Madness: Budget Crisis

Every now and then, when I look at the madness that’s going on in Washington DC, I just want to sit everybody down and tell them that, hey,they can be serious just for a second. It seems like I’m watching some comedy routine from Saturday Night Live.

Republicans are running around saying that we are broke. They point out that we have a $1.25 trillion deficit. If we don’t balance the budget and close this deficit soon China and other countries will stop financing our debt. Yet, the Republicans have offered absolutely not one shred of evidence that China or any other country has started talking about changing their fiscal policy and investing in something other than treasury bills.
This is none other than Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine. In her fantastic book, she describes how conservatives have created crises or taken advantage of crises in order to push through their agenda. Today, the crisis (created crisis) is the US budget. Conservatives have wanted to cut discretionary spending and free up more money for tax cuts for the wealthy and corporate tax cuts for the even wealthier. That’s all this is. $1.25 trillion. It sounds like a lot of money. If you had it in your bank account, you would think it’s a lot of money. But in the context of a country with over 300 million people, it’s not a lot of money. It’s approximately $4000 per person. So, we can fix this budget crisis by simply raising 4 grand. Bam! Budget crisis fixed.
If you’re going to be serious about fixing the budget, and the Republicans are not, you have to look at the major expenses. Defense, Social Security and health care. These three items make up over 60% of the budget. Cut spending here and you can really make headway into fixing some of our budgetary problems. Republicans, though, have excluded these three items from their budgetary ax. Why? From my point view, it’s because they’re not serious. Their agenda is to take away the safety net that supports many Americans. They want Americans working for low wages. A cheap labor force makes business happy. The only thing better than a cheap labor force would be a cheap labor force that is fearful of not being able to have a job and grateful for any job that they have.

2 Responses

  1. 1.25 trillion divided by 300 million is closer to four thousand dollars per person, not four.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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