Bloggers always wonder why Democrats couldn’t get anything done even when they had a solid majority in the House and 60 votes in the Senate, while Republicans get everything they want even when they are in the minority. Take the current budget negotiations, for example.
A few weeks ago the Congress passed and the president signed yet another round of massive tax cuts for the wealthy, thereby greatly increasing the deficits. Now these same geniuses are engaged in cuts-only budget negotiations with military spending largely off the table.
What about the country and our people? Every poll shows that the public wants the same thing that economists say we need: increases in spending on the things that grow our economy, cuts in military and tax increases on the rich and big corporations (2/3 of which pay no taxes at all) — the very items that are “off the table” in the budget negotiations!
In 1983 NY hotel-chain-owning billionaire Leona Helmsley said, “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes … ” As our country migrates from democracy to plutocracy, this more and more appears to be official policy. Again and again we see tax cuts for the wealthy few, tax breaks and subsidies for the big corporations that operate as fronts for those wealthy few, and budget cuts for the things We, the People (government) do to empower and protect each other.
Just a few weeks ago we watched as an extension of the Bush tax cuts and a huge cut in the estate tax rate was pushed through. Now we watch as the discussion turns to cuts in Social Security and the rest of the so-called “safety net.”
There was a lot of high-fiving in Congress during December. For a legislative body that is suppose to administer the direction of the country — the past year was filled with a lot of purposeful dissemination of misleading (or wrong) information, partisan fighting (not bickering) and downright GOP obstruction. But somehow after the Democrats suffered a complete thrashing in November, this Congress, much to the chagrin of such douchebags like Steve King and Jim DeMint, managed to pass a bunch of important bills and laws.
The hateful and bigoted DADT — gone. The 9/11 rescue workers are finally getting some long overdue (but not nearly enough) compensation. The START nuclear agreement approved and in place. But no bill was as controversial as the gargantuan tax bill that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. By signing this bill, Obama reneged on his promise of reversing those poorly-timed, ill-conceived and ultimately destructive Bush tax cuts for the uber-wealthy. But the Republicans were intransigent, holding hostage all tax cuts by requiring that the uber-rich continue to receive those favored brackets. As ra(som for this tactic, Obama added a couple of breaks and packages for the not-so-wealthy (aka the people the GOP have time-and-time again demonstrated they could care less about). This way the middle class would continue to benefit from the lower rates and everyone could share in the pain of increasing the deficit another $800 billion. All this was done (allegedly) for just two more years.
Brace yourselves, young people. In 2011, you figure to face a real stinker of a year. Those of you attending America’s budget-strapped public schools are going to find yourselves packed into many more overcrowded classrooms. If you’re matriculating at the higher ed level, you’ll be laying out much more for tuition.
And if you’re entering the workforce, good luck. You’ll be competing with 15 million older — and more experienced — jobless for the fewer than 100,000 new jobs our “recovering” economy has, of late, been adding every month.
Your parents, as young people, never confronted an economic landscape this dreary. And neither did their parents. Hell of a century we have going here.
Blame the unions, blame the unemployed, blame loans to the poor, blame the government. As income and wealth increasingly go to a few at the top public anger is directed at the economy’s victims.
I am in a clinic all day participating in a medical study, so I was talking to one of the nurses. She brought up that California is in real trouble, is going broke, it’s a real mess. She says she doesn’t know what we’re going to do. She has heard that, “lots of states are going bankrupt. There is no money anymore.”
So I asked her what we should do about it.
She said it is because of the unions. “It’s just ridiculous. They want so much.”