It's crazy, isn't it? It happens like clockwork the minute a Democrat's in the White House. Mike Lux on the Democratic deficit talk that's all the rage these days (as pointed out by Atrios the other day). Which once again raises the question: What, exactly, do Democrats stand for?
So just to summarize here: the deficit is caused by tax cuts for the rich, an economic collapse caused by wealthy bankers which resulted in bailouts for those wealthy bankers plus massive pain for middle income and poor people, tax loopholes and corporate subsidies designed to help the wealthy, plus two wars and wasteful defense spending (much of which goes into the pockets of wealthy defense contractors). And the solution for the deficit hawks: target middle class and lower seniors for social security cuts, and put in a regressive tax that is a burden to low and middle income people.
Justice: American style.
Elites are selling this as a grand compromise: Conservatives get Social Security cuts, and liberals get a tax increase. Oh, boy. My question is: what do regular folks get out of the deal besides screwed?
Progressives ought to be screaming bloody murder at this phony compromise, but we also ought to have a constructive alternative on how we end the budget deficit. There are plenty of budget cuts we can live with: ending wasteful defense spending, take away subsidies to the big corporate farms, put a strong public option in health care reform, have the federal government negotiate drug prices, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are plenty of taxes we can raise that wouldn't soak the people who have been most hurt by the economy of the last decade, including a financial transactions tax on the big banking speculators, an end to the corporate tax loopholes and offshore tax avoidance, bringing taxes on the wealthy back to the level they were before the Reagan tax cuts.
If you did all that, even waiting another year or two to let the economy get on a firmer footing, you could easily balance the budget before the 2010 decade is out and have plenty of money left over to invest in the infrastructure and schools that we so desperately need.
If you want to solve the deficit, target the folks whose time at the money trough caused it in the first place: the big banks, the defense contractors, the drug and insurance companies, the agribusiness giants, and the super wealthy that got all of those huge tax cuts in the first place.