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Dylan Ratigan

Dylan Ratigan hosts Morning Meeting with Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC and the Dylan Ratigan Show Sundays on WABC Radio

June 28th, 2010 5:53 PM

Fix the Deficit: Clawbacks Before Cutbacks

Today we launched Fix It week on my show. I hope this week will help aid what I believe is already a growing movement to finally acknowledge and address the long-standing issues that continue to unnecessarily harm our great country.

Fortuitously, considering the recent news from the G20, we kick it off with a discussion about our ever-growing deficit. For those of us who like to look at the sunnier side of things, the one hugely positive change about this terrifying large number is that no longer is anyone irresponsibly claiming that "deficits don't matter" or that tax cuts alone will somehow magically increase government revenue.

But with this newfound impetus to fix the deficit, I believe that we need to get our priorities in order. In the hopes that if I show you mine, you will show me yours, here are my top three Fixes for the deficit:

1. End The Corruption And Get Our Money Back

It is pointless to attempt any solution -- be it austerity, more borrowing or even higher taxes while we still have a system that is allowing outright theft. We need real financial reform, a massive anti-fraud government initiative, an end to the systemic unfairness in the tax and regulatory code and, most pressingly, claw backs for the money already stolen.

The idea that we are responding to our cash crunch by ripping up teachers' contracts instead of recouping the stolen trillions is outrageous. Politicians and many in the media like to pretend that there is nothing we can do about it, when the only real barrier is that they just don't want to do it.

Meanwhile, as the banksters become more emboldened, slamming our current President as an "anti-capitalist" after they ripped off the taxpayer for handouts, our courts have decided that most of the theft was legal. This may be true; after all, they got the laws changed in their favor.

But guess what else is perfectly legal? The windfall profit tax. In fact, it has historically been used in circumstances just like this. Excuses like "it will be too arbitrary" is ridiculous -- we are already making plenty of much worse arbitrary decisions in deciding who pays for this theft. Just because fairness is hard to achieve doesn't mean that we should let our leaders off the hook in working towards that goal. It's time to tell these bankers that if you can change rules to steal money from the taxpayer, we can the change rules to take it back.

2. Get Out Of Iraq And Afghanistan

We've recently found out that there are only 50-100 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and there is more proof that our presence there and in Iraq is putting America in more danger rather than less. Is there any question that we are getting a terrible value for the money we are spending on these two fronts, not to mention the lives lost?

3. Slow Medical Spending

Our medical spending is out-of-control in this country, especially considering that it doesn't seem to make us any healthier. Right now, current Medicare recipients will have paid in their lifetime for a mere 44 percent of the benefits they receive. That means the rest of us are floating the cost for their healthcare, which in many cases is unnecessary and even potentially harmful.

In my opinion, we need healthcare reform that puts more of the medical decision-making in the hands of the people instead of the government and employers, much like we do with Social Security. I believe that government can and should have a huge role researching, vetting and suggesting medical solutions to the population, but only with a more educated patient making self-interested choices can we have a more efficient system.

These are my top three and I would like to hear from all of you for yours. Later this week, we will be tackling Energy, Education, the Wars and then the overall Political Process. Hopefully we can help change the dialogue in this country from merely Lefty v. Righty into an open competition of the best ideas on how to solve these pressing problems.

I truly believe that the only barrier to continuing our Nation's path towards a more perfect union is in our unwillingness to engage in these challenges. It is time for America to confront these problems -- and fix them.

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