Burnard: Economic chickenWritten by Don Burnard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The game of economic chicken continues unabated in Washington with the latest episode, “The Sequester.” This was a plan so scary, so economically hideous, that only a pack of idiots would let it come to pass. It was dreamed up during our summer economic crisis du jour in 2011, to ensure that the involved parties would have to bargain in good faith lest terrible things that were harmful to the well-being of the economic recovery and the country at large be unleashed.
Never underestimate the ability of the idiots who pass for our legislators to do the wrong thing. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say they failed to do the right thing. They pulled off an incredible display of fingerpointing while sitting on their thumbs doing nothing.
The original deal, passed with overwhelming Republican support with some Blue Dog Dems, is now being blamed on President Barack Obama by the GOP. Paul Ryan, the voice of all things economic for the GOP, gave one of his usual blame Obama speeches, completely ignoring statements he’d given crowing about how “we” got this passed into law. John Boehner tried to show how the GOP’s two bills from the last Congress’ session were being completely ignored, so don’t blame them for not trying to address the situation.
You’d think that someone who has been in Congress as long as Boehner has would know that all legislation dies with the end of the session, and if you want to vote on it, it has to be introduced as new legislation in the current session. Either he has no idea how his job as Speaker of the House works, or he’s trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the public. Neither choice bodes well for our hopes for effective government.
The only plan, if you can call it that, is the Holy Grail of no new taxes on the rich. Meanwhile, outside the Beltway, things are about to get more difficult for us everyday folks. The consensus is that the sequester will cost at least 700,000 jobs in an already weak job market, and will shave at least half a point off of this year’s economic growth. Oh yeah, and if you get a flat tire tomorrow, it’s Obama’s fault. Wall Street is reaching new heights of profitability and CEO compensation is at an all-time high. If you own a gun shop, you’re doing very well. Other than that, things are about to get sluggish.
During his State of the Union address, Obama said, “The greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next.” The GOP has made it an art form to totally obstruct anything that Obama has tried to do since Day One of his first term. They met the night of the first election and decided to totally oppose everything Obama, the will of the people be damned. They’ve even gone so far as to filibuster their own bill to block anything Obama tries to do to address any of the problems facing the nation.
Instead of offering plans to address things like mass unemployment, growing inequality, health care, foreclosures and increasing poverty, they’d rather manufacture crisis after crisis. This isn’t governance, it is spite. They come out and tell you what the American people want in their minds, completely ignoring the will of the voters. Instead of trying to woo voters with fresh ideas, they’d rather try to rig the system to get their way.
The facts are there, but they refuse to acknowledge them. Taxes are lower than at any time in the past 60 years. Fact: The deficit under Obama has gone down every year since 2009, more in the last 3 years than at any time since World War II, and is trending downward for future years. Fact: Spending under Obama is the lowest under any president since Eisenhower. Fact: Entitlements like Social Security don’t add a dime to the deficit. In fact, one of the largest creditors of our national debt, larger even than China or Japan, is the Social Security fund, which Congress has “borrowed” from for years. If you paid that back, we’d be solvent until 2060. Fact.
The sequester could be repealed tomorrow. Many of the problems that we face are manufactured for political gains instead of for the good of the entire country, and our nation has enough on its plate without adding to the problems. What we need are statesmen and stateswomen, not politicians. Think what we could do if we tried to work for the common good.
Email Don Burnard at email@example.com.