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Must Read! “What Were They Thinking?”

July 26, 2011

Every once in awhile you come across a really well-written article, the type that you download, or print, and file away for future reference.  I do this when I find something thought provoking and sensible that I might want to come back to at a future date…but, I am becoming quite a nerd as I age.

The article that I am referencing above is: “What Were They Thinking?”  It is written by Elizabeth Drew and can be found at this link.   The article is in the New York Review of Books it is three pages long, and it is a must-read.  I recommend that you visit the site, then read and digest the p0ints that Mrs. Drew makes.

The opening paragraph echoes what I have been cogitating on over these last few weeks:

Someday people will look back and wonder, What were they thinking?Why, in the midst of a stalled recovery, with the economy fragile and job creation slowing to a trickle, did the nation’s leaders decide that the thing to do—in order to raise the debt limit, normally a routine matter—was to spend less money, making job creation all the more difficult? Many experts on the economy believe that the President has it backward: that focusing on growth and jobs is more urgent in the near term than cutting the deficit, even if such expenditures require borrowing. But that would go against Obama’s new self-portrait as a fiscally responsible centrist.

In my opinion, Obama is trying to triangulate a position with which he can capture some of the lost independent voters that failed to show up and vote (D) in the disastrous 2010 election cycle.  While Obama is staking out a position that will harm millions of middle and lower income voters he is repeating the mistakes of policy makers during the Great Depression.  Now, is NOT the time to cut back on Government spending.  If you want to raise revenue, raise taxes on the ultra-wealthy, close tax loopholes on those who off-shore their savings, and stop giving billions in subsidies to large corporations.

The President argued that it’s critical to make cuts that will “get our fiscal house in order,” so that the American people and the politicians would accept the idea of new programs leading to growth and more jobs. But there are numerous indications that the public is ready for such programs now, and serious analysts see no reason why he should not also be taking such steps now, even if this increases the deficit in the short run. But that would be at odds with Obama’s current self-portrayal. People who are looking for work, or worried about their unemployment insurance, or getting their kids to college, may not be impressed with the argument that they must be patient while the President adjusts his fiscal image in time for the 2012 election.

You can be certain that people running out of unemployment insurance and looking for work will not be pleased with the “be patient” argument.

The Republicans were actually divided—the older guard against the Tea Party. But this old guard was by nature further to the right than the former old guards, and the Tea Party drove it further right still. The Republicans adopted their partly ideological, partly fearful, position that none of the reductions in projected deficits could come from increased tax revenues. The President agreed that tax rates would not be raised—though they are at their lowest level in sixty years, since the presidency of Harry Truman. The administration and other Democrats had thought that it would be easier to remove some tax breaks from the tax code.

The Republicans, with Alice in Wonderland logic, termed any elimination of a tax break a tax increase. Moreover, the breaks included in the tax code were there because they had been sponsored by an important member of Congress, or supported by a powerful lobby on behalf of one interest or another. After the President, in a press conference in late June, inveighed against tax breaks for corporate jets, the industry quickly insisted that such a change would cost jobs.

If anyone has any doubt who is really running this country think about the President not being able to raise ANY revenue via taxes while tax rates are at their lowest level in 60 years.  The middle class in this country has been hood-winked and betrayed by deep-pocketed interests and their lobbying hoards in Washington D.C.  Senator Bernie Sanders (D) is one of the only people who I have seen who is willing to call out the shenanigans for what they are.

Please take the above link and read the entire article, it is well-worth your time in my opinion.



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