Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 10:04:36 AM MST
| Democrats in Washington, showing an almost complete lack of guts and strategy, allowed Republicans at the end of last year's budget negotiations to construct a Phony Fiscal Cliff of Doom© that is now Topic #1 amongst everyone who knows or cares about the nation's economy.
The primary reason for the construction of this cliff was Republicans' 100% objection to raising even one penny of taxes on the most wealthy Americans. They held this view as a last ditch effort to finally put an end to the Obama presidency, even as the wealthy became more wealthy than ever, owned more of America than ever, and acted more aggressively than ever to use that wealth to ensure they never paid another cent in taxes.
To repeat the obvious that still needs repeating: Republicans lost. Americans rejected their view on taxes. President Obama was given a mandate to balance the budget on the backs of Millionaires and Billionaires, not on the backs of the poor, elderly and unemployed.
The CBO published the results of its study on this, and even hard-core conservative William Kristol now admits raising taxes on the .01% will do no harm to our economy. Previously he tried to explain to R's that there was no need to slash corporate taxes, which of course fell on the deaf (and dumb) ears of elected Republicans:
Conservative contributor Bill Kristol admitted that "corporations have a ton of cash" and the Republican Party's desire to slash corporate tax rates was a mistake.
No, they don't have an investment agenda, something everyone, except elected Republicans, feel is necessary to prime the economic pump and finally, firmly end this Republican-prolonged recession.
Center for American Progress CEO John Podesta told Fox News' Chris Wallace "I think [Republicans] look back on the Bush years and say the problem was we just didn't do enough. And so [they say] let's cut taxes more for wealthiest Americans. Let's try to cut Medicare now, cut Medicaid, cut health care that people need.
They don't really have an investment agenda."
But having fallen for Republican economic hostage-taking, and still living with a Pre-Mandate mindset, our elected leaders in Washington, DC, seem as determined as ever to push the costs of 2 wars, trillions in tax cuts, and the giant housing bubble bust onto programs that help the most vulnerable among us:
Now, in exchange for paying off a bit of that debt by returning some of the tax rates to their previous levels, Democrats have offered, in a series of high-profile negotiations, to slash trillions in spending, much of it hitting the elderly, the poor and the middle class. This process of transferring wealth up the economic ladder is known in Washington as a "grand bargain."
Last year's talks demonstrated just how little fat the federal government could trim away from its budget before impacting the services and benefits it provides. All in all, Republicans and Democrats found only $40 billion that they agreed could be saved by targeting waste and fraud in government operations.
To make a real impact on the deficit, agricultural subsidies and oil and gas giveaways may also face the chopping block now. But more than anything, lawmakers will likely target Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and a host of other social programs that help those with the fewest advocates in Washington, including people on food stamps, veterans, retiring federal workers, home health care workers and the elderly.
Seventy percent of voters, however, prefer a more balanced approach to deficit reduction than the deep, across-the-board cuts that the GOP has advocated, according to a new survey conducted by two progressive groups, Democracy Corps and the Campaign for America's Future. They support eliminating waste and tax breaks for special interests while also investing in critical areas like education and worker training programs to spur long-term growth.
Washington's establishment considers a grand bargain to be as necessary as it is prudent and responsible.
Regular people, however, don't see it as a bargain at all.
(The poll and budget numbers explained further here. I've posted some details below the jump.)
There are still many Democrats who failed to read the mandate given by voters, both in 2008 and in last Tuesday's election. These include both our senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet. Their inability to hold to a true Democratic principle is both historic and chronic. But the choice of voters is unmistakable, the numbers are clear, though not quite as compelling as a $50,000 check to one's re-election campaign or a nice lunch at DC's finest restaurant.
I didn't expect the views of our leaders to change overnight. But they will change, and the sooner the better for all of us.
| Zappatero :: Seniors and Poor most likely to get pushed over Phony Fiscal Cliff of Doom©
|Grand Bargain and Fiscal Cliff polling here:
When asked which was more important, 70% of respondents said that protecting education, Medicare and Social Security was more important than broad cuts to reduce the deficit. More than half-58%-of the overall sample said that they felt strongly about opposing such cuts. Only 17% of the survey said they felt strongly that across-the-board cuts were important enough to cut the popular programs.
More than half of respondents also said that any plan to address the deficit should start with raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, not by reducing Social Security and Medicare benefits.
The survey also asked voters about specific components of the plan proposed by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, leaders of a bipartisan commission on reducing the deficit. Specifically, the majority of voters rejected:
Capping Medicare payments, forcing seniors to pay more (79%).
Requiring deep cuts in domestic programs without protecting programs for infants, poor children, schools and college aid (75%).
Cutting discretionary spending, like education, child nutrition, worker training and disease control (72%).
- Cutting taxes for the rich and corporations (67%).
- Continuing to tax investors' income at lower rates than workers' pay (63%).
- Reducing Social Security benefits over time by having them rise more slowly than the cost of living (62%).
Survey respondents also showed that they wanted the deficit reduced by methods other than cutting Social Security and Medicare:
- 69% said that they favored shutting down tax havens abroad by putting a minimum tax on corporate profits reported overseas.
- 89% said they favored reducing Medicare costs by negotiating lower drug prices from drug companies.
- 79% oppose capping Medicare payments, forcing seniors to pay more.
- 72% favor cutting military spending by ending the war in Afghanistan.
- 65% want to cut subsidies to oil companies, agribusiness and multinational corporations.
- 72% oppose cutting education, child nutrition, worker training and disease control.
- 75% say it is acceptable for a deficit reduction deal to create a higher tax rate on those earning more than one million dollars a year.
The poll was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research on behalf of Democracy Corps and CAF. Surveyed were 1,000 2012 presidential voters on Nov.6-7, after the election. The poll was weighted to reflect the National Exit Survey and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.
Squarestate.net is owned by Open Communications Colorado, LLC. and is not responsible for the opinions expressed outside of our own.