Reactionary politics and the deficit

Chad Stone, the chief economist for The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, informs us that “…the Bush-era tax cuts and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — including their associated interest costs — account for almost half of the projected public debt in 2019 (measured as a share of the economy) if we continue current policies.”

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

This debt projection is instructive, although, as Kathy Ruffing and James R. Horney, also members of The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, point out, “Some lawmakers, pundits, and others continue to say that President George W. Bush’s policies did not drive the projected federal deficits of the coming decade — that, instead, it was the policies of President Obama and Congress in 2009 and 2010. But, the fact remains: the economic downturn, President Bush’s tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years ….” The debt projection may be instructive, but only those willing to evaluate the facts of the matter and then soundly draw conclusions from their evaluations will learn something pertinent about America’s economic predicament.

I guess the Washington elite along with their finance capital paymasters are not among those individuals capable of learning anything about the economy they regulate.

Quote of the day

Russell Mokhiber asks:

New York Congressman Anthony Weiner talks dirty and sends out lewd pictures over the Internet.

Our Congresswoman — Shelley Moore Capito — votes to end Medicare while more than 40,000 Americans die every year due to lack of health insurance.

Who should resign?

The Republican Party hates poor and old folk

The Washington Post reports that:

The top Senate Republican sought Thursday to clarify his party’s stance on Medicare heading into high-stakes talks with the White House, telling President Obama he wants “significant” changes to the program in exchange for lifting the legal limit on government borrowing.

After the entire Senate Republican caucus met with Obama at the White House, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said he would not insist on a controversial House GOP plan that would partly privatize the popular health program for the elderly. But with Medicare and Medicaid projected to be the major drivers of future borrowing, he said tighter eligibility requirements and reduced benefits must be part of any deal.

So, McConnell threatens to wreck the economy by shutting down the Federal Government if Obama and the Congressional Democrats in his party refuse to put the screws to the aged and infirm in the United States. Obama and the Democrats cannot avoid resolving this dilemma simply because they too are strongly committed to a low-tax economy and government and to the American empire as we have known it.

There is a lot of hypocrisy in the Republican’s current position on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as Paul Krugman argues here:

This has to be one of the funniest political stories of recent weeks: On Tuesday, 42 freshmen Republican members of Congress sent a letter urging President Obama to stop Democrats from engaging in “Mediscare” tactics — that is, to stop saying that the Republican budget plan released early last month, which would end Medicare as we know it, is a plan to end Medicare as we know it.

Now, you may recall that the people who signed that letter got their current jobs largely by engaging in “Mediscare” tactics of their own. And bear in mind that what Democrats are saying now is entirely true, while what Republicans were saying last year was completely false. Death panels!

Well, it’s time, said the signatories, to “wipe the slate clean.” How very convenient — and how very pathetic.

Anyway, the truth is that older Americans really should fear Republican budget ideas — and not just because of that plan to dismantle Medicare. Given the realities of the federal budget, a party insisting that tax increases of any kind are off the table — as John Boehner, the speaker of the House, says they are — is, necessarily, a party demanding savage cuts in programs that serve older Americans.

“This is,” as Jon Walker asserted, “chutzpah in its purest form.” It is unfortunate that the Republicans will get away with this gambit if the Democratic Party fails to take a sensible alternative to the American people, thereby forcing the Republicans to defend their reversal on Medicare and their attack on the elderly.