Public Is Ready to Raise Taxes on Corporations and the Rich, Oregon Vote Shows
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It’s a grand gesture, but the reality is that somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 percent of the federal budget gets dished out for mandated spending and interest payments. Much of the remainder — the “discretionary spending” — is for military and the intelligence agencies, and federal law enforcement. None of that would count, as the freeze would reportedly exempt the budgets for the Pentagon, foreign aid, the Veterans Administration and homeland security. The resulting cuts is projected to reduce the 2011 budget by $15 billion dollars, a rounding error in a $3 trillion dollar federal budget.
The move appears to be an attempt to win over “fiscal conservatives,” but is being almost universally panned from both the left and the right. Conservatives complain that it is too modest, while Obama’s progressive base perceives it as a betrayal of promises he’s made in the past.
Ultimately, it’s a hollow gesture. And it appears that local organizers in Oregon understand something about the electorate that the supposedly whip-smart men and women of the administration don’t grasp: after 30 years of class warfare from above, a little progressive populism can go a long way.