Dear Congress, Do Something Part 2
On Wednesday next week there is a Republican Presidential debate. You will hear that we can't raise taxes and the government can't spend money. You'll also hear that cutting the debt will stimulate economic growth. That's garbage. Complete foolhardy dogma.
It is time for Congress to stop focusing on getting rid of a President who helped bring moderate common sense regulation back the financial industry whose lack of regulation under the last President helped cause the biggest financial collapse in global history, who made going to college more affordable, who brought health insurance to millions of children and young adults, who improved oversight of oil drilling in the gulf while increasing domestic drilling, who made the federal government more efficient, who increased small business lending, who gave small business hope with regard to health insurance cost reductions, who started to wind down Iraq and Afghanistan... and start focusing on doing their damn job.
The current Congress, the House in particular, is the problem with government, not the President. This new group of Republican Reps and the Speaker are both engaging in political brinksmanship that threatens, see today's jobs news, to plunge us from a soft patch to an outright downward spiral that leads us back to the brink of a deep depression. They are more focused on next year's election than doing what is necessary to help America through. That is not only wrong, it is immoral to the point of stirring measurable violent outbreaks throughout America by people who are disaffected and feel that is their only course.
Let's be very clear, while the President can propose all he wants to, the Congress has to act. It is Congress' responsibility to deal with financial policy. They need to do it. Now. The problem is that a group that is part from the group that led up to the collapse and part even worse, are in a position of power again and going back to the old playbook.
In my fairly well educated economic opinion, we need five things:
1. We need a long term infrastructure building program that not only includes roads and bridges, but also several major water projects, i.e. in Chicago and on the east coast, and an accelerated modernization of the energy grid. Something on the level of a trillion dollars over ten years, front loaded.
2. We need a subsidy to banks that write down debts on mortgages where they refinance for somebody who currently does not have enough equity to currently refinance. This would make millions of people eligible to refinance who otherwise qualify, put the floor in on real estate and set the stage for stability and growth again.
3. We need an energy policy that completely eliminates ethanol subsidies as that will add stabilization to food prices and drive the move to alternative energies subsidy free- improved technologies are at the door as any real fool knows.
4. We need to make the income tax code permanent.
5. We need to close the loopholes in the tax code to pay for it all. IN particular, we need to get rid of the cap gains, carried interest and stock options in place of income cheat. Income is income and should be taxes as such. If you don't have your own invested money at risk, you should not get the cap gains rate. Special interest breaks need to be almost completely wiped out, there are only a few that add to employment, which ought to be the barometer.
To all those who want to cry, "the government doesn't create jobs, business does, all the government can do is create an environment, blah, blah, blah." Wake up. Shut up. Read a book. Here's your new environment.
Of note, I am a long time very avowed moderate. I have voted both ways. It is clear to me that the Republicans, who mostly made the financial and economic mess are erring badly right now. We need a strong Republican party. Today's party is not the party of Teddy Roosevelt, Ike or Reagan. It is the party of George W. Bush, which is beyond an idiotic strategy as Bush will go down as one of the worst Presidents, if not the worst, in history.
For the Republicans, it starts by being smarter. It has started to show up all over how dumb and blinded by ideology that the Republican right has become. Please, please, let the debate be guided by Ron Paul and especially John Huntsman who at least are smart. Get rid of Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin who are ideological whack jobs seeking power for personal gain with minimal intellectual power.
By the way, if House Republicans continue to stonewall and stick to anti-common sense mantra,they will lose next year, massively as the disaffected and irritated hit the polls in record numbers. If for no other reason than saving the Republican Party, please Repubs, move to the center, and allow Congress to do something that makes sense.