Here is a an email that I sent in response to the Obama campaign’s appeal to get behind President Obama’s (ultimately unsatisfactory) proposed response to the Republican budget:
Eliminate tax loopholes for corporations.
Global capitalism is a reality. Things are changing and shifting in the world’s economy, and the proposed budgets (Republican’sand President Obama’s) allow us to sustain the illusion that they’re not. But only for a little while longer. Like the stock market bubble and the real estate bubble before it, this bubble too will burst. And when it does, millions of Americans will be devastated by the greedy machinations of those “puppet masters” manipulating the situation for their own benefit and who were fully aware of the long-term consequences of their greedy schemes, all the while. The devastation of this bubble bursting, however, will make the previous ones look like veritable “aftershocks.”
Americans’ “living large” lifestyle of the past century is no longer sustainable, but can we not prepare to face that reality with collective dignity? Instead of destroying the basic freedoms and rights that each American has — for the most part, save our poorest compatriots today — learned to associate with the American way of life? This is a quality of life that has nothing to do with the gross accumulation of material wealth — or the so-called individual liberty to pursue that wealth that Republicans (and sadly some of the nation’s most respected Democrats) associate with the Americanism. Rather, the America I am referring to protects individuals’ decency by guaranteeing all citizens basic elements of the “good life” — things like a good education, the promise of food and shelter, a safe and fair work environment, basic heath care, civil rights, justice and due process, freedom of speech, and hope in the future.
Tax breaks to corporations are a temporary stopgap measure that will serve only to court corporate investors a bit longer, allowing the wealthiest Americans to circumvent the impact of the levying of any proposed individual taxation and continue to accumulate more wealth while eroding the decent living of millions of Americans.
The bleeding of America will occur slowly. But “make no mistake,” when the US is no longer useful to these corporate interests — bodies who are ultimately motivated by wealth, not loyalty — they will, without compunction, move on to their next “host.” It will happen eventually. Jobs in the global marketplace no longer go to citizens of any one particular country, no matter where the home corporation is “housed”: rather they go to the most highly skilled and creative-thinking individuals — at least those jobs that will allow Americans to continue to earn the types of incomes that have allowed them to enjoy the kind of lifestyle to which we (middle class Americans) have become accustomed.
Both current budget proposals guarantee that only a small portion of Americans will continue to have that quality of life, to be fit to compete for these jobs. And I’m now no longer talking about the small portion of Americans who will continue to be among the nation’s most wealthy; now I’m talking about the average middle-class American who still has some access to the “American dream,” or the belief that some day, if we work hard enough (in our jobs and our schools), we will be able to lift ourselves up and out — to obtain better circumstances for ourselves and our families.Ultimately these dreams hinge upon education. And as all educators know, a students’ ability to concentrate at school depends upon a fairly stable home environment, a home where there is food on the table, which means that mom and/or dad have a job, or if not, social services to provide for them. And everyone at home is healthy. Or if not, they’re receiving the necessary care. Without these basic elements in people’s home lives, domestic chaos — and likely marital strife — will erupt. Unfortunately, millions of Americans living in our nation’s poorest neighborhoods already live this way. Is it any surprise that the children from these homes generally do not do well in schools, have a hard time treating school as a priority? Or that the schools in these neighborhoods do not benefit from over-involvement of parents like the best suburban schools? Parents (and kids) in our nations’ inner cities have other things to worry about.
With the implementation of either current budget proposal, this chaotic type of home life will become the reality for millions more middle class Americans. The racist rationalizations that currently allow many to shrug off this shameful situation will no longer hold. The so-called “school to prison” pipeline that describes the educational trajectory of our nation’s poorest citizens today will expand exponentially with this budget to become the reality for millions of middle class Americans, millions of WHITE middle class Americans.
These Americans currently compose our nation’s working and middle classes but do jobs that are slowly but surely being exported to the lowest bidders in the world, wages with which we simply cannot compete. We need our government to help prepare us for (and protect us through) this reality by INVESTING in social services (at least for the short term), not by taking them away (either directly or by slowly bankrupting them). This, this admittedly “bigger” government, is the only way to protect peace and liberty in our nation in this global economic climate; it is the only way to help US citizens transition to and retrain for a very different future.
Otherwise, one stock that is looks pretty good in the dicey market should either of these budgets go through, is US prison stocks. Ironically, one way to plan for prosperity in the future that either current US budget proposal portends is to bank upon the nation’s demise.
Americans are not “socialist,” but we need social services in order to preserve the quality of life that our friends in European nations enjoy (and will continue to enjoy after the US has “fallen”). The individual liberty to pursue wealth regardless of the cost to others is NOT democracy and effectively violates the constitutional rights of millions.
PLEASE END CORPORATE TAX DODGING.
Mother, wife, teacher, and proud American citizen
The President’s speech today began a new conversation in Washington about how to reduce the deficit while protecting crucial investments in our country’s future.
But as we seek to build an organization based outside of Washington, President Obama’s speech also provides an unusually stark contrast — one all of us can use to start conversations with our friends and neighbors about what’s at stake in this election.
He spoke about things you don’t generally hear in Washington conversations too often dominated by special interests: He’ll cut waste and excess at the Pentagon — particularly spending that is requested not by our military, but by politicians and corporate interests.
He’ll eliminate tax cuts for Americans in the highest tax brackets who don’t need them, including himself — and he will reform the individual tax code so that it’s fair and simple and so that the amount of taxes you pay isn’t determined by what kind of accountant you can afford.
Some cuts he proposed are tough. But they’re also smart and surgical — helping us balance our books while still doing the right things to win the future. President Obama’s plan would protect the middle class, invest in our kids’ education, and make sure we don’t protect the wealthiest Americans from the costs of reform at the expense of the most vulnerable.
The other side has presented a very clear alternative: End Medicare as we know it, privatizing the program that millions of seniors rely on for health care. Make deep cuts to education. Slash investments in clean energy and infrastructure. All to pay for tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year, and all while actually raising our national debt.
In short, their plan will please a special interest donor base and those who put ideology before results rather than reduce deficits over the long term. And let’s be clear: They think they can get away with it because, fundamentally, they don’t think you’ll do anything about it.
That’s where I know we can prove them wrong. Because we can respond right now by building an organization that will stop them — not just in this deficit battle, but in the next election so they never have the chance to enact these proposals.
Here’s the first step. Join our fight for a deficit reduction plan that will actually reduce the deficit — with a goal of shared prosperity through shared responsibility. Add your name to support President Obama’s plan — and then help bring more people into the conversation:
President Obama made a promise in his speech today. He said that we won’t have to sacrifice programs like Medicaid and Social Security — programs that millions of Americans rely on — as long as he’s President. He’s committed to seeking serious solutions to the problems we face while still upholding the larger responsibilities we have to one another. So it’s our job to build the organization that’s going to keep him in the White House.
Obama for America
P.S. — If you missed President Obama’s speech earlier today, some excerpts are below:
1. “Our approach lowers the government’s health care bills by reducing the cost of health care itself.
“Already, the reforms we passed in the health care law will reduce our deficit by $1 trillion. My approach would build on these reforms. We will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments. We will cut spending on prescription drugs by using Medicare’s purchasing power to drive greater efficiency and speed generic brands of medicine onto the market. We will work with governors of both parties to demand more efficiency and accountability from Medicaid. We will change the way we pay for health care — not by procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital, but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries and improve results. And we will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services seniors need.”
2. “But let me be absolutely clear: I will preserve these health care programs as a promise we make to each other in this society. I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs. I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves. We will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations.”
3. “In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. And I refuse to renew them again.”
4. “This is my approach to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next twelve years. It’s an approach that achieves about $2 trillion in spending cuts across the budget. It will lower our interest payments on the debt by $1 trillion. It calls for tax reform to cut about $1 trillion in spending from the tax code. And it achieves these goals while protecting the middle class, our commitment to seniors, and our investments in the future.
“So this is our vision for America — a vision where we live within our means while still investing in our future; where everyone makes sacrifices but no one bears all the burden; where we provide a basic measure of security for our citizens and rising opportunity for our children.”
5. “But no matter what we argue or where we stand, we’ve always held certain beliefs as Americans. We believe that in order to preserve our own freedoms and pursue our own happiness, we can’t just think about ourselves. We have to think about the country that made those liberties possible. We have to think about our fellow citizens with whom we share a community. And we have to think about what’s required to preserve the American Dream for future generations.
“This sense of responsibility — to each other and to our country — this isn’t a partisan feeling. It isn’t a Democratic or Republican idea. It’s patriotism.”