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Report: America – Not as Broke as You'd Think

November 29, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas - The Congressional "Super Committee" notably failed in its assigned task of cutting more than a trillion dollars from the federal deficit. And while the debate centered on sweeping spending cuts that could potentially harm the nation's poor, working poor and elderly, a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies challenges the ideas that the United States is broke and that austerity measures for average Americans are the only ways to fix it.

Sarah Anderson, global economy project director with the Institute, contributed to the report.

"We identified a number of fiscal reforms that could raise as much as $824 billion a year, and do it in ways that could make our country stronger, as well as putting people back to work."

New taxes on Wall Street, corporations and super-wealthy individuals could raise more than $375 billion a year, according to the report. That's an idea that polls suggest a majority of voters favor, although many politicians still argue that a recession is no time to raise taxes on anyone.

The Pentagon is responsible for more than half of federal discretionary spending, and Anderson says it's hard to argue that all of that spending is making America safer. She acknowledges, however, that there are thousands of jobs tied to the military.

"The good news is that studies have been done that show that, dollar for dollar, federal spending in areas like education and health care actually creates more jobs than federal spending on the military."

The proposals in the report to cut military spending include ending the war in Afghanistan, reducing overseas bases, and trimming the nation's nuclear arsenal, for annual savings of over $250 billion.

Additional proposals in the report include taxing companies that pollute the environment, which would raise revenue and also encourage alternative energy use.

"And by reducing the subsidies that are very wasteful subsidies going into the fossil fuel industry, it can be done, but we need the political will to do it."

According to the report, the United States could save about $19 billion a year by eliminating government subsidies for such industries as ethanol and so-called "clean coal."

The report, "America is Not Broke," is at tinyurl.com/7tmqzec.

Peter Malof, Public News Service - TX