Romney’s wrong on deficits


According to Mitt Romney, the top economic priority is to put our fiscal house in order. If we don't do something almost immediately, he says, we will walk off a fiscal cliff beyond which is nothing but economic disaster. Our future will resemble Greece's present and worse.

So how does he propose to do this?

On the spending side, he would either ruthlessly cut or eliminate or privatize social programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, while Obamacare, whose benefits are increasingly enjoyed by tens of millions of American people, would be overturned.

A chunk of the spending cuts would also come directly from programs that make life much easier for low and middle income Americans. Spending for infrastructure, education and research that are necessary for economic growth and restructuring would be slashed too. Romney's fiscal plan would place the responsibility of rising health care costs squarely on the shoulders of those least able to afford them.

The food stamp program that is essential for tens of millions in a stagnant economy would be drastically scaled back by a Romney presidency. Housing assistance and Pell Grants would meet a similar fate.

On the revenue side, the main element of his fiscal plan is not what you would logically think, that is, to increase taxes in order to enhance government revenues. Rather Romney would cut taxes of the 1 percent by a whooping $5 trillion (that's on top of the Bush era tax cuts), while increasing taxes on you know who - the 99 percent.

What is the upshot of all this? Do the numbers add up? Would it bring order to our fiscal books and jump-start the economy? Would it put people back to work?

By no means! Instead of reducing the deficit, most analysts say the Romney plan would result in bigger deficits as far into the future as the eye can see.

And instead of stimulating economic activity and creating jobs, his plan would further depress an already depressed economy.

All of which makes me (and many other people) conclude that the Romney plan has other objectives in mind than balancing the federal budget and rebooting the economy.

What interests him and his backers, in fact, is turning the current fiscal and economic crisis into an opportunity (never pass up a crisis) to roll back the social safety net, slash living standards, and radically redistribute income to the very top tiers of our society. Yes, he's a redistributionist!

Luckily, more and more people are seeing through the demagogic fog of Romney, Ryan, and right-wing extremism. The jig may not be quite up, but his defeat on November 6 will be not only send Romney back to Bain Capital - it will also give the people's movement leverage to battle austerity and reactionary redistributive politics in the post-election period.

Fiscal deficits at some point have to be addressed to be sure, but now is not the time. The main focus of public policy now should be on creating good paying jobs and stimulating an economy that remains in the doldrums.

Once people get back to work and once the economy recovers, then we can turn our attention to reeling in deficits, but along very different lines than proposed by Romney (and too many politicians on both sides of the aisle for that matter).

On the table must be cutting military spending, ending corporate subsidies, and increasing corporate taxes. This is a working-class as opposed to a corporate-class approach to our fiscal problems.

Photo: Occupy Wall Street sign, October 2011. Kimberlyki CC 2.0


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  • What have we got do to to once and for all defeat these welfare for the rich Republicans? They are a recipe for disaster for the middle and lower classes. The rich do not need tax cuts or any other breaks.

    What they need is a 90% tax rate.

    Posted by Ronald Humphrey, 10/08/2012 8:42am (3 years ago)

  • And as the economist Paul Krugman keeps pointing out, now is an opportune time to borrow money because interest rates are an an all-time low. That's why corporations are awash in cash now--they're borrowing at ridiculously low rates and sitting on the cash (certainly not creating jobs!). The US could borrow on the cheap and use the money to fund a massive jobs program. Thanks, Sam, for pointing out the motives behind the Republican scare tactics on the deficit.

    Posted by Laura Dewey, 10/04/2012 7:05pm (3 years ago)

  • The whole debate about the human condition in the United States of America has almost nothing to do with deficits, in the narrow sense.
    It has much more to do with human survival-the right wingers will not frame the problems of this age-especially not for the workers and communists.
    We want to discuss the WHOLE CAKE (not Johnny Come Lately Cake or Hoecake)of the economy.
    We collectively pay for it daily, and our ancestors have paid for it, in blood.
    It must be run for OUR benefit, including the poorest of the poor-which more and more daily is becoming ALL of us.
    We must remake the economy in OUR image to STOP the deficit of human life, and all life forms on the planet by capitalism, the out-molded, injurious, deadly system.

    Posted by Peaceapplause, 10/04/2012 5:41pm (3 years ago)

  • Quoting: "If we don't do something almost immediately, he [Romney] says, we will walk off a fiscal cliff beyond which is nothing but economic disaster. Our future will resemble Greece's present and worse.

    So Romney wants to throw more "fuel" on the "fire" to put our house in fiscal order, i.e., doing the very thing the GOP has pushed for years, and increasingly so: deregulation, financial sector domination, financial sector corruption, Wall Street corruption, investment bank corruption, etc. which played a massuve part in, e.g., the 2008 Great Recession.

    The thing is, Dems are guilty as well in playing a part; but Repubs have led the way.

    Call it "fiscal order," but the translation is austerity and disaster capitalism. Looks like we'll be a second Greece after all unless Romney and the GOP's agenda are shut down.

    Posted by revolution123, 10/04/2012 4:12pm (3 years ago)

  • Sam hits the nail on the head. "Deficit Reduction" is a way to make the working class pay for the disasters wrought by deregulated, detaxed but insured and when necessary bailed out casino capitalism. "Deficits" become interest payments to the capitalist class and are a win win situation. The only serious way to reduce the principle cost of U.S. deficits is to both raise income for the working class and raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy, along with cutting parasitic military spending. Then there would be much more coming in to pay off the deficit then going out. What Romney and Ryan are advocating is simply a recyled version of what George HW Bush, in his most honest moment, called"voodoo economics" in response to Ronald Reagan's "plan" to increase military spending, cut taxes on corporations and the rich and by that way reduce deficits.

    Posted by norman markowitz, 10/03/2012 7:15pm (3 years ago)

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