The Wall Street Journal has quoted Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as saying that if Congress doesn’t raise the $14 trillion debt limit by Aug. 2, the federal government won’t be able to pay all its bills, which would have a “catastrophic economic impact.” For some reason the Extremist Right is trying to test this and see what will actually happen if we default, ignoring the fact that most mainstream economists think this is insanity.
When Bush came into office the debt ceiling had not been changed for 5 years and we were running surpluses. Then suddenly, due to Bush’s gross mismanagement of government, there was a need to raise the debt limit in 2002 to allow Bush’s mismanagement of the government to continue without triggering a meltdown of the economy. Then again the debt ceiling was raised for Bush in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, twice in 2008, twice in 2009 (While Obama was President in 2009, that budget had been passed into law during Bush’s Presidency.)
The press needs to be asking pointedly why suddenly now there is all the concern about Obama raising the debt ceiling when no one cared when Bush borrowed like a drunken sailor for 8 years. Now the right wing extremists are getting crazy about raising the debt ceiling, but don’t forget that they were staying silent while the problem was being created by Bush and his company of right wing extremists. Why?
Senator Ryan calls the current deficit an “Existential Threat” to the United States. If this is true, then why not balance the budget by raising the taxes on the rich now? The money is in the system, but the idea of taxing the rich has become a forbidden topic in Washington, while gutting benefits that the middle class has already paid for is an acceptable topic. To these right wing extremists this so-called “existential threat” is just an excuse to undermine the New Deal principal of “Freedom From Fear”. The right wants us to be afraid. Afraid of losing our jobs, our health insurance, our dignity in old age. One of these extremists that seems to want to play brinkmanship with the debt ceiling, Rep. Tom Rooney (R., Fla.), was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying, “When you say the drop-dead day is going to be August, I question that,” “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
What’s next? We would never tolerate that caviler lack of caution with regards to our security and defense. Unfortunately for us, Congressman Rooney sits on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Congressman Rooney is a typical tea party extremist, using cheap rhetoric to advance the interests of the wealthy. His web site calls for us to “Reduce the corporate income tax rate to 12.5 percent (the same rate as Ireland’s).” The same as Ireland, I can actually get on board with that, I think Guinness is great. His web site fails to mention that Ireland also has a personal income tax of 41% after the first EU 37,000, and a 21% National VAT (a sales tax on most goods, imports and services). . Somehow the Irish also have dirt cheap quality health care and higher education.
If we think the deficit is a serious issue, then it is time to start talking about raising taxes on the super rich and excess consumption, not gutting our already thread bare social safety net.