More than almost anything in Washington I have very little patience for political games. These omnipresent shenanigans have been on full display the last few weeks, blooming like the prevalent Washington weed they are.
Like all weeds these games stifle any fruitful progress that either side can muster. We all: Democrat, Republican, Independents are feeling the squeeze of this smothering interloper.
Though I lean hard left, as an Independent I am free of clinging to any platform. The rigidness of the Tea Party/GOP is starting to scare me; they have shifted from idealists to ideologues. While I do not want to throw out the baby with the bathwater I have to be careful not to follow suit.
There are ideals/programs I will not negotiate. There are also some things I feel I must place on the table that I would rather not. But taking a hardline on all things dilutes the importance everything, including the items you declare untouchable.
- We need reform of Medicare and Medicaid, specifically the private component of the former – Medicare part D, another unfunded GOP program, a gift to the drug companies; it adds to the deficit on a daily basis. I am concerned that any major tweaks to either program will hurt those who can least afford it.
- Social Security should be off the table in regards to deficit reduction. The program has not contributed one cent to our deficit. The only reason it is being discussed is that the scumbags on Wall Street want access to those funds.
It is not enough that the banksters gambled with and lost private retirement funds in the crash of 2008. They now want to gamble with and profit from playing with Social Security funds. That is the truth behind the rhetoric that people should have control of their Government retirement funds. The GOP and Blue Dog Democrats simply want to hand their Wall Street friends another gift.
The disconnect of the GOP’s and President Obama’s positions were never more clear than on Monday night. That evening President Obama laid out the realities of what is happening with the Debt Ceiling extension looming and what will happen if we default. Delaying action may cost the United States its AAA credit rating, regardless of if a deal can be completed in time. He preached for compromise on both sides.
Both parties are at fault, they waited too long to act on this issue and for too long spent without funding those expenditures. Some Democrats seem to have woken up and realized that now is the time for reasonable pragmatism.
The GOP seems to have missed that memo, something that was masterfully proven by John Boehner on Monday. He followed President Obama’s reasoned and adult-oriented speech with one of the most blatant partisan, teenage rebellion-like hack jobs I have ever seen.
Was the president’s speech partisan as well?
Sure, there were moments.
But there were concessions to the other side and the President has gone overboard in trying to avoid a global collapse. Many of those concessions really bothered me, but I understand that time is short and compromise is the path we need to take at this point to save the economy.
It is clear from reading and listening to experts that we need long term solutions, both in terms of cutting and generating revenues to prevent a downgrade in our credit rating and restore fiscal faith in America.
The GOP does not seem to want to budge on the revenue issue, they are going full Grover on this one, even as it pushes us towards financial ruin. Dogmatic fundamentalism trumps any real world impact in the land of the Neocon.
John Boehner made that abundantly clear on Monday as well. He is with the far right of the GOP. Sure he may have golfed with the President, but he didn’t like it. It was all part of a grand scheme, to get Obama to let down his guard. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Revenues, in the form of repealing tax breaks for the richest among us, are off the table no matter the consequences. Never mind that the “until recently patron saint of the GOP” would have raised taxes by now, per his former Budget Director David Stockman. That’s right, the Gipper would be down with some revenue raising.
President Reagan raised taxes 11 times during his presidency, he knew there were times where it was needed. He famously chided Democrats for playing games with the debt ceiling.
Notice how little Mr. Reagan gets mentioned by the Right nowadays?
Now this is all background, insider baseball.
What does all of this have to do with me? The GOP are trying to get rid of Obama, isn’t that what they are supposed to do? Isn’t that what the Dems wanted to do with W.?
I suppose, but not that the expense of those that they are supposed to serve. And that is exactly what the GOP is doing.
If the United States credit rating gets downgraded we are all going to be dealing with what amounts to a tax (someone check on Grover Norquist, he must be having a coronary events at the thought). Every loan you have out will see a spike in interest rates. Yes, most households do not live within their means, no matter the GOP rhetoric.
Most have car payments, house payments, credit cards or student loans to pay each month. Many have all four on their monthly ledgers. How exactly is that living within our means?
We Americans, of course, do not live within our means; it is another in a long line of GOP straw man arguments.
It is not too late for a much needed bi-partisan long term solution, and we need it yesterday. I have been saving for a house for a long time. It is almost within my reach. If we default and interest rates skyrocket I will be saving for a far off ideal rather than the ideal reality.
The GOP doesn’t care about that, I’m not a billionaire.
Courtesy of the Grand Old Party. Bad ideas don’t go away, they just get recycled.
Such is the case with a proposed privatization of Social Security. It was last proposed by President Bush during his State of the Union Address in 2005. Tonight, in the GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is expected to make another call to institute what would be a disastrous plan for the program.
Imagine what would have happened had President Bush succeeded in 2005. People with well planned private retirement plans took a bath in 2008 when they market collapsed under the cowpies that these Robber Barons threw on the system.
Credit default swaps and the packaging of chopped up bad mortgages sold as AAA investments that predictably tanked would have taken down Social Security as well as these private investments. The latter practice was especially damaging as it exacerbated the damage as the mortgages failed not just once, but several times over.
Those who depended on Social Security would not have had the means to recoup what they lost, as many people who lost private retirement packages have been able to do to some effect. It would have created an even larger gulf between the haves and have nots. So Bush’s greatest failure, as he peddled not being able to privatize Social Security while hawking his historical fiction this past fall, became the middle class and poor of this country’s saving grace.
Why would this come up again after it was defeated not even six years ago? There are many reasons. One reason is that the Republicans are clinging to the myth that the American people spoke and wanted to move all the way back to the policies that helped dig us in the deep hole we are in now. The most relevant cause, especially is a post-Citizens United country is that the GOP’s masters on Wall Street have dictated that this is what they want.
The wretched hive of scum and villainy that is Wall Street know that they will not be getting another bail out. They fear that Elizabeth Warren and people of her ilk will push for more regulation that will keep them from tanking the economy with any new scams that they come up with to defraud consumers and add to their ever growing piece of the economic pie. They see the the 2.6 trillion dollars of surplus that Social Security currently holds and think that they are entitled to have it.
I am certain that the GOP will use their thugs at Fox to push their agenda, how having control of where your retirement money goes is wholly American, an undeniable right that they will write in crayon on the Constitution, as they are prone to do when it fits.
We cannot allow the misinformation to stick.
As a counter to the impending deluge of misinformation from the Right, I am posting an informational link on Social Security from Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, including an audio file of Senator Sanders and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island discussing their stance on the issue and taking questions from media members.
I am of course a huge fan of Senator Sanders, his views on this issue are dead on. I encourage you to test whatever facts you may think need disputed. You will find that you cannot. He is a true champion of the program and does not need to resort to the status quo of 21st century politics: bend the truth to the point of breaking it to make his points.
Privatizing Social Security would be the lamest thing that President Obama has ever done, and he has had some lame moments all in the name of reaching across the aisle. Please Mr. President when you reach out this time, reach out to your constituents. They need you to be strong in your convictions and campaign promises on this one. Take the lead of Senator Sanders; they need you to be the champion of Social Security.
To read and watch the “liberal” mainstream media you would think that Social Security is on the precipice of collapse. The media are drinking the Blood of Kali that Rush and his cronies are serving. I will politely decline. In spite of the SSI tax reduction that was part of the incredibly short-sighted tax cut compromise that passed this past December, imminent collapse is far from the truth.
Social Security is in surplus for the 27 years if left alone and contributions are allowed to go back to the rate of 6.2% after the compromise runs its course. That will not get me to the finish line, or even to the start of my benefits. But despite what the Chicken Little media wants you to believe, it does provide time to get reform done right.
One of the main problems with the long-term solvency of Social Security is the current policy where contributions to the program are only pulled from income up to $106,800. Millionaires are paying into Social Security the same amount as those who make just under $107,000. There is something fundamentally wrong with that.
If there were no cap and everyone paid the tax on each dollar they earned, Social Security would be in surplus past the 75 year projection window.
I know what the Rush and the Right would litter the airwaves with: “Redistribution of Wealth!” and “Socialism!” with even more frequency than they have the past 2 years. If they wanted to be honest, these purveyors of misinformation would have been screaming “Redistribution of Wealth!” since the early days of Reaganomics.
When President Reagan entered the White House in 1981 the top 1% of all wage earners had 8 to 9% of the wealth. In 2007 that number had climbed to 23.5% of all wealth. Is there any doubt where this wealth came from? It has already been redistributed through numerous tax cuts for the rich, financial deregulation and the outsourcing of good manufacturing jobs over seas.
The latter is especially galling as it has led to the one-two punch in terms of shifting wealth as it killed good jobs that helped fund the Middle Class for 50 years, and filled the pockets and flushed the balance sheets of people and companies whose coffers were already full.
The one thing that the Middle Class, who have already had so much taken away, can count on is Social Security. It won’t balance the ledger, but the least that the people who have gained 15% of the nation’s wealth can do is give some back to help a fund a program that while not perfect, is wholly necessary to a majority of Americans.
The sky is not falling, but we can see the cracks. Let’s make sure that when we do tackle the reform that it makes the program solvent beyond 2037. In the meantime Social Security is not adding to the deficit, no matter what Glenn Beck and his flock are selling.
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