It is time to push and push hard for Democratic reforms of government. We can return to an era when jobs were prolific and government was balanced. We can return to a period, not that long ago, when we all shared in the American dream. But first:
A Prologue: The Bush-Cheney Administration did the following:
1. Created two wars that have been ongoing, with no valuable results…but trillions of debt and thousands of American soldiers dead and tens of thousands virtually unemployable in our society…with no assistance from the Bush Administration.
2. Cut taxes so low that, in order to be fair to those at the low end, they had to eliminate taxes all together. If they hadn’t done that, people who make $300,000 would be paying a net 10% and people making $30,000 would be paying 25%, because they have to pay a higher percentage of income in payroll tax.
Now, no one dislikes having their taxes reduced. But you do need money to run government. And despite what the Republicans would like to have you think, the Clinton Congress passed something called Paygo. That meant that you could not increase the size of government.
To add legislation, you had to add taxes or dispose of some other program. You may remember that the Republicans who held at least a part of government for at least a part of the time…like to take credit for that. So it was the Republicans, under Bush and Cheney..who began all the big spending again.
3. Started two wars. We like to think, because we loved to see those huge bombs going off and supposedly blowing up Al Quaeda, that the Afghan war was necessary. Many people say now that it was stupid. We could have taken several CIA groups, infiltrated Afghanistan and caught and killed Osama Bin Laden or chased him to Pakistan and killed him there, which we eventually did, under Obama. But we delayed and deferred and stumbled and bumbled and the idiot Bush and his puppet master Cheney, turned away and attacked Iraq for no good reason.
4. Deregulated everything. Simply took hands off everything from mortgages to gas and energy prices. Let Wall Street go wild with your 401K and gamble with the equity value in your home. Bush and Cheney may have deliberately created the worst economic crash in our history. There is very good evidence that they are not stupid, but were collaborators with Wall Street. The Bush…their Secretary of Treasury was the former Chairman of Goldman, Sachs. They should have known, and if they did know, then this is the greatest crime in our country’s history and they should be put to death, in my opinion, if convicted of it, for the damage they have done to millions of American lives.
5. Quite possibly deliberately created a Recession and tried to create a Depression. In total, the Bush Adminstration, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, created just one million jobs in 8 years. Bill Clinton created 23 million, Reagan something like 16 million. There is a good argument to be made that the creation of only one million jobs and leaving an economy that was bleeding jobs…at 700,000 a month…was, in fact, deliberate.
Yes, it is true that George W. Bush, by almost any standard, would never be smart enough to plan this. But Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rove and their staffers, long time Republicans do know how to bring something like this off…and with the help of people like Alan Greenspan…knowingly or unwittingly…they could have done it and many think that they did.
6. Spent $7 trillion dollars more than revenues during 8 years. Then left an economy that automatically added another $700 billion to the deficit in 2009, 2010, and probably in 2011. The reason: $350 billion in lost tax revenue and $350 billion in added costs for social welfare, like food stamps and unemployment. Bus was carrying a $500 billion deficit each year.
Over 8 years, that would have been $4 trillion. So, added to the $5.6 trillion that we had at the end of the Clinton era, that should have been $9 trillion. But it actually was $12 trillion. So Bush found a way to spend more than $500 a year over the budget. He averaged about $900 billion a year over the budget. Either that or the national debt is much smaller than the government is reporting.
Now it is 2011, and the very people who put us into this debilitating, disastrous economic situation want to cut back on government services….that we, the citizens paid for. The same people who blackmailed our somewhat reticent President into signing a law that gives the rich $800 billion more in Republican tax cuts over the next two years now want us to pay for it by cutting Social Security and Medicare. Impossible. We will never stand for it. The tax cuts for billionaires would have paid for Medicare and Social Security problems many times over.
We don’t have a government spending problem. We have a problem with too many Right Wing billionaires with too much money on their hands. They are using it to interfere in politics to elect Fascists, like Jim Jordan and Michele Bachmann to Congress. We have a taxing problem. In the days before Ronald Reagan, people knew how vicious and impersonal the Robber Baron class could be, how they separated themselves from the rest of society, with lavish estates in Newport and Southampton and Palm Beach. Todays, Post Reagan billionaires (there were only a handful when Reagan took over. Today there are between 500 and 1,000 in the U.S. alone.
They, many of them, do not want to pay any higher taxes. They do not want to close any tax loopholes. They do not want to stop sending jobs abroad. They continue to create jobs, in China, Mexico and Brazil. But…they also will now allow their employees, the Republican Party members in the House and the Senate, to vote for the creation of public jobs to help alleviate high unemployment and to jump start the economy.
So the answer is simple…given those circumstances, namely that the Republican Party will not vote to create one single job. The answer is to work to throw out of office any person in any district or state where we can muster enough votes to prevent their election. Then we need to influence our legislators to create jobs, jobs, jobs.
We have any number of areas where we could start…from construction jobs on roads and bridges to alternative energy companies to retrofitting public buildings for energy savings to converting vehicles to flex-fuel, so that we can begin immediately saving up to half of our oil usage by substituting alternative fuels that will burn just as well.
We need to take $200 billion from the national treasury and create 5 million jobs in a variety of areas, all well identified by the Obama Administration, but also by unions, conservation groups, manufacturing groups and educators. With 5 million jobs under way we then need to change our policy on products entering this country from American manufacturers who have their manufacturing facilities abroad.
It is true that products can be manufactured much more cheaply abroad. So what do we do? Right now, a manufacturer sends raw materials and designs to a foreign country, has products made and packaged and then imports them back into the United States without import duties. He then sells those products at retail or otherwise, subtracts his costs and keeps the profits. Through various schemes, he pays very little taxes.
Right now, taxes are so low that the amount that corporations contribute to government revenues is only 7%, the lowest in our recorded history. (Yet, Fox News Channel, Cato Intstitute, EXXON, the Heritage Institute, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other Right Wingers claim that our corporate taxes are the highest in the world. The fact is that they are the lowest. They all know this. But they continue to claim that our 35% rate, which no one pays…indeed, EXXON and GE paid no taxes on tens of billions of profits…are the highest. In other words, they lie. Big surprise.
So here is what we need to do. Let’s just take China for example. We don’t import any oil from China, only manufactured products. Lets just say, that U.S. manufacturers account for half…just half…of the $364 billion dollars worth of products we imported last year, 2010, from China. Let’s suppose that we imposed a tax on those companies, which we previously said have earned good profits on those products.
Lets say we imposed a 5% import duty on those U.S. companies. That would give us $9 billion a year that we could invest in U.S. small business manufacturing. That alone would create 225, 000 jobs in manufacturing and those jobs in turn create another minimum of one job…actually manufacturing jobs create a multiple of one job. So that is almost 500,000 new jobs the first year.
Next, let’s close the loophole that says corporations who headquarter off shore pay no taxes. And let’s close the loophole for creating jobs for foreign workers in foreign countries. (I know. Sounds preposterous but it is one of the laws Bush and Cheney pushed through.) And then lets close loopholes for oil companies. Those three things will save us over $250 billion over ten years. So let’s close them and take the $25 billion from this year, 2011, and next year and add that to the job development plan. That would create another 1,250,000 jobs each year for two years.
So now we have created in two years, 3.5 million jobs out of the 14.1 million people who are now unemployed. Almost a fifth of that total but about a third of the number above 5% which is pretty much the standard average for the number of people employed in an average economy. Two more years and it would be over. We would be back to a sound economy.
We could accelerate the process. Once we had stimulated the economy this way for two years, we could then create another 5 million jobs, more than enough to close the unemployment gap between long-term unemployed and the recently…less than 6 month…short-term unemployed. In fact, these public sector infrastructure jobs could bring our unemployment rate down under 5%, back to the unemployment rates of the latter days of the Clinton Administration.
In summary…tax U.S. products made in China and imported here by U.S. companies. Close tax loopholes for U.S. companies in the Cayman Islands, end long-overdue oil subsidies. Those three things, if we invest the money in jobs, will create 3.5 million jobs in two years. If we add an additional $200, which we would borrow from the Treasury and pay back in tax revenues from these jobs, we would bring unemployment down to 5.5% which is an average rate.
We calculated every job at $40,000 which is only slightly under the average job salary for this period.
We would need to do more. We need to create a system of national health care, to bring health care down. To do that we must nationalize the health insurance industry and bring it all under a government system. Otherwise the health insurance industry will continue to keep and add to our costs a minimum of 30%…which we all know is not even close to what we are actually paying in health care costs. A single payer system will drop our costs by at least half. And that is with everyone insured, just the way Medicare recipients receive care today. No different. That would automatically add $5,000 to all those individual incomes.
Remember one thing. We have shown what can be done in just 2 years. All these programs would be ongoing. The creation of jobs in the wake of improved import duties would begin to pay for the 5 million jobs we created from borrowing $200 billion. The loophole closings would be money that we could invest every year. Prices would rise and people would be able to afford those prices. So people would in turn make higher salaries eventually.
The whole idea is to remove the money from the pockets of billionaires and those who right now comprise less than the top 3 million people but who own 70% of all corporate stock. In other words. those loopholes are creating billions of dollars that are going into the pockets of probably less than half of those top 1% in large numbers. We don’t have to tax billionaires more, or milliionaires or people making over $300,000. Just close those tax loopholes and we can have an economy that works again…and in fact, an economy with a balanced budget over the long haul.
We did it once under Bill Clinton. This is the same idea…return to the Clinton years…create jobs that create revenues that pay for what we all want, jobs, incomes, plus health and retirement security.