The notion of reaping a reward without making an investment is likely the dream of every entrepreneur on the face of the Earth, but there are hardly any situations in business, or in life, where people get anything without investing something. Two years ago Republicans reaped rewards that damaged the nation and the people in exchange for authorizing the government to pay the debt they racked up, but they can hardly consider paying their bills an investment in America; the rewards they took from the people were pure profit. Most Americans would love a situation where a financial institution paid them handsomely for repaying their debts, and that is precisely what Republicans expect from the American people. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent a message that Republicans will not be paid for repaying their debt. However, since Republicans reaped such obscene profits for paying their debt in 2011, they are bound to attempt their scheme again, but it is high time they start investing in America for the profits they already reaped during the 2011 debt ceiling crisis.
The last debt ceiling crisis cost the country, and the people, dearly and it is important to note raising the debt limit simply allowed the government to repay debts Republicans racked up during the Bush administration’s drunken spending spree. In the 2011 credit debacle in exchange for raising the debt limit, Republicans were paid with a million jobs killed, a credit downgrade, $19 billion added to the deficit, and $1.2 trillion sequester cuts slated to kill between 750,000 and million jobs in the first year alone. Add to that ten years’ worth of cuts to Meals on Wheels, food and housing assistance for children and seniors, as well as indiscriminate domestic program cuts and it is little wonder John Boehner was “pretty happy he got 98% of what he wanted” because Republicans profited without making any investments. Doubtless Republicans regarded taking food out of the mouths of needy Americans and killing jobs as their greatest gain on no investment, and it was all for authorizing payment for their debts.
Americans paid a high price for Republicans to authorize the government to pay for their unnecessary wars, a pharmaceutical industry gift (Medicare prescription plan), and twelve years’ worth of tax cuts for the richest Americans. In fact, it was so profitable for Republicans that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promised to hold the debt ceiling hostage again because making outlandish profits without any investments is a dream come true, and if the people and nation’s credit were damaged, as John Boehner says “so be it.” Secretary Lew’s notice to Republicans that they are not going to profit for doing their job and authorizing the government to repay their debt was a good start, but it is not enough. Americans have invested and paid Republicans with their jobs, schools, and domestic programs and it is time to demand repayment; separate from the debt limit.
Republicans have not invested anything for the profits they reaped from the last debt limit crisis and they are gearing up for “a whale of a battle” for more from the people according to John Boehner. The hypocrite Republicans never demanded payment from George W. Bush to pay the nation’s debts, and in fact they raised the debt limit seven times including once to cover new tax cuts for the rich in 2003. Raising the debt limit is non-negotiable for President Obama the same as it has been for every other president and why he let Republicans demand that Americans paid them with spending cuts and job losses in 2011 is a mystery. If the President assumed there would be a “grand bargain” by flirting with a credit default, he miscalculated because Republicans came away with a wealth of harsh and damaging gifts and the nation got a credit downgrade; Republicans won the debt limit war and Americans paid them handsomely then and for the next ten years.
The American people have invested far too much in the phony debt ceiling crisis and it is time for Republicans to invest in America. They have not invested in roads, schools, healthcare, or jobs, and they have successfully avoided investing their time wisely over the past two years. What little time they have spent in Congress has been chasing phony and manufactured scandals, voting to defund the Affordable Care Act, and demanding Americans invest more by forfeiting more jobs, overtime pay, and for 30 million Americans, the first opportunity to have basic healthcare insurance. After their 5-week hiatus in August Republicans will only spend nine days in session in September and likely waste time fighting amongst themselves over defunding the Affordable Health Act instead of working on immigration, replacing indiscriminate sequester cuts, or passing anything resembling a real budget.
Republicans and their wealthy supporters have profited off the American people to excess, and for the people’s trouble the GOP invested absolutely nothing to strengthen the economy, create jobs, or provide a means of avoiding poverty. Secretary Lew made a good start telling Republicans they will get nothing more from the people in exchange for raising the debt limit, but it is not nearly enough. To the President’s credit, he has demanded Republicans invest in the people, but for his trouble the GOP finds new ways to make the people pay. After sacrificing millions of jobs, $19 billion, a credit downgrade, and a ten year Draconian sequester just to prevent a credit default, the people have invested too much and Republicans have profited enough.