Favorite

Whose ox is being sacred? 

Sen. Mark Pryor learns quickly and wrongly. Because Arkansas just elected an extreme conservative to join Pryor, the senior senator has decided to go mean himself. This is probably bad politics — surely no one thinks Arkansas needs two John Boozmans — and it is certainly bad service to Pryor's constituents, or "sacred cows" as he's taken to calling them.

In a speech to the Little Rock Rotary Club, Pryor said that the government was giving too much help to needy Americans and should be cutting spending instead.

"We have to take a hard look at entitlement programs, including the sacred cows of Medicare and Social Security, and admit that we cannot bring our spending into balance," he said. "There is no easy way out. Everything must be on the table."

Everything, that is, except tax increases, which are one way to reduce deficits but which were forcefully absent from Pryor's speech. A slight tax increase on high earnings would easily eliminate any Social Security deficit, while maintaining the slender lifeline that Social Security provides for the needy elderly. And most elderly are needy.

"Reformers" like Pryor — eager to have at the old, the poor and the sick — are egged on by the deceptively named National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, appointed by President Obama in a serious lapse of judgment. The co-chairs of the commission are the far-right Alan Simpson and the not-quite-so-far right Erskine Bowles. Liberals and moderates were shut out of leadership positions, so it's unsurprising that the commission's deficit-reduction plan relies on cuts in public services to pay for two-thirds of its proposed reduction, and on increased revenues (tax increases or elimination of tax loopholes) for only one-third of the reduction. Who are the sacred cows here?

Contrary to the propaganda of the Chamber of Commerce and the delusions of the Tea Party, the USA is not a high-tax country, but one of the least-taxed among developed nations. In 2008, total federal, state and local taxes in the United States were 26.2 percent of gross domestic product. Of 28 nations belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation, only Turkey (23.5 percent) and Mexico (20.4 percent) had lower taxes. Most of the countries had much higher taxes than the U.S. They take seriously the protection of their citizens from hunger and disease. Tax breaks for the rich they don't consider sacred.


Although an Arkansas Times representative didn't see a picture of Abraham Lincoln on a recent visit to Republican State Headquarters ­— and reported the apparent omission last month — a headquarters spokesman insists Lincoln's picture is there. Possibly Loy Mauch was standing in front of it.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Most Shared

  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.
  • Buyer remorse

    Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories.
  • Not Whitewater

    Just think: If Democrats had turned out 78,000 more votes in three states in November, people could be reveling today in the prospect of impeaching and convicting President Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, as some Republican lawmakers had promised to try to do if she won.
  • Head-shaking

    Another edition of so-much-bad-news-so-little space.

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Buyer remorse

    Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Buyer remorse

    • IBS, you're from Chicago, right? Hillary's from Chicago. Your monomania against Hillary is puzzling and…

    • on July 27, 2017
  • Re: Buyer remorse

    • When we had not one but TWO shit candidates running for president, is it really…

    • on July 27, 2017
  • Re: Buyer remorse

    • So Gene Lyons says all people who voted for Trump fall into just two categories…

    • on July 27, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation