Friday, June 24, 2011

Are Democrats Losing Our Identity?

Ernesto Villanueva, Jr.

Well I want to apologize to my reader for the long delay on this post, but it has been brewing for a while and I hope that its not too long winded for your taste. I think we, as a party, have reached the breaking point in national politics. What has been going in this country for the last 20 years is something that has been having deep ramifications to the so-called identity, or what we once thought was the identity, of the democratic party. Now I am not one to bash my party or question my ideals, but as the Republican Party continues its tectonic shift to the extreme right wing, it is having the intended affect of moving the Democrats further and further to the right; proposing ideas that would have been, at one time, considered right wing or conservative thought not more than 15 years ago. So whats going on?

Now I'm not here to tell others what they are supposed to believe in or what ideals they should hold true simply because they vote a particular party, but, there are some truths that are considered "self evident." Certain ideas are, what I thought, made us democrats, things like equal rights for all, protecting the environment and more importantly, standing up for the working and middle class of this country. Not in the last 90 years has the middle class been so depleted and in such dire straits. With record unemployment and more and more Americans losing unemployment benefits, we are facing a time in our history where the real possibility of the disappearance of the middle class is becoming a painful reality. To make matters worse, those Americans still lucky enough to work are losing their right to be represented.

Today New Jersey joined the likes of Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan by passing a bill that would strip bargaining rights from city and state employees. With a governor like Chris Christie, the piece of legislation was no surprise, the bewilderment came from the wide support from New Jersey Democrats. With the bill being passed and expected to be signed on Monday, state legislators where met by protesters holding banners that read "this is the death of the Democratic party," one of which adorned the side of a hearse. These people are understandably upset, this the base of the Democratic Party, these are the people Democrats are supposed to be fighting for, the people they have to defend, the people that republicans continue to ignore and if we lose our elected legislators our "voice" in congress...whats left?

Democrats over the last 10 years have found themselves proposing ideas, now considered radical left wing liberalism...ahh just saying the word Liberal makes me feel all warm inside, are actually proposals that are not left wing at all! Ideas like Cap and Trade and the mandate language in President Obama's Affordable Healthcare Act, are just two examples of Democratic "ideas" that were at one time presented by Conservatives...Republicans 15 years ago in the Clinton years. So why the shift? Well the answer is very simple, since the Republicans have moved so far to the right, to areas of uncontrolled deregulation, aristocracy and xenophobia...the political spectrum has actually shifted with them and the Democrats are now becoming the Republicans of old. Was that the intention all along? Are our victories hollow Republican shams? I would like to believe that this was a giant orchestrated move by the right, but honestly, I feel that the Republicans, contrary to all logical thought and reason, actually believe what they spew on the floor in the House of Representatives, which does not bode for the other 97% of Americans.

Democrats need to stand up for the ideals that make us Democrats, we need to stand together and point out that Republican Administrations have had the largest spending sprees beginning with Reagan, who actually raised taxes by the way. I understand that America needs to cut spending but we also have to increase revenue and cutting revenue by lowering taxes further will not create jobs, just ask the millions that lost their jobs under Bush. Vice President Biden is now in budget talks with Republican leaders John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell, several cuts have been proposed by the right but to understand these cuts you have know where your tax dollar goes dollar goes.

The Federal Dollar:

54% or .54 cents of every dollar goes to military, i.e. defense
30% or .34 cents of every dollar goes to Human Resources (things like the labor, education...etc)
11% or .11 cents of every dollar goes to General Govt (pays all branches of government, debt..etc)
5% or .05 cents of every dollar Physical Resources<-----------------this is where Republicans have made most of there cuts!

From this 5% percent we get things like the National Science foundation,The Endowment for the Arts, HUD, roads, transportation and yes even Homeland Security gets a share of this pie. This is where Republicans have decided to cut! We are losing the fight and we losing ourselves. The right wants to balance the budget by cutting out the smallest pieces and refusing to consider any type of taxes, proven today as Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, walked out of budget talks stating that taxes were off the table. Is is what we have become, the party of silence of inaction? As large corporations continue to pay nothing in taxes, as the median income for the upper class continues to skyrocket, middle class families are being left in the cold, left to take their modest 2% increase in income over the last 50 years and make ends meat. This where we find ourselves today, this is what our elected officials are fighting for, simply for our survival and before our country can go any further we have to stop and look at what we have become and asses if this is the current direction we want to continue as the party of the People.

9 comments:

  1. "54% or .54 cents of every dollar goes to military, i.e. defense

    30% or .34 cents of every dollar goes to Human Resources (things like the labor, education...etc)

    11% or .11 cents of every dollar goes to General Govt (pays all branches of government, debt..etc)

    5% or .05 cents of every dollar Physical Resources"

    Can you provide a source for these numbers? The OMB would seem to contradict your figures

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2012/assets/hist05z3.xls

    Tim Collins

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  2. Your breakdown of the federal budget is a joke - multiple sources are easily found that contradict your "facts".

    I'm with Tim - back it up because it is wrong.


    Mike Armstead

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  3. Yes the source is the same and the numbers are correct, the budget office gives you percentages of the total budget, including Medicare and Social Security...I'm simply providing the information of the tax dollar, the dollar that goes to pay for all the programs listed above.

    Ernie V.

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  4. No joke just apply some elementary school arithmetic and you will get there.

    Ernie V.

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  5. Good Post. The question for future is when will all the entitlements be targeted? There is no plan for saving Medicare which gives the Repubs the default position.

    Tax the rich doesn't seem to work anymore. There is no confidence that the government would use the revenue efficiently. Democratic pols can't make that argument anymore. If we can't make the argument for government in time of economic chaos we can't do it at all.

    Dorhn , Eastside

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  6. Your right, the issue though is entitlement reform. Democrats know that reform needs to happen, but with radical republicans taking center stage with possiblity of killing medicare the democrats are essentially playing it safe. As for taxing, higher taxes will not always be the answer, we need attack this issue from both sides. We need to focus on spending but also not cut our legs out from underneath us. What we need to do is restore the previous tax rates and end corporate welfare. Taxing the rich and multibillion dollar corps may not work, but not taxing them and us certainly will not.

    Ernie V.

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  7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget

    This is just one of many links easily found that explain federal spending. 23% on Medicare/Medicaid, 20% on Social Security, 20% on Defense, 19% Discretionary spending, 18 on other stuff.

    Have you never heard that over 30% of every dollar goes towards debt payment?

    Our cowardly elected officials don't have the guts to cut spending in a manner that really matters. Raising taxes on the uber-rich won't fix many problems when 49% of the population pays no federal income tax (after returns) and millions get thousands back more than what they pay in!

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  8. Sorry Ernie I am capable of quite more than simple math, and you are absolutely wrong. Even on a non-math basis your % make no sense.

    I have been over these numbers on numerous occassions and to get to $.54 of every tax dollar you have to make some big leaps as to what you call defense spending. The OMB is the source for classification of both spending and revenu and they don't get to $0.54 of every dollar.

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  9. Ok I will explain once more...the 20% that your getting for defense, that is the total budget, meaning that those numbers are taking into account Medicare and Social Security. Now remove those from the equation, you may be asking why, well because SS goes to SS and medicare dollars go to Medicare and Medicaid and nothing else. The tax dollars that federal govt collects....that's the federal income withholdings in your check..that is what goes to everything else like debt, govt and defense. Now work those numbers on that revenue and see what kind of numbers you get. Its quite simple actually. But let's use those numbers for just a sec, if you take medicare and social security into account, the amount that Republicans have cut to balance the budget ends up being less the 1% of the TOTAL budget.

    Ernie V

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