Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Between Barack And A Hard Place

     House Republicans have no one to blame but themselves for the difficult position in which they currently reside visa-via the fiscal cliff. By allowing the Democrats to back them into a political corner the last two years that they have controlled the House of Representatives, John Boehner and the rest of the Republicans have given President Obama and the Democrats not only legislative victories, but may well have cost their party the Presidential election.
     It all began shortly after the Republicans took control of the House after the 2010 mid-term elections. The Bush era tax rates were set to expire on December 31, 2010, unless they were extended by Congress and the President. President Obama, at that time, wanted to extend all the rates, saying that raising any tax rates in the context of a faltering economy would throw us back into recession. But the President also wanted increased spending and the ill-advised tax holiday created by a reduction in the Social Security withholding rate. Instead of John Boehner and the Republicans saying "no" to the increased spending and tax holiday and pushing for the current income tax rates to be made permanent, they gave the President everything he wanted. And in so doing, they placed a temporary tourniquet on a bleeding economy and allowed the President to procrastinate the results of his failed policies until after he was safely re-elected.
     Less than a year after the President and Senate Democrats played John Bohner and the House Republicans like a cheap Stradivarius, they executed an encore performance. In August of 2011 the Federal government's debt ceiling was reaching its limit and needed Congressional action to allow the drunken sailors in Congress and the White House to extend their spending spree. Once again, instead of having a showdown and imposing adult behavior on the Federal government, the House Republicans agreed to raise  the debt ceiling. But they didn't just stop at raising the debt limit, they also agreed to the automatic cuts in defense and domestic programs called the sequester. These automatic cuts would be triggered by nothing being done otherwise, which is the one talent Congress exercises best. Conveniently for the President, the cuts wouldn't happen until he was safely re-elected. Once again, for fear or reprisal from the voters, the Republicans aided President Obama in kicking the can down the road past his re-election.
     Had John Boehner and the House Republicans stood on their principles and the knowledge of what was best for the country, the colossal failure of President Obama's policies would have been brought to fruition before he was re-elected and may have prevented that tragedy from ever occurring. This would have allowed for a real recovery to happen over the next four years with leadership interested in the health of the country, both economically and constitutionally. I find it ironic that the very thing which lead the Republicans to cave into the President, i.e. electoral defeat, is the one result they guaranteed with their fall from principle.

Click here to watch my latest political song parody. Posted November 26, 2012.

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