June 2, 2010
-- by Dave Johnson
No serious person denies that Reagan's 1981 tax cuts and military increases threw the country into a pattern of borrowing and borrowing that we have not escaped. When Reagan took office the national debt was $995 billion. When Reagan left office it was $2.87 trillion and climbing fast.
No serious person denies that Bush's 2001 tax cuts and continued military increases dramatically worsened the problem. Bush's last budget year ended with a record single-year deficit of $1.4 trillion.
As the country discusses what to do about the borrowing the elephant in the room is that everyone understands that restoring top tax rates to pre-Reagan levels and cutting the military budget in half would solve the problem completely. But we can't do that. We can't even discuss it.
And we all know why. And we all know why. It is because the Reagan Revolution transformed the country from a democracy to a plutocracy -- a country run by and for the wealthy.
Such sensible and simple ideas are considered off-limits. To even bring up the idea of restoring tax rates to pre-Reagan levels and cutting military spending invites terrible consequences. The speaker risks becoming the target of the money's noise machine: Limbaugh, Hannity, Drudge, Fox. Smears. Humiliation. Banishment. Or the noise machine cranks up a campaign of misinformation, convincing people --especially DC people -- that what they see in front of their eyes just isn't so. Repeat it enough and it becomes solid knowledge.
We all know this is the way it is. So don't tell me that "we don't have the money" to keep 300,000 teachers from being laid off, or to help the long-term, mostly older unemployed workers get something to live on and keep their health care. The money is right there in front of us, but the Congress is bought and paid for.
What do we do? We have to demand representatives who represent us, not make excuses for representing the wealthy. The unfortunate, poor and disadvantaged must count every bit as much as the privileged -- that's what democracy means. And we have to be ready to turn them out if they don't. For our part, we have to pay attention and demand to be shown, not told. We have to become citizens, not consumers.
Posted by Dave Johnson at June 2, 2010 8:33 AM
What do you have to show for a trillion dollar a year deficits with Obama? The debt has increased $2.2+ trillion dollars since Obama was inaugurated? It is easy to blame a President who has left office almost 22 years ago but Reagan did not add over 10 trillion dollars to the deficit the last two decades.
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