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Examiner
  • Sands: Entitlements didn’t cause the current debt crisis

  • Watching the discourse in Washington lately over the debt limit has been a disheartening experience. Never before have I seen such a division of protecting one’s turf and not working for the best interest of the people and the country.

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  • Watching the discourse in Washington lately over the debt limit has been a disheartening experience. Never before have I seen such a division of protecting one’s turf and not working for the best interest of the people and the country.
    While both parties should share some blame, it seems that the Republican Party has been the most divisive in its desire to protect multi-millionaires and billionaires. Republicans say the only way to reduce the debt and the deficit is to cut spending and that revenue enhancement is off the table – be it tax increases or eliminating tax subsidies, especially for big oil and big businesses.
    Democrats say cutting spending and revenue enhancement go hand in hand. This, if you think about it, makes pretty good sense. So, with that in mind, why are the Republicans so adamant about protecting the income flow of multi-millionaires and billionaires? And why do they want to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security on the backs of the dwindling middle class and the poorest in our nation and make it part of the reduction package when none of these entitlement programs had anything to do with our current mess in the first place?
    And why hasn’t the Republican Congress under House Speaker John Boehner adopted any legislation to create jobs? Wasn’t it Boehner who kept saying: “Where are the jobs?” What Mr. Boehner has failed to recognize is that jobs have been created since the Bush administration’s Great Recession that ended in June 2009 – albeit modestly. As a matter of fact, for 16 straight months, jobs have been added t under the Obama administration. Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics bears this out.
    Let’s take a look for a moment at who doesn’t pay taxes in this country, and maybe from that, we can gain an in-depth perspective as to why Republicans are protecting the very wealthy. ExxonMobil, the biggest oil company and the most profitable company in the history of this country, made $19 billion in profits in 2009, paid no taxes, and got a $156 million rebate. Bank of America made $4.4 billion last year and received a $1.9 billion tax refund. General Electric made $26 billion over the last five years, paid no taxes, and received a $4.1 billion refund. ConocoPhillips made $16 billion from 2007 through 2009 and received $451 million in tax breaks. Goldman Sachs paid only 1.1 percent of its income in taxes but earned a profit of $2.3 billion.
    There a many more, but you get the idea. These are the same companies that make millions of dollars in campaign contributions to Republican coffers year after year after year. Is it any wonder why the Republican Party is protecting the very rich (the top 1 percent to 2 percent of income earners) and then asking the rest of us to bear the brunt of the debt crisis?
    Page 2 of 2 - I agree that spending cuts have to occur, but the very rich can well afford to cut those huge subsidies and pay additional taxes in order to bring our economy back to a reasonable level. And we don’t have to use Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security as an excuse – because, very simply, they are not the reason for our debt crisis.

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