And as long as the “carried interest” loophole gives millionaire hedge fund managers a massive tax break, we have a revenue problem, too
Tune in to Fox News for a few minutes and they’re bound to tell you what America’s problem is — as if they’re not it.
The truth is we don’t have a spending problem, we have a people repeating what they hear on Fox News problem. This effective, purposeful creation of an alternate Republican universe where cutting spending helps the economy — unless it’s military spending! — and the deficit is the reason people are out of work is hurting the economy and keeping people out of work.
America has a Republican problem that has given us a chronic jobs problem. Until we get millions of people back to work, we won’t have the stability in our hierarchy of needs to be able to tackle the very real climate crisis we face — and we’ll never go about creating the good jobs we need to actually save the middle class.
Here’s what you need to tell people about America’s Republican Problem.
1. The Republicans’ problem is that the deficit is shrinking too fast. That’s why they want to act now to gut Medicare and Social Security while they have the chance.
FACT: The federal deficit has fallen faster over the past three years than it has in any such period since World War II. This fact blows away every Republican talking point because it points out 1) George W. Bush created the trillion dollar deficit that the GOP blames on this president, 2) under President Obama federal spending has grown less than any president since Eisenhower and 3) our recovery, which is much better than most of the world’s, is shrinking the deficit.
2. President Obama has already signed $2.3 trillion in deficit cuts, 3/4 of it spending cuts.
Until the Bush Tax Cuts expired and Republicans were forced to deal with revenue increases, President Obama has cut the Bush deficit entirely with spending cuts. These spending cuts hurt the economy much more than tax increases, especially tax increases on the rich. This seems to be the GOP plan: Keep the deficit crisis going to cut the parts of government we don’t like. And keep saying spending is the problem so you don’t have to cuts ridiculous tax loopholes that give away billions to those who need it least.
[Chart by Center for American Progress]
3. We have two long-term problems — long-term unemployment and long-term debt. And only one matters right now.
Anyone who tells you that America is like Greece is insulting your intelligence. We have no worries about paying our debt. Republicans have claimed for over 4 years now that borrowing would cause rampant inflation and the world would eventually stop buying our debt. The opposite happened. We will have a serious debt problem in a decade or two as baby boomers retire and live long, expensive lives. And it will be much worse if we don’t deal with our real crisis.
Our much more serious problem is long-term unemployment. Nearly 5 million Americans have been out of work for over 27 weeks. The longer you’ve been out of a job, the harder it is to find a new one and the less likely it is you’ll ever make up the earning and salary growth you lost. Poorer and middle class Americans will have to work harder and be more dependent on the government. In a sane society, we would be doing everything we could to get these people working, even direct government hiring if necessary. But the future of these Americans is being sacrificed to the Republican agenda.
4. If our health care costs were in line with costs in other countries, we would be looking at budget surpluses, not deficits.
We already pay for each other’s insurance, just in the dumbest possible way. For what we pay for health care we could be covering every American for less if we weren’t forced to deal with the Republican Party’s willingness to prioritize corporations over people.
5. Fixing the deficit is easy. Just put people back to work.
The Bush tax breaks were designed to solve a problem that Republicans had been avoiding for years — a balanced budget. When you have a balanced budget, you can’t cut the programs you don’t like just because you don’t like them. So create a deficit and start cutting! The bulk of our deficit comes from purposely dumb Bush decisions and can easily be rectified by putting people back to work. The fact that we are talking about cutting instead of jobs is a tribute to just how bad our Republican problem really is.