The story dominating the news today is the fiscal cliff. Unless there is a grand bargain between Republicans, who tried to hold up the government over the debt ceiling, and an administration trying to put the economy back on track, we fall off. Watching this political theater, with a super committee that failed to make the grand bargain, and the looming disaster intended to force a bargain, would be entertaining, if it wasn’t proof that this Congress is hopeless.
Republicans believe that ending Bush’s income tax cuts on millionaires will somehow keep these rich guys from hiring more workers. Bunk. Workers get jobs when there is more demand for products and services.
We’ve got a jobs problem not a debt problem. We’ve got an infrastructure problem. Trains derailing. Bridges collapsing. Pipelines leaking. We can put people to work, not by giving rich guys tax breaks, but by giving governments funds to rebuild roads, bridges, and rail lines. We can convert spending for unneeded weapons into rebuilding the nation’s structures, school systems, and public services.
We need to learn again how to talk about people in this economy. Folks are rich. They are poor. Some are in the middle. The 99 percent are not middle class. Everybody except the upper class has not been getting ahead for a long time.
In the Great Recession millions have fallen off this scale. Losing jobs, losing homes, and losing hope in a system that failed them.
We hear the cruel suggestion that taking away earned Social Security payments and Medicare benefits from the elderly is the way to avoid the fiscal cliff.
Getting the country back to work and out of debt will take sacrifice. Shared sacrifice — from all. Let’s get on with the job and cut out the silly theater in Congress.