OK

Since the White House comment lines are jammed (202-456-1111) I had to put my comments into an e-mail message to get through. What are the chances they're going to read my comments, let alone take action on them?

Maybe if they were in the blogosphere the Obama Administration might get the message. So, here they are, below the fold....

Subject: Economy

Budget Negotiations

Please do not make any deal on the budget with the Republicans before the next session of Congress begins.

The economy needs a good deal and nothing I've heard so far indicates you are on the right track. The elements of a deal that's good for the economy are:

* Returning taxes to the levels they had before the Bush tax cuts.
* Cutting military spending by at least $35 billion each year for the next ten years.
* Restoring income levels by fixing trade and industrial policy.

I've heard stories that politicians there are considering cuts to social spending and to Social Security/Medicare. Who is going to pay for healthcare and retirement if you do that?

Social Security and Medicare are not government spending and don't contribute to the deficit. They are being underfunded because wages and employment levels are low. You have to address the root causes to strengthen the retirement system.

As for social programs, if you cut them then you will need to raise the minimum wage and take steps to eliminate the trade deficit. The trade deficit is far more important than the federal one, and that's what drives it.

I would like to hear what this administration plans to do about trade and about increasing the number of jobs and wages paid for them. Are you going to introduce EFCA as part of the negotiations? Are you prepared to increase tariffs or insist on an international minimum wage as part of our trade agreements?

Reports on the budget negotiations indicate they are on the wrong track. Stop while there's time and pick them up again in February.

Thank you!

Subject: Taxes

Budget Negotiations

Please do not make any deal on the budget with the Republicans before the next session of Congress begins.

Nothing I've heard so far indicates you are on the right track. The elements of a deal that's good for the country are:

* Returning taxes to the levels they had before the Bush tax cuts.
* Cutting military spending by at least $35 billion each year for the next ten years.
* Restoring income levels by fixing trade and industrial policy.

Taxes are not too high. Incomes are too low. People that are having problems paying their taxes need a boost in incomes. What are you doing in this to get higher wages and more jobs?

For the last several decades we've seen cut after cut in taxes, but the economy never improves with any of them. Cuts are complete failures. The natural result of cutting is that eventually you have nothing.

I've heard stories that politicians there are considering cuts to social spending and to Social Security/Medicare. Who is going to pay for healthcare and retirement if you do that?

Social Security and Medicare are not government spending and don't contribute to the deficit. They are being underfunded because wages and employment levels are low. You have to address the root causes to strengthen the retirement system.

These programs are transfer payments and they are part of the private sector. They are a form of minimum wage that require employers to pay the full cost of the labor they use.

They have been systematically underfunded because we have a policy of shipping jobs overseas and suppressing wages. Wages for typical workers have gone down while worker productivity has gone up. Over the last thirty years the combination means workers are being paid about half what they should be. Every dollar lost is over 10 cents out of these funds.

Depressed wages due to poor economic management is responsible for the federal deficit. Fix that problem first.

I would like to hear what this administration plans to do about trade and about increasing the number of jobs and wages paid for them. Are you going to introduce EFCA as part of the negotiations? Are you prepared to increase tariffs to recover the lost funds to Social Security and Medicare that come from the trade deficit? Are you prepared to insist on an increase to the employer contribution to payroll taxes?

Reports on the budget negotiations indicate they are on the wrong track. Stop while there's time and pick them up again in February.

Thank you!

Note:
I'm off to work. I'll check on your comments when I return!

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