Well its nice to be back after a long hiatus, but all the craziness in politics today is making me want to type out my opinions really badly. So instead of sleeping or watching youtube videos, I’m going to put what is on my mind onto paper. And what is on my mind today is the right wing of the republican party that appears to have the power in the party.
Political Pundits call these people the conservative faction of the country. The media is being too light on them. They are Counter-Revolutionary in nature. If they were conservative, they would not be trying to role back abortion rights, getting rid of equal pay laws already established in states, and wanting an economic, entitlement, and tax policy that reminds me of the gilded ages of the late 1800s. Conservative in politics means to keep the status quo of what government is. For example, not wanting the individual mandate is a conservative policy (Even though Ironically the individual mandate came out of a right-wing think tank called the Heritage Foundation). Counter Revolutionary means wanting to bring back an era from the past in terms of governance. Classical example of this is after Napoleon took over Europe and then was kicked out of Europe, most countries went back to Monarchies, including France. A more modern example are the Voter ID laws that remind me a little of the Poll Tax that kept African American people from voting before the civil rights movement.
So what specifically are my issues with the right wing of politics today? So many that its unable to be contained in one post. But I’d like to start not with social issues (I will definitely get to that later) but with fiscal policy and government spending, which for me actually matters a lot to my career. As anyone who followed the news in 2011 knows, we almost had a fiscal disaster where we almost defaulted on our debt, and instead cost us a credit rating from S&P (which in my opinion was fueled slightly by revenge after the scolding they got after the recession and how the AAA rated toxic assets). We are facing another Fiscal disaster in 2012. Its not Debt Ceiling time though, its Austerity time. At the end of 2012, if nothing is done, this is what will happen:
1) Bush Tax Cuts Expire for All
2) Blunt cuts in Military Spending and Social Programs
3) Medicare funds get slashed for Dr.
4) Unemployment Benefits run out
5) AMT returns for the middle class
All these put together according to the CBO would cause another recession and our GDP growth for the year would be about .5%. If we can advert this fiscal cliff, GDP growth would be around 4.4% (which would mean our economy would be about to launch off again, if not already booming). So how do we advert disaster? Well, one thing we could do is just say “you know what, extend everything and not do anything”. Sounds good short term but long term just makes everything worse. We’d just kick the can down the road and have a bigger issue latter. The real question we must ask is how do we advert another recession but still take control of the fiscal issues?
Well let’s look at what each party wants. The Democrats are less specific than the republicans but they say in a nutshell end Bush era Tax cuts for the rich, keep the military cuts, end subsidies for businesses that don’t need it, and a lot more democrats from what I have been reading have said they are willing to reform social programs to reduce costs as long as it doesn’t kill the program or make it useless. They want to keep tax rate on the middle and lower classes as is and keep unemployment benifits available. In my opinion sounds pretty reasonable, Revenues increase, spending decreases, deals with the deficit issue in a sound way without killing the economy in the process.
Now the Republicans, it appears to be a lot more cynical. They want no cuts for the military and the Ryan Budget actually increases funds for the military. All cuts should be on social programs and domestic spending, and absolutely no tax increases on the rich. In the Ryan Budget their taxes go down. I use the Ryan budget as a starting point because it is what the House GOP goes with, and that is the branch of congress the GOP has power in. I have SO many issues with, some fiscally, a lot personally. First lets start with simple business. If your business has a deficit, what would you do as a boss? I’d do two set of things. The first set is cut spending by getting rid of waste, unneeded spending, or in last case scenario lay off workers. The second thing i would do is try to increase revenues, either through increasing prices on my goods or services, getting people to buy more of my service, or other things (i’m a researcher, not a business man so I don’t know exactly what I would do). Sound idea, do everything you can to fix your deficit issue. Republicans are not even trying to do the increase revenue side of things, all they want to do is take a chain saw to the domestic spending side of it.
I have been asking myself why the Republicans and Romney want to do this increase military spending and destroy domestic spending route and the only answer i have is extremely cynical. Romney seems very war hawkish in his policy with stating he wants to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely and willing to invade Iran. He also makes it clear that Russia is enemy number 1 in his eyes and hearing his rhetoric, it sounds cold war like and threatening. What if we do the Ryan Budget, and then go into more wars? We have a lower class that basically is left out in the cold and we would need more people to join the military to fight these wars. Guess what? We have a lower class with no jobs and no government support. The military could recruit this fertile field and gain the men and women it needs to fight the war. Its very cynical and is just a guess, but it makes logical sense to me.
Why does this whole Ryan budget and chainsawing the social and domestic budget matter so much to me? I am going into Medical Research, and the vast majority of funds come from groups like the VA, NIH, and other public entities. Funds are tight as it is already, and this started under Reagan. the Ryan budget would slash these funds even more. My friend argued that the private sector would swoop in and invest in research instead of the public entity. I say this is BS for two reasons. One is if this was true, then why didn’t they swoop in during Reagan? Second, private entities want to make profit off of the research that they fund. If research isn’t profitable, it would not get funded. My research i know is not profitable to drug companies, it hurts them (specifically the makers of Zyrtec McNeil Consumer Healthcare) because I believe i found side effects not known to antihistamines before. Why would any drug company fund that research? I don’t promise to make a better drug, I’m just finding negatives about a drug class. I need federal funds to do this research, and if they are being slashed, they may not be available. I may be forced if i want to follow my dreams to leave the country i love to be able to get the funding i need for research. Also the lack of funding could cost people’s lives as research has to become more and more selective as funds get slashed and we can’t do enough research to cover every disease. Its not good policy for science and the community to cut research funds.
So what do we do? My opinion is this. First thing is end bush tax cuts for the rich. Second thing is to invest in Job Training and Infrastructure. Investing money to get someone trained for a job means that person is more qualified for a job. That person can find a good job, getting the person out of welfare and food stamps and medicaid, saving us money that way. Also we increase revenue by having another tax payer. Investing in infrastructure will get people working, which again will decrease entitlement needs and increase the tax base. Third, we cut military spending. We are outspending the next 10 nations combined in military, no need for that. 4th, we raise retirement age on social security and medicare programs. That alone will save us a lot of money. Raise it to 68 years old. 5th, reform the entitlement programs so that their is less waste and fraud and keeps the basic needs of the program available to those who need it. This plan would create jobs, cut spending, and increase revenue in the long run. Exactly what our country needs.