There is No Leverage with Debt Ceiling

President Barack Obama, delivering his 2012 State of the Union Address earlier this year, is working hard to balance the country's budget. White House Official Photo: Pete Souza
President Barack Obama delivering his 2012 State of the Union Address. White House Official Photo: Pete Souza

The political pundits are focused like a laser on the Republican Party fissures as if those fissures are the reason the Republicans got rolled on the fiscal cliff fiasco.  The pundits are so enmeshed in Washington DC politics and conventional wisdom that they fail to see what is really happening in the rest of the country.  The Republican policies are not supported by even Republicans!

When the phony Tea Party phenomenon took the media by storm in 2009, the conventional wisdom was that Americans were up in arms over big government and deficit spending.   San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown however, made the correct analysis.  The Republican far right fringe groups that had always been here finally had someone they could all hate, a Black President.   The “mainstream” Republicans did the same thing they did in the 1980’s when they opened their doors to the racist bigots in the Democratic Party so they could win national elections.  If you remember, Democrats still controlled the Congress during the 1980’s.

So Republicans in 2010 opened their doors to the fringe hate groups in order to position themselves to win a national election in 2012.  The results are what we have now, a party taken over by fringe groups who don’t understand how to govern in a democracy and whose policies are not supported by the American people.   And by the way, they lost the 2012 national election.

Now they believe they can blackmail the country into implementing their policies using the debt limit as “leverage”.  I do not believe they have leverage any more than I believe in the tooth fairy.  The President has no obligation to negotiate anything the Republican Congress and he has already said he would not.  The debt limit needs to be raised to pay for programs and government activities already approved by Congress.

They need to pass a bill to fund the budget they passed and send it to the Senate.  If they want budget cuts, they can include all the cuts they want to make in that bill. The Senate needs to either accept the House bill or amend it and send it back to the House.  One of two outcomes will happen then.  Either the House and Senate will send the President a debt limit bill he can sign or they can send him a bill he will veto.

Either way the President wins.  He is not going to gut the social welfare system while General Electric pays no income taxes and Mitt Romney pays 13%.  The American people do not want a society where a smaller and smaller number of people control more and more of the country’s wealth while everyone else struggles.  That is simply not going to happen and that’s the bottom line.

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