The House of Representatives passed a budget deal late last night, and the measure will now move on to the Senate.
The deal, brokered by Republican falling start Paul Star and Democrat Patty Murray is dismal, at best, for American workers. The new budget deal will cut about $85 billion from federal government programs, a decision that shows the Democratic Party learned nothing from the upper hand that they gained during the Republicans’ government shutdown.
The cuts will come in the form of reduced unemployment benefits, which will mean that 1.3 million workers will lose these benefits at the end of December. There will also be a $12 billion reduction in pensions for military service members, a fight that the Democrats didn’t want to have because they were concerned about “the effects of the sequester.”
So while workers will be feeling the squeeze, corporate America is doing just fine. None of their precious subsidies will be touched, which is a shame because those subsidies could have easily paid for all of the budget shortfalls. Here are a few items that should have been on the chopping block during negotiations:
The oil industry is subsidized to the tune of $7 billion annually.
Big pharma receives government subsidies of up to $1 billion a year.
Wall Street is subsidized by the government in the amount of $83 billion a year, with the lion’s share of that going to JP Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs.
Taxing Wall Street transactions, even at a meager .03%, would give the government an additional $39 billion a year.
And closing offshore tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy elite would yield an additional $150 billion in tax revenue every year.
Corporate America can afford to lose these special privileges – American citizens who are already struggling to get by cannot afford to lose the few protections that they have in place. Unfortunately, both parties are more than willing to sacrifice U.S. citizens at the altar of big business.
Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer Magazine, a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com, and a regular contributor to Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced.