|Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons|
The Deficit Reduction Plan is supposed to cut $4 trillion from the budget by 2020, by attacking social security, imposing a regressive sales tax, cutting Medicaid and federal jobs, while giving away huge tax breaks to the rich and to corporations. The fact that social security has no connection to the deficit, and that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue to be fully funded, while the rich will get tax cuts, should make it abundantly clear that “deficit reduction” is not the real goal.
The deficit crisis, like so many other crises, is a fabrication to justify further transfers of wealth from the masses to the richest 1%, allowing the Stinky Rich to Become Even Stinkier. Durbin’s explanation for his support was the same as everyone else’s: “We all have to acknowledge the deficit crisis in this nation.” Yet the federal government is not like the rest of us, who do have to “live within our means.” They can continue to print money, as they always have during times of economic crisis. During the Great Depression, the federal government amassed a huge deficit to fund public works that put millions of Americans to work repairing infrastructure that was later used profitably by business and leisurely by the public. The comparisons with European countries like Greece and Ireland are also bogus, as those countries, being members of the EU, cannot print their own money.
The notion that tax breaks for corporations and the richest 1% are necessary for job creation is an equally absurd notion. They have had these same tax breaks since the beginning of the recession, and did little to create jobs. Banks used TARP and other bailout money to pay huge bonuses to their executives and to gobble up weaker institutions, but created few jobs and didn’t even increase lending. In contrast, the tax rate on the richest Americans was raised from 24%, in 1929, to 64%, in 1932, right in the middle of the Great Depression, when unemployment was nearing its highest point. Government spending also increased dramatically in 1932, when FDR started to implement New Deal public works projects.