Sent by Dr Jill Sunday Bartoli
Stand up, Speak out
Don’t be fooled by debt ceiling and budget cut lies
I can completely understand the distrust and anger of many citizens toward their government. When elected representatives lie repeatedly, who do we trust to tell us the truth? The most recent example is the manufactured debt ceiling “crisis. “
We are being told it is not possible to raise the debt ceiling unless we drastically cut spending on government programs. The lie? That we need to rein in spending on the programs that help our citizens and help Ukrainians fighting for their lives and their democracy.
Any parent can tell you that you don’t balance the budget on the necks of your children who need to be fed, housed and cared for. You find other ways. Make no mistake about it. The party that is pushing to balance the budget, at the expense of middle and working-class families–the 99 percent– is the party that gave the massive tax breaks to the uber wealthy .05 to 1 percent.
In 2011 the GOP negotiated spending cuts that hurt working families and held back our economy in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. This weakened our economy and helped Donald Trump win in 2016 and immediately push through another massive tax cut benefiting the rich. They want to do the same in 2023.
In a January 25 email, Senator Warren explains their logic: “If they can cause enough pain — maybe by taking a pickaxe to Social Security and Medicare, or maybe even by crashing the global economy — they could win back the White House in 2024.”
Sure, let’s keep pitching millions of our low wage earners into poverty and destitution.
Sure, cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs that keep our grandparents from total poverty.
Sure, let’s continue to have the highest rate of child poverty in the industrialized world.
Sure, let’s make sure billionaire donors get to double their money in the midst of increasingly violent crimes of desperation and despair.
And let’s keep calling the vital government investments in our children, youth and adults “handouts” and “socialism” instead of necessities for the educated healthy society vital for a strong democracy to survive.
The “Freedom Caucus” and their backers are pushing for the “freedom”/power to do these things to the rest of us. And they think that is how they will get more money and power. What we need is much more organized resistance to these schemes from all citizens and from all representatives who actually care about the people they are elected to serve. This is no time to sit back and let the worst happen, as it has before.
At a January 6 rally to commemorate the violent attack on our US Capitol, Rep. Ismail Smith Wade-El from Lancaster said, “This Freedom Caucus has got to go. After years of watching them trying to take our vote, trying to take away the rights of our children simply to be in school, to participate in sports, and to read about their own history…this has got to go.”
There is nothing here for 99 percent of the American people, and the danger of letting this happen is very real. So let’s talk about another way.
How about having a truly fair tax system, where everyone pays their fair share? The 1950’s Eisenhower years are a good example, with money for massive infrastructure investment available from a tax system that included proportional contributions by billionaires and corporations.
How about focusing on vital investments in the education and mental health of our youth to prepare them for a thriving democracy and giving those who are struggling the support they desperately need?
How about investing in our families so no child is hungry, homeless, abused or desperate, and all youth see a future with promise?
Our elected representatives need to work to heal our deep economic and cultural divides instead of deepening them. And we as citizens—all of us—need to hold them accountable so they truly represent our values—not theirs.
We are too good a society to let the worst happen because of the misguided will of a fringe group like the “Freedom” Caucus or other radical groups that power-hungry autocrats have spawned. Call, email and visit your elected representatives, and bring friends, colleagues, and relatives with you. This is what democracy looks like.
Jill Sunday Bartoli
January 29, 2023