President Obama held a press conference yesterday morning after a meeting with Congressional leaders. He discussed plans to move the country forward despite the severe budget cuts that started yesterday. Obama is right on this issue, Republicans are not. Its really that simple and if you want to know why, read this post.
The cuts, known as sequester, are going to hurt an already damaged economy right when it had started to turn a corner. Our economy has been slowly improving, and Americans all over the country are working, but these “arbitrary cuts” to services and investments that businesses and workers depend on makes are going to likely set us back some.
The problem with how Washington now functions is that injuring the economy seems to be frequent and excepted. Not only is the economy in danger of another self-inflicted wound, Congress is no longer in session. The people that we pay to make the machine run have abandoned their posts. We have an extremely broken system. Call it disordered government. Even if the pain of sequester turns out to be ephemeral, we can count of Washington to drum up another crisis.
Even though the Obama administration has been affixed to this public offensive against Republicans, it has not moved them in any meaningful way. There is hope that the public has been educated enough to know who to blame for the looming cuts. Republicans lost the election and they should be listening to the American people over the conservative media. The Republican Party has refused any attempt by Democrat’s to replace sequester with a mix of targeted spending reductions and tax hikes.
Republicans ostensible goal is to save the economy from big government tax hikes, their real goal is to please their reactionist base.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said this outside the White House “But let’s make it clear that the president got his tax hikes on Jan. 1,” and that “This discussion about revenue, in my view, is over. It’s about taking on the spending problem here in Washington.”
Here is where the Republicans seem to be political inept. Obama has the moral high ground here. Americans understand that the government must find ways to balance the budget, but most people are not willing to do this by gutting vital services and education. This is why taxing the rich is such a great selling point for the Democrats. The problem for Republicans is that the public is largely on the side of Democrats on taxes.
This sequester was supposed to be a poison pill for both parties. The Congressional Budget Office is estimating that this could cost 750,000 jobs this year alone. This should be too dangerous for anyone of our branches to swallow. However, it appears that they are going to do it. Republicans will likely take the brunt of the blame. Especially since the only thing that Democrats seemingly are asking for is closing loopholes in the tax system that allows the super wealthy to pay less in taxes.
President Obama has said as much “I know that some people in Congress reflexively oppose any idea that I put forward, even if it’s an idea that they once supported,” and he is correct.
In 2011, Conservative hero Sen. Rand Paul pushed for closing loopholes in the tax code.
"If you're a millionaire or a corporation that's not paying, we're all for eliminating those deductions, but the vast majority are paying, that's who pays the income tax," Paul said on CNN's State of the Union.
The truth is, closing loopholes in the tax code makes sense. Millionaires should not have these loopholes when the government is not generating enough money to pay its bills and elected officials are talking about cutting vital benefits.
Many economist are pointing towards Europe as proof that austerity will not help the economy. Rich people are still sitting on trillions of dollars that could be invested back into the economy. Common sense tells us that big business does not give a lick about the economy or those that sit in the bottom rungs of society. If one thing has proven this to me time and time again, it’s dealing with the insurance companies and the healthcare system at large. We cannot allow big business to bully us into allowing them to keep their beloved tax breaks.
According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) study, there is “no correlation between top tax rates and economic growth.” Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had the study withdrawn from publication. There is little doubt this is because the study found that increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans does not actually harm the economy. Not in the way Conservatives would have us believe.
According to Eric Alterman, Sen. Schumer, while speaking to the New York Times, “objected to what he termed the ‘banana republic’ aspects of the Republicans’ actions, referring to the idea of a ruling plutocracy making the politically important decisions for the entire nation: ‘They didn’t like a report, and instead of rebutting it, they had them take it down.”’
The Report did find that the top tax rate reduction did appear to have the effect of accumulation wealth at the top of the income distribution. Measured by the IRS, the share of the income that is owned by the top 0.1% of U.S. families had gone up by 4.2% from the years 1945 – 2007, at which point it fell due to the recession. It fell by 9.2%. During this period, the tax rate paid by that same 0.1% fell from 50% to around 25% in 2009. This coming from the non-partisan CRS worried Republicans. The top had gained a higher percentage of the economic pie while paying back less.
Republicans attempted to shush the Congressional Research Service but it backfired. This does not mean it won’t happen in the future. Additionally, the only reason Republicans would choose not to debate the report is because they had to know they would lose.
Besides, this country should not be worried about people with second or third homes when there are so many people who are having trouble keeping their one home or even buying their first.
President Obama has offered to cut spending vital retirement programs; plus he said they would get rid of cuts to defense. Both of these things are Republican wishes. All he wants in return is more revenue from closing loopholes. It is not as if the president is demanding higher rates; he is just asking Republicans to reduce tax deductions. This is the insanity that is the Republican Party. Go to conservative blogs and you will hear many people calling the rest of the country morons. They really are out of touch with reality. It’s time for Americans to fight back against the lies of the big business lobby and those they employ to work against the workers of this country.