Saturday, March 26, 2011
It’s about time
I could hardly believe that I actually heard republican Representative Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland saying that the Libyan war costs might be as much as one billion dollars. Finally, the speaker of the house John Boehner asked "What's the Libya war cost?" It's better late than never republicans, even thou it's because the president is a democrat; but it’s time to look at defense spending that needs to be cut. All along, republican members of the house and senate have said that we must cut entitlements but very few went along with defense cuts and to this day, none of them are talking about tax revenues.
We don't have to make radically changes, like going back to the gold standard, taking steps on becoming an isolationist nation, stripping the right to petition the government from the constitution, or cut spending so drastically that it chokes our recovery. Those proposals don't have a chance of passing, so it's a waste of time discussing them. If you were to take congress aside and inject them all with sodium pentothal; they would all tell you that we need to cut the entitlements, defense spending, discretionary spending, and impose some tax increases for alternative energies. They would also tell you that we can't keep voting on continuing resolutions just to keep the government going. We're got to put the nonsense aside, like NPR, abortion, Planned Parenthood, and the repeal of Health Care and settle on cutting and spending to what it was in 2008 for this fiscal year. It's going to be difficult to come up with a 2012 budget so close to the election, but it doesn't have to be hard. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (NCFRR) has already come out with a plan that will cut $3.9 trillion from the deficit through 2020. It has a lot of bipartisan support and is based on a principle of shared sacrifice.
Last night conservative columnist for the New York Times, David Brooks, tried and failed to defend the fact that General Electric did not pay any income tax on $5 billion of profit. It's indefensible or as Lawrence O'Donnell said “they have 975 tax lawyers and accountants, producing such a long and complicated tax return that the understaffed IRS could never mount an effective investigation." This is coming from a pundit who works for a company that is owned in part by General Electric. The NCFRR committee's plan would eliminate all their tax loopholes, cut corporate rates, and still generate tax revenues from a company like General Electric. We still need a progressive tax reform that eliminates all deductions but insures that it doesn't hurt the working poor. A flat tax will not do that.
The proposals to cut education funding are very unpopular. Pennsylvania’s former governor Rendell said he saw a poll where 98% of Pennsylvanians were against cutting funds for education. Texas's Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Friday that spending on public education can be maintained and even increased in the next two-year budget. He said, we could sell some state land, reduce spending elsewhere, and probably raise some fees.
There you have it, bipartisan cuts to the entitlements, defense, and discretionary spending; maintain funding for education and enact most of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reforms recommendations. After that we need to come up with an energy policy.