E. J. Dionne of the Washington Post recently stated, "The conservatives belief is that the rich will work harder if we give them more, and the poor will work harder if we give them less." This statement leads me to the ultimate conclusion that it accurately describes Republican policy based upon reliance, either through ignorance or deceit, of a couple of serious errors in thinking.
Republican spinsters and their ilk (Fox News and Rushbo as examples) consistently lament that everything Obama does increases the deficit. He spends and it increases the deficit. He gives money to poor people so that they can eat and it increases the deficit. The list goes on and on, but there are several hard truths that these sources never mention. In fact, the deficit has decreased since 2010. It has fallen by half in that time. More than half of Americans are led to believe by the Republican cabal, quite wrongly, that it has actually risen. Yes, there is 17 trillion dollars of outstanding debt which has accumulated over the last 50 years largely as a result of tax policies tending to reflect the attitude expressed by Dionne above. Only 17 percent tax rates are paid by the nation's 400 wealthiest people. The bottom 50 percent of Americans -- 155,000,000 people -- share the same amount of wealth as those 400, but pay tax rates that average 36 percent.
In spite of this crazy inbalance, the current Republican solution to dealing with financial obligations involves cutting “entitlements” to poor people while continuing massive entitlement programs that benefit the wealthy among us. The best example is found in issues surrounding the so-called financial disaster looming for Social Security. Income over $113,700 is exempt from Social Security income taxes. Lifting that cap would keep Social Security solvent for the foreseeable future. Solving that problem is easy, but defies the ongoing mantra of Republicans everywhere that raising taxes is not the solution. I submit that treating rich people the same as poor would solve the problem overnight. Simple as that.
Professor Paul Krugman states the problem most succinctly; “The average American doesn't believe that they should be put deeper into debt so that the super-wealthy can continue to pay lower taxes than they do. The average American doesn't think that a modicum of security in old age is worth less to someone earning $2,000,000 a year than it is to someone earning $20,000. Hell, the average Republican doesn't believe it! They just have no idea what's going on. None whatsoever.” Yet, given the current Republican bugaboo about Obama and his reckless spending leading our country to financial ruin (ala Fox and Rushbo) nearly half or the people in the country who are hurt by this thinking will continue to vote for the politicians whose advocate hurting the poor and rewarding their rich Republican friends and donors. To me, it is roughly akin to animals eating their young. Krugman notes, “Anyone who tells you that they can cut, cut, cut America out of debt, or even that our debt is caused by massive amounts of wasteful spending in the first place, is dangerously uninformed, blinded by a fanciful anti-government ideology or lying to your face. The entire Republican budget platform -- the one thing Americans voters like about them -- is really quite deranged.”
Just saying . . .