| There are a bunch of kids in my neighborhood. They all play together because, well, they're the kids in the neighborhood. There's one bad kid. He's a bully, and he sometimes beats up the other kids. He also performs a certain amount of neighborhood vandalism. The police won't do anything because he's "too young" (which ends next year) and his mother won't do anything.
I felt like I was watching another version of the neighborhood kids yesterday. The president (aka one of the younger kids in terms of who has power) decided to schedule a speech when the Republicans had scheduled a debate. Boehner, the bully, said no. Politico, playing the role of the police, declined to move the debate. Obama agreed to be bullied, but kept playing because, well, these are the kids in the neighborhood.
Astounding. Admittedly, it's not a direct correlation. But the tone was the same.
While the three branches of government spar over issues and ideology, this is the first time in history that Congress ever said FU to a sitting president who wanted to come down Pennsylvania Avenue and make a speech. It is appalling. And it makes me wonder whether Boehner will not extend an invitation in January for Obama to make his annual State of the Union address. He has to be invited. Again, appalling.
On the flip side, like the kid who never gets to choose what game the neighborhood group will play, Obama should have known better then to ask for the date already picked for a Republican event. And yes, someone in the White House had to know. It wasn't an oversight.
But there is something as important as infighting, more important to most, the issue that Obama wanted to speak on: JOBS. Obama will be speaking in the House, next Thursday, on his new jobs program. And the question is where Obama will start on the football field. The major progressive organizations have sent an open letter asking him to go big. They say:
Think about the major jobs programs over time: they don't just create jobs, they improve America. Last night, I caught a bit of Rachel, and the woman filling in for her reminded me that Ike's national highway program was not just a jobs program, but a national defense program. (We can talk later about whether putting that much money into roads in lieu of public transport contributed to the current oil usage problem, but that's for another day.) TVA brought electricity to millions. We still use the schools and public buildings constructed under Roosevelt. The list goes on. The sole jobs program the right likes is the one that employs people to build things, and deploy things, that kill people. Is that REALLY the one jobs program you want to survive the schoolyard infighting?
If Obama only goes for what he things he can get, or if he even mentions the deficit, we've lost. And when I say "we" I mean people who work for a living, those who wish they were working, kids who get an education, people who serve the public, like cops, firemen and teachers, you know, "us".
A new study released Wednesday found that 25 of the 100 highest-paid U.S. CEOs actually earned more than their companies paid in federal income taxes last year[...]
Some of the companies on the list benefited by keeping money that would have been taxed in offshore subsidiaries – places such as Bermuda and Luxembourg.
Those include General Electric, whose CEO Jeff Immelt raked in $15.2 million in 2010, while the company earned a $3.3 billion federal refund, and Boeing, which gave top boss Jim McNerney $13.8 million, while shelling out just $13 million in federal taxes.
The kid in my neighborhood who gets beaten up on a regular basis has only one hope. That all of us who stand idly by instead take turns hanging out in small groups, watching the kids, and then intervening. You know where this analogy is going...call your rep and Senators: say "shared sacrifice" and "jobs" and "go big." It may not work. You can see the latest reply I received from my Congressman after the jump. But it's still worth trying.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding the budget deficit. I appreciate hearing your concerns and for the opportunity to share my thoughts as well.
Since World War II, the budget deficit is at its highest ever—both in terms of real dollars and as a share of our country's gross domestic product (GDP). This year alone, the budget deficit is projected to reach $1.6 trillion, which is about 9% of GDP. If current law remains unchanged, our fiscal policy is on an unsustainable path. The federal deficit—and the interest on that debt—will outpace our national income.
The problem is the Federal government is spending more than it's collecting. Government spending has reached its highest level as a share of GDP since 1945, and the revenues collected to finance this spending has reached their lowest level since 1950. It is estimated that the taxes collected this year will be less that 15% of the GDP. The real predicament lies with the growth of mandatory entitlement spending. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid roughly account for three-quarters of all spending. With the retirement of the baby boomers, the rising cost of healthcare, and increasing life expectancy, this percentage is expected to accelerate in the future. By mid-century, the cost of Social Security and Medicare alone are expected to exceed all total revenues.
If we are to stave off another fiscal crisis, Congress needs to take immediate steps to reduce the growing deficit in the near-term. That is why I voted in favor of the Budget Control Act. It is a small, but important first step in curbing our mounting national debt. In the long-term, Congress and the Administration will need to enact policy reforms that cut government spending, raise revenue, or a combination of both.
Raising taxes on the rich alone will not fix the deficit. A tax increase for the top 2% of U.S. households, as President Obama proposes, will only bring in $34 billion annually. According to economists, that amount will only "cover nine days' worth of the deficit." Currently, 51 percent of American households pay no federal income tax. Of those, 23.8 million low-income tax filers receive approximately $47.5 billion in cash assistance through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) based on current figures.
It is vital that Congress moves forward to restore America's financial health and I believe all solutions should be on the table for consideration. As Congress considers further deficit reduction proposals, I will certainly bear your thoughts in mind.
Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue. If I can be of any assistance to you or your family in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.
With kind regards, I am
Member of Congress
By the way, he didn't answer to my points, which were "shared sacrifice" and "raise my taxes", but I keep trying.