Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Budget Plan You Haven’t Heard

Kenneth M. O’Brien


Cut the deficit!

Save Medicare!

It’s the Ryan budget vs. the Obama budget!

If you listen to the media (mainstream or conservative), these are the choices.

And House Conservatives, unanimously endorsing the Ryan plan, have drawn a line in the sand. If they don’t get concessions following Ryan’s plan, then raising the national debt ceiling is in doubt.

If this were not so serious, it would be amusing.

Why?

Because, by its own admission, the Ryan plan increases the budget deficit by $6 trillion over the next ten years.

Now, maybe I’m dense, but how can you hold an increase in the debt-ceiling hostage to a plan that requires such an increase for its success?

The Obama plan is no better.

It would increase the deficit by $7 trillion over the next decade.

Both plans (or so-called budgets) don’t propose balancing the budget until the 2030’s.

Thanks to the media, the American public has been led to believe that these are the choices.

It makes for great television and radio. It allows the talking heads to say it’s either this or that. It’s all about the ratings. The underlying assumption is, of course, that the American public is too stupid to hold more than any two competing ideas in their heads at any time.

It is what is called a Hobson’s choice. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, a Hobson’s choice is, “the necessity of accepting one of two or more equally objectionable alternatives.” To put it simply, it would be requiring a man to answer “yes” or “no” to the question, “Have you stopped beating your wife?”

Now, for just a moment, let’s assume that a third alternative was put forward that preserved the existing social safety net and balanced the budget in ten years. However, let’s also assume that the plan was put forward by the American Nazi Party or an American Communist Party.

Would you even look at it?

Probably not. Certainly the media would dismiss it and refuse to cover it.

After all, the question of whether the ideas are valid or the plan would work are irrelevant. The source is fundamentally “un-American” Ideology is all that matters. Thank God we are eliminating the space program because its father, Wernher von Braun was a Nazi, and I’ve really got to reconsider being a Catholic given the history of the current Pope.

The point is that there is an alternative plan.

It preserves the social safety net.

It balances the budget in ten years.

No less a source of Conservative empiricism than The Economist, has stated, “the  Congressional Progressive Caucus plan wins the fiscal responsibility derby thus far; it reaches balance by 2021 largely through assorted tax hikes and defense cuts.’ Which is pretty interesting. Have you ever heard of the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget plan? Neither had I. The caucus's co-chairs, Raul Grijalva of Arizona and Keith Ellison of Minnesota, released it on April 6th. The budget savings come from defence cuts, including immediately withdrawing from Afghanistan and Iraq, which saves $1.6 trillion over the CBO baseline from 2012-2021. The tax hikes include restoring the estate tax, ending the Bush tax cuts, and adding new tax brackets for the extremely rich, running from 45% on income over a million a year to 49% on income over a billion a year.”Ahh, but it’s from the Progressive (read “Liberal”) caucus.

Once again we get to something that is funny if it wasn’t so serious.

The so-called mainstream media (which is supposed to be overwhelmingly “Liberal”) has virtually ignored this proposal.

Liberals may as well call themselves “Nazis” or “Communists”.

Contrary to what the right wing  would like to believe, Liberals are offering real and practical alternatives.

Contrary to what the right wing would like to believe, the media is a tool of corporate profitability, not of reasoned political discourse.

And, contrary to prevailing public opinion, Liberalism does offer a viable alternative to our current descent into social disintegration. In many ways it dovetails nicely with a recent policy proposal for national revitalization put forward by two top Pentagon officials.

The question you have to address is, if it will work, is it more important to you to be a Conservative, a Liberal, or an American?

More to come after you have the chance to review THE PEOPLE’S BUDGET.

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