Politicians make difficult lovers. Fickle to a fault, they’re always casting around for relationships with other voters and even whole parties of voters. So, I would totally pardon you if you ignore my advice here, yawn, and flip on to the next post. Still, I plead with you, take a quick look and see if this isn’t worth a very small cost for a potentially big reward. I beg you.
Please, please, give Patty Murray a little love.
(I’m sorry about the MSNBC advertisements. Use mute. More on that later.*)
Help Senator Murray go flying off the cliff with the Republicans. If nothing else, it will make for good TV all winter.
You can love on Patty Murray by contacting her office (202-224-2621) and expressing your admiration and support for stopping reckless Republican fiscal policy. Wrest back control from the Republicans, and give our country a chance to recover.
I know you’re going to hear months of Republicans whining about how the President and his Democrats are wrecking the economy. The thing you have to remember is this: Republicans don’t know money.* Every time we’ve given them the reins of power they’ve run up the deficit (usually by starting a war) and cut social programs while giving the war machine more money to spend (usually by starting a war).
They will try to scare you with a $50 billion cut in military spending. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It’s nothing! We spend about $750 billion a year on the Pentagon. If you wanted to get this down to something sensible, like the 5X level**, you could cut $50 billion a year from military spending for seven years, and you’d probably still be overspending on guns.
I have three quick proposals to offer that I think Democrats should put up in the House and then hammer on for the rest of the fall campaign:
Proposal 1: The Tax Cut
Much as I hate tax cuts (because they are bad for the economy), here’s one the Democrats should put forward. This would create a permanent cut for those in the 15% bracket and would cut it back to 10%. In other words, it would extend the Bush tax cut for the very poorest people indefinitely, regardless of what happens to the rest of the tax rates. In order to pay for this tax cut there would be an equivalent permanent reduction in military spending amounting to the same dollar amount.
Proposal 2: The Tax Hike
This proposal is a permanent additional bracket for the top 1% of incomes, added on top of the current rates and equal to 45% plus the unemployment rate. Right now, the unemployment rate is around 8% nationally, so this would be a top rate of 53%. This rate is designed to hover around 50%. If the rich actually create jobs using their vast wealth, and decrease the unemployment rate, they get a tax cut. If they snatch jobs away, they get a tax increase. Pay for performance. The extra money raised would go to paying off the war debt until that was gone (sometime around 2312). After that, I’m sure we could find something good to do with the extra money.
Proposal 3: Butter for Guns
My third proposal is that we cut $35 billion from military spending every year for 10 years. We would then set up a fund of $35 billion a year for those ten years designed to create civilian business in the districts where there are currently military bases or other heavy military spending. This would move the economy away from its single focus on the war machine toward a civilian industry.
What would it take to get a bold plan like this past Congress (and the President)? Well, it would take bold leadership, kind of like what Patty Murray is doing with the fiscal cliff. It would take Democratic politicians getting back in touch with their progressive roots. It would take us getting involved and really showing some excitement when things move in the right direction. The progressive base would have to show some love.
* Dear MSNBC: I’m posting a subclip of your video. When I do that, I’m advertising your business. That’s a fair trade. When I do that, people watching should not have to endure 30 seconds of commercial to see what may be a 15 second clip. If you want to tack your advertising onto this, fine. But put it at the end, after the clip runs. Or, add a little 5-second “sponsored by” splash screen at the front. But don’t take up all our time with commercials. Okay?
And, by the way, when the commercial is so loud that I have to turn the sound off, you can bet that I’m not going to buy from your advertiser. Fix the frigging sound level. Got it?
[End of commercial message.]
** My 5X plan says total military spending should not be higher than the next five largest military budgets in the world. Right now this is running around $400 billion. Anything we spend in excess of that is clearly wasted. We are not going to be simultaneously fighting the next five largest countries in the world (and if we did, what would that mean?). The economy is our biggest national security asset. When you take money out of the working economy to spend on military stuff you are hurting national security. So, you do the math. Who’s hurting national security these days? Would you call those people patriots?
I didn’t think so.
*** Disclaimer: I’m referring to Republican politicians, pundits and other parts of the Republican elite, not to the few, remaining rank-and-file Republicans who do know money. Historically, Republicans voters have been business people with a good head for figures. But the Republican Party has long since left them, off to do things like start unfinanced wars and run up an unbelievable national debt.
If you wanted any proof that Republicans don’t know money, consider this: They want to run the government like a business.
Need I say more?