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Brewing up a Deadly, Toxic Recipe for Economic Disaster

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Message Michael Payne

Recipe for economic disaster: mix millions of outsourced jobs with millions of unemployed workers, pour in hundreds of billions of dollars for needless foreign wars, throw in a large dose of governmental failure to enact financial reforms to prevent abusive, unethical practices; combine these ingredients into a very large economic crisis and, presto, you have created a deadly, toxic recipe for economic disaster.

The current state of America is extremely tenuous; numerous states with massive budget deficits have been forced to lay off hundreds of teachers, police and firefighters. Education and the peoples' safety are being adversely affected. Kansas City school districts have just announced that they will have to close 29 out of 61 schools. And this negative trend is far from over; in fact, many more of these cutbacks are coming all over America.

Our nation's governors have indicated that they will need nearly $1 trillion in federal aid to stave off bankruptcies; they need to be bailed out. But no bailout will be forthcoming from Uncle Sam because all available funds have been used to bailout the banking industry and financial sector and to fund our raging foreign wars.

While we are tearing down our school systems and cutting police forces, services to the disabled, the elderly and the mentally ill, the spending on our two foreign wars is ever increasing. It is being reported that the Pentagon will be asking for a 7.1 percent increase in proposed defense spending. The base budget for defense stands at $708 billion and we know that large supplementals always follow. This budget represents 53 percent of U.S. discretionary spending, eight times more than the next largest item, health and human services.

Funds badly needed for education are, instead, being used for more bombs and bullets. Funds needed for police and state support programs for elderly, disabled and mental patients are being used to manufacture more killer drones and to build numerous new military installations all across Afghanistan. States must accept the reality that their deficit problems simply will not be given the same priority as the conducting of foreign wars. Sadly, this is a prime example of how far America has regressed.

President Obama talks constantly about the need to create millions more jobs in America but he can't seem to get past the talk and get something concrete started. But, at least Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota has; he has been the lead proponent of eliminating the tax breaks enjoyed by U.S. companies that move their operations abroad. His website reports that, "Dorgan introduced legislation S.260, to shut down a tax loophole that rewards U.S. companies that move U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas. The legislation would close the loophole that allows U.S. multinational companies to defer paying income taxes on profits they make from the U.S. sale of the products manufactured in foreign factories, until those profits are returned to the United States, if ever. Manufacturers who remain in the United States receive no similar subsidy."

Can you believe this? Our government is actually rewarding corporations for moving jobs overseas; a U.S. company can actually close down a manufacturing plant, fire its workers and move those jobs to China or other nations. Instead of being penalized for this practice U.S. tax law rewards those companies with a large tax break that is called "referral". These firms, then, are allowed to defer paying U.S. income taxes on these foreign earnings until those profits are returned, if ever, to this country.

What the combination of greedy, profit-hungry corporations, aided and abetted by our government and tax laws are doing to the American worker, to our once world leading manufacturing sector and our consumer-driven economy is almost incomprehensible. It is economic suicide, plain and simple.

So, if we have been using a recipe that is leading us into economic disaster, is there a recipe for totally reversing the process and restoring stability in our economy and in our society? Without a doubt there is, but to put it into use the leaders of our government must be strongly pressured by the American people to reverse the misguided policies current being followed. In the upcoming November elections all politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, must clearly understand that those who continue to work against the interests of the American people will be summarily thrown out of office.

Here are a couple of examples where positive steps are being taken to get America back on track. The first is the Dorgan Senate legislation, S.260 to rescind tax subsidies for firms moving U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas. This recently proposed legislation is so necessary, so very logical and so easy to enact that there is no reason in the world that it should not be done soon. But, knowing the sad condition of the U.S. Senate and the Republican Party's use of the dreaded filibuster, who knows what will happen. If this legislation is not enacted, then that will be another nail in the U.S. economic coffin.

The second example just occurred on March 10, 2010 when U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio introduced legislation calling for US troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of the year. While the measure ended up losing, 356 to 65 it should be considered a victory for our nation since this is the first time that such a debate on Afghanistan has taken place in the entire U.S. Congress. The fact that 65 House members, including 5 Republicans voted for it just may signal the beginning stage in ending the Afghan War.

So, here is the new recipe, to include these ingredients: put an end to outsourcing American jobs overseas beginning with Senator Dorgan's legislation; in both the House and the Senate, enact strong legislation to institute effective banking regulations and reforms to prevent another economic crisis. Use Rep. Kucinich's legislation as the beginning of a new movement in the U.S. Congress and spread it all over America to put intense, continuous pressure on President Obama and the other legislators to establish a definite timetable to wind down the Afghan War.

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