Friday, November 26, 2010

It's Time For Misdirection

The Journal Sentinel recently editorialized, "It's time for honesty. True fiscal discipline requires more than cuts to discretionary spending. It requires changes to..." I'm hoping the next word is "taxes." But I'm sure you can guess, the Journal wants, "...changes to entitlement programs." Credit where credit is due - they do mention, in passing, raising taxes half-way through the article, yet they never elaborate on this. Much of the article is dedicated to bashing popular government programs and detailing how we need to gut them.

Yes, when corporate profits are at all-time highs, Wall Streeters are raking in millions in bonuses, and high-earners are being taxed at the lowest rates they've seen in decades, the answers to our fiscal conundrums are cutting government spending and programs - which can benefit those in need the most. Yes, when citizens are hurting the most, the best thing to do is make them hurt more, while allowing the richest to increase their wealth.

The Journal favors extending the Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers, including keeping lower taxes on capital gains and dividends. They don't explain their rationale behind this perspective. But they then imply that farm subsidies, corporate loopholes, and road projects are only "chicken feed" and won't save us much. So, we shouldn't bother with those. Let's stick to gutting the programs most American count on.

They tell us, "The problems with Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are well understood." Obviously they are not. And, the Journal is to blame for much of the misunderstanding because of the misinformation which they spread on these subjects. Much of our country's fiscal problems can be attributed to our disproportionately large health care costs. (We pay twice as much as the next country without better results.) Social Security, on the other hand, is solvent for the next thirty years without any changes. Getting our health care costs in-line with those of other nations would go a long way toward getting out fiscal house in order. (President Obama's health care reform moves us toward this goal.)

As usual, the Haves feel the answer to our problems is sacrifice from workers and rewards for the rich. Yes, lets make workers whom have only seen their life expectancy rise a little over a year in the past few decades wait longer to retire and receive less compensation when they do. We won't mention how this will effect the labor market by not allowing the turnover of these jobs to new labor market entrants. While we're at it let's make people pay more for their health care, or go without. I feel something trickling down all right, and I don't like it.

1 comment:

DHFabian said...

Are we stuck on a gerbil wheel of history, repeating the same things over and over? I think so. On "entitlements," which largely means "human needs funding" in political-speak, most has been either eliminated or cut to the bone. Spending on general public needs, from highways to schools, has been cut to the bone. How much have your taxes shrunk as a result? What needs to be ended is the massive, annual tax cuts for the rich/corporations. For 30 years, we've doled out these tax cuts ("we pay so the rich don't have to") on the theory that this was going to result in the mass creation of those "good, family-supporting jobs." It didn't happen. We now have a fraction of the jobs, at dramatically reduced wages. The lion's share of corp tax cuts went into covering the costs of exorbitant CEO salaries and of moving our jobs to foreign countries. Since tax cuts resulted in fewer jobs, it makes sense to reverse those policies, restoring fair tax rates. If the rich feel overly-burdened, they (unlike most of us) can simply pack up and move.