Pamela Powers, 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]
Pam, you did an excellent job of debunking this forum. There is no reason we should not hold Rep. Giffords responsible for this gross obfuscation of “the facts” as David Walker repeated so many times in this presentation. She remains in office and whether she is permanently disabled or not, she remains responsible for the activities of her office. I think this material is pretty close to Democratic “Blue Dog” thinking anyway. They are more concerned with attempting to appear “non-partisan” in effort to retain their offices than they are in actually solving problems in a way that reveals the true imbalance of class forces in the country today. You are spot on in your text as you present known solutions to the deficit and “debt crisis”. One of the major contributors to the National Debt was the Obama economic stimulus program without which the country would have plunged into a full blown depression. The most egregious lie in the presentation is the obfuscation of the responsible parties and the parties which actually solved the problem. You did this in your text by pointing out the policies of the Reagan and GW Bush administrations and that of HW Bush and Clinton. We need to disseminate this video far and wide. Thank you for your hard work and talent.
This is a culture war. 50 years ago between about 66 percent and 80 percent of the upper quarter of incomes was subject to non-unearned income and fica. Today that figure is flipped to between 25 percent and 33 percent. That is, much of the upper quarter of incomes have escaped fica and have disappeared into the realm of un-earned income – 15 to 17 percent all while the working and middle class incomes have stagnated.
The solution? Pull the upper income ranges back down out of the un-earned income categories and extend fica – both back to where they were.
The problem that exists is a consequence of the culture war. You cant remove/excuse the most benefitted people (and corporations) from fiscal responsibility while destroying the consumer/working class. The thugs/oligarchs believe that all will be well if only they can keep all their money, bear no responsibility fiscally and receive public supports to protect them from losses. Of course they are myopic amygdalites (sp). Their world view is transient at best ending in collapse … unsustainable … absent a productive consumer/worker class.
Lets recall that a buyer beware (social darwinist) – that I call NAmers for north americans to distinguish them from post revolution americans – culture existed in north america for about 3 centuries prior to the radical introduction of egalitarianism in 1800 with the founding of the US. The NAmers have never embraced american egalitarianism and have fought it at every opportunity. I would argue that events from the civil war to the rise of modern post war american fascism are all events in the history of the NAmers.
They wont stop until they win. They are relentless and victory oriented. They dont compromise and they absolutely hate democracy. They will in the end (probably) kill the egalitarian state and the economy in the process.
But then, they probably already own homes overseas. After all the next Obama generation has already decided to be fluent in Chinese.
“They wont stop until they win. They are relentless and victory oriented. They dont compromise and they absolutely hate democracy. They will in the end (probably) kill the egalitarian state and the economy in the process.”
I believe this to be true. I also believe, as Aristotle said, “Poverty is the parent of crime and revolution”. We anti-capitalists will be waiting and watching. Perhaps you can scare them with that knowledge.
Thanks for covering this flim-flam “meeting”. The presenters were brought forth as great experts but without full disclosure as to how they and this “tour” are being funded. The presentation offered a lot of numbers and graphics but who knows if there were any actual facts (slides and terms whizzed through or skipped altogether, without opportunity for explanation, clarification or again, how those “facts” were gathered.) Questions and answers were not asked or answered. And in the end, the intention of the deficit reduction exercise must have been to obfucate further and to prove how we mere citizens would be incapable of offering any solutions.
So how did the intelligent and caring constituents in attendance who DID take the time to diligently push through the pages and pages of options (and who recognized clearly and discussed together how limited the options presented actually were) feel upon realization that the “work” we did together was not being noted in any way – the worksheets we compiled were not collected, the numbers reported verbally were not recorded, no event evaluation surveys…
I feel embarrassed as I walked away, at having been had by the meanness of the evening – a party where no cake was served and where the offerings of the guests were never even put on the table.
What’s taking the district Dems so long to begin the official process of a replacement candidate? The fact that over 6 months has passed and the representative has not made “a public statement without a note-taker” should be of concern to Democrats who care about effective support of **TRUE Democratic Party views** in Congress.
What I found especially disturbing about this forum was the organizers’ overlooking of the fact why Congresswoman Giffords wasn’t there. And that was because she was shot by a very disturbed young man.
Could it be possible that some program was eliminated, or had its funding cut so severely, that people like Jared Lee Loughner could not get help? And is the solution to this problem even more cuts?
Lavishing credit on Bill Clinton, who stripped the country of its manufacturing base with NAFTA and GATT gives a great example of how misleading the label “progressive” can be.
Bixby and Walker were on the downlow and didn’t think a lot of attention would be drawn to them as they began the push for austerity measures in the United States. No one politician was supposed to suffer political damage in this power vacuum district. Meanwhile riots are taking place in the streets of Greece over their country’s similar financial predicament. Greece is so desperate, they are reduced to helping Israel block the flotillas! Here are three posts without corporate party influence:
U.S. Austerity Measures: Putting the Cart before the Horse
Push for Austerity Measures Coming to a U.S Congressional District Near You
Representative Giffords’ Staff Pushes Austerity Measures, Moves to Suppress Constituents’ Single Payer Healthcare Message