Most Americans fail to recall when the elderly, poor, and unemployed Americans blew up the nation’s debt and deficit with two unfunded and unnecessary wars, huge tax cuts for the rich, and Wall Street greed that contributed to crashing the economy, killing millions of Americans’ jobs, and ushering in the Great Recession of 2008. For some curious reason, only Republicans remember that it was the poor, public sector workforce, and retirees who created the country’s economic malaise, and subsequently they are duty-bound to make them pay restitution with Draconian measures to enrich the insurance industry, satisfy Wall Street’s lust for the Social Security Trust, as well as provide the wealthy with a new round of tax cuts. To see their punitive measures through to fruition, Republicans are preparing a laundry list of their most coveted programs to eliminate for President Obama to choose from in exchange for raising the nation’s debt limit to repay the GOP’s debt and deficit they put on the nation’s credit card from 2001-2009 (the 2009 budget was George Bush’s).
As Republicans anticipate holding the nation’s creditworthiness hostage again in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, they fundamentally picked the most Draconian measures in Paul Ryan’s Heritage Foundation budget and will demand the President choose which demographic is going to suffer the most or force the nation into its first credit default in history. Republicans are big on historical firsts, and it was in 2011 that after 50 years of automatically raising the debt limit that they first demanded offsetting spending cuts for every dollar the debt limit was increased creating America’s first credit downgrade. For historical perspective, and to demonstrate the GOP’s criminal, and unconstitutional, economic hostage taking, Republicans raised the debt limit for George W. Bush seven times without slashing one penny from the budget. They did, however, specifically raise the debt limit in May 2003 to pay for $350 billion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and it is that type of debt Republicans are now insisting the elderly, poor, and infirm repay through loss of benefits they paid for during their working lives.
Republicans were not always prone to criminal tactics to force innocent Americans to repay the GOP’s debt that enriched the wealthy, military industrial complex, and oil industry, because during the Bush administration they held that raising the debt ceiling was absolutely crucial to keep the nation’s economy running. However, circumstances changed when an African American won the presidency, and the full faith and credit of the United States became “a hostage worth ransoming” according to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. After Republicans successfully caused S&P to downgrade America’s stellar credit rating, kill a million jobs, and cost the economy $19 billion, McConnell said “he could imagine doing this again,” and chuckled as he promised “he will do so.”
The Republican leadership abandoned the 2011 hostage demand of dollar-for-dollar budget cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit, and is demanding the President concede to mandatory Medicare privatization, slashing food stamps, cutting Medicaid, and drastic cuts to Social Security. Republicans are specifically targeting mandatory benefit programs they have lusted to eliminate for 80 years when destroying New Deal provisions became their raison d’être, and Paul Ryan, in concert with the Heritage Foundation devised a cruel budget that fictional writer Ayn Rand would be proud of to hasten Social Security and Medicare’s demise. However, one may wonder if the American people are willing to pay the ransom Republicans are demanding to raise the debt limit and if polls are any indication, they are not in the frame of mind the Republican criminals think they are.
According to polling, the drastic Medicare and Social Security privatization, raising the retirement age, or even cuts that Republicans, unelected corporate CEOs and Wall Street titans demand are so far afield from the American peoples’ desires for the programs it is stunning they are willing to demand them as ransom in a public forum. In a survey by the National Academy of Social Insurance, 82% believe it is critical to preserve Social Security regardless it means increasing Social Security taxes, and 87% insist that Social Security is preserved for future generations even if it means raising taxes paid by the rich. Contrary to Republican contentions, 84% believe current Social Security benefits do not provide enough income for retirees, 89% said Social Security benefits are more important than ever, and 75% said increase benefits so Americans can retire at age 62 and not be poor. Everything the overwhelming majority of the American people demand is in stark contrast to chained-CPI proposals, raising the retirement age, or handing over trillions of dollars in the Social Security Trust to Wall Street and the insurance industry in a privatization scam.
That Republicans are even considering holding the debt ceiling hostage again is in violation of the oath of office they swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. So help me God.” The 14th Amendment of the Constitution that every Republican swore to defend and support against domestic enemies like corporate CEOs and Wall Street executives says, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned,” and yet holding the public debt that Republicans created as a hostage to reward the rich, punish the people, and enrich the private insurance industry is questioning the validity of the debt, and by any stretch of the imagination approaches criminal abrogation of their oath of office.
President Obama warned Republicans he is not going to negotiate (read pay a ransom) over raising the debt limit and cautioned Republicans against threatening the credit-worthiness of the United States by “bartering over the borrowing limit.” Republicans are certain the President will concede defeat and pay whatever ransom criminal Republicans demand, but without an election looming, it is doubtful he is bluffing. Apparently their worst fear is that the President will wait until the last minute and make a bipartisan deal with the Senate and dare House Republicans to accept an unfavorable agreement or take responsibility for a credit default and another downgrade on the U.S. credit rating, but even making a deal is paying a ransom for a constitutionally mandated action Republicans followed without deviation during the Bush administration. However, Republicans have demonstrated time and time again that there are no bounds to the damage they will wreak on the people, the economy, and the nation, and based on their behavior over the past four-and-a-half years, it is just as likely they will let the nation default as raise the debt limit. Let’s face it, a credit default will create an incredibly larger amount of hardship on the people than their ransom demands, and if there is only one thing Republicans love more than tax cuts for the rich, it is creating hardship on the people; especially for electing an African American as President twice.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.