Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
The debt ceiling needs raising! The debt ceiling needs raising! Everyone on TV, on the radio and print clamoring like Chicken Little. Freak about the world coming to a financial end. It is exactly what the people who engineer stuff like this do to you. Guys like Karl Rove are the Chriss Angels of political theater. While you’re out there wringing your hands, and the clowns on TV are talking deficit doom, the GOP continues to do what it is really out to do: Socially re-engineer America in its backward-looking world view.
The Republicans preach fiscal responsibility. They’re hollow words. No one who is fiscally responsible does the kind of global damage to our financial reputation that the extreme Right GOP has done.
Moodys and Standard & Poors are both reevaluating our iron-clad credit as a result. Even if we settle this mess by August 2, 2011, the damage is done. Most of the rest of the world that buys the majority of our Treasury debt is now looking at us as just another country being consumed by extremism and partisan strife.
How “fiscally responsible” is it to make our debt cost more to finance? To affect our reputation in the economic world? Whatever “savings” would be incurred by slashing the federal budget are lost to the pockets of governments and billionaires buying our debt… Hey wait! You don’t think that it’s a cynical ploy to leach more out of the government by select large clients of Wall Street, do you? Nah…
As I pointed out to you at the beginning of the week in “U.S. Economy 101 (in Plain English, with Humor): How the Media and the GOP are Shucking You” the making of a linkage between the “debt ceiling” and slashing the Federal budget is a dangerous game without any real point. Republicans past removed debt ceiling votes because, in a rare bit of Right-reasoning that is right, it is the spending in excess of revenue that controls how much that debt rises.
This is why the polls that show raising the debt ceiling being “unpopular,” most 47-22 against, are a big “Duh.” Of course no one thinks that spending more than we have is a grand idea, even though we’ve been doing it for decades and no one had a problem with it until George W. Bush and his batch of Republicans went on a war binge and a tax holiday simultaneously and spent us into nearly a full year’s GDP worth of debt, around $14.6T .
All of this panic, though, is a smoke-screen for the bigger picture being played out by the lap-dogs of a handful of very rich, very Right, often beyond-the-grave trust-fed dead people  who didn’t like the New Deal one bit, whose right white estate managers like an African-American in the White House even less, and who want to socially re-engineer the country back into their limited world-view of the 1930s.
While you’ve been in your economic Chinese fire drill, since the turn of the tide to the Far Right in November, 2010, the Republicans have, in the name of “fiscal” reform and jobs for Americans, proceeded to write no jobs bills.
Every last one of the Republicans’ state or federal “fiscal” reforms has involved legislation tinkering with everything from stripping millions of legal Americans of their right to vote through voter suppression VoterID laws that are the new Jim Crow for minorities, students and the elderly ; Denying the rights of employees to collectively bargain with their employers ; Relaxing already lax pollution and energy standards which even Righties like David Frum shake their head at ; Legislation removing reproductive choice for women; To stripping the federal system of its social safety heathcare nets, Medicare and Medicaid .
They also want to privatize Social Security , and put it into the hands of the very people who nearly bankrupted Wall Street and took the world’s economy into the toilet and have kept it there, despite Wall Street’s robust rebound, thanks largely to you and me bailing them out.
Forget incentivizing new American plants that can build next generation light bulbs that consume 1/3rd or less power, they want the old standards brought back so we can get more of those wonderfully cheap, high-burn bulbs by the boatload from China that don’t cost GE and other manufacturers much, or hire more expensive American labor . The Republicans are about preserving the Bush Tax Cuts, and using their sudden rediscovery of thriftiness that they forgot from 2000 to 2008 as an excuse to make America whiter and a lot less brighter.
There are dozens of billionaires and multi-millionaires, including guys like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, no small players in the global financial game, who “get it” about restoring the 3% tax on the wealthy, the ONLY PERSONAL INCOME TAX that the Obama Administration is talking about raising, and reducing corporate off-shore tax haven loopholes . Do that, along with further cutting of whatever fat you can find in the budget, and we can bring the debt ceiling down to family living room levels in ten years without a problem. Both revenue and spending must be addressed, even if the Republicans have given taxes the appearance of a dose of anthrax.
The problem is not Big Government. It’s the focus of government.
Democrats see the purpose of government as to provide for our weakest and least able, curb greed and excess, and provide the infrastructure that allows for greater commerce and prosperity. The modern, Reagan religious radicals’ GOP sees the government as a means of legislating their narrow view of living and morality, operates from the utopian haze that somehow, every American can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and be a CEO one day, and will use the strongarm of the law and government to preserve the power of the wealthy, selling it all the while to their mindless Astroturf grass roots zombies as a twisted form of populism.
Does any of this sound like job creating legislation? It is all about the social engineering of those in the upper crust of the Religious Right with the millions to remake America back into their image. The Koch Brothers. The Dead Billionaires Club  of the Mellons, the Olins, the Coors.
To all the TV-controlled simpletons out there: Just as Chriss Angel really isn’t being crushed by the steamroller, all of this debt and deficit talk is over-hyped combat over the bigger issue. Which direction is this country going in?
The choices are to move forward, find new energy, create new jobs, keep our economy prosperous and our Gross Domestic Product high while caring for our least able, or fighting for the freedom to plug in a 100 watt light bulb, have the insurance industry take 30% of your pay to keep you alive and well, which will be hard as the water will be polluted, the temperatures will rise, but America will be a God-fearing, white-ruled, LGBT-closeted, minority suppressed paradise for a few as the ship of state sinks into the rising seas.
Stop this. Please. Call. Write. Walk. Shout. Let this be Miracle Grow to the real grass roots. Enough of the Tea Party Astroturf.
My shiny two.
Footnote: Other than when shamelessly plugging our own articles, we are using the new system of footnoting  for outside sources which link you to other articles that ground the commentary for you, or can help you learn more about a particular topic mentioned. - ed.