From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/03/02-14
by Ted Rall
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Everywhere you look, from the federal government to the states to your hometown, budget crises abound. Services are being slashed. Politicians and pundits from both parties tell us that the good times are over, that we’ve got to start living within our means.
It’s a lie.
Two case studies have made news lately: California, where new/old governor Jerry Brown is trying to close a $25 billion shortfall with a combination of draconian cuts in public services and a series of regressive tax increases, and Wisconsin, where right-winger Scott Walker says getting rid of unions would eliminate the state’s $137 million deficit.
Never mind the economists, most of whom say an economic death spiral is exactly the worst possible time for government to cut spending. Pro-austerity propaganda has won the day with the American public. A new Rasmussen poll funds that 58 percent of likely voters would approve of a shutdown until Democrats and Republicans can agree on what spending to cut.
The budget “crisis” is a phony construction, the result of right-wing “starve the beast” ideology. There is plenty of money out there—but the pols don’t want it.
There is no need to lay off a single teacher, close a single library for an extra hour, or raise a single fee by one red cent.
Every government can not only balance its budget, but wind up with a surplus.
The solution is simple: tax the rich.
Over the last 50 years tax rates for the bottom 80 percent of wage earners have remained almost static. Meanwhile the rich have received tax cut after tax cut after tax cut. For example, the rate paid by the top 0.01 percent—people who currently get more than $6.5 million a year—fell by half (from 70 to 35 percent).
Times are tough. Someone has to pay. Why not start with those who can most afford it?
Continue reading at: http://www.rall.com/rallblog/2011/03/02/syndicated-column-the-phony-budget-crisis