Monday, August 1, 2011

Get Busy Livin' Or Get Busy Dyin'

As these words hit your e-mail box today, we don't know if there is a final debt and budget deal in place yet for the United States. Yes, a deal was announced last night - but it isn't over until all the votes are counted.

Frankly, we're not sure it matters all that much anymore. Even the head of the International Monetary Fund has acknowledged, America's financial reputation is already severely damaged, thanks to this unnecessary debt & budget debacle. One ratings agency says the deal won't prevent a credit downgrade for the U.S.

What few details about the latest "last ditch" bill that have come out are not promising. The deal will cost jobs, will lose the federal government revenue, and will squeeze the states even further - which will only make things worse at the local level.

As Paul Krugman, one of the smartest economists in the world right now, has said time and time again, we are doing exactly what we should NOT be doing at this point: cutting government spending in the near term. In fact, all the numbers and facts say there will likely be NO better time for America to borrow money - in the SHORT TERM - so that we can usefully and measurably fix our infrastructure, invest in our nation, and plan for long-term debt reduction.

Investing in ourselves would create jobs in the private sector right away, as it always has in the past, which would also help fuel the one sure cure for our long-term debt problem: economic growth.

Of course, doing so would mean both Republican and Democratic leadership, as well as our President, would have to do something they seem to have found impossible the last few years: Tell the political terrorists in the extremist, regressive right to take a hike.

We don't say that hyperbolically. The extremist right has taken a new approach, absolutely not intended by the founders or the Constitution: extortion politics. Why wait and do things slowly, through procedure, when holding a political gun to the head of anyone who disagrees with you is so much faster and easier? That idea sounds really good until it's the guys on the OTHER side trying to shove through legislation that will have long-term negative effects on everyone. Even well-known hyper-conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer says, "...trying to force the issue — trying to turn a blocking minority into a governing authority — is not just counter-constitutional in spirit but self-destructive in practice."

It hasn't helped that our President has acted so weak, stubbornly refusing to understand that his opposition views him as an enemy, not as a partner in governing. Mr. Obama has been "left at the alter" by the GOP so often, the defense that Mr. Obama is "playing 11-level chess" seems far less likely than the fact he's simply, willfully, politically naive.

A feckless media is also to blame, as any insane tea bagger fool can swing around like a monkey on a pole and have every so-called news agency within fifty miles covering them. Meanwhile, when a progressive rally with significant numbers occurs, most of the media doesn't even bother to cover it. There is definitely media bias in America - but anyone who tells you it's liberal is still living in the 1970s.

The final failure has been that of individuals on both ends of the political spectrum. On the left, Democrats grumble, but they still support their President blindly, by ridiculously high margins. Even more responsible for this failure are the Republicans, who conscripted the Tea Party folks into their own political organization - but then failed to control the extremist Tea Bagger movement within the Tea Party.

It's time – long, long, long past time, actually - for Americans to get their lazy asses off their couches, to talk with their neighbors, to educate themselves on the issues, to stop being TOLD what to think by professional bloviators, and to get involved again in governing their country. The extremists MUST be minimized to the proper representation of their numbers in the greater population. The rules must be followed by all parties and individuals - and heavy penalties need to be levied by the offenders' own party to keep political terrorism from becoming the defacto method of governing.

Americans must get busy repairing the economic and political damage that its citizens have allowed over the last thirty-plus years -- or we Americans may as well disband this union-in-name-only of states that we occupy, and sign the death certificate of this great experiment we've proudly called the United States of America.

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