There are basic accounting principles that every family follows to sustain a balance between solvency, extreme debt, and starving to death. When expenses exceed income, sane individuals realize they must either reduce spending or increase revenue to avoid experiencing extreme debt, and eventually bankruptcy. The smartest approach is one where expenses are reduced and income is increased to maintain a standard of living that is neither too extravagant nor too austere, and most Americans use a balanced approach. After ten years of Republican out-of-control spending on two unnecessary wars, an unfunded Medicare prescription program, and unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, the nation must come to terms with solving a Republican-made deficit that is choking the life out of the country’s fiscal health.
From the start of the 112th Congress, Republicans have opted to cut spending in order to maintain tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations and refused to consider any means of increasing revenue to address the staggering national debt. If any American family followed the Republican fiscal model, they would have suffocating debt, bankruptcy, and end up living on the street. The Republicans in Congress are on pace to bankrupt the country, and in effect, put America’s standing in the same category as most third world countries where 98% of the population live in abject poverty so the wealthy can continue living in opulence. The Republicans have assailed Democrats and the president for suggesting that increasing revenue through tax increases on the wealthy and corporations is part of a balanced approach to solving America’s debt crisis that Republicans caused.
Yesterday, House majority leader, Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Senate minority whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) walked out of budget talks with Vice President Joe Biden because Democratic representatives refuse to allow Republicans to slash $1 trillion from Medicare and privatize the retiree’s health program (and other programs to assist the needy). Democrats and the White House have maintained that any budget solution must include revenue increases with sensible spending cuts, but have been resolute in saving programs that millions of Americans depend on for healthcare, education, housing, and food. Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, have consistently said that any tax increases on the wealthy, corporations, and oil subsidies are off the table although they are willing to make drastic cuts to everything except defense.
The budget talks have been ongoing in response to Republicans’ refusal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling without drastic spending cuts under a ruse of fiscal responsibility. However, the fiscally responsible Republicans like Cantor, Boehner, McConnell and Paul Ryan raised the debt ceiling seven times when George W. Bush was president in order to continue borrowing to pay for the wealthy’s tax cuts, the Medicare drug program, and two wars. Something must have happened to the fiscally responsible Republicans between 2001 and the current situation, and it most certainly is the election of an African-American president. Instead of admitting that their opposition to the president is his race, Republicans are perpetuating the myth that Obama and Democrats want to continue raising taxes to give more entitlements to the poor, and that working families will benefit if the wealthy pay lower taxes. The reality is that the Republicans want a $200,000 tax cut for millionaires and billionaires paid for by a $6,000 a year hike in expenses and costs for seniors.
Under President Obama, taxes are at the lowest level in 60 years but Republicans either fail to admit it or are too stupid to look back in history. Indeed, at a recent debt ceiling meeting between Congressional Republicans and President Obama, the GOP representatives mocked the president for reminding them that tax revenue was at a lower rate than during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA) mockingly said “We learned we had the lowest tax rates in history … lower than Reagan!” and Rep. Terry Lee (R-NE) said that, “He made a comment like the tax rate is the lightest, even more than Reagan.” The sad truth for the Republicans who worship the man turned god, Ronald Reagan, is that total federal tax revenues as a percentage of GDP averaged 18.2% during Reagan’s presidency, reaching a low point of 17.3% in 1984 and during President Obama’s term, total federal tax revenue as a percentage of GDP have averaged 14.9%. Whether Republicans want to admit it or not, tax rates are at record low levels, and when they recognize and acknowledge that simple fact, they can admit that taxes are not the problem, decreased revenue is.
At some juncture, the government must increase revenue as a means of balancing the budget and reducing the deficit or America will go bankrupt. Republicans may claim that raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations kills job creation and hurts the economy, but as is their wont, they lie to protect their corporate masters and wealthy campaign donors. The tax rate for the wealthy under Eisenhower was over 90% and the richest Americans increased their worth and the economy flourished. When Bill Clinton was president, the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans was higher than it is today, and jobs increased and the country ended up with a budget surplus that the Bush-Republicans promptly spent on tax cuts for the wealthy. The two most disastrous economic eras were under the Reagan and Bush Administrations, and the GOP is panting to return the nation to economic disaster just to maintain the wealthy’s ultra-low tax rate.
Most Americans understand that there must be a balanced approach to the budget and support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans and ending corporate entitlements. A recent poll found that 64% of Americans approve of eliminating oil company subsidies and tax breaks to help the budget deficit, but Republicans are adamant that any tax hike is a non-starter. Much of the Republicans’ complaints about Democrats’ proposed tax increases are not really tax increases at all, but merely closing tax loopholes and ending the obscene subsidies given as entitlements to the oil industry that posts record profits every quarter. It is the Republican’s methodology to repeat fallacious claims about tax increases killing jobs and hurting the economy that most of their ignorant supporters believe because they have no memory of the Bush era. It is curious that Republican supporters cannot recall that it was Bush-Republican policies that put the economy in the position it is now, and that decreased revenue coupled with increased spending on the wealthy’s entitlement programs are the direction the GOP is heading again.
The Democratic approach to the budget quagmire is balanced and includes cutting wasteful spending and increasing revenue that must include tax increases on the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Conversely, Republicans are only interested in cutting spending on programs that benefit all Americans and privatizing the government to reward corporations and their wealthy owners. There is nothing the Republicans are proposing that will help the economy or the American people because it is not in their nature, and if they can reward their wealthy donors while killing jobs, then they will be thrilled.
They are not concerned about America, people, or anyone except themselves and their rich corporate masters. Republicans should recognize that when the economy is destroyed and the American people are left destitute, their wealthy donors, conservative pundits, or corporate masters will not pay their salaries or supply their healthcare; but by then it won’t matter. It is sad that if Republicans don’t get their way they are more than willing to destroy the economy like the spoiled little punks they really are. They should consider though, that every spoiled little punk eventually gets their ass kicked by a weary, bullied little guy; in this case, the little guy is the American people and they are reaching their breaking point.