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article imageOp-Ed: Debt ceiling talks a game of cat and mouse for Obama and Boehner

By Lynn Herrmann     Jul 24, 2011 in Politics
Washington - In what has to be described as the most pathetic displays of political leadership, President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner continue engaging themselves in a cat and mouse game, all while showing what rats they truly are.
This is no easy feat, considering the fact we’re still trying to recover from the eight-year pathetic display of political leadership we were blessed with by George the Junior. But try they might, and try they are.
To be sure, it’s not just Obama and Boehner who are acting like three-year-old children over the nation’s debt. Let’s throw in one of the elder statesmen in the group, for fair measure. Yes, that would be the illustrious Republican senator from Utah, old Orrin Hatch.
In early July, Hatch delivered remarks on the Senate floor indicating the poor of this country need to be doing more, since the wealthy are already paying too much in taxes. Yes, the poor need jobs, he noted, but “they need to share some of the responsibility” in helping reduce the nation’s debt. Good ol’ Orrin.
Astoundingly, in this entire discussion by our political “leaders,” we’ve yet to hear a single word mentioned about the single largest drain on our budget crisis. Yes, that gargantuan animal known as defense spending.
Military spending, in the last decade, has blasted, pardon the pun, from $300 billion in 2000 to at least $700 billion in 2011. Yes, astounding. Not a word from ol’ Orrin on that topic. Or from Obama. Or Boehner. Or any of the others targeting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Discretionary spending for FY2011.
Discretionary spending for FY2011.
Chart courtesy National Priorities Project, Inc.
Cost overruns, lost transactions and an inability to keep track of monies, all prerequisites for ongoing and escalating military funding, draw nary a sigh. From anyone, including those footing the bill, the American taxpayers. Remember Donald Rumsfeld, that beacon of intelligence? He once admitted $2.3 trillion in military spending was unaccountable for. Whatever happened to that story?
So now, we get our daily dose of US politicians squabbling over Social Security reserves.
Perhaps if we spent a little more time being liked, we could spend a lot less cash on defense. But that’s an impossibility when one considers America, the punk of world culture, loves its war addiction and associated carnage in blowing things up. At the expense of those taxpayers, of course.
One can only marvel at how the Bush-Cheney gang were able to walk out of office, amazingly with heads held high, and escape with untold billions of dollars which remain unaccounted for. It seems so distant. Enron, Rising fuel prices (the first time). Rising property taxes. Decreasing home values. Not to be outdone, however, America’s first black president is showing those white boys how to really screw up a country.
Latest poll results released on Friday show barackstar’s approval rating has dropped to 45 percent, due in part to his fan base, those on the left, growing increasingly tired of his performance in office. Or lack of performance. The latest figure, according to the poll, is down three points from his June approval rating. A solid 54 percent of those polled disapprove of the president’s ability to perform his duties, up six points from June.
The new CNN/ORC International Poll’s numbers show his current approval rating ties the president’s all-time high he reached last year just before midterm elections, and we all know how that turned out, as we’re facing a daily dose of those results just by doing a debt ceiling search.
Not that the Democrats would be doing any better. As David Michael Green notes in his Stupid Democrats, Stupid Republicans piece, Obama’s regressive style of politics continues Bush-era debacles, enhancing upon them as only a regressive could. Civil rights? Check. Global warming? Check. Expanded war zones? Check. Tax cuts for the wealthy? Check? On and on? Check.
Earlier this month, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) handed barackstar’s campaign headquarters a fine dog, in these, perhaps the most intense of all dog days of summer: 200,000 pledges stating the president must include tax increases for the wealthy in any debt ceiling decision reached, or lose the support of the liberal advocacy group. Any cuts to essential programs such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare will give the president a big fat zero in campaign contributions or volunteer efforts from group members as he seeks re-election. Previous efforts by the group included $17 million and 2.4 million volunteer hours toward Obama’s 2008 election campaign.
One by one, or perhaps its better to say, tens of thousands by tens of thousands, the president continues pissing on his only chance for re-election: a quickly eroding fan base.
PCCC’s co-founder, Adam Green said the middle class has done more than enough in making sacrifices. “Democrats need to support the will of the American people,” he told reporters in a conference call, CNN notes. “Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid must be off the table. Our position is the middle class has sacrificed enough.”
Obama’s position, however, remains one of open season on the nation’s so-called “entitlement programs,” and he’s still holding out for a “big deal” which will slash essentials for millions of Americans to the tune of $600 billion, just to appease Republicans.
To show what a mess our great liberal president continues wallowing in, the leader of the House Democratic Caucus warned this weekend there must be tax-revenue hikes in any deficit-reduction plan in order to get the Democratic support such a measure needs for passage.
“What the Democratic Caucus has been focused on … is balance,” said Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), The Hill reports. “Obviously, balance would include cuts and revenues.”
Larson’s comments came just hours before Boehner walked out on the president on Friday during debt-ceiling discussions. If reports are true, the speaker of the house walked out on the president. Of course, all is fair in tit-for-tat, as just a week before, the president walked out on the speaker of the house in earlier discussions. So much for that friendly game of golf. Here’s an idea: go stick your noses in the corner of the room, and don’t move until you’ve solved the problem.
Sunday morning, NPR suggested we’re on the way to a dysfunctional government. If so, we taxpayers can thank our dysfunctional politicians. Let’s call it the trickle-down effect and start at the very top. Last week Obama was searching for a debt-ceiling agreement which would last for decades to come. By Saturday, he’s searching for something to get just beyond the elections, with the debt limit being raised through 2013, just in time to go through this same schtick for the next round of mid-term elections.
Of course, just Thursday a week ago, the president told his fellow politicians he wanted an agreement on debt-ceiling discussions reached within 24 to 36 hours. No doubt among backroom snickers and jeers. Leadership? Well, if you listen to Obama’s campaign spokesman, apparently the president has plenty, in, uh, never mind.
“Americans elected the President in 2008 to take on the big challenges facing our country, and he's engaged in an effort to do just that, promoting a balanced approach to reduce the deficit and promote economic growth that protects the middle class and seniors,” said Ben LaBolt, campaign spokesman, CNN reports. Either the media is lying in its reports, or LaBolt is lying and without any doubt playing an ass-covering game with American voters.
Meanwhile, Green, the PCCC co-founder, suggests the Democratic Party needs to take the issue of the economy a bit more seriously. “Obama voters didn't come back out in 2010,” he added. “It's déjà vu all over again … every Democrat in 2012 has a right to be extremely furious with him.” Those who aren’t furious with Obama are still stuck in a drunken stupor of hope and change, still living in the long-fallen glitter of the country’s last inauguration day.
Republicans, on the other hand, often talk about reducing government waste. This would be ridiculously funny if it weren’t such a blatant pot-black situation. Republicans, the classic example of government waste, openly admitted, shortly after Obama was elected, their goal, their agenda, their reason for living, was to do whatever necessary to unseat the president come the next election.
True to their word, they are well on their way. The president, back to the other hand, is hoping for change.
So here’s another idea, quite simple. Start with spending cuts in an obscenely fat military budget which has, thus far, escaped any sense of scrutiny or oversight or auditing. And leave the hell alone Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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