Snake Oil Senator Coburn: Doing the Opposite of What’s Needed.
By Carl Davidson
Our local newspaper, The Beaver County Times, runs reasonable editorials from time to time, even though it’s generally prone to a lukewarm centrism.
But July 24’s ‘Put Up or Shut Up’ is a puzzler. It describes the bizarre budget choices of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who would drastically slash our country’s safety net, impose severe austerity and greatly expand the pool of youthful unemployed by raising the retirement age to 70, among other draconian measures.
Whether the BCT is for Coburn or just using him as a foil to stir up readers is unclear. In either case, our Blue ‘deficit hawk’ in Congress and our Tea Party governor both need a more frontal attack.
Coburn’s suggested ending the wars and cutting defense would surely help, but the rest of his ideas are dead wrong. In a down economy, the government needs to spend more, and more productively, in order to increase the demand that creates jobs. More jobs then bring in more tax revenues.
Making 70 the retirement age only adds to unemployment among young families, not to mention more poverty among older people. No increase in demand there, so that’s a huge job destroyer.
The main thing ignored is that it’s a hoax to think we’re broke. There’s plenty of money if our politicians had the guts to go and get it where its hoarded away. A financial transaction tax for starters on Wall St gambling (not productive investment) would do wonders. Then take the $106K cap off FICA. Then close the corporate welfare loopholes and repeal the Bush tax breaks for billionaires. Only keep the subsidies for infrastructure, for clean energy and green manufacturing startups. Then save on health care by passing Medicare for All.
Finally, set up a WPA/CCC 2.0, modeled after FDR’s Works Progress Administration, to put millions to work on modern infrastructure.
Ask any business person in this down economy what is more important to them, new purchase orders and customers? Or tax cuts? The answer is a no-brainer. New customers top the list, and they won’t care if the purchase orders come from government.
The two recent bubbles that burst, housing and consumer credit, left ordinary folks without the wherewithal to increase demand and thus increase jobs. That’s why in today’s situation, government has to spend more, not cut back more. And unproductive wealth has to be taxed.
Cutting back will make matters worse, and the more you cut, the worse it will be. I’m open to friendly wagers on the matter, but if nothing gets set straight, just wait and see. Unfortunately, I think future events will bear me out.
- carldavidson posted this