Monday, July 18, 2011

Delusional Politics

The GOP has convinced the president that he must cut social spending (they are not big on social responsibility). This means cuts in Community Health Centers, Head Start, financial aid for college students, home heating assistance for the poor, Food Stamps, and the payroll tax funded Social Security and Medicare. But they don't see all of the revenue cuts they enacted under Bush as being any problem whatsoever. They don't see the 2008 financial meltdown as having contributed to decreased revenues. They don't acknowledge that Bush's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq increased spending.

Social Security needs to raise the $106,800 cap at which its payroll taxes are taken out of income (which, until the December 2010 tax holiday, was Social Security's sole means for funding). Without a change, full benefits can only be paid out until 2036 (!), at which time only 78% of benefits can be paid (to 2085).

Medicare could use a bump in its payroll tax, as the prescription part of it is too expensive without the ability to negotiate drug prices. Or we could simply allow Medicare to negotiate, as it should have been allowed to do when the Republican prescription plan was first passed. The pharmaceutical companies have been busy raising drug prices to extreme levels, and this has pushed health care costs way up.

As for no new taxes, remember that the GOP has been busy slashing taxes for a long time (voodoo economics). How about no new taxes, just some old ones, including an early end to the Bush tax cuts. And how about if we tax working money the same as working people? At least get taxes on capital gains, dividend income and estates back to 2000 levels, at which time there were budget surpluses.

You cannot continuously cut the means and then complain that we are not living within our means. Unfunded spending on wars and increased corporate welfare (11% of federal revenues vs. 30% in the 1950's) raises costs that must be paid for. To blame everything on social spending is delusional politics. To cry "No new taxes!" is to imply that taxes have not been slashed, and this is the politics of deception and greed.

How about if we take the rich man's hand out of the working man's pocket, and return to governing responsibly.

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