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Nothing surprising in President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress last evening. It was a good speech, presenting a sensible and balanced medium range economic stimulus program for the nation. More importantly, Obama's speech was delivered with spirit and intensity.
Obama's "America Jobs Act" would cost approximately $450 billion and would include an extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment compensation, a $4000 tax credit per new employee for businesses who hire new workers and/or veterans, infrastructure funding, and money to state governments.
In all, a little more than I expected, but not enough to make a big difference in the economy. But I'll take it. Federal government stimulus....of any kind....will help the country right now.
Apparently, Obama wants the Catfood Commission 2, aka the Super Committee, to find an additional $450 billion in spending cuts to offset his plan.....because, as we already know, the Mighty GOP Fiscal Hawks have long protected against big government deficits, you know, or not.
Obama's repeated challenge last night to a feckless Congress was "pass this bill right away." And I think Congress will pass something that looks like the America Jobs Act in a timely fashion. Could be wrong, of course, but congressional Republicans looking to next November's election can't simply rely on batsh*t insanity to see them through. With congressional approval levels at 18% and over a majority of Americans wanting to throw the entire congressional crop out the door.....House and Senate GOP'ers must at least do something sane and rational to help bolster our national economy. Passing Obama's bill would qualify as that something.
But who am I kidding here? If, indeed, congressional Republicans pass anything, it will most certainly involve yet another hostage taking and ransom situation. That's our new normal...at least until a President Perry or President Romney officially capitulates to our corporate overlords and announces the new name for our nation...the Corporate States of America.
So, who or what will the GOP hostage be this time around? Last December the GOP hostages were tax cuts for the majority of Americans. If you recall, in their ransom letter, GOP "negotiators" promised to kill all tax cuts for all Americans if tax cuts on our filthiest of rich were not also extended. In the end, the GOP hostage takers collected the ransom and fled the scene until their next kidnapping caper.
In August, the GOP hostage takers reemerged from their spider holes to pen another ransom note and send it to President Obama. This time around, if President Obama and slinky-spined Democrats didn't agree to cut government spending in the middle of the worst economic downturn in modern history.....GOP hostage takers would refuse to agree to raise the national credit line. The "taking back their country" Republicans promised to bring down the entire national economy in bankruptcy if their counterparts didn't agree to damage the nation's economy further by agreeing to deep spending cuts.
At the time, the GOP insurrectionists' plan was to slow down or damage the economy just enough to oust President Obama next fall.....in itself, a form of treason against one's country. As current economic indicators suggest, the treasonous intentions of the GOP hostage takers....are working.
But now the Dark Knight has laid down a new marker. Yes, with a GOP gun pointed at his head in August, Obama agreed to deep spending cuts. But now the Kenyan socialist is back with more plans to increase employment through new government spending...offset by deficit commission cuts...but still, new government spending.
How will the dead-enders respond? What, or who, do the GOP hostage takers have their eye on this time around? How will the new GOP ransom note read? My bet is on Medicare slashing. This time around the hostage will be Medicare. If Obama and the slinky-spined Democrats won't agree to slash Medicare benefits, increase seniors out of pocket expenses, and raise the Medicare qualification age to 67....then GOP hostage takers will shoot Obama's new American Jobs Act...in the head.
Here's why I think the GOP hostage will be Medicare. Paul Ryan introduced, and all but 5 Republicans in the House and Senate voted for.....abolishing Medicare as we know it and replacing it with a privatized insurance program. Republicans caught holy hell from voters over Ryan's budget, leaving Republicans super-vulnerable next November. Mitch McConnell and his mealy-mouthed cretin buddies are aware of this vulnerability. The only way to nullify hundreds of Democratic ads next summer and fall stating that Republican opponents voted to abolish Medicare...is to implicate Democrats in the slashing of medicare as well.
So, I'm betting the GOP hostage this go around will be Medicare. Like I said, could be wrong.
You see, either way, insurrectionist GOP'ers think they win. If Obama cannot pass an extension of unemployment insurance, payroll tax cuts, etc....then the presidential election year will see more economic retraction. If Obama agrees to the GOP ransom demands, then GOP extremists hope to strike the first of many fatal blows to one of the most popular federal government programs in our history, Medicare.
Some new normal, huh?
*On this subject, I highly recommend watching this brief video clip. A former Republican speaks the truth about his party. Quite revealing.