The People Have Spoken—Now Listen!
Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate was a defining issue in yesterday’s national election. Because of that selection, and subsequent events that started unfolding immediately thereafter: the nuns on a bus tour against the Ryan austerity budget, the leaked tape of Romney dismissing 47% of Americans for taking part in our safety net (i.e. commonwealth) and Romney’s stark words about privatizing FEMA flying straight into the face of Hurricane Sandy, all defined the campaign to be a clear choice about the role of government.
The results of that national conversation was a choice to re-elect what had become a fairly unpopular president, in the time of a lingering near-depression, and despite staggering and incomprehensible amounts of corporate money marshaled against him. The President won the popular vote and a blow-out in the electoral college, the Senate not only stayed blue but picked up a seat or two despite defending twice as many seats, and some notable right wing congressmen such as Allen West were thrown out on their ear. The choice of the American people should have been heard as a clarion call, a loud and clear rejection of austerity cuts and trickle down economics.
But sisters and brothers, be very afraid that Democrats have not heard that message. In his acceptance speech, the President again referred to budget deals, deficit reduction and “reforming” entitlements. This is the kind of deafness that got the President in trouble in the first place, and got the democrats trounced in the 2010 elections. It is the kind of deafness that has our Senator, Dick Durbin on the verge of cutting a “grand bargain” that will “reform”, meaning CUT Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid while lowering corporate tax rates (in exchange for the always allusive closing of loopholes). I don’t mind that this will be a disaster for the Democrats for they will deserve to lose big again if they accept such a bargain. IIRON , our allies, and the American people will mind very much and suffer the consequences when these cuts devastate the old, the young, the poor and the vulnerable, create more unemployment and sink us into deeper depression.
Our answer is clear: There is no fiscal cliff! There is no immediate crisis! Deficits are fine in the short run if they are used to put people to work, stimulate demand and create jobs and benefits for the American people. Investments– in our crumbling and decrepit infrastructure, greening our energy system and economy to stave off global warming, relieving student debt and investing in education at all levels, bailing out homeowners and state and local governments—these investments will result in a healthy economy, economic returns, and a shrinking deficit over time as well. We’ve already seen the results of trickle down policies and austerity. They brought us to this economic depression.
There is one important issue on the table with regard to the “fiscal cliff” that should be attended to, and that is REVENUE! Ending the Bush tax cuts for the top 2%, taxing capital gains at a rate equal to or higher than wage and salary income, and instituting a tiny tax on Wall Street speculation (Robin Hood Tax) are 3 simple policies that would be a great start and by themselves generate enough income to fund all of these investments I spoke of, put America back to work and begin reducing the deficit. Those solutions are consistent with the results of yesterday’s election and the message of “We The People” who too often stood in lines for hours to send it. Those are the solutions IIRON and its allies are calling for and will be demanding at a faith leaders action tomorrow (Thursday, November 8th) and a large public action on Friday, November 9th. The election was the beginning. Now the real work begins. This time around we want promises kept and we will be in the streets until our voices are heard, and obeyed!
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