An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Democratic Party’

Obama’s Debt Ceiling Address Stresses Compromise. Is He Serious or Not?

So, tonight was Obama’s address to the nation regarding the debt ceiling debate.  I will say that it was well-timed, since things are getting crunched now and it is looking bleak.  Everything is on the line now, and we can’t afford to let this issue not get talked about.  Of course, since the typical American doesn’t care about the political future of this country (even though this is infinitely more than that), this is an issue that is only talked about in political circles when the fact is that this is a lot bigger than politics.

For those of you who don’t know, it is pretty simple.  Raising the debt ceiling isn’t saying we can spend more.  It is allowing us to pay the bill this government has already spent.  A common piece of rhetoric around right-wing bloggers and political commentators is that the debt ceiling doesn’t exist.  For real, there are those in the conservative base who believe the debt ceiling is an imaginary creature that is like the boogie man.  But it is real, and it is here.

So, here is the real danger – America’s credit rating.  Our AAA credit score is the best thing that this country has going now.  If we get downgraded, it could mean some real trouble in America’s future.  Given how the world economy is looking right now, this nation needs as little trouble as possible.  And for a long time, this debt ceiling issue wasn’t an issue.

For a long time, it used to be pretty routine that the debt ceiling would get raised and nobody talked about it.  It is only recently given the pointless indignation that the new conservative party has in this country that they have decided to make this a huge issue.  Of course, this is just another issue that they hold the American taxpayer hostage so they can get their way.  Cheap, tasteless, and leading this country in a very bad direction.  Of course, since they represent the rich, they don’t care.

But back to the President’s address, he was actually pretty clear.

In the year 2000, the government had a budget surplus.  But instead of using it to pay off our debt, the money was spent on trillions of dollars in new tax cuts while two wars and an expensive prescription drug program were simply added to our nation’s credit card.

Now, Obama did talk about the fact that this nation does have a debt problem.  It isn’t a mystery that it does.  When you have a massively bloated military budget which is being funneled into two wars, the recession did real damage to this problem, it is a problem.  But the big thing the conservatives aren’t getting is that their attention is being directed toward the wrong things.

Now, I am with the YouTuber, The Skeptical Heretic.  He says that looking at entitlement programs isn’t the worst idea.  They are going to be a problem in the future.  It can’t be helped.  The fact is that Obama is right that the only way to make things work is to meet in the middle.  It has to be a mix of cutting spending and raising taxes.  Not for the debt ceiling, but to fix the economy in general.  Of course, investment into infrastructure must also happen, to attract new businesses.

But back to the address, his thought was about compromise.  Now, the big thing here is that his version of compromise sounds great.  But the reality is that the Republicans don’t want his version of compromise.  They want total an utter surrender.  It is interesting that that Boehner was given the shaft by a Tea Party group who rejected his plan for raising the debt ceiling.

The first approach says let’s live within our means by making serious, historic cuts in government spending.  Let’s cut domestic spending to the lowest level it’s been Dwight Eisenhower was President.  Let’s cut defense spending at the Pentagon by hundreds of billions of dollars (I like that one!).  Let’s cut out waste and fraud in healthcare programs like Medicare, and at the same time let’s make modest adjustments so that Medicare is there for future generations.  Finally, let’s ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to give up some of their breaks in the tax code and special deducations.”

Well, there you have it.  On paper, that option sounds pretty good.  If both sides came at this level-headed and were looking to do the right thing, this would be a very good option.  The problem is that both sides don’t come at this level-headed.  Both sides don’t approach this option equally.  Both sides don’t look at it from a calm perspective.  Both sides are not willing to budge on either side.  The Democrats and the Republicans have to be willing to feel the pain.  Granted, taxing the rich is a great thing to do (something which Republicans will burn the ship before letting happen), but the Democrats do have to look at entitlement programs eventually because the fact is that there are problems with them.

But the fact that Republicans are not willing to let the talk of increasing taxes come up at all says something.  They are not willing to even bring it to the table and to realize that the rich are just fine.  They don’t have to worry about being in financial trouble.  Taxing the poor is where that comes from.  But they are being the party who is not budging on this.  Democrats are actually looking at this in a lot of respect from an openness to talking things out, but the Republicans are digging their heels and not even letting the notion come to the table.

The fact is that to fix our debt problem, it has to be a mix between cutting spending and generation revenue.  Asking the rich to pay is the right thing to do.  We will eventually have to look at entitlement programs.  We might as well look at it now.  But the fact is that Obam himself gave the greatest reason we are still having this debate, and why we can’t afford to have it.

The only reason this balanced approach isn’t on it’s way to becoming law right now, is because a significant number of Republican in Congress are insisting on a different approach, a cuts-only approach.

There’s the problem.  Your move, Republicans.

Peace out,

Eli

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