Some conservatives see all these fact-laden critiques of our various GOP manufactroversies (see Ryan, Paul) and wonder where are the Democratic plans to solve the financial crisis? (I have been asked this, quite vehemently, myself.)

The informed reply goes something like this:

  1. The crisis isn’t real. It’s been fabricated by the neo-liberal politicians whose goal is to eliminate all taxes on rich people and bust structures like unions that afford the non-hyper-wealthy with some leverage in the American political economy. It. Isn’t. Real.
  2. You’re blaming the wrong people. To the extent that I accept arguments that we do need to cut spending (and I do, by the way – read on), whatever problems we do actually have are the direct result of Republican taxation policies.

So, for the sake of argument let’s say America has a serious financial problem. How would I solve it? Well, I’m no economist, but here are some ideas:

  1. Eliminate Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. That’s well over $300B right there. That would pay 1.4 million teachers for five years, ballpark. You know, since teachers are such an ungodly drain on the economy.
  2. Get out of Iraq. There’s another $100B per year. And then get out of the military adventure business for good. Right now the US spends about as much on its military as the rest of the world combined, and there’s no moral, ethical or economic excuse for it.
  3. Take a chain saw to waste in the military budget. Things like the F-22 Osprey, which has already wasted $22B and will likely cost another $75B to finish. By the way, it’s unclear that the damned thing will actually work, and once you get past the contractors and their pet Congressweasels nobody seems to want it.
  4. Let’s have a good, hard look at the corporate tax code, because ExxonMobil, GE, BoA, Chevron, Boein, Valero, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, ConocoPhillips and Carnival Cruise Lines combined to pay damned near no taxes, despite often-record revenues. In fact, between tax credits, refunds and bailouts, these companies hit us up for trillions of dollars in the past year or two. I’m not accusing any of these companies of breaking the law, and the way the laws work they’re actually required to behave in this way. All I’m saying is, you know, you earn billions and billions in profit, maybe the tax code should be structured so that you pay your fair share in taxes. That’s all.

Once we’ve done these things, then let’s see where we are.

I know, I’m just a simple country boy. And I didn’t major in math by any stretch. But it looks to me like this plan has us up over a trillion dollars in five years (maybe a whole lot sooner, depending on how we parse item #4).

From where I sit, it just doesn’t seem right to go after the little guy first just so we can make sure that Charlie Sheen, Paris Hilton and the Koch brothers can have a tax cut.

About the Author

Sam Smith

Samuel Smith lives a double life. Okay, triple life. By day he makes a living as a marketing consultant specializing in high-level strategy, branding, corporate communication and merging media and practices. In his "spare time" he's the executive editor of Scholars & Rogues, where he writes about everything from politics to music to sports to literature. Finally, he's an author of poetry and fiction whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals like storySouth, Poet & Critic, New Virginia Review, Cream City Review, High Plains Literary Review, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Pemmican and Uncanny Valley. He holds a BA at Wake Forest and MA from Iowa State, and somehow endured the torturous process of earning a PhD in Communication from the University of Colorado.

9 Responses to A simple country boy’s solution to the budget “crisis”

  1. Mike Leffew says:

    Tax the rich and cut defense. Dang, you should run for president. Why hasn’t anybody thought of this before?

  2. Sam Smith says:

    Good question. I’m no historian, but I’m unaware of anytime recently when the US increased taxes on its wealthy citizens and cut the military budget. Perhaps you can point me to when that has happened?

  3. NetGuru says:

    Tax the poor! Seriously, tax the poor. After all, they use the majority of all services, and they get these services free to them. Someone has to pay, so make them pay for some of the services.

    • beanbagfrog says:

      That’s what the lottery’s for.

    • ChrisJ. says:

      Netguru, you’re misinformed. The poor do not “use the majority of all services.” The rich benefit far more from such services. Even Greg Mankiw, an economist hardly known for being liberal, has acknowledged this in print more than once.

      Consider just a couple of examples:

      Who benefits more from police protection against theft and vandalism? Those who have more property to protect, obviously.

      Who benefits more from access to the legal system? Those who use it are almost entirely well-to-do people who can afford lawyers.

      Who benefits more from the whole elaborate structure of government entities set up to promote trade and development? Those who own or invest in companies that rely on that organizational infrastructure.

      And that’s not even dragging in “corporate welfare,” which far and away dwarfs actual financial benefits to the poor…

    • Aaron Krager says:

      Yeah because they really have the money to pay for said services when they need said services. You logic is impeccable.

  4. Sam says:

    WTF is a F-22 Osprey, read the damn articles you link, you sound like a moron.

    • Joe says:

      A DAMN expensive fighter jet. You know, like the ones we are using now are not the most advanced in the world.

  5. Jeremy Dean Crow says:

    I am an econ major and all but one of your ideas are good. The problem I have is with eliminating the Bush Tax cuts, In most economic formulas you see little if any actual returns from an increase on taxes for the most wealthy while you do see a decrease in efficiency and as such, a lose of economic growth.

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