Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Debt Ceiling Getting Closer

Why haven't I been blogging much? Well, most of all, because the topic of my last blog post - the debt ceiling fight - is still the topic at hand inside the beltway and I have little else to say about it. My position still stands.

As I suspected, the pundits are all a twitter about it and most of the country doesn't give a shit.

The Republicans have backed away from even the most reasonable of their positions and have now taken a stance that says "no new taxes ... ever" ... and they're saying it so strongly, they're signing pledges to prove their loyalty to conservative ideology. This is the extremism now displayed by 1/2 of our political parties. George Washington warned us at length about the dangers of a two party system and as has happened for the past 235 years, the public pays the price for their loyalty to one of two ideologies. As I'm fond of saying, "Voters get what they deserve."

Anyone frustrated with this current state of "broken government" needs only to look at the 2010 midterm elections to understand the cause. Giving the GOP control of the House of Representatives has resulted in a government that can't get anything done. Normally, a split government is a good thing. It keeps one party from ramming their agenda through without compromise. But the Democrats are so fractured that even when they had control of both houses and the White House, they could not pass health care or financial reform laws with sufficient protections for the American people. So what we end up with is a fractured Democratic party negotiating with an intractable and unified Republican party and nothing gets done.

Raising the debt ceiling, which is a no-brainer necessity, becomes fodder for forcing the Democrats into the Republican agenda of preserving tax cuts for the wealthy, cutting social programs, and leaving the military alone. When we could, in fact, lower our deficits substantially by doing just the opposite. The problem being, of course, the Republicans get far too much of their political support from those rich folks who benefit most from ridiculous tax loopholes that the GOP is now spinning as "raising taxes" if we stop letting them write off their corporate jets.

It's absurd, but nobody's really paying attention, because the country is bored to tears with this griping over completely unfathomable numbers. $30 billion, $2.5 trillion, etc. They mean nothing to the average person. Those figures are so abstract in our thinking. ... the average household income in America is around $50,000/year. $2.5T represents the combined annual income of 50 million American households. For perspective, there are approximately 117M households in the country, so $2.5T covers the total annual income of more than 40% of the country. And this is what our leaders re negotiating about with regard to our national debt.

How can we even wrap our heads around this?

Oh, and another tidbit. We're the only developed country in the world with an artificial debt ceiling. Other countries simply authorize their treasuries to issue new bonds to cover budget shortfalls and rely on the responsibility of their elected officials to adjust taxation and spending to accommodate any shortfalls or surpluses.

I guess that's only possible when your leaders behave like adults.

No comments:

Post a Comment