Thursday, January 20, 2011

Everything is on the Table

Don't you love those words? Everything is on the table for budget cuts. Except of course, entitlements, military spending, homeland security and tax cuts. Well, ok entitlements can be on the table because they don't really effect rich people enough for them to sneeze at the loss of income. And that include Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

It doesn't matter that Social Security is self-supporting and is very solvent to 2035 and would be to 2075 if Congress would stop stealing from the trust fund. And we know Congress is always looking at ways to cut benefits to the elderly and payments to doctors, clinics and hospitals for Medicare. And Medicaid, well, just push the costs to the states who can't afford it except to cut benefits and people.

Well, if Congress is really serious, which we know they're not, only cosmetically for political gains, they would put the budgets of the Department of Defense for all expenditures including the two wars, the weapons systems and other capital expenditures, and operations, and the Homeland Security Administration on the table. But we know they won't.

And we know the 2010 Bush, now Obama, tax cuts won't be allowed to expire in 2012. Obama was too chicken to take the Republicans on about this and negotiated a "compromise" which was essentially give them everything they wanted. The Republicans could care less about the middle class tax cuts. They only wanted them for the rich, and they can blame the President and the Democrats for increase the budget deficit over those but not their tax cuts.

That's because they want our government to really be just two things, the military and homeland security. They really want our government to be oppressive here and abroad. To suspect every citizen of being a dosmetic terrorist and every else of being an extremist or terrorist, especially if you're of Arab decent or ethnicity or a follower of Islam. Only rich, white, christian citizens are "good" people.

Ok, an exageration, but not by much if you listen to their words. But that's not the point here. It's that if we want to have a realistic balanced budget to cut the annual deficit and national debt, it must include significant cuts in the military and homeland security. They must also do more with less than their current, and always have been, practice of doing more with more money.

We don't need total miltiary superiority over all the nations of the world. We don't need to be the world's police force for bad or terrorist nations. The Washington Post in a series of article have shown the intelligence community is 2 to 3 times too big for it's optimum efficiency and effectiveness. It's needs to shrink by half, at least, and keep spending down below half of current levels.

There's more waste and fraud in those two agencies than the rest of the government combined, and that's where there is the most to save now and longterm. We need to address Medicare and Medicaid, but we can use the savings from those two programs to offset these two. We do need to address the longterm cost of healthcare. It's twice the per person average of European countries and it's no better than theirs.

This is in part because we allow the healthcare and health insurance industries to control costs for profit. It's time we decided to regulate them and bring costs, with some profit, in line with the costs of everything else and the living expenses of the people. We need to have a truly affordable healthcare system in this country, from the premiums to the cost of care for everyone.

But that's a different subject. My point here is that everything should be on the table for real, not just for appearances to remove later or not cut, or worse increase. And that includes the military and homeland security. We need what we can afford and not rob from the rest of the programs we need which provide more benefits to the people and for this nation.

When we say we want everything on the table, we mean it and we expect Congress to act accordingly. No bullshit and real cuts.

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