Bringing The Pain

Interesting title, at least in my mind.  But it makes perfect sense in light of what Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker said over the weekend regarding negotiations about the “fiscal cliff.”

On Meet The Press this past Sunday, Corker said:

“Well, I think– I think that both– look, I have laid out in great detail very painful cuts to– to Medicare. I just did it in a 242-page bill that I’ve shared with the White House, shared with Boehner, shared with McConnell, in order to move us beyond this– this silly debate that’s taking place.”

and

“…those are not the painful cuts that have to happen. I mean, we’d really have to look at much deeper reforms to entitlements and I would say that Speaker Boehner’s biggest problem is not his base. It’s having a willing partner on the other side that’s really willing to look at these kinds of reforms. And I think that’s going to happen.”

I laid out a few scenarios for coming to a resolution to the “fiscal cliff” mess last week, and I still think that they may prove to be the most effective in facilitating a deal sooner rather than later.  What Senator Corker does not seem to put on the table, as far as “painful” goes, is increasing taxes on those making over $250,000.  And that is just ridiculous to me.

As far as Corker and the Republicans are concerned, the only people bearing the brunt of the “pain” in reducing the deficit and paying down the national debt are those on Medicare and other entitlement programs.  Do those need reform?  Yes, they do.  The overall cost of care for Medicare is outrageous, but is not the sole reason our government has run up such a large amount of debt (you can look at two unfunded wars and tax cuts that were not paid for as primary contributors).

How does Senator Corker sleep at night?  How does someone honestly think that the current low tax rates for the wealthy can be preserved and the budget can be balanced solely by spending cuts?  The truth of the matter is that tax rates will have to go up.  If the GOP wants to feel better about it, they can say that the government is getting a raise.  That seems to be vernacular they would be comfortable with, right there with “job creators.”

I am no economist, but it seems logical to me that a great way to trim the deficit and pay down the national debt, will be to increase the amount of revenue that the government takes in.  And I doubt it can be done solely by closing various tax loopholes, especially since a number of the ones proposed have been around for a long time, meaning that they were there when the budget was balanced and our national debt was decreasing under Clinton.

Whatever the result from the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, I imagine we will all be dealt with something painful.

 

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