shared sacrifice, by bernie sanders

A letter to the President: Shared Sacrifice

Everyone understands that over the long-term we have got to reduce the deficit – a deficit that was caused mainly by Wall Street greed, tax breaks for the rich, two wars, and a prescription drug program written by the drug and insurance companies. It is absolutely imperative, however, that as we go forward with deficit reduction we completely reject the Republican approach that demands savage cuts in desperately-needed programs for working families, the elderly, the sick, our children and the poor, while not asking the wealthiest among us to contribute one penny.

Have I mentioned how much I love Bernie Sanders? Go read the whole thing.

The lack of discussion on revenue — i.e., taxes — is absolutely amazing. Take for example this recent NYT article: Public Unions Take On Boss to Win Big Pensions. When I first read this, I was not particularly pleased — and I’m very left wing liberal — to see people complaining about $78K/year retirement fund or lifeguards getting $105K on retirement when I make less than that working full time with little expectation of anything at retirement other than what I’ve saved myself. Sneaky! Very cleverly written!

But then I looked at several things more closely. First of all, unions really need to reframe their message. It’s not so much that governments are not paying up, but that they are not getting the revenue they need from corporations that are absolutely not paying their share of taxes (present tax levels, I emphasize). Secondly, this article just breezes past the poverty of governments with stunning brazenness:

Mr. Seeling, the agency’s chief actuary, knew that wasn’t necessarily right. Sitting at his desk, poring over spreadsheets, he saw the truth. Calpers, at the time, was awash in cash and many cities believed that pensions were essentially self-funding if the stock market remained high. But if the market stumbled, he realized, Calpers’s plan could cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

Mr. Seeling cautioned the Calpers board of the risks, but his worries were brushed aside. Calpers’s job is to invest pension funds to get the best returns and administer benefits to retirees.

Did anyone catch that? Government is supposed to fund itself THROUGH THE STOCK MARKET?

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

Ahem.

No, no, no and a thousand times NO. Government is funded BY TAXES. What they are zooming past, with their breezy “Oh governments must make painful cuts OR raise taxes by 17%” (that scares everyone into thinking “Not 17% of MY income!!”) is the fact that revenue must be raised — ON CORPORATIONS and ON THE 1% of the OBSCENELY FILTHY RICH in this country. Here’s a great pull-together of the essential problem — and really look at that graphic on the page: Taxed Enough Already? What? For some groups, Yes! Others? Not So Much..

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