Thursday, June 29, 2006

What about the revenue side?

Just in case you forgot Sullivan was a conservative, he comes out with this: “I'm fine with Porkbusters, but it needs to be said again and again that pork is not our real problem. Middle-class entitlements are.” He’s right that entitlement programs form an enormous portion of Federal Spending, and dwarf even the egregious amounts of pork these Republicans have feasted on, but I wouldn’t call entitlements “our real problem”. I would say our real problems from a fiscal point of view are our broken system of paying for health care (which will cause Medicare costs to skyrocket) and Republican eagerness for tax give-aways to those who suffer from having enormous amounts of money. Republican propaganda has turned this country into a bunch of revenue-sissies who want government to do a bunch of stuff but don’t want to actually pay for it. Sorry folks, stuff costs money (especially wars). No amount of Club for Growth talking point recital is going to change that.

That being said, I don’t think looking at Social Security and other entitlements should be the “third rail” of politics. Maybe some adjustments will have to be made to ensure their financial solvency, and we should discuss them sanely and calmly. But I have to say I’m deeply suspicious of the motives of Republicans on this subject. They say entitlement programs are in a “financial crisis”, yet they are very willing to eliminate the estate tax and the capital gains tax. I guess a “crisis” means it’s OK to cut middle class entitlements, but rich people’s money is sacrosanct. It’s this regressive agenda that makes me dig in my heels whenever Republicans attack social programs in the name of financial responsibility.

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