Independents

After the 2010 election, conservative columnist David Brooks warned Tea Partiers about celebrating too heartily. Brooks said Republicans come to power on anger; but Democrats come to power on hope; and in the long run, their altruism wins.

This country was built on hope and altruism. Here are 5 reasons independents should join us: taxes, jobs, debt, healthcare, and education.

As you read below, keep this in mind.  The top 1 percent of earners have gone from 8 percent of all income in the Carter administration to 24 percent now, yet their taxes have dropped 25 percent in the past fifteen years. Is that fair?

1. Taxes – Republicans vote for zero taxes on the wealthy

Under the Republican budget plan (Todd Akin’s and  Paul Ryan’s plan), taxes on capital gains and dividends would go to zero.  Since the vast majority of income of wealthy Americans comes from capital gains and dividends, their income tax will virtually go to zero. All but one Republican voted for this no income tax for the rich.

Another Republican scam is their (Un)Fair Tax.  Republicans want everyone to pay the same percent on income tax, but is it fair for the poor to pay the same rate as the millionaire? The (Un)Fair Tax is nothing more than a scheme to shift $160 billion in taxes from the upper one percent to the middle class. Currently the upper one percent of earners pay $400 billion in income tax. Under the (Un)Fair Tax plan they would pay slightly over $240 billion. Guess who gets to pick up the rest.

Republicans want to spend unwarranted sums of tax money on corporate welfare, such as the $4 billion oil subsidy, no price competition for drugs in Medicare, and extra premiums for health insurance companies. Democrats will be better stewards of the taxpayer’s money by investing in infrastructure, education, and a leaner, but more efficient, military.

If you believe in a truly fair tax system: Come join us. We need you.

2. Jobs and the Economy

There are two competing economic philosophies for our recovery.

The West Coast economic model encourages dynamic entrepreneurs to do what America does best: create vibrant new products and technology. Democrats embrace this system which has given us Microsoft, Amazon.com, Sun Microsystems, Google, EBay, and Facebook. Democrats are committed to provide tax incentives and support for those who actually create jobs in both large and small businesses.

The Republicans back the East Coast economy model which is anchored by Wall Street, the banks, and insurance companies, the same triad who brought our economy down. Democrats know America was defrauded by lying bankers and brokers, and are committed to oversight and more efficient controls of our financial markets. Yet every effort Democrats take to protect Americans from another financial free fall is met with Republican intransigence. Instead of Republicans controlling the financial power grid, they are controlled by it.

If you believe in support for job creators: Come join us. We need you.

3. Debt and how we got there

Debt added by Bush

The graph plots out all of the debts George Bush is responsible for: unfunded wars, bailouts, his tax cuts, and the economic downturn.  Virtually all the current debt is caused by the ghost of George Bush.

In 2001, Bill Clinton handed George Bush a budget which ran a surplus. After 3 massive tax cuts to the top earners, 2 unpaid for wars, and an unfunded Medicare Part D, Bush handed Barack Obama a budget which had grown 85 percent while revenue had only grown 26 percent. In addition, the debt had doubled from $5 trillion to $10 trillion. Add another trillion of Bush approved bailouts to banks and auto makers, along with 2 million more homes to be foreclosed, and you have an economy on life support.

In addition, Medicare and Medicaid were out of control and adding $400 billion a year to the deficit. And the real killer?  An economy wreaked so badly, it was hemorrhaging hundreds of thousands of jobs a month and producing $700 billion (25%) a year less in federal revenue.

Democrats have put $2-3 trillion in spending cuts on the table. In return, we have asked the top tax bracket be returned to where it was in Clinton’s balanced budget.  The response to a reasonable revenue increase has Republicans  stonewalling all negotiations if there is a hint of any inconvenience or pain for their biggest contributors.

Federal revenue has been around 19 percent of Gross National Product for 50 years. When Bush left, it had dropped to 14,4 percent: and the Republicans have the nerve to say “We don’t have a revenue problem.” 

Republicans keep asking Democrats to stop referring to Bush.  That is like asking WW II veterans to stop talking about Pearl Harbor. If you believe in fiscal sanity for this country: Come join us. We need you.

4. Healthcare

Democrats believe in healthcare for all Americans. Period

That said, the overriding purpose of Obama’s healthcare reform was to cut the deficit. In 2008, Medicare and Medicaid were adding $300-400 billion a year to the deficit, by far the biggest component of the debt.

Obama’s plan cuts $500 billion from drug and insurance companies, caps insurance profits, cuts inefficient hospitals and goes after fraud. All this, while covering 30 million more Americans, eliminating bankruptcy caused by medical bills, and bringing affordable insurance to those  currently uninsurable because of pre-existing conditions.

Instead of embracing these cost savings, Republicans demonized them by fraudulently telling seniors that they are cuts in their Medicare. They are not.

The alternative Republican medical plan, chaired by Missouri’s own Senator Roy Blunt, was a complete sellout to the insurance and drug companies. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports their plan only saves $6 billion a year and, pathetically, only covers 3 million more out of the current 55 million uninsured. Nor did it ensure coverage to any of the 10 million with pre-existing conditions.

The new Republican plan (Paul Ryan’s & Todd Akin’s) dismantles Medicare as we know it.  Workers under 55, many of whom have paid Medicare taxes for decades, will find a massive healthcare cost of over $6500 a year in co-pays and deductions sent to them, as they retire and go on a fixed income.

If you believe, as the Democrats and the rest of the entire  industrialized world, that healthcare is a right, not a privilege: Come join us. We need you.

5. Education

Democrats know the difficulty for teachers to teach in our systems which have a gifted child with a genius IQ sitting next to a hyperactive, mentally challenged student, but this is who America is.  America’s school system is a reflection of this country’s deep belief in equality and access for all.

Democrats realize the economic challenges our schools face and the daunting task of openly teaching all God’s children. Republicans do not. With the mainstreaming of handicapped children in 1975, the federal government promised to pick up 40 percent of this enormous expense. By 2008, Republican budget cuts had left this commitment to our most vulnerable children at a pathetic 11 percent.

Republicans favor school choice, which allows for a re-segregation of our children by ability and status. Currently St. Louis charter schools are performing 25% more poorly than public schools.

Worldwide teachers are venerated, but not so by the Republicans.  Their incessant cacophony of criticism of our teachers is both unwarranted and shameful. This follows a decades old pattern of Republicans: If you don’t have a solution, you scream at the top of your lungs about how awful the opponent is.

All of this gets back to David Brooks’ point: Republicans are full of anger while Democrats are full of hope.If you believe in education for all: Come join us. We need your help.

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