President Obama's budget proposal goes directly after the organized system of looting that is the basis of the Republican power block - tax subsidies of the rich and multi-national corporations, profit taking from the monopolistic health insurance markets, medicare and medicaid's big pharma bill padding, and the bloated "defense" budget. The reforms suggested by the President are so clear and compelling that the beneficiaries from the system cannot risk a debate on what the President proposes. When Obama proposes to control costs in medical care, the Republicans want to discuss cuts to Medicare. When Obama proposes to cut special tax gifts to oil companies, Republicans want to discuss cuts to Social Security. When Obama proposes to eliminate unnecessary Defense spending, the Republicans discuss cuts to Medicaid. The goal is to prevent discussion of what is actually in the proposed budget. Fortunately for the Republicans not only do they have the support of the corporate media, but the supposedly progressive netroots is on board along with Fox Democrats like Robert Reich. The DailyKos diarist "slinkerwink" just provided an exquisite example of how it's done
One of the proposals in the budget is:
Fully Paying for the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Patch for Three Years. This is the longest paid-for extension ever proposed, and is offset by an across-the-board 30 percent reduction in itemized deductions for high-income taxpayers.
So there's a proposal for a three year tax break for the middle class paid for by reducing tax deductions for the rich. Here's our friend Slink
And now back to Robert Reich on the issue of progressive taxation. He has the bright idea of raising taxes on the super-wealthy and lowering taxes for the middle class. It makes one wonder why those pointy-headed politicos in D.C. haven't proposed this yet or take it seriously. It's kind of like the silly saying where to succeed in D.C., all you have to do is fail upwards. The same goes for putting forth rightward proposals in order to 'succeed' in the eyes of the Beltway.
Why didn't Obama think of that? He could have proposed cutting the AMT and paying for it by increasing taxes on the rich, for example - why just like he actually did. Note the teabagger rhetorical devices - actually "pointy-headed" is a phrase that the late George Wallace used to use to describe DC. And then let's consider what Slink had to say about Obama's corporate tax proposals. Here's an exchange during the President's press conference with Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Your budget relies on revenue from tax increases to multinational corporations that ship jobs overseas and on increases on the oil and gas industry. You've been calling on this for years. And if you couldn't get it through a Democratic Congress, why do you think you'll be able to get it through now? And also doesn't it blunt your push for deficit-neutral corporate tax reform?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I continue to believe I'm right. (Laughter.) So we're going to try again. I think what's different is everybody says now that they're really serious about the deficit. Well, if you're really serious about the deficit -- not just spending, but you're serious about the deficit overall -- then part of what you have to look at is unjustifiable spending through the tax code, through tax breaks that do not make us more competitive, do not create jobs here in the United States of America.
And the two examples you cite I think most economists would look at and they'd say these aren't contributing to our long-term economic growth. And if they're not, why are we letting some folks pay lower taxes than other folks who are creating jobs here in the United States and are investing? Why are we not investing in the energy sources of the future, just the ones in the past, particularly if the energy sources of the past are highly profitable right now and don't need a tax break?
No doubt the "progressives" would cheer a proposal that not only shifts the tax burden back onto companies that move jobs overseas but also removes unfair subsidy for polluting oil industries. Well, um, no. Here's what Robert Reich had to say about this.
Hmm, perhaps this proposal is not favored by the companies that pay Reich speaking fees to discuss the wonders of the service economy. And here's what "Slink" has to say.
Just for the record, aside from Defense cuts, the budget contains a number of interesting proposals. Here are a few:
• Eliminating 12 tax breaks for oil, gas, and coal companies, closing loopholes to raise nearly $46 billion over the next decade.
charging user fees to oil companies for processing oil and gas drilling permits and inspecting operations on Federal lands and waters, which complement new and rigorous safety and environmental standards to make sure that these activities are done responsibly; establishing fees for newnon-producing oil and gas leases (both onshore and offshore) to encourage more timely production; and making administrative changes to Federal oil and gas royalties, such as adjusting royalty rates and terminating the royalty-in-kind program.
Require the Financial Services Industry to Pay Back Taxpayers. The Administrationis
calling for a Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee on the largest financial institutions to fully compensate taxpayers for the extraordinary support they provided to the financial sector through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and other Government actions
[Preventing corporate raiders from dumping their pension obligations on the government via the Pension Benefit Guarantee system]
The Budget proposes to give the PBGC Board the authority to adjust premiums and directs PBGC to take into account the risks that different sponsors pose to their retirees and to PBGC. This will both encourage companies to fully fund their pension benefits and ensure the continued financial soundness of PBGC.
Supports new consumer protections and review of unreasonable [Health Insurance] premium increases
Good thing we have a progressive netroots to advocate for these changes and even more radical ones. Or not.