Earlier today, John Boehner showed a chart projecting a gigantic budget deficit if current spending plans are in place.
It’s well established that the primary future driver of spending is going to be Medicare, ergo everyone wants to figure out how to reduce the cost of Medicare (either by privatization, reduced benefits, or some other fix to healthcare inflation).
But there’s a simple way to get deficit reduction that doesn’t involve Medicare: Lower the unemployment rate.
[ ]….This chart has been floating around for awhile, and at least I, personally, didn’t think much of it the first time I across it. There is an element of tautology to it. When the economy improves, unemployment goes down, and deficit/GDP shrinks, as tax revenue goes up. When the reverse happens, deficits rise. Duh, right?
But not so fast…
The post-2009 period is associated with a virtually unprecedented pursuit of government spending and deficits (as far as the eye can see!). Not only did the deficit go up because tax revenue collapsed, but Obama announced a historic stimulus the likes of which weren’t seen since the New Deal.
And yet! The relationship holds. Even when the government purposely spends like crazy to increase the debt and fight the weak economy, deficits/GDP have shrunk alongside unemployment. There is a big gap between the red and blue lines, perhaps in part because the downturn was so severe, but the clear lesson is that spending to reduce unemployment does have the effect of reducing deficits as a share of total GDP.
No tax increase at all is probably not a good idea in the long run, even if they are only modest income tax increase on the top 10% and an increase in taxes on capital gains. It is not all about Medicare, we need some infrastructure improvements and to make a larger investment in scientific research. Though just as important is the need to end the race to the bottom. The race corporate America, with the help of the radical Right, to have a permanent under-class of American workers. Wal-Mart, Apple and Darden Inc ( Applebees) are among corporations that are making record profits, yet many of their employees are not making a living wage – Corporate profits hit record as wages get squeezed. Not only would these workers thus contribute more to the safety net that they will need sooner or later, they will also rely less on programs like food assistance. Yet we’re dealing with John Boehner (R-OH) and his charts and the Koch brothers and their freakish zeal to make every worker in America wage slave.
The Walton family, with a net equal to the bottom 40% of American workers – about $89.5 billion – are the real welfare cheats. Every working American is subsidizing their business. McDonald’s pays workers an average of $8.25 hr and their CEO makes $8.7 million a year. So an average employee makes about $17.1 thousand a year. Their CEO makes as much as 509 workers. CEO pay has become completely disconnected from any rational values. An elite class of people with money and political power equal to those massive paychecks have decided to break the social contract with their employees. And as the Wal-Mart chart shows they are also passing off the cost to everyone else. The conservative movement keeps claiming that it is the social safety net or union wages that are holding back growth. A lie so ridiculous that no one with basic reading and math skills should believe. Yet the Republican Speaker of the House is very serious about selling the plantation dream to the public. If we can just race to the bottom, through some convoluted logic, America will then and only then, truly prosper. Conservatives even use magic to sell this dark dystopian dream to the public. Look at the one or two union guys being mean. Look at the woman using her food stamps to buy candy. This constant highlight of the petty is to distract people while conservatives steal billions from working Americans and their children. These corporate Robin Hohhs who steal from workers to give to each other are deeply afraid of their workers organizing and having any kind of power – Why Most Walmart and Fast Food Workers Didn’t Strike.
Fox News revealed selective editing of punched Fox News Thug Steven Crowder contributor
Video of Steven Crowder getting punched is being used as evidence of union thuggery, but who got hit first? VIDEO. Of course violence is wrong. So with that I have done the required disclaimer for stories like this. Everyone has probably seen the Michigan video that Crowder has posted on the net. One major problem with that is that video is it does not show the union protester on the ground, before he gets up and punches Crowder. How did that protester start a fight from the prone position. Someone mentioned this on Tweeter ( sorry I do not remember who caught it first to give proper credit). How about what happened is that Crowder made threatening gestures and words towards the protester and the protester “stood his ground”. If conservatives want to love stand your ground laws and mentality, than they can suffer the consequences when it backfires. Let’s say that this was as Crowder described. One guy committed assault and battery; in reality aggravated assault. One guy out of thousands of protesters. So if one Republican picks his nose in an elevator that means all Republicans pick their noses in elevators. If those are the rules, if that is the logic we’re using, conservatives are in much deeper mud than America’s unions. Virginia GOP Official Calls Union Members ‘Terrorists’
Union workers who were protesting the passage of so-called “right-to-work” laws outside the state capitol in Lansing, Michigan are “terrorists,” according to a former high-ranking official in the Republican Party of Virginia who now serves in a county-level elected office.
Shawn Kenney, who formerly served as the communications director for the state GOP and is now the chairman of the Fluvanna Co. Board of Supervisors, posted an entry on his blog titled, “We Don’t Negotiate With (Union) Terrorists.” The post features a video of a brief fight that occurred outside the Michigan state capitol. Before the video, Kenney writes: “…and these people are terrorists.”
[ ]….Another former Republican Party of Virginia official wrote on the same blog this week that by passing “right-to-work,” Michigan had “finally unshackle[d] itself from slavery.”
Maybe we should thank these two clowns, they have given anyone license to call them any names they like. “Slavery”? Sure. Everyone’s dictionary defines slavery as the right to make workers into powerless wage slaves who better not get too uppity and ask for a living wage and health insurance. How dare unions ask for fair compensation, benefits or decent working conditions. That infringes on the right of conservatives to treat people like dirt. As usual these freaks are projecting their agenda on decent Americans seeking simple economic justice. Krugman seems to understand Mr. Kenney’s pain, The G.O.P.’s Existential Crisis
No, what we’re having is a political crisis, born of the fact that one of our two great political parties has reached the end of a 30-year road. The modern Republican Party’s grand, radical agenda lies in ruins — but the party doesn’t know how to deal with that failure, and it retains enough power to do immense damage as it strikes out in frustration.
Krugman, myself and other Democratic bloggers have described Republicans as zombies. That is what we’re seeing. If they can eat your brains they will. They lost the election, so that leaves them trying to eat fingers. It is all they know and all they will ever know. They’re not any more or less venal now than they were in 2010 or 2000.
Since the 1970s, the Republican Party has fallen increasingly under the influence of radical ideologues, whose goal is nothing less than the elimination of the welfare state — that is, the whole legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society. From the beginning, however, these ideologues have had a big problem: The programs they want to kill are very popular. Americans may nod their heads when you attack big government in the abstract, but they strongly support Social Security, Medicare, and even Medicaid. So what’s a radical to do?
The answer, for a long time, has involved two strategies. One is “starve the beast,” the idea of using tax cuts to reduce government revenue, then using the resulting lack of funds to force cuts in popular social programs. Whenever you see some Republican politician piously denouncing federal red ink, always remember that, for decades, the G.O.P. has seen budget deficits as a feature, not a bug.
Arguably more important in conservative thinking, however, was the notion that the G.O.P. could exploit other sources of strength — white resentment, working-class dislike of social change, tough talk on national security — to build overwhelming political dominance, at which point the dismantling of the welfare state could proceed freely.
From just after 2000, after Bush has spent the surplus left by Bill Clinton, conservatives spent like crazy, They whined, but there was no holding up spending bills for grand bargains, no lines drawn in exchange for new revenue to offset their new spending. Dick Cheney famously said that deficits did not matter. He and every conservative were suddenly out of the closet Keynesians, when we didn’t need Keynes. Now that we need Keynes, conservatives are back in the closet. They have no convictions. They just hate the democratic republic model of government. They hate fairness. They hate workers. They hate science. They hate justice. They hate education. That is the only real Republican conviction, hate.