Wednesday, April 23, 2008
National Debt At All-Time High, McCain Promises War On Poverty II
Almost 44 years ago to this day, swaggering Lyndon Baines Johnson made "his pledge to wipe out poverty and unemployment in the land," as it described by a newspaper the day after. Johnson made his grand pronouncement from the front porch of Thomas Fletcher's house in Inez, the seat of Martin county in eastern Kentucky.
Forty four years and $10 trillion dollars later, eastern Kentucky is still poor, and just as on the day LBJ came to town, Thomas Fletcher is still struggling to make a living.
Now, the current Republican nominee John McCain has traveled back to Inex, Kentucky this week and vowed a new war on poverty from the very place where Lyndon Johnson started the first one, 44 years ago. This time, however, there is new, cure-all solution: tax cuts.
Now, there is nothing wrong with tax cuts, except, of course, with one exception. Like George W. Bush, John McCain is proposing massive tax cuts, but will not cut spending at all. Instead of solving the fiscal problem, this feel-good approach will only further it.
By planning to cut taxes and increase spending, McCain is cutting revenue while increasing output, a combination which proved disastrous under President Bush, under whose massive spending increases, the national debt has increased from $5.7 to $9.3 trillion, a more than 90% percent increase.
This has placed an immense burden on the citizens of the United States. If the national debt was distributed evenly, each American would owe more than $30,000. This year, almost 10 percent of our budget was spent just on the interest associated with our national debt, a figure expected to be higher in the coming years, if John McCain were to be elected.
Naturally, President McCain would continue the occupation of Iraq, in an effort to reach "success," which his ally George W. Bush now defines as a "comfortable level of violence," a far cry from his previous definition of success, which was the laughable notion, "a free and democratic Iraq."
Nobel prize winners Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz have given a conservative estimate of what our presence in Iraq will cost, and have put the figure at $3 trillion. This a conservative estimate of course, considering that the original White House estimate of $100-$200 billion in 2003 was poo-pooed by then-Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld as "baloney," whose top deputy put a high ceiling of $30 billion for Iraq costs during testimony before Congress in February, 2003.
If John McCain is elected president, he has pledged to pursue an occupation which now eats up $3+ billion a week, which would naturally preclude him from cutting spending.
This would not matter anyway, though, for aside from his plan to eliminate earmarks (less than 1 percent of the budget), McCain has no other plans to cut spending, let alone reduce the Federal budget, which his occupation and new entitlement plan would drastically increase.
A far cry from cutting spending, McCain spoke this week of his dream for a "government partnership" which would bring high-speed internet to every community in rural America, courtesy of you, the taxpayer.
The GOP of Ronald Reagan used to speak out against "big government," even though reducing the size of it was not yet feasible. Now, under John McCain, the GOP has become the party of big government, trying to buy our support of it with minimal tax cuts that barely make a dent.
As he advocates for LBJ-style government fixes to try and distract the attention of voters away from his other disastrous policies, John McCain preaches to us about the "audacity" of the Democrats, and is helped along in his plans for spending increases by the former conservative magazine National Review, who claims that McCain is swell enough to have fiscal conservatives "doing cartwheels."
McCain's plan to decrease revenue while subsequently increasing spending, only validates his statement in January that "economics is not something I've understood." No worries, however, as he added, "I've got Greenspan's book."