August 3, 2011
Boehner had made a fateful decision. This vote illustrates only one thing. That he is attempting to shore up his waning Republican base. After all, that is the goal of most Representatives. However, there are issues that can be used for political points and then there is grand standing. Boehner has decided not to be a leader who can reach out and compromise. He has become the Newt Gingrich of the 21st century.
First, he has only managed to shore up his political base. Boehner and the Republicans have show that they represent the selfish upper classes of America and that they really don’t care about the average person during this Great Recession they have promulgated. I am sorry folks, but real leadership means that you have to compromise, and sometimes you do not always win. In this case, the Republicans have won political points, and the American people have lost.
First, As a political scientist, it is completely idiotic that Boehner would waste all this time, 5 days, on passing a bill that he knew would not pass the Senate. He seems to have forgotten government 101. In order for a bill to get to the President, it must pass the House and Senate in IDENTICAL form. Instead, there will be two bills that neither has a snowball’s chance in passing. It will take a tremendous amount of negotiation to even get close to either position.
Secondly, the issue of a Balanced Budget Amendment. This will not get anywhere. A balanced budget will not help America. Government, folks, as much as we do not want to hear it does not act like a corporation. Nor does it have to. That does not mean that the government should not have limits. However, there are times, like a Recession and War, when the government must be able to spend money beyond its revenues. However, in that spending, jobs are created and more revenue floats back into the system. Sorry folks, Keynes was correct. That and the US has had a deficit since the 1850s. While that is not a justification, it is poor timing to now demand a Balanced budget when the average family in America cannot live within its means. Yes, we don’t. If anyone has a car loan or a mortgage, you are living beyond your means. That includes about 97% of all Americans in some form. This does not include any credit card debt. So all this preaching that government needs to act like the average family, is bogus. This amendment will only serve to strangle the American financial system it will do the opposite of what the proponents argue.
Finally, it is time to start having the conversation of what is good debt and what is bad debt. And there is a difference, and way too much time to explain. Suffice it to say that bad debt would be giving grants to corporations for “research” while they are making record profits and creating a worse recession by laying off people so they can look good on the books. This is a waste of money that could be used elsewhere. Good debt would be creating more jobs, especially in a Great Recession, where people could obtain a job and start paying off their debts and begin to spend some money economically. This debt is an INVESTMENT, because we will get a greater return when those people begin to pay the taxes. That money comes back to the government as a multiply effect allowing the government to pay the loans it borrowed to create the jobs in the beginning.
First, we all pay them. I have no use for the argument that only certain people “pay” taxes. Sorry folks, I look at my pay check every month and I see the deductions. As does every other employed person. Secondly, yes many people get a tax refund. That is because they have over paid their taxable obligation for the year. Then there are some deductions that help the economy and help people who are trying to better themselves. Yes, they get a bit of the money they have invested in a college eduction back. Not all of it. but a bit. Then, there are those who have deductions for children. It costs money to raise children. Surprising? The government has determined that rather than have working poor got to private charities to make ends meet, we will give them a break in helping them feed and cloth their children.
Then, there is the extraordinarily amount of repressive taxes that the poor and middle class pay. I am talking about sales taxes folks. As a group these people pay over 80% of all sales taxes in the US. That is because they are, and be prepared for a shock, a greater number of the population. That and they purchase more taxable goods and in greater quantity than anyone else. For example. The average middle class family will over a 10 year perio purchase 3 automobiles year 1 for, $20,000, year 5 $25000, and year 10 $30,000. A 6% sales tax on those total is =$4500 in sales taxes alone. In that same period an rich person will purchase a $70000 vehicle and pay $4200 in sales taxes. This is not fair. And this discrepancy more than makes up for the few people who pay their taxes and get a bit back. The real issue is to provide a balance to the approach. We need to have taxes on the level of the misery index. Those that have more economic misery should pay less.
The Politically Viable
The overall problem presented here is a fundamental argument about the role of government. In the 19th century, government was an elusive far away factor in the minds of people. The only contact most people had with the federal government, let alone the state government, was the post office until the 1930s. After several depressions and recessions, We as a people determined in the 1930s that government needed to have a greater role in society and the economy, because private charity could not keep up with demand. It still cannot. And because the government did not feel it needed to get involved in the economy. Hence, we determined that a social safety net would be needed. And we pay for this folks. Unemployment insurance, we pay for this it is not charity folks. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, are all needed to prevent the poorest of our population from living on the streets. Most barely live above that at this point. Hence, government is a tool. Like a Hammer. One can use a Hammer to build with or to destroy. I prefer to build. For the last 30 years the political right had been attempting to destroy government in one form or another. Because if the people continue to have their say they, the right, will lose. Continually, the people of this country, conservatives and liberals, have stated that we need to have a basic intact social safety net. Now, we are talking about destroying that. I do not want to go back to the days of no unemployment insurance thank you very much, or workmen’s compensation, child labor, the working conditions of the late 19th or early 20th century. We can move forward. And the direction is more government and not less. The problem is most people have learned not to trust the government. There is good reason for this. Since the debacles of Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Vietnam, the people have rightly been reluctant to give government a chance. However, we must remember that WE THE PEOPLE, own the government. and when it does not due what we want, we have a right to alter the situation through a little think known as elections. You cannot fix a system that is broken from the outside.
In the end, Boehner has illustrated that his policy of get tough is wrong. Yes, we need to take care of the deficit, but not in such a radical manner that could further make the financial situation worse. A balanced budget amendment would do exactly that. As would no revenue increases. Didn’t we learn this from the 1980s, you cannot decrease taxes, have less money coming in, and spend more. We did this in the 1980s and during the GW Bush years. It is time to start investing in America, and the government is the only one that is doing that, everyone else is looking elsewhere. It is also time to startAuthor : mikegreen40