Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Funny math...

Something doesn't add up. Oh, right, it's the idea that we can make up a budget deficit of over a trillion dollars by cutting spending. Our total budget is just shy of 4 trillion, so the idea of cutting essentially one fourth of that seems ludicrous. This is the federal government we're talking about. Sure, there are several places where cuts are not only needed, but probably necessary, but that still does not mean that we can possibly make up the deficit simply by cutting out one fourth of all government expenditures.
And the - excuse me, but *bullshit* - idea that Republicans want to cut government for the good of the economy is just that - bullshit. If Republicans truly cared about the economy, they wouldn't call for cuts in only Democrat-supported programs, while supporting the continued massive tax cuts for the top 1% of income-earners in this country, that got us into this mess in the first place. Not to mention the fact that the "Bush years", where Republicans controlled both the presidency and all of congress, weren't exactly years of fiscal conservatism or austerity in the federal government. Republicans want smaller government...whenever the government is controlled by Democrats.
So where does that leave us? That leaves us the with politically unpopular (though not as unpopular as politicans would lead us to believe) decision to raise taxes. And I guess "raise" taxes is not really the proper term. We should simply let the unpaid-for tax cuts that the Bush administration put into place expire.
Two arguments Republicans make about this don't many any sense to me. The first is that letting the tax cuts expire on the richest 1% would hurt the "job-creators", and therefore would be detrimental to our efforts at stimulating the economy and creating jobs. My issue with this, as discussed in a previous post, is that this has proven to be demonstrably false. The so-called job-creators have NOT been creating jobs since these tax cuts have gone into affect, and have in fact been continually whining in an effort to get the rate even lower. The second argument is that we as a society should not continue to "feed" the government more and more money over time, because we're just creating a bloated system that doesn't actually use our money wisely. The problem with this argument is that operating costs increase over time; therefore it stands to reason that it would cost more money to run the government than it did twenty years ago - or even ten years ago. But somehow the Republicans believe that we can go back to some magical government expenditure amount that we had at some magical time when everything worked out perfectly. The problem is that there was never a time, and there is no magic number. Our government costs what our government costs. Should we eliminate or modify programs that dont' work...certainly. Should we try to eliminate waste wherever we can...of course (we could start by getting rid of congressional pensions and lifetime healthcare benefits). But overall, any business person has to admit that over time, the cost of operation goes up - that's a simple fact of life.

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