Thursday, September 2, 2010

The People's Tax Cut: How the Democrats Can Win in 2010

Sick of the Deficit Hawks

"Deficits don't matter."
-Dick Cheney, former Vice President

Who else, besides me, is sick of hearing the far right moan and gripe about the deficit, after completely disregarding the deficit for their eight years in power? It's mind-numbing to consider the fact that Congressional Republicans cite the deficit as reason for denying the unemployed and their families the only safety net they have, along with their desire to punish the elderly with the rationing of Medicare, not to mention their goals of privatizing social security (which is funded from our paychecks, not from federal tax dollars), and leaving the financial future of my generation in the hands of highway robbers like Goldman Sachs.

However, Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had no problem at all turning Clinton's surplus into a multi-trillion dollar deficit with the legislation they championed. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, $2.5 trillion in ten years. Two wars of aggression. $1 trillion to date. The Medicare prescription medication donut hole. Another $550 billion. Not to mention their annual "cost of living" salary increases they give themselves- we may be unemployed, desperate dumpster-divers thanks to the recession that Republican policies created, but our federal lawmakers are making out like bandits.

The people have spoken- we want to stop fronting hundreds of billions of our hard-earned dollars to put a cushion under the rich, who used our money to fatten their own pockets over the last ten years instead of create jobs with the extra dough. The right's only economic plan is to continue the disastrous economic policies we had under George W. Bush. Cut spending on social welfare programs. Give millionaires even more tax cuts. By the way, this plan would add billions to the deficit, not reduce it.

The bottom line: The Republicans' desires to extend tax cuts for the wealthy is more than DOUBLE the amount spent in the Democrats' health care reform legislation.

It's time for the right to put up or shut up. One brilliant economist has come up with a way for Congressional Republicans, who wave the populist banner at every opportunity and advocate the importance of tax cuts, to eat their words.

Robert Reich calls it "The People's Tax Cut." It's a bomb the Democrats need to drop this month, in preparation for the November midterms.

The People's Tax Cut

"When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals."
-John Maynard Keynes

Robert Reich contends that because 80 percent of Americans pay more in payroll taxes than they do in income taxes, a great number of us could do the economy a lot of good with a little more change in our pocket. His proposal is simple; eliminate payroll taxes for all income under $20,000 (the federal poverty line for a family of four is $21,874) and make up for the lost revenue by adding to the payroll taxes of all incomes over $250,000.

Even though Social Security's funds are at a $2.5 trillion surplus, benefits will have to start being decreased incrementally beginning in 2037. Which means that by the time my generation retires, we won't be getting our fair share of all the money we put in while we were working and being productive. The people's tax cut would insure our future, and it'd also be a great burden lifted from the shoulders of the working poor when they're at the most risk. The extra money in people's pockets would likely benefit local businesses, as opposed to tax cuts for the wealthy being invested overseas. It would be great fun to watch the Republicans explain why they're go against the People's Tax Cut, especially so close to the midterm election.

And if the Democrats want to show they're serious about the deficit, they need only look to eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and slashing military spending; these two are by far the biggest drains on federal revenue, which needs to instead be spent boosting the green energy industry, job growth in the public and private sectors, and providing more loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs. $960 billion could be slashed from the Pentagon's budget over a ten-year period by simply phasing out Cold War-era programs, putting off hastily thought-out missions and ending expensive, unnecessary weapons programs.

Everything is at stake this November; we cannot allow the Teapublicans to govern. As I explained here their brand of government is far too extreme and far too dangerous to allow them any more power than they already have. However, if the Teapublicans are soundly defeated this November, I believe we'll see the right steadily become more moderate, finally convinced that unbridled extremism only loses elections and divides the population. The key to defeating the extreme right is for Democrats to fly the populist flag and claim the moral upper hand.

Call the Capitol switchboard, right now. Pull out your cellphones, punch in (202) 224-3121, and ask for your Congressman and Senators. Leave a message at their office saying you support ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and that you support eliminating payroll taxes on the working poor.

Will you do it? More importantly, will you spread the word and get all of your friends to do it?

Our voices will not be ignored.

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