–The “Pledge to America” Sham

The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology.

The House Republicans have published a “Pledge to America.” It is a blatant, political sham. It includes:
–Make the Bush tax cuts permanent
–Give small businesses an additional tax deduction
–Fully fund missile defense
–Strengthen our Mexican border
–Reduce government spending to the 2008 levels
–Reduce the federal deficit

See anything wrong with these nice, safe political “pledges”? If you make the tax cuts permanent, give extra tax deductions to small business, fully fund missile defense and strengthen our border, there is no way to reduce spending to the 2008 levels and reduce the deficit — nor should we. Reduced spending (aka “money creation”) would doom us to an immediate return to recession. All six depressions and nearly every recession immediately have followed reductions in deficit growth. The reason: Federal deficits provide the money for economic growth.

Further, what spending would be cut? See: Federal Debt cuts for a list of right-wing recommended spending cuts and tax increases. Ask yourself which ones you like.

And, of course, nothing is said about Social Security and Medicare, which politicians will tell you (wrongly) require either tax increases or benefit cuts.

The Pledge also includes:
–Repeal the health-care law
–Ensure access for patients with pre-existing conditions

But, of course, ensuring access for patients with pre-existing conditions is one of the benefits of the health care law the House Republicans want to scuttle. The health care plan also contains such benefits as:
*Young people can remain on parents’ insurance until age 26
*No discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions
*No dropping people from coverage when they get sick
*No lifetime limits on coverage
*Free preventive care
*Increased ability to appeal decisions made by your health plan
And other benefits that slowly come on line between now and 2014. How many of these would you like to forgo if the health care plan is repealed?

And the Pledge includes:
–Tough sanctions against Iran (but no mention is made of Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where our troops actually are fighting and additionally, spending massive amounts of money.)

In short, the House Republican “Pledge” includes a potpourri of popular-sounding, though contradictory ideas. They want to spend more and spend less. They want to increase benefits and reduce them. They want to cut taxes and cut the deficit. Meanwhile, the public has been sold on the idea of “reduced federal deficits,” while not understanding what that really means. It means higher taxes and/or reduced federal benefits.

And it means recessions and depressions. But the politicians don’t tell you that.

Yes, the Pledge is a sham, but it will fool some of the people, and that might be enough.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

No nation can tax itself into prosperity

2 thoughts on “–The “Pledge to America” Sham

  1. I just read another paragraph in the “Pledge”: “We will make the decisions that are necessary to protect our entitlement programs for today’s seniors and future generations. That means requiring a full accounting of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, setting benchmarks for these programs and reviewing them regularly and preventing the expansion of unfunded liabilities.”

    “Full accounting,” “setting benchmarks,” “reviewing regularly” and “preventing expansion of unfunded liabilities” are not solutions to anything. They are political blah, blah, blah.

    So what are the solutions? If the so-called “problem” is that FICA collections are less than payouts, there are only three solutions, two of them bad.
    1. We could raise FICA, but of course any tax increase not only hurts the economy, but hurts the working people worst.
    2. We could cut the benefits, which we have been doing by repeatedly raising the qualifying age. But forcing people to work longer in order to survive financially, has the unanticipated effect of exacerbating unemployment. Also, it is an anti-life style step, where the people pay the government more and more, and receive less and less.
    3. Or, we could do what we should have done years ago: Eliminate FICA and support Medicare and Social Security through the general fund.

    I suspect the Republicans, given the choice of a people-oriented solution vs a government-oriented solution, will choose the least people-friendly #2. We shall see.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


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