New article has been posted on The Huffington Post, on 7/19/11. Click on link to read article on Huff Post.
Holding the debt ceiling hostage is a huge political mistake.
The debt limit and budget deficit are separate issues and should be dealt with separately.
This debt limit is the ghost of Congresses past. The budget and reducing the deficit is the ghost of Congresses future. But, reality is firmly entrenched in the present.
Reasonable legislators understand the immediacy of raising the debt ceiling and the potential ramifications of failing to do so.
It has been raised without question 10 times since 2000, eight times under George Bush. Though there is no clear history from a previous default, economic and business leaders around the world are warning of catastrophic implications in failing to do so.
If this is even remotely possible, why are Republicans holding the debt ceiling hostage?
There’s a theory bouncing around that Republicans want to crash the economy hoping to benefit in the aftermath from the destruction it will cause. They see this as an opportunity to implement disaster capitalism, a policy aptly described by Naomi Klein in her book, The Shock Doctrine.
There is a preponderance of evidence this is their goal.
Whether it is in reality their game plan, the deficit must be extricated from the pressing need to increase the debt ceiling. It must be passed to avoid economic turmoil.
Republicans see this as their time to effect change; as an opportunity to muddy the economic landscape with Tea Party ideas hoping to capture some political capital, even at the expense of the world economy.
But Americans are waking up to their intransigent position on taxes. Especially their unadulterated protection of the wealthy. The American people are also understanding the need for taxes to be part of the debate.
It is irresponsible to believe we can fix the deficit by spending cuts alone. It would require tremendous cuts to vital services. It cannot be done by cutting spending that will immediately impose pain and suffering on the middle-class and lower income families, seniors, the disabled, single parents, and the needy.
If it’s impossible mathmatically to fix the deficit with spending cuts alone, then revenues must be considered in order to lower the deficit or balance the budget.
Why is it so difficult to get consensus and make the necessary changes?
The Republican’s intransigence makes it impossible to have an adult conversation about the budget or the deficit. The newest Quinnipiac Poll shows that Americans will blame Republicans if the debt limit is not raised.
Their insistence that taxes must be lowered to create jobs has been disproven many times over. Tax rates are at the lowest level since the 1950’s and the top marginal rate has only been lower five years since 1931. It has been at this unprecedented low level for nine straight years. Jobs have been decimated and the deficit has soared as a result of lowered taxes.
There are several reasons for Republicans’ hard-line positions and they have nothing to do with helping the American people. They include: reelection, ideology, protection, complicity, and power.
But it is their deceit in an effort to achieve their goals and regain power that is most discomfiting, most disturbing, and most destructive.
They are inextricably tangled in a web of deceit—a grand lie—that permeates their entire existence in politics. Their continuing deceptions have been damaging to America, the American people, and the American way of life.
From death panels to causes of the deficit. From job losses to the energy savings of cfl bulbs. From the cause of unemployment to the damage regulation of derivitives would do to the financial system—they lie, mislead, or deceive.
Senator McConnell’s sudden capitulation on the debt ceiling is also a lie. It is a last ditch effort to blame Obama for raising the debt ceiling while saving face. There has been an invisible undercurrent to the Republicans’ recalcitrant stand for default. And it finally surfaced last Tuesday.
On Tuesday, this faction came out of the shadows in the form of a letter clearly targeting Republicans—signed by over 450 CEO’s, Presidents, and Directors of major corporations, businesses, and associations.
The letter essentially tells lawmakers to quit playing with the debt ceiling and quit threatening default. It also warned of the apocalyptic damage default could cause, and included the statement ‘this is a risk our country must not take.’
The letter also asks for budget deficit resolution, but fails to assign blame—which is unfortunate.
Blame for the current gridlock and attacks on the deficit is grossly lopsided and until we acknowledge the ‘real’ causes we will continue to be inundated by lies and misconceptions.
We have a long way to go to heal this country; to heal our precious and now twisted democracy.
We need honesty to fix this distorted economy. It will take reasonable and honest discussion to achieve a fair and equitable budget solution.
This nation cannot afford the culture war that we are headed for. It cannot survive another income disparity like we faced in the late 1920’s.
America is at its best when we’ve had a vibrant middle-class, which has been eroded over the last three decades and has accelerated over the last 10 years.
Pass the debt ceiling today to ease a growing uncertainty. Then begin an honest and transparent discussion on the budget and the deficit tomorrow.
Anything less is deceitful and destructive.