Just goes to show…
Many of the GOP candidates backed the use of torture for interrogation tactics in the last debate. And it was met with applause. Applause.
Jon Huntsman Jr. and Ron Paul are the only Republicans with any decent ideas and yet they get hardly any coverage. The fact that people blindly cheer torture without having to check in with their conscious is incredibly sad.
Mo’ Money, Less Problems…?
Obama is expected to outline his plan for budget reduction today. After a call for more government transparency during his 2008 campaign, hopefully this will be a step in the right direction. Personally, I fully expect more vague points to be thrown our way in lieu of tangible programs that will get well thought out cuts. Medicare and Medicaid are big ones that have already received some special mention, as well as Social Security. But these “big three” are always tossed around anytime a politician talks of cutting spending for federal safety-net programs, so I’m not very optimistic. Don’t get me wrong…Washington absolutely needs to curb its spending. Slashing some dollars should be a focus, all across the board. But not so large that it puts thousands of people without basic needs such as food, health care, and housing.
Here’s what I’m hoping for: Obama needs to get rid of the Bush-era tax cuts. It makes the most sense and honestly, it will be a huge step forward. I know Republicans will fight it as long as they possibly can, and I don’t expect the tax cuts to happen since Obama already conceded to the GOP on that issue once before. The freshman Tea Party representatives are making the Republican Party take a hard line stance on reducing federal spending. I seriously doubt they would allow taxes to increase. But if the deficit is to be reigned in, this is how it needs to be done. Sacrifices need to be made. What better candidates to make sacrifices than giant corporations and the top 2% of the wealthiest Americans? Last year, General Electric (who made 14.2 billion dollars) DID NOT pay any corporate taxes. How was this allowed to happen? Tax loopholes that basically favor the rich need to be excised.
House Speaker John Boehner has gone on record and said that any proposal by Obama to cut spending AND increases taxes will not get looked at in the House. To this day (don’t even get me started on the “recession”), it blows my mind that these politicians will not listen to the country’s top economists. It’s economics 101: in order to reduce a deficit, you cut spending while simultaneously increasing revenue. That’s what digs you out of a hole. It has to be a mixed formula…ignoring increasing taxes will simply make the process of climbing out of debt that much slower. I understand no one wants their taxes raised; I know I don’t. But I also understand that this is a better way to go about reducing the deficit, rather than (pardon the pun) paying for it 20-30 years later. By simply slashing federal funding, Boehner and company are going to put the majority of the sacrifice on the already suffering middle class, the poor, the unemployed, and the sick. All while the top corporations of this country get away with not having to pay a dime to the government. All while those making $250,000 each year get to continue to count their money while families lose their homes and their hope.
Rep. Paul Ryan from Wisconsin has proposed a plan that cuts 5 trillion dollars over the next 10 years. I looked at the plan, and there are some MAJOR flaws in it. However, I have to tip my hat to him. Out of this entire mess that almost shut the government down, he’s one of the few people to actually draft a real plan. Is the plan terrible? In my opinion, yes. But at least he recognizes that we need to throw some real ideas out there, even if he does come across as being staunchly in favor of Cocoa Puffs. So while your ideas are whacko, Mr. Ryan, I commend you on having a pair and actually submitting an idea. While most of our elected officials in Washington brought us to the brink with their childish bickering and stubbornness, Ryan at least was focusing on giving us tangible options. It’s sad that Washington was more interested in playing tug-of-war and putting on a show, rather than compromising for the good of the American people. It’s not like that’s supposed to be their job or anything. (Note: I’m not so idealistic as to think that’s what they are really supposed to do. I know how the game works)
I feel as though people let out a collective sigh of relief when it was announced that there was an agreement on the budget and a shutdown would be averted. Take this with caution, though. If you’ll recall, they agreed on a rough number rather than where the cuts would actually take place. The Republicans won a small victory in getting some cuts for the EPA, but failed to take down Planned Parenthood, both of which were riders that really had nothing to do with deciding on the final number. The GOP simply saw a chance to fight some social issues while the clock was ticking. I do hope that Obama will be clear in his speech on where the cuts are happening. We need to know what all the fighting was about. Drawing lines in the sand that almost put thousands of government workers out of work and would have restricted soldiers’ pay was all a spectacle. And now that the big drama is over, we deserve a resolution.
The fighting is not over yet, though (as if it ever is). Republicans have said that they plan on stretching out negotiations on the U.S. debt limit all the way into July, when the government would default on its obligations. So really, this is a small hiccup compared to what could happen in July. Keep your eyes open and keep yourself informed. That’s all, folks.