I hate Republicans and Democrats. Conservatives and Liberals. Elephants and Donkeys. Rightwings and leftwings. Both parties are incredibly stupid and selfish. Elected officials are supposed to look out for the best interests of their constituents and the country; personal agendas should have no place in any politician’s decision making. I understand that this premise is completely idealistic, but considering how both parties are about to cause the country to collapse, maybe it bears repeating.
For those stuck under a rock, America will soon default on its loans to international lenders if the debt ceiling is not lifted and a budget proposal agreed upon. President Obama initially said that the deadline is August 2nd; however, subsequent reports suggest that America may have enough money to last until maybe the end of December. The one thing both parties agree about is that the government needs to start reducing the national debt, and very quickly. How the budget is balanced has been a source of consternation amongst the warring factions with no détente in sight.
Republicans want reductions in federal spending, including significant cuts to social services like Medicare. There is no place for increased taxes in their opinion. The proposal suggested by House Speaker John Boehner was begrudgingly accepted by his own party, and passed a vote in the House by only 8 votes (218-210) only because the GOP has 47 more members than the Dems. Furthermore, the bill essentially called for another decision on the debt limit in only six months. The Democratic led Senate killed Boehner’s bill in near record time. I think the premise behind Medicare type programs was noble, but the implementation has been terrible. The system has forced millions of Americans to become completely reliant on federal funding, so dramatic cuts would be detrimental to countless citizens. I don’t appreciate money being taken from my paycheck to support people who choose not to work, game the system, and/or continue to have children despite not being able to even support themselves. On the other hand, I can understand how difficult it can be for someone who is wealthy, like a Congressperson, to not fully grasp the plight of someone completely destitute.
Democrats are adamant that dramatic cuts to Medicare and social security would ruin America, and that an increase in taxes is necessary to help balance the budget. Yes more taxes would supply more money for government spending, but with so many American’s out of work, that extra burden would fall upon a smaller number of citizens. Most of those citizens are barely able to make ends meet. The ultra-rich make up a very small percentage of tax payers. Because significant tax hikes are probably not on the horizon, now is actually a great time to restructure federal support programs, especially since it is now obvious to everyone that they can’t be sustained for long as presently constructed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a proposal that calls for a debt limit increase of 2.4 trillion dollars, spending cuts of 2.2 trillion, and no vote on the budget until 2013. Reid’s plan will more than likely make it through the Democratic led Senate, but has no chance in the House. I’m all for party solidarity, but the current political culture is ridiculous. Bipartisanship equals weakness to our current crop of congressmen, and America is left to twist in the wind as our “leaders” engage in a big pissing contest. Despite being quite flawed, as of today the GOP has proposed two budget plans, and the Dems have submitted zero. Obama has regularly stated the importance of getting this situation under control, but now he needs to lead to ensure it gets under control. When a fair deal is made, neither party gets exactly what they want. Obama displayed such with his healthcare plan, and maybe he needs to do the same with a budget plan.
During the final years of Bill Clinton’s presidency the US budget was operating with a surplus. Thanks to defense spending required after 9/11, the concurrent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a horrible recession, those days are long gone. According to a report by the BBC on July 29 tech giant Apple has more money on hand than the entire US Treasury (76.4 billion to 73.7 billion). As saddening as that sounds, if our elected officials don’t remember what they were elected for by August 2nd, that homeless person you just gave a dollar to will actually have more money than the US also. My suggestion is that until the debt problem is solved we shouldn’t have to pay these selfish politicians to represent us. Clearly they don’t have our best interests in mind, so we shouldn’t compensate them if they’re going to deviate from what was supposed to be the arrangement. They all make a good salary, and that could not only keep America afloat for a little while, but it would also make them work with some work with some urgency. Republicans, Democrats, and President Obama are to blame, and until bipartisanship is rediscovered, America will suffer mightily.