The saddest part of Jane Hamsher’s interview on Ed’s show last night was listening to Ed groan in the background as Ms. Hamsher calmly explained that it was his supposedly Democratic President who was insisting on putting Social Security and Medicare at risk as a condition for avoiding a default on the national debt. How could this be?
Ed’s cognitive dissonance only got worse when Ms. Hamsher noted that Mitch McConnell’s original “clean” debt limit bill would have been acceptable, but the Democrat Harry Reid, on orders from the White House, demanded the bill be made “dirty” enough with harmful spending cuts to attract Tea-GOP votes. So when she pointed out this absurd revision was designed to make up for giving away the store last December in extending the Bush-Obama tax cuts, he couldn’t handle it.
But who can blame poor Ed, one of cable television’s most ardent liberal defenders, for snapping, wondering who is on whose side? One can only handle so much betrayal and cognitive dissonance before the mind’s defenses kick in to invent excuses for why your heroes only appear to be nuts.
The nation’s credit situation needs a debt limit expansion, immediately. Period. At this point, the only national leader who has offered this obvious solution is Mitch McConnell, having been told behind the scenes and now publicly that his Party’s funders and their wealth depend on the US Government not following the Tea-GOP nihilists off the cliff.
One McConnell condition required that the Executive tell us when it was raising the limit, which it does in any event. McConnell’s other condition, that Congress be able to pass legislation to overrule the Executive if it could override his veto, is how the Constitution allocates power.
Such a simple, common sense solution did not please the crazies, the nihilists, the confused, the corrupt nor Mr. Obama’s reelection strategy. That correlation should have told Big Ed that something was seriously amiss with his President.
So now we get to watch Harry Reid be the puppet for the CREEPs working for Mr. Obama as he turns a clean, common sense, analytically correct solution from Mr. McConnell into a “dirty” bill that slashes spending by a trillion and a half dollars or so and sets up procedures that allow Congress to slash more and be even less accountable and transparent than it already is. And the most tempting logical targets for the slashers in this process will be Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
The White House is not content with that terrible solution. No, they want something worse, like the Gang of Six mess whose framework and priorities mimic those of the Cat Food Commission. Since the media views only the debt reduction totals as the measure of the public interest, they have conveniently forgotten that the Simpson-Bowles recommendations, like the Gang of Six version, would worsen the inequality and maldistribution of the nation’s wealth.
That’s right. These geniuses believe the nation’s fiscal and economic problems stem from the richest not being favored enough and everyone else not giving enough to shared sacrifice. At the end of the day, the middle class and poor would be worse off, the wealthy would be even richer, and that outcome is what has the millionaires in the US Senate excited. They and their contributors would win, the rest of you would lose.
Along with a rejection of that predatory plan, the nation’s economy needs a massive, persistent fiscal boost, which can only come from increased federal spending. Period. The unemployed need to be put back to work. The budget starved states need to be rescued, along with their essential public services and employees, from teachers, firemen, police, to sanitation workers, health inspectors, Emergency services, Medicaid providers and on and on.
With the exception of the ignored Progressive Caucus “People’s Budget,” none of the plans now before Congress attempts to address this real crisis. The rest pretend it doesn’t matter or can wait until the nihilists have their unspecified pounds of flesh. The Democratic President routinely insults progressives, barely concealing his contempt for them, their heritage, their values. No wonder Ed is confused.
I don’t agree with the view that the Gang of Six does not have a plan. There’s nothing wrong with solving a problem with a workable process. The problem with this gang is their goals are morally bankrupt and economically wrong.
If an otherwise clean debt limit bill were tied to setting up a process in which the various Congressional committees were charged with proposing budgets to help the unemployed, rescue the states, protect the environment, provide health care for all, and create several million jobs, it would deserve our support.