Congress’ self appointed Super Committee announced its failure to come to an agreement on a deficit reduction plan after the markets closed yesterday. The Dow had already plunged 2% on reports there would be no agreement. The closed door Politburo was appointed last August as part of the debt ceiling deal to find $1.2 trillion in additional budget cuts and revenue enhancements. Pending no agreement a clause in that bill kicks in mandating an across the board 10% cut across federal programs. The Pentagon is having a hissy fit saying they won’t be able to defend the country on a budget which allowed them to do so in 2007.
Pat Toomey tried pushing through an agenda calling for $1.5 trillion because he wasn’t happy just cutting $1.2T. The cuts done earlier are already impacting the poor and these new ones will result in being dying. Winter looms with substantial cuts to LIHEAP, food stamps, WIC and other social safety net programs for the poor, unemployed and disadvantaged. These cuts do real damage to real people.
Republicans refused to budge on tax increases and the closing of special interest loopholes. They proposed about $3 billion in tax increases compared with $500 billion in budget cuts and, still,t hat wasn’t enough. Democrats put sharp cuts to both Social Security (which doesn’t add a cent to the deficit) and Medicare on the table but conservatives wouldn’t play ball. This is the Tea Party, a fringe minority of Americans, pushing its extreme agenda on the rest of us.
Had the Committee proposed serious cuts to these critically important programs while leaving millionaires and billionaires untouched the 99% movement would have been outraged and the people taking to the streets would have been awe inspiring. Not to mention chaotic. Fox would have had more to pontificate about than trying to explain that pepper spray is actually a food product and so not dangerous. In that case I’d like them to line up and allow me the pleasure of emptying a canister in their faces. Of course perhaps they’d also allow me to serve them some mushroom soup from some food products I collect in the wild.
The real solution is called The People’s Budget:
Our Budget Eliminates the Deficit and Raises a $31 Billion Surplus In Ten Years
Our budget protects Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and responsibly eliminates the deficit by targeting its main drivers: the Bush Tax Cuts, the wars overseas, and the causes and effects of the recent recession.
Our Budget Puts America Back to Work & Restores America’s Competitiveness
• Trains teachers and restores schools; rebuilds roads and bridges and ensures that users help pay for them
• Invests in job creation, clean energy and broadband infrastructure, housing and R&D programs
Our Budget Creates a Fairer Tax System
• Ends the recently passed upper-income tax cuts and lets Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of 2012
• Extends tax credits for the middle class, families, and students
• Creates new tax brackets that range from 45% starting at $1 million to 49% for $1 billion or more
• Implements a progressive estate tax
• Eliminates corporate welfare for oil, gas, and coal companies; closes loopholes for multinational corporations
• Enacts a financial crisis responsibility fee and a financial speculation tax on derivatives and foreign exchange
Our Budget Protects Health
• Enacts a health care public option and negotiates prescription payments with pharmaceutical companies
• Prevents any cuts to Medicare physician payments for a decade
Our Budget Safeguards Social Security for the Next 75 Years
• Eliminates the individual Social Security payroll cap to make sure upper income earners pay their fair share
• Increases benefits based on higher contributions on the employee side
Our Budget Brings Our Troops Home
• Responsibly ends our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to leave America more secure both home and abroad
• Cuts defense spending by reducing conventional forces, procurement, and costly R&D programs
Our Budget’s Bottom Line
• Deficit reduction of $5.6 trillion
• Spending cuts of $1.7 trillion
• Revenue increase of $3.9 trillion
• Public investment $1.7 trillion
Of course our real crisis and our first deficit problem is one of JOBS. This budget situation was caused principally by three factors, all created by conservatives: unpaid for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush tax cuts and the failure of conservative trickle down economics. The refusal to properly regulate markets, prosecute criminals on Wall Street and raise revenues by taxing the rich created the current deficit.
Conservatives (both Republican and Democrats) created this problem and are focused on it rather than the other one in jobs. They have nothing to create jobs and, in fact, have made it worse by laying off hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs which support private sector employment. The ripple effect is strangling growth and preventing a systemic recovery.
Congress needs to repeal the part of the debt ceiling agreement mandating cuts and also repeal the Bush era tax cuts for the rich. Then they need to pass a significant stimulus designed to build infrastructure.