Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The debt ceiling debacle part 2

(blogger lost this part of my post last night)

Boehner is playing a very dangerous game of chicken. If he keeps pushing back against whatever plan the President puts forward he might eventually get the blame for cutting off social security checks to the most important voting block in the country. If we learned anything from the results of the special election in New York’s 26th district where a Democrat won in a heavily Republican district because the election was a referendum on the Paul Ryan medicare destroying budget plan, it is that the public is on our side.

I think the Republicans saw these results and realized that the 2012 election could not be about the Paul Ryan Medicare killing plan if they had any chance of winning. They realized they needed to go big or go home.

So the Republicans gambled that no matter how much they delayed or demanded, the Congress could always fall back on more continuing resolutions that would keep government spending on auto pilot levels. President Obama has called their bluff and is demanding they step up to the plate and join him in governing our country. The only problem is the Republicans don’t want to govern, they want to campaign. They have the advantage thanks to the Citizens United decision. What makes this situation even harder for Boehner is that many members of his caucus actually want to see the government default because they think the economic shock of such an event will provide some sort of kick in our country's collective pants.

When our opponents think that they can win in a government shut down, everyone loses. For all their talk about needing to restore certainty so that businesses can know what to expect and plan their investments, the Republicans are doing a pretty good job of creating as much uncertainty as they can.

I just hope the Democrats don’t cave. Boehner’s strategy is ballsy, and if there is one thing the Democrats lack, its the balls to stand up for what they really believe in and tell the American people the truth. We are going to have to raise taxes, even if it is only on the rich. We are going to have to start means testing entitlement programs like social security. And yes, we are probably going to gradually raise the retirement age.

This is an important time for our country. Despite the manufactured nature of this crisis, the future of the American political system may very well hang in the balance. Say what you will about the failings of parliamentary democracies, at least they can produce up or down votes of economic policy relatively quickly.

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