The Debt Ceiling (Hostage) Crisis is Over- What we Learned

On Sunday morning, it was announced that the White House and Congressional leaders had reached an agreement to raise the “Debt Ceiling”-or in other words,to increase the borrowing authority of the Country. Some details of the deal according to the White House:

The president will be authorized to increase the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion, eliminating the need for another increase until 2013.

The first tranche of cuts will come in at nearly $1 trillion. That includes savings of $350 billion from the Base Defense Budget, which will be trimmed based off a review of overall U.S. national security policy.

A bipartisan committee with enhanced procedural authority will be responsible for pinpointing $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction from both entitlements and tax reform, as well as other spending programs.

The committee will have to report out legislation by November 23, 2011.

Congress will be required to vote on Committee recommendations by December 23, 2011.

The trigger mechanism — should the committee’s recommendations not be acted upon — will be mandatory spending cuts. Those cuts, which will begin in January 2013, will be split 50/50 between domestic and defense spending. Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries and “low-income programs” would be exempted from those cuts.

With respect to the Bush Tax Cuts-the fact sheet  details a fall back option for the President:

“The Bush tax cuts expire as of 1/1/2013, the same date that the spending sequester [the trigger mechanism] would go into effect,” the fact sheet reads. “These two events together will force balanced deficit reduction. Absent a balanced deal, it would enable the President to use his veto pen to ensure nearly $1 trillion in additional deficit reduction by not extending the high-income tax cuts.”

So, after a long and tumultuous standoff, the hostage, aka our Country, has been released. But what have we learned?

Hostage Taking In Politics Works-You could also call this the “hold your breath until you get what you want method”-either way, the childish and or/psychotic blueprint of the Republican Party has proven effective.

Like in 1981, Ronald Reagan had nothing to do with the conclusion of this particular hostage crisis –The debt ceiling was raised under the patron saint of conservatism (aka 11 time Tax increaser) 18 times. Democrats- employing logic, foolishly thought that such a fact may make a difference… it didn’t. I’m no fan of Ronald Reagan, so when I say this isn’t “Ronald Reagan’s Republican Party”, it’s saying a lot.

When Democrats draw a line in the sand-Republicans can just kick sand on it and make it go away– Look, when you’re negotiating with an unreasonable psychotic, petulant child-who is gleefully adverse to facts/reality, and moreover is hell-bent on your demise, the meaning of the words “compromise” and “balanced” are constantly changing-much like the location of the goal posts. Democrats, recognizing that tax revenue (as a percent of the GDP) is at its lowest level in over 60 years, initially demanded revenue be part of any deficit reduction package. Republicans, shackled by silly pledges, myopic thinking, and disingenuous intentions, balked at this common sense approach. The White House relented. Again, while I understand the need to placate the lunatic who is holding a gun to your loved one’s head, it’s nevertheless maddening to see.

Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois is a shameless, loud-mouth hypocrite dead-beat father, who adheres to the dishonorable adage “Do as I say, Not as I Do”. Besides that I suppose he’s ok.

On the other hand, I gained respect for Sen. Mark Kirk (R) of Illinois Throughout this ordeal, I contacted a number of elected representatives from Illinois, (including Mr. Walsh) both via e-mail and voice mail. Senator Kirk was the only to respond, and did so in a timely yet thorough and considerate manner. In an e-mail, Senator Kirk stated his positions, which from my perspective, precluded him from voting in favor of Speaker Boehner’s bill. Ultimately, Sen. Kirk was one of only a handful of Republican Senators to vote against the Bill-and seemingly for the right reasons. The Senator and I disagree on almost every major political issue, but in this instance, I respect his moderate approach, and moreover his willingness to communicate with his constituents-even one who starts his e-mail with “First off, I had no part in having you elected as one of our State’s Senators”.

Sen. McCain is Bipolar- For about 180 seconds, The Maverick of 2000 reappeared on the Senate Floor, refreshingly calling out Tea Partiers for their unrealistic demands, and uniformly unyielding stance. Then John went on Fox News and essentially retracted his statements, and painfully begged for forgiveness. Apparently the Lion’s Den known as the Sean Hannity Show, is tougher than a North Vietnamese prison camp.

Michele Bachmann is as crazy and out of touch as ever.

The American Public is Terribly, Terribly Mis/Uninformed, and moreover paradoxical in their positions.  If you have no idea what the Debt Ceiling is, you cannot be against raising it. In addition, you can’t be against government spending/Tax Revenue, but be loud  proponent of Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, National Security, Infrastructure Improvements, Student Grants/Loans, and Job Stimulus Measures.
So- The Last Thing we’ve learned is this:

This “crisis was man-made, not only by Republicans in Congress, but by the uninformed and misguided voters who elected them. As I said before, the biggest lesson to extract from this agonizing ordeal is this: Americans must get beyond the talking points, beyond the sound bites, beyond the restraints of their own misguided biases, and GET INFORMED.

Make the right vote for the right reason.

That’s how you prevent your Country from being taken hostage. That’s how you take the gun from the enemy.

Be Good Friends,


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