The Bellevue Reporter is the local freebie weekly newspaper. It has some real reporting, as well as editorials and letters-to-the-editor. In the past the Bellevue Reporter has been quite conservative: they ridicule taxes and government, and they’ve written articles in favor of Rodney Tom and Tim Eyman. But recently, I’ve sensed some moderation.
This week they published my letter-to-the-editor under the title Republicans Don’t Deserve Their Power. Here’s an expanded version, below.
Republicans Don’t Deserve Their Power
I applaud the Bellevue Reporter for editorializing on Oct 4: “Blame some House Republicans for using the shutdown tactic in order to delay – or, what they really want, to kill – the Affordable Health Care Act. Their actions are a disservice to the American public.”
But your Oct 10 editorial was wishy-washy about who’s to blame for the budget standoff. The editorial quoted Tea Party hero Congressman Paul Ryan, making him sound like a reasonable statesman: “Let’s negotiate an agreement to make modest reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code.”
Social Security is not an “entitlement.” It’s a government pension plan that Americans paid for with Social Security taxes. Social Security hasn’t contributed a penny to the deficits; in fact, it’s solvent for decades ahead.
Furthermore, Republicans’ ideas for “reforming” the tax code invariably involve more tax cuts for the rich, who are already enjoying historic low tax rates, loopholes, and concentration of wealth and power.
What drove up the deficits wasn’t Democratic spending – there was a huge surplus when Clinton was president, and even President Obama has cut spending significantly, despite Republican talking points to the contrary -–it was the trillions wasted on disastrous, ill-conceived wars, reckless deregulation, Socialist bailouts for Wall Street, off-shoring of jobs and profits, and job-killing tax breaks for rich people. (Republicans like to claim that tax cuts discourage the “job makers” from hiring people, but in fact corporations and rich people are sitting on loads of cash; what the country needs to snap out of the recession and get corporations hiring again is more spending. Unemployed, penniless people don’t buy goods and stimulate production and hiring.)
The Bellevue Reporter editorial asked: “Where are the leaders in Congress when we need them?”
Answer: they’ve been gerrymandered out of power. Republicans have a 33-seat majority in the House despite losing the overall popular congressional vote by 1.4 million votes.