Debt Deal: Win, Lose or Draw What’s Next and What It All Means

No immanent US default, no partial or total shutdown of the US government, no basement stock market plunge making the great depression look like a ripple; social security checks, TANF stipends, food stamps allotments all went out on time and will at least until somewhere around thanksgiving when the newly designed super committee must come up with 1.5 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years. Medicare and Medicaid are safe for roughly about the same amount of time although could be in more jeopardy should said super committee not come up with a plan and the trigger set in place be pushed. Congress members on both sides of the aisle hate it Nancy Pelosi calling it a satan sandwich with some satan fries on the side and while ordinary Americans are still disgusted with Washington, wondering how we got so close to a disastrous outcome their ideas broadcast on C-span comment shows, 5 people ABC News found from all political ideologies, sat in a room, given an hour to see if they could solve what congress can’t, don’t seem to be able to do much better than politicians themselves in determining what to cut. Present are the same redundant ideas on which items to slice and dice which people to hurt, which ones to help regardless of who it is there may be plenty of compromise among the American people but no creativity.

Unfortunately all the current deal does is kick the can down the road a couple of years before we start seeing cuts in important programs like Medicare, aid to the needy, food stamps, subsidized housing, doesn’t contain any revenue generation whatsoever, raise taxes on the wealthiest of citizens, does nothing to correct tax loopholes costing this nation arguably billions annually. The last two things might be enacted by the super committee; it stagnates job growth as businesses wishing to expand won’t because they don’t know what’s coming as it pertains to the markets, government regulation or potential threat of another default, as this rise in the debt ceiling will only carry us to the 2012 election and yet another changing of the guard, so to speak. Sadly it also blatantly exposes the backward priorities of Washington clearly sending the message we will pay subsidies to big oil before we make sure the elderly and disabled get their social security, Medicare, Medicaid they need to live, before special schools for those with autism and other disorders are funded, saving money in the long run making sure such persons are as independent and self-sufficient as possible. We, or rather they, will reduce defense spending undermining our never ending fight against terrorism, at home and abroad, before demanding large corporations stop receiving subsidies, saying it will hurt small businesses; we will continue tax loopholes for individuals, businesses while cutting funding to educate our children, undeniably our future, watching states close national parks, reduce police forces, fire departments, infrastructure projects. We will ensure top government workers keep six figure incomes and healthcare for life while most Americans are lucky to make 50,000 a year, as tea party republicans and extreme democrats wonder if the people have the stomach for the cuts that need to be made because they say “cut, but not my program.”

Truthfully it appears “we” will fund everything but what’s needed; Claire McCaskill said it best during Meet the Press on Sunday: there is a difference between telling Warren Buffet no; we won’t pay for your prescription drugs and turning Medicare into a voucher program. You could easily go further saying there is a difference between telling those who make at least a quarter of a million dollars a year your retirement, your healthcare is your responsibility because you have assets, you can easily put something into an IRA, you have investments, sending the message to rap stars, movie stars and sports players to mind their fortune because they will not be eligible for social safety nets; instead we’re telling individuals who made 30 thousand or less you have to pay more or will receive no help in their twilight years. Likewise there is a difference between taxing the wealthy, again making a quarter of a million or more annually, and of course if you make only the bottom number in that bracket paying less than a multi-millionaire, billionaire vs. taxing every day Americans earning mere fractions of the above. Similarly corporations amassing profits nearly as staggering as the national debt itself, capable of affording a corporate jet being asked to pay more, being asked to forfeit their subsidy, they can clearly operate without, should have no bearing on small businesses because they aren’t large enough to incur the tax and is only fair so that mom and pop stores, businesses just getting off the ground can afford to pay their workers, meet their expenditures.

And what does congress do after passing a deal set to gouge from those who can least afford it- go on vacation leaving unfinished business, leaving no deal to fund the FAA, leaving them not paying ticket taxes, thousands laid off as aviation related maintenance and construction projects come to a screeching halt, others asked to continue to work without pay so that things like critical runway inspections can be conducted keeping planes and people safe, costing this nation 30 million dollars a day. The problem partisan bickering over subsidies to rural airports some as much as 3,000 a ticket to airports like one in a wooded area of Pennsylvania filmed by ABC News containing not one soul inside, no one waiting for a plane, no one manning a ticket counter, baggage claim, selling snacks, obviously not a place needing to be kept open at taxpayer expense, particularly in these times. Ironically said events transpire while tea party republicans accuse our nation of having a president addicted to spending, announcing we don’t have a revenue problem we have a spending problem; we spend too much. Yet who knows how many more cases of wasteful, misappropriated funds there are in governments national and local; this is an example of what people mean when they say cut but not my program. They are pleading please start with the wasteful, the unnecessary, things that can be paired down, reduced absent any direct, negative effect on people. Please prioritize the money spent; stop funding people and entities that no longer need it and pay for the things people desperately need. We don’t have a president addicted to spending; we have a president upholding the values of America by taking care of the least of its citizens. Further when most of us were young and in school, if you didn’t finish your work, lollygagged around you didn’t go out to recess, so why was congress even allowed to entertain going on vacation, why did they have to be shamed into returning?

Enter ordinary Americans across all political lines; let’s start with the ABC news 5 who in an hour achieved what Washington couldn’t do for months on end; they came up with the trillion plus spending cuts by raising taxes on the wealthy making 250,000 or more, gradually raising the retirement age to 68, cutting cost of living increases to social security recipients, cutting Medicare, cutting salaries of government workers, eliminating tax loopholes, ethanol subsidies, reducing farm subsidies, putting a dent in defense spending with one single action, reducing our stockpile of nuclear weapons. As always some of this is good some bad but it was also done in an hour; imagine if congress had done the same with the months it had to handle the issue. Most will agree on raising taxes for the wealthy, doing away with loopholes, slashing salaries for upper echelon government workers who seem in it for the money not to serve and defense spending lowered by slashing our nuclear arsenal. Where the trouble begins is in increasing the retirement age both without a workplace cultural shift meaning available jobs for older workers and considering not all workers are physically and mentally healthy enough to work to 68; currently workers as young as 40 have trouble getting a job. Those who do are staggeringly more likely to find themselves laid off repeatedly; removing cost of living raises for persons on social security only compounds the instances of elderly, disabled people eating cat or dog food to get by, choosing between food and lifesaving medications, because said raises don’t keep up with inflation or growing costs of basic items. Cutting Medicare isn’t all bad if it’s done using a laser scalpel of sorts cutting benefits only to the wealthiest of users avoiding more doughnut hole issues, gaps in coverage.

Other citizen suggested cuts can potentially cause adverse effects down the line; completely ending ethanol subsidies could hamper our efforts toward clean energy. However it deserves looking at to see what if any effect ethanol subsidies have on anything, energy or no. Farm subsidies are always a sticking point but without them how do we, as a nation, feed ourselves, how does the world feed itself; droughts and extreme, unexpected weather patterns already cause shortages in food supplies around the globe downright famines like the one currently killing thousands in Africa. Some citizens support a flat tax across the board making it what they perceive as fair and creating a business friendly climate yet it also doesn’t give us the revenue needed to function. Repeal of all NAFTA laws in an effort to keep jobs here in the United States rather than shipping them overseas was an idea put forth on C-span. The decisions aren’t that difficult to make poor, middle class people don’t have to be stretched to the limit, social programs people depend on don’t have to be up ended or disappear, we don’t have to cut basics like education, police, fire, trash collection to get by, we don’t have to dissect defense spending until our national security is in jeopardy, we don’t have to stop trying to bring freedom and justice to parts of the world because people believe we can’t afford it, because it’s a sacrifice to do so.

What we have to do is stop putting money in the wrong places; frankly all government workers i.e. the upper echelon in congress down to city managers and so forth should make about 30,000 a year eliminating the temptation to get in it for the money instead of to serve. We need to put a stop to thinking that the president’s comments about fat cat corporate jet owners is going to hurt jet manufacturers and all the ordinary people they employ, because he truthfully stated if you can afford a corporate jet you can pay a fairer share of taxes. We have no idea what funneling current oil subsidies into social security, Medicare, Medicaid might do to solve our “entitlement problem” or if businesses making such large profits could no longer use their knowledge and connections to receive tax breaks or circumvent paying their taxes a-la GE, if rich people ceased getting more help, more breaks than the most vulnerable, if the famous made their lavish lifestyles last their lifetime. Why do so many feel we, the little people, the average Americans wouldn’t have to pay for nearly all the supplies in our children’s classrooms, wouldn’t be witness to lack of music and art programs. Toll roads, red light cameras and other blatant forms of revenue generation wouldn’t have to be a reality and we could still possess quality highways and byways, public buildings, parks, police forces, fire departments capable of doing their job because they employ the manpower to do so. We don’t know because it’s never been tired but people aren’t usually wrong.

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About Natasha Sapp

Proclaiming an edgy voice of reason to America,while bringing back the common sense to social issues.

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