Sunday, May 1, 2011

2012 - Progressive's Wanted; Generous Pay and Benefits.

We desperately need progressives. During Obama's first two years, Republicans voted "No" on almost every significant piece of legislation. Now Republicans and many Democrats (especially Blue Dogs) are voting for big money interests, and parts of the conservative agenda have been passed that hurt lower and middle class workers and families. What we are lacking is progressive leadership.

For 2012, we need to hammer the conservatives over and over on their actions that raised the national debt. George W. Bush almost doubled the debt. Was the Republican party sounding the alarm then? The Republicans are blaming the continuing crisis on Obama and "liberal" spending. Too many people believe that the financial meltdown happened after Obama took office!

We cannot let Republicans in the House make any more cuts to social programs and cuts to protection agencies (such as EPA, SEC, Consumer Financial Protection Agency, etc.). Cut heating assistance for the poor and financial aid to students while giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires? How stupid have we become? How stupid do conservatives think we are? They are holding the middle class hostage for their ideology.

Social Security is not an entitlement! Stop allowing it to be lumped together with Medicare, heating assistance, loan assistance programs, etc. Saying it is an entitlement is saying that the 2.6 trillion in treasury bonds held in the trust and collected from workers and their employers was just a massive tax hike on the poor and middle class. Benefits are paid out of the trust fund, not out of general revenues. And stop allowing Republicans to get away with saying that Social Security is insolvent. Just because more benefits are currently being paid out of the trust than is being collected in payroll taxes does not mean that Social Security is broke. We should be raising the caps on income for which taxes are collected to make Social Security solvent for the next 80-plus years. And why don't we count the special Treasury Bonds in the Social Security Trust Fund when they are bought, instead of counting them only when they are sold (cashed in)? The current practice has the effect of moving current deficits to future years and makes it appear that Social Security causes deficits.

We can slash all entitlements and not come close to balancing the budget. There have to be revenue increases. This includes not only income taxes (the wealthy are paying the lowest rate in 50 years), but capital gains and "qualified" dividend income, both taxed at 15% as compared to actual labor. Gee, it must be nice to send your money out to do the work for you and have income from that taxed at a substantially lower rate.

If we have to end the Bush tax cuts, fine. It does not do that much for a person making middle class wages, especially when compared to the amount of savings (as well as the percentage) on taxes a wealthy individual gets. Corporations and the wealthy are not paying their fair share. Ask Republicans for some "social responsibility" to go along with their "individual responsibility".

Make sure seniors know that Republicans want to do away with Medicare, but make sure they know how. The GOP wants premium subsidies (assistance for paying premiums; i.e., vouchers) for purchasing private insurance (say hello to big deductibles, big co-pays, big doughnut holes in coverage, and for-profit bureaucrats between you and your doctor). The amount of this assistance is pegged to increase at the rate of inflation, not the rate of health care cost increases.

Stop letting conservatives treat those who don't make millions or billions as somehow immoral or spiritually deficient. Not everybody values money over all else (that would be the sin of greed). And stop letting conservatives take the fruit of a working man's labor to embellish their bank accounts.

Free trade is not fair trade. American workers should not have to compete with slave labor wages and the absence of benefits for workers in third world countries. And how about if we tax corporate gross income (at a lower rate), eliminating their ability to hide income with supposed losses and with unbelievable deductions. Companies taking in billions in income and getting tax refunds?

Corporations are paying a grossly lower percentage of U.S. tax revenues than they used to. Obviously there needs to be lobbying reform. And how about an executive order overturning Citizens United? Re-read the 1896 majority opinion which supposedly first made corporations equivalent to citizens.

And please make sure that Obama does not give away the store to make a sale. Last December's deal and the continuing budget resolution give-aways made many of us feel betrayed. People with very little discretionary income contributed to Obama's campaign in 2008, and his actions were incomprehensible to most of us. If there absolutely needs to be any more "deals", Obama's fingerprints should not be on them.

We need a progressive President, and if Obama wants to be remembered as a great President, he needs a progressive philosophy, not a conciliatory and submissive philosophy.


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