It seems to me…
All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter. ~ Edmund Burke
Some members of the extremist conservative wing in Congress have stated elements of their political platform are “non-negotiable”. The only problem is basic tenets of their platform would have the reverse effect of what they have stated they wish to achieve. By refusing to negotiate in good faith, they have become the problem rather than part of the solution. By concentrating only on the budget deficit, what they propose will only negatively affect our economy rather than improve it. It is difficult to reach any conclusion other than that their ultimate goal is to destroy much of what our country stands for.
It is relatively easy to show the deficit is primarily a symptom of our nation’s problems rather than the problem itself. The actual unstated goal of conservatives, rather than deficit reduction, is elimination of taxation on capital income and to either reduce, or preferably, even eliminate tax system progressivity and replacement it with a flat tax on wages.
The problem, of course, is that tax reduction benefitting the wealthy does not stimulate the economy. It repeatedly has been shown those reductions primarily are invested in the stock market further benefitting those who received them. Corporations already enjoying large profit margins are not inclined to invest or hire when technology has increased worker productivity and they still have remaining reserve capacity.
I, therefore, also have non-negotiable demands regarding our “supposed” budget crisis. Here are some of my starting talking-points. After the conservatives agree to these, then we can start discussion of other possible compromises:
- Appoint independent panel of economists to rewrite our current tax code with the requirement that it fit in a single binder. Emphasis should be on simplification and loophole elimination.
- Roll-back tax reductions enacted under President Bush. This is not a tax increase since it only eliminates approximately $2.8 trillion ill-conceived reductions that created the deficit.
- Enact 3 percent across the board tax increase to cover cost of President Bush’s two wars. When our nation is at war, some sacrifice always is required by those not serving in the combat area.
- Defense department funding should be reduced to its year 2000 level. This could partly be achieved thru the following changes:
- Reduce current 11 carrier strike groups to 8 and impose a moratorium on construction of any additional aircraft carriers.
- Increase off-shore troop balancing.
- Merge competing intelligence agencies under new service branch similar to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard responsible for intelligence.
- Increase research project levels and development of capabilities better suited to enable improved response to future combat expectations.
- Enact 3 percent sales tax on all non-food items to improve education, retraining, research, and development to get our economy back on a growth trajectory and improve our county’s innovative potential. (Sales taxes, in general, are not a good idea as they are regressive and disproportionately affect the less wealth but this is a compromise suggestion to reduce conservative objections to any necessary tax increases.) Improvements benefiting our innovative capabilities provide the only logical solution to long-term unemployment.
- Eliminate subsidies and tax breaks to agriculture, petroleum, hard-rock, forestry, seafood, and similar areas of our economy. Extend U.S. Treasury grant program for renewable energy production due to expire next year.
Only after conservative extremists agree to these non-negotiable requirements can discussion begin on optional additional budget changes.
That’s what I think, what about you?