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As a proud middle-class citizen of the United States of America, who desperately wants to be as informed as possible, I would love to understand what’s going on in congress right now, and more specifically what’s going on behind the closed doors of the “Super Committee.” I want to know exactly what those twelve elite members are working on beyond the smoke and mirrors.
I’m a taxpaying citizen, who works hard every day for my money. I don’t have time to bog through the endless mire of records or try to acquire classified files to investigate what is actually being done. I have a constitutional right to know what my supposed “representatives” are accomplishing in straightforward language.
My frustration grows when I see articles like one that ran Sunday the 13th on the Boston Globe’s homepage (see article below) summarizing messages from three of the Super Committee members, Senators Pat Toomey (R) and James Clyburn (D), who appeared on Fox News and Jeb Hensarling (R) who spoke on CNN. “We have no time to waste,” Toomey divulged. Um, excuse me sir, but even I, a humble citizen, know that this is not news. But not to fret, because Toomey assures us that he “is not giving up on getting something done.” What a relief. Almost as comforting as Hensarling’s assurance that they “haven’t given up hope.” Thank you gentlemen for those nuggets of insight.
I know that I am not the only citizen who is downright terrified that these men and their colleagues are responsible for getting the United State’s finances back in order.
Well, I have a solution, or, more accurately, THE THIRD WEALTHIEST MAN IN THE WORLD HAS A SOLUTION, and I like it. I like it, because I believe that someone like Warren Buffet, who has amassed a net worth of $50 billion dollars over his lifetime, might just know a thing or two about finances.
In July, a clip from Buffet’s live interview on CNBC went viral. In it he half-jokingly said “I could end the deficit in five minutes. You just pass a law that says that any time there’s a deficit of more than three percent of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.” Brilliant. When the average citizen fails to perform his job duties, he is axed. Why not members of congress?
In addition to making the social media rounds, his quip pricked attorneys’ ears. Jarrad Holst of Kozeny & McCubbin, L.C. in St. Louis informed CNBC that there is actually a way to bypass Congress and turn Buffett’s idea into law. He explained that under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, a “Convention for proposing Amendments” can assemble when the legislatures of two-thirds of the states agree to it. Then three-quarters of the state’s legislatures would have to ratify the proposed amendment. If this highly improbable scenario played out, what has become known as Buffet’s “Five Minute Plan” would be enacted into law.
A month after his interview on CNBC, the New York Times printed an op-ed article by Buffet entitled Stop Coddling the Super Rich. In it, he argued that taxing the richest in America their fair share is a no-brainer. He goes on to explain several of the tax breaks the ultra-rich are currently receiving that can in some cases reduce their taxes to 15%. This means that according to the 2011 tax brackets, these billionaires are paying the same percentage of taxes as someone earning $8,700 – $35,350 annually. To this American citizen, that is insanity.
In response to the claim Congress has made that if tax loopholes currently benefiting the Wall Street Elite are closed, people will stop investing, Buffet calls foul. He says “I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone- not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.”
So my fellow middle-class Americans, both Republican and Democrat, Occupiers and Non-Occupiers alike, it seems Congress has forgotten something: we are the majority. I think it’s time for a friendly reminder, and if that doesn’t work, LET’S ALL STOP PAYING OUR BILLS, and see how they like it.
ARTICLE FROM THE BOSTON GLOBE
‘Supercommittee’ members are optimistic
By Bobby Caina Calvan | GLOBE STAFF NOVEMBER 13, 2011
WASHINGTON — Members of a congressional deficit-reduction panel took to the television airwaves today to express hope, however faint, that a budget deal could be struck before a Nov. 23 deadline despite the gloom pervading much of Capitol Hill.
On “Fox News Sunday,’’ two members of the so-called “supercommittee” acknowledged the challenges they face over the next 10 days.
“We have no time to waste,” said Senator Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, who last week proposed a plan to trim $1.5 trillion in projected deficits, using a combination of spending cuts and $300 billion new revenues – which some Democrats saw as a positive development.
But ultimately, Democrats rejected the plan because it wasn’t bold enough, particularly in the area of new revenues, they said, to make a lasting impact on future deficits.
Toomey acknowledged that both sides have “a ways to go” in reaching an agreement, but told Fox News: “I am not giving up on getting something done. I think we still can, and I am going to do everything to achieve that.”
Also appearing on the program was Representative James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, who said he remained “very hopeful” that both sides will reach a compromise before their deadline, now less than two weeks away.
Clyburn said he favors going bigger than the $1.2 trillion target the 12-member panel is tasked to trim in projected budget deficits over the next 10 years. Some Democrats on the panel have touted a plan that would reduce deficits by about $3 trillion, including $1.3 trillion in new revenues — although Clyburn on the Fox News program mentioned supporting a $4 trillion plan.
The committee of six Republicans and six Democrats, including Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, has been working mostly in secret to negotiate a deficit-slashing deal.
If Congress does not come up with a plan, $1.5 trillion in automatic cuts will go into effect next year, including massive cuts to the defense budget.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” program, the supercommittee’s Republican co-chairman, Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, also sounded hopeful a deal could be reached – but he made it clear that both sides had wide rifts yet to bridge.
“We haven’t given up hope,” he told CNN.
“We Republicans want more revenues. We just want to raise it by growing the economy.”