Great News: America Is Not Broke!

Republican Speaker John Boehner recently made the news when he was questioned about his proposed cuts to education and social programs he claimed that we as a nation are “broke” and if his spending cuts caused people to lose their jobs, “so be it.” At a time when our economy is pulling out of one of the worst recessions in American history his comments appears more than a little callous. Along the lines of “let them eat cake.”

But it is important that we are not fooled by the radical right into believing the lie that America is broke.

As usual the Republicans are not telling us the truth, in the hope that we’ll just shut up and be obedient. After all as Republicans continue to destroy our education system it won’t be long before the average American will be too uneducated and ill-informed to even understand why they should be worried about their horrific policy decisions.

The lie that Republicans are peddling is that we need to tighten our belts, accept massive cut backs in our budget, because America needs to balance the budget. And sadly when these philosophies are dumbed down, too many Americans simply refuse to stand up and call Republicans out for their lies. They know the economy is having a hard time, they know that personally they are having to tighten their belts, so it seems to make sense that government too should cut back.

The problem though, is that in truth we as a nation are the richest in the world. According to the Wall Street Journal the average net worth per American is $182,000, even after this horrific recession. A pretty high sounding number, skewed of course by the top couple of percent of the population pulling our average up sharply to this fairly unrealistic sounding number.

So the Republicans are now pushing through bills designed to attack charities they don’t like, curtail women’s rights, put educators out of work, dismantle social policies, throw children off health care plans, and generally hurt the middle class and add to the ranks of unemployed. The same party that ran in 2010 on the platform of creating jobs, now seemingly could give two hoots about anything that gets in the way of their agenda (including killing jobs).

However, Republicans will not address the two big steroid taking elephants in the room, and these are military spending and the Bush tax cuts.

At the end of last year Republicans forced Obama’s hand and refused to co-operated in any way unless the top 2% of the population received billions of dollars in tax cuts. The Democrats had no choice but to compromise with Republicans so that the unemployed and middle class would not be hurt by the Republicans despicable act of blackmail. So here we are just a few months later watching Republicans pass bills that will throw people out of jobs, hurt our poor and middle class, reduce standards in education, and bankrupt charities that are trying to help the vulnerable in our society.

America needs to be better than this. We cannot solve a budget crisis by dumping on the poor and the vulnerable. If we personally are running a little low on money for the month, we don’t go and punch an old lady in the face and run off with her purse. But this is what Republicans want us to do.

We could stop wasting money on our military, we could stop having a troop presence in 150+ countries, we could stop waging war in the Middle East. We could just say to the millionaires and billionaires that they’ve had their tax breaks for the time being, and the country that made them incredibly rich needs a little pay back. And I’m not talking about anything that would affect their quality of life in any way. Just a few percentage points more, so that people don’t have to suffer and slip into poverty traps.

While we are at it, there are some massive corporations out there too who are using our ridiculous tax code to avoid paying what they are supposed to pay to contribute to our society.

Unfortunately the Republicans have now maneuvered to the extreme right where corporate accountability and taxation of the richest people is simply unconscionable. The Democrats are still living in a fantasy world where both parties can come together in a mutually beneficial way and produce bipartisan bills that will benefit all sides. And not enough Americans are standing up and saying that this direction is dangerous, selfish, and wrong.

America is not broke, it never was. The problem we have is that the rich have staged a bloodless coup and made off with all our money. They have used their powerful connections to put Republican puppets in place that will continue to deregulate, turn a blind eye, and create tax loopholes for them, so that they can keep their money and power and allow it to grow. The gap is now so wide that the top 20% richest Americans now receive 49.4% of all income generated in the US, while 28 States last year saw an increase in the number of people earning less than $10,977 a year. (AP – September 2010).

Republicans under George Bush have deliberately enacted laws designed to rob from the poor and give to the rich. The same Republicans now are pushing budget ideas that will slash funding for important programs that predominately benefit the poor, while lying to us and telling us it is because we are broke. These same Republicans pushed through laws at the end of last year sheltering the rich elite of this country from having to pay their fair share.

What’s sad is that like with climate change, we may have already reached the tipping point here. Greedy Republicans are not going to lie down and play nice. They will pursue their selfish agenda relentlessly and will not stop until we rise up and vote them out of office.

If America is going to survive, we have to get real about what we spend and who we tax. We cannot afford to spend six times what China spends on the military. We cannot keep allowing major corporations to dodge our tax laws by using loopholes and off shores tax havens. We cannot keep allocating billions of dollars to a budget designed to allow millionaires and billionaires to not pay into the system adequately.

The Republicans keep peddling the lie that Democrats spend too much, which is laughable when you consider how much the last Republican administration expanded government and spent money like an impulsive cocaine addict. They used to tell us their bad decisions were all okay because we were ‘at war.’ Now they tell us that their bad policies are okay because we ‘are broke.’

The fact is their policies are just bad, no matter how you look at them. It’s time to fight back, vote them out of office, and take a more moderate path before they do irreversible damage to our country.