What we should be doing instead of slashing federal spending via Super Committee

It pains me admit it, but sometimes the readers of this site do a better job of expressing what I’d like to say that I do. In those instances, I feel obligated to share what they’ve written here, on the front page. At other times, I just post their ramblings up here because I’d rather take the night off and watch old episodes of The Phil Silvers Show. I’ll let you try to figure out what accounts for the fact that I’m moving this comment by Glen S up to the front page tonight.

First of all — exactly where in the Constitution does it say that it is acceptable to give a very small, select group of Senators or House members significant powers to write and offer historically sweeping legislation that can only be passed by the full body on a restricted, “Up or Down” vote? What does it say about the concept of “one man, one vote” when, under the so-called “Super Committee,” Senators and House members from certain states/districts will have unprecedented powers to shape such crucial policy proposals — while other districts (and even whole states) will have virtually no say?

Aside from being unprecedented (and likely, unconstitutional), the “Super Committee” is clearly nothing but political window dressing designed to enable Washington power-brokers to *finally* force through what several “bipartisan” commissions (as well as President Obama) have been recommending all along — unprecedented “reforms” to key elements of our nation’s social safety net (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) that politically, would be next-to-impossible to implement through the “normal” (legal) process.

Perhaps the saddest part of all, however, is that, over the next several months — while Congress and the White House (and the mainstream media) are busy tying themselves in knots over the political machinations of the “Super Committee” they will continue to ignore the potential for real, substantial reforms that would not only help ordinary Americans right now — but ironically, would in the long-run, do much more to begin to bend the deficit curve in a more positive direction:

* An aggressive, quick-start program to create more and better JOBS, right now — to get more people working (and paying taxes) again, as soon as possible.

* A serious effort to deal with the MORTGAGE/FORECLOSURE CRISIS — to help families stay in their homes, and to stem the ongoing slide in home equity and property values that is devastating communities across America.

* An overhaul of our completely unbalanced and misguided TRADE POLICIES such as our multiple “free trade” agreements and “most favored nation” trade status for China — in order to begin to provide incentives (rather than disincentives) for companies to invest in domestic production and manufacturing.

* Real (rather than rhetorical) EDUCATION REFORM — with the emphasis on investing whatever it takes to make sure every child in America has a full and equal chance to reach their full potential — be it an advanced university degree, a community college diploma, a skilled-trade certificate, apprenticeship, or whatever …

* An all-out program to invest in our CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE — including building (or rebuilding) the roads, rails, ports, dams, canals, power plants, etc. that will be necessary for America to re-build our lost manufacturing base — and to provide the foundation for …

* A “moon-launch”-style effort to make America a leader in ENERGY SELF-SUFFICIENCY — focused on domestic, renewable sources, and hopefully allowing us to untangle ourselves from the so-called “War on Terror.”

Unfortunately, none of these items seem to be a priority for the various corporate interests that now essentially “own” our two major political parties — so instead, we will all spend the next few months watching the new “Super Committee” — and later Congress — as they wring their hands and grit their teeth while “reluctantly” voting to pass a series of new “painful,” “dreadful,” “regrettable …” cuts to programs that have provided a modicum of security for poor and working Americans for decades.

And, while we’re on the subject of jobs, today I learned that the Obama stimulus created more jobs in 2010 than Bush did in 8 years… The bottom line, and I think we’ve discussed this before, is that this is exactly the wrong time to be cutting government spending, and everyone knows it. What we should be doing right now, as Glen suggests, is putting Americans to work on long put-off infrastructure projects and the building of a new, more efficient, more green, energy infrastructure. These are things that need to be done anyway, and now would be the perfect time to see them completed – when manpower is relatively inexpensive, and people need the work. If we did just that, and allowed the ridiculously ill-conceived Bush tax cuts for the wealthy – which, by the way, never delivered the jobs that they promised – to expire, we’d be well on our way to a more secure, successful America. And, if, on top of that, we were to cut our military spending by just 10%, putting that money toward education instead, just imagine where we could be in ten year’s time… We have so much potential in this country. That, I think, it what pisses me off the most. I know that, right now, we could be doing incredible things. But, instead, we’re gaming the system so that the rich can keep an unprecedented amount of their wealth, and closing public libraries to see it happen. It’s absolutely unconscionable that we’ve allowed things to come to this.

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6 Comments

  1. Edward
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I disagree with Glen on home ownership. I think that, if anything, we should get rid of the mortgage deduction, encouraging people to live in cities, instead of in exurbs. And, while we’re at it, we could totally change the way we subsidize farming.

  2. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    agreed on the farming Ed…and on education Glen, not reform but using what we know to succeed and paying for it

  3. Brainless
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    So, like… does anything ever go on in Ypsilanti any more?

  4. Kim
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    To my knowledge, this site never purported to be an Ypsi news site. You’ll have to check YpsiNews.com for that kind of constant, comprehensive local coverage.

    http://www.ypsinews.com/

  5. Posted August 19, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Bernie Sanders delivered the following statement at this week’s meeting of the Steelworkers of America.


    First, we must rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. That means repairing our roads, bridges, highways, dams, culverts, sewers, clean water systems, subways, schools, public transportation and affordable housing. When we do that we not only create millions of good paying jobs, but we also make the entire country more productive and competitive in the global economy.

    The American Society of Civil Engineers has graded America’s roads, public transit and aviation with a “D.” They say that we must invest over $2.2 trillion over the next five years simply to get to a “passable” condition. Today, the United States invests just 2.4 percent of GDP on infrastructure. Europe invests twice that amount. China invests almost four times our rate – roughly 9% of their GDP annually. On rail alone, the Chinese invested $186 billion from 2006 through 2009. Within two years China will open 42 new high-speed rail lines with trains that can reach speeds of more than 210 miles per hour. By 2020, China plans to add 26,000 additional miles of track for freight, 230,000 miles of new or improved roads and 97 new airports. There is no question in my mind that if we hope to compete in the global economy, we must increase our investment in our transportation infrastructure.

    Second, we have got to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. When we do that, we break our dependence on Middle East oil, we cut greenhouse gas emissions, we decrease air pollution and we put millions of Americans to work building American made solar panels, building American made wind turbines, building American made heat pumps and weatherizing millions of American homes with energy efficient products and technologies – all made in America. This is a win, win, win, win approach.

    Third, we have got to fundamentally rewrite our trade policy laws so that American products, not jobs are our number one export. Simply stated, our current trade policy of unfettered free trade has been a disaster for American workers and must be reformed. Over the past thirty years, we have been told by the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Barack Obama that unfettered free trade will increase jobs in America. They have been proven wrong. NAFTA has led to the loss of over one million American jobs. Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China has led to the loss of over 2 million American jobs.

    Over the last decade, over 50,000 manufacturing plants have been shut down in America and the number of manufacturing jobs we have is a fraction of what it used to be. You know it as well as I do! It is harder and harder to buy products MADE IN THE USA. And mark my words, if the George W. Bush unfettered free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama are signed into law by this President, even more American jobs will be lost. I will be doing my best to fight against these job-killing free trade agreements and come up with a trade approach which is based on the principles of fair trade, not unfettered free trade.

    Let me conclude by thanking all of you for what you do in fighting to make sure that government represents all the people, not just the wealthy and powerful. These are very tough times for our country. There’s no question about that. But despair is not an option. This fight is not just about what happens to our lives. More importantly, it’s what happens to our kids and grandchildren. For their sakes, we cannot give up the struggle.

    Thanks for your support.

  6. TaterSalad
    Posted August 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    The 6 principals of global manipulation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fF3TQ0lJnU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CV8Xt2VWvc&feature=related

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