It is really hard to fathom the depths to which our country has plummeted both politically and economically.
The Dow dropped another 519 points yesterday. The market has lost 2000 points since July 21st. While this precipitous fall certainly has an affect the on entire country, the most substantial losses have been felt by the richest 2% of Americans who hold 90% of the country’s wealth. The other 98% of the folks have no money to lose. Unemployment stands at 9.1% with real unemployment near 16%. No jobs means no money and that means more and more foreclosures. Add 50 million citizens who cannot afford health insurance and you have 90% of the population struggling just to survive. Investing on Wall Street is not high on their agenda. The middle class is disappearing and the gap between the rich and the poor is growing ever wider.
So what are our elected leaders doing about it?
Our President has become an impotent pawn in the economic debate. His inherent need to compromise has allowed him to be overrun by a gaggle of back bench radicals whose only real goal is to see him fail. From the stimulus to Guantanamo to warrantless wire taps to single payer health care to the Bush tax cuts to the debt ceiling he has compromised on his principles to the detriment of the country. As the nation careens down the cliff he has been unable to grasp what the country needs in a time of crisis…leadership. FDR governed for eight years during the depression. Even in those horrible times he was able to convince the country that things would get better. We need that from this President. Thus far he has been unable to deliver.
But the President is not alone. As the country faces disaster Congress goes on recess. At a time when the nation needs to know that their representatives are working on the country’s problems… Congress takes a vacation. This august body has been taken over by the Tea Party. The Tea party freshman and their Republican cohorts have one goal…to bring down the President. And if they bring down the economy in the process…so be it. To watch the Republicans revel in the S&P downgrade and the subsequent market crash is as telling as it is appalling. How can they take joy in the suffering of others? Simple…they can blame it on the President. They said that they would stick to their ideology no matter the cost. They said that their number one goal was to make Obama a one term President. To quote their leader, Speaker John Boehner:” I got 98% of what I wanted. So I’m pretty happy.” Congratulations Mr. Speaker!
Looking for a light at the end of the tunnel? Well, yesterday both parties announced their choices to sit on the new “Super Committee”. This is the committee that is charged with finding an additional $1.6 billion in spending cuts by Thanksgiving. These are cuts that will lay off more government workers, cut more programs for the poor and suck even more money out of our failing economy. Democrats and Republicans are filling their slots on the committee with members who a guaranteed NOT to cave in on their party’s agenda. Sounds promising!
So what happens if the “Super Committee” cannot reach an agreement by Thanksgiving? No worries! There are already in place preset across the board cuts that will lay off more government workers, cut more programs for the poor and suck even more money out of our economy. Perfect!
We would not want to leave you feeling depressed about our country’s prospects for recovery. So we offer you this outlet for comic relief.
Tonight, if you are tired of watching summer reruns, tune into any one of the cable news channels. There you will witness a debate between the gaggle of misfits vying for the Republican nomination as they prepare this Saturday's meaningless Iowa Straw Poll. You might get to hear the current Iowa frontrunner, Michelle Bachman, explain how one can pray away the gay or how our founding fathers worked so hard to defeat slavery. You might get to watch Mitt Romney demonstrate his ventriloquist talents by talking out of both sides of his mouth. And if you listen hard enough you might even hear Tim Pawlenty say SOMETHING.
At any rate, it should be pretty funny…and we could all use a good laugh right now.