Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

GOP “Budget Alternative”: No Details Except Massive Tax Giveaway to the Rich

Angry at Democrats for calling them the “Party of No,” and rising to Pres. Obama’s challenge to present an alternate budget instead of just criticizing his, today the Republican Party unveiled—-NOTHING.  Even friendly reporters kept asking for details.  No projections of deficits. No details on what would be cut or how the essential services would be funded.  Zip.  Nada. Zilch.  No  ideas.

Oh,  wait.  There was one concrete proposal:  To cut the top tax rate from 35% (one of the lowest in the industrialized world) to  25%!  That’s it.  A huge tax giveaway to the wealthiest of Americans–the only ones who AREN’T hurting from this recession.   How would this be paid for? No answer. You know why? Because it cannot be answered:

To pay for that HUGE revenue loss, the government would essentially have to shut down.   You couldn’t run the government for a month on that loss of revenue.  You think we have crumbling infrastructure NOW, you wait until that kicked in.  The military would run out of bullets in a year with that budget.  OR, we’d borrow even more than now. Except that no one,  not China, not Europe, not India, NO ONE would loan the U.S. dime one with a “budget” that had no revenue projections, no details of any kind but proposed such a MASSIVE tax giveaway to the very people who put us  into this mess in the first place.  In fact, they would call their markers due and we’d go into complete Great Depression II overnight.

The Republicans also know this is a farce because they know it has no chance of getting past Congress.  The Bush tax cuts will be repealed which will take the top tax rate up to 39%–the rate of the Clinton years.  In the Eisenhower years, when we had the largest U.S. middle class, the top tax rate was 90%!

And  don’t talk to me about deep-cutting the government. Wrong, the history of tax cuts shows that it seldom, if ever, cuts govt.  It just  has  to be paid for later with bigger tax increases.

The GOP truly is the Party of NO NEW IDEAS.  

UPDATE:  Senate Guru  notes that the GOP apparently gave the writers of South Park an advanced copy of their “budget.” I’ve reproduced it below.:


March 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) Pushes Prison Reform

I like Jim Webb. Don’t get me wrong; we have disagreements on numerous issues.  I believe that the Democratic Party should be at the forefront of every struggle for human rights and civil liberties and Webb believes that while Democrats were right to  back the Civil Rights movement, we should have “stayed neutral” in the debates over women’s rights and gay rights.   I am a pacifist and Webb is about as pro-military as one can get–although he is anti-nuke and thinks that the military should  only be used as a last resort (and, thus, this former Sec. of the Navy under Reagan was against the Iraq War from before Day One).

But Webb and I agree that the heart of the Democratic Party must always be the struggle for economic justice for ordinary people.  Fighting poverty, checking the abuses of wealth, and creating a broad middle class–those are the reasons Webb is a Democrat and I share them.  We also share a passion for prison reform. Webb sees, rightly, that the current prison system in the U.S. is broken–and is an economic drag on the nation and a new form of racist slavery.

So, now this Democrat from the socially conservative Commonwealth of Virginia (where he narrowly won his seat in 2006), a state that is second only to TEXAS in quick-but-sloppy trials and death sentences, is pushing for Congress to undertake massive prison reform. This year.  Wow.  Webb wants a complete, top to bottom, review of the nation’s criminal-justice system, with an eye toward greatly reducing the prison population (we now outrank China as first in the world in per capita citizens under lock and key) and reforming the way we incarcerate.

Considering that VA is not only a “law and order” state, but that prison growth is one of the few growth industries in our current economy, Webb has guts.  That’s another reason I like him.  I like politicians who have the guts to take on tough issues even if they shorten their time in office. (Webb, a successful novelist,  hardly needs his government paycheck.)

UPDATE: Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is co-sponsoring the election, giving Webb some bi-partisan cover.

So, I got Webb’s back. How about you?  Contact Pres. Obama and tell him that you support Sen. Webb’s efforts for comprehensive criminal-justice and prison reform THIS YEAR.  Then contact your U.S. Representative to Congress and tell her or him the same thing.  Then contact both of your U.S. Senators and tell them, too.  Then, write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and urge support.  Sen. Webb is having a major public  event on this initiative this weekend.  By Monday, Gentle Readers, let’s try for 50,000 emails,  letters, or phone calls to Congress and the White House and, at least 25,000 letters to editors of major newspapers throughout the country.  That won’t be all we need to do,  but it should give Sen. Webb’s efforts a major jump start.  Recruit all your family and friends to  do the same.

Oh,  and if any of you are police  or corrections or judges or work in the criminal justice system, or if you are clergy (especially prison chaplains or ministers who have spent time visiting prisoners) or have family who are either victims of crime or have been incarcerated for any reason, PLEASE include your experiences and insights in your contacts with media and Congress and the White House.

March 26, 2009 Posted by | criminal juste | 5 Comments