Seen on the street in Kyiv.

Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

“The Mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” -- The TOFF *

"Foreign Relations Boil Down to Two Things: Talking With People or Killing Them." -- Unknown

“Speed is a poor substitute for accuracy.” -- Real, no-shit, fortune from a fortune cookie

"If you believe that you are talking to G-d, you can justify anything.” — my Dad

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys in the ground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"The Dildo of Karma rarely comes lubed." -- Unknown

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

* "TOFF" = Treasonous Orange Fat Fuck, A/K/A Dolt-45,
A/K/A Commandante (or Cadet) Bone Spurs,
A/K/A El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago, A/K/A the Asset., A/K/A P01135809

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Accuse.....

(This post, originally posed on the morning of October 30th, will stay on top until Wednesday morning.)

I accuse the Republican party of actively working to sabotage the Federal government, including the destruction of Social Security and Medicare.

I accuse the Democratic party of craven collaboration with the saboteurs of the GOP. I accuse the Democratic party of lacking the spine and courage to stand up to the saboteurs.

This is my brief.

It is a simple fact of economics, from the smallest lemonade stand to the largest corporation, that if expenses are larger than income and remain that way, then the entity will eventually go broke and fail. For individuals and families, if expenditures are larger than income, then they will eventually go bankrupt.

Let us step back in time nine years.

In 2001, in part thanks to tax increases signed into law by President George H.W. Bush nearly ten years before, the Federal yearly budget was in the black. The long-term forecast was for Federal budgets to be in the black. For possibly the first time in decades, the Federal government was projected to not only be running a surplus for the foreseeable future, but that it would make large-scale reductions in the Federal debt, then a skosh over 5 trillion dollars.

That was intolerable to the Republicans and to the devotees of Ayn Rand, chiefly Alan Greenspan. It had been a plan of the Republicans for decades to overspend the Federal government until the deficit was so high that the New Deal and Great Society social programs could be dismantled. A Federal government that was running a surplus was not part of their plan.

And so they sent about wrecking it.

The way they set upon was massive tax cuts. Those tax cuts, while offering a little bit of a break to the middle class, were huge for the wealthy. They were especially significant for those who made their money not by going out and working, but by letting their money do the work for them (through investments). Those who lived off returns on investments, whether it was money they had made through their own businesses or those who had inherited wealth (the winners of Lucky Sperm Lotto), made out like bandits.

The result was the Federal government's budget shifted immediately from the black to the red. Deficits returned. The long-term outlook from the effect of those tax cuts was so bleak, with deficits, as projected by the Congressional Budget Office, to eventually skyrocket over the trillion dollar amount per year, that the only way that the administration of George W. Bush could get his little giveaway enacted was to have the tax cuts expire in 2011.

And so here we are, pretty much in the situation that the CBO said would exist, and that was before we got into two wars.

Remember what I said at the beginning: Income has to equal or exceed expenses eventually. Companies, businesses and households sometimes have to run at deficits to weather bad times. But sooner or later, the budgets must balance and the debts have to be paid down.

Any discussion of bringing the Federal government's budget back into balance that does not discuss the revenue, ie, income, side is not a serious one. It is not an ideological talking point that the Bush tax cuts are largely responsible for where we find ourselves today, it is a statement of fact.

The Republicans are doing what they have always done; Smashing down the poor, working and middle classes so that the rich benefit. If you even can get a Republican politician to talk about the revenue side of the Federal government (which they hate doing), what they talk about is crap like the "Fair Tax" and the "Value Added Tax". There is another term for both proposals: Federal sales taxes.

Sales taxes are regressive taxes. The burden of sales taxes falls disproportionately on the lower rungs of the economic pyramid. I maintain that this point is so self-evident that if I were to expound on it further, I would be insulting your intelligence.

If the tax structure is going to be a burden borne by other than those who work for a living, then it has to be on income. I believe that if the taxes are to be fair, they must not land most heavily on those who can least afford them. Those who reap most of the benefit of the freedom of this country in the creation and multiplication of their wealth should be expected to share the burden of paying for it (for the Lord knows that it is not their sons and daughters who have been playing games of IED Roulette for the last several years).

The first step is to let the Bush tax cuts die their planned death. If that is not permitted to happen, then the politicians are not serious about fixing the Federal budget.

In point of fact, there is not a single member of the Republican party, whether those in Congress, those running for Congress, or those running for the presidency in 2012, who is serious about fixing the Federal deficit. (Remember that the 2009 Federal budget, which was more than a trillion in the red, was proposed and written by the Bush Administration.)

I accuse the Republicans of economic sabotage of the Federal government. It has been their plan for decades to run the Federal government off a cliff, to destroy Social Security and Medicare, and to bring this country back to where it was in the 1890s, if not the 1840s. (Some of the far right Republicans are seriously talking about scaling back or even eliminating compulsory education.) What they seek is to reduce this nation to a near Third World status, a nation with a number of glittering rich, and mostly poor people, but a nation with nuclear weapon. What they seek is to have a system where only their viewpoints are permitted and those who dissent are marginalized, if not imprisoned.

There is a nation, of course, that is almost fully in line with the Republican ideal: A nation where dissent is not tolerated, the rich run rampant, the workers and poor are crushed down and the industrial base has been largely dismantled or allowed to rust into permanent obsolescence.

That nation is Russia.

The turning of the United States into another Russia is what the Republicans have in mind. That is why I accuse the Republicans, every last one of them, of sabotage, if not outright treason.

The Democratic party has been absolutely spineless and craven in this. Despite the self-evident results of the Bush tax cuts, the Democrats have been unable to stand up, to do a "Ross Perot" and show any graphs or charts to the American people to explain the perfidy of the Republicans. Some of the Democrats have not just been cowards unable to stand up to the Republicans, they have, in fact, actively collaborated with the Republicans on their plan to destroy the Federal government and to bring this nation back to the 19th Century.

It has been said by many people that nations get the governments that they deserve. This is particularly true in a democracy. Whatever the outcome of the election on Tuesday or the one on November 6th, 2012, we will get the government that we deserve.

Whether it is a government that looks to the 21st Century or to the 19th Century is up to you.



nunya said...

Excellent post, thank you.

GOPnot4me said...

What galls me most is the spinelessness of most Democratic lawmakers. Obama has let the inmates run the asylum rather than really use the most amazing mandate in a generation. My disappointment is profound, but I will hold my nose and vote against every single candidate or proposition the Teabaggers hold dear. Your piece is spot on. VOTE

Tim said...

As disappointed as I am with Obama, I too will hold my nose and vote Democratic. Let's hope we can turn him around some.

XR650L_Dave said...

I very much see the repubs willing to wreck anything as long as it enables them to stay in power- thanks for that strategy, newt!- but I draw a blank where turning us into little russia has a long term benefit for them.

What good is power (even to the repubs) if there's no money stream or clout in the world to go along with it?


Comrade Misfit said...

Dave, the Republicans are the party of the wealthy. They do not need a strong national defense or clout to stay rich, they only need a government that will not tax them and will not interrupt the intergenerational transfer of wealth.

Russia is a good example of what they seek. Russia has a crushed working class, not much of a middle class to speak of, legions of impoverished people and the rich oligarchs can do whatever they please.

Gordon said...

Bravo, Comrade.

Batocchio said...

Nice summary of the situation, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Excellent post.
Thank you.

Cujo359 said...

The turning of the United States into another Russia is what the Republicans have in mind.

I don't think that's what they intend. I'm sure that they think that won't happen to us because we're so much better than those foreigners.

Nor do I think the Democrats are spineless. Corporate whores is what they are these days. They only appear spineless because they lie to us about what they really believe in.

In other respects, though, your rant is on the money. And frankly, it doesn't matter whether the GOP actually wants to turn us into Russia; they and the Democrats are doing it anyway.

BadTux said...

The leaders of the GOP are geographically incurious and wouldn't know what modern Russia is like unless you actually took them there and showed them, and even then they wouldn't recognize what was in front of their faces. No, the modern GOP got its notion of what they want American society to be like from when they were college kids taking spring break in Cancun or Acapulco -- places where a few tens of thousands of rich Americans have their every need catered to by hundreds of thousands of poor serfs. Mexico North, not Russia, is the end game of their Great Project.

Regarding taxes -- the U.S. was taxed at 24% of GDP in 2008, at all levels from local school district to IRS (the OECD average is 35% BTW). Any notion that the U.S. is overtaxed does not pass the grin and giggles stage. Overall U.S. spending, on the other part, remained the same as before the Bush tax cuts -- around 29% of GDP. That 5% gap cannot continue indefinitely. But nobody is willing to address it.

Finally, there is another route that nations take to pay their bills which is to print money. But inflation is just another tax on the rest of us, in the end, just a different kind of tax.

- Badtux the Economics Penguin

Kelsey said...

It is really ridiculous, and your comparison to Russia is spot on. Though, I'd argue, even Russia recognized the necessity of things like specialization and compulsory education, things which the tea partiers seem to dislike. They want Russia without the infrastructure, which is even scarier.

I feel like I went away to live in South Korea for a year (2008-2009) and came back to a country gone mad. If the USA continues down this path, moving somewhere else in the world will begin to look mighty tempting.

Kelsey said...

@BadTux: I agree. Mexico, or perhaps apartheid South Africa, is also a good comparison. Places with a powerful minority upper class, virtually no middle class, and a large lower class essentially focused on serving the other two. I find it hilarious that it is the middle class's and upper class's unwillingness to part with their money ("keep your govt hands off my paycheck!") that will, in fact, be their ruin. If you look at the countries in the world with the highest standard of living, the highest national happiness, etc, they're all countries with considerably higher taxation than ours (Norway, Finland, Switzerland).