Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Debt and Default

We're, what, two weeks away from the government defaulting on its debt?  I thought we'd have an agreement by now, but Republicans still refuse to act like adults.  I've been reading and hearing reports that the main obstacles to common sense are the 87 freshman congressidiots who were elected last year.  Thanks, American electorate.  Your "protest vote" has officially threatened our economy and our country's stature in the world with complete disaster.  I'm still trying to work out the logic of that vote.  "Hmm...the economy's just beginning to recover thanks to President Obama's policies.  I think I'll put a stop to that by voting for the party that got us into the mess in the first place.  Yeah."

Here are the facts.  The debt ceiling has been raised when necessary by administrations of both parties.  If we want to keep what healthy economy we do have, then this has to be done before the deadline.  There is a better way to cut the deficit--raise taxes on the wealthy.  But Republicans refuse to do that because the wealthy are one of their prime benefactors.  You'll hear baloney about how we shouldn't raise taxes on "job creators".  Only 5% of the wealthy can actually be credited with creating any jobs though.  Most of the extra money they get, they keep and spend on themselves, not on you or me.  Plus, the Bush tax cuts have been around for quite a few years now.  During the Bush administration, this country had the lowest job creation period of any since World War II.  Sounds to me like the tax cuts were very ineffective.  I can remember getting my paltry $300 check when the first round of cuts went through in 2001.  I wanted to send it back to the government in exchange for some real economic improvements.  The 2003 cuts were even worse, as they focused mostly on the wealthy, who'd already enjoyed cuts two years previously.  Add to these the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (the second completely arbitrary and unnecessary) and the unfunded Medicare Part D law, all courtesy of Bush, and you have the seeds for our deficit today.  Bush left office with a 1.5 trillion dollar deficit!!  How come Republicans weren't whining then??  And I'm tired of hearing the words "failed stimulus."  Firstly, the stimulus had been reduced from its original amount.  So its power was diluted right from the outset...by Republicans.  Secondly, Bush sent out the first stimulus.  He acted because failure to act would've meant an even worse recession, or depression.  During the time the stimulus was in effect, the unemployment rate did go down.  Now it's stalled however, and I blame Obama.  That's right.  Because he's spent too much time trying to compromise with Republicans, who clearly wouldn't know the country's best interests if it clobbered them over the head.

If we keep electing tea partiers to office, my fears for the future of the country have just grown exponentially.  They appear to be the modern equivalent of the Know-Nothing Party, an organization from the mid-1800s that formed to resist immigration from Irish and German Catholics.  Like the tea partiers, they were fueled by irrational fear.  But the name in particular seems to be very applicable, since tea party politicians seem to know nothing about reality.  Their "solutions" fly in the face of facts and common sense.  It's as if they still think it's 1955 and we can roll back government to the size it was then.  That we can make the minorities hide again and be a lily white nation, wearing plaid dresses and overalls, and be blissfully ignorant of all the problems that the nation had.  It's a narcissist fantasy.

I'm relying on Democrats taking more of a stand in the months to come.  They have to, or we're doomed.  I last voted Republican in 1992, when the moderate wing of the party still existed.  It was just for one candidate, Amory Houghton I believe.  I would never vote for one now.  It's been hijacked by extreme elements, and resembles in many ways the fascist movements in Europe in the 30s, or the Bolsheviks in Russia.  It's like one person commented during the 2004 Presidential campaign, on the prospect of Bush winning again.  "If you're not scared, you're not paying attention."  Amen.

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