By: Wayne Brown
The debacle in Washington over the debt ceiling and spending cuts continues to produce nothing of substance as both sides bull-headedly hold their ground at the expense of the American people dead set on logging a political win as opposed to taking the high ground and doing what is best for America. Apparently this crowd has never heard the word “compromise” nor do they understand the importance of the definition.
Headlines today indicate President Obama is exploring the “nuclear option” which is just another way of saying that he intends to ignore all laws and government regulations and impose what he thinks is the proper and correct thing to do in light of the stalemate. Now the last time I checked, this country was not yet operating as a dictatorship although Obama is determined to drive it into one with the path we are following financially.
If, indeed, the President is naïve enough to impose his will on the government of the United States and ignore all directives, he better plan on wearing that lodestone around his neck with the American people all the way to the November 2012 elections. I would expect far more from a “Magna Cum Laude” graduate of the Harvard Law School in terms of respect for the Rule of Law and the Constitution. For this President to actually believe that imposing his will, no matter how right he thinks he is, will be a positive move in terms of his political future is nothing short of political suicide. Such an action sends a clear message…”I can’t lead but I can dictate by power of my position.” I think the President has forgotten who sent him to that position in November 2008.
Certainly Obama does not have the only “dirty hands” in this situation. Boehner and his company are holding the line for actions which are beyond the scope of the position they are currently in at the present. The actions which they are holding out for will require a greater majority than currently exists on the conservative side in Washington. While the House is an important element in the financial process by law, it is not the only element. At best, the current position will only yield a stalemate and demonstrate to the American people that stubbornness on the right side of the aisle was a bigger issue than the problem itself.
Further complicating the issue on the right side of the aisle is the splintering within over the line to be taken. The Speaker wants his plan enacted; the Tea Party conservatives feel the Speaker’s plan does not go far enough or strong enough on cuts and are holding out their support. In the end, the conservative side is doing a good job of showing that there are large cracks in the solidarity to go forward.
Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, is playing politics as usual in that he knows no other skill which he can employ. He refuses debating issues and only wants to give consideration to his plan on the Senate floor or all bets are off. Somehow, I really do not believe the intent of our legislative structure was to create such actions in our process of running the country. Of course Biden, the man who presides over the Senate, is totally missing from the discussion and showing no effort to lead the Senate in more compromising approach. Obviously, leadership is not Biden’s strong suite.
This all comes back to the President eventually. If the President were a strong leader bent on doing what is right for America, he would have the key players sitting in front of him right now and he would be instructing them that they must bring him a viable proposal which is bipartisan in structure and offers a reasonable level of compromise for both sides of the aisle. This means that the President has to demonstrate that he is willing to give ground on his demands in order to get through this process and bring at least some short term solution. The long-term aspects are too great on either side of the aisle to gain a reasonable amount of agreement.
The problem before our so-called Washington leaders stems from the government spending more money than it takes in on an annual basis. Even with tax increases and closing loopholes on the wealthy, that will still be the position unless a significant effort is made to reduce some of the present day spending and a commitment is put into place to continue that process into the future. America cannot continue to pile up debt without fear of consequences.
The left side of the aisle wants to continue at present spending levels, raise the debt ceiling, and borrow more money without truly making the effort to determine the validity of current spending practices within our government. At present, there is some room to do that but the consequence is we continue to pile up debt. As a result of their desired actions, we might see some short-term relief of tension in the credit-rating sector as America meets its obligations and continues to spend. On the other hand, as that total debt sum piles up, the same concerns come to the forefront in the credit sector and eventually the debt to asset ratio will cause those who buy U.S. debt to either shy away or demand much higher returns. In the end, the outcome is the same…a reduction in credit rating, higher interest rates, and the need to tax at even higher rates to offset the problem…not a good solution. We have dug a hole debt-wise, and those on the left want to continue digging until the hole is far too deep to get out of and we are out of alternatives in terms of staying in the hole.
One only has to look back a couple of years to see the rampant spending which has taken place since this President took office. Unfortunately, much of that spending was justified by the state of the economy and much of that spending did little or nothing to change the economy. 800 billion dollars in stimulus money has essentially been squandered. In addition, the President has muscled through a healthcare system which will essentially cause the entire American medical industry to be run by the federal government and is estimated to cost at least 65 billion dollars annually from a conservative perspective. Another 50 billion dollars has been placed into infrastructure spending when we already have a federal gasoline tax providing a revenue stream in that area. Granted, it may not be enough money, but it is what we can reasonably afford. I raise these issues on spending for a point. The President is holding the line on his demands in light of an estimated 29 billion dollars in debt service for this year. In terms of Obama’s spending, this figure is essentially chicken feed considering the President invested 400 billion dollars in off-shore drilling and refineries in South America in the past two years. So in effect, after all this spending, he is willing to shut down the government over 29 billon dollars and on the basis of that figure demand that the debt ceiling be raised for his use by more than two trillion additional dollars. Something does not compute here and the air smells like politics as usual.
The right side of the aisle is failing miserably in staying on message, showing solidarity, and getting the facts to the American people. Apparently the leadership on that side of the aisle does not assign a great level of importance to those subjects. That has certainly been the case in years past on other issues on which the conservative side held the high ground in terms of facts and truth only to allow defeat by political moves of the left.
One thing is clear to me. Regardless of how this political hogwash of a pissing contest resolves itself, America better be inclined to demand that all participants follow the guidelines which are in place within our government. This is not a time when we need a “rogue” President taking on the role of dictator on the premise that he is doing “what is best in his mind for the country”. Our country does not work that way and for good reason.
I am quite certain that my little 83 year old mother better see her Social Security check arrive in the bank and on time come August or any month beyond that. If it does not, it will be because the President has “elected” and taken upon himself to instruct the Treasury not to pay those obligations. Should he be that stupid and naïve just to prove the point and attempt to get his way, I fully expect that the American people will take note of those actions and make him pay dearly for his choices when the time arrives to vote.
It is high time to get back to basics in Washington. As a country, we are devastatingly devoid of leadership in the executive and legislature branches of our government. As a voting public, we must blame ourselves for electing those individuals to office. We have failed to hold them accountable for their actions and over time they have all but bankrupted this country. There are those who want to blame the rich, blame the corporations, blame the arrogance of America, blame the bankers,…the list goes on and on. But ultimately, we, the voters are to blame because we have failed to hold our elected officials accountable and the current situation is a formidable example of the results.
God Bless America.
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