10 April 2011

My e-mail to the White House: seizing the agenda

My e-mail to the White House today:

The Republicans are now crowing about how they forced the president to "capitulate" in the budget negotiations, which, unfortunately, is indeed the way it's being largely perceived.

Reports that the president will address his own "deficit plan" soon are also disturbing. Progressive economists, whose formulations reflect what the majority of Democrats really want, have explained that cutting the deficit is not the main concern in a time when we have over 20 million chronically unemployed and the risk of a double dip recession is far from over.

Suggestions of cuts to Medicare and Medicaid are very disconcerting. These programs are ESSENTIAL elements of any Democratic program. The only acceptable program reforms are in the area of increasing caps on income subject to payroll taxes and in controlling costs; not in reducing services, and, for God's sake, not in anything even remotely smacking of privatization. How someone like Alice Rivlin thinks that it would be helpful to turn any part of Medicare over to profit making businesses that spend far more than Medicare for administration and have the inherent conflict of interest of seeking to minimize service and maximize profit, is totally beyond me.

The president's plan for fiscal health of our nation needs to focus on reforming taxes, to cut out corporate loopholes, raise (or eliminate) the cap on income subject to payroll taxes, outlaw corporate offshoring, reform free trade to protect American workers, and, ESPECIALLY, greatly increase actual taxation on the very rich, who have had what amounts to a free ride for a long time.

There has been the beginning of a sea change in American politics, which the president has yet to get a hold of. There IS an opportunity to seize control of the agenda: stop accepting the Republican frame for what needs to be done. Go to the people, and lay out the VERY BIG picture, and explain in plain but realistic language exactly, from a Democratic perspective, needs to be done. And exactly WHY that would be so much better, and so much more in the interests of ordinary Americans as opposed to corporations and the very rich, than what the Rightist Republican party wants to do.

Thank you.

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