What Gregg did not propose

I have great respect for former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), but he neglects many critical points. Conservative governments in Europe (Germany, Britain, France) pursue a new $1.5 trillion bailout for big banks, but where is their $1.5 trillion proposal for more jobs, and why do Republicans oppose and obstruct every major new jobs program? Why do they oppose healthcare reform that would lower the deficit, such as the public option, and campaign-finance reform that would limit the ability of special interests to buy the tax loopholes and spending that raise the deficit?

The greatest problem with American finance is not that too many elderly, middle-class and poor citizens receive benefits. It is that the jobless rate raises the costs to government, and that skyrocketing healthcare costs, caused by private companies that raise those costs, further increase the deficit. The healthcare bill was not too strong, it was too weak, which is why public suppport for the public option is so strong.

While I agree with some of the points raised by Sen. Gregg, his major beef is with Republicans, not Democrats. Democrats have been willing to accept some entitlement cuts, more than I would, but only if Republicans accept revenues and reforms that are fair to the 99 percent, not special-interest benefit programs for the 1 percent.

Jobs are the No. 1 issue for the American people and for the deficit. For every 1 percent increase in the GDP, the 10-year budget deficit declines by $3 trillion, and for every 1 percent decrease in the GDP the 10-year deficit increases by $3 trillion.

My advice to Gregg would be that he offer his advice to Republicans to stop opposing jobs programs, and agree to include a substantial new jobs program in a larger deficit-reduction package than the parties will ultimately agree to.

There is something very wrong when Europeans agree to a $1.5 trillion bailout for banks that includes zero for new jobs, and in fact includes austerity that will further destroy jobs.

There is something very wrong when Democrats and Republicans debate cutting the deficit by $2 trillion, $3 trillion or $4 trillion while doing very close to zero to create new jobs.

While some might say the president should "get off the bus," he will not, and should not, because he is right, and because most voters agree he is right. We need a major jobs program, and we need it now, to increase jobs and lower the deficit.

There is something very wrong when we debate cutting benefits to the elderly, the middle class and the poor while insurance and pharmaceutical and hospital costs climb to the skies.

There is something very wrong when both parties compete to raise the most special-interest campaign money, while those interests operate in secret in ways that balloon the deficit.

I appreciate Gregg's good faith and good will, but until he and others address the real causes of the financial crisis, we will never achieve true bipartisanship, and we will never seriously address the deficit.