Posted by TRB on Tuesday November 20, 2012 - 12:00 pm (5 years ago)
By Columnist - TRB - Are you a "giver," or a "taker," two catagories that many Republicans believe sum up the whole of the U.S. economy and its people? Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan believed in this view of citizens of the United States. As you know, it did not work out well for them over the course of the recent campaign. The definitions of these two types of Americans seems simple. A "giver" is most likely a wealthy man, who doesn't need or ask for assistance from the U.S. government. A taker is not a well-off man or woman. Takers need help, sometimes because they are jobless and poor, or they are single mothers working at minimum wage, or elderly and disabled. Sometimes they are military veterans broken by America's incessant wars. But these people only make up a fraction of the "takers." The shocking truth is that Romney and Ryan believe everyone who receives a regular paycheck from the local or Federal government is a taker, i.e., teachers, policemen, firemen, municipal and Federal government workers. In other words, a very large chunk of the U.S. population are "takers," people who have to be supported by Uncle Sam. In this definition, Paul Ryan himself was and still is a "taker." Romney, worth well over $100 million, probabaly would have donated his salary to his church or some charity - if he had won the Presidency.
Fortunately, he didn't.
This however is not the end of the giver-taker philosophy of economics.
That philosphy is like the equally mythical "fiscal cliff, which in real time is actually a date agreed to by Obama and the opposition for coming up with a plan to pay down the deficit. Obama, from his side, plans to allow the tax break for the very wealthy to run out on Dec. 31, which would mean people in that economic (and let's face it "social," too) class would go back to paying the tax rate they were paying when Clinton was President and the economy worked.
The problem is that taxes would also rise for the middle class, an endangered species of economic class, who, for the most part hasn't received a salary increase in well over a decade. In fact their paychecks are getting smaller when you consider inflation and the theft of their pensions by Wall Street and their employers increasing reluctance to pay for or supplement the costs of their medical insurance. The middle class is also experiencing hard times with high unemployment.
So Obama is looking for a deal with Republicans that would raise taxes on the very rich, but not on the middle class. The Republicans, America's dying political party, have hinted that such a deal would be possible, but only if the President and House and Senate Democratic leaders would be willing to compromise. This would involve an agreement to "fix" Social Security ( read that - make it more difficult to recieve) and government-provided medical care. In fact the Republicans want to take a piece out of all so-called "entitlement" programs. In the tax catagory, Republicans hope to close "loopholes" like the home tax write-off, which helps primarily the middle class.
The real problem for Obama and the Democrats is that they have been sold on a concept of false equivalencies, the idea that government entitlement programs for the poor and middle class are somehow equal in consequences to tax increases on the very wealthy, when in fact the two have nothing in common.
Social Security, for example is subsidized in part by recipients who help pay for it with money the Fereral government takes directly from their paychecks over the course of their lives. In fact, it was not too long ago when the U.S. was floating in Social Security funds. Back then, former Sen. Al Gore suggested a "lockbox" for those funds because Congress was regularly stealing from Social Security to pay for other things - bridges to nowhere and crazed studies to discover how long it takes the average bunny couple to copulate. The point is that one can only "take" Social Security if they have "given" to it first. It should not be part of a "deal." Obama should take it off the table.
If SS needs funds, go to the Pentagon and steal some of theirs. The U.S. war machine costs more annually than the next ten large nations spend on defense - combined. And that includes Russia and China.
Mr. President: Don't take any money from elderly people who need it for medical care. That's evil.
That's part of the false equivalency.
Don't take breakfast programs for children.
Don't take money from veterans services. They have been through enough.
Remember Mr. President, you too are a "taker" by the crazed and illogical definition of the Republicans with whom you will bargain. And remember, they have been "takers" from Day One.
Raising taxes on the super wealthy and weakening entitlement programs are two very different things. Beware the false equivalency.
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