Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Republican double standards

Yet another, in a long list, of Republican double standards:

Republicans say "No extension of unemployment benefits unless you can show how you're going to pay for it."

But in the same breath "We must not allow the Bush tax cuts to expire." - with absolutely nothing said about how to pay it.

So, when Republicans say "We can't possibly afford X.", remember the trillions and trillions of dollars they've spent on things they never once stopped to think how to pay for, because "it's important".

So, let's discuss just what's important *and* how to pay for it.

Some things are indeed critical enough to borrow for - and especially then, we must discuss how we'll eventually pay for them.

Redistribution of Wealth

Below is what I have just written to my Representative, Senators and President:

Please stand firm and do *not* trade the extension of unemployment benefits (absolutely essential) for the extension of the Bush redistribution of wealth to the wealthy (absolutely unconscionable)!

The Republican party has demonstrated that it is without honor and that it will act *only* in its own best interests - and the interests of the insatiably wealthy, who rely on its actions (and inactions).

That they have convinced so many voters to act against their own best interests is, literally, a deplorable shame.

The recent words and actions of the Republican party, indicate not a force of power, but what occurs when a formerly powerful entity realizes that it is dying - and responds by railing and flailing.

The Republicans do *not* have a mandate and it is *not* necessary to make deals - especially those that trade yet another large chunk of the future for a temporary pittance.

Further, it's painfully and demonstrably clear that "trickle down" is a cruel hoax and has a *negative* effect on the economy, while extending unemployment benefits is not only a crucial *responsibility*, it has a *positive* effect on the economy.

It's time for Democrats and Independents to stand up for what we believe, and to act accordingly - not use that as the *starting* point in negotiations with Republicans, constantly moving their starting point further and further right.

Yes, by all means, begin a dialog - and then have the courage to politely *end* the dialog when it's clear that the other side is not interested in a dialog!

There's a fitting saying that describes this situation: "We do not negotiate with terrorists."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Deficit Commission

So, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform has released (November 10, 2010) a Draft Proposal.

And many of us have reacted predictably: But you can't cut <insert my favorite here>!

I say: Bless the Commission! It's about time someone had some guts, before we go off the rails completely.

Of course none of us agrees with everything in the Draft, however absolutely everything should be subject to scrutiny and discussion. Absolutely everything, including and especially anyone's "absolute necessity".

Only then can we actually get down to the difficult - and essential - business of figuring out what, as a country and as a society, our priorities are.

For too long, we have lumped too many things into the category of "It goes without saying. We can't worry about how to pay for it; we simply must do it now!" Whether it's about <social program> or a war; insert your "absolute necessity" here.

The only thing that goes without saying (or should!) is that we do not have an infinite amount of money, time, energy, people or any other resource; we must choose carefully where to place any of them.

Let me pick one sacred cow: Social Security.

Personally, I believe it's critical. I believe we've made important promises (to ourselves!) and we must keep them.

This does not mean that it can't be a subject of discussion; it must be. This large a part of our budget - and our society - absolutely must be discussed, extremely seriously.

And let's be clear-eyed about it. For instance, it's unconscionable to move the goalposts; to change the retirement age for those of us who've already made plans based on the current ages.

However, it is equally unconscionable to make the retirement ages "carved in stone" for all time - the landscape is changing beneath us and we ignore it at our peril. As, for example, our life expectancy changes, we must adapt - perhaps periodically adjust the retirement ages, COLA-like, for each new generation, so they know what rules are, from the start.

And that's just one issue. We have a lot to do; let's - in good faith - get to work.