OK so liberals are in an uproar about Romney’s choice of Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan, author of the infamous and draconian “Ryan Budget” that targets the very poor as well as senior citizens through Medicare cuts. Before you go too crazy on this point though and wave your “Obama 2012” flag, listen to Jeffrey oops-I-destroyed-Russia-and-called-it-freedom Sachs discuss the difference between the Obama and Ryan budget proposals in the Financial Times. Obama’s budget would:
“cut total primary (non-interest) federal spending from about 22.6 to 19.3 percent of gross domestic product from 2011 to 2020, while revenues would rise from recession lows of about 15.4 percent of GDP in 2011 to some 19.7 percent by 2020. Compare that with Republican congressman Paul Ryan’s budget a year ago. Mr. Ryan’s budget aimed for about 17 percent of GDP in primary outlays by 2020, with revenues at about 18 percent of GDP.
The difference is modest, but the important fact is this. Both sides are committed to significant cuts in government programs relative to GDP. These cuts will be especially [harsh] in the discretionary programs for education; environmental protection; child nutrition; job re-training; transition to low-carbon energy; and infrastructure.”
I have an alternative proposal to tackle the deficit, the recession and the epidemic of class warfare unleashed from the top 10% on the rest of us:
1) Raise all tax rates to pre-Reagan era levels, in the top brackets to Eisenhower levels (up to 90%).
2) Take legal action (including international sanctions) on all offshore tax havens, especially those like the Cayman Islands in order to recover non-taxed capital. This, along with closing loopholes in the tax code that allow corporations and the very rich to avoid taxation ought to bring in an enormous amount of revenue.
3) Institute a single payer healthcare system, nationalizing ALL of the major healthcare providers to provide the startup capital. This will immediately bring down prices in US healthcare, a privatized system that costs 3x more than all of its nationalized healthcare rivals, while providing the standards and controls that ought to promote greater quality, as in the world-renowned French healthcare system. This will, over time, hopefully bring down the cost of US healthcare which, under the for-profit system, has ballooned into a catastrophic 1/5 of our GDP (hint, paying 1/5 of your GDP for ANYTHING is catastrophically dangerous).
4) End all subsidies to big oil and agribusiness.
5) Immediate cut of 25% of the defense budget, which is already larger than the defense expenditures of the rest of the planet combined, to be followed by deeper cuts and the withdrawal of US military personnel from overseas.
6) Launch a national Manhattan Project-esque initiative for a renewable energy infrastructure focusing primarily on bringing hyper-efficiency to existing fossil fuel-based resource consumption, but where possible phase it out for sustainable energy. As the high speed rail systems grow, fewer cars will be needed (and with gas prices accelerating from taxes and the loss of Federal subsidies, people will have a material incentive to support the new infrastructure). This will have the effect of employing millions of people, cutting the unemployment rate down to near zero with the goal of FULL EMPLOYMENT. More workers more pay equals more taxes equals more spending on consumer products and BAM, more revenue.
7) Nationalize the banking industry, starting with every single investment bank that has been bailed out by the Federal Government. Follow this with a full nationalization of the auto industry (for similar reasons), telecommunications industry and all utilities across the country. This will of course bring in revenue and provide the infrastructure necessary to create a national credit system that is not grounded in scamming people, but rather providing the credit necessary for intelligent investment.
8) Confiscate the estates and assets of all wealthy individuals who have been found guilty of major financial crimes. Once the full resources of the FBI are brought down on their heads, the swamp will be drained and we’ll find bodies everywhere.
9) Institute a 100% tax on luxury items that can only be consumed by the hyper-wealthy (i.e. yachts!). Those companies that go under ought to be appropriated and their assets re-tooled for the green energy program.
10) Institute a more radical version of the Employee Free Choice Act. With growing unionization and a supportive government, workers everywhere will be able to bargain for better wages and benefits, resulting in higher pay and thus more demand, more taxes, more economic activity.