by Glenn Mollette
On any given day, Congress debates cutting entitlement programs versus strengthening them. Programs such as food stamps and supplemental nutrition for women, infants and children are part of the debate. Free lunch programs feed as many as 60% of children in some impoverished counties.
Thousands of Americans rely on Supplemental Security Insurance to provide assistance based on financial need. This pays monthly amounts of $710 for an individual or $1,066 for a qualifying couple. Many Americans are surviving on unemployment insurance benefits of approximately $330 a week. These are not long-term survival plans. Many more struggle to hang on until age 62 to receive the minimum social security benefit.
Over 120 million people rely on some type of government assistance. Another 50 million have relied on government assistance in the last 10 years or will in the next five years. What has happened to us? Do Americans love living on food stamps, WIC benefits and receiving minimal SSI checks in the mail or other forms of government help? The answer is no. Many of the poor are actually working jobs but can't make enough money.
We did this to ourselves in America. In some cases we pushed our jobs out and in other cases we simply let them slip through our hands. Mexico, China and India are delighted to have our jobs and our money. Americans left behind try to figure out how to buy groceries, pay rent and afford tanks of gas. Government money will run out. It's a matter of time before Congress will cut back on food stamps and WIC, along with cutting Medicare and Social Security payments. We should oppose these cuts until the jobs trend is reversed. However, the load has become backbreaking for a government that has been financially broke for a long time.
We can solve these problems:
- To bring jobs back to the U.S., Congress must ease the tax burden on American corporations. We should cut the tax rate from 35% to 15% for corporations that bring 70% of their jobs back home. Corporations that keep jobs overseas should continue to pay the higher rate. Some of the mega corporations have utilized loopholes to pay much smaller amounts of tax while most corporations pay the high tax. We must make the tax simpler and make it reasonable for all corporations.
- Unions must use common sense. The day and time when unions could hold employers hostage by making exorbitant demands have passed. Employers can simply close the doors and move their operations to Mexico leaving workers and unions behind.
- Give a $10,000 tax credit to people who cease relying on Supplemental Security Insurance and Social Security disability and get back into the workforce. Although many are genuinely unable to do any type of work, many more can do some type of work. Give this credit over three years.
- Allow students to attend the first two years of community college tuition-free if they maintain a GPA of 3.0. Student loans would be cut in half. Many 65 - 80 year old retired professors would enjoy working for adjunct, contract pay and would bring a wealth of knowledge with them.
- Raise the minimum wage to $9. Cut the corporate tax on one end so that corporations can provide more pay on the other end.
Approximately 50 million Americans live in poverty while another 50 million are not far from the poverty line. Many Americans living in poverty are working, but the jobs don't pay enough and they are forced to rely on government assistance.
It does not have to be this way. We don't have to be poor and in debt, America can bounce back. To change the face of America, we must make progressive and aggressive changes. At this stage of our economy we need to change the face of Congress. They've had their chance. Most of them have been in Washington too long and have made it all about them and not about Americans.
Glenn Mollette is the author of American Issues, Every American Has An Opinion and nine other books. He is the author of hundreds of articles and features. Hear him each Sunday night on XM radio 131 at 8 EST.
You can email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.