama, you promised the American people a strong public option available to everyone. And the American people overwhelmingly supported you for it. Maybe it just wasn’t possible before. But it is now.

    Knock heads. Threaten people. Or do whatever you have to. We will support you. But get us that robust public option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one before the end of 2011. Or We The People Of The United States will make the past midterm election look like a cake walk in 2012. And it will include you.

    We still have a healthcare crisis in America. With hundreds of thousands dieing needlessly every year in America. And a for profit medical industrial complex that threatens the security and health of the entire world. They have already attacked the world with H1N1 killing thousands, and injuring millions. And more attacks are planned for profit, and to feed their greed.

    Spread the word people.

    Progressives, prepare the American peoples scalpels. It’s time to remove some politically diseased tissues.

    God Bless You my fellow human beings. I’m proud to be one of you. You did good.

    See you on the battle field.

    Sincerely

    jacksmith – WorkingClass 🙂

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