Thursday, July 21, 2011

Washington is psychotic

"You'll get mesmerized /By alibis/ And limbo dance in pairs/ Please lock that door/It don't make much sense/That common sense/Don't make no sense/No more"

John Prine
"Common Sense"

It's hard to believe that people we elected to represent us and who swore to act in the best interest of the United States and its citizens could have pushed the country to the brink of default just to make a political point.

But it's true.

With about ten days to go until the Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling, Washington has shown that it's gone from being dysfunctional to being psychotic.

Our capital and our government have been dysfunctional for a number of years due to the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together on anything. That had negative effects on the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, but the cancer of partisanship has metastasized in Barack Obama's administration.

There's enough blame to go around for both sides. But in the debt ceiling debate, the Republicans are acting crazier than the Democrats.

While Obama has laid out plans that include up to $4.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years, Republicans have turned them down flat. Why? Because, in addition to a lot of spending cuts that would trim programs that help lower and middle-income families, Obama has included tax increases on corporation and one the wealthiest Americans.

So have the "Gang of Six" in the Senate, which includes Virginia's Mark Warner.

But Republicans, who have clamored loudest about the deficit (which they discovered about the time Obama was sworn in), have said that deficit and debt reduction needs to be done with budget cuts only. Some of the cuts they advocate are sweeping and would change Medicare and Social Security, as we know them.

It's an example of just how unserious about deficit reduction they are. As recently as January they fought tooth and nail to retain the Bush era tax cuts, which contribute to the deficit.
This attitude led David Brooks, a mainstream Republican columnist, to say that Republicans aren't operating more like a normal political party.

He's got a point.

Republicans are now acting more like a religious cult than a political party. They've raised a "no tax increases ever" ideology to level of Gospel. It's the Church of Ronald Reagan, except that it's run by people who have made commandments out of a few of the dumbest things Reagan ever said and ignore what he actually did while in office.
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