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DAVID ROSMAN: Moderates — it's up to you to find a solution

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 7:40 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 20, 2011

With less than two weeks before the great fiscal crisis time bomb clock reaches zero, with hope of a negotiated agreement all but gone, with the right-wing right-wingers screaming, “Let it shut down,” and left-wing left-wingers screaming, “Don’t touch social programs,” it is time for the moderates in both parties to put their heads together and resolve our fiscal crisis.

This is not just any fiscal crisis. This is the making of the greatest world financial crisis ever.

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The world will not blame the Republicans or Democrats, the tea party conservatives or the social-liberals. No, the world will blame Americans, all Americans, for this mess.

Why? Because both extremes have gotten greedy. Greed is not a virtue. Paying your fair share is.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said on Fox News Sunday that the only way to fix the problem is by “cutting spending, capping the growth in government and requiring a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution."

Really? No more borrowing to meet the needs of the people?

Let me make this clear: Without government, corporate and personal debt, our national economy would die. More Americans would lose their jobs, the roofs over their heads, food in their refrigerators and gas in their cars.

Our national debt has become extreme. But as any financially responsible business owner and family are aware, serious debt problems are fixed this way: Reduce spending. Increase revenue.

This requires huge across-the-board cuts, even in programs I support — the social safety net programs that are currently saving hundreds of thousands of Americans from financial death. Military cuts will happen, and the Pentagon needs to deal with it.

Nationally, it means testing for Medicare and Medicaid. Strengthen the Welfare to Work programs. 

Stop giving corporate welfare to the oil industry. Eliminate tax loopholes, and tax capital gains as income, especially for millionaires and billionaires who pay half the tax rate I do as a tens-of-thousandsaire.

If the president is complaining about corporate jets, why use the presidential 747 to go places like Columbia Regional Airport? Can’t Boeing develop a highly secure 737-900ER for shorter trips?

The list goes on.

Here is my argument for the tax increase on those who can afford to pay:

As the rich get richer and hedge fund operators and futures speculators pay 15 percent capital gains tax, if they pay taxes at all, the job market worsens.

If Reagan’s “trickle-down economics” really worked — if reducing taxes on the wealthy is intended to create jobs — there are no signs of it. Reagan and Clinton both proved that raising taxes creates jobs.

Another possibility is to declare federal bankruptcy, allow the tea party caucus a win and shut the government down. 

But this does not meet the “Dead Man” rule — i.e., if a dead man can do it, it is not a solution.

Our own representatives Blaine Luetkemeyer and Vicky Hartzler are apparently not helping. Both are co-sponsors of the “Cut, Cap and Balance Act of 2011,” H.R. 2560, along with 85 other members of the House, including Missouri RepublicansTodd Akin and Billy Long So being a co-signer only means they are trustworthy members of the party.

In part, H.R. 2560 would require a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution before correcting any of the real problems, and it requires more debt. Everyone agrees it will never get out of the Senate.

Mr. Luetkemeyer — if you are the businessman you say you are — and Ms. Hartzler — if you are the family and consumer sciences educator as you claim — you both know that H.R. 2560 is simply political posturing to placate the right-wing right-wingers in your party.  

You need to return to the 80 percent of the GOP that wants you to fix the budget problem, not patch the leaks.

Do it. Do it right. Do it right now.

It is time for the New Silent Majority, the moderate Republicans and Democrats, to stand up and scream, "Enough already!" Then, find a solution.

You will agree to it or you all will be out of a job in the 113th Congress.

David Rosman is an award-winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in Communications, Ethics, Business and Politics. You can read more of David’s commentaries at ColumbiaMissourian.com and InkandVoice.com and New York Journal of Books.com.


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Comments

James Krewson July 20, 2011 | 12:26 a.m.

"Reagan and Clinton both proved that raising taxes creates jobs." That is the most absurd statement I have ever read. Raising taxes does the exact opposite. It stymies growth and forces small business owners to reduce their workforce thus creating fewer taxpayers and less revenue. Money that they could spend in expansion they would instead be sending to a bloated federal government who in turn would NOT use it to pay down the debt, but instead use it to spend on more wasteful projects. Raising taxes is a ridiculous thing to consider in an already stagnant economy.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 20, 2011 | 6:23 a.m.

So it's up to the moderates, a group definitely on the endangered species list.

There was a rock and roll song, popular some years ago, called "Stuck In The Middle With You." In part the lyrics went:

"Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right.
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you."

No shortage of clowns and jokers. No shortage at all.

(Report Comment)
Charles leverett July 20, 2011 | 8:50 a.m.

Your argument against an amendment to balance the budget is itself absurd. The government is not a business. It shouldn't be considered so. The only way the government can obtain money is by seizing it from someone else. MO has such an amendment and it seems to work quiet well. The only thing I would want in it is the ability to borrow during an emergency (war etc).

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield July 20, 2011 | 9:14 a.m.

Despite all the whining about "the rich" not paying "their fair share," the vast majority of the 45% who pay no federal income tax make less than $100K: http://money.cnn.com/2011/05/09/pf/taxes....

Yes, we know that the 45%ers pay other taxes (e.g., sales). No, those other taxes do not even come close to covering federal, state and local budgets.

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david smith July 20, 2011 | 9:21 a.m.

The top 1% of wage earners pay 40% of all taxes. How much more you want? What a bunch of communists. The amount of revenue obtained by screwing the rich with more taxes is negligible compared with the debt we face and would be insignificant in making any progress towards the debt. So why do it? Because it makes people feel better? That seems to be the reason in the past. What the democrats dont realize in their idiotic way of thinking is that raising taxes in this current economy is going to have a profoundly negative effect. Most of the people in the upper tax bracket are making between $250K and $1 million a year. They are not sitting on their yachts eating caviar. When these people are forced to pay an extra $50K per year in taxes then most will budget accordingly and that $50K will come directly out of the economy, including the Columbia economy. Libs think the rich are evil, but like them are not, they do contribute alot to the economy.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 20, 2011 | 10:31 a.m.

The stimulus didn't work because it did not get to the root of the problem: Spending sentiment did not change.

It didn't change for buyers (i.e., you and me) and it didn't change for those who takes risks, create employment opportunities, and make new inventory.

Stimulus money went into a variety of places. It propped up banks, but a bunch of it went to the middle class workers. The thinking was that if the middle class got their hands on a bunch of money, they would feel better about things (there's that "sentiment" thingie again) and start reducing inventories by buying stuff. They didn't. Oh, they paid down debt and saved the money, but saving money in a bank doesn't help the economy much if the bank can't re-loan that money out because there is no demand.

Sure, some money was spend on goods/services, but what entrepreneur is gonna see a reduced inventory and start hiring IF THAT REDUCED INVENTORY IS VIEWED AS TEMPORARY because the money inflow (borrowed and redistributed) will not continue?

Not many will. They will hire temporary workers to get over the hump, but not full-time workers they may have to lay off down the line.

We need 350K jobs per month to make much progress. That just ain't gonna happen any time soon. I see NO events on the horizon, even an election of a charismatic leader (not Obama) who can lead us out of the sentiment doldrums like Reagan did singlehandedly.

Fact is, you have to be some sort of masochistic nut to want to be President right now.

You wanna get out of this mess?

Start looking for ways to change sentiment...not in some false, temporary, feel-good kind of way, but in a real I-see-a-red-sky-at-night-sailors'-delight-things-are-getting-better manner.

Real estate is location, location, location.

Economics is sentiment, sentiment, sentiment.

Anything else is just fartin' in the wind.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield July 20, 2011 | 1:16 p.m.

"The thinking was that if the middle class got their hands on a bunch of money, they would feel better about things and start reducing inventories by buying stuff. They didn't. . . . Sure, some money was spend on goods/services"

Quite a bit, actually. Take the iPad. Fifteen months after it debuted, Apple is still struggling to meet demand. They sold more than 9 million in just the past three months. (From what I've read, the majority of sales are still to U.S. consumers.) The cheapest model is $499, which is a significant amount if your household is at or below the median of ~$46K.

Now add in sales of rival tablets, plus smartphones, whose sales have been off the hook throughout the recession. And that's just two segments within just the consumer electronics market.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 20, 2011 | 3:12 p.m.

JimmyB: Well, the scalar value of "some" is certainly open to interpretation; Over 3 trillion dollars was spent on the stimulus, so I guess even 500 billion in money spent on electronics can be interpreted as "some" or "a lot".

The point is....it didn't work. It didn't work because the whole glut of money was temporary. The stimulus neither started nor sustained an improved sentiment for consumers and especially those who create jobs. The wall of worry is still too high.

The example you gave (IPADs) just depresses me. Sure, some of those IPADs can be considered "assets" because they help business folks make money. But, for the vast majority of IPAD purchases, the product is about as much of an asset as a plasma screen TV or a truck you look good in (cool...end a sentence with a preposition for those of you paying grammatical attention).

Ain't nuttin' gonna happen in this economy until (1) entrepreneurs believe their risks are decreased to an acceptable level, and (2) folks start buyin'. Contrary to the current administration's policies and group-think, #1 is more important than #2.

(PS: And, for those of you who do not believe me, ask yourself this question: "Have I increased spending because I feel better about this economy, or am I still holding my money close?"

Either way you answer...it's the same answer for most everyone else.)

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