They are trying to tell us that the problem with the economy is the "debt."
It makes sense because "they" are the billionaires who are doing very well in today's economy. In order to continue doing so, however, they have to make "debt reduction," not fixing our broken economy, the focus of national attention.
The billionaires don't need jobs. For the 99 percent, however, fixing the economy means creating a good-paying, family-sustaining job, not a part-time gig at McDonald's, for every one of the 25 million people still looking for work.
The billionaires don't worry about plummeting wages - that's how they make their billions, in fact. For the 99 percent, however, fixing the economy means stopping the continuing free-fall of wages. More than 93 percent of the "growth" in the economy last year went to the top 1 percent of the population. The billionaires are happy about record corporate profits. For the 99 percent, however, those record profits are the result of the falling wages they have been experiencing for the last 30 years.
For the 99 percent, fixing the economy means ending the greatest gap between rich and poor that we have ever seen.
For the people, the goal is an economy that works for working people.
Republicans have reluctantly agreed to higher taxes for some of the richest folks. But now, they say, we have to make spending cuts, particularly in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. What they really mean: More workers need to be thrown out of work providing these services. More families need spend more on health and survival, and lose their homes in the process. More children need to go to bed hungry.
You can't rebuild a broken economy by dismantling key parts of it (in this case Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.)
When World War II ended, the U.S. debt was at a historic high - larger than the entire Gross Domestic Product - and has never been that high since then. That debt was ended, not by cutting budgets, but by passing massive jobs bills for returning veterans, massive spending bills to subsidize housing for millions and construct interstate highways from one end of the country to the other, and by spending billions on a Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe. (That, by the way, was how they created a big overseas market for U.S. goods). It was those moves, not cuts to Social Security, that balanced the post-war economy and thereby ended a historic "debt crisis."
Investing trillions of dollars in modernizing our infrastructure, our schools and our communications systems, and in developing green energy, would put untold millions to work. They would be paying taxes, patronizing businesses and keeping the economy cooking.
So when the Republican billionaire frontmen tell you we need "shared sacrifice" or a "balanced approach," don't listen. Should sacrifices be shared by the criminal and his victim? How can you ask everyone to sacrifice when, last year, the top 1 percent grabbed 93 percent of the growth of the entire economy? How can you ask everyone to sacrifice equally when, over the last 30 years, the working people are the ones who have made all the sacrifices?
The big long-term deficit is driven by our broken job-shedding economy. Fix the economy to benefit the vast majority. End the jobs deficit, and the "budget deficit" will be a thing of the past.
Photo: Glyn Lowe Photoworks // CC 2.0