Economist Dean Baker gets it, Radical Republicans Lead by Paul Ryan(R-WI) in Your Pockets: Government by People Who Hate You
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan put out a budget proposal last week that will leave the vast majority of future retirees without decent health care by ending Medicare as we know it. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis, most middle-income retirees would have to pay almost half of their income to purchase a Medicare equivalent insurance package by 2030. They would be paying much more than half of their income in later years.
This sort of broadside against the living standards of the middle class might have been expected to draw an outraged response in a nation that exalts the lifestyle and values of the middle class. Instead the punditry rallied around Mr. Ryan’s plan to deal with the problem of run-away entitlement spending, crediting it for being “serious” even if they did not embrace all the details.
Why or how did the national media let Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security become the patient with a broken leg that Republican want to undergo extensive cancer treatment. The disease is not programs that have helped alleviate poverty, suffering and disease. The disease is the gangrenous rot conservatives started in 2000.
In principle the country’s elite should be laying low right now. After all, their greed and ineptitude has given us the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. But after getting the Wall Street banks back on their feet with trillions of dollars of government subsidized loans, the elite are once again making a full-frontal assault on the living standards of the middle-class. Last week it was Medicare, but they promise to be back to attack Social Security in the not-too distant future.
The ostensible rationale for this attack is the country’s huge budget deficit. This is garbage. As all the pundits know, the country has a huge deficit today because the Wall Street boys drove the economy off a cliff. If the government deficit was not propping up the economy we would be looking at 11 or 12 percent unemployment, rather than 8.8 percent. Spending creates jobs and at this point it is not coming from private sector, so the government must fill the hole.
Every American should be shocked and sickened that the same remorseless, shameless, incompetent sleazebags who refused to pay for two wars – a first in U.S. history – who crashed and burned the economy are back and they’re telling middle-class America the only way we can save the ship Republicans set on fire is to throw the middle-class overboard.
Some consolatory news for those who were sure Democrats went too far in compromising with The Orange Boehner Crew on the budget, Budget deal details: Cuts that aren’t quite cuts. Obama gave up some of the high-speed rail funds (1.5 billion, but kept $6.5 billion). $10 billion came from cuts in slashing earmarked projects by legislators – some of that from Republicans of course. Obama saved the Head Start early learning program, the maximum Pell grant of $5,550 and the President’s “Race to the Top” initiative for better-performing schools. Democrats also saved medical and research funding for the National Institutes of Health. And this has got to burn – Obama saved funding for National Public Radio. The details are on-line for hardcore wonks to read , Historic Spending Cuts the Centerpiece for Final Continuing Resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year 2011. To me it looks as though Obama threw Boehner some table scraps to help him save face with the tea smokers, but it was largely a compromise that favored Democrats.
The next big battle is rising the debt ceiling. This is already more about the radical Right jockeying not to appear like they are going to ignore the tea nutty platforms of the 2010 elections. Democrats will win. That is unequivocal. There are a few reasons. Number one is the millions, more likely billions failure to rise the ceiling will have on the corporate-conservative money train. The only people who really seem itching for letting the debt ceiling cave in are the full-time flame throwers like Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Besides that the House Majority Leader Boehner (R-OH) and his House Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) will have to eat a lot of crow, Boehner’s Double-Dealing on the Debt Ceiling
When George W. Bush sat in the Oval Office, Republican majorities in Congress voted seven times to increase the U.S. debt ceiling. That recent history, combined with the inconvenient truth that the national debt tripled under Ronald Reagan and doubled again under Bush, may have prompted then Minority Leader John Boehner to warn his GOP colleagues in November that “We’re going to have to deal with it as adults.” But emboldened by his victory in Friday’s budget showdown, Speaker Boehner is now holding the debt ceiling and the U.S. economy hostage, claiming Republicans won’t “roll over” and give President Obama “a clean bill.”
I differ with the analysis. Boehner got a few concessions and thanked Obama for sparing him even more embarrassment. Notice you have not heard Wall St demanding their bought and paid for Republicans pols to not rise the ceiling. That quiet speaks volumes. They cannot risk the U.S. defaulting on its debt for the first time in history. It might cause a second recession ( with no bail-out this time) or cause a new wave of global financial collapse. All of this because Democrats will not defund Planned Parenthood or stop the EPA from enforcing laws against air borne toxins. Obviously the usual crowd of wing-nuts allergic to accountability will do their twisted dance of denial, but most people will see a worsening of the economy over holding women’s health care hostage as unacceptable. House Whip Cantor can talk tough all day about holding the debt ceiling hostage – as a matter of fact he and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) should talk trash all day every day so we’ll have plenty of sound bites like “a time leverage moment”. Millions of newly unemployed Americans can read the trash talk while they’re applying for food stamps they won’t get because the cupboard is bare. There will be some entertainment value just as Wall St was getting back to their multi-million dollar bonuses and record profits, they take another financial bath. And let’s not forget everyone who has their fingers crossed that the housing market was on the way to a full recovery. No new debt ceiling means a deeper and prolonged housing slump. Obama could, but probably will not, destroy Boehner and Cantor’s political careers. Once again, he’ll offer up some crumbs around the edges so they and the rightie pundits can save face and claim victory.
I’m a little surprised by what some liberal bloggers are saying. They really seem to believe the right-wing sugar daddies like the Koch brothers, Richard Scaife and others are willing to take a potentially billion dollar bath to make the average teatard happy.
ABC has an easy to read consequences of playing chicken with the federal debt limit, Debt Ceiling Fight Takes Center Stage: What It Means For You – If U.S. Debt Limit Isn’t Raised, Interest Rates Would Surge and Markets Would Crash