Deregulated mortgage brokers, real estate appraisers, and Wall Street sellers of derivatives and credit default swaps loosely conspired to bring the largest economy in the world to it's knees.
The only people punished were average Americans who lost homes and home equity, jobs, health care, retirement savings...and hope.
Bogged down over 3 years in a terrible recession which was entirely preventable, elected officials from both political parties have turned their backs on any further initiatives to relieve the suffering of millions of Americans and have, instead, turned towards numerous austerity measures which will only make the misery worse.
Despite the fact that during the Bush administration Congress voted to raise the national debt ceiling seven times, today's Congress has already missed the debt limit deadline (May 16th) without a vote. Furthermore, today's Republicans are suggesting that the United States can actually default on it's debt without enduring serious consequences, arguing that Treasury Secretary Geithner's August 2nd absolute default date is not to be taken all that seriously.
House Republicans, who promised nothing but jobs, jobs, jobs before Tea Party voters put them in the majority last fall,....since being elected, have responded by not introducing one House bill to address the nation's lack of jobs. Instead, these House Republicans have focused on bills limiting a woman's right to choose and weeks of arguments over defunding PBS and Planned Parenthood.
The one important bill passed by House Republicans included a proposal to abolish Medicare within a larger budget bill which would simultaneously cut tax rates on millionaires and billionaires. Despite the indisputable fact that health care costs for everyone have been rising much more than inflation rates in recent history....the Medicare program, itself, is being singled out for blame and bludgeoned unto death by Republican representatives of Big Insurance. Senate Minority leader, Mitch McConnell, has promised to torpedo any debt ceiling vote if Medicare is not somehow eviscerated. Villagers called the proposal "courageous."
House Republicans have responded to the American peoples' rejection of their "abolish Medicare" plan.....if you can believe it....by pushing a new bill to fully privatize Social Security. Even though George W. Bush could not move his Wall Street friendly plan to privatize America's most popular government program through a Republican House and Senate....couldn't even get a bill introduced......today's impetuous Republican House, in yet another example of irresponsible Republican political theater.....are swinging for the wingnut fences.
For the first six months of this year the national "news" discussion,.. when not sidetracked by extremely important "breaking news" like Twitter pictures, birth certificates, or who's the GOP Grifter of the day,.....has been repetitiously expounding upon the "need" to cut government spending. Austerity measures have been the rage. Anyone who objects to total austerity dominance is not considered to be Serious.
And yet, all evidence, whether in European countries, or here in Tea Party governed states.....where deep spending cuts are being made is that doing so only is making economic and job matters worse. Market demand has not returned with any gusto.....and so cutting government spending at such a time guarantees that lack of demand, lack of jobs, will only increase.
A corollary to that apparent insanity of doing the very opposite of what we should do.....is that the reason given for all the spending cuts has been to get a handle on our "out-of-control-national-debt". But just seven months ago, both political parties agreed to add $2 trillion more to our debt by extending tax cuts. And all of this is happening while Americans continue to enjoy the lowest federal income tax rates in 60 years.
After 9-11, Americans were placed on watch lists, were made to take off shoes and belts and be subjected to invasive searches at airports. The FBI was given new invasive and illegal powers to issue "national security letters" instead of obtaining warrants. Library and financial records were searched without probable cause or due process. 4th amendment rights shredded. All because our leaders said they just had to keep us safe after failing to protect us from the worse attack ever on U.S. soil.
Yet, after all of that....those who our protectors have placed on terrorist watch lists and no fly lists are still permitted to purchase guns,....semi-automatic if so desired. Republican elected officials, long ago, sold their souls to the anti-American NRA. As a result, you have to take your shoes off at airports and have all of your electronic communications captured and examined by government computers.....but those suspected enough to be placed on a watch list for potential terrorism can purchase and own all the guns they could ever want or need.
I need some answers. How does any of what I've explained inspire confidence in the American experiment? How can any of this apparent insanity be justified? Yes, democracy is messy with so many interest groups pulling and tugging in different directions....but I don't think that explains what looks to me like a total breakdown of a once-functioning government.
If our government is failing, perhaps fatally.....can anything be done? Should anything be done?
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