In response to Paul Ryan’s article in the Wall Street Journal
Conservatives have planned and plotted for months to get to this exact point in time where they felt they would have the most leverage to get what they want, that they couldn’t get through elections or legislation. The Senate reached out to the House to create a conference committee six months ago and was rebuffed by the House leadership. The House Speaker and Senate President negotiated a clean continuing resolution that the Speaker has been unable or unwilling to bring to the House floor for a vote. Yes, the President negotiated on their terms before, but he’s right not to do it ever again. Because this is what happens when you give in to extortion, they always come back for more.
When a conservative can demonstrate how cutting government spending will not cause unemployment, bankruptcies, foreclosures, business closures and reduce the amount or quality of government services I will eagerly support their proposal. But they can’t. They don’t even try to. Some how in this magical world they inhabit, those hundreds of billions of dollars in government spending on people, products and services will suddenly be replaced by the private sector. They never really explain how or why that would happen, we’re supposed to just take it on faith, sort of like religion. On a smaller scale it’s really easy to see what happens when the government cuts spending. Visit any community that has had a nearby military base closed or had personnel severely cut back and ask about the impact. Or visit the towns near our National Parks that have been closed due to the government shutdown and ask about the impact. Go ahead and tell them about the conservative theory that federal spending doesn’t help the economy, their business, their community. Most of our debt is owed to Americans or American Istitutions so even our interest payments work their way back into the economy.
That isn’t to say that deficit spending and the amount of debt isn’t something to be concerned about, it is. However Conservatives aren’t the only ones with ideas on how to address those challenges, despite their posturing. We’ve been cutting taxes since 2000 and it hasn’t helped the economy, it made the fattest cats fatter though. Deregulation and lack of the ability to enforce regulations brought us to the brink of financial collapse and the Deep Water Horizon disaster and probably hundreds of thousands smaller preventable incidents. But yet all conservatives have to offer is tax cuts, spending cuts and deregulation. Can’t we say been there, done that, by now? If that’s not enough, we can look at austerity in Europe as an example of the failed path conservatives want to take us down.
It’s the underpinning of this economic theory, their social theory which really tells the story. It’s the idea that helping those in need just keeps them in need. That by helping others we’re really hurting them. They truly believe that they don’t owe anyone anything. Everything they have, they have earned through hard work. Luck, timing and social standing have nothing to do with success. All it takes is hard work, determination and sacrifice to be successful. In their mind being poor is just another choice. If you choose to be successful you will be. So why should they help you if you choose to be poor? Yes, that’s really how they think, although many will deny it. They’ll say something like “I choose to help who I want to, the government shouldn’t steal from me to give to someone else that chooses to be poor because they’re lazy and always looking for handouts”. Of course most of those folks have never wondered when their next meal would come, or if they would find a safe place to sleep that night. Most of them never had to skip a meal, maybe several so their kids could eat. They know as much about being that poor as most of us know about being Walton Family rich. They have no empathy, sympathy or compassion. They’ve got theirs, you get yours and just leave them alone.
As if “Corporations are people too my friend” and “money is speech” didn’t tip their hand, just look at the areas that they want to cut spending and where they don’t. My favorite recent example is cutting 40 billion in food stamps while leaving in place subsidies to the sugar industry. The only industry subsidies they don’t like are the ones that are in direct competition with their interests. Subsidize the oil industry? You bet, how much do they want? Subsidies for Solar or Wind, no way, let the hippies pay their own way. Why does income from capital get taxed at half the rate as income from labor? They’ll give you some nonsense about being double taxed, but that’s easily debunked. Only the income from your after tax investment is taxed, not the principle. But it really is their sense of entitlement that leads them to believe they deserve to be treated differently and better.
Another area they never want to talk about cutting? The Military, even though that is 57% of our discretionary spending. Military contractors spend a lot of money lobbying and promoting their wares. One reason they don’t get cut is because they are profitable and their investors likes those dividends. War is good for business. Another reason is because we maintain over 150 bases around the world to protect “American Interests”. Have you ever wondered what those interests are? Seriously if corporations want to protect their assets let them buy their own damn Army. Exxon doesn’t pay federal income tax I think they find room in their budget to guard their own facilities.
So here is how we can end this stalemate Mr. Ryan. Pass the clean continuing resolution that was negotiated between House and Senate leadership. Raise the debt limit to account for a least another year. No cuts to the safety net. Eliminate the cap on income subject to social security taxes and cut the rate to 2.5% on income from all sources of income. Eliminate all corporate subsidies. Leave AHC alone for one year and see what needs fixing at that point. Limit the mortgage interest deduction to primary residence (defined as where they are registered to vote). Stop incentives for outsourcing and offshoring. For some more good ideas I suggest you consider this. http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/back-to-work-budget/
Do this and perhaps Republicans won’t lose the House in 2014. No guarantees because things are looking pretty bleak for you all right now. Passing comprehensive Immigration Reform would help too, but I doubt the House can manage that.