Wednesday, June 01, 2011

I Can Fix the Budget Crisis...

...and all it will take is some common sense. The screams you might hear will only echo for a little while, and then you can tune them out.

See, here's the thing. Republicans are refusing to raise the debt ceiling. For better or for worse, it is what it is. But Republicans seem to want to hold this issue to the fire because they want to be "fiscally responsible" and have some pretty good-sized cuts so that the budget will balance. Or come close, at least.

Fiscal responsibility is a good thing. I'm all for it. I have to be fiscally responsible, because my own debt ceiling is nowhere near what the USA's is. ComEd doesn't want to hear about my new luxury purchase (which would be the roof we need to put on the house) if I haven't paid my A/C bill! I like to think I'm in what's left of the middle class, and so I pay attention to things like this: things that'll cause my kids' kids' kids massive headaches, providing we even have a planet to live on by that time.

In any even, the "fiscal responsibility" espoused by the Republicans involves massive cuts. To social service programs. Don't even call these "entitlements" because that's a flaming word. It's gone from a perfectly fine word to nearly a curse word. "Entitled" gives the impression of some welfare recipient sitting on their butt chugging a sweet tea or a beer waiting for the check to arrive.

Well, let's turn that on its head. "Entitled" rich folks' kids -- those kids who never did anything to contribute to the family's wealth, but just got born into the right gene pool. "Entitled" corporations like oil companies, who are all posting record earnings (and even poor little BP posted only a "slight" loss after just about killing off the Gulf of Mexico). "Entitled" bankers and Wall Street execs who feel compelled to give themselves massive bonuses for essentially shuffling paperwork. And denying loans to perfectly good (and struggling) businesses like my friend's: she had contracts in the rail industry, which was hit hard by the recession, and her small company needed funds. But it was told it needed to be in better financial condition. Which, if it was, would negate the necessity for her to be seeking a loan, right?

"Entitled" corporations and the mega-rich are apparently spared from the Republicans' righteous budget-cutting sword. The folks they're going after: seniors; kids; teachers; low-level government workers; women in poverty. You know - the folks who've paid into this society for their entire lives, and the littlest ones.

Good Christians one and all, they've apparently forgotten that Bible passage about tending to "the least of these" in order to reap your heavenly reward. That means, people, the elderly, the kids, the sick, the ones who serve us (teachers, cops, firefighters, nurses...the ones who tend us when we're at our most tender ages, and our most vulnerable).

But it's ok, because I know this'll make you sleep better at night. According to the May 23, 2011 Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine, "On May 17, the Senate blocked a measure that would have repealed $21 billion in oil and gas subsidies over 10 years." So...... the American Petroleum Institute, the lobbyist, did their job.

While Peter Colavito, the SEIU's director of government relations says, "We think that rich folks and American corporations have gotten off too easily..."

Ya think?

So my very simple budget fix is this: Repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans; tax or penalize (don't care which) all American companies who offshore their jobs because they left our own citizen unemployed while seeking to enrich their own coffers; repeal the oil and gas company subsidies -- they can afford it.

And while we're at it, make the Senate and House members pay for their own health care. We have to pay; they work for us. So they should pay for their own benefits, just like we do. Please don't put forward that nasty canard of "public service" since we know that only rich people actually can run for office. They have their own money, for the most part. And those rare few who don't? Well, they probably know how to operate on a budget already.

I think my plan has merit. Of course, I won't hold my breath. Common sense is truly uncommon lately. The press (and the victory, most times) goes to the screaming hordes. Who rarely make any sense, let alone "common sense."

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