A Canadian recently commented on a national TV show that “Americans are really something: They’re the richest country in the world. Yet, they don’t want to pay taxes, they don’t want to pay for health care, they don’t want to regulate the corporate greed that makes the very rich richer and the middle class poorer, they don’t want to invest in their future, and then they wonder why their world stature keeps going down while their national debt keeps going up.”
That probably represents a world view that is universally changing for the USA’s worst, especially since it is America that has helped so many other countries get back on their feet over the past century. But now America is in serious financial trouble, and necessary economic adjustments are taking a back seat to political agendas, at the expense of America’s future.
At one end is the extreme right-wing that believes in supporting corporate America and reducing taxes on them and richest people, as well as reducing all non-defense spending (regardless of who gets hurt) is the solution to everything. At the other end is the extreme left wing that believes that only the solution to everything is to increase taxes on the very rich.
So who’s right?
Answer: Both…and neither! That reality is that while spending must be cut, it must be done in a way that does not damage America or its future. We cannot simply blow off spending on highway infrastructure, for instance, without damaging the country’s future ability to move goods and services nationwide when the roads become impassible and the bridges collapse. And we can’t blow off programs like social security, Medicare or Medicaid without forcing multitudes of seniors to stand in bread lines and clog hospital emergency rooms. Finally, we can’t put off paying for something now, without realizing that we’re going to have to pay MUCH more later to fix the same problem….while concurrently refusing to increase incoming revenue (a.k.a., taxes). Put simply, you cannot ONLY reduce spending and expect to really reduce the debt.
On the other hand, you can’t keep supporting inefficient or senseless programs, or programs with no constant review/evaluation of their effectiveness, paying for this by increasing taxes, even if it is only on the very rich and the large corporations. Put simply, you cannot ONLY increase taxes and expect to really reduce the debt.
You have to do both, and in a manner that is fair and balanced for all (NO relationship or similarity to a certain right-wing so-called news network that is anything but Fair and Balanced. )
To that end US president Obama gave a speech yesterday afternoon proposing both spending cuts and increased taxes on people making more than US$ 200,000 a year. Specifically, he proposed that the GW Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 benefiting the wealthiest 2% of Americans be allowed to expire in December 2012, without any additional “extension”. He also proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, although they are a far cry from the cuts proposed by congressman Paul Ryan, republican from Wisconsin, two weeks ago and endorsed by the republican leadership in congress, that would essentially destroy these 40+ -year-old programs.
What distinguishes Obama’s plan from Ryan’s more than anything is that Obama proposed spending cuts that affect everyone, PLUS tax increases for the very rich. Ryan proposed spending cuts that dramatically hurt senior citizens and the poor, PLUS NO tax increases, PLUS more tax reductions for the very rich.
Barring some kind of (unlikely) political breakthrough by the “Gang of 6” in the US senate, it is clear that the 2012 election is going to be all about deficit and debt reduction. And as a result, American voters had better pay attention.. As one person recently stated, “So what if we don’t increase the debt ceiling? So what if we default on our national loans?”, which demonstrates an unfathomable ignorance of the issues that could actually destroy the American standard of living and way of life.
Practically the only saving grace leading up to the 2012 elections is that Donald Trump (the multi-billionaire considering a run for the presidency because “I like to win!”), Sarah Palin (who said that she knew about foreign affairs because “‘…you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.”), and Michelle Bachmann (who said that the founding fathers ended slavery) might be running for president. And by the way…if you want the truth about Trump’s signature (and only) issue (birther conspiracy), check reality HERE.
So…while these three clowns have the time of their lives entertaining us…hopefully we’ll elect (re-elect, actually) a president and a congress that will actually work toward fixing our fiscal mess.
Hope springs eternal, don’cha y’know…