At a time when this country faces a $14 trillion national debt and a huge deficit, Congress must aggressively move toward deficit reduction. As they do so, however, they must be mindful of what caused the deficit and make certain that the solution to this crisis includes shared sacrifice.
Our national debt was built up over the past 10 years because of two wars, tax breaks for the rich, the Wall Street bailout and a prescription drug program. All unpaid for! The deficit also soared as a result of declining tax revenues during the recession.
The debate over deficit reduction comes at an unusual moment in American economic history. While the middle class is in rapid decline and poverty is increasing, the gap between the very wealthy and everybody else is growing wider.
Given the reality of record-breaking corporate profits and the increasing wealth of the people on top, it should surprise no one that poll after poll shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans want the deficit to be addressed through shared sacrifice. Unfortunately, the Republicans are trying to give us a budget which makes devastating cuts to programs that tens of millions of Americans depend upon, while asking nothing from the wealthy and large corporations.
They want to make savage cuts in education, nutrition, affordable housing, infrastructure, environmental protection and virtually every program that low- and moderate-income Americans depend upon.
The recently proposed House Republican budget did not ask the wealthiest people in this country, whose tax rates are now the lowest on record, to contribute one dime more for deficit reduction. Nor did it propose to do away with any of the loopholes that enable extremely profitable corporations to pay little or no federal income taxes.
Instead, the proposed Republican budget actually provided $1 trillion more in tax breaks over the next 10 years for the very rich!
Sadly, the Republicans are using the deficit as an excuse to decimate the social programs that they've always despised. They aren't serious about deficit reduction until they acknowledge that shared sacrifice is the only way to aggressively attack the problem, including unnecessary military spending.
We need to communicate with our representatives in Congress and tell them what we want. We need leadership, not partisanship and we need compromise to move forward with the immense problems facing our country.