We Don't Need Austerity, but They're Shoving it down Our Throats Anyway

Steve KinsmanStarred Page By Steve Kinsman, 5th Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2x2fxted/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

There are so many other ways our government could raise revenue than off the backs of the middle class and the poor. Here are a few of them.

Austerity for you and me, welfare for the corporations

The right-wing agenda for America is now in place. Their efforts to dismantle social programs and make government work only for the rich has been successful. With Barack Obama caving to every demand made by the right, they have now won. Game, set, match.

In the sections that follow, five courses of action are laid out as alternatives to cutting social programs. These actions, if taken, could save us all from the effects of austerity, which will be to plunge America into a deep economic depression. It doesn't have to happen.

The War on Drugs

Since Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs in the late 1960s, the government has spent, depending on how you count it, between 1 and 1.5 trillion (with a 't') dollars fighting it. The drug war now costs over 120 billion dollars a year in direct expenditures. Ending the war on drugs, however, would cut into the profits of private prison companies who fatten their bottom lines off of the thousands of low-level offenders constantly being sent their way.

Axing the military budget

As recently as last may Republicans in Congress were trying to increase the military budget, voting to continue to build F-36 fighter jets and Ospreys the Pentagon has said it doesn't want. Just axing these two projects would save us untold billions of dollars every year.

The Cold War ended a generation ago. America is the only superpower left in the world. Even as little as a ten percent reduction in military spending would save over 60 billion dollars a year

Ending or limiting agricultural subsidies

With even the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation calling them "America's largest corporate welfare program," and liberal Robert Reich deriding them for "going mostly to big agribusinesses that hardly need them," both sides of the aisle could agree on this one. These subsidies are projected to cost American taxpayers a minimum of 46 billion dollars over the next ten years. And what do they accomplish? They subsidize unhealthy processed foods which drive up obesity as well as health care costs. These are truly "entitlements" which one would think Republicans would want to end in the interests of bringing about "small government."

Closing tax loopholes

Perhaps the greatest gifts to the super-rich at the expense of the rest of us are the countless number of ways that billionaires and corporations can avoid paying taxes. Talk about entitlements! Just one example: Facebook not only paid zero income taxes last year, it received a 429 million dollar "refund" from the government. That's right folks. Facebook received almost a half a billion smackeroos from Uncle Sam in the form of a 'write-off.'

There were twenty-eight other Fortune 500 companies that paid zero dollars in income taxes last year as well. Together, they profited to the tune of 125 billion dollars.

Limiting or ending these loopholes, such as those allowing American companies to incorporate in places like the Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes, would negate any need to cut Social Security and Medicare.

End ongoing bank bailouts

Most of the American public does not realize it, but big bank bailouts are continuing. Wall Street has received 85 billion dollars in just the past year alone, a rather ironic figure, since it is almost the same amount of money - 83 billion - that the "sequester" has cut from the budget.

If the Republicans mean what they preach about "small government," what better way to show they mean business than by joining with progressives to reign in these egregious examples of corporate welfare.

Link: "Sequester" Means that Nineteen Million Seniors Won't Eat Today, or Tomorrow, or the Next Day

Drug bust photo from denver.cbslocal.com
All others from wikimedia commons

Tags

Austerity, Debt, Economics, Fiscal Cliff, Fiscal Policy, Politics, Steve Kinsman, Wall Street

Meet the author

author avatar Steve Kinsman
I live in California with my wife Carol, where I have been practicing professional astrology for 35 years. I write articles on astrology, but I enjoy writing on a variety of other subjects as well..

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
6th Mar 2013 (#)

Disgusting isn't it. How is it that Fortune 500 companies pay no taxes?
I think Obama is a puppet who has no real power and is simply being made to dance by the powers that be.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
6th Mar 2013 (#)

I agree with you, Mark. Thanks for commenting.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
6th Mar 2013 (#)

Insightful post, Steve. Again, he who pays the piper calls the tune is at play! Democracy or otherwise, some are more equal than others - the vast majority. We are far away from being an inclusive society and empathy for the poor is lacking. A society is known by how it treats its less advantaged. Sadly, President Obama is being led! siva

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
6th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you for those wise comments Siva.

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author avatar M G Singh
6th Mar 2013 (#)

Very nice post Steve, but these are the fruits of capitalism. The alternative is communism?

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
6th Mar 2013 (#)

No, tjhe alternative is not communism, which is just as bad as capitalism (buit no worse). The alternative is a caring, compassionate resource-based society without money. It can be done. See the work of Jacque Fresco and thevenusproject.com

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author avatar Ptrikha
13th Mar 2013 (#)

Alternative is shunning extreme greed, and humanism- love all humans and shun violence and work for welfare of not just self but others too. Yet is anyone willing?

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author avatar C.D. Moore
6th Mar 2013 (#)

If I was younger I would move to Norway.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
6th Mar 2013 (#)

That would be a good choice.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
7th Mar 2013 (#)

another enlightening page Steve...thank you for bringing this to our attention in such clarity...and please take care of yourself....

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
7th Mar 2013 (#)

Will do dear friend. Thank you.

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author avatar Ptrikha
13th Mar 2013 (#)

And we thought that these things happen just India!!! It is disheartening to know these things happening in United States too.

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