Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Special Comment- Debt Ceiling

I think it is pretty clear the deal that was reached to get the Debt Ceiling increased was a crappy one. I mean, it's nice that the U.S. won't default and the economy won't fall to ruins. However, this country was allowed to be held hostage by a few of the most ideological members of Congress and those few were allowed to push us to the brink of catastrophe. Those who self-identify* themselves as the "Tea Party" failed to understand or just didn't give a damn about the implications of not raising the Debt Ceiling. Those people who least understood how to and frankly were unwilling govern were allowed to control the debate and the blame lies almost entirely with one man: John Boehner.

The position of Speaker of the House is as powerful of a position as there is in this country. The man or woman who holds that job has the power to kill any bill he or she wishes. The Speaker controls what gets voted on and when that vote happens. In the current era of divided government, that position also carries a more significant leadership role as the head of his party in the Capitol. Boehner absolutely failed in that role. He let a very small number of his party control vital negotiations. He was outmaneuvered by the President to the point of walking out of negotiations when he was getting a much more than fair deal. Had he been willing to cut loose the most extreme members of his caucus this deal would've been done long ago.

The buzz word during the past week has been "compromise." The deal we ended up with was no compromise. It isn't a balanced approach. This a right-wing plan. The Democrats gave the Republicans virtually everything they could've dreamed of and got nothing in return.

It's sad to think that these members were elected. The Debt Ceiling is not something to have a fight over. It is something that is suicidal not to raise. Allowing the Debt Ceiling to be raised was not a big concession on the Republicans' part. This isn't the right time to cut Government spending either. It might be hard to believe, but cutting 2 trillion from government spending is taking 2 trillion out of the economy. Some of the spending may be frivolous or downright dumb, but a dollar is a dollar no matter where it came from or what it was spent on. Government will need to deal with the deficit if the future, but in the current economic conditions it isn't really appropriate and when those measures are to be taken it should be an approach of increasing revenue as well as cutting spending.

The damage may already be done however. Economy is entirely a construct and this has shown how shaky things actually are. It definitely has Wall Street rattled and we'll have to see how this has affected consumer confidence. It also has shown that there are some in government who are willing to play politics with this pivotal issue. The United States' credit rating may have already been doomed to be downgraded, but there is definitely a black mark on it now from this fight for Credit Agencies and Lenders. Also given the nature of this fight there is no guarantee that it will not happen again in a few years.

The actions of this Congress will make the 2012 elections a very important one** and perhaps the most interesting in recent times. I believe that the way things have gone that a 3rd and possibly a 4th party may actually be viable in Congressional races and even the Presidential race; though that likelihood is lower given the nature of election laws.

Those who were willing to sacrifice this nation's economy for their own loony political goals must be kicked out of Washington. Things like the Debt Ceiling are not something you can play politics with. On occasion, one must swallow his or her pride and do what is best for the country and govern. Unfortunately it has been made clear in the past few weeks that there are many in Congress who fail to understand that and it's time for them to pay the price for their selfishness.

Thanks for reading and please comment


*I think it's sad that we've allowed them to take that title. The Boston Tea Party was actually about Liberty. These fuckers are just a bunch white and rich/ignorant people who think the "evil government" keeping them from being whiter and richer.


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