Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
The featured speakers at a recent deficit reduction town hall in Tucson– David Walker from the Comeback America Initiative and Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition— were well-versed in how bad the US economy is, the dangers of out-of-control spending, revisionist history on how we got here, and the right-wing solutions for fixing our financial problems.
The ideas covered in the talks (eg, government is too big; we need to cut spending; entitlement programs are burying us economically; healthcare reform costs too much; corporations are taxed too much; Washington is in gridlock) were almost as disturbing as the budget-balancing ideas that were left out (eg, end the wars; drop our inefficient and costly, capitalism-based healthcare system for single-payer national healthcare; put people to work at good-paying jobs, so they can fuel the economy and contribute to Social Security; end the Bush era tax cuts; raise the Social Security contribution cap; close corporate tax loopholes; disincentivize sending US jobs to other countries; end the war on drugs, legalize marijuana and tax it; invest in research to create new good jobs going forward; invest in public education and subsidize college to grow our next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs; end our love affair with trickle-down economics).
Walker repeatedly said that both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for the out-of-control spending that has increased the deficit and the debt. Ironically, Walked never mentioned trickle-down economics or Presidents Ronald Reagan or George Bush #2– two people whose failed economic policies did more to bury our country in debt than anyone else. He said that the deficit and debt were under control until 1982, when magically everything went south– with no mention of who was elected in 1982 and what he [Reagan] did to destroy the economy.
Walker did give Presidents George Bush #1 and Bill Clinton credit for being fiscally responsible and reducing the deficit but didn’t mention that they both raised taxes (something Republicans in Congress refuse to do now). He also never mentioned that after Bill Clinton raised taxes on the rich and controlled spending, he oversaw the longest economic boom in US history and handed George Bush #2 a budget surplus. In fact, when Walker mentioned the recent 10-year period where all hell broke loose financially, he left out the role of Bush #2 and his Republican-controlled Congress, who cut taxes, started multiple unfunded wars, spent money we didn’t have, handed pharmaceutical companies a blank check with the Medicare prescription drug benefit, and oversaw the largest economic collapse since the Great Depression. This is revisionist history at its best… or worst.
The evening ended with small-group, interactive deficit-reduction roundtable discussions where people could share ideas. Check out this post which includes a link to the New York Times’ deficit reduction exercise if you want to try your hand at reducing the deficit and debt.
This town hall was awash right-wing ideals. So, why was it sponsored by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ staff? And, why was Giffords’ staff overtly suppressing free speech at the event? It should have been sponsored by the Tucson Tea Party. Check out the video for clips of the speeches and discussion.
[tnivideo caption=”Deficit Reduction: Congress, I’m Tired of Your Jive” credit=”Pamela Powers”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uUZTHLLO6A[/tnivideo]