Well the Democrats have finally passed a budget, forcing the Republican talking points to change. GOP criticism must now direct itself to the content of that budget, focusing on the tax increases Democrats will use to reduce the deficit. Why Democrats eventually did something they’ve been putting off for 3 years to avoid is perplexing and typical of a government that gets bogged down in Party politics. This delay has done nothing but kick the can down the road and as a result we have very little to show for it.
But now that it’s out there, perhaps Democrats, who have had time to create talking points of their own, can defend their position and lay out the facts so voters can see who it is that Republicans really represent. As Jonathan Weisman with the NY Times news services states, the “$3.7 trillion blueprint for 2014 … would fast-track passage of tax increases, trim spending gingerly [but] leave the government still deeply in the debt a decade from now” with a “$566 billion deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that time”.
That part about a $566 billion deficit and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that time will no doubt be highlighted by the GOP-controlled House in their attempts to protect the tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthiest Americans. The Senate bill offers plenty of spending cuts but not the ones the Republicans and their wealthy private financial interests want. The right-wing media talking heads at FOX, Breitbert blog, the Drudge Report and other conservative sources will focus their attention only on the fact that Democrats want to once again “raise your taxes”.
The devil is in the details however and if the Democrats want to effectively counter the GOP’s message on this they need to be equally aggressive in defining exactly who will see “tax increases”.
Some who won’t, thanks to an amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), will be seniors, disabled vets and the surviving families of those who have died for their country while serving in the military. The GOP, in a thinly veiled offering they claimed would “save Social Security and Medicare”, lost their bid to impose the chained CPI method to replace the current method of measuring inflation. The chained CPI would work against the interests of people who have a larger medical expense than the general public and who would have seen serious cuts in their benefits as the years progressed at a time when their health is more likely to worsen and requires greater care.
The chained CPI was a contrivance of conservatives who tend to favor a Paul Ryan budget plan. A budget supported by people like billionaire Pete Peterson who has made it his life’s goal to eradicate Social Security and Medicare so for-profit private interests can get their hands on the billions that tax payers have deducted from each paycheck to help cover the government-run medical and retirement programs that serve as a safety net for them as they age or become disabled.
Peterson and his ilk are trying to convince everyday Americans that their money invested in the free markets will amply provide for them in their later years. But anyone who has had a private retirement account over the last 10-12 years has seen their savings dwindle significantly as big financial interests on Wall Street have used their money on risky ventures, plunging the stock market into two serious recessions.
The only winners in this have been the very wealthy while many seniors were forced back into a dwindling labor market to help cover their bills. The volatile stock market over the last decade has been so erratic that a sense of security is the last thing anyone feels who has invested their life savings in it.
Democrats need to drive home this point and show that what “outrage” the Republicans will feign over the coming weeks is not out of an interest for those who struggle each day to make ends meet, but to cover the backs of millionaires and billionaires they rely on to fund their political livelihoods.
Cutting out tax loop holes for people who purchase private jets or a third or fourth luxury home on the coast is not an attack against the American people. It is simply the most practical way during our current economic state to generate needed revenue to create jobs and pay down a debt that was essentially the result of previous big tax cuts under the Bush administration along with the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Great Recession has also created havoc with people’s earnings. This economic collapse was the direct result of greedy financial markets that went wild after government oversight was eliminated through the combined efforts of neo-conservatives and neo-liberals back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
It will be a war of words and the Republicans will devise strategies intended to give the impression that only they can restore our economy to fiscal soundness. How they will do it is a mystery because they continue to offer nothing more than the failed policies of trickle down economics while falsely proclaiming how entitlement programs are creating a debt our children will never recover from.
Their battle plan can be easy to defeat unless the Democrats engage in the same old weak efforts that allowed them to lose the moral high ground years ago. They need to take their argument to the people fast and frequently and not buckle in the face lies and damn lies from people whose only loyalty lies with very wealthy special interests. Senator Patty Murray of Washington sets the stage for this in her defense of the Democrat-sponsored budget.
“The first priority of the Senate budget is creating jobs and economic growth from the middle out, not the top down,” Ms. Murray, the chairwoman of the Budget Committee, said. “With an unemployment rate that remains stubbornly high, and a middle class that has seen their wages stagnate for far too long, we simply cannot afford any threats to our fragile recovery.” SOURCE
Senator Patty Murray offers a focal point to promote the Democratic Senate’s budget
Americans need to understand that their interests are first and foremost served by job creation. When we can get people back to work, making a livable wage where they can spend their earnings on goods and services, we will then see a demand that fosters more hiring and job creation. This will then lead to greater tax revenue to pay down the deficit while it also rebuilds our middle class. It was the strong middle class that developed following WWII that allowed the U.S. economy to expand and become the predominant economy in the world. And this all happened when tax rates for the wealthiest were much higher than they are now.
We can live with a debt for a time but we cannot eliminate it first through measures that do nothing to put people back to work and only hopes that so-called job creators will materialize from the top down. Spending is required to generate demand and if the private sector can’t or isn’t willing to divest some of their huge profits towards job creation, then we must rely on the government to set the wheels in motion for our economic survival. The wealthy only lose another opportunity to get their hands on even greater sums of money if they cannot eliminate Social Security and Medicare. Most everyone else loses their ability to survive from conditions that they have little control over like aging and health issues.