Archive for the ‘Debt Ceiling’ Category

Cut spending to 18 percent of GDP = time travel to 1966

In Debt Ceiling, Politics on July 18, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I love this chart from Center for American Progress:

charticle graphic


Out of Touch

In Debt Ceiling, Great Recession, inequality, Politics, Poverty, Uncategorized on July 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm
Update (7/26/11): I posted this July 8th and Congress still has not reached a deal. For the record, still angry.

I am angry. So angry that I spent the entire evening furiously weeding the garden and muttering under my breath.

Letter to FDR asking for his support of "old age pension"

Why am I so upset?

I’m angry because Washington is seriously out of touch. No, not the normal “hey we’re a bunch of millionaires, but we’ll still throw you a bone” out-of-touch.  More like the, “Hey, let’s punch people while they are down! Whee isn’t this fun!”out-of-touch.

Of course I’m referring to the reports that Obama is putting Social Security and Medicare on the table for negotiations regarding this deficit bruhaha. Ok, before you’re all like, “Hey Sarah, get off your liberal high horse and admit these programs are broken/bloated/unsustainable and can afford to be trimmed a bit” you need to know that I probably (somewhat) agreed with you two months ago.  I’ve heard the reports about how unsustainable social security is. I’ve seen the news coverage about Medicare waste and fraud.

But I’ve also spent time at my summer job researching and writing on a report about our country’s safety net programs. While I am no expert by any means, I have done a ton of reading about social security, Medicare, etc. What I’ve learned is that these programs have already been cut beyond belief and are all that stand between someone just getting by and someone living in poverty.

Would you believe me if I told you that without social security, nearly fifty percent of the elderly would be living in poverty? (Last time poverty was that bad among the elderly was  in 1935, before the Social Security was enacted.)

Know what else? These social programs are not the source of our troubles. All that fuss about how the “sky is falling” with social security?  Entitlement programs are not in a dire crisis. To quote Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

“Social Security can pay full benefits through 2037 without any changes, and relatively modest changes would place the program on a sound financial footing for 75 years and beyond.” (CBPP)

I am old enough to know better than to expect politicians to do the right thing just for the heck of it. However, I was under the mistaken belief that the Democrat party was wise enough to understand that a) the public (presumably the Democrat’s base + moderates + swing voters–basically everyone but tea party) overwhelmingly support Medicare and Social Security and b) many of them rely upon it, especially during the Great Recession. (Currently One in six Ohioans receive some form of Social Security benefit.)

Politically, Democrats are fools to ignore these facts.  But more than that, what exactly is it that you are standing up for when you throw low and moderate income folks under the bus? Does our government simply exist to channel the people’s funds to benefit for-profit companies, or does it exist to promote the public good and provide for the safety and well-being of it citizens?

Washington, it is time you wake up. The rest of us non-millionaires are not surprised by June’s employment numbers.  If you stepped outside of the beltway, you might realize that a lot of people are barely getting by, and even then mostly on crumbs.  And you want to take those crumbs away, so you can keep your corporate jet tax loopholes?

That is a disgrace.

Points of Agreement

In Debt Ceiling, Politics, Social Change on June 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm

My in-laws visited this weekend and we had lively debates about all things political.  My Father-in-law in particular loves to discuss the merits of conservative-ism, and even said he hopes that one day ‘we wake up and decide to become a republican’ (though I’m not sure he should hold his breath on that one)! I was surprised, however, to discover our many points of agreement, one being that we both support closing corporate tax loop-holes. This only confirms what I read today on the Spotlight for Poverty and Opportunity’s blog. Their blog post discussed the results of an effort to discover how six different groups would tackle the budget deficit problem. The findings are fascinating:

As expected, the recently released plans differed substantially. As the Wall Street Journal notes, “The big takeaway is this: The debate over how to reduce the deficit is truly a philosophical one about the size of government.”

Yet the real surprise was the areas of significant agreement. According to the Journal, “All six would curb tax income-tax breaks, loopholes, deductions and credits, a.k.a. ‘tax expenditures’ or ‘spending through the tax code’ because Congress uses them as alternatives to explicit spending.” In addition, all six plans took aim at farm subsidies.

–Excerpt from Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity Blog

At a time in our country when corporations are making record profits, while ordinary Americans are suffering tremendously, President Obama and Congress would be wise to stop giving corporations a break and start making them pay their fare share.

If Joe and I can agree, then there is certainly the public support for such an effort.