There are few Americans who enjoy being in debt, but it is a fact of life. At least when someone borrows money they have to repay, they have something to show for it whether it is a car, home, or a shiny new Les Paul. However, it is hard to imagine anyone being thrilled about being responsible for another person’s debt, especially if they have the new car and expect you to provide insurance, gas, and upkeep for life, and then take your car if you cannot pay their debt. Americans are being held responsible for Republicans’ debt for two unnecessary wars, costly prescription plan, tax cuts for the rich, and gifts to the oil industry, and to add insult to injury Republicans penalize Americans with spending cuts to give more to people who created the debt in the first place.
Republicans became debt and deficit sensitive in January 2009 just as President Obama was being inaugurated, and they embroiled the entire country, including Democrats, in their single-minded reduce the deficit mission. However, Republicans exempted those who benefitted from the debt of any repayment, and are attempting to rob Americans’ health and retirement accounts, domestic programs, and government services to repay the debt and give more “free stuff” to the debt creators. It is important to note that the people who caused Great Recession were bailed out by taxpayers, and are reaping 93% of the recovery and if Republicans have their way they will give more to those responsible for the Recession.
If Americans understood what Republicans are doing with this debt and deficit hoax, and that they are willing victims of the greatest scam on the people in the nation’s history, they would riot in the streets and dismantle Wall Street brick by brick. First, Republicans gave the defense industry, the wealthy, and pharmaceutical industry borrowed money that racked up the deficit, and demand the people repay the debt with domestic cuts, Medicare, and soon, Social Security. That is bad enough, but those responsible for the Great Recession; banks, financial institutions, and Wall Street are clamoring for more “debt and deficit” reduction paid for by the people after the people bailed them out and while they are reaping profits from the Recession they created.
The 2011 debt ceiling crisis that jeopardized the full faith and credit of the United States perfectly illustrates the outrageous scam Republicans are perpetrating on the American people. To raise the debt limit to pay for Republicans’ two wars, tax cuts for the wealthy, and prescription plan that benefitted big pharma, Republicans demanded spending cuts equal to the amount needed to repay their war, tax cut, and pharmaceutical debt all while refusing to raise taxes on the debt creators. For the third straight year, Paul Ryan is proposing a budget that cuts spending on programs for the people, ends Medicare, and takes food from the poor, children, and seniors to pay down the debt Halliburton, the defense industry, and wealthy incurred and profited from.
The greatest outrage should be at the financial sector that crashed the economy, was bailed out by the people, reaped nearly all the recovery, and then calls for raising the Medicare and Social Security retirement age because as Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein says, “we just can’t afford it–people will just have to work longer to help pay down the deficit.” First, Social Security has no effect on the debt or deficit, and people being told to pay Wall Streets’ debt gained absolutely nothing after they crashed the economy and killed millions of Americans’ jobs. Blankfein’s company, Goldman Sachs, helped crash the economy, was bailed out with $12.9 billion plus $5.5 billion from AIG, gave executives $11 billion in bonuses, and is reaping huge rewards as the economy recovers; now Blankfein says “we” cannot afford Medicare and Social Security and the people have to pay down the deficit. Through their Republican facilitators, corporations and Wall Street have the temerity to demand the people repay their debt and it begs the question; why are Republicans (and some Democrats) not demanding Wall Street and corporations repay their own debt? Many of the largest corporations and Wall Street firms pay nothing in federal taxes that contributes to the debt, and yet Republicans and Democrats fight to reduce their tax rates even more.
Americans received nothing for the Republican debt except more cuts, fewer services, and thousands of soldiers killed and tens-of-thousands more wounded in two costly wars. This year, about 700,000 Americans will lose their jobs, children will lose school lunches, seniors will lose Meals on Wheels, and mothers will lose healthcare for their children as a result of sequestration cuts enacted to pay down Republicans’ debt. Republicans talk about personal responsibility, but their corporate and Wall Street donors’ debt is the sole responsibility of the American people and their deficit repayment scheme is infecting all of Washington with reduction fever.
There is talk of a grand deficit reduction bargain that President Obama insists is balanced with spending cuts and revenue, and rumored to include Social Security cuts in the form of chained-CPI, but naturally, Republicans only accept spending cuts. The Grand Bargain to reduce the debt should be a fair bargain that follows debt rules every American follows; the people that create and benefit from debt repay the debt. It is a simple premise that banks, credit card companies, loan institutions, and businesses adhere to and courts regularly enforce. However, this is America, and there is a different standard when corporations, the financial sector, and Republicans create debt; the people always pay.
Americans have paid for the rich, corporations, financial sector, and Republicans’ debt for too long and it has to stop. Democrats have fallen into the Republican debt-repayment trap and use terms like “everybody has to pay their fair share,” and “we’re all in this together” and they are nice words, but the people end up paying all the debt so Republicans can give more to debt creators. The people can hardly pay more, and they already paid a lot more for Republicans’ wars, tax cuts, oil subsidies, and Wall Street bailouts. As budget talks ramp up this week to keep the government running, there will be great emphasis on debt and deficit reduction, and as sure as the Sun rises in the East, the people will bear the brunt of the spending cuts so Republicans can give more to the people that created and benefitted from the debt.
The real tragedy is that Americans are in proverbial debtor’s prison when they received nothing for Republicans’ debt. It is true the deficit needs to be addressed, but not in a recovering economy and not by cutting Medicare and Social Security, safety nets, social programs, or education, law enforcement, and Veteran’s benefits. However, Republicans won the debt game by enlisting Democrats in their deficit cutting madness that Wall Street, corporations, the Koch brothers, and ALEC masterminded and cretins in the teabagger movement wildly applaud. The sad truth is that on some level, we are all in this together, and we will all go to the bank together, take out hard-earned money together, and pay down the debt Republicans, Wall Street, defense industry, and corporations racked up while they take what is left out of the economy, Medicare, and Social Security. And while Republicans and their donors laugh on the way to their offshore accounts, Democrats will applaud a Grand Bargain of spending cuts, Social Security and Medicare cuts, corporate tax cuts, and perpetual oil subsidies, and as an extra concession to Boehner and Koch brothers, approval of the KeystoneXL pipeline. What a country, and what stupid people to end up in debtor’s prison for rich people’s debt.