Economy & Budget

We need a fix-the-economy commission

The co-chairs of the president’s deficit commission have issued preliminary recommendations, and the reaction is fairly predictable.

For example, as a progressive organization, USAction strongly opposes cuts to Social Security and Medicare as well as cuts to domestic discretionary spending. On the other hand, we love the proposed cuts on the military side – the elimination of obsolete weapons systems, a reduction in overseas operations and other savings that will not weaken our national security one bit.


Let's give everyone a tax cut (Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.)

What a difference 34 years doesn't make. The following words appeared in a Time Magazine editorial about the state of the federal government in 1976:

"The art of compromise, which is essential to democracy, seems to have gone out of style in recent years of angry all-or-nothing politics the result is often no legislation, and many issues are left to fade or fester."


'Protecting' us out of business

As a third generation Montana rancher, I am no stranger to government overreach. From the Environmental Protection Agency’s scientifically unfounded regulations to endangered species and water, lately it seems the federal government hasn’t seen a burdensome regulation that it didn’t like. 

While “protecting endangered species,” “sustaining the environment,” and “leveling the playing field in the livestock and poultry industries,” sound good on paper, the reality is that these regulations are “protecting” us right out of business. For ranching families like mine and the thousands more across the country, these overreaching government policies and regulations are stifling our ability to operate; they are stifling the entire agriculture industry; and they are stifling rural America.


We didn't vote for this

Whether Americans voted for Republicans or Democrats in the midterm election, one thing is clear: Voters were demanding that Congress focus intensively on job creation on Main Street -- not lobbyists and campaign donors from big business and Wall Street.

Apparently, many in Congress and President Obama, if recent reports are true, either didn't get the message or simply don't care now that the voting is over.


Strengthening Social Security for the long run

Current policy discussions about the long-term financing of Social Security often hold up reforms enacted in 1983 as a model of balanced political compromise that might be replicated today. But a closer examination tells a different story with important ramifications for the current era.


Tax simplification: Congress passes the buck

If you can’t say it simply, you probably don’t understand it --Albert Einstein

President Bush brands the 3.7 million word tax tome a “complicated mess;” President Obama dubs it a “monster tax code.” Both appoint Blue Ribbon Tax Reform Commissions that deliver balanced reports, loaded with good ideas. Neither will see the light of day; K Street special interest demons will see to that.


Taking mortgage finance back to the 1930s

Should Republicans take control of Congress in the upcoming midterm congressional elections, leading conservatives such as Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) — the ranking Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee, respectively — have promised to end the government’s role in the U.S. mortgage markets and bring us back to a “purely private” mortgage system. Current and prospective homeowners need to understand just how radical this proposed agenda is, and what it would mean for Americans should it be implemented.


NPR needs to stand on own two feet (Rep. Doug Lamborn)

National Public Radio’s (NPR) recent firing of longtime news analyst Juan Williams was a wake-up call for many Americans to the political correctness and liberal bias at NPR. However, it is not so much that bias that offends me, but the fact that my tax dollars are funding it.

Long before this Juan Williams fiasco blew up with NPR, I had sponsored a bill in Congress to pull the plug on federal funding for NPR. I have long believed that the operation is fully capable of standing on its own. It is time for Congress to prioritize its spending to our nation’s most pressing needs. With the national debt over $13 trillion dollars, the government cannot continue to fund non-essential services.


So you want to privatize (Rep. Jim McDermott)

Last week, former President George W. Bush emerged from his Texas mansion to declare that the biggest failure of his presidency was not privatizing Social Security. President Bush should take a good look around because he failed at a number of things, but failing to gut one of America's most effective programs was, in fact, a huge success for the American people. Nevertheless, Bush's dream of putting our retirement benefits into the reckless hands of Wall Street hasn't died, and Republicans have made it clear that privatizing Social Security and Medicare is among their top priorities.