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On the evening of Barack Obama's inauguration, January 20, 2009, key elected and celebrity Republicans met to plot the obstruction, the nullification, of the Obama presidency. The GOP strategy agreed upon that evening over 4 years ago was to obstruct everything Obama,....all legislation, nominations and appointments. Then, retake the House in 2010 and then the presidency and the Senate in 2012.
Gaining control of the majority in the House in 2010 was all the new Confederates could accomplish.....but that new House majority was loudly heard from in 2011. That was the year when the new GOP majority came within an ace of spades of defaulting on all U.S. debt. Not because the U.S. did not have the wherewithal to pay it's debt responsibilities....nothing like that....but instead, because House Republicans wanted to beta test their new hostage taking/ransom demanding strategy in a real time national situation.
S&P downgraded the U.S. credit rating as a result of the intransigence of House Republicans in August 2011. Republicans lost the presidency and failed miserably in their efforts to retake the Senate in 2012.
Learning from failure, or not, these same Republicans have continued in 2013 to obstruct all things Obama, with Congress on track to break its own all-time record of legislative inactivity set in 2011-2012. What's more, later this year the nation's credit limit will need to be raised again.....which has the Confederate Obstructionists in the House mouth-foaming over the prospects of Debt Limit Hostage Taking: The Sequel.
If you recall, House Confederates gave Obama a short term extension on the nation's debt limit back in January. Make no mistake, Republicans wanted to take the nation's economic prospects hostage back in January...just as they had done in 2011.....but calculated that they could do more damage to the country if they carefully plotted to undermine our national economy through strategic new-hostage taking plans which include larger ransom payments.
And so we find.....
For a long-term deal, one that gives Treasury borrowing authority for three-and-a-half years, Obama would have to agree to premium support. The plan to privatize Medicare, perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Ryan budget, is the holy grail for conservatives who say major deficit-reduction can only be achieved by making this type of cut to mandatory spending. "If the president wants to go big, there's a big idea," said Rep. Steve Scalise, chairman of the Republican Study Committee.
Don't forget here, extending the credit limit of the country does not increase government spending. Extending the national credit limit only makes it possible to pay debt Congress has already agreed to incur. But if Obama wants a "long term" credit limit extension of three and a half years.....the ransom to the Confederates arrayed against the American people is.....the full privatization of Medicare. "Premium support" means handing over the Medicare program to for-profit insurers so that future seniors pay more for less medical care...so that for-profit insurers can increase their....profits.
Anyway.....that's the "long term" GOP House Confederates offer to Obama in return for 3 1/2 years of debt extension.
What would a "medium term" deal from House Confederates look like?
For a medium-sized increase in the debt-limit, Republicans want Obama to agree to cut spending in the SNAP food stamp program, block-grant Medicaid, or tinker with chained CPI.
Maybe a "medium size" deal would cover a year or more of debt ceiling extension....Confederate soldiers in the House didn't elaborate.....but the ransom for a shorter term deal would consist of taking a baseball bat (metaphorically speaking) to the poors, the poors who are sick....and the old poors.
For only a few month debt limit extension.....House Republicans are willing to cause less pain and suffering....
For a smaller increase, there is talk of means-testing Social Security, for example, or ending certain agricultural subsidies.
Republicans, many of whom still sit in the House as members, voted 7 times....WITHOUT CONDITIONS....to increase the debt limit during the presidency of George W. Bush. Indeed, ransoms and hostages were never before involved in lifting the nation's debt limit.
Now it appears that the nation's debt limit will never be lifted, ever again, without ransoms being paid to the minority constituencies of the new House Confederates.
Quite a shakedown racket.