Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: 2 Columns

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Friday, May 13, 2005

2 Columns

Krugman and Rubin.

Not that we need to get all chicken little on the economy, but Rubin's points are exactly what should be pointed out to every single Republican trying to take entitlements and privatize them. Not only that but Rubin is calling for fiscal responsibility, something that used to belong to Republicans. it is worthy of a full read but here is just something I would like to highlight:
Most pressing is the 10-year federal deficit, which most independent analysts project at $4.5 trillion to $5 trillion, assuming that the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 are made permanent and that the alternative minimum tax is adjusted to avoid unintended effects on middle-income taxpayers. And while 10-year numbers can be highly unreliable, deficits are as likely to be higher as to be lower. Over the longer term, Social Security has a 75-year estimated deficit of $4 trillion, while the different components of Medicare, including its new prescription drug benefit, represent a fiscal problem of roughly $20 trillion.


But, as BusinessWeek, not an advocate of activist government, said in a recent editorial, "the deficit morass is due as much to a revenue shortfall as to excessive spending." (The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, for example, are estimated to have a 75-year cost of $11 trillion, almost three times the entire Social Security deficit.) And that shortfall is especially pressing given the rapid increases in entitlement costs and the need to finance national security, investments in education and infrastructure and other critical programs. At the same time, revenue-increasing measures must reverse the recent trend of disproportionately favoring upper-income taxpayers.


For example, if the tax cuts for those earning above $200,000 were repealed and the inheritance tax as reformed were continued rather than eliminated, the 10-year projected deficit would be reduced by roughly $1.1 trillion, or almost 25 percent, and the 75-year fiscal reduction would be roughly $3.9 trillion, or approximately equal to the Social Security shortfall. This course of action would be similar to the income tax increases that were combined with spending cuts in the 1993 deficit reduction program, which some predicted would lead to recession but which, instead, was followed by the longest economic expansion in our nation's history.

Krugman's column of course does much of his usual economic gloominess but it did strike me how the middle class has changed:
In 1968, when General Motors was a widely emulated icon of American business, many of its workers were lifetime employees. On average, they earned about $29,000 a year in today's dollars, a solidly middle-class income at the time. They also had generous health and retirement benefits.


The average full-time Wal-Mart employee is paid only about $17,000 a year. The company's health care plan covers fewer than half of its workers.

So, today's middle class is definitely not making $29,000, and Walmart is basically keeping people in poverty.

If only Democrats could link all of this to gay people or guns. Like if we don't take the fiscal ball into our own hands, then we will have to take away your guns, or if we don't do this, your kids will be ass raped by gays.

Something like that might just show up in the polls.