Cut spending on Medicaid: 26% support, 72% oppose
Cut military spending: 43% support, 56% oppose
Raising taxes on Americans earning over $250,000 a year: 72% support, 27% oppose
Gradually raising Medicare age from 65 to 67: 46% support, 54% oppose
Changing the way SS benefits are calculated so they increase slower: 42% support, 53% oppose
Raising taxes on oil and gas companies: 59% support, 39% oppose
Means testing Medicare: 61% support, 36% oppose
Removing SS tax income cap currently at $107,000: 66% support, 33% oppose
Raising taxes on hedge fund managers (essentially changing capital gains taxes to income taxes): 64% support, 25% oppose
In sum, Americans support raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations to match recent historical levels and only making very small changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security (such as means-testing, which I'm okay with) to help fix the national debt problem. The only quibble I personally have with the majority of Americans is that I think military spending needs to be cut dramatically.
Yet, in the debt ceiling negotiations in Washington the exact opposite is being considered. Tax increases for the wealthy and corporations are off the table and big changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are a near certainty. Up is down, left is right, sane is insanity, and what the American people want is irrelevant.
2. The House recently passed their pie-in-the-sky Cut, Cap, and Balance bill. The bill was so draconian that it had no chance, absolutely zero chance, of passing the Senate or not being vetoed by the President. It was a waste of time and Harry Reid, bless his soul, called it "some of the worst legislation in the history of this country."
It worked by first making massive cuts to government spending starting next year and going into the future. Second, it capped government spending at around 18% of GDP per year and required 2/3 vote in Congress to ever raise taxes. Third, it required the passage of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution before the debt ceiling was raised.
All three of those ideas are bad. The first because the cuts come at the expense of the poor and elderly almost exclusively. The second because it gives no flexibility to respond to crises like the one from which we are still recovering. The third because it gives even less flexibility than the second and degrades the beauty of our Constitution. It would ruin our economy, I have no doubts about that.
It was, then, seen as a way for the please-don't-compare-yourselves-to-the-real-Tea-Party Congresspersons to show their ultra-conservative chops. It was a political stunt, nothing more and nothing less. They knew it didn't have a chance for passage because it was so conservative, they knew it was just to satisfy their base.
But the Republicans control the House and it is their right to pass whatever they want. I think it is a dangerous bill and a waste of time when we are so close to an economic meltdown, but they've earned the right to be irresponsible I guess by winning elections and anyway everyone knew it never had any chance to become law. So it is not the mere passage of the bill that I consider a facepalm.
What really bothers me is that Utah Democrat Jim Matheson voted for it. JIM MATHESON VOTED FOR CUT, CAP, AND BALANCE! Are your *&%#^@ kidding me? Even all of his Blue Dog Conservative Democrat associates called it a horrible bill just meant to give ultra-conservatives a message vote. I would rather, much much rather, have a Republican in that seat than Matheson. He's an embarrassment. He is the worst Congressperson in the country. I hope the state legislature redistricts him right out of office, I really do.