And the melodrama continues. Six days away from the August 2 deadline and Republicans are still locked in their no taxes mindset imposed upon them by Tea Party Republicans. John Boehner finds himself in a position with little wriggle room available. In saner times, the Speaker would have been only too happy to accept the package offered to him by the President, one which contained massive cuts and changes to Social Security and Medicare. But the last word you would use to describe the current climate in D.C. is sane. Not only does Boehner face daily threats from teabaggers in Congress who refuse to vote for any bill containing an increase in revenue (aka tax increases for top wage earners), Eric Cantor is doing all he could to make Boehner’s job a living nightmare. Cantor is dead set on becoming the next House Speaker and if that means taking the country into default, he is more than willing to lend a helping hand.
The NY Times posted a chart over the weekend which sets the entire debt ceiling crisis into perspective.
James Fallows over at the Atlantic explains:
A few lessons can be drawn from the numbers. First, the Bush tax cuts have had a huge damaging effect. If all of them expired as scheduled at the end of 2012, future deficits would be cut by about half, to sustainable levels. Second, a healthy budget requires a healthy economy; recessions wreak havoc by reducing tax revenue. Government has to spur demand and create jobs in a deep downturn, even though doing so worsens the deficit in the short run. Third, spending cuts alone will not close the gap. The chronic revenue shortfalls from serial tax cuts are simply too deep to fill with spending cuts alone. Taxes have to go up.
What the chart clearly shows is that the Bush tax cuts, the number one contributor to the national debt over the last decade, is the very item which Republicans refuse to budge on. Could their motives be any clearer? For Republicans, it’s not about spending cuts nor is it about fighting tax increases for the rich. It’s about winning in 2012. Most Republicans would not be as forthcoming as to actually admit their true intent. But then, Donald Trump is not most Republicans.
“Frankly the Republicans would be crazy unless they get 100 percent of the deal that they want right now to make any deal. If this happens, for instance if this stuff is going on prior to an election, he can’t get reelected. He possibly can’t get elected anyway. … The fact is, unless the Republicans get 100% of what they want, and that may include getting rid of Obamacare, which is a total disaster, then they should not make a deal other than a minor extension which would take you before the election which would ensure Obama doesn’t get elected, which would be a great thing.”
Whatever the outcome of this artificial, self-induced crisis, the question becomes to which party blame gets assigned to in 2012. The presidency lies in the balance. If facts and truth were the determining factor in deciding who the evildoer is in this sad tale, then it should be a no-brainer. Clearly, Republicans are the villains twirling their mustaches as they gleefully strap the economy, domestic and global, to the railway tracks. Simply look at the chart above if you’re not entirely sure on that one.
But if we’ve learned anything from watching Republicans perform in the age of Obama, truth and the well-being of their country does not factor in much in what they do or say. Much like a sociopath lacking the ability to feel shame for their actions, reason and honesty play no part in who and what they are. With the able help of conservative media, Republicans will lie and manipulate their way through this one in much the way they’ve done for the last three years.
And once again, politics and the fate of a nation comes down to little more than a game of public relations. To the party which best tells their side of the story goes the spoils of victory.