Monday, June 13, 2011

If this is fiscal responsibility...

...then I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

Las Vegas Sun Online
Sun Editorial:
A somber anniversary
At 10 years old, Bush tax cuts continue to hurt the nation’s fiscal future
Saturday, June 11, 2011 | 2:01 a.m.

When President George W. Bush took office in 2001, he was handed quite the gift. The nation had been running a budget surplus, and there was talk that the federal government could be debt free by 2009.

But that wasn’t to be. Instead of using the money to pay down the deficit, Bush pushed for tax cuts, especially for the wealthy. A decade ago this past week, the first piece of the ignominious Bush tax cuts became law.

“We recognize, loud and clear, the surplus is not the government’s money,” Bush said at a bill signing ceremony. “The surplus is the people’s money. And we ought to trust them with their own money.”

Unfortunately, Americans are paying a heavy price for the Bush administration’s economic policies in the form of tremendous debt. While Bush cut taxes, he and Republicans in Congress supported more federal spending.

The Republicans didn’t see fit to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — which have cost more than $1 trillion — or much of anything else. There was no plan to increase taxes or find other ways to free up federal money to pay for those efforts. As a result, the surplus vanished, the government was back to borrowing and the deficit skyrocketed...

...The Republican leadership in Congress has laughably tried to make itself out to be fiscally responsible with its disingenuous and dangerous plans. They have even tried to blame Democrats and President Barack Obama for the nation’s economic woes, but they should look in the mirror. The GOP’s policies pushed the country into this mess.

Republicans have largely championed trickle-down economics, a theory that argues that tax breaks for the wealthy — like the Bush cuts — stimulate more investment. That is supposed to translate into more jobs and eventually more money in the average person’s pocket.

But it doesn’t work that way. The nation faced an economic downturn during Bush’s first term and it came out of it in the so-called “jobless recovery.” And his second term was marked by the Great Recession, which saw unemployment spike.

The Bush tax cuts over the last 10 years have failed, as have the Republican economic policies, which boil down to no new taxes and tax cuts for the rich...

In case you haven't noticed, both the Republicans and the Tea-Partiers have the same imperialistic military spending above and beyond all other considerations mentality still to this day - and still have no means whatsoever to pay for it except through debt. It isn't social security, unemployment benefits, or medicare/medicaid that has bankrupted this country, it is the military industrial complex, pure and simple.

So why are we still giving free security away? Why do we have bases outside of the US borders at all? If these people are our allies, they will give us space to land and refuel when they need assistance - which, of course, they should pay for to the last penny themselves. And if they want our bases on their soil for "deterrence" purposes, then again they should pay the tab - 100% in full - every month.

And it's clear that our wars of "liberation" are terribly selective - so selective, in fact, that peoples who don't happen to have natural resources coveted by the American Robber Barons need not apply. There is no possible reason for the invasion of Iraq other than to secure the oil, and there is no possible reason for the invasion of Afghanistan other than the rare earth minerals and the poppy income. That should be obvious by now. Every action the US government has taken is clearly targeted not toward "liberating" anyone from oppression but rather to "liberate" third world resources from those who would use them for the good of their own people and with a sustainable future in mind.

US foreign policy has no function except to keep third world peoples in bondage with "free trade" agreements that are in truth nothing more than a race to the bottom for wage and labour laws, safety regulations, environmental protection, and resource management. The leaders of those countries don't dare pass laws to improve their people's lot because then the Robber Barons would pack up and take their factories elsewhere. After all, there's always somebody more desperate.

American workers are finding this out the hard way. With no possible means of providing first world living wage jobs for the 40+ million people who are un-employed and under-employed (i.e. forced into part time jobs, or had their pay and benefits cut, or both), there is no possible way that income taxes will raise enough revenue to get the US out of debt and continue to pay for the US's imperialistic resource wars and military empire around the globe. It's simply not possible.

There is only one real way to solve this problem: tariffs on those products whose wage/labour, environmental, safety, etc., laws are not equivalent to first world standards (by which I mean Europe, not the US - which is in all respects except our military power no longer "first world" on any objective measure). And having done that, military spending will have to be limited only to protecting the US border and providing security only for US states and territories (unless hired by contract, as described above).

There is NO OTHER way to solve this problem. Cutting the social safety net to shreds WILL NOT bring a single person a living wage job in this country. Allowing for-profit insurance companies to drop coverage for sick people, children or students and refuse coverage for those with "pre-existing conditions" WILL NOT bring a single person a living wage job in this country, nor will allowing them to charge exorbitant rates in order to discourage the sick from purchasing a policy benefit job-seekers or society in any possible way. Continually refusing to put tariffs on cheap junk made in dangerous sweatshops WILL CERTAINLY NOT bring a single person a living wage job in this country.

What it will bring - indeed, has already brought, is our entry into the race to the bottom. And eventually, you'll see companies on American shores that have to put netting below their windows to prevent the suicides from splatting on the concrete or on the passers-by on the sidewalk below. After all, it works reasonably well in China. Only a few break through and actually crash into the ground. The rest just break their necks hitting netting. No mess, no fuss, no bother. Scoop them up and throw them away with the rest of the trash. Plenty more desperate job-seekers where those came from.

Is that the future you want? Get involved. Write your Congress-persons and volunteer for a campaign. Sitting around reading blogs will not save US citizens from having our social safety net taken away by greedy Robber Barons and military contractors. Only action counts.

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