On May 5th several not-so-prominent Republican Presidential hopefuls held their first debate. One of the major topics of discussion was the federal deficit. Both the Republicans and the Tea Partiers want to have a balance budget, I.E., they want the Federal Government to not spend more then it makes. That makes sense and I certainly support that idea. Where I take issue with the conservative version of a balanced budget is that their version puts most of the burden on those least able to afford it while giving tax breaks to those who should shoulder far more then they do now.
In order to balance the budget we can either increase taxes (either by raising current taxes or by adding new ones) or we can cut spending period. Or we can do a combination of the two. The conservative approach is to cut spending, primarily in programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Cutting theses programs targets the less fortunate, as well as the elderly, many of whom are now totally dependent on Social Security for their retirement income, thanks to the mess the investment bankers and hedgefunds made of their pension funds. Many republicans and tea party candidates in 2008 screamed bloody murder about Obama’s healthcare reforms and their supposed “Death Squads” for the elderly. Cutting Social Security and Medicare would be far more insidious then Obama care ever intended and the starvation and deprevation of our seniors would be far more real then the imagined “Death Squads”.
At the South Carolina debate, one Republican, Ron Paul, suggested that we could provide everything needed for those at home, like our seniors, by eliminating or drastically reducing the one trillion dollars we spend every year on military interventions over seas. I am not denigrating the service of our veterans or current military personal, but, imho, the U.s. has a tendency to interfere militarily in areas where we really have no business doing so. I do not condone isolationism, but we are far to easily swayed by the military-industrial complex, ignoring the warnings that President Eisenhower issued in his farewell address in 1960.
In order to balance it’s budget, Wisconsin a few months ago deprived state workers of their collective bargaining rights, so that the governor could unilaterally cut benefits to state workers. This tactic is being followed by other states as well. I would not be surprised to see the federal government follow suit, especially if the conservatives gain more control next year. I respectfully suggest that rather then depriving salaried and hourly workers of benefits that they cannot afford otherwise, both state legislators and Congressmen take a very hard look at their own salaries and benefits, especially the free health care and ridiculous pensions these elected officials receive. If they are serious about balancing the budget, they should start by eliminating these benefits for those currently holding office as well as those who have retired. For the most part, for the last fifty years or more, the politicians who get elected to these offices are quite financially independent and really do not need either the salary or the benefits. That includes former presidents.
The other option in balancing the budget is to raise or create new taxes. The first and most important step here is to eliminate the Bush tax cuts or those individuals making more then 250,000 dollars per year. The second most important step would be to close many of the corporate tax loop holes. Why should we give tax break to those corporations who outsource jobs thereby depriving many Americans of their livelihood. I don’t know about you, but I get very angry and frustrated when I have to deal with a customer service representative for an American corporation who speaks poor English. I think corporations that have outsourced or will outsource American jobs need to be penalized by paying more taxes. Finally, I think that Ron Paul came up with a brilliant suggestion at the South Carolina debates. He suggested that all illegal drugs should be legalized. What a source of tax revenue that would be! Tax these drugs at the same level that tobacco and alcohol products are taxed. As for the fallacious argument that we would all end up as drug addicts, if these drugs were legalized, I have one question for you: Would you seriously start using heroine if it became legal?
If I become convinced that Ron Paul would seriously try to implement his ideas, if elected, I would vote for him at the drop of a hat. This would be the first Republican Presidential candidate since Henry Cabot Lodge in 1964. I was only a sophomore in High School then, and not old enough to vote.