Letter 2 America for May 25, 2023

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Dear America,

I watched Kevin McCarthy's news conference with the same kind of dismay that usually accompanies my viewing of Republicans in action, but more so.  His dogmatic adherence to Reagan supply-side economics and the conservative "any tax is a bad tax, especially if it's on the rich" creed are odious to me.  But his continual attempts to disabuse us of the opinion that he is a party hack, and an idiot at that, has already gotten tedious, and he's only been Speaker for a matter of months.  For me it is easy to identify his naked attempts to unify the Republican mantra with virtue, but I worry about how persuasive his attempts are to those who want to believe them without thought.

McCarthy kept issuing the Republican battle cry of "it isn't us, it's them" behind which he continued to utter half-truths and prevarications about how we got to have $31 trillion in debt as a nation.  He ignored the role in racking up that debt played by "W's" wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which continued to cost us lives and fortune through the Obama administration into the Trump years.  At a couple of hundred billion dollars a year, that accounts for a few trillion, and speaking of Trump, the last tax reduction, which benefited the rich and obscenely rich far more than it did us working people, added trillions to the debt and will continue to do so for as long as it lasts; if it is up to the Republicans, that will be in perpetuity.  Meanwhile, McCarthy refused to acknowledge that our budget is an equation--revenue versus spending--which can be addressed from both ends.  Thus, cutting social programs--what the Republicans like to call discretionary spending such as Medicare, SNAP (food stamps), veteran's benefits and various social programs--is the only way Republicans see out of our deficit spending ways and he never mentioned what President Biden and the Democrats prefer: tax increases on the rich.  The Republicans never seem to realize that the "trickling down" that Reagan predicated his policies on never has occurred and never will.  Through the Trump years, and for that matter ever since Clinton left office, the rich have gotten richer and the rest of us have gotten nowhere.  Adjusted for inflation, real wages have stagnated for decades while the proportion of our collective wealth held by the top .1%, that's right, one tenth of a percent, or 350,000 people, continues to grow their wealth.  Thus people like Jeff Bezos can have a $400,000,000 yacht built just for him and Donald Trump can buy a country club with an estate comprising tens of thousands of square feet of living space, 62,500 of them to be exact, but we can barely afford our mortgages and now we have to buy used cars instead of new ones and send our kids to state colleges because we can't afford the Ivy League.  Mind you, I have no objection to leading a middle class life with the commensurate life-style, and in fact, I like my life and my suburban home better than I would life in Trump's would be presidential palace. No one gave my wife and me anything, so I feel no shame about our modest but comfortable life, but Trump and Bezos should feel some.  And my family is lucky, but there are millions of families and individuals who, despite working all their lives can barely keep body and soul together, especially in their latter years.

In 2001, George W. Bush took office and inherited a budget surplus from Bill Clinton with a national debt under $6 trillion.  Since then we have suffered two foreign wars, one of them the longest war in American history, a "great recession" starting in 2008 that waxed into something close to a depression, a pandemic and Trump's tax cuts, which add $1 trillion per year to our budgetary deficit, which in turn adds in the same amount to our accrued national debt.  Yet, Kevin McCarthy blames the debt on Democrats' spending.  He ignores the periods during which the Republicans controlled one house or the other, or both for awhile (remember Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan thanking Trump for the tax cuts with a bunch of others joining them in paying obeisance to Trump outside the White House).  But that's just politics: ignoring the truth.  However, his refusal to acknowledge the availability of a tax increase on those who garnered ill-gotten tax gains in the Trump era is a prevarication: a lie by omission.  That's not politics.  It's deceit.  It is villainy.

I admit that I am a Democrat by default.  I suspect that all of us 60's hippies are.  And I concede that some of what I have just said sounds politically liberal.  (I won't use the new Republican-conservative pejorative "woke" because I don't know what it means, if anything.)  But ask yourself this question.  When you are contemplating your financial prospects, do you consider only what you spend, or do you compare it to what you earn before deciding what to do?  That's all I ask of the Republicans like McCarthy.  Look at both sides of the equation.  Be honest with yourselves and us.  A little honesty; that's not too much to ask, is it?

Your friend,


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This page contains a single entry by Michael Wolf published on May 25, 2023 2:22 PM.

Letter 2 America for May 9, 2023 was the previous entry in this blog.

Letter 2 America for May 31, 2023 is the next entry in this blog.

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