(NNPA)—Despite the pressure from the Republicans and their corporate allies, President Obama seems to be standing firm that the Bush tax cuts for the rich will not be continued. Bravo, Mr. President!
The Republicans, including but not limited to the Tea Party crowd, have been lambasting President Obama in connection with deficits and debt. Yet at the same time, they want the richest 2 percent of households to continue to get tax cuts that they neither deserve nor need. This is completely illogical, and certainly demagogic.
The combination of President Bush’s tax cuts for the rich along with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, completely threw the budget out of whack. There was, to be blunt, no money to pay for these wars and the wars continued on and on. This irresponsible approach to budget management (not to mention, morals) along with a horrific recession (and financial collapse), and we found ourselves in the pickle that we are in.
In order to address the budget deficit and debt, there needs to be money from those who benefited so greatly by the scams of the last 30 years: The upper 2 percent of households. Just to be clear: If you are not a millionaire, you are not in that upper 2 percent. Nothing personal.
The Republicans are actually not that concerned about budget deficits and debt. After all, if they were, they would have screamed to the heavens regarding President Bush’s budget busting policies. They did not scream. They were either silent or they applauded these policies. No, the real issue is not the deficit or the debt, but the question of whether governmental funds should be used to alleviate the intolerable situation of millions of people who are out of work, have had no healthcare, who send their children to public schools, drive their cars over bridges that might collapse unexpectedly, etc. The Tea Party crowd and other Republicans are allergic to any policies that would channel funds in such a direction.
There is immense irony when it comes to Republicans yelling about deficits. In the 1984 election, Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale warned the country of the impact on the national debt of President Reagan’s economic policies, including the largest peace time military build-up in U.S. history. The political right said absolutely nothing. As I noted, they said nothing under President George W. Bush.
Now, however, in the midst of a deep economic crisis, when there most needs to be deficit spending in order to get us out of the hole that we are in, the Tea Party folks say that we should pay attention to the deficit and the debt. This is exactly the sort of advice and policy direction that will lead to countless years of continuous misery.
So, yes, Mr. President, it is time to take the gloves off and stand your ground. The rich need to pay. They have the wealth. We know that because they took it from us. It is time for the chickens to come home to roost.
(Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a senior scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum, and the co-author of “Solidarity Divided.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)