Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 2011 Letter to the President

Why are we discussing cuts? Get rid of the Bush tax cuts, stop the corporate give-aways, raise the cap on Social Security taxed income, allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices rather than paying whatever the drug companies ask for, and raise Medicare taxes if needed for the Medicare Trust Fund. Tax capital gains and "qualified" dividend income the same as regular income. (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.)

Absolutely no cuts until the conservatives agree to the above! To do otherwise is to buy in to their premise that social spending instead of too little revenue is the problem, that voodoo economics works, and that a plutocracy is the best form of government. To do otherwise is to let the Republicans hold Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Pell grants, home heating assistance, Community Health Centers, Head Start, and Food Stamps hostage with the threat of a government shutdown. To do otherwise is to continue to cave in to a party which holds only the House, not the Senate, and not the Presidency. Stop being submissive and conciliatory, and stand up for the principles you were elected to uphold. If the Republicans want to shut down the government because they can't get cuts to social programs (which should be the subject of debate for the budget), that is their choice.

When the discussion is how much social spending to cut, then Republicans have succeeded. They have moved efforts to implement their agenda from the budget talks to a must-have continuing resolution to raise the debt ceiling. They have also taken off of the table increases in revenue, decreases in the military budget, elimination of unneeded agricultural subsidies, and elimination of corporate subsidies and corporate tax deductions (corporate welfare).

If the Republicans want an ideological fight, there are plenty of issues to take a stand on.

We should be striving for fair trade instead of free trade.

We should be investing in infrastructure, transportation and education. We should be protecting agencies such as the EPA, SEC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, HUD, OSHA, the EEOC, and the Department of Education.

Social Security retirement is not an entitlement. Benefits are paid out of the trust fund and from payroll taxes (no more mixing of the Social Security Trust Fund with general revenues). Raising the retirement age will not contribute one dime to decreasing the National Debt.

We should be stopping big banks from taking the Fed's near-zero interest loans and buying treasury bonds to make money off of the difference in rates. The stated purpose of those low-interest loans was to free up credit so that businesses could hire. The U.S. taxpayer is footing the bill for this give-away.

The income of the middle class stagnated while the upper class income soared. Isn't it the middle class that should have increased disposable income in order to buy the goods and services of corporate America?

The Affordable Care Act has no public option. As a result, we are giving away 20% of our health care dollars for private insurers' overhead.

FDR, when presenting his Second Bill of Rights in his January 11, 1944 message to Congress, said that "true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence." The Republican agenda is anathema to each and every one of the rights that FDR enumerated. Their conservative agenda is also antithetical to Article 1, Section 8, of the United States Constitution: "The Congress shall have power to...provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States."

The raising of the debt ceiling should have been a condition of caving in to Republican demands for two more years of Bush tax cuts for the rich. This was pointed out by many people in December before the deal was made. To allow the Republicans a second chance to force anti-progressive, ideological conditions on us is unacceptable. It is time we take the rich man's hand out of the pocket of the working man.

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