Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Just Another Cave-In

     There was an ad campaign for an insurance company that had as its tag line, "So easy, a caveman can do it."  I've been reminded of these commercials many times in the last year watching the Republican-controlled house cave into the Democrats on every important issue. When the Republicans took control of the House in the 2010 mid-term elections, there was a hope among Conservatives that they would slow down President Obama's destructive agenda. However, in the year since they won the majority in the house, they have caved into the President and his party in a spectacular way.
     The first cave-in happened even before they were officially sworn in as the new majority. The issue was to maintain the current tax rates which were instituted under the Bush administration in 2003. The President and his party attached the payroll tax cut, an unemployment extension and more spending as payment for keeping the tax rates at their current levels. The Republicans should have made the case that the cut in social security payroll taxes takes money out of an already bankrupt program and does nothing to help the faltering economy. Furthermore they should have educated the public that extending unemployment has been proven to keep it high by subsidizing people not to work.
    The next major cave-in happened in the spring of this year on the continuing resolution to fund the government. A resolution that would have not been necessary if the Democrats in the Senate and the President would have passed a budget, which they have refused to do for the last 3 years. The house Republicans said they would not agree to any deal unless it included 100 billion dollars in cuts. The 100 billion dollar figure became 60 and then 30 and in the final bill it was little more than a couple hundred million dollar reduction in the rate of growth, no cut.
     The biggest Republican cave-in took place during the debate on raising the debt ceiling this past August. The Republicans had won the argument and had President Obama and the Democrats down for the count. The Republican house had passed a deficit reduction plan called Cut, Cap and Balance. The Democrats refused to proffer a plan of their own, but somehow they were able to convince John Boehner to negotiate with himself, leading to weaker and weaker solutions. Finally we ended up with a plan that didn't cut spending, but only the rate of growth. It also setup the 12 member super committee whose existence is anathema to the Constitution. And the reason for the whole debate, the possibility that the U.S. credit rating would be lowered for the first time in history, happened anyway.
     And finally we come to last weeks debate on extending the unwise payroll tax cut for two months, along with yet another extension of unemployment benefits. Speaker Boehner said he wouldn't settle for anything less than a one year extension and ended up caving once again. As a conservative I have to ask myself what the point was of the Republicans winning control of the House of Representatives if they are just going to rubber-stamp everything the Democrats want to pass. Maybe John Boehner should do commercials for that insurance company, for it appears that Speaker of the House is just too hard for a caveman.

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