, Salem, MA


December 15, 2012

Column: Spending billions to stop a tax hike, and other oddities


There was a movie called “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford). Newman, at one point, makes this statement to Redford: “If they paid me the money they’re paying to try to get me to stop robbing them, I’d stop robbing them!” Isn’t that really what’s going on with the 2 percent?

They’re spending billions and billions of dollars to try to cut education, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. So, obviously, these billions are just loose change to them. The Clinton-era tax rates would not even be noticed by these people; they would remain millionaires and billionaires. Maybe we should really be thinking of raising the top tax rates higher than 2.6 percent, to put these excess billions to better use.

Every Republican fiscal proposal thus far is dominated by cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education. At this point, we should be calling them “Rip-offlicans.” The Rip-offlicans don’t tell us the truth about Social Security, which is $2.7 trillion in the black, but that account has been raided by this and other Congresses. Therefore, we’ll have an $82 billion cash obligation for each of the next two years, at least.

The Rip-offlican solution is to cut Social Security benefits and borrow money, which raises the debt, in both principal and interest. Additionally, they don’t allow Medicaid to bargain (like the Veterans Administration) for wholesale pharmaceutical purchases. Once again, instead of running in the black, it runs multiple billions in the red. This is, to put it mildly, felonious mismanagement, not to mention its impact (with interest) on the debt. Like Medicaid, Medicare is also mismanaged and could be easily brought into line with draconian penalties for fraud.

Finally, no Republican proposal thus far takes dollar one from the military budget, where financial fraud annually runs into billions, which everybody knows.

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