The Republican war on the American people continues. The lower 95 percent of US households LOST income under Bush before the recession. Americans live 2.5 years shorter and more brutal lives than those in the other 22 western industrial nations. This is 750 million lost years of life for 300 million American citizens. Only when Americans get to 65 and have Medicare do their life spans start to get more similar to other nations. Seniors would now be thrown into the murder machine which is the American private health care market. The Republican budget will kill more and more Americans than the 120,000 being killed today because of lousy, unavailable, super high cost private health care denial.
I saw a sign on a utility pole that read, “Vote Them All Out.” It seems to be a common sentiment these days. Of course, there is no line on the ballot that says, “I don’t want to re-elect this jerk, and I don’t want any of the other jerks either.” If there were, we might be looking at a landslide next November.
Yes, there are a great many people who are dissatisfied with government these days. They believe they are over-taxed, under-represented, or worse than that, ignored. So, what’s the solution . . . do nothing?
Personally, that idea has me pretty ticked-off, and I seem to be pretty ticked-off by a lot these days.
I’m ticked-off at a two party system based on, “Let’s prevent those guys from getting anything done.” It infuriates me that elected officials think they automatically know what’s best for me and my family simply because they spent millions of dollars and got themselves elected. I am tired of people saying we’d be better off if the government did nothing when there is so much that needs to be done. I’m frustrated by legislative rules that make it easier to obstruct than construct. I’m sick of radio talk-show hosts who think they can say anything, however inflammatory, just because they have high ratings. I’m fed up with politicians who lie about their records, lie about their opponents, and lie down in bed with anybody willing to write them a check. Mostly, I’m done with people who think that just complaining about the government, the economy, politics, and society is somehow contributing to the greater good.
Have you noticed that most of the ideas that have come out of this election cycle are not ideas at all but simply complaints about someone else’s point of view? When was the last time that the minority party in Congress, whoever that might happen to be, had an original idea about anything beyond obstructing the plan of the majority? Why do you suppose it is that, “Throw the bums out,” is the most powerful political movement in America today? When did it become popular to suggest that doing nothing about the nation’s problems is the best policy for governance? When was the last time you saw a campaign commercial that said, “Here are my ideas,” instead of, “Here’s what’s wrong with my opponent?
Is, “Anybody but him,” a rational approach to selecting our public officials? Does the guy who complains the loudest about the direction of the country have an inalienable right to air-time? Is the most obnoxious guy in the cue more deserving of 30 seconds on the phone with Rush Limbaugh or Larry King than somebody with a constructive solution to a problem?
Tonight, millions of American children will sleep in homeless shelters if they are lucky enough to find an open bed. Millions more will sleep in the backseat of a single mother’s car, should she be so fortunate as to still have a car. Is cutting government, eliminating entire cabinet departments, slashing spending, and throwing the bums out going to do help them in any way?
Where are the solutions? Where are the suggestions? Are there even any thoughts knocking around out there?
I don’t know, but I just don’t get it. Not that I necessarily have anything against smaller government and lower taxes, but don’t we also deserve ideas about how to actually govern? Is “The Great Society” simply more than we are capable of, or is it that we no longer believe we are deserving of such a thing?
Maybe it’s altogether futile, but come November, I intend to vote. I will do so because in a democracy, it is my right, my obligation, and my job. Those over-crowed shelters and hungry kids who will cry themselves to sleep tonight are my responsibility; and, good or bad, I’m voting for the candidates who at the very least have indicated that they’d like to try and do something instead of just shouting that it’s time to, “Vote Them All Out.”
If you are unhappy about the state of things after that, feel free to blame me. I’m too ticked-off to care.
We need to reduce spending and that means individuals must incur more out of pocket cost for social benefits. How about everyone participates to say 5% of adjusted gross income as a Medicare deductible. Then change the medical delivery system to focus on efficiency and results. The idea that medical care is an insurable risk is nonsense - that is why single payer is likely the best answer. That said the Republican approach of forcing ALL the sacrifice to the middle and lower income earners while giving more tax breaks to the rich is unconscionable. We are feeling the pain of eight years of Bush reckless incompetence. The idea that we could prosecute two wars and add a major drug benefit social program while cutting taxes for the rich was pure fantasy. If the policy had been, as it should be, to impose a war surtax I expect we would be in much better shape.
A great country does not impose policies that drives all income to the top while reducing the majority to serfdom. If the Republicans succeed they will eventually face a blow back that will rock their world and make them wish they had adopted reasonable policies.
We must now decide what sort of America we want to live in moving forward. The Republican party has proposed one such alternative that we might describe as "wealth rules." This is a model that prevails over much of the developing world, including India and China so it isn't hard to imagine where this direction will take us over the next 50 years or so. The Democratic party has mostly been missing in action when it comes to proposing alternatives to America's descent into a harder, meaner, less prosperous country.
President Obama's economic plan does not yet have the hard clarity of the Republican alternative. In the face of a call to cast the middle class and the poor aside in favor of the wealthiest Americans, Republicans also need to describe a plan that recovers and protects the American standard of living by bending the GDP curve back up to a growth rate that will sustain us. It is absolutely certain that this plan will be rejected and resisted by America's largest corporations who seek to maximize their profits in a globalized economy with no regard for the longer term consequences of their actions on the American middle class, our environment, or our national security.
The lines are clear. What kind of America do we want to live in? Are we willing to fight to get it? The choice is ours.
What should the governemtn do? How about, what the governemtn "shouldn't do"?
a) 27% of every on-budget dollar goes toward military spending. Another 7% or so goes toward paying the interest on the money borrowed to spend some $700 billion dollars a year on the military (more almost than the entire rest of the world's military spending). [-- The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost somewhere between one and three trillion off-budget dollars so far, every dollar of which was borrowed. --]
b) The top 2% of American earners paid a 50% marginal tax rate under the Republicans' most sacred hero, Ronald Reagan. Today these earners, after the Bush tax cuts, are paying 15 percentage points less, and under Paul Ryan's plan will pay a full 25 percentage points less than they did under Ronald Reagan.
c) All of the non-military discretionary spending Republicans hate on ideological grounds -- Planned Parenthood, Head Start, NPR, NEA, EPA, clean energy, public transportation, high speed rail, etc. -- amount to less than 2% of the 2010 federal budget.
That's 34% on military spending, 2% on everything the Republicans hate, and the richest 2% of Americans pay 15-20 percentage points less under various Republican plans than they did under Ronald Reagan.
d) Social Security is self-funded through deductions from workers' paychecks. It is fully funded today for the next 27 years. There is a cap of $106,000 a year of income beyond which payroll taxes are not deducted. Raising this cap would sustain Social Security indefinitely.
So the choice seems to be:
a) Spend 34% of the federal budget on the military, cut taxes on the highest 2% of earners in America even more than they have been already, and kill Medicare -- which was created precisely because private insurance companies will not insure seniors at rates that anyone can afford -- by privatizing it; or
b) Raise the income tax rate on the top 2% of earners to what they were under Ronald Reagan and cut military spending by at least $200 billion a year.
The problem is that Republicans hate programs that provide health care, housing, education, food subsidies, and the like to the old, the sick, the weak, and children; and they don't want rich people to pay one nickel in taxes.
Let's make no mistake: The Republicans' budget plans at the state and federal levels will be putting thousands out of work. Their spending cuts equal job cuts. And this for a pie in the sky notion that if we cut these jobs and give that money to the wealthiest Americans in the form of tax cuts, that these people will create the jobs that will replace those they cut. Keep our fingers crossed, but mind the stench from our thumb from sticking it up our own rear!!!
Even if the rich do use their tax-break money to create jobs, who's to say that they will be creating jobs in America, rather than spending and investing money for more work overseas?
By cutting services that everyday Americans rely on and widening the gap between rich and poor even more,they are also lowering the future career prospects for those children who are publicly educated. Public Schools (and libraries) are the great equalizers in our society, or so they should be. It is only through a working and flawless educational system that a poor or middle class child can hope to compete with the children of the wealthy. Any GOOD jobs those rich people are going to create will certainly not go to Americans, and defintiely not to the American poor. If we cannot give our regular kids a real opportunity to compete with the children of the wealthy, this country will simply have to grant a lot more H-1B and O-1 (genius) visas to keep the wheels of business moving.
Then again, let's vote Republican and cut affordable to the poor family planning services so then there will be even MORE poverty level poor, and a plus in being poorly educated children that those really rich people can hire as yard workers, nannies, maids, drivers etc.
The GOP has learned nothing from 1995.
This is the great overreach of 2011, trying to get their way on every issue, every facet of the U.S. government and the life of the citizens. No matter whether it's abortions, the bill of rights, unions or entitlements, they want to smash it all, all in one go, and install an oligarchy (a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique)! They don't care. They never did, they never will, they are the mouthpieces of their corporate masters and the religous nutjobs that control the masses by fearmongering.
The backlash in 2012 will be enormous, and President Obama, freshly reelected and not allowed to run again, will be able to get the country back on track with a blue-dog free supermajority. He will finaly be able to step up to a podium, punch it with his fist and tell the TRUTH to the american people, not this "greatest nation on earth" myth (look up the stats, you are not, sorry to burst your bubble).
Either that or your country goes down the drain faster then you can say "President Newt Gingrich"...