Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Joe Heck: Destroying America's Trust in Our Economy

Earlier this month, Joe Heck slipped this piece of legislation into THOMAS. It's called the "Restoring America's Faith and Trust Act", and it sounds as "American as apple pie!" I mean, come on, who doesn't like "Restoring America's Faith and Trust"?

Yet beneath that "All American" veneer, we discover something quite frightening. But before we take a closer look at Heck's bill, let's remember something Desert Beacon stated last week. This will really come in handy.

We are currently involved in two military operations, only one of which looks to be winding down in real time. These are expensive now in terms of operational expenses, and will continue to add costs as veterans return and we incur expenses for their medical, educational, and economic needs. Broadcast media reporting generally informs us about the strategy, end-game options, and operations in the field, but rarely explores how much this might be costing us on an annual basis, much less what the total expenses might be in the long run.

We have a tax structure that rewards non-work, i.e. the accumulation of capital gains, taxed at 15% and penalizes real work by taxing it at a higher rate, 35%. The lowest the top bracket has ever been came during the 1988 and 1989 tax years (28%), to be increased to 31% in 1990. It has stood at 35% since 2003. Again, broadcast media lets us know that we are “taxed to death” but rarely provides any historical context or economic analysis. The present system rewards those who play the Wall Street Casino games by taxing their income at 15% while those engaged in what most people would call “work” in the higher paid professions are paying 35%. The broadcast media has also been remiss in not providing the context of tax payments — we are paying the lowest actual taxes since Eisenhower was in the Oval Office.

This is the real heart of the current "debt/deficit 'crisis'". Because the economy is still shaky, the military had been overextended when George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq just a year after starting the Afghanistan war, and Bush actually CUT taxes on the super-rich instead of raising taxes to pay for the wars, we now face this huge budget deficit. Long before teabaggers supposedly started fretting about deficits and debt, their future Republican BFFs in Congress were regularly maxing out the nation's credit card when they refused to raise taxes (or cut spending) to pay for what they wanted.

So is this what Joe Heck's bill addresses? Nope, far from it! Nowhere in Heck's "Restoring America's Faith and Trust Act" does it address the Bush tax rates, war spending, or economic health. Instead, Heck wants to slash federal investment in our people to 2006 levels and fire more public sector workers! Even though we have more miltary veterans in need of VA care, college students in need of Pell Grants, working poor families in need of Medicaid and food stamps, retirees in need of Medicare and Social Security, and unemployed workers in need of unemployment insurance, Heck refuses to acqknowledge this reality and instead has introduced this bill that would plunge our economy into double-dip recession if enacted!

If we were to slash all these programs and more, we would all pay the price of further suffering. Without unemployment insurance, those without work can't survive. Same goes for seniors on Medicare, working poor families on food stamps and Medicaid, students with Pell Grants, and veterans using VA assistance. If they can't even buy food and basic supplies, let alone purchase anything else, our economy would take a massive hit. Oh, and in the longer term the budget deficit would only worsen as tax revenue plunges because of even more people losing their jobs.

Just like Dean Heller's unbalanced BBA nonsense, Joe Heck's try at fiscal kabuki theater would be just as destructive to our economy if implemented. Don't believe me? Look at Europe. Because of the increasingly extreme austerity regimes being imposed from Britain to Spain to Greece and more, economic growth has come to a halt. (And if it weren't for France and Germany and their "big spending ways", the entire Euro-zone would already officially be in recession.)

So why is Joe Heck doing this? Why does he want to risk torpedoing our economy into another (and potentially worse) recession? Well, why not ask him? He has to hear from us that the economy can't handle any more petty political games. The deficit that Americans are worrying about the most is the JOBS deficit, and Heck's "bitter pill" that he wants us to swallow would only hurt us more.

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