Monday, August 01, 2011

Cave or the economy walks the plank

Lower tax rates for the wealthy is not a new priority for the GOP. I’ve heard them talk about how important it is to cater to the most wealthy among us, tax-wise, all my life. Hey, I’ve heard throwback conservatives talk against Social Security all my life, too. In that respect, there’s nothing really new in what is being said in Congress today, regarding the so-called debt ceiling crisis.

Some new wave extremists in Congress are pretending to be expressing fresh ideas, which sort of makes those of us who know a little history have to choose between seeing them as ignorant or dishonest.

Although tax rates for millionaires are lower now than they have been in anybody’s lifetime, they aren’t low enough for the Tea Party. Even though big oil companies are profiting in eye-popping numbers, oil company executives recently told the Senate they still need huge tax breaks. None of them would answer a question posed several times: How much money would you need to make, before you would testify here that you no longer need your subsidy?

So, the Tea Party insists no loopholes for big corporations can be closed. One guess, dear reader, as to who has to make up for the dough that isn't being collected from Exxon's and BP's monster profits.

Ever since programs like Medicare and Medicaid were launched ultra conservatives have been wanting to truncate or eliminate them. Ever since the EPA was set in motion, the same basic group of people who abhor regulation in any form has been trying to hobble or eliminate it.

Like, who needs clean air, anyway?

On top of all that, it's long been true that Republicans loathe cuts to the Defense budget.

These battles between liberals and conservatives are old hat. Depending on the times and the mood of the nation, each side has taken turns having the upper hand, which has been integral to our system. Each time the pendulum has swung, it has allowed different political leaders to put some of their ideas in play.

What’s new are the tactics.

The Tea Party caucus in the Republican Party is acting like a band of hostage-taking terrorists right now. Having kicked in the back door, they are threatening to plunge the nation‘s economy into default unless they get their way, 100 percent. The pretense that they are negotiating is window dressing, to characterize it charitably.

Make no mistake, without the threats of the Tea Party caucus of the GOP there would be no debt ceiling crisis. And, I don't doubt these Ayn Rand-worshipers are sincere and quite proud of themselves. They stand ready to do it again the next chance they get, no matter how this monkey business gets settled.

This ticking clock wired to a doomsday bomb exists for one simple reason -- the Tea Party could never get their most extreme demands passed through Congress in the normal way legislation is created. Forget Democrats, the Tea Party wouldn’t be able to get enough Republicans to vote their way without this bomb threat stunt.

So, to change metaphors, a clique of zealots has seized the ship of state by force. They are issuing their demands that must be met before the deadline, or America's economic future walks the plank.

And, so it goes…

-- Art and words by F.T. Rea.

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