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At the time of this writing, there is still a stalemate in Washington about raising the debt ceiling. In the past there has never been a problem with raising this ceiling.
During the Reagan administration it was raised 17 times and during the George W. Bush administration the debt ceiling was raised eight times. Now all of sudden, with President Barack Obama in the White House, there is a problem with raising the ceiling.
The past 10 years has brought a lot of unforeseen situations to the United States. In President Bush’s first year, the United States was attacked by Islamic terrorists at the World Trade Center. We were already involved in Afghanistan trying to find Osama bin Laden. Then for some reasons, that have been proven to be false, we were sent into Iraq.
This had the effect of waging two wars at the same time and still no tax increase to pay for these wars. We were in the situation of spending $10.2 billion per month, just to pay for the Iraq war.
We have also been thrown into the great recession with the failure of banks and large businesses. Also, the housing market’s bubble burst, further complicating our problems. People were losing – and still are – their most prized possession, their homes. We lost millions of jobs to these failures and they have not returned.
As we were waging war in two foreign countries, President Bush and Congress decided to give tax cuts. Yes, the middle class got some tax relief, but the greatest tax relief went to corporations, millionaires and billionaires. This tax relief is still in place and our unemployment is more than 9 percent. These corporations and big-money people continue to get their tax breaks, yet, are not creating any jobs. In fact, they have left the United States for cheap labor and no regulation. Republican leaders say that we can’t raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy in these depressed times because that would keep them from hiring. Well, they have had about 10 years to do some hiring, but they are holding onto their money and tax breaks. This tells me they have no intention to hire and would rather go overseas for cheap labor and to pollute at will.
Now, the Republican leadership wants to dismantle the Social Security system and the Medicare system. Both of these programs are successful and essential to millions of Americans. These programs will need some adjusting to keep them viable for the future, but they do not need to be destroyed. These programs have been adjusted in the past and there is no reason they can’t be adjusted today. In fact, Social Security and Medicare should not be involved in these debt-ceiling talks. This is a ploy to hold hostage the president and Democrats, but will eventually be detrimental to all Americans. Americans who depend on Social Security and Medicare are being frightened by Republicans, who would hold their basic security hostage in this debate.
Democrats, Republicans and Independents know that the debt must be reduced. They all have said so, but the attitude of many Republicans in Washington is “my way or the highway.” We cannot survive with that kind of attitude. Democrats have offered many concessions and compromises, but the Republicans continually turn them down.
This debate shows each side’s true colors: The Democrats are trying to protect the interests of working class Americans by safeguarding Medicare and Social Security now and into the future, but are willing to compromise to save the United States from the debt ceiling calamity. The Republicans would rather protect tax breaks and loopholes for millionaires, billionaires and giant corporations, who contributed to their campaigns and they won’t take compromise for an answer.
There are those who think this debt-ceiling situation is not serious and that it is something politicians in Washington have trumped up to cause an unnecessary uproar. Well, I for one, do not want to gamble with such high stakes. I can’t afford it and I don’t want my family or yours to have to find out the hard way about such stakes. The repercussions could be dire.
Now, I am not so pessimistic to think that something can’t be done or that we will have to accept the my-way-or-the-highway attitude. There are still some in Congress who can be relied upon to get this done. This was evidenced in the “Gang of Six” Congressmen – Republicans and Democrats – who came forward with a plan. There are a number of congressmen working together on a plan that will work out of this dilemma. Those elected in November 2010 were not given a mandate to change everything about Washington. Americans didn’t elect Grover Norquist to office or these talk show hosts, who are only interested in promoting themselves.
I hope reasonable minds will eventually prevail and keep this country the great nation that we are.