Monday, May 9, 2011

Whose Fault Is Our Current Financial Mess?

Dear Readers,

It seems like the big experts are all blaming you and me (or at least me, and I apologize, Dear Reader, if you don't want to be part of a group that includes Madame L) for the mess America's economy is in now. According to some Republican Members of Congress and conservative pundits, it's our fault for taking out mortgages we didn't really qualify for; it's our fault the too-big-to-fail corporations had to be bailed out; it's our fault the national debt is so high; it's our fault we're growing older and needing more medical services; and so on.

However, Madame L does not agree with this self-serving assessment. Madame L notes that in the year 2000, the United States had a $0000 deficit, thanks to President Bill Clinton's economic policies. It wasn't until "W" was elected that the deficit started to rise again. And it rose in part because of tax breaks for the wealthy (see below).

Madame L notes also that the bailout of the big auto companies succeeded, something she hasn't seen any auto executives or conservative politicians or pundits admitting. In fact, that bailout succeeded so well that those companies made huge profits last year. And what about their executives? General Motors CEO Dan Akerson "earned" $2.5 million for 2010. 

Standard & Poor's 500 Index company executives received an average of $11.4 million in total compensation in 2010, a 23% increase over 2009. The AFL-CIO points out that these executives' combined pay exceeds that of more than 100,000 average workers.

Want to know more? The AFL-CIO has devoted a page to the 2011 Execute Pay Watch, listing CEO salaries for 2011.

And you know all those Tea-Party Republicans who were voted into office in 2010 on their promises of saving Medicare, creating jobs, and taking care of the people who elected them? You know they've all voted to abolish Medicare, right? (They're walking back on that now, but only because of public outrage.) They haven't created any jobs, and their idea of helping people appears to be taking away women's rights and programs that support working moms, work-place equality policies, educational loans and grants for those who don't have rich parents to pay their way through college, and help for poor families.

To quote from a recent article by economist Paul Krugman:

"What happened to the budget surplus the federal government had in 2000?

"The answer is, three main things. First, there were the Bush tax cuts, which added roughly $2 trillion to the national debt over the last decade. Second, there were the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which added an additional $1.1 trillion or so. And third was the Great Recession, which led both to a collapse in revenue and to a sharp rise in spending on unemployment insurance and other safety-net programs.

"So who was responsible for these budget busters? It wasn’t the man in the street.

"President George W. Bush cut taxes in the service of his party’s ideology, not in response to a groundswell of popular demand — and the bulk of the cuts went to a small, affluent minority"

Madame L wishes these conservative politicians, all of whom accepted tens of thousands of dollars, some hundreds of thousands of dollars, in campaign contributions from wealthy donors and big company CEOs, would be more honest with those who actually voted for them.

And Madame L wishes voters would realize how close they are to having the America they thought they were voting for be destroyed.

Pay attention, my friends, and may God bless these United States of America,

Madame L

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

Readers should know that Krugman isn't just your ordinary economist - he is a Nobel Laureate economist, the smartest of the smart.

Perhaps we can induce Madame L to tell us who Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky - the only pure T-Partier elected to the Senate - was named after... and why that name is truly disgusting and profoundly immoral on several dimensions...