Incase anyone missed it last week John Boehner made a declaration that he and the Republicans would not sign off on raising the debt ceiling unless there were spending cuts equivalent to the amount the ceiling is raised. Didn’t we just live through this last summer? For the first time in its history the United States of America was at risk of defaulting on its debt; the country’s credit rating was downgraded, another first; and more importantly the incident raised alarms around the world that the US was unable to govern itself. Part of the downgrade was because our country made a spectacle of itself in showing the world our politicians are unable to compromise in order to govern. The debacle also slowed the economy and lessened consumer confidence. A few historic facts about the debt ceiling; before last summer the debt ceiling was always passed without incident. Also, the debt ceiling represents what we have already spent, whats already been approved in congress; its not new fresh money; it means congress’s spending will go over the debt ceiling.
Its the Tea Party republicans who are responsible for this fiasco; they came into congress to reduce spending and reduce debt, which are excellent goals. They just don’t understand that in order to run a democracy you have to compromise, you have to look at the bigger picture. You can agree on the goal but you need to work it out how you achieve that goal. The Tea Party was unbending and thus made all matters worse, especially the financial ones. Slowing the economy brought in less revenue which in turn created a larger debt, so their short term thinking was misguided at best. Speaker Boehner was not able to control the republicans in the House; he wasn’t able to make a ‘grand bargain’ To me his statement last week was all bluster, this time he wants to lead the Tea Party not be lead by them. What all this means is that nothing will get done, those of us who are unemployed will stay unemployed; no programs will be developed, no grand ideas, nothing. The 25 million people who are unemployed or underemployed will continue to suffer.
To me the answer is obvious; start with changing the tax code. Stop talking about millionaires and billionaires, reduce the tax rates, remove almost all deductions, have a tiered system where the more you earn the more you pay. Use the Simpson Bowles plan as a frame work for stimulating the economy now and reduce longterm debt when the economy is strong enough to handle it. Something must be done about the unemployed and longterm unemployed. And, this glut of natural gas thats in our country that allegedly is a 100 year supply, why isn’t that immediately being utilized? Have cars run on that, use that for electricity.
These problems need to be addressed immediately; otherwise how different is our government than the Iraqi government?