Monday, August 1, 2011

Congratulations To All!

The President took to the podium last night and announced that Congressional leaders had reached a deal on raising the debt ceiling. The bill still needs to pass both houses; and it is expected that those votes will be taken today.  The expectation is that the leaders will be able to whip the necessary votes to assure that the country will not face the catastrophe of default.
The President announced that the deal, while not perfect, will allow the country to avoid default and move on to the important work of growing the economy and creating jobs.  Even though the votes have yet to be counted, congressional members are already spinning all they were able to achieve for their party and for the country.
All of them are lying to the American people.
This is a terrible bill.  It makes deep cuts into programs that people count on; cuts that will increase unemployment and put more stress on an already weak economy.  It does not address entitlements; which everyone knows are the primary source of our runaway spending and ever increasing debt.   It avoids tax reform; placing the burden of debt reduction  on the shoulders of the poor and middle class while allowing major corporations and the richest among us to legally withhold much needed tax revenues.  And it offers nothing in the way of job creation and economic growth.
But the bill DOES do the one thing that our government is very, very good at.  It kicks the important decisions down the road and guarantees that we will be forced to endure this same debate for many months to come. 
After all these months of partisan speeches and political posturing all we get is a process that avoids the real problems and damages our image across the globe; all while further eroding confidence in our President, our elected leadership and our government.
So congratulations to the Tea Party.  By your intransigence you were able to hold the full faith and credit of the country hostage to get what you wanted.  You were able to defeat your own party leadership, the House of Representatives, The United States Senate, the President of the United States and the 70% of the American people who disagreed with your position.  You played the role of Solomon and demonstrated that you and you alone were ready to cut the baby in half to get your way.  You can now return home to your constituents embolden with the knowledge you single handedly brought the image of United States government to a new low, both in the eyes of the American people and the world community.  And you did it all while crafting a bill that fails to address the real problems and guarantees the continuation of  your obstruction tactics later this year.  Well done.
Congratulations to the members of the United States Congress.  You have demonstrated once again your complete incompetence when it comes to solving big problems.  You have shown clearly that your desire for re-election far supersedes any honest effort to make the tough choices on behalf of the American people.  You are incapable of governing; and your petty squabbling over these past few months has been an embarrassment to the country.
And last but not least; congratulations to you Mr. President.  You got the debt ceiling increase that you wanted.  Bravo!  But your inability to frame the debate and your ineffective use the bully pulpit has allowed a small group of radical House freshman to damage the country.  For months you said that any deal to raise the debt ceiling had to include an increase in revenues.  You got nothing.  You said the deal had to be balanced.  You got nothing.  We know that hindsight is 20/20; but even you must admit that your failure to extend the debt ceiling back when you held the Presidency and both Houses of Congress has proven to be a costly lack of political foresight.  And the lack of leadership allowing the debate to drag on has cost this country’s citizens hundreds of billions in lost savings and investment.   Now you tell us that this deal will be good for the country and allow us to get back to the work of growing the economy and creating jobs.  With all due respect, Mr. President, your remarks are disingenuous.  You have been saying these same things for almost three years now and we are still in the same sorry place.  You are a lousy negotiator, Mr. President; and we are all the worse for it.  As one pundit put it: “you drew a line in the sand…but the line was inside the Republicans tent.”
So congratulations to all who participated in this sorry spectacle.  We look forward to your active participation in the weeks and months to come.  After all, this is only the beginning. 

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