[This the submitted form of my Union column for April. It was submitted on 7 April 2011, and could not reflect the yet another “short-term funding measure” agreement reached late Friday 8 April that averted government shutdown as reported here in the WSJ.]
The GOP’s federal budget – ‘The Path to Prosperity’ - for FY2012 was authored by Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI) and fellow Republicans on the House Budget Committee, including our congressman Tom McClintock. This landmark budget is the first having the necessary painful entitlement cuts, and presents a feasible plan to bring the country back from fiscal disaster.
On the other hand, everything offered by the Democrats to date has been electioneering materials that pander to the ignorant and those of us receiving transfer payments – these include Democrats, Republicans, and the great uninvolved.
The Congressional Budget Office says President Obama’s budget proposal contains spending, deficits, debt, and taxes headed to the moon before the decade is out. Yet the Dems and friends are already banging out histrionics about the “heartless” GOP. More confusing is that there are two fiscal issues before Congress – related but of entirely different scope.
Instead, under their ‘leadership’ we embarked on a trail of continuing resolutions that would fund FY2011 bit by piece. And if a budget were to eventually pop out of the process, then the baked in deficits would be blamed on the newly elected Republicans, and yes, … the dreaded tea party.
So that’s the FY2011 mess we’re still in that threatens to shut down government. Such a shutdown would cause some temporary inconveniences, cost money, and lay off about 800,000 out of two million federal workers. But worse, the hullabaloo about trying to get FY2011 funded with meaningful spending cuts keeps our eyes off the main job – a realistic long term fiscal plan that starts with the FY2012 budget.
What is absolutely remarkable or boggles the mind, take your pick, is that the progressives have a parallel universe view of the country’s hundred trillion dollar ills and cure. The conservatives are focused on cutting trillions from only where trillions can be cut, revising the tax code, and keeping taxes low so that the economy can recover and increase government revenues. The liberals are still fashioning massive social engineering programs to grow government, promote unions, and raise taxes to pay for it all. The economy? not their strong suit, and they’re ready to leave it at that.
Actually, some leading progressive lights have concluded that a new tax regime is in order. From leftwing economist and Clinton’s former labor secretary Robert Reich – “Here’s the truth: The only way America can reduce the long-term budget deficit, maintain vital services, protect Social Security and Medicare, invest more in education and infrastructure, and not raise taxes on the working middle class is by raising taxes on the super rich.”
To ensure that his “super rich” toe the line, Reich would enforce his new 91% tax rates by revoking the citizenship of anyone who would export their wealth to avoid paying 91 cents tax on most earned dollars. Once more the progressive mind in perpetual stasis sees today’s world as it was in days of yore, disconnects everything from everything else to make thinking easy, and then pulls the obvious and only lever left to pull. In this universe, the ‘super rich’ are double dummies who just keep investing, building, and creating jobs as always, with nary a thought about better alternatives.
With this mindset in place, Reich and his fellow luminaries conclude that “if the rich were taxed at the same rates they were half a century ago, they’d be paying in over $350 billion more this year alone, which translates into trillions over the next decade. That’s enough to accomplish everything the nation needs while also reducing future deficits.” All that is needed to create this happy world is to have the President “connect the dots.”
So this is the demagogue hell into which the GOP’s budget snowball will be tossed. For the Dems it’s an easy sell to the pre-thinkers and the disabled, none of whom would ever find themselves mistaken for the super-rich. It is the perfect ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ promise which has been the reliably destructive vote getter in democracies since biblical times.
And it all starts next week when the FY2012 budget clears the House, and is ushered into Harry Reid’s welcoming arms.
George Rebane is a retired systems scientist and entrepreneur in Nevada County who regularly expands these and other themes on KVMR, NCTV, and Rebane’s Ruminations (www.georgerebane.com).