State Budget Shortfalls
In his piece “Misrepresenting State Budget Crises” (Extra!, 6/11), Neil deMause lays blame for states’ budget shortfalls to the recession and tax cuts. However, he neglects to mention another big cause, the loss of federal revenue-sharing. Reagan ended that program, and with huge federal deficits, it’s probably never coming back.
But deMause also misses the point that if 50 percent of our federal tax payments weren’t eaten up by defense-related costs, including all these wars of choice, we could balance the federal and state budgets without cutting vital services. If we cut these unnecessary defense costs, there would be two options to help states balance their budgets: one, return to a revenue-sharing scheme, or lower the federal income tax rate, thus permitting states to raise taxes without a net increase to the taxpayer.
There’s so much talk about the need to do something about entitlements when the biggest drain on our revenues is rarely mentioned. Go figure.
Feeble Coverage of Bahrain
Our media coverage of the protest movement in Bahrain has been feeble and almost nonexistent–is this due to our obeisance to the Saudis, who would not like us to criticize their friend, the Khalifa of Bahrain? So much so even the powerful American Medical Association held back and did not protest when doctors in Bahrain were prosecuted for tending to the protesters.
I wonder if this lack of coverage has anything to do with the fact that the Shias of Bahrain (almost 70 percent of Bahrain’s population) got moral support from our “nemesis,” the government of Iran? It better not be the reason–sooner or later, “royals” in the area are bound to abdicate. They are not on the right side of history. People of Bahrain may not easily forget this period.
CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and other corporate-owned media made Congressman Weiner’s indiscretions, sending a smutty picture and email messages to women he met on social media, their lead story for days. They quoted politicians calling for his resignation. If all politicians and corporate executives who have committed the same indiscretions were forced to resign, there would be a lot of jobs to fill.
The truth is that Weiner didn’t break any laws. What should have been news is that his email was hacked by a right-wing propagandist. If that isn’t against the law, it should be.
I believe Weiner is a true democrat (lower case), who believes in a government of, by and for the people.