Democrats may lose big in 2012 races

Published 9:47 am Friday, April 29, 2011

In the elections of 2006 and 2008 Republicans lost big in Congress. In 2010 Democrats lost big. In 2012, a presidential election year, Democrats may again lose big by simply doing what they are doing today.

What is it about reducing the debt and deficit that Democrats do not understand?

So far the Washington Democrats have acted like every dollar in reduced spending is too extreme and must be resisted. They have found nothing that can or should be cut.

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Meanwhile Republicans present the Paul Ryan plan and vote their support for it through the House of Representatives immediately.

While voters may dislike, even hate, the Republican plan, polls show the fact that the Republicans actually have a plan that makes voters trust their intent to gain control of the debt and deficit. Democrats, voters trust on this not so much.

Democrats need to not only oppose the incredibly flawed Ryan plan, they need to aggressively advance, push, and fight for a plan of their own. Democrats need to pass in the Senate a deficit and debt reduction program that seriously addresses our need to reduce both.

The plan can be simple, understandable, and effective with common sense solutions.

First, the Ryan plan ignores necessary cuts in corporate welfare, calling such cuts as $4 billion for Big Oil, tax increases. Democrats ought to be able to explain to the American people that all corporate welfare needs to end, period.

Second, as the debt commission has recommended, we need to reduce corporate taxes to 25 percent and end all deductions for corporations.

Currently American global corporations are evading taxes and hiding profits offshore.

Those who practice these tactics should be pursued by the IRS with vigor.

Third, the Ryan plan only makes cuts in spending that affect the middle class and the poor, ignoring entirely that cuts also need to emanate from defense spending, a very large budget expense.

Fourth, Republicans ignore entirely the need for tax increases to play a role in reducing the deficit and debt.

In a recent ABC/Washington Post poll 72 percent of Americans favor raising taxes on the richest Americans. Republicans propose cutting taxes on this group.

Americans, in the same poll, also by a large majority favor a combination of tax increases and spending cuts to address the budget. Republicans will not even consider this concept.

Fifth, Social Security need only remove the ceiling on income contributions for the program to be funded for the next century. Democrats should simply pass this change into law immediately.

Sixth, the Ryan plan changes Medicaid into block grants to states, and the outcome of that will be sharply reduced insurance for the poorest Americans, leaving millions with no coverage at all. With Medicare, Republicans would simply reduce federal contributions and channel them to private insurers, until, by the year 2030, seniors would go from currently paying 25 percent of their medical costs to paying 68 percent, according to the politically neutral CBO.

This would essentially end both programs, leaving seniors and the poor to attempt to find insurance in their later years, when their healthcare is statistically more costly.

A broad majority of Americans want to keep Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. Democrats need to pledge to protect these programs and promise not to balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the middle class.

The Democrats should stop ignoring the necessity of addressing the budget and instead create “the Peoples Plan” for common sense budget reform. Otherwise, they should expect 2012 to be a replay of 2010.

Jim Crawford is retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.