Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rachel Maddow: “This Is Not Just Cutting, This Is A Transfer Of Wealth”

Rachel Maddow explains the conservative strategy in the current debate about the deficit. Working people, the elderly and the poor are the ones being asked to sacrifice. Meanwhile, the wealthy enjoy their Bush-era tax cuts and major corporations pay no taxes, instead of contributing money that could cut the deficit in half. Under the rhetoric of cutting spending is a huge transfer of wealth to the wealthy. The more that tax cuts are given to the wealthy and to corporations, the more the deficit grows–and the more the middle and lower classes are asked to "sacrifice" due to the economic "emergency." Devilishly ingenious, isn’t it?

MADDOW: While the stock market is recovering and the CEOs are making 'bank,' it is regular people who work for a living, the ones who cash paychecks, who are being told, It’s time to sacrifice.’ Politicians at the state and federal level keep saying, ‘We’re broke, we have to have some shared sacrifice.’ But when they say shared sacrifice what they mean is cutting teacher pay by amounts that really matter. They mean laying off half the school district staff in Philadelphia while the state works to shovel a huge, new, bigger hole in the state’s deficit in order to give hundreds of billions of dollars to corporations. They mean raising taxes on working class families and the elderly in Michigan in order to finance hundreds of millions of dollars to give away to business. They mean cutting programs that help poor people heat their homes–that is an Obama administration proposal, by the way. They mean declaring a financial emergency, making the deficit way worse with a bunch of corporate giveaways and then cutting money from programs for the disabled like they’re doing in Florida. This economic strategy is costing the nation a bundle. All we hear about is cuts, right? It’s one thing to talk about cutting spending. The thing that is being lost in translation is that this is not just cutting, this is a transfer of wealth, of wealth that might be otherwise able to close a budget deficit, and instead, it is being shoveled out the door to corporate interests and to people who are already doing great right now in the economy. The national deficit that Republicans keep warning us about, the serious moral threat they say it poses, that deficit would be cut in half if we let the Republican Bush-era tax cuts for the richest people in the country expire. The other big thing we can do to fix this nation’s budget is to start making corporations pay their share. Senator Bernie Sanders, the master of populist, righteous outrage, posted a list this week of what he called the 10 worst corporate income tax avoiders. … Those are the 'haves,' who are also now the 'get mores.' Who should pay for that and why?

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