As the super committee nears its deadline (Nov. 23), it seems increasingly likely that the Democrats will cave on the issue of raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. This is not the first time we have seen them punt on this issue, and I’m getting pretty tired of it. I hope that you will join me in emailing this message to Senator Patty Murray, the Democratic co-chair of the super committee.
You can email her here. For the topic pull down thing, select the first option “Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction.” For subject I put “No More Caving.”
Here is the message I’m sending:
As you may already be aware, many young progressives are once again becoming disillusioned with our political system. In 2008, many of us were idealistic about the potential of the shift in leadership. However, time and time again we have watched as Democrats in Congress capitulated to the obstinate Republicans. Each time, Democrats blamed the Republicans’ complete refusal to compromise. While this problem is real, it must not be used as an excuse. Instead, Democrats must be equally resolute in defending and advocating for their own principles. Just as the Republicans have their “no tax pledge,” Democrats ought to have their own pledge. This pledge should demonstrate that they are committed to a balanced approach to deficit reduction, including both spending cuts and tax increases on the wealthiest Americans.
Not only is this good policy, but it is also good politics. Every poll demonstrates that the American people support this kind of approach. The polls showed the same results during last summer’s debt ceiling debate, but unfortunately the Democrats squandered the opportunity. Polls are not the only indicator of popular support for tax increases on the wealthiest Americans. The Occupy Wall Street movement, dedicated in large part to protesting income inequality, is committed to making the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. How is it that the Republicans are able to go to the wall for principles that are relatively unpopular while Democrats consistently cave on their principles, despite having the wind of popular support at their backs? When you read headlines about young progressives becoming disillusioned, remember that your refusal to stand firmly behind progressive principles and tendency to capitulate are major contributing factors.
Our country is in an economic crisis. The Republicans have suggested that we can solve the crisis by simply cutting regulations and spending. When President Obama and the Democrats in Congress suggest a more balanced approach including increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans, Republicans criticize them for waging class warfare and attacking the “job creators.” The Democrats have allowed the Republicans to shape the public discourse in such a way that makes tax increases on the wealthiest Americans seem un-American. This is not the case. Crises call for shared sacrifice. The notion that all Americans have the duty to help their country out of crises is inherently American. Some Americans can afford to sacrifice more than others and they should be called on to do so.
We want leaders who will act as passionate advocates for progressive ideals. As the super committee approaches its deadline, we urge you to stand up for what you believe in. Young progressives cannot stomach another Democratic capitulation.