Whose sacrifice? The So-Called Grand Bargain Would Fleece the Middle Class [View all]
So now that the election is done at last, we can get down to the hard work of striking a grand bargain on the budget by cutting spending and raising taxes, and thus avoid the looming fiscal cliff... The next media pundit who calls for shared sacrifice must describe in detail just what he or she is prepared to give up...Right now, shared sacrifice means that many wealthy, powerful people share the opinion that the rest of us should sacrifice.
Mr. Friedman, for instance, calls every few minutes or so for President Obama to endorse the Bowles-Simpson plan for closing the budget gap. In fact, its a stretch to say that any such plan even exists. The Bowles-Simpson committee that Mr. Obama set up never actually managed to reach an agreement. Instead, the two committee chairmen, former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles, a North Carolina Democrat, and former Republican senator and professional loose-cannon Alan Simpson of Wyoming came up with a plan between them that they trumpetedwith the help of a fawning mediaas a great, bipartisan accomplishment.
It is, instead, a prescription for hunting down every last remaining vestige of the middle class in this country and beating it to death with a stick.
Under the Bowles-Simpson plan to reduce the deficit, the top federal income tax rate would be dropped to 24 percent, the top corporate rate would be cut from 35 percent to 26 percent, and almost all deductions would be eliminated, including those for home mortgage interest, and employer health-care plans.
Meanwhile, military pensions, student loan subsidies, Medicare and Social Security would be slashed, while other revenue would come from new, regressive levies such as a 15 percent increase on gas taxes...
The grand bargain is in fact a grand and arbitrary cancellation of the social covenant thats brought this country unprecedented prosperity and social justice over the last 80 years, and its being pressed by a small coterie of wealthy, overwhelmingly white men who will themselves contribute about the equivalent of a working persons laundry money for the week...No one voted for it, and not even most political activists understand fully what it means or how likely it is to pass...