A discussion of race, politics, media and the like… What I see is what you get.

Posts tagged “Deficit

Maddow: Shameless, Craven, Unprincipled, Partisan Hackery…


These guys are the height of unprincipled…except when it comes to undercutting the President…
They have blocked policies that they themselves have initiated or co-sponsored or supported, as far back as ’08, as soon as the President says he agrees with it. Too often this sort of context is missed by the mainstream media and the Repugs continue this unpatriotic behaviour and get off scot-free. This portion of the political debate needs more light given to it and the American people need to make these hacks pay…

: Shameless, craven, unprincipled, partisan hackery.

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Dear Mr. President


An address to the President… I hope he hears it and follows through with these suggestions…

As the debate over deficits ramped up in Washington on Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders laid out the compelling case not to slash programs for working families. Any deficit reduction package must rely on new revenue for at least half the reduction in red ink, he added in a major address in the Senate. Sanders spoke at length about what caused deficits (wars, Wall Street bailouts, tax breaks for the rich) and how to shrink them (more revenue from the wealthiest Americans to match spending cuts). He urged fellow senators not to yield to Republican congressional leaders who “acted like schoolyard bullies” when they walked out of budget negotiations. He summed up the situation in a letter to the president that had been signed by more than 16000 people by the time he completed his speech. Sign the letter » http://www.sanders.senate.gov


Of Snake Oil, Puff Balls, and the Need for a Real Jobs Plan From the President


Another critique of the President and, by extension, the Republicans who block everything constructive that he has proposed. It’s almost like the President is saying, “Why should I propose anything if the Repugs are going to block it in the House and Senate?”
I agree with Reich here…

On Monday the president met with business leaders on his “jobs and competitiveness council,” who suggested more public-private partnerships to train workers, less government red-tape in obtaining permits, and more jobs in travel and tourism, among other things. The President then toured a manufacturing plant in North Carolina, and made an eloquent speech about the need for more jobs.

Fluff.

Doesn’t the White House get it? The president has to have a bold jobs plan, with specifics. Why not exempt the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes for the next year? Why not a new WPA for the long-term unemployed, and a Civilian Conservation Corps for the legions of young jobless Americans? Why not allow people to declare bankruptcy on their primary residences, and thereby reorganize their mortgage debt?

Or a hundred other ways to boost demand.

Fluff won’t get us anywhere. In fact, it creates a policy vacuum that will be filled by Republicans intent on convincing Americans that cutting federal spending and reducing taxes on the rich will create jobs.

Most Americans are smart enough to see through this. But if the Republican snake oil is the only remedy being offered, some people will buy it. And if the President and Democrats on Capitol Hill continue to obsess about reaching an agreement to raise the debt limit, they risk making the snake oil seem like a legitimate cure.

The puff balls being offered by the CEOs on the president’s jobs and competitiveness council are hardly a substitute. These CEOs won’t suggest hard-ball ideas to boost demand. Why should they? Their companies rely less and less on consumers in the United States — and, for that matter, on American workers. For several years now, these companies’ foreign sales have been growing faster than their US sales and they’ve been creating more jobs abroad than here.

Consider GE, whose Chairman and CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, is also the chairman of the President’s jobs council. By the end of last year, 54 percent of GE’s 287,000 employees worked outside the United States. That’s a turnaround from as recently as 2005, when a majority of the firm’s workers were still located in the United States.

GE and the other companies represented on the President’s jobs council will continue to do fine regardless of shriveled demand in the United States. But unless demand is boosted here, American workers will continue to be hard hit.

If the choice is between Republican snake oil and the puff balls of the president’s job’s council, America will be in deeper and deeper trouble. So will the president. – Robert Reich

Robert Reich: Of Snake Oil, Puff Balls, and the Need for a Real Jobs Plan From the President.


Jeffrey Sachs: The People’s Budget


I hope the President, today, starts over on the left with his budget proposal…and end up somewhere around Bowles-Simpson… As opposed to starting with Bowles-Simpson and ending up somewhere on the far right’s territory. Once again we have come down to the issue of negotiating for the President. Ask for it all and then give a little. First confront…then compromise…

There are now four budget positions on the table. Far to the right is Paul Ryan’s plan, an artless war on the poor that would take a meat-cleaver to Medicaid (health care for the poor), food stamps, support for child care, the environment, and the rest of government other than the military, Social Security, and Medicare (that is, until 2022, when the slashing would begin on Medicare coverage as well). Ryan would keep taxes below 20 percent of GDP (specifically, 19.9 percent of GDP in 2021), at the cost of destroying entitlements programs and other civilian spending.

Then there is President Obama’s budget, which is really a muddled proposal in the center-right of the political spectrum. It would keep most of the Reagan-era and Bush-era tax cuts in place. Like the Ryan proposal, Obama’s tax proposals would keep total taxes at around 20 percent of GDP. The result is a major long-term squeeze on vital programs such as community development, infrastructure, and job training. Also, Obama’s plan never closes the budget deficit, which remains as high as 3.1% of GDP in 2021.

In the progressive middle is the People’s Budget. Like Ryan’s plan, the People’s Budget would cut the budget deficit to zero by 2021, but would do so in an efficient and fair way. It would close the budget deficit by raising tax rates on the rich and giant corporations, while also curbing military spending and wrestling health care costs under control, partly by introducing a public option. By raising tax revenues to 22.3 percent of GDP by 2021, the People’s Budget closes the budget deficit while protecting the poor and promoting needed investments in education, health care, roads, power, energy, and the environment in order to raise America’s long-term competitiveness. The People’s Budget thereby achieves what Ryan and Obama do not: the combination of fairness, efficiency, and budget balance.

The fourth position is the public’s position. The Republicans often say that they want Congress to respect the voice of the people. The voice of the people is crystal clear. In one opinion survey after the next, the public says that the rich and the corporations should pay more taxes. The public says that we should tamp down runaway health care costs through a public option, one that would introduce competition to drive down bloated private health insurance costs. The public says that we should get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and reduce Pentagon spending. (Just yesterday, Defense Secretary Gates let loose the predictable Pentagon canard that we should stay in Iraq if the Iraqi government asks for it. Better yet, we should respond to what the American people are asking for: to bring our troops home).

The fact is that the People’s Budget is the public’s position. That’s why it is truly a centrist initiative, at the broad center of the U.S. political spectrum. Ryan reflects the wishes of the rich and the far right. Obama’s position reflects the muddle of a White House that wavers between its true values and the demands of the wealthy campaign contributors and lobbyists that Obama courts for his re-election. Many Democrats in Congress have also gone along with the falsehood that deficit cutting means slashing spending on the poor and on civilian discretionary programs, rather than raising taxes on the rich, cutting military spending, and taking on the over-priced private health insurance industry. Only the People’s Budget speaks to the broad needs and values of the American people. – Jeffrey Sachs

via Jeffrey Sachs: The People’s Budget.


A Budget Perspective: What Would Jesus Cut?


Is the budget a moral document? Shouldn’t it reflect our priorities as a nation? Is your priority bankers or teachers? The wealthy or the poor and working class? The powerful or the poor. Which would Jesus choose…

I do not separate politics from my religion or my race. They all play a part in where I stand on issues. This issue is no different. While deficits and budgets can be viewed in moral terms, how you handle the budget and deficits in real terms and who is affected most by those deficit and budget fixes shines a real light on the window to the souls of lawmakers and legislators as well.

After the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, made a “moral” argument about the deficit to some Christian Conservatives this past weekend, Jim Wallis of Sojourners put this full page ad in Politico. And his point hit home for me.

Mr Boehner cannot call the deficits and budgets a moral issue only when it feeds the Christian conservative mantra of less government. He also must be held accountable for how he institutes the budget fixes as it relates to he and his party’s morals as well. Are tax breaks for the wealthy and voting to continue big-oil subsidies that are funded by tax payers part of your moral argument Mr Boehner!? Just as you cut the jobs, wages and services of regular working class Americans… As Mr Boehner would say, “So be it!”

It’s always “power” vs “the people” with these Republicans…
It’s time “the people” stood up.

So be it…

As religious leaders, we don’t believe that our most vulnerable people should bear more additional burdens. Do you agree? Why are there deep cuts in budget proposals to some of our most important programs that prevent deadly diseases among children in Africa and provide critical nutrition for our poorest families right here at home? These are not only cost-effective, but also relatively low in cost compared to massive expenditures in our military budget, corporate tax loopholes, and subsidies to oil, gas, and agribusiness companies — just to name a few of the things that were protected in the proposals from your House Republicans. Is that fair? Is that right? Is that moral? – Jim Wallis

An Open Letter to Speaker Boehner – Jim Wallis – God’s Politics Blog.


Crappy Jobs Caused by Plutocracy and Austerity


This is a great article that fully explains the ideas of “Plutocracy” where the wealthy and powerful control the levers of government for their own financial gain and “Austerity” which degrades the economy in a never-ending downward spiral.

It’s about time we understand what Republicans have planned for this country and it’s about time we force the Democrats to push back and defend the regular people and make sure that the sacrifice is shared by everyone. Trickle-down economics is a farce. It’s political propaganda designed to excuse the upward money vacuum.

Cutbacks shrink the economy. And expanding economy provides good jobs with good pay and benefits and fixes budget deficits. We want an expanding economy for We, the People, not tax cuts for the rich and cutbacks on the things government does for We, the People. Tax cuts and austerity provide an opportunity for a few to cash out and take off, but does not provide for the rest of us. – Dave Johnson

via Dave Johnson: Crappy Jobs Caused by Plutocracy and Austerity.