In Aug. 7 IssueRussell County NewsBy Kathy Foley, Columnist
Fred Thompson and the so-called "League of American Voters" (a dubious group to say the least, which has been found to be less than truthful in previous ads by Factcheck.org) are running commercials urging us all to reach out to our Congress members to tell them to renew the Bush tax cuts. Folksy Fred tells us how our taxes are going to go up and we are all going to have less cash in our pockets. This will indeed be true if the tax cuts are allowed to expire, but most Democrats in Congress and President Obama support renewing the tax cuts for all but the wealthiest among us. No doubt, Fred Thompson and whoever these members of the League of American Voters are fall into that category of those earning more than $200,000 per year (or $250,000 for couples). However, most of us, especially here in Russell County, do not.
Hypocritical is the only word I can use to describe the Republicans who are screaming about the deficit-now, that is. I mean we didn't hear a peep out of them during Bush's eight years of free spending and tax cuts. You know, the same eight years we went from a budget surplus of $230 billion to a deficit of $482 billion at the time he left office? Yeah, those eight years-where was their outrage then? Don't forget it was Dick Cheney who responded to then Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's warning about the negative effects of deficit spending on the economy, that "deficits don't matter" back in 2002. Fast forward 8 years and I guess now the Republicans have decided deficits do matter, at least when it suits their purposes. Apparently, according to them it's not okay to stimulate the economy using borrowed money for unemployment benefits, which they blocked, or if it goes to small business tax breaks or for sending money to the states so teachers can stay employed, all of which they blocked. But it IS okay to stimulate the economy with borrowed money that goes to the 2 percent richest people in the country. They have blocked literally everything that the middle class needs, but clearly this reveals who their real patrons are and it's not the middle class and certainly not the poor. They insist that any spending bills be paid for, but they decline to tell us how we are to pay for extending the Bush tax cuts except to say that they will pay for themselves. Alan Greenspan, former Fed Chief, completely disagrees, "they do not." In an interview with PBS, he said that extending the tax cuts could be "disastrous". All told, the Bush tax cuts have cost a little over $2 TRILLION. According to the Congressional Budget Office, extending all the tax cuts for one year will cost $115 billion. Overall, it is estimated that renewing the Bush tax cuts will increase the deficit by as much as $4 TRILLION.
Let us not paint all Republicans with the same brush, however. There are a few who are willing to be honest and apparently care more for what is really good for this country than politics. House Republican Whip, Eric Cantor, said this as he voiced his support for letting the tax cuts expire, "If you have less revenues coming into the Federal government and more expenditures, certainly you're going to dig the hole deeper."
Ezra Klein from the Washington Post says that this upcoming battle over the Bush tax cuts is a "Litmus test for Republicans". Are they really interested in reducing the deficit or are they just interested in their own political interests and benefiting their patrons-the wealthy, who by the way:
Over the last 10 years, incomes for the top 1 percent have grown while the bottom half of wage earners have seen their income remain the same or decrease.
According to figures supplied by the Congressional Budget Office (a non-partisan group), the mean income for the top 1 percent of earners from 1997 to 2007 jumped a whopping 74.6 percent from $755,700 to slightly more than $1.3 million per year.
Just remember--good ole Folksy Fred and the "League of American Voters" just might have different motives than what they are leading you to believe.