It seems that nowadays everyone has some kind of plan for reducing the deficit. Republicans are constantly harping on reduction of the deficit, but one thing remains true. Every plan they have for doing so has failed miserably and only calls for sacrifice from working America, the very group which has paid dearly for the problems our country face and the very group which has been drained dry and has no more blood to give. It is time for America to not only get serious about deficit reduction but also for them to be realistic about it. There is simply no way we are ever going to reduce the deficit by asking only working folks to sacrifice yet again.
With all the horrible ideas out there for reducing the deficit by draconian cuts and asking everyone but the wealthy to sacrifice there are many great ideas for doing so. Recently Rep. Jan Schakowski released a plan for fair deficit reduction that calls for sacrifice from all, and now more Progressive and liberal groups will be realeasing their own plans.
These plans vary greatly from Republican same old, same old ideas of throwing our nation’s wealth away to the rich and Corporate America while cutting benefits and services millions of working Americans rely on to make ends meet. Yes, those of us on our side of the aisle are indeed worried about debt and deficit but our ideas are much different. You see, our base has not yet recovered because we were not bailed out like the Republican base. That is one difference is Progressives believe that Main St. should be allowed to recover first, just like Wall St. did:
Timing. While other debt-reduction plans would take effect as early as 2012, the progressives oppose any austerity measures until perhaps 2015, once unemployment is at or below 6 percent.
And unlike Republicans who hate working America and seek at every turn to bankrupt their own country to give it away to Corporate America, Progressives believe in investing in our own country for once, instead of outsourcing our jobs we want to create good jobs for everyone to contribute to deficit reduction through tax revenue:
Stimulus spending. Most of the plans call for immediate additional stimulus measures, arguing that they will help create tax-paying jobs and reduce spending for relief to the jobless. But the liberals seek more spending in the short and long term: for now, financing for unemployment assistance, public works projects and aid to state and local governments to prevent continued layoffs of teachers and other employees, and for years beyond, “pro-growth investments” in areas like education, infrastructure, child care, rural broadband and scientific research.
Which highlights one huge difference in these ideologies. While Conservatives believe the very few should be enriched and not pay taxes and that their should be a very few with the means to contribute to the economy, Progressives believe our economy and indeed our country works much better when many more folks can afford to contribute to our recovery by bettering their own lives through work and wages.
Another huge difference comes with the privitization of essential programs and services. You see, Republicans want to privitize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The reason is simple. They have long wanted to rid the wealthy of their obligations to pay into these programs without saying so. The lesson of President Bush’s attempt to privitize Social Security should have taught one thing. If you privitize any of these programs eventually the robber-barons on Wall St. are going to crash the economy with their greed and all of it will be gone for good. Just think if Bush would have been allowed to privitize Social Security before his “base” crashed the economy. That should tell you all you need to know about that:
Health care cost constraints. Congressional Republicans, including Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, who has a comprehensive conservative plan, would repeal the new health care law. Mr. Ryan would also privatize Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in the future. In contrast, the liberal and centrist plans would expand on the new law’s long-term savings policies.
Why destroy the only chance millions have of ever being insured and of bringing healthcare costs down the right way?? Why not improve it and make it better?? That is just what Progressives and Liberals hope to do:
The liberal plans, however, would rely more on limiting payments to doctors, hospitals and other care providers and less on increasing out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries, except for upper-income people. The liberals also call for a public option to compete with private insurers in new exchanges for consumers, and for the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower prescription-drug prices.
Of course America needs a Public Option. That is one reason we have turned against the healthcare law. Absent a Public Option it does not do enough. Of course negotiating prices has long been needed. When you can drive to Canada and buy your drugs and even with the trip it is cheaper something is seriously wrong.
And of course the one thing the two sides will never agree on is the fact that Progressives seek to ask those who can afford to for sacrifice while the Conservative vision is as always, give away the money to the rich and ask the middle-class and poor to pay more:
The progressive plans rely heavily on higher revenues from the rich and would reduce taxes for low-wage workers.
The centrist and liberal plans eventually would end the Bush tax rates, restore estate taxes, and limit or eliminate tax breaks for corporations and individuals – so-called tax expenditures – that cost more than $1 trillion in revenues annually. The liberals would use the revenues for deficit reduction and increased domestic spending; centrists would use them to pare the deficit and to significantly lower individual and corporate income tax rates.
Both liberal plans would impose a tax on financial transactions to raise revenues and discourage speculation.
America is faced with a clear choice here. Will Americans continue to extend the failed vision that created the deficit by listening to the greediest and least patriotic among us or will America work together and ask for sacrifice from all to get there?? Will we foreclose on our own future retirement and healthcare to allow the wealthy to horde all the money once more?? If anything the last thirty years have shown that approach ADDS to the deficit and does not reduce it.
So while America does need to work on reducing deficits let us hope that our country for once will listen to Progressives and achieve deficit reduction that benefits ALL Americans, not just those that crashed the economy and ran up the debt. The days of risk-free investment for the wealthy needs to end or we will get what we have gotten lately. More debt, more deficit, and a decimated working-class that can contribute nothing to help.