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Supercommittee: Occupied

October 27, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

We know that corporations and special interests that can afford $30,000 – $50,000 per month “access lobbyists” are getting their say in front of the supercommittee. According to Politico, lobbyists are receiving special readouts from closed-door supercommittee meetings and then scheduling one-on-ones with supercommittee members so their clients can protect their interests.

So, the wealthy and connected have a healthy, democratic feedback cycle going with the supercommittee, while the public, on the other hand, has been almost completely locked out. Today, during the first open meeting the supercommittee has held in over a month, a member of the 99% took advantage of the rare opportunity to offer her perspective on the committee’s work. Here’s how that went down:

UPDATE: HuffPo pieces together the message:

“The American people want to tax the rich and end the wars,” said a woman who stepped forward as committee member Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) wound down. “That’s how we fix the deficit. And all this obfuscation with percentages of GDP, this is just trying to confuse the issue.”

“We would have enough money for housing and health care and everything that we want if we stopped spending our money [on the] military machine,” she added before Capitol police escorted her away. “It’s very obvious. I speak for the 99 percent: End the wars and tax the rich.”

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Comments

  • wac6 10/27/2011 5:02pm

    Donnie, why didn’t a single person in that audience stand up and say, you know, that person has a point? Why didn’t Senator Murray invite her to take a seat and explain her views for five minutes? Breathtaking, breathtaking, that democracy is being modeled on our streets and in our civic spaces every night now, and to think that Congress will hold out as a vestige of plutocracy through it all! I will say, I watched most of a hearing of a House Financial Services Committee meeting yesterday and was impressed at how respectful the members were of each other. So Senator Murray, how about extending that courtesy to voters? To people who came to see you, whether they paid for the privilege or not?

  • Comm_reply
    Gabitza 02/15/2012 3:52am

    Let’s keep in mind that the entitlements of Social Security and Medicare account for over one-third of the federal budget, far more than military spending.
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  • eth111 10/28/2011 7:43am

    Amazing how those that are in favor of extending the reach of the oligarchic duopoly get to be heard in front of the Politburo. Those that are opposed to more extension of an over intrusive government simply get vilified as “uncooperative” or “ideologues”.
    This whole Supercommittee is a sham and proof that the establishment is only interested in extending itself. The “Occupiers”, while recognizing that something is terribly wrong, are pointing their fingers in the wrong direction. They are looking for the government to solve the problem, when the fact that legislative favoritism being sold to the highest bidder at all levels of government is the root of the problem.
    I’m sure that someone will mention that the TEA partiers got their say in the 2010 election, but they are wrong. The Politburo got stuffed with establishment politicians from both sides of the proverbial aisle.

  • Tetracide 10/28/2011 11:10am

    I agree with the woman about ending the wars, but can’t subscribe to her diatribe about taxing the rich and flooding entitlements with more money. Keeping in mind the share of federal taxes paid by the top 1% is the highest they’ve been since 1979 (link), what moral foundation does she stand on to demand the wealthy pay for the mistakes of the Democrats and Republicans?

    This country has witnessed a continuous rise of federal spending for decades, and now, with spending at its highest as a percentage of GDP since WWII (link), we are told that to foot the bill we must tax the economy more in recessionary times.

    American citizens should not be punished for the lavish spending in Washington.

  • Comm_reply
    luminous 10/28/2011 5:34pm

    Tetracide,

    The top 1%’s share of income doubled during that time as well going from 9.3% of all earnings to 18.1% of all earnings. Yes their share of taxes increased but by an amount somewhat lower then their increase in their share of total income.

    "This country has witnessed a continuous rise of federal spending for decades,

    Of course spending rises every year its called inflation. A flat lined budget as a dollar amount would be a record every year.

    and now, with spending at its highest as a percentage of GDP since WWII"

    Unemployment is currently costing around $600 billion per year, along side with stimulus actions(tho most of that is running out shortly). We also have a couple of wars.

    Let the Bush tax cuts die and the temporary spending wind down, wind down the wars and the budget will be fixed. And this requires congress doing nothing, about the only thing their good at right now!

  • Comm_reply
    Tetracide 10/28/2011 7:18pm

    Luminous,

    As the Factcheck.org article I linked to says:

    “The change in income distribution is only one reason the top 1 percent pay more now than before their income tax rates were cut. The major reason is what the CBO and other tax experts call “real bracket creep.” Even though income tax brackets are adjusted upward each year for inflation, there is still a tendency for incomes to grow faster than inflation, causing more income to be taxed in higher brackets."

    Simply put, the top 1% are earning more money and thus are taxed more.

    Let’s keep in mind that the entitlements of Social Security and Medicare account for over one-third of the federal budget, far more than military spending. And like I said before, I’m all for ending the wars, now, but I’m also aware of the major thorn in our budget’s side – and that’s entitlement spending. So when this woman insinuates that more money should go to health care and housing, I’m not on board.

  • Comm_reply
    luminous 10/29/2011 5:17am

    Clearly you haven’t looked at the budget lately have you?, The 1# largest item and by wide margins is tax expenditures, And 2# would either be Defense spending or entitles depending on how you count them and whether or not you account temporary spending.

    Defense spending including wars, and supplemental spending, GI bill, vet benefits, Tricare, etc tops $1.1 Trillion dollars this year.

    SS+Medicare come in around $894 billion, mind you they have their own taxes. SS revenue exceeds payouts, only Medicare/medicaid has a problem.

    And to be clear Medicare and Medicaids problem is a symptom of a much larger issue of how we finance health care in this Nation. We pay double the next closest Nation per capita and yet we only rank 37th for outcomes.

    You want to lower the cost of Medicare/Medicaid, fine lets pass singe payer and save $300-700 billion dollars a year removing the insurance company middle men that waste a third of every dollar on administrative costs.

  • Comm_reply
    Tetracide 10/30/2011 10:35pm

    With due respect, I think it is you who aren’t familiar with the budget. According to the latest numbers Defense spending amounts to $693.5 billion, while Social Security and Medicare amount to $1.3 trillion combined. Entitlements, by far, outweigh defense spending, even with the wars included.

    Check the facts: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/breakdown

    Like I said before, I’m all for ending the wars, and cutting Defense spending in responsible ways. But what I’m not for is throwing good money after bad and sapping the wealthy simply because they are a easy target. It’s morally wrong.

  • Comm_reply
    luminous 10/31/2011 5:53am

    That figure does not include war supplemental’s, cost of GI bill, Vet benefits related to current wars injuries, or Tricare(it is dropped into the all other spending column on that site you linked and of course excludes future costs of Tricare due to ongoing treatment of injuries from wars).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_United_States_federal_budget

    I also suggest,

    http://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/index.html

    for much better information then that site linked. Mind you be wary of the SSA report, as they use a future trendline prediction that puts 50% of Americans at making $15,000 2011 dollars by 2037, so their projection is very very conservative.

    And Tax expenditures still largest cost to government by wide margins, All of those subsides, deductions, credits, etc are expensive. And these by large margins benefit the wealthy, But what I’m not for is throwing good money after bad and sapping the poor/middle class simply because they are a easy target. It’s morally wrong.

  • Comm_reply
    Liberata 10/28/2011 7:45pm

    My question is why was she hauled away when she was only exercising her 1st Amendment right to petition her government for grievances.

  • jbkonkol 10/28/2011 11:59pm

    “The top 1 percent…paid nearly 28 percent of all federal taxes in 2005”

    That’s a minority of federal taxes.

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