Tuesday, November 29, 2011

danielle ate the sandwich

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Super Committee to Super Flop?

Even this card-carrying, bleeding-heart, partisan, liberal can agree America has too much debt. The great debate is how we accumulated this debt and how we reduce it.

The accumulated of the debt seems like an Econ 101 class: if you spend more than you bring in, you’ll go in debt. But, it’s not that clear. Much of the spending was on two unfunded and ill-advised, bi-partisan wars. More debt was incurred through an unfunded prescription drug benefit. But, all too much of the debt was piled on because of tax cuts started by George W. Bush and continued by President Obama and, perpetuated by the collective clinging to President Reagan’s failed voodoo economics.

Because Congress in unwilling or unable to do its job, it created a “Super Committee” made of 6 from the Democratic Party and 6 from the Republican Party charged with negotiating a $1.2 Trillion deal or forcing automatic and substantial reductions to the Defense budget and social programs.

Many think Republicans in Congress really don’t want to cut defense and Democrats really don’t want to cut social programs, therefore they will really come to an agreement. But, as many GOP members have signed an oath to Grover Norquist to not raise taxes, Vegas bookmakers think the only question regarding the final results of negotiations is, my question is, Will the Democrats on the committee give away the farm or give away the moon?

The richest 400 families in America own more of the wealth of America than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. Will the Super Committee ask them pay any more in taxes? Will they be asked to pay the same rate they did during the Clinton years when they did very, very well economically? Or, is it more likely our elderly will be asked to pay more for their Medicare or take a cut in Social Security? Will the Democratic members give in to the continued call from Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats to cut benefits to our most impoverished Americans and chronically unemployed or unemployable?

Sadly, I predict capitulation and unilateral disarmament by the Democratic members of the Super Committee is forthcoming. I’ll be the first to gleefully point out my mistake if I’m wrong. It is logical to find revenue in tax increases and the removal of tax loopholes for the wealthiest among us to mitigate the expected cuts in government services to the poorest Americans and the already overburdened middle-class. But, my optimism is over-taxed.

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