Stop the Austerity Train Wreck!
The biggest question right now on Planet Washington is whether the congressional supercommittee will reach an agreement.
That’s the wrong question. Agreement or not, Washington is on the road to making budget cuts that will slow the economy, increase unemployment, and impose additional hardship on millions of Americans.
The real question is how to stop this austerity train wreck, and substitute the following:
FIRST: no cuts before jobs are back – until unemployment is down to 5 percent. Until then, the economy needs a boost, not a cut. Consumers – whose spending is 70 percent of the economy – don’t have the money to boost the economy on their own. Their pay is dropping and they’re losing jobs.
SECOND: Make the boost big enough. 14 million Americans are out of work, and 10 million are working part time who need full-time jobs. The President’s proposed jobs program is a start but it’s tiny relative to what needs to be done. It would create fewer than 2 million jobs. We need a big jobs program – rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, and including a WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps.
THIRD: To pay for this, raise taxes on the super-rich. It’s only fair. Never before has so much income and wealth been concentrated at the very top, and taxes on the top so low. Go back to the 70 percent marginal tax we had before 1980. And include more tax brackets at the top. It doesn’t make sense that any income over $375,000 is taxed at the same 35 percent, even if it’s a billion dollars. And tax all sources of income at the same rate, including capital gains.
FOURTH: Cut the budget where the real bloat is. Military spending and corporate welfare. End weapons systems that don’t work and stop wars we shouldn’t be fighting to begin with, and we save over $300 billion a year. Cut corporate welfare – subsidies and special tax breaks going to big agribusiness, big oil, big pharma, and big insurance – and we save another $100 billion.
Do you hear me, Washington? Do these four things and restore jobs and prosperity. Fail to do these, and you’ll make things much, much worse.
After watching the video and reading this piece, I’m curious. How much better would our economy be today if the government had mailed checks out to each citizen who paid taxes the year before instead of giving bailouts and cheap loans to the criminals that caused all of this trouble? Divide those trillions of dollars among the people. Let’s assume 250 million of the 300 million people living in the USA in July of 2008 were eligible. That would have been a check for approximately $8,000 each.
I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but stop to think about the possibilities. Even if everyone blew the money on mindless shopping sprees, the money would have gone right back into the economy and filtered its way to the banks. I believe a large number of people who were smart enough to realize that trouble times were coming, or those who had already been hit by lay offs, would have used that money to reduce their debt or put it into savings to give themselves a little protection from the rough seas ahead. This, again, would have put that money right back into the hands of the banks.
By choosing this method, the corporations and banks that were failures would have failed and gone bankrupt. Perhaps some would have even gone to prison because their crimes would have been even more apparent to the average man. The rest of us would have been a little better off and the economy may have rebounded from the spending and decrease in personal debt. Instead, the banksters in our government decided to give all that money to their friends and former employers at the failed companies and handed the rest of us the bill.
I am sure some people will say I am over simplifying the issue, but at the same time, I think they are over complicating the issue… possibly intentionally.