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Here Comes The Pain: Two-thirds of States Cut Mental Health Care Funding

by on Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics, Tax Policies

Despite an increase in our nation’s mental health care needs due to tens of millions of Americans having lost their jobs, and tens of thousands of military personnel returning home from war, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is reporting that two-thirds of states are making deep cuts to their mental health care programs.

NAMI Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick is calling these cuts “a national crisis”:

“Cutting mental health means that costs only get shifted to emergency rooms, schools, police, local courts, jails and prisons,” Fitzpatrick said. “The taxpayer still pays the bill.

“Mental health cuts mean that clinics, crisis centers and hospitals close. Admissions are frozen. Emergency room visits increase. Where services remain, staff is cut, wait times for appointments are stretched and when people finally are seen, it’s for shorter amounts of time.

“Cuts mean people don’t get the right help in the right place at the right time. Communities suffer and families break under the strain. Some people end up living on the street or dead.”

Their report breaks down each state’s cuts and includes the seventeen states who have managed to increase their mental health care programs’ funding.

This is what President Obama and the Republican Party failed to mention when they insisted on extending tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%, and as they continue to shield multi-billion dollar corporations from paying a single penny in taxes: they have made a choice to further enrich the wealthiest Americans and corporations by kicking the most vulnerable and the most marginalized amongst us to the curb. Literally!

New Study: The American Public Prefers LIBERAL Policies Which Would Cut Budget By $437 Billion

by on Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 12:16 pm EDT in Politics, Tax Policies

A recent study entitled “Competing Budget Priorities: The Public, The House, The White House” by the University of Maryland’s Program For Public Consultation reveals that on nearly every single budgetary issue a majority of Americans were polled as preferring policies which would be classified as ‘liberal’.

The study compares the different budgetary priorities of: 1. the American public, 2. the Obama administration and 3. the Republican-led House of Representatives.

Here’s a few of their key findings, outlining their budgetary preferences:

Defense Spending:

American public would cut by 18% (or $109.4 billion)
President Obama would increase by 4% (or $23 billion)
Republican-led House would increase by 2% (or $9 billion)

Energy Conservation & Renewable Energy Spending:

American public would increase by 110%
President Obama would increase by 44%
Republican-led House would cut by 36%

Pollution Control Spending:

American public would increase by 17%
President Obama would cut by 13%
Republican-led House would cut by 39%

Job Training Spending:

American public would increase by 130%
President Obama would cut by 3%
Republican-led House would cut by 47%

Higher Education Spending:

American public would increase by 92%
President Obama would increase by 9%
Republican-led House would cut by 26%

Science Research Spending:

American public would increase by 5%
President Obama would increase by 11%
Republican-led House would cut by 12%

Economic Support Fund Spending (Foreign military aid to countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt & Israel for ‘strategic purposes’):

American public would cut by 23%
President Obama would cut by 9%
Republican-led House would cut by 6%

Humanitarian Assistance (to Foreign Countries):

American public would increase by 18%
President Obama would cut by 8%
Republican-led House would cut by 17%

Revenues (Taxes):

– American public would increase taxes to provide an additional $292 billion in revenues annually (w/ $155 billion of that amount coming from raising income taxes on those making above $100k per year).
– President Obama’s proposal to increase taxes in 2012 would generate an additional $62.5 billion in revenues annually.
– President Obama’s proposal to increase taxes in 2015 would generate an additional $97.2 billion in revenues annually. (NOTE: the increase in revenues between 2015 and 2012 is due to the fact he again promises to end Bush tax cuts on those making above $250k/year in 2015).
– Republican-led House proposes NO tax increases on anyone (including wealthiest 2%) thereby generating $0 in additional revenues.

So how would each of the three groups fare (in terms of the annual budget) if their preferred policies were implemented?

The overwhelmingly LIBERAL policy preferences of the American public cuts the budget by a whopping $437 billion for 2015.

If Obama hadn’t broken his campaign promise, and allowed Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% to elapse, he would have cut the budget by $28 billion. Since he pressured his party to extend Bush’s tax cuts, he for now at least will actually increase spending by $37 billion.

The Republican-led House called for an additional $61 billion in spending cuts, with no increases in revenue (tax increases) which would cut the budget by $61 billion.

What this study shows is that if our democracy actually worked, and our public representatives actually legislated the will of the AMERICAN PEOPLE rather than those of the moneyed special interest groups who line their pockets, our country wouldn’t be in the dire financial straits it now finds itself. It also shows that progressive policies are far more fiscally sound than those proposed by conservatives.

Here’s a fabulous debate between MSNBC’s Cenk Uygur and conservative UMD Economist Peter Morici on the study’s results (broken down above). Watch Morici get flustered as he continues to try to push the tired old MSM ‘mythical middle’ narrative, despite the proof staring him right in the face.

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Karl Rove On Obama Extending Bush Tax Cuts: We’re All Supply-Siders Now!

by on Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 4:47 pm EDT in Politics, Tax Policies

The new tax cut bill, signed into law Friday by President Barack Obama, will surely come back to haunt him in his 2012 reelection campaign.  His quick capitulation to the Republicans, and aggressive advocacy for this fiscally irresponsible bill helps to further erode his credibility to one-time supporters.

First came his health care ‘reform’ bill — a backroom giveaway to BigPharma and the health insurance industry.  Then came his watered-down financial reform plan, his escalation in Afghanistan, his refusal to close Guantanamo Bay, his green-lighting the assassinations of American citizens abroad without trial, his complicity in shielding Bush war crimes, etc. etc.

Extending George W. Bush’s destructive ‘supply side’ tax policies only solidifies this President’s reputation as one who has no core principles to speak of.

Candidate Obama promised his supporters repeatedly that he would end, once and for all, the deep tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.  To extend these tax cuts at a time when we are engaged in two wars, and with deficits skyrocketing, poses a serious threat to our country’s fiscal health.

Moody’s recently threatened to downgrade the United State’s AAA credit rating if this tax bill was signed into law.  The effects of a credit downgrade during a deep recession could be quite significant:

For the United States, a loss of the top Aaa rating, reduce the appeal of U.S. Treasuries, which currently rank as among the world’s safest investments.

“From a credit perspective, the negative effects on government finance are likely to outweigh the positive effects of higher economic growth,” Moody’s analyst Steven Hess said in a report sent late on Sunday.

After Obama announced his plan, Treasury prices fell sharply in volatile trade last week and yields have hit a six-month high, in part due to concerns over the effect the package will have on government debt levels.

If the bill becomes law, it will “adversely affect the federal government budget deficit and debt level,” Moody’s said.

Moody’s believes this tax bill will add an additional $700 to $900 billion in new national debt.  A downgrade in the US credit rating could push interest rates upwards, thereby prolonging this deepest of all recessions.

The President never even attempted to make a compelling case to the American people for Keynesian economic principles — the ones he ran on; the ones he was elected on — but instead cowardly embraced the failed trickle down policies that helped to create much of our country’s problems: including runaway debt, and redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the highest earners over the last 30 years.  His Democratic party still controls the Presidency and both Houses of Congress, and yet he is too timid to use the bully pulpit to promote any progressive policies.

The irony is, he will personally wear the new debt this bill creates around his neck like a noose.  And the blame for it will be leveled by the very Republicans to whom he capitulated.  After all, they were blaming him for Bush’s debt just ONE MONTH after he was sworn in as President.

The Republicans will shamelessly pick up where they left off a month ago: screaming that Obama has created runway deficits, and pointing out the urgency for government spending cuts.

Having caved in on extending Bush’s tax cuts for the richest 2%, he will be forced to offset the new debt by cutting important programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  In addition, new government spending cuts will ‘trickle down’ to impact state budgets, in the form of more layoffs for school teachers and police officers.

Instead of writing the epitaph on Bush’s failed ‘trickle down’ economic policies, Obama has instead resurrected them from the grave.

So we as a country — governed by a Democratic President — will continue to endure a deepening divide between the rich and the poor, and will continue to watch our national debt escalate in a way that won’t create a single job, but will only threaten our country’s most cherished social programs.

Karl Rove is jumping for joy over this turn of events.  After the signing of the bill, he jubilantly Tweeted:

Judging by remarks from Geithner, Hoyer & others celebrating Bush tax cut extension; we’re all supply-siders now!

Perhaps Obama should tap Rove to run his 2012 Presidential Campaign.  They appear to be on the same page on just about every issue.