Poorer Americans should not bankroll the rich - journalist

The US President and Congress are struggling to find a compromise to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, allowing the US to pay its creditors. Journalist Greg Palast says ordinary Americans should not be called on to pay the bill for the rich.

Palast told RT that George W Bush’s spending policy is very much to blame for America’s present troubles.

“George Bush when he was president from 2001 to 2008 went on a wild spending spree. He had a surplus given to him – $86 billion a year by Bill Clinton – turned into a $600 million per year deficit, adding $3 trillion US debt,” he said.

“Eric Cantor [the US Representative for 7th Congressional District, serving since 2001] voted for Bush’s wars in Iraq, for the weapons, for the tax cuts. Now these guys do not want to pay the bill. They are trying to get away with tax cuts for the rich. The compromise means these $3 trillion will be paid for by eliminating all benefits for the working class. We are going to change […] social security which they can’t reform. It means we are going to take money from the elderly and pay off debts created by George Bush.”

The investigative journalist insists that ordinary Americans’ benefits were not responsible for running up the debt – so why should they pay for it now?

“It is not our debt. I did not borrow the money, I did not buy a Virginia-class submarine – they cost $2 billion apiece, Bush ordered 36 – and I didn’t get any delivered by Amazon to my door,” Palast said. “I did not incur these debts, the American people, the elderly people on social security did not incur the debts, veterans’ benefits did not increase the debt. It was a result of Bush’s war, Bush’s tax cuts, wild spending for these programs.”

And now the beneficiaries, the people who got the money, Palast says, those people don’t want to pay it back.

“We know that we had a massive shift of wealth, created to some extent by government policy during the Bush years, to the rich. And now they are asking the poorer in America to pay back the debts caused by giving money to the rich.”

Greg Palast argues that spending by ordinary Americans is precisely the thing that can get the US out of the crisis.

“What we need to do is increase spending for low income people, for the elderly, because they will spend it and get us out of this depression. The problem is that people are not spending while the banks are sitting on a trillion dollars in cash and not lending it out. Our problem is the lack of spending in the US,” he concluded.