Friday, July 15, 2011

Points For Conservatives' Consideration

We do not have out of control spending. We have massive revenue reductions. We have taxes on the wealthy that are the lowest since the 1950's, along with massive cuts to taxes on capital gains, dividend income, and estates. We have corporate taxes which have gone from 30 percent of federal revenues in the 1950's to 11 percent today, in a large part because of targeted deductions and subsidies.

The tax burden is shifting to the middle class, and income from the labor of a working person is taxed at a much higher rate than income from working money.

We have a Republican party which has enacted two major tax cuts since 2001, which started two unfunded wars, and which passed a bloated Medicare prescription drug program which pays whatever drug companies ask (no negotiation). We have a party which has removed fiscal protections which were in place since the Great Depression, resulting in repeated financial crises.

The Republican party has overseen massive deregulation, and have enacted restrictions on underfunded and undermanned oversight agencies. The result is whole industries which routinely ignore worker safety, consumer protections, financial safeguards, and environmental responsibilities. The result is criminal activity which goes undiscovered until billions are stolen. The result is repeated scandals such as Enron, AIG, Madoff, the savings and loan debacle, and record home foreclosures.

We have a Republican party which proposes abolishment of child labor laws, minimum wage laws, anti-trust laws, and consumer protection laws, while striving to enact restrictions on American citizens in the name of religion. We have a Republican party which values free trade over fair trade, resulting in the decimation of the American industrial sector with the concomitant loss of tens of millions of jobs.

You cannot drastically reduce the means and then complain that we are not living within our means. You cannot take just about all of the increase in wealth for the last 30 years and then shift the tax burden to the middle class. You cannot refuse to pay living wages and decent benefits and then wonder why many of the working class need assistance programs.

You cannot pay for retirement insurance by taxing the working class, and then act as if their retirement is paid out of general revenue. You cannot cut benefits or increase the age of retirement for a program that has a $2.6 trillion surplus. You cannot expect people to believe that cuts to Social Security will reduce the national debt, when Social Security does not get money from the treasury to pay benefits. The treasury borrows from Social Security in the form of U.S. Treasury Bonds.

The congressional panels that advocate cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, including changes to the age of eligibility, and to women's access to health care, are the panels which rightfully should be called Death Panels, as denying access to health care will result in deaths.

It's not that we are poor and so the rich have to give to us. It is that they are rich because they have gotten from us, and some social responsibility and shared sacrifice is not too much to ask.

In the words of Senator Bernie Sanders, "It is time for the American people to stand up and say, enough is enough; the function of the United States Congress is to represent all of our people and not just the wealthy and powerful."

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