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Hullabaloo


Thursday, December 20, 2012

 
Cliff Schechter tells it like it is

by David Atkins

Democrats in D.C. need to listen to Cliff Schechter:

Polls are crystal clear (including the GOP's approval rating on this--just north of Norovirus!) on how we should solve the debt non-crisis--raising taxes on those who have benefited most from what this country has to offer, cutting defense, not touching earned benefits. They're earned for a reason, boys and girls.

So while as I said up top, I am much happier with the Obama Administration's bargaining posture this time around (although, frankly, when compared to giving up the public option and gobs of needed stimulus before starting to negotiate, it wasn't all that tough a record to beat), we need to get a few things clear. Obama won in a 332 to 206 electoral-vote landslide, by over 4.7 million votes. He has "political capital" as George W. Bush said of himself after winning the weakest reelection in modern times in 2004, not clearing the 270-threshold by enough to limbo under and winning the popular vote by less than 2.8 million. Democrats also picked up seats in a heavily gerrymandered House and 2 seats in the Senate, a near-impossible feat when defending more than twice as many of them.

In addition, taxes go up automatically if we do nothing, and there are ways, if the Obama Administration is willing to use them (perhaps, for once, Democrats should try asking themselves what Republicans would do?), to raise the debt ceiling without Mr. Orange in the House. So not only should there be very little compromise here, but here is what smart, progressive governance would actually look like in the current situation, if you consider there the leverage is:

1) Lower the Medicare age to 40

2) Bulk negotiation and reimportation of prescription drugs for Medicare

3) Double Social Security benefits (per the New America Foundation)

3) Add an additional tax rate for over $1 million per year of 50%, let's call it the "First Term Reagan" tax rate, end the ridiculous Romney-ish "carried interest loophole" (per Warren Buffett)

4) Decriminalization of recreational drugs--you know, to save the billions wasted in criminal justice costs, if not for moral reasons (per Richard Branson)

5) Cut defense spending by at least $110 billion as Rep. Jan Schakowsky has called for (explained best by Red Dawn...sort of)

6) Get out of Afghanistan--yesterday (explained best by common sense, experiences of the last century and War Of The Worlds)

That, of course, is just a start.
Not all of these are politically possible, of course, but they should certainly be baselines for negotiation and executive threats. It is simply astonishing that after an enormous landslide in 2012 we're sailing right down the austerity course without much of any ballast from the left. Politics in this country are very broken.











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