Hot Corner: Let’s return some sanity to AmericaWritten by Don Burnard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the highlights of writing this column is getting letters, (most using some made up name other than the writer’s real name) telling me how I know absolutely nothing about such subjects as economics. I rarely answer these letters, partly because of my previously mentioned disdain for people too cowardly to put their real names on their comments, and partly because I refuse to do their research for them when they put forth nothing but slogans and talking points with no research or facts from reputable sources to bolster their side of the equation. I am not, nor have I ever been, an economist, or anything other than what I have previously stated.
Having said that, I do consider myself able to read and comprehend even moderately complex analyses by persons who are well versed and well recognized in their fields. These experts generally have a lot of letters after their names, showing that they have spent a considerable amount of their lives studying the subject at hand. I try to steer clear of bumper sticker slogans to base my opinions on, much preferring facts, figures, and logical conclusions.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the drive for actual endeavors necessary for real analysis. They will take the word of a highly paid pundit or politician with little or no background rather than read a treatise on the subject because it’s much easier than actual thinking. And that’s a large part of the reason why this country is in the shape it’s in today. It’s just not convenient. Even if it affects your day to day life in ways that are far from in your best interests. If you make over $200,000 a year, you can disregard this. The rest of us should pay attention, because we’re about to be screwed.
The GOP plan put forth by Rep. Paul Ryan bears little semblance to any of the campaign promises that most of the Repubs ran on. As I recall the last election, most of the GOP candidates ran on getting jobs for the unemployed and protecting senior’s Medicare and Social Security. Sounded good evidently.
Now we have a B-/C+ math student from little Janesville, Wisconsin telling us that all of the social safety nets can no longer be afforded because we have to give MORE tax cuts to the very rich in order to bring our budget back into balance. As I said, I’m no economist, but haven’t the last 30 years proved that these trickle down economic theories don’t work? Even Reagan’s former budget director, David Stockman, the head cheerleader for all that crap, has come to the conclusion that it doesn’t work.
For good measure, the CBO study of says that the Ryan Plan will add $6 trillion to the deficit, and the budget wouldn’t be balanced until sometime around 2040. Huh? An actual economist, Austin Frakt of Boston University crunched the numbers and figured that if Congress did nothing about taxes and spending, the budget would come into balance around 2015. Why should we put the bottom 90% and the senior citizens through all this pain to help the persons who don’t need the help even further? Welcome to Bizarro World. It makes no sense to me. It sounds like all pain and no gain for most of us. Ryan claims that the tax cuts for the rich will be revenue neutral because he will close tax breaks and loopholes to pay for them, although he couldn’t name any specifically. Doesn’t sound like a well thought out plan to me.
CEOs at 299 of the Fortune 400 companies this year got $3.4 billion in increased executive compensation in 2010. This represented a 23% increase over 2009 levels. Do these guys really need another tax break? Do we need to keep beating down the middle class, the teachers, policemen, firemen, the entire working class, so these guys can have more? The sum of those 299 salaries represents the combined average wages of over 100,000 workers at their respective companies. Some examples; Viacom CEO Phillipe Dauman was awarded salary, stock, and other benefits totaling $84.5 million for 9 months of 2010. I would posit that you and a hundred of your friends will never even come close to earning that in your lifetimes, let alone in 9 months. Occidental Petroleum CEO got $76 million in compensation, and the Abercrombie and Fitch’s Michael Jeffries got over $36 million. These guys definitely don’t need a break.
We need a break, and it’s time for us to stand up and demand that we get our share of the pie. Let’s return some sanity to America! We need jobs, not more tax cuts for the wealthy.