It is time to pay attention to the Peterson Commission. And you had better pay attention and tell your friends and have them tell their friends. Because the Peterson Commission is coming to get your Social Security. Not yours…yours. Yes, you there, the relatively young person who is about to start gathering funds to retire.
Unless you are a millionaire or a household making more than $250,000 a year–that’s the low end of the wealthy group, the $250,000 income household–you are about to have your pockets picked again. And this time it is going to be grand theft…of your Social Security benefits.
Before you say….”Oh they couldn’t (wouldn’t) do that, could they?”…the answer is yes they can and yes they will…and yes, they are doing it right now, preparing the plans behind closed doors. Let’s see who is on the commission and then you decide. Yes, you but also the rest of us, the government-hating tea baggers, the rednecks, the fundamentalist fanatics….it is economic, not theoretical or theological. Social Security underfunding is not the problem. It has been solvent since 1984, with surpluses all the way until last year….so a big surplus built up over that time. No, the problem is not government programs. It is government thievery, in particular Republican thievery for the last 8 years.
European governments don’t have these problems. These sick, demented, Socialist-Communist barbarians have the silly idea that government exists for the benefit of the People. What a stupid idea. Ask Pete Peterson ($12.4 billion) and he will tell you that it’s fine to be for the People, but if you tax him too much, he’ll just quit working. He’s so dynamic that if he quits working, he’ll shut down all kinds of jobs.
Wow. That’s scary. If we tax Pete and his friends too much they’ll stop creating jobs here in the….
Wait a minute. They’re not creating jobs here in the U.S. We’ve got 15 million unemployed and another 10 million who can’t find full time work. This has been going on for years. And the rich are getting richer, no matter what happens in the economy.
The very wealthy only pay an average of 23% actual tax dollars to the government now. They only pay about 10% on Capital Gains. The wealth of the top 1% has grown dramatically over the last 30 years. Let’s do a quick review. In 1929, the top 1% in that post-Gilded Age and post-World War I speculative era owned 44% of the country’s wealth. That was the era of growth in autos, electricity, oil, coal, steel, timber and mining and finance…all with no rules. Until the crash and FDR came in to save the country, which he did–make no mistake.
Then came the Crash and the Depression and the War and society said…we’ve advanced too far to go back to the sweatshop days. At the top tax rate…which was 90%, the government collected enough taxes to create a solid society. We had the ability to have good health care and a Social Security system that allowed most people to retire relatively well. By 1979, the top 1% only owned 20.5% of the wealth, but that meant that a lot more people were sharing in the wealth of our national production.
Then came GE’s boy, Ronald Reagan. The failed actor turned politician discovered that he could really make a speech. Even though Hollywood and Las Vegas had turned him out, politics…Conservative Politics….the nut cases like Goldwater (bomb them into the stone age) and John Birch and Joe McCarthy (a Commie under every bed)…wanted him. He could make the nuttiest “voodoo economics” seem sensible. People believed him when he lied to them.
We would cut taxes, especially for the rich–they were the only ones complaining–and we would have an even more robust economy. A laughable economist named Arthur Laffer, said: cut taxes and the economy will grow and future taxes will be greater than before you cut them. Thirty years and $13 trillion dollars in debt later, it hasn’t turned out that way. Thirty years of Conservative, then Neoconservative and now just plain Fascist or Corporate –take your pick–politics have given the top 1% about 37% of the nation’s wealth and climbing.
The people on the President’s Commission for Budget Deficit Reduction are a little skewed against you. For example, Alan Greenspan is worth $5 million, Robert Rubin, $24 million, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, $2.8 million, Erskine Bowles, $71.5 million, John Castellani, $5.57 million, Senator Judd Gregg, $10.2 million, and Bill Clinton, $35 million.
We already know how Paul Ryan feels about things like government health insurance, don’t we. Some people have thought that it might be too severe, but then others have thought it might be too severe and is additionally a “snake oil” remedy. The Economic Policy Institute, a fairly respected organization itself, says that Ryan’s plan could cost 415,000 people their health care insurance in Wisconsin, Ryan’s home state, alone. He’s on the commission. You can be sure he’s looking out for your best interests.
Let’s just state some facts right away so that the hysteria doesn’t overcome us. First of all, nothing happens overnight in an economy, either going up or coming down. The Bush tax cuts added about $2 trillion to the deficit and the two wars cost about another trillion…that we know of. The Bush Great Recession cost us $1.2 trillion the first year (his last year, 2008) and his final budget, Obama’s first, had another $1.8 trillion.Why?
Because 15 million people fell out of work,paid no taxes, and 15 million people needed unemployment. Not to mention that millions of small businesses went bankrupt. And on top of everything else, billions were tossed into the banks, under Bush, to keep them solvent. So, conservatively, in the last 7 years, Bush added about $6 trillion to our deficit that had already been at $5.5 trillion.
This could be relatively good news if you look at it the right way. Suppose we not only take back those tax breaks but we also add another ten percent. So instead of having a top rate of 39%, the top 1% gets a marginal top rate of 49%. Clearly, that will generate an additional minimum of $3 trillion over ten years, the same time frame as the Bush tax cuts. Then let’s say we ask the corporations who are making things abroad and those who are sending jobs abroad to pay an additional 5% on everything that they want to bring into this country.
This is important. It is not a duty on the product. It is simply a pay-to-play tax. If you want to pay foreign workers to make your products, then we’ll charge you as if you were a foreign manufacturer. Fair trade? Here’s what’s fair. If you want to sell things to Americans but not hire Americans then you can pay a small import tax, on everything you make abroad, just like any other foreign manufacturer. That alone will bring in a minimum of $40 billion annually and will jump start a lot of manufacturing right here at home.
Next, we cut the military. Our military budget is larger than Russia’s. It is larger than China’s. It is larger than Britain’s, France’s, larger than Germany, Italy, Spain, the Baltics, the Middle East, North and South Korea combined. In fact, our military budget is bigger than all of those….the rest of the world…combined!
This year we will spend $650 billion dollars on the military. We have become a militaristic nation. Politicians are afraid to go against the military. Bush and Cheney made jingoistic claptrap, war mongering, aggressive discretionary wars into phony patriotism. The military has taken advantage of it. If they side with the Republicans, they get more jobs, more equipment, and Generals go right into military contractor jobs on retiring from the service. It is corrupt and enormously wasteful.
How tough were Bush and Cheney when Schwartzkopf and Powell defeated Saddam Hussein in five weeks but Bush and Cheney…in it for the patronage, to enrich people like Halliburton and Right Wing wackos like Blackwater…made a war that should not have taken place at all into one that has now lasted 7 years…already 3 years longer than the Second World War.
Cut the budget to $550 billion. That’s still too much. Bring the troops home. End the wars. Secure our borders and use the money to spread our influence around the world and to seek out and kill terrorists wherever they are. Leave it to the CIA. Work with Nato and the South Asian defense organizations and our Latin American neighbors to end poverty, stop drugs and create solid security for Democracies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and in the Americas.
So all these policies together will balance the budget without touching Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Then, with slight adjustments in our import policies and with a green energy manufacturing program and a pro-union society, we can return to solvency. We need to manufacture products here in the United States. John McCain was wrong, the idea that “you will never see those jobs again” is wrong. We can and will see manufacturing here if we stand up to the huge monopolies.
But of course Peterson is not going to recommend that, nor is Right Winger Alan Simpson or Greenspan. They are arch-conservatives who still believe in the Reagan dogmas, totally debunked as economics but retained as great political strategy by the Neocons.
They understand that if you have the microphone and you can keep paying the hate-filled propagandists like Savage, Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, Liddy, North, Hewitt, Coulter, Palin, Bachmann, O’Reilly and Beck. Using propaganda and over 1600 Right Wing radio and television stations, you can keep the considerable number of morons in our society confused.
And who are the other members of the Commission? Douglas Holtz–Eakin, economist and official from the Bush Administration who has criticized everything the President has done, including the Stmulus package and health care reform. He’ll vote to cut Social Security in a second.
David Stockman, from Wall Street who was the head of budgeting for Reagan. Where do you think he will take you when he took us $3 trillion into debt under Reagan? He is not only a Right Winger but a former divinity student, who thinks it is God’s will that the rich get richer.
Maya MacGuinas, head of a think tank on how to cut the budget. Her focus: cut the budget, “responsibly.” She is all about cuts and doesn’t get growing an economy. We don’t need to think about cutting back on household expenses. We need to get a job.
David Walker who used to be the country’s CFO is now a Peterson stooge and he is carrying on, only he only cares about cutting budgets, the “tough stuff” not the easy stuff, like telling billionaires that you’re going to raise their taxes by 15%.
Walker isn’t up for that kind of tough talk. He’d rather tell some poor slob that the world will come to an end unless he can reduce the guy’s monthly income from $1,500 down to $900. It’s either that, he’ll say…or nothing. He’s wrong; he knows it but he also knows that his well-paying job is to cut the budgets not raise his boss’s taxes.
Do you know what foreign countries do when they run deficits that become too steep? They raise taxes on the people who can afford it–until things get better. We don’t raise taxes because people like Peterson, Holz–Eakin, Walker, Stockman, Judd Gregg and all the other millionaires and billionaires working on the “problem” simply don’t want to cut back on any of their excess funds….more than any of them could ever spend. They want to take it out of your hide.
And they will, unless you make your voice heard.