Thursday, December 2, 2010

Robert Reich's Important Post

Daily I am saddened by news reports of deficit commissions that want to "cut" the deficit by attacking the middle and working classes by cutting mortgage tax deductions and by raising the retirement age to 69. Simultaneously, unemployment benefits are cut, while the Fed names the bank recipients of the $3 trillion in bailouts given to the banksters...

Robert Reich explains very clearly how it is that the banksters are absolved of responsibility for our financial crisis (he doesn't address military spending) while the public is directly and implicitly told that government waste is the culprit.

Yet, outside of the military, most government programs benefit the public directly--such as social security, medicare, and federal disability insurance (which is very tough to get).

Here is what Reich writes:

The Big Economic Story, and Why Obama Isn’t Telling It
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Quiz: What’s responsible for the lousy economy most Americans continue to wallow in?

A. Big government, bureaucrats, and the cultural and intellectual elites who back them.

B. Big business, Wall Street, and the powerful and privileged who represent them.

These are the two competing stories Americans are telling one...

B is closer to the truth.

But A is the story Republicans and right-wingers tell. It’s a dangerous story because it deflects attention from the real problem and makes it harder for America to focus on the real solution – which is more widely shared prosperity. (I get into how we might do this in my new book, Aftershock.)

A is also the story President Obama is telling, indirectly, through his deficit commission, his freeze on federal pay, his freeze on discretionary spending, and his waivering on extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich...

If Obama and the Democrats were serious about story B they’d at least mention it. They’d tell the nation that income and wealth haven’t been this concentrated at the top since 1928, the year before the Great Crash...

They’d introduce legislation to curb Wall Street bonuses – exactly what European leaders are doing with their financial firms. They’d demand that the big banks, now profitable after taxpayer bailouts, reorganize the mortgage debt of distressed homeowners. They’d call for a new WPA to put the unemployed back to work, and pay for it with a tax surcharge on incomes over $1 million.

They’d insist on extended unemployment benefits for long-term jobless who are now exhausting their benefits. And they’d hang tough on the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy – daring Republicans to vote against extending the cuts for everyone else...


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