Stick It to the Poor. Again.

Are you following the debate about how to fix the economy? For the average non-economist, trying to make sense of the arguments is futile. Both sides seem to have good arguments.That’s why a recent Op-Ed piece in the NY Times by David Stockman is so important. Stockman served as Ronald Reagan’s Budget Director for several years, and prior to that was a Republican Congressman.

Stockman took a look at the highly-touted plan offered by Republican Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee. Republicans, and much of the media, are making a hero out  of Rep. Ryan. He’s young, photogenic and people give him credit for being “courageous” because he is “willing” to discuss changes to entitlement programs, i.e., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps

But Stockman bluntly says that Ryan’s plan puts “the entire burden of entitlement reform on the poor.”

Got that? Our GOP friends, according to one their own, want to fix the deficit by making life harder for the people who can least afford it. And of course, he, like all good Republicans, refuses to even consider letting tax rates for the wealthy go back to where they were under Clinton, when we are all doing well.

Does that make you proud to be an American? Is that what you stand for? Hurt the poor and middle class, while asking nothing extra from millionaires and billionaires?

Where is the “shared sacrifice” that politicians ask for?

And actually, it’s not a matter of raising taxes on the wealthy – it’s simply letting the Bush tax cuts expire. Those cuts were meant to be temporary; they were put in place because Bill Clinton handed George W. Bush a large budget surplus, and Bush basically said the U.S. should give back the “excess” taxes that were collected.

On the same day as the Stockman article appeared, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman wrote that the Ryan/GOP plan calls “for tax cuts, with taxes on the wealthy falling to their lowest level since 1931.” Right. The US is desperate for income, yet Ryan says cut rates for the wealthiest even more!

Republicans claim, with a straight face, that we can’t raise taxes on millionaires because that would stifle job creation. WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP.  Business people – and I’m one – hire or fire based on what is best for our business. The idea that I would not hire another person for my firm merely because I had to pay slightly higher taxes is absurd beyond belief.

Sadly, few in the media ever challenge the GOP absurdity. We can only hope that the people will eventually see how the poor and middle class are getting screwed.

Below are links to the two articles.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/24/opinion/24stockman.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=stockman&st=cse

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/opinion/25krugman.html?scp=1&sq=krugman&st=Search