By Teresa Welsh |
I would rather let bankers and billionaires fall off the fiscal cliff than push seniors over. Bankers and billionaires have a cushion so they will land on their feet, anyway.
Besides the re-election of Barack Obama, the best thing about the 2012 campaign is that when voters had a clear choice between economic philosophies they choose the left's. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney flip-flopped on just about every cultural issue during the campaign, but he was steadfast in his support of what the first President George Bush called "voodoo economics." Voters decided to build the economy from the middle out instead of the top down.
I was glad to see the Barack Obama come out swinging in his Wednesday press conference. Americans rejected Romney and "voodoo economics" and gave the president a clear mandate with 126 more electoral and 3,476,775 more popular votes than his opponent. If that wasn't clear enough a signal, voters gave Democrats two extra seats in the U.S. Senate and took away seven seats from Republicans in the House of Representatives.
I'm not an economist, but neither is Paul Ryan. The deficit hawks argue that the New Year tax increases will take money out of "job creator's" hands and cause another recession. But if we cut Medicare and Social Security payments to seniors, won't those cuts take money out of people's pockets, too? Billionaires can stand a little pain—seniors can't. The concentration of wealth in the hands of the financial elite is more of a danger to the economy than the budget deficit, but working families don't have high paid lobbyists to help them.
The GOP hypocrisy on the budget is breathtaking. The GOP screams about the federal budget deficit but they want to protect welfare for bankers, billionaires, and big businesses. Even though we have finished one war and are close to finishing another one, Republicans resist any cuts in military spending on outdated big weapons systems that the Pentagon doesn't want or need. The GOP claims that federal spending hurts the economy but the party claims that cuts in military spending would hurt the economy. That pitch just doesn't compute.
The United States has been teetering on the edge of an economic cliff since Ronald Reagan decided that two plus two equaled five. Since Reagan's presidency, Republicans have argued that the best way to cut the deficit was to increase military spending, let billionaires off the tax hook and give hundreds of billions of dollars every year in federal freebies to the oil companies and other members of the big business free lunch club. I'm sure voters noticed that presidents Reagan and Bush 43 drowned America in a sea of red ink because they let wealthy Americans slide. Bush 41 left behind a budget deficit but at least he lessened the damage by raising taxes. A Democratic president, Bill Clinton was the only chief executive in the last generation to leave his successor a budget surplus.
That's why I'm glad that Nancy Pelosi decided to stand and fight. If the powers that be decide to throw seniors off the train so millionaires can continue to continue to get frequent flyer federal freebies for their corporate jets, she will fight for seniors and students 'til the last dog dies.
If you have problems with this post, feel free to complain to me and the other 62,088,846 Americans who just voted for Barack Obama.
About Brad Bannon President of Bannon Communications Research
Ford O'Connell Republican Strategist, Conservative Activist, and Political Analyst
Daniel Mitchell Fellow at the Cato Institute
Bill Frenzel Guest Scholar in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution
James Capretta Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center
Patrick Sharma Explainer-in-Chief at Newsbound.com
Michael Lind Cofounder of the New America Foundation