Saturday, March 26, 2011

Real Shared Sacrifice

Sen. Bernie Sanders
Shared sacrifice seems to be a popular sentiment these days (a google news search on the term got me over 1,500 hits in the past month) but it is nowhere reflected in what is going on in Washington. For example, as I noted recently, the Republicans would like to cut food aid to the poor so they can save aid for agrobiz. But some congressional Democrats are actually trying to make the phrase mean something. They are proposing tax increases for those who make more that $1 million. Now with the House controlled by Tea Bagging nutters there is little chance of this happening but it is exactly the kind of political move the Democrats need to make. A nice, clean, simple message. The Republicans want to cut budgets for education but protect millionaires.

Will Obama go with this. The folks sponsoring the legislation don't seem to think so.
[Senator Bernie] Sanders did not express much confidence that the White House would get on board with his proposal, which he has framed as a way to fund the government this year without making crippling cuts to important programs.
“We have not heard – and I’m extremely disappointed, but not surprised – but we have not heard that the president has indicated that he is interested in coming up with revenue, just that he wants to negotiate with Republicans on spending cuts,” Sanders said.
I'm afraid that Sanders is almost certainly right. As I've also said before (in my very first post here), Obama gave up the fight when he bought into the Republican framing that the deficit was the problem to deal with rather than jobs and then essentially ruled out raising revenue as a way to deal with that problem when he made the horrible tax deal in December. That left only slashing spending which, as Lovechilde recently wrote, is a really stupid thing to do in a recession.

It's nice that at least some Democrats are fighting back against at least some of the idiotic budget policies being promoted in Washington. It is just too bad the President does not appear to be one of them.


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