Cutting Through The Crap

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Reich Stuff



He sounds sensible, doesn't he? Not particularly inclined toward compromise; but sensible. I'd take issue to this extent: whereas it's true that many -- probably most -- Americans depend on Medicare and Social Security, it seems evident that some sort of changes could be made that retain benefits for those who most need them, while means-testing or otherwise tailoring benefits to those who need them less. Raising the age of eligibility would hurt those who need it most; but maybe there's a way to do it based on wealth, or the possession of other retirement benefits. Or something.

Military spending must be cut; it's as obvious as the fact that our greatest threats don't come from things that can be stopped by battleships. Or tanks. But until the right-wing crazies stop comparing the mere mention of it to treason, to willful opening the door to our enemies, it'll be damn hard to do. Getting rid of "corporate welfare" will, in some cases, amount to a tax on everyone, to the extent that it causes prices to go up. On the other hand, how do teabaggRs reconcile maintaining those tax breaks with their belief in the holiest of holies, the free market?

A while back I suggested it was time to turn budget discussions (if that's what they are) over to professional arbitrators. Maybe I missed the better approach. Let the womenfolk of Congress handle it. Unlike their bescrotalled counterparts, they appear less inclined toward grandstanding and game-playing. Let Claire McCaskill and Kay Bailey Hutchinson work it out. Dianne Feinstein and Olympia Snowe. Nancy Pelosi and Michelle Bachmann? Well, no idea is perfect. (A couple of them don't have much time left in their terms, but how long could it take for people actually inclined to work it out?)

The answers are really pretty obvious, and a little compromise (Mr Reich's exhortations notwithstanding) ought to be in the recipe for both sides: raise taxes some, give or take the percent; eliminate or raise, give or take, the income cap on Social Security withholding; index Medicare and Social Security to means, give or take; cut defense, a lot or really a lot, give or take. And, as the ladies are more likely to get than the men, for gods' sake don't make the most needy bear the brunt of it all; nor our future, in the form of education and infrastructure and the planet! Which means, at some point, there'll need to be more revenue than just obtains from raising top tax rates.


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