Tuesday, February 15

TeaPublicans Balance the Budget on the Backs of Bruised, but save the Best Cheddar for themselves

Rachel Contrasts the Budget Priorities of the President and Republicans. Both suggest harsh cuts - but it's on the spending that we see interesting and dramatic differences. Obama still wants to invest in Fast Rail, Green Tech and High Speed Telecom Backbone - they want to buy C-17s and engines for the F-31 that the Pentagon Doesn't Need.

And isn't it an interesting coincidence that the plants for these unwanted military projects just happen to be in Rep. Beohner and Cantor's districts? What was that about "No More Earmarks" again?

Before I get into the heart of this I just want to get one pet peeve from watching today's talking head class chatter about how "Obama's Budget Cuts aren't Serious because he didn't address Entitlements".

That is nothing but a Crock.

Obama spent well over a year passing a Health Care Plan that does address entitlements, it's saves $500 Billion from Medicare without cutting quality or restricting service and according to the Medicare Trustee's brings it into Surplus starting in 2012.

The outlook for Medicare has improved substantially because of program changes made in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (the "Affordable Care Act" or ACA). Despite lower near-term revenues resulting from the economic recession, the Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund is now expected to remain solvent until 2029, 12 years longer than was projected last year, and the 75-year HI financial shortfall has been reduced to 0.66 percent of taxable payroll from 3.88 percent in last year’s report. Nearly all of this improvement in HI finances is due to the ACA. The ACA is also expected to substantially reduce costs for the Medicare Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) program; projected program costs as a share of GDP over the next 75 years are down 23 percent relative to the costs projected for the 2009 report.

Medicare is doing just fine.

Social Security is also going to be fine for Decades and before we start talking about raising the retirement age - we need to have increasing the payroll cap on the table too.

The biggest cause of the deficit was not spending (both TARP and the Auto Bailout were Loans which have been largely paid back), it was loss of revenue from the economic downturn and tax cuts - Spending as the CBO explains.

Since 2007, the recession and financial crisis, as well as the legislative responses to those problems, caused individual tax receipts to fall markedly. In 2009, individual receipts totaled just 6.4 percent of GDP, the lowest share since 1950.

Therefore the best way to fix this shortfall is to rescind necessary tax cuts and to invest in jump starting the economy. It's all about Jobs, Jobs, JOBS!

Let's all jump in the way back machine and recall how Republicans trashed the Stimulus in public, but praised it's "Job Creation" in private.

As Thinkprogress has noted nearly half the Republicans in Congress last session have engaged in rank Stimulus Hypocrisy.

ThinkProgress finds that over half of the GOP caucus, 110 lawmakers — from the House and Senate — are guilty of stimulus hypocrisy. Among some of the key findings:

– Top Republican Senate Recruits Are Stimulus Hypocrites: As ThinkProgress reported, Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), a candidate for Senate, touted over $5 million in stimulus programs he voted to kill. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), the GOP nominee for Senate in Illinois, signed a letter urging Gov. Pat Quinn to provide “Recovery Act (ARRA) funding to expand the Illinois Community College Sustainability Network.”

– GOP Leadership Leads The Way In Hypocrisy: Although he regularly slams the stimulus as a waste while in DC, McConnell has returned to Kentucky to take credit for stimulus programs, even taking time to request more funds. ThinkProgress attended two job fairs held by Cantor, where we found dozens of employers able to hire directly because of the stimulus. Indeed, even Boehner’s office released a statement boasting that the stimulus will create “much needed jobs.” – The Audacity Of Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds: Many opponents of the stimulus have been quite brazen with their ability to try to claim credit for the program. For instance, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) spent the morning of July 28th railing against the stimulus, yelling “Where’s the stimulus package? Where’s the jobs?” on the House floor. On the same day of his rant, Kingston’s office sent out multiple press releases bragging that he had secured hundreds of thousands in stimulus funds to hire additional police officers in his district. Other stimulus opponents, like Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) — who has called the stimulus a “trillion dollar debt bill” — have printed out jumbo-sized ceremonial stimulus checks to present to local communities to try to garner positive press.

Individually, over half of the entire Republican caucus has hailed nearly every aspect of the stimulus as a success — from infrastructure funds, to food programs, to education grants

Despite this Republicans latest Budget Cut Proposal won't help create any jobs as it attempts to cancel and rescind all unspent Stimulus dollars, but it could also very well could help Kill People.

(Republicans) would cut about $60 billion relative to the 2010 baseline (under which the government is currently operating), or about $100 billion compared to President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget request (which was never enacted).

The GOP’s proposal includes a slew of cuts to important programs, agencies, and investments, and would be detrimental to job creation, education, and scientific research. But they also specifically zero out many programs, cutting their funding entirely, including:

– High speed rail investments ($5 billion)

– COPS Hiring (supporting local law enforcement) ($298 million)

– High School Graduation Initiative ($50 million)

– Weatherization assistance program ($210 million)

– National Park Service climate change monitoring and response ($4.5 million)

– Corporation for Public Broadcasting ($86 million)

– Green Jobs Innovation Fund ($40 million)


the proposal includes a 22 percent reduction in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, massive cuts in basic science research, budgets slashing seeking to essentially eliminate U.S. government research on climate change, ... a true anti-science syndrome agenda.

This would be in additional to cutting all Health Care Funding, all funding for Wall Street Reform as well as funding to help stop lose nukes.

On Friday, House Republicans put forth a “continuing resolution” (CR) to fund the government past March 4th that was filled with spending cuts. While this came as no surprise, one focus of the cuts is causing some heads to turn. House Republicans are choosing to significantly cut the National Nuclear Security Administration’s nonproliferation programs, the sole purpose of which is to prevent terrorists from getting their hands on loose nuclear weapons and materials. While Republicans have talked about the need to inflict pain in their budget, doing so in a way that increases the risk of the nuclear annihilation of an American city is perhaps taking the pledge too far.

House Republicans have proposed to cut funding for these programs by 22 percent or $647 million. Michelle Marchesano of the Partnership for Global Security warns:

The US programs charged with securing fissile materials and thwarting terrorists’ efforts to acquire them are among the victims of this year’s federal budget fights. … Without appropriated budgets commensurate to program agendas, efforts to improve global nuclear material security will stall.

So the GOP don't want to spend on Health Care to help save the Lives of 45,000 Americans per year, they won't spend on Food Safety, Clear Air or Water (EPA), early warnings for Hurricanes and Storms (NOAA), to protect America from Nuclear Terrorism or from reckless Wall Street Investing which nearly destroyed the World's Economy - but they will spend to make Jet Engines we don't need?

The President has essentially staked out the middle ground, calling for tax increases (reversing the Bush Cuts), investments to spur the economy further and some spending cuts. Democrats need to champion their priorities, even if they differ from the President to pull as much of the budget back from the abyss as possible while the Republicans are sliding slowly off the far right edge. Ultimately this tug of war will probably bring us right back to where the President has started out, but one thing the Republicans can no longer claim is that they don't support spending to create jobs because it's quite obvious that THEY DO.

It's just they support spending on things we don't need, while Democrats want to invest on things that not only create jobs, they'll also save lives.


No comments: