Hot Corner: Debt needs solution, not ideologyWritten by Don Burnard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for raising the debt limit is fast approaching, and true to form, the tea bagger led GOP is all up in arms all of a sudden about paying down our debt, which, by the way, they are mostly responsible for. They use their admittedly better funded and organized message machine to not only scare the general public into thinking that this debt is wildly out of control, but also that it is the Obama administration that is responsible for this debt. They would have you believe that if we don’t address this debt by cutting spending on virtually everything that helps the public, ending entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid, gut Social Security for any one currently under about 55 years old, and do away with taxes on the rich and corporations, we’ll go bankrupt and become a third world country. Hogwash!
Let’s look at some facts and figures. Joshua Holland pointed out some interesting facts in his March 24th article on AlterNet. When Ronald Reagan took office, the national debt was $997 billion. During his time in office, he never balanced a budget, and after 8 years of Reaganomics, the debt stood at $2.7 trillion, which represented a 13.71% compound annual increase. Under Bush I, the debt went from $2.7 trillion to $4 trillion, a 10.32% compound annual increase, and he never balanced a budget either. Clinton started with $4 trillion and ended with $5.6 trillion in debt, a 4.2% annual increase, and he balanced his last three budgets. GWB started with a $5.6 trillion debt and increased it to $10 trillion, a 9.8% annual increase, which is slightly higher than Obama’s increase for his first year, and Obama had to clean up the mess that was left him. So riddle me this Batman, How is it that these guys are the economically savvy guys that should be listened to? It makes no sense. The Repubs spend more than the Democrats, but the Dems are the ones with the “tax and spend” label. Huh.
Another interesting fact is that entitlements that the GOP wants to do away with, like Social Security, don’t add to the national debt. Not a penny of debt has come from Social Security, so why is it targeted for virtual extinction? Because the GOP doesn’t believe you should be able to retire with a shred of dignity. It has nothing to do with fiscal responsibility. Most of our problems could be taken care of by doing away with this anal position that we have to cut taxes for the rich as the answer for every problem. During the Great Recession, ThinkProgress pointed out that 12 major corporations made $173 billion in profit and had a negative tax rate. How many of you had a negative tax rate or even made a profit? The Paul Ryan budget is finally being exposed for the hack job it really is. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office pointed out that it would not only not address most of the problems it is being touted to address, but would also add over $6 trillion to the debt over the next decade. It just keeps getting better and better. Oh, and no mention of jobs either. Jobs seems to have gone by the wayside for both parties as we argue about how best to help them poor billionaires further. All the new found deficit hawks that were silent during the Bush administration are now howling for not raising the debt limit. Interesting to note that the GOP leadership, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Eric Cantor,( recently departed from the deficit talks) ALL voted to raise the debt limit all seven times under the Bush administration.( Just to remind you, that was when Dick Cheney was saying that deficits were good for the economy!) Every expert says that raising the debt limit is absolutely necessary, so couldn’t we forgo all the kiddie games and just get it done? Forget the idiot partisan posturing and do what’s right for the country for once.
Obviously, the deficit needs to be addressed, and also the entitlement programs that comprise our social safety net. The first thing we have to do is stop listening to these GOP hysterics, and accept that lowering taxes and interest rates has never, ever, ever raised revenues. After thirty years of promising that this would work, it’s time to accept that this is a failed ideology. Putting 15 million unemployed workers back to work and paying taxes will do much more. Rolling tax rates back to the Clinton era for the top 10% will go far to close the gap. Raising the upper limit on Social Security from the first $106 thousand to the first $250 thousand instead of raising the retirement age would be much more effective in addressing that problem. Closing the corporate tax loopholes, and making corporations pay their fair share, and returning to meaningful regulation of the financial markets would help to pare our problems down to manageable size. We need solutions, not ideology.