Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Debt Ceilings, Politics, and Stuff

I'm a little irked at what is going on in Washington D.C. right now. I'm irked because the truth about the economy, jobs, and American debt is being hidden behind a rhetoric meant to make us afraid. It seems, dear American, that the current strategy of the Republican party might be to scare us into voting Republican next round.

I find this disconcerting. First of all, I'm probably going to vote Republican anyway. If not that, then I'll vote independent. My reason being that I am a financial conservative and an ethical conservative, and at least the Republicans pretend like that matters to them.

My purpose in writing here is not to go off on a rant, it is to muse about the facts as they are being presented in order to see if a rant is justified. Lately, the Congress has been battling the President over the 'debt-ceiling'. That is, they are fighting on whether or not they can raise it to borrow more money. The simple fact of the matter is that we are spending more money than we are raising in taxes. Our choices, then, seem simple: raise taxes or cut spending or hope for a miraculous economic boom.

Raising taxes is not an option, according to Republicans. I like that because this is what Republicans are for: cut taxes. You will never hear me complain about a tax cut. Ever. The rule of thumb is not to raise taxes in a recession, and it seems that we are in one right now. Plus, any tax raise that is significant to the bottom line must come out of the pocket of the "wealthy". The logic here is that the wealthy are the ones doing the hiring, so if you take away their money, less people get hired. So don't take job-producers money and give it to the government. Argue about that if you like, but at least it makes sense in theory.

So let's move to the sticky issue of the debt-ceiling. This is what really cooks my grits when I think about those pesky facts. Here's one: during the Bush administration, the Congress raised the debt limit...count'em...six times. Did we have all of this grousing back then? Was their the thundercloud of a coming apocalypse hanging over us at that time? I don't remember it if there was. The guy going nuts about this debt ceiling hike this time, Representative Cantor, voted for the increase in the debt ceiling back in the Bush era. Why is it the end of the world now?

Perhaps the politics have changed. I like that, too. Maybe we really do have some fiscal conservatives in Congress now who will do a good job of trimming the budget. (And all of us will feel this, trust me on that. We are all far more dependent than we pretend.) But here's what I don't like: don't act like you are taking the moral high ground on this if you have been part of the problem. (I'm looking at you, Congressman.) Admit that you used to be an economic free-wheeler back in the day, but now enough is enough. Don't operate on a politics of fear, but in truth.

Is that asking too much?

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