Every time the President asks Congress to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, John Boehner says no, offers up some of the deductions that currently lower taxes for wealthier Americans, and then drops the “entitlements” bomb. Not only will he not give the President what he wants but he demands that the President sweeten the non-deal with cuts to “entitlements”. Is John Boehner high? Has he been to that other Washington, the state, recently? Americans understand that we do not need to cut “entitlements” before December 31st. Cuts to “entitlements” do not have to be a part of fiscal cliff negotiations. The Republicans are just addicted to fear-mongering. They want the American people to blink first. Even if entitlements must be reformed, which a healthy economy might render unnecessary, we can wait until next year to do it.
Congress must stop believing that raising the age when “entitlements” become available is the answer to reform. This is just a quick and dirty approach which pays no attention to the realities of when people are actually “forced” to stop working. Unless employers find that they can keep older adults in the work force until they are 67, raising the age of eligibility for retirement benefits will create a coverage gap that will swallow up many hard-working people. The approaches that look at cutting costs and broadening the base of contributors along with means testing look much more promising.
Decide what to do about the Bush era tax cuts and raise the debt ceiling before the end of December. Finish the rest of this in the new year.
Thomas Peterfly has an ad on TV which is also available as a video on the internet. He is associated with Interactive Brokers and Freedom to Succeed. He accepts responsibility for the contents of the ad which is all about how America is on the slippery slope to becoming a Socialist nation because so many people are becoming dependent on the government for assistance. This is clearly a page from the book the Republicans have been writing because rich people are feeling put upon. They are contributing far more to taxes that our budget relies on, they say, than the other 99% of Americans, and their monies are paying for other Americans to be idle.
Mr. Peterfly tells us that he grew up in a Socialist nation and that this is why he can see what is happening when we cannot. However, it is just possible that he is focusing on fears from his own experience that are not appropriate in America. It is a good thing for people to be ambitious and to strive for the American Dream and if some have given up on this perhaps it is because they have found it too hard, or they have already failed at a few attempts to be successful. Making them jump in the deep end without water wings may produce a eureka moment and turn them into successful little engines of Capitalism, but they could just as easily drown.
I don’t believe that it is honest to pass off a man full of fears that he acquired in a different culture, and who has every reason to believe the “bogey” man has followed him to America, as someone with a realistic view of America. We are not a Socialist nation. Big government has not turned us into a Socialist nation. We are not going to be a nation where unregulated Capitalism is the order of the day either. If the American people choose to spend the money of the American people to help the poorest among us then that is our right in a Democracy. If a majority of people say they no longer want to spend money this way, then that will also have to pertain.
But in this case, the people at the top, who are clearly a minority of citizens want to have a say proportional to the amount of money they feel that they contribute. This is not how America works, although if they really are paying so much then adjustments may have to be made. And while they may be paying more money, they are not paying a larger percentage of their money. Perhaps they are paying so much and the rest of us are paying so little because the economics of Capitalism and taxation and loopholes have gotten out of kilter in America. When all the wealth of a nation collects in the hands of a few it opens the door to hunger, disease, and unrest. It is also the exact recipe for revolution. (I am not making a threat, just an observation based on history.) It gives an advantage to a culture when the rich are willing to contribute to civil society. If we have too many “freeloaders” at the bottom then our government or our private sector needs to study why that is so and come up with ways to reverse the trend. As to whether or not we are becoming a Socialist nation, don’t ask a man who grew up in a Socialist society. He will see his worst fears everywhere he goes. I like your ad Mr. Peterfly; it is well done but it is not necessarily true and just repeating it over and over does not make it so. I am sorry you have nightmares, but, America is in far more danger of becoming an oligarchy than it of becoming a Socialist state. Don’t worry, Mr. Peterfly, we’ll protect you. The love of freedom runs deep in America.
Note: Mr. Peterfly got very wealthy in America. On the left at the top is a photo of Mr. Peterfly in full riding regalia. On the right is a picture of a blue collar Peterfly as he appears in his ad against Socialism. He is a member of the 1%.
In case you have not seen this ad, here’s the link: