For the second time in the last two years, the nation finds itself nearing an easily avoidable, self-inflicted economic catastrophe. Many observers are pooh-poohing the prospects of an actual credit default.....surmising that Serious Politicians, as they did in August of 2011, will agree on some last-second "compromise" deal to avert a national financial meltdown.
But, maybe....as this Politico piece suggests........there's a Grand Bargain that can be agreed to in order to avoid a market collapse, a run on bank deposits, massive new unemployment and the dust-bowl depression misery which surely would follow.
....with the government shut down and the debt ceiling rapidly approaching in the next two weeks, a large number of Republicans see a grand deficit compromise as the only plausible way out.
“We’re getting closer to the point that everything’s intertwined — government funding, the debt ceiling and spending — and so the best way out, I believe, and the only way for everybody to find an acceptable long-term solution is a big negotiation of everything that includes something on entitlements, tax reform, something on a spending level and wrap it in one box,” (Rep. Steve) Stivers (R-OH) told POLITICO.
President Obama and Harry Reid say they are not having any of it...until and unless Republicans agree first to pass a clean Continuing Resolution on funding government and a clean debt ceiling increase. But Obama, in particular, has been a bit too casual in the past when he has spoken of his willingness to pursue a Grand Bargain with the Hostage Taking Party.....
He (Obama) reiterated Wednesday that he’s open to pursuing a big budget deal — but not until the government shutdown is over and the debt limit is raised.
First rule is to not trust any of these elected officials....so....we'll see what happens.
But if you think a Grand Bargain including cuts to Social Security checks, eligibility changes for Medicare, and more and deeper spending cuts on programs assisting our nation's most vulnerable.....in return for......I have no idea....sounds like bad news to you....then you haven't fully absorbed the Really Bad News.
For the next, at least, seven years.....the Hostage Taking Caucus will most likely remain in tact, and in control, of the House of Representatives. Here's why....
The vast majority of GOP lawmakers are safely ensconced in districts that, based on the voter rolls, would never think of electing a Democrat. Their bigger worry is that someone even more conservative than they are — bankrolled by a cadre of uncompromising conservative groups — might challenge them in a primary.
Did you get that? Because of 2010 gerrymandering....until the next Census and the next redrawing of districts....in 2020.....the likelihood of continued Hostage Taking Activities by House Republicans is all but guaranteed. If anything, with continual primary threats directed at any Republican who even thinks about compromising.....the House Hostage Takers will Break even Badder in the near term.
Now, it is true that if Independent voters finally give up voting for Hostage Takers, then House control could change before the next Census. But, I'm certainly not betting on that.
That brings us to the Really Bad News. Americans are now facing a minimum of seven more years of nothing but Hostage Taking Events schemed-up by Tea Party anarchists. Does that sound in any way promising? Hopeful?
After seven more years of hostage taking by House anarchists, what will American life look like? Social Security slashed AND privatized? Medicare slashed AND privatized? The Departments of Education, EPA, Commerce eliminated? Most forms of federal government assistance....college loans, food assistance, government-backed mortgages and so forth eliminated altogether or drowning in the bathtub of Grover Norquist's wet dreams?
While you are considering these potentially devastating, and very real, Hostage Takings-to-come.....don't ever forget why it may all happen....
To reduce taxes on the already wildly-wealthy. The nation is more than likely entering a multi-year period littered with Hostage Taking after Hostage Taking for the purpose of shredding the American safety net, one piece at a time.....in return for lower tax rates on America's wealthy and fewer regulations on billionaire-led industries. Literally...it is the death of a thousand cuts.
The imperative for Obama and Democrats is clear, and so far Democrats have remained steadfast and united in their opposition to ransom demands from the Hostage Takers. But, the closer we get to the 17th....the higher the stakes in the Hostage Takers game of chicken....and the more likely it is that Bipartisan Barack will feel pressure to capitulate to at least some of the Hostage Taker demands.
That would be the worst outcome of all. To live is to learn.....and to give an inch now is to destine the nation to nothing but further destruction and fragmentation for the forseeable future.
That's why the time to 'break the back' of the Hostage Takers...is now. No Grand Bargain promises, no negotiating with terrorists, no compromise with criminals.
America does not negotiate nor compromise with Hostage Takers who intend to do our citizens harm if we don't capitulate.
We shouldn't start now.
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