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Carl Gibson writes: "Our economy is on life support, barely holding on while jobs continue their flight overseas. Foreclosures and fuel prices are rising almost as fast as the profit margins of big banks and big oil. Despite all of this, there is still no real economic prescription offered by Republicans and corporate Democrats to heal our economy and get people working again. Instead of 'compromising' with the doctors who want to pull the plug on us, America must demand new doctors who are actually interested in curing the disease."

Denise Brunal-Hicks, left, hugs her daughter Samantha, 18, as they stand next to a curb piled with their belongings. Brunal-Hicks was being evicted from her foreclosed home after spending thirteen years at the residence. (photo: Greg Kahn/Naples News)
Denise Brunal-Hicks, left, hugs her daughter Samantha, 18, as they stand next to a curb piled with their belongings. Brunal-Hicks was being evicted from her foreclosed home after spending thirteen years at the residence. (photo: Greg Kahn/Naples News)




Austerity: The Wrong Prescription

By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

09 August 11


Reader Supported News | Perspective

 

f you were a patient in intensive care, sick and in pain, what would you say to a doctor whose only recommendation was cutting off your blood supply, meals and therapy, and redirecting your pain medicine to another patient who was already healthy and well? Would you follow your doctor's orders, or sue them for malpractice?

For the first time in US history, our credit rating has been downgraded, meaning higher interest rates on Americans' personal debt, like credit cards and student loans. Conservatives have jumped on this as an opportunity to bash President Obama, arguing that not enough spending cuts were made in the recent debt deal to avoid the downgrade. The media has allowed this to be the dominant narrative in the national conversation.

But Conservatives and the media are both ignoring page 4 of Standard & Poor's research update, published August 5th, which explicitly states, "the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act." In their reasoning for our credit downgrade, S&P specifically attacks the GOP for threatening to not pay America's bills in order to protect tax breaks for billionaires, corporate jet owners and big oil.

While Republicans and the corporate media bemoan the growing federal debt as our most pressing crisis, very few commentators, with the exception of folks like Allison Kilkenny, have mentioned the necessity of addressing America's most crucial deficit - jobs. We're on the verge of entering a double-dip recession, and there's been surprisingly very little conversation in Washington or on cable-news networks about how to actually get millions of Americans back to work.

While America's middle-class families and small business owners struggle to survive, thousands of tax loopholes for tax-dodging, job-outsourcing companies like GE remain open. We still freely give out $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies who don't even pay $1 in taxes. Warren Buffett still pays a lower effective tax rate than his receptionist. Congressional Republicans are calling for $4 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years, saying America is "broke." Yet, by simply ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, we would recoup $5.4 trillion in a decade.

Republicans like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell continue to give our teachers, cops, firefighters and other public services the axe, all to protect these failed "trickle-down" policies that have blown holes in our budget since the Reagan years. Their adherence to such flawed policy ignores reality - the economy has tripled since 1973, but median income has actually gone down since then. Something is trickling down, but it certainly isn't wealth.

Our economy is on life support, barely holding on while jobs continue their flight overseas. Foreclosures and fuel prices are rising almost as fast as the profit margins of big banks and big oil. Despite all of this, there is still no real economic prescription offered by Republicans and corporate Democrats to heal our economy and get people working again. Instead of "compromising" with the doctors who want to pull the plug on us, America must demand new doctors who are actually interested in curing the disease.


Carl Gibson, 24, of Lexington, Kentucky, is a spokesman and organizer for US Uncut, a nonviolent, creative direct-action movement to stop budget cuts by getting corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. He graduated from Morehead State University in 2009 with a B.A. in Journalism before starting the first US Uncut group in Jackson, Mississippi, in February of 2011. Since then, over 20,000 US Uncut activists have carried out more than 300 actions in over 100 cities nationwide. You may contact Carl at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+40 # midwegian 2011-08-09 19:48
After all the talk of "death panels" during the health care debate, conjuring images of 'granny's' life support being unplugged as a result of Obama-care, our radical right wing has thoughtfully provided a new, 'fiscally responsible', equal opportunity option for fairness on "Main Street": Joblessness, homelessness, malnourishment, medical destitution; childhood neglect, ignorance, despair. Please redefine 'middle class' someone. Those old standards don't work anymore.
 
 
+22 # karenvista 2011-08-09 22:47
Quoting midwegian:
Please redefine 'middle class' someone. Those old standards don't work anymore.


The "mddle class" is an extinct group of workers who were paid incomes that fairly compensated them for their contribution to the wealth of their corporated overlords.

They became endangered and ultimately extinct because their wages, workers' benefits and rights were protected by unions. The corporate overlords discouraged unions and the workers didn't protect them so, as the unions declined, the workers declined until they became jobless, homeless, malnourished and ultimately most died out.

Their corporate overlords kept a small number of workers (and some breeding stock) alive to be personal servants and security personnel but they are rarely seen these days.
 
 
+2 # Bill Clements 2011-08-14 11:46
The "middle class" has disappeared only to be replaced by another group, commonly referred to as "serfs."
 
 
+8 # in deo veritas 2011-08-10 08:01
Will the "dirty dozen" being put together be any more than a death panel for democracy? Not a chance. It is already a violation of the Constitution and therefore an act of treason added to the many already perpetrated by both parties at the bidding of the teabaggers.
 
 
+3 # MidwestTom 2011-08-09 21:39
If you wonder why they don't seem to care about is in Washington you need to do a search under "White Hat Report #27". It will open your eyes. When the Bushes, Clintons, and Obama are all together in a highly profitable deal, It should give one a clue as to why we are where we are. They basically do not care about little people
 
 
-36 # XLIB 2011-08-09 22:23
Carl whines that "there's been surprisingly very little conversation in Washington or on cable-news networks about how to actually get millions of Americans back to work."

The American people spoke pretty clearly in 2010 to the effect that it's not the governments's responsibility to create jobs to put people to work. If government would just get out of the way and leave that to businesses, who are smarter at figuring out what people want and thus better at finding ways to make a profit so that they can hire more people . . . well then we would see more people going to work.

And "Government Jobs" are the worst possible answer to unemployment . . . beyond a sensible level needed for essential services and regulation, they drain off needed resources that could be harnessed to create new jobs that would put people to work productively.
 
 
+20 # Barbara K 2011-08-10 07:20
The companies sent our jobs overseas with Bush's blessings and tax breaks. No one prevented these companies from remaining loyal to the workers who made them wealthy, it was pure greed. Now that they left this country, why should we buy their products? We have people with lots of talent looking for jobs. So how about getting together and getting some worker-owned businesses going? Then sell the products to Americans, who are having a hard time finding American-made products. We don't HAVE to deal with Big Corps, just cut them out. Put our brains together and start new businesses in some of the empty buildings left behind. Get small business loans to start up and have a good plan. We already have all the brain-power and willing to work people, and profits made can be profit sharing by the workers.
 
 
+13 # ericlipps 2011-08-10 07:41
Quoting XLIB:
Carl whines that "there's been surprisingly very little conversation in Washington or on cable-news networks about how to actually get millions of Americans back to work."

The American people spoke pretty clearly in 2010 to the effect that it's not the governments's responsibility to create jobs to put people to work. If government would just get out of the way and leave that to businesses, who are smarter at figuring out what people want and thus better at finding ways to make a profit so that they can hire more people . . . well then we would see more people going to work.

And "Government Jobs" are the worst possible answer to unemployment . . . beyond a sensible level needed for essential services and regulation, they drain off needed resources that could be harnessed to create new jobs that would put people to work productively.


One wonders whether "the American people" still feel as they allegedly did in 2010. When the private sector not merely does not but produce jobs but actually refuses to do so while sittng on mountains of money, someone else has to pick up the slack--and who is left but government?
 
 
+20 # BradFromSalem 2011-08-10 09:28
eric,

I am pretty sure the American people heard what the Republicans said. That is that they were going to create jobs, by cutting back on government spending.

The Republicans have, in fact, done what they said they would. Only it didn't create any jobs. Since the massive cutbacks in government have not produced any jobs, it must be Obama's fault.

How can you argue with logic that flawless?

They are so smart, those Republicans. If they just put some of that brainpower into creating jobs instead of conniving ways to blame Obama, they might actually accomplish something. (What a bunch of idiots!)
 
 
+3 # Sukumar 2011-08-10 18:38
Why do you assume that the Republicans want to actually accomplish something besides putting themselves in power?
 
 
+23 # BradFromSalem 2011-08-10 08:30
XLIB,

I am going to be blunt.

You are full of stale baloney. Why in the world would anyone run a business and hire people they don't need? Get reel (sic).

Why is the pay from a job that is paid for by the government bad, but the pay from a private enterprise good? You make no sense.

Who are you going to blame when another bridge collapses and your kid is among the fatalities.

We are talking about productive jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. A dependable infrastructure is critical to a safe, productive and economically vibrant nation. The government is best positioned to build and maintain that infrastructure so that it benefits all equally.

It is that infrastructure which is vital to create the environment for new ventures.

That kool aid you are drinking is destroying your brain cells. Please stop.
 
 
+15 # AndreM5 2011-08-10 09:13
"Get out of the way"? Get out of the way? Clueless. When did the bus from Pluto arrive?

The corporatists are already sitting on unprecidented mountains of cash and record profits! Didn't know that? None of them will hire because no one can afford to buy anything. Jobs MAY come if demand increases, but maybe not. The corporatists were quite successful since Reagan in downsizing and outsourcing such that there are far more qualified educated, workers than there are jobs available. They don't need you either, XLIB.
 
 
+12 # Capn Canard 2011-08-10 09:55
XLIB, your ignorance is showing, again. Dollars poured into the economy mean that those dollars are active and the easiest way for dollars to be directed into an economy is to put the dollars in the hands of those who will spend the dollars on goods and services that are needed. It is DIRECT INVESTMENT INTO THE ECONOMY. Hanging on to money, or even investing in securities, stocks, and bonds is merely speculation, some of which does pay but can easily become worthless. Money paid to workers is a guaranteed investment that is returned back into the economy. It isn't about BELIEF, this is as reliable as GRAVITY! Your conservative ideals indicate that you suffer from MAGICAL THINKING, as if your Fascism works for all people rather than just the Wealthy. I defy you to show one instance where your Fascist ideals have been beneficial to the Middle Class. Just one example is all you need BUT THERE ISN'T ANY.
 
 
+5 # Ken Hall 2011-08-10 13:08
Absolute bull woofy. Businesses are putting people to work, but it's people in China, Indonesia, Mexico, etc. Making the US pro-business, with "smaller gov't" and less taxes, hasn't created any jobs in the US. On the contrary, it has resulted in off-shoring of US industry. The US workforce would benefit from New Deal type CCC and WPA programs. There's lots of infrastructure to repair and build anew as was done in the 30's.
 
 
+3 # MIKE K 2011-08-10 16:12
SO your argueing that because the GOP won a majority in one half of one third of the Federal government they get to set the Agenda instead of working with the Democrat majority in the senate and the Democrat president to get things done.
 
 
+2 # Ingrid Scott 2011-08-10 21:19
XLIB: Businesses are NOT not creating jobs because of government being in the way! They are not creating jobs because the demand for goods is down because people who are losing jobs and unemployment have no money to buy things, and those people have been losing jobs because businesses with all those "business smarts" have been shipping them overseas. Corporations are sitting on stacks of cash, as are financial institutions. In a recession like this one, or a depression like the 1930's, government created jobs are needed to get people back to work, earning the paychecks that then pay taxes back to the government and allow purchases that stimulate the economy so the private sector business, with all those smarts, will then get the heck off their hands and create private sector jobs. However, if the current corporate course of using business smarts to create more jobs overseas instead of here continues, even the government stimulus by creating jobs won't be able to get it turned around. And I don't know how to change that corporate culture and get those folks valuing the country from which they have gotten so much help, and wanting to help rebuild it again.
 
 
-7 # cgberling 2011-08-09 22:54
We are besieged with a myriad of problems
which divert us from rethinking the basis for our difficulty. Tackling them all with bandaids only leaves us open to similar difficulties down the road. The basis for our tax policy has deep repercussions. The problem dosn't really go away, but gets postponed, or "kicked
down the road". Recessions, housing bubbles are not new, but reoccur almost on an 18 year cycle, some deeper because of special situations. The fact is that both right and left are partially right and partially wrong. The right is correct in stating that taxes on priductivity (think work, investment, sales, improvements, construction, etc.) do in fact tend to
reduce job formation. The left is also correct that we have a "social contract" with our fellow citizens that says we care about those who are left behind, whether because of bad luck, illness, lack of education, etc. and out communal wealth should be shared with them.

Our present taxing system, dependent on production, does in fact signal that doing something productive is penalized.
 
 
+5 # Capn Canard 2011-08-10 10:02
MOSTLY NO, the productivity needs to be on the smallest level of the economy. I must stress SMALL BUSINESS. The larger the producer the more likely cost to the society at large will exponentially grow. There are benefits but the LONG TERM costs are extremely high and almost always passed down to the next generations and overwhelmingly experienced by the poor, specifically third world nations. Pollution is one cost that we all get to suffer from thanks to near sighted conservative ideology.
 
 
+2 # reiverpacific 2011-08-10 18:56
Our present taxing system, dependent on production, does in fact signal that doing something productive is penalized.
In the name of reason, get y'r tunnel-vision spec's off and realize that this country is taxed ever more lightly but heavier as you go from top to bottom.
I wouldn't even care if something was provided for these taxes other than funding the military-prison /industrial-bla ck budget-"pay the lobbyists first"-complex but you are getting screwed by that factor alone.

Most Americans are angry without knowing why but they are turned on themselves from a very early age. Trumpet the "No more taxes" siren call and the rulers are delighted.
I have never become a citizen because of this and the worst, most inefficient medical non-system in the industrialized world allied with a commensurate and propaganda-base d state of denial that this is not so, and you have confusion + a population who listens to the most strident voices rather than the quiet, reasoned and content-filled ones.
Knowing that no place is perfect but this place (the "Fragmented States") is dying, choking on it's own wanton ignorance and wannabe greed in pathetic aspirations of much of the voting public to be like the plutocrats, I am planning to return to Europe as soon as my plans are in place.

This is NOT the "can-do" country I once knew.
 
 
+15 # mbh 2011-08-10 05:28
It is VERY refreshing to hear of a young person so engaged and involved, knowlegeable and vocal about the state of our country. Keep it up, Carl Gibson. I will be checking out your organization!!
 
 
+9 # J.Lindsley 2011-08-10 05:36
Interesting that I/We haVEN'T READ THAT ITEM ON PAGE FOUR OF STANDARD & pOOR'S anyplace but here.

Which should have been somewhere near the top of every report about S&P's downgrading and, I might add, degrading,
the MSM lack of truth telling behind the headlines.

Now if someone would just mention this to the president.
 
 
+4 # in deo veritas 2011-08-10 08:08
A lot of good that would do. Obama would not mention it. The "media" as usual don't have to lie-they just hide things like S&P's putting theblame right where it belongs- on the teabagging corporate fascist Repukes in Congress. The public MUST be made aware of this instead of bashing S&P for doing their job. The traitors responsible for this charade will not be happy until we have no credit whatsoever to be rated except for what is in their diseased portfolios.
 
 
+18 # Isar 2011-08-10 06:59
Though there are various divisions in the "middle class"....Upper -Middle Class...Lower Middle Class...etc., it is the general Middle Class who built the suburubs after WWII. It is the Middle Class who worked in factories across the country. It is the Middle Class who sent their children to colleges and trade schools. When we say that the Middle Class is the back-bone of America, we mean they are the working men and women who represent the glue of America. Without the Middle Class, we have a definitive "Haves and Have-Nots" society that would resemble the 1800's in this country (and in the world). It is the Middle Class who formulated unions so that more people could get a share of "the pie." If the Conservative Right Wing (tea party??)succeed s in destroying the fiber of the Middle Class, this American Society will surely crumble. We will be losing more than jobs. We will be divided beyond any hopes of unity. It is the Middle Class who holds the two divisions together, and I am proud to be in THIS class.
 
 
+7 # Gaiabreeze 2011-08-10 07:43
Sort of the Corpus Callosum of society, eh Isar? But I agree with Carl, moldy bread and dirty water are not going to make much of anybody feel better. Sewers are civilization and the sooner we start under ground infrastructure and work our way up to the sun for energy Joe Doe is pretty much Joe No Dough. Back in my father's day, ditch digger was a dignified job. He laid gas main in our small town. Conscientious care for our communities is the only way to turn this around - that and chocolate!
 
 
+8 # in deo veritas 2011-08-10 07:58
Austerity policy is simply intended to accellerate the downspin into oblivion. That is the goal of the teabagger fascists who are willing accomplices to the corporate coup and therefore traitors to this country. If they continue it will be only a metter of time before what is happening in the UK happens here. The sheeple can be pushed to the point where they have nothing to lose and then look out! Those who are responsible for our misery may escape punishment in this world but they can't live forever and then they will get what they deserve. The "religious right" will get no mercy from the God they are using to further their malignant actions.
 
 
+7 # fredboy 2011-08-10 13:02
We miss the point.
The goal, it seems, is to keep down the economy and keep Obama shining those GOP and Wall Street/banker shoes until 2012--then rub it in his and our faces.
Amazingly, the fear+hate formula worked, prompting most of the nation to sit on its ass and hold its breath.
Not exactly the prescription we need for a recovery--or a happy, productive nation.
The British flash mobs give a hint at what can happen when people believe they have no hope.
Thanks for your attention. Like most of you, at times I feel I am voicing my concerns to a dark, empty hallway.
I sincerely believe good, thoughtful people can turn this economy and nation around. Now if we can only find a few...
 
 
+1 # lark3650 2011-08-10 15:58
Great article. Keep doing what your are doing...keep speaking the truth.
 
 
+1 # fredboy 2011-08-10 17:48
Austerity=curl up in a ball on the floor and we'll call you when it's over.
 
 
+3 # Jon Awbrey 2011-08-10 22:20
Austerity is a Lie

There is more wealth in this country than there has ever been before — that much is clear to anyone who wakes up and smells the burnt offerings of our “shared sacrifice”. But that wealth is now concentrated in the hands of the Very Few, who stole it from what used to be the Common Wealth. And the Very Few can hardly believe they got away with it — again — but that won't stop them turning the crank on the howling money machine until they have squeezed out what little is left.
 
 
+1 # midwegian 2011-08-11 12:01
But that wealth is now concentrated in the hands of the Very Few, who stole it from what used to be the Common Wealth. And the Very Few can hardly believe they got away with it — again — but that won't stop them turning the crank on the howling money machine

Well said, Mr. Awbrey!! Your use of the title "THE VERY FEW" puts the proper perspective on this fiasco.
 
 
+2 # MainStreetMentor 2011-08-11 05:08
Most of the above comments are true. But this fact remains: It is those who voted for a Republican or Tea Party candidate who helped and assisted our citizenry into the economic state we find ourselves today. Granted, Democrat candidates are not perfect, but their basic philosophy would never have resulted in the economic decline we are experiencing today.
 

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