There has been a lot of rhetoric around fiscal talks in Washington that "everything is on the table," but as far as the media coverage of these talks is concerned, that hasn't even been remotely true - barely a fraction of the available options are reportedly being discussed, and ALL of them are basically conservative: All of them revolve around merely allowing current tax law to take its course vs. instituting suicidal cuts to the safety nets that underpin our nation's economy.
Where is the discussion of raising the top tax rates not by the mere 2-3% that would follow the expiration of Bush tax cuts for this bracket, but by 4%, 5%, 10%, and so on? Where is the discussion of reprioritizing America's federal budget toward actually serving its citizens and away from the wasteful culture of corporate subsidies and Pentagon corruption that now practically bury our economy? And where is the discussion of reducing the age of eligibility of Social Security and/or Medicare? Where is the discussion of increasing benefits for these programs?
There can be no "bargain" while the debate consists entirely of conservative viewpoints arguing with the radical right, and certainly not while Democrats are content not to rock the boat in such an obviously illegitimate and ill-advised state of affairs. Nor is it acceptable to just passively go along with a corrupt, propagandized media that grants sole legitimacy to the values and interests of the wealthy, pretending as if the only options on the table are to cut a little or cut a lot. Not only are those not the only options, those aren't even rational options under the circumstances, and Nobel laureate economists have lined up miles deep to tell us so.
Corporate profits and the wealth of the wealthy are not the reasons we have an economy, and are certainly not the definition of economy: They are luxuries, unlike education, transportation, communications, law enforcement, environmental protection, healthcare programs of every stripe, and Social Security - all things that conservatives are insisting need to be cut in order to facilitate the continued explosion of the former. This is literally an attempt by a vanishingly small group of people to turn an entire national economy and its government into their private property and everyone else into second-class citizens completely dependent on their voluntary largesse to even survive. That's insane and anti-American, and I will not stand for it.
As far as I'm concerned, the "discussion" has not even begun until these basic facts are acknowledged and we can begin debating the right question: By how much we raise top income and capital gains taxes, and by how much we expand Medicare, Social Security, and other economy-promoting programs. Negative numbers on either subject are not under legitimate discussion here. To whatever extent there is any "waste, fraud, and abuse" left to remove from these programs - probably about the same amount as the blood you can squeeze from a stone - all of the savings must remain in those programs rather than lightening the largely fictional tax "burdens" of those who have never and will never actually be burdened by them.
11:44 PM PT: Wow, this is still at the top of the charts, huh? I hope folks get something out of this - I didn't think too deeply about it, just wrote down my thoughts.