On What Plane of Existence do Our Politicians Live?
by Dan Ehrlich

I’m convinced that while much of the American population is oblivious to our true economic state, our politicians inhabit a fantasy world encased inside the DC Beltway where they wheel and deal with Monopoly money and keep us distracted with relatively minor side issues such as gays in the military.

Why else would Congress approve a bill worked out with President Obama that will lower, yes lower taxes for the rich and poor alike when we have a national debt of nearly $14 trillion, which is about 96 percent of our gross national product?

I mean knowing this you have to ask yourself, or better your members of Congress, how are we paying for things such as two wars and a huge public sector when we are technically broke and depending on the kindness of strangers. We must be having trouble printing money fast enough since China and the Arabs own so many dollars.

Yet daily we are treated to news stories about the battle to extend the Bush tax cuts and yet, somehow reduce our debt. How? How do we reduce our debt when we first don’t make or sell too much anymore and second, if we don’t raise taxes…and definitely not lower them?

My guess is that our politicians have largely fallen for the very tactic with which they have been brainwashing the public. This is the scenario where we forget how good things used to and accept how they are now.

It goes back to the one of the basics of politics: You can’t get elected by telling people bad news, even if it’s the truth. On the other hand, a politician doesn’t want to do a Bush Sr. either: “Read my lips no new taxes.”

America has traditionally been a low taxation country compared to Europe’s socialist nations. We have grown up spoiled, used to having things on the cheap. The prospect of a major tax increase is indigestible to most Americans. So, both major parties will do whatever it takes to keep from raising them, even though it may be the only fiscally responsible course.

Obama campaigned on taxing the wealthy and helping the middle class. The GOP wants to ease up on the wealthy while still keeping the Bush across the board tax cuts. In the end, Obama had to see it more the Republican’s way.

Our national debt is annually serviced by interest, $454 billion in 2008, half of which goes to foreign countries, which loaned us the money so we could buy their products.

Public debt owed to foreign countries has increased to approximately 50 percent of the total or approximately $3.4 trillion. As a result, nearly 50 percent of the interest payments are now leaving the country.

During the GW years America went from the biggest creditor nation to the biggest debtor nation. And Obama has been forced to keep that ball rolling. On a more practical level, money that could be used for Obama's public works projects or refurbishing inner city areas will be going to China and Japan, our two largest creditors. And, it will be the taxpayer who eventually picks up the tab.

The 2010 U.S. budget indicates annual debt increases of nearly $1 trillion through 2019. By then the total U.S. national debt is projected to be $18.4 trillion. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the Administration. is on a fiscally "unsustainable" path and that politicians and the electorate have been unwilling to change this.

In May of last year Britain’s highly respected Economist Magazine stated "Having spent a fortune bailing out their banks, Western governments will have to pay a price in terms of higher taxes to meet the interest on that debt. In the case of countries (like Britain and America) that have trade as well as budget deficits, those higher taxes will be needed to meet the claims of foreign creditors.”

With this expert forecast, why would we be keeping taxes low for everyone? Realistically we should raising taxes. To this the GOP, who got us into this mess in the first place, reply that taxing the rich would only scare them away to tax havens abroad, i.e., Halliburton.

On the other side of the spectrum, liberal and moderate members of Congress are still sponsoring humanitarian bills, which during happier days would be rubber stamped, that will cost is millions of dollars. One such bill would work to end child marriages in the Third World… a very noble cause. Yet, the Republicans killed the bill in the House because it would cost too much and would foster abortion, another distraction that never seems to go away.

Conor Williams writes in The Washington Post blog PostPartisan, "How can Republicans explain efforts to defeat a human rights bill because of $67 million in potential spending while simultaneously pushing for a tax cut deal for wealthy Americans that will add $858 billion to the deficit? Is this at all credible?"

It doesn’t matter if it’s credible…as long as the fantasy plays well among GOP colleagues within the Beltway. The underlying reality is the rich continue to get richer and poor become more numerous with each passing year.

In the end, America will gain through free market capitalism some of the things were were brainwashed into fearing from Communism…an eventual largely proletarian society ruled by a wealthy corporate elite…Hard-Truths.

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