2011-07-29 / Editorial/Opinion

Food For The Elderly Poor Or Aircraft For Millionaires

Here’s a simple question that has become representative of the furor that has taken over Congress. As a national priority, which should be more important, food for the elderly poor or tax credits for oil companies and executives who use private jet aircraft to get around the country? It is to our shame that the question is even asked in a serious way, but the right-wing members of the Tea Party have taken over the conversation over raising the debt limit, and they actually do want to preserve tax credits for the rich at the expense of those who need financial help just to stay alive. Like most people, we agree that government spends too much money. The question, of course is, as it has always been, how do we cut the spending. The Democrats want to force the wealthy to pay their fair share, to reduce the tax credits and deductions for overseas business that allow a company such as General Electric, which earns billions, to pay no federal taxes whatsoever. It also wants to see oil companies, with windfall profits, pay their fair share as well as those who now get tax credits for buying high-performance aircraft for the businesses. In addition, many want to do away with the upper limits on monthly deductions for FICA, so that the rich pay their share of the Social Security burden. The Republican leadership, whose feet are being held to the fire by the Tea Party wingers, want to preserve all of those credits and deductions, preferring instead to cut “entitlement” programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. So, the Democrats want to retain food for the elderly poor while the Republicans want to retain tax credits for those who buy airplanes. That might sound simplistic, but it is basically a true statement. It will be up to the voters to decide the question, but meanwhile the government remains in stalemate.

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