This is so simple it’s ridiculous. The three major causes of the dramatic increases in debt and deficit are:
1) The Bush, now Obama, tax cuts.
2) The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
3) The financial collapse caused by Wall Street greed.
Ending the tax cuts just for those making over $250,000 will bring in $700 billion over 10 years. The wars cost about $140 billion a year. End both and we save $1.4 trillion over the same 10-year period. A financial transaction tax of just one quarter of one percent will result in $150 billion a year, $1.5 trillion over 10. There’s $3.6 trillion over 10 years, which is just about the same amount the debt ceiling dealers are talking about cutting spending. And we haven’t touched Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, etc. Yet none of these three are even on the debt ceiling/spending cut/revenue increases negotiating table. Why?
The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates the cost of repairing our crumbling infrastructure to be $2.2 trillion over 5 years. Do you see where I’m going here? Take the money we’ve saved, not from cutting the safety net out from under our most vulnerable who had nothing to do with the debt explosion and who did not benefit from it, but from the root causes and from those who did.
The result is millions of Americans have jobs. They’re paying income taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes. They no longer need unemployment, food stamps, or other forms of government assistance. They’re buying stuff, which creates demand for stuff, which creates more jobs, which creates more demand for stuff. And so on, and so on, and so on. Why is this so damn difficult?
But what do we get from our “leaders?” Gobbledegook and gibberish. Like President Obama’s remarks yesterday after the release of the horrible job numbers. Things like streamlining the patent process, advancing more so-called free trade agreements (which costs jobs rather that create them) and this:
“[T]o put our economy on a stronger and sounder footing for the future, we’ve got to rein in our deficits and get the government to live within its means, while still making the investments that help put people to work right now and make us more competitive in the future.
The sooner we get this done, the sooner that the markets know that the debt limit ceiling will have been raised and that we have a serious plan to deal with our debt and deficit, the sooner that we give our businesses the certainty that they will need in order to make additional investments to grow and hire and will provide more confidence to the rest of the world as well..”
Beside the fact that this is straight of the Republican playbook for economic growth, it’s nonsense (but I’m being redundant). Live within our means while making investments? What the hell is that? Give businesses the certainty they need? Businesses don’t need certainty, they need customers. Customers create jobs, not the ever-elusive confidence unicorn. Why is this so damn difficult?
The president’s mouthpiece at the Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbe offered more of the same:
“Today’s report underscores the need for bipartisan action to help the private sector and the economy grow – such as measures to extend the payroll tax cut, pass the pending free trade agreements, and create an infrastructure bank to help put Americans back to work. It also underscores the need for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that instills confidence and allows us to live within our means without shortchanging future growth.”
*Sigh* Can’t anybody here play this game?