May 122010

It would be easy for Progressives — even with the best of intentions — to fumble the growing debate on the federal deficit.

Robert Creamer, Political organizer, strategist and author

Ida May Fuller, the first recipient
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I wish this article could be mandatory reading for all Americans. It is a lucid narrative describing the current economic situation in the United States and a credible means by which progressives can advance their vision.

Mr. Creamer provides 6 solid rules for how progressives should approach the deficit, starting with the notion that they must acknowledge the inadvisability of protracted long-term deficit spending. In his words, progressives “should make it completely clear that we share the view that long-term deficits must be brought under control — the real question is how.”

On the topic of how, Mr. Creamer suggests that we must select a path based upon how it will affect our success at creating widely shared economic growth. This criterion is not only about how to create the most growth, but also how the growth will be distributed. One of his more salient points is that, “Controlling the long-term budget deficit is not an end in and of itself. It is a means to an end.” Unless you have an aversion to the facts, I think you have to agree with his assertion that the failure of the economic policies of the Bush administration stemmed from a single-minded push to serve only the wealthiest of Americans.

His third rule is to push for more government spending to create jobs. I know that this is difficult for people to swallow, but I agree that it’s exactly what’s needed. Mr. Creamer makes the point that the costs associated with a major portion of our national labor resource sitting idle far outweigh those incurred with running a deficit. I could not agree more. Not only are there the issues of lost goods and services, but also the direct costs of unemployment and welfare, along with other related costs such as crime and lost opportunity.

Rule number 4 speaks to the folly of conservative solutions to bring the deficit back in line. As always, they would have us cut Social Security or education, or anything else that will support further concentration of wealth to the very top. Of course this is exactly the type of wrong-mindedness that got us into our present mess. Cutting Social Security would not only be unethical but would also inhibit senior’s ability to be self-sufficient, which would just shift the costs, not spare them. And cutting education is just plain STUPID. It’s the same sort of myopic insanity that right-wing plutocrats espouse every time they open their mouths. None of the conservative solutions uphold rule #2, which would require that growth be shared.

Mr. Creamer’s rule #5 is so important that I need to quote it straight out: “To assure we meet this test, we must eliminate the confusion between investment and consumption in our federal budget.” The notion that all government spending is equivalent is just plain nonsense. That’s not the way it works in industry, and it shouldn’t be the way it works for government. There is a difference between investment and expenditure. When the federal government invests in things like infrastructure, energy, and research and development, it’s not only providing jobs but also enabling future increases in productivity. This is good medicine for the vast majority of citizens.

The final rule is essentially a call to arms. Progressives must stay on the offensive. Mr. Creamer cites multiple Republican offences of the recent past, including an indictment of the Bush neo-cons who brought us a trillion dollar war and a greed driven bank crash. He also warns that should the Republicans gain full power, they will do everything they can to privatize Social Security, destroy Medicare, and eliminate infrastructure and education spending. His  assessment should scare the conservative right out of you!

These are serious times. We’re bloodied and bruised, but we’ve survived the Bush era. It’s time for all patriotic Americans to unite. We know what the conservative agenda has in store for us. They essentially had carte blanche for the eight years leading up to the Great Recession they caused. Must we learn the lesson yet again? The Republicans want only one thing, and that’s further concentration of wealth amongst the American royalty. Unless you’re already a member, you can either help fight against their unethical advance of plutocracy or you can be their stupefied guppy. The choice is yours.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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