Category Archives: debt ceiling

America Thanks The Tea Party? [video]

Actor, voice over artist and Tea Party gadfly, D.C. Douglas, released another video on Friday nght thanking the Tea Party for its contributions to the debt ceiling debate. Immediately upon it’s release, his video took on even greater meaning.

Though this video’s release occured at roughly the same time that Standard & Poor’s credit downgrade for the US became official – it was mere coincidence. Twitterverse, however, picked up on the video’s sentiment and began forwarding it to friends as way of expressing their less-than-warm-n-fuzzy feelings reagrding the Tea Party’s hand in the credit downgrade.

Apparently this was not without some merit. In S & P’s statement, they write “[T]he downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned…”

In essence, Congressman John Boehner chose to move into the far right Tea Party’s territory rather than into the Republican mainstream. So, in effect, it seems even more fitting that America should Thank the Tea Party!

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Filed under credit rating agencies, D.C. Douglas, debt ceiling, downgrade of debt, economy, Republicans, Standard and Poors, Tea Party

Rush Holt; The Debt Ceiling Downer

For the moment we have put the debt crisis behind us. That is small comfort as the economy at large, the job situation, the housing market, and the financial markets continue to suffer. The Tea Party in Congress and its enablers should never have been allowed to threaten America’s good name in order to advance their view of a diminished government and trickle-down economics. They should never have been allowed to force a closed-door, hurried revision of our entire economy. And they certainly should never have been able to get away with a deal that increases inequities in our society and our economy. You, like most Americans, may have watched in dismay—or even in disgust—as Washington fumbled the self-imposed crisis.

Putting aside the distasteful process and the worrisome prospect that government by hostage-taking will continue, this week I had to face the immediate questions: Was the resulting deal going to help the economy? Would it create jobs? Would it reduce the crippling inequities in our economy and society? Would it bring down the deficit, as was the ostensible goal? On all counts my answer was “No,” and I voted against the resolution on the House floor.

I am pleased that we as a country are paying our debts, but I lament the damage done to the institutions of government and the good name of the United States as the most reliable, most creditworthy entity in the entire financial world. I lament especially the damage done to our view of ourselves. The negotiations were based on Tea Party premises: that our deficit is the principal concern facing us, that America is a pitiful debtor nation, that we must lower our sights, that we must end the quest to free our people from want and inequalities, that we cannot afford any longer to be the nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal. Are we no longer the America of the 1940’s that paid for millions of GI’s to go to college and buy homes, while rebuilding ourselves and Europe, when we were faced with a national debt much greater than today?

The deal this week may have the beneficial effect of showing that in the long run the United States intends to bring expenditures more in line with revenues. In the short term, though, the deal is a downer. It not only avoids dealing with today’s principal needs—job creation and economic growth—it actually will cost jobs and preclude any economic stimulation. At a time when clearly the economy is shaky, it is a mistake to declare, as the deal effectively does, that the federal government will have no direct hand in getting the economy moving. To meet next year’s target of spending reductions will require cuts equivalent to the budgets of all the following government operations combined: the EPA, the National Park Service, the Small Business Administration, FEMA emergency and firefighter grants, and the Women-Infants-and-Children food grants. In subsequent years, the cuts would be even ten times larger. Why should we rally to the cry, “No, We Can’t?” Have we forgotten that barely a decade ago we paid down the deficit with strong economic growth, job creation, and budgetary discipline without resorting to gimmicks, triggers, or Balanced Budget Amendments?

I would have liked to vote on a plan that protected the major functions granted to Congress under the Constitution rather than turning them over to an undemocratic, isolated committee of twelve. I would have liked to vote on a plan that would have accelerated withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, saving lives and dollars, and that would have produced savings in our healthcare costs and dealt with the looming loss of 30 percent of doctors’ reimbursement under Medicare. Instead, the plan that was presented was negotiated on the turf of the Tea Party, which seems to think that it is anti-capitalist to ask those individuals and companies doing well in this economy to bear some of the load, even though the one or two percent of people with the highest income have seen their income grow by about 25 percent while everyone else has seen an effective decline and America’s largest corporations have reaped immense profits by using loopholes and offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes.

Nevertheless, I am making it my job to beat back the pessimistic view in Washington that gave rise to this deal. We must not let this deal be the chart of our country’s future course. It is based on false premises that fail to recognize the inherent fairness that is characteristic of our people, the ingenuity and entrepreneurial energy that have sparked our economy for generations, and the unshakable American meliorism that says we can and must make life better for each succeeding generation. I think that now, more than ever, we must have a realistic view of our situation so that we can strongly defend equality and build a community that reinforces the opportunities for each individual.

Sincerely,

RUSH HOLT
Member of Congress

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Filed under Afghanistan, Congress, Congressman Rush Holt, debt ceiling, economy, EPA, Iraq, Medicare, National Park Service, Tea Party

Senator Menendez Votes Against Debt Deal

August 2, 2011

WASHINGTON – US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today voted against the debt deal because it lowers the deficit on the backs of working class Americans, demands no sacrifices from those who can best afford it, and could jeopardize our economy’s fragile recovery.

“I cannot in good conscience support a plan where soldiers, seniors, students, and working families must endure trillions in cuts, but oil companies, billionaires, and corporate jet owners are not asked to pay their fair share” said Senator Menendez. “I supported the Reid plan and previous efforts to reduce the deficit because I believe it’s important to stem our nation’s rising debt, but I believe that we must do so in a balanced way that calls for shared sacrifice, just as the American people have demanded. Such an unbalanced approach is not only unfair, but it could also jeopardize our already fragile economy.”

Senator Menendez took to the Senate floor yesterday to explain his opposition to the plan.

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Filed under Budget Control Act, debt ceiling, debt limit, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, shared sacrifice, spending cuts, Tea Party, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

Lautenberg Stands Up for Everyday Families, Opposes Unfair Budget Deal

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) issued the following statement after voting against a deficit reduction deal that will cut trillions in funding for critical domestic programs:

“This legislation was a shakedown, not a compromise. Tea Party Republicans held our country hostage until their ideological demands were met, with little regard for what it will mean for the average American family. Our debt ceiling had to be raised – as was done 18 times under President Reagan and seven times under President George W. Bush – but it shouldn’t be done in a way that diminishes access to education and health care, a cleaner environment, or homeland security. Our country’s financial future must include a balanced approach of shared sacrifice; taking trillions from programs that help our children, seniors, and middle class, while asking for nothing more from the wealthy or corporations raking in record profits, is not the picture of a fair and democratic society. We must continue to work to reduce our deficits, but countries, like buildings, cannot be built from the top down without injuring the hope and morale of their people and destabilizing the strength of their foundations.”

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Filed under Budget Control Act, debt ceiling, President George W. Bush, Seniors, shared sacrifice, Social Security, spending cuts, Tea Party, US. Sen. Frank Lautenberg

Holt Statement Opposing Budget Control Act

Monday, 01 August 2011

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today voted against S. 365, the Budget Control Act of 2011. He released the following statement after his vote:

“The default debate is, at its heart, a debate between two visions for America. One side envisions rebuilding our country, investing in jobs and education and infrastructure, and rising from the Great Recession as a stronger and more resilient nation. The other side accepts a pessimistic vision of a weakened America with a shrunken government – a nation hampered by deep cuts to the safety net and hobbled by a refusal to invest in our future.

“I have no doubt that, in a fair debate, a hopeful vision for America would win out. But the default debate has not been held on fair terms. The Tea Party and their enablers have held America hostage. They have insisted that, unless Congress enacted their radical, ideological agenda, they would force an unprecedented default on America’s obligations and thus trigger an economic collapse.

“From the beginning of this debate, I rejected the notion that America’s creditworthiness should be used as a bargaining chip. Yet I was willing to support a balanced, fair deal if that was what was required to prevent a default. Unfortunately, today’s deal is not balanced. It is not fair. Most of all, it is not right.

“The House has voted for vast cuts in government services that ordinary Americans depend on: student loans, unemployment insurance, food safety inspections, highway safety programs, and more. These cuts will force layoffs among teachers, public safety officers, construction workers, and more. These laid-off workers will, in turn, be forced to pare back their spending at their local grocery stores, drug stores, and small businesses, forcing still more layoffs – a vicious circle that threatens to destabilize our fragile economy. We saw in last week’s economic reports that job growth has been choked back by cuts in state and local governments. This deal does not help the situation. It hurts the economy.

“The deal lays the groundwork for another $1.5 trillion in cuts to come, to be negotiated behind closed doors by an unelected super-committee. Given that the first round of cuts will have decimated discretionary programs, these later cuts will very likely focus on Social Security and Medicare. The citizens who will be hurt most are those who have the least voice in our democracy. After all, when a handful of politicians gather in the proverbial smoke-filled room, the interests of ordinary Americans are nearly always left out.

“Yet although most Americans will sacrifice greatly, the most privileged among us will be immune. Favored corporate interests, millionaires, and billionaires will continue to receive special tax breaks as far as the eye can see. That is not the sort of fair, balanced deal that Americans asked for and expected.

“As poor as this deal is on its merits, I am even more troubled by the precedent it sets. The Tea Party and their enablers have, by taking the American economy hostage, transformed a routine budgetary authorization into the most dramatic reshaping of government in decades. Today’s deal establishes that government-by-hostage-negotiation is a legitimate, effective way to achieve one’s political ends. I am frightened by what this means for the future of our democracy.”

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Filed under Budget Control Act, Congressman Rush Holt, debt ceiling, Social Security, spending cuts, Tea Party

APP Editorial: Obama’s stature compromised

The editorial below is from today’s Asbury Park Press, needless to say I am in full agreement!

President Barack Obama has revealed himself to be a man unwilling to fight for the principles in which he has said he believed.

The protracted debt ceiling/deficit reduction battle reveals, more starkly than ever, this president’s inability to stand firm. The United States may avoid a default, but the battle will end not with a bang, but with a whimper. Sadly, this is now the defining moment of Obama’s presidency.

How many times during the last six months has Obama capitulated to the 80 unreasoning Tea Party members of the House of Representatives and their right-wing echo chamber on talk radio and cable TV?

First, he allowed the debt ceiling talks to be linked to deficit reduction, then he abandoned even the idea of revenue increases. He gave away the store and alienated his base, and still the radical fringe frames the debate, now by demanding more cuts and an unnecessary constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, which would hamstring the government in the wake of major events. He could have stood up at any time, holding the 14th Amendment option in his pocket as a last resort. Now he just waits like the rest of us to see what happens next.

The president gave in and gave in, and he has lost whatever good will the great middle had for his attempt to be the rational one in the argument. Americans cannot respect a president who runs up the white flag of surrender.

And this obscene sausage-making is only the latest in a long line of appeasements: on health care, on Guantanamo Bay, on civilian trials for terror suspects.

We teach our children the fine art of compromise, but if you compromise away your values, you’ve lost something you cannot get back by barter.

We don’t want to elect some “philosopher-king” out of Plato. We want a leader with fire in his belly, who at least puts up an honest struggle based on core principles, who, in the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “spends himself in a worthy cause … and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

So many thought that Barack Obama might be just that man. It looks as if we were wrong.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, debt ceiling, debt deal, editorial, President Obama, Tea Party

Jon Stewart: Dealageddon! – A Compromise Without Revenues

The debt ceiling debate ends in a budget deal that raises the debt limit and includes trillions in spending cuts but has no revenue increases.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Dealageddon! – A Compromise Without Revenues
www.thedailyshow.com
http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:393592
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Filed under compromise, Dealageddon, debt ceiling, Jon Stewart, President Obama, tax revenues, The Daily Show