Sunday, April 10, 2011

Restoring American Democracy

From Jeffrey Sachs
In poll after poll, the actual views of the public about the budget are clear: cut military spending, raise taxes on the rich, and cut health care costs by taking on private health insurers. These are the policies put forward last week in the "People's Budget" (which I recently wrote about) proposed by the leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Even though we don't know the still secret details of the $38.5 billion in the cuts, we can be sure that not one of these sensible mainstream ideas is even remotely represented in the new "historic" agreement. The President and the Congressional leadership of both parties are pursuing the opposite strategy: cut taxes for the rich; sustain record-high military spending and indeed a growing number of wars; turn over even more of health care to price-gouging private health insurers; and cut urgently needed help for the poor, the public schools, higher education, and the unemployed.

In the end, we have gotten from President Obama what we feared from Senator McCain: an expanded war in Afghanistan, an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, sharp cuts in spending for communities and programs for the poor, a continuation of Guantanamo and military tribunals, unchecked bankers' pay and bonuses, and enough loopholes to reduce corporate taxes to less than 2 percent of GDP this year, despite a boom in corporate profits.

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