Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Quick Thoughts on recent politics...

So, the GOP is now planning on blocking all legislation until the Bush tax cuts are extended for all brackets. President Obama and most Democrats want to extend the cuts, except for those in the top bracket who earn $250,000 or more. Two reasons the GOP give for wanting to extend the tax breaks is to help stimulate the economy and equity/fairness. The Dems argument is that by going back to the rates under the Clinton administration will save some $700 billion off deficits in the next decade.

Now, at the same time, the GOP has blocked extending unemployment benefits to some 2 million American workers, mostly middle and lower class workers, because those benefits are not paid for...and we can't have that, since living within our means is the overriding reason voters just gave Republicans control of the House. A second important item being held up is the START Treaty with Russia, which the President, military leaders, and four former Republican Secretarys of State endorse and state is in our national security interests.

I try to have an open mind on just about everything, and I find glaring holes and contradictions in the Republican. The first problem I find is that the Bush tax cuts have never been paid for. The cuts were given in a time when Clinton and a Republican Congress were able to leave a large budget surplus, and there has never been a worry about this large loss of revenue in the federal budget. Many economists note that this has played a large role in the budget deficits during the Bush administration and, now, the Obama administration. I do not agree that we should continue to give the wealthiest Americans, who have seen incomes explode during the past ten years and even during this recession while middle class workers have seen stagnant and even slight declines in income (when adjusted for inflation) during the same period. By placing a small tax increase to an old rate (and where we had one of the healthiest economies in our history) would not only pay for short-term assistance to millions of unemployed workers, but also contribute to trimming tens of billions of dollars from yearly deficits for years to come. After all, aren't we all supposed to sacrifice (I've heard some GOP leaders mention this, too)? By the way, if tax cuts are SO essential to revive the economy, why are we in a recession? Where are all the jobs? Shouldn't the wealthiest Americans be reinvesting all those tax savings back into the economy? They should have been doing this continuously for the past decade.

Obviously, the trickle down theory doesn't always work as advertised. And now we are being held hostage because of it, where literally nothing will get done until we continue on with an unpaid gift for the wealthy while millions of families get their Christmas present of a loss of unemployment checks that, for many, is the only money keeping them afloat while they continue to look for work. By the way, it is predicted that we'll have a new record high for bonuses for our top income earners - some $140 billion in bonuses, much of that going to those who helped cause the near collapse of the global economy. At least the GOP will continue to take good care of that extra income for those who do not need it, while sticking it to those who desperately need it. Merry Christmas.

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