February 6, 2014

The White House is trumpeting news that the U.S. deficit is at the lowest level since President Obama took office. Wall Street, diverted by international crises, has been unimpressed (as are Conservatives). What is on the surface good news, really isn’t. The deficit has been reduced and that means the financial markets will improve. This will make a lot of money for a few people, but I wonder if it is worth it. The deficit reduction has been carried on the backs of people who could least afford it: the poor and the middle class. The nougat of economic and political gains hardly seems worth the suffering of the people who paid for it. 

There are alternatives to reducing the deficit that would spare the most vulnerable Americans. For example, raising the minimum wage would help, a very modest tax hike for the upper 2% of income earners would virtually eliminate the deficit in the short run. Maybe the real deficit is one of conscience. With so many Americans unemployed, so many working full time for poverty level wages, and for so many other Americans struggling to survive … how can we continue to expect them to take most of the pain in the cuts in government spending?

It bothers me. Doesn’t it bother you?