Is it still the belief of those on the right side of the aisle that trickle-down economics is actually supposed to work? The new Republican-proposed federal budget suggests cuts in favor of reduced budget deficits, but those cuts only come in discretionary spending and entitlement programs. Little things like a reversal of the Affordable Care Act—oops—nearly 10 million newly insured, back on the un-insurance pile of misery and insecurity. Then there are cuts to things like food stamps, Pell grants, and, let’s see, what else … oh yes: Medicare, Medicaid, and who knows what else?
But are there any gains? Like, wouldn’t it be nice to learn of infrastructure programs to rebuild our roads, shore up our bridges, and hey, what about desalination plants to help the drought-starved Western states? At least then there would be good-paying jobs. But alas, no. I mean, doesn’t anyone care about their greens, beans, and nuts? How about citrus fruits, etc.? The majority are grown in the West, and we are going to run out of water in a year. You think there is any support in this budget for water? Nope. If you thought so, you would be wrong. Seems like only two groups will benefit in the budget: defense and the 1 percent.
Increases in defense are always a foregone conclusion with the Repubs. And yep, there are tax cuts for those who inherit their parents’ wealth. Are you a “trust” baby? No? Well then, don’t worry; none of the tax cuts will help you. How about shares of, oh, I don’t know, Apple, General Motors, etc.? No again? Well, again, no help for you, because unless you expect to inherit great wealth, you will be like the rest of us poor slobs, hanging on by the skin of our teeth and all the part-time jobs we can muster, because of course no one is hiring full time.
I mean, think of what happens to full-time jobs. They get benefits, those nasty line items that cut into profit. Mercy, we cannot have that! The poor shareholders have to wait in line to get their dividends, which come only after the CEO and other executives of all those major corporations get their salary increases. Increases—you remember those. Used to get them, didn’t you? But no more, huh? Well, because they are gone to help pay for the tax cuts for the rich. Sound like a vicious cycle? Then ask yourself: Who is it that votes for these Republicans? If it isn’t you and it isn’t me, then who?
How is it that more than 90 percent of the congressmen get re-elected when Congress has the worst favorable rating in the country? It’s something like a 14 percent favorable rating. How’s that possible? People, we need to get involved in mid-term elections. You know, those elections between presidential elections—although even during years when we vote on who our president will be, the turnout is still lousy compared to other well-established democracies. The numbers don’t lie:
- 2000 55 percent
- 2002 41 percent
- 2004 61 percent
- 2006 41 percent
- 2008 62 percent
- 2010 41 percent
- 2012 59 percent
- 2014 37 percent
So somewhere between 37 and 41 percent of the population determines all elections during mid-term, and an average of less than 60 percent of the eligible populace determines who wins and loses in national elections. Does that make sense to you? Would you imagine the numbers would be higher?
Is that how the Repubs will get their budget passed? And are you aware that the only way a simple majority is applicable in the Senate is when it comes to voting for the budget? A 51 to 49 would pass, when virtually every other piece of legislation requires a super majority. Who rigs these things?
Wait. Let me focus for a moment. If you have a Republican representing you, and you are not a coupon-cutting baby, one that lives on investments, but rather hasn’t had a decent raise in income recently, then believe me, you do not want this budget to pass. Write your congressmen, tell them you are against this travesty of voodoo economics, and let’s put some reality into our fiscal house! Then please take two critical actions: Vote in each and every election, and write your elected officials and ask them to vote against this new federal budget.
George Robertson lives in Morro Bay. Send comments to the executive editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.