Monday, July 25, 2011

Failure to Launch, Safety Net in Danger, FDR & the Debt

It seems almost certain that the elderly and disabled are in for some difficult times and tough adjustments.  Politics continue to take center stage and politicians are playing the blame game and riding the waves of re-election funding.  It seems that no one is looking out for the interests of the most frail and vulnerable among us and that every politician is looking to protect only his/her own ass.  Today may be a crucial day for everyone who is concerned about the common good.

No Agreement on Debt Ceiling

"Congressional leaders failed Sunday to reach agreement on a plausible path to raise the country's borrowing limit ahead of international market openings on Monday.  At least publicly.  According to sources in both parties, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) are likely to introduce separate debt packages in their respective chambers Monday, each with a different approach to avoiding a catastrophic default, and the key question now is whether the two plans can be reconciled in some way -- whether the trains are moving in the same direction or set to collide head on."

Overall, the approach appears to be cuts with no revenue -- something that Conservatives ought to support wholeheartedly.  However, there are so many twists and turns and so many competing special interests on the Republican side that there is no predicting success or failure as they attempt to please everyone.  I say:  "Tea Partiers beware;  your influence is about to come to an abrupt halt as Republicans selfishly realize the damage you are causing to the GOP,  (notwithstanding the essentially irrelevant damage to America)."

The Shredding Safety Net

"Social Security payments aren't the only federal lifeline that could grind to a halt if the debt ceiling impasse continues beyond Aug. 2.  The federal government supports myriad safety net programs, such as unemployment insurance, tuition grants, food stamps, child care subsidies and housing assistance. That's not to mention the nation's massive health insurance programs: Medicare and Medicaid."

Stopping, reducing, or delaying these payments will not only hurt the aged, the disabled, and the poor.  The effects on the economy as a whole also would be catastrophic.  It's truly frightening to consider that many Conservatives want a debt default.  Maybe the chaos would vindicate the survivalists.

What Would FDR Do?

"The only recent president who has faced an economic crisis more prolonged or more severe than the one our economy faces was the progressive legend Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who faced down both the Great Depression and the Nazis with equal aplomb and bested them both, and the contrast between how Obama is handling his economic showdowns with Republicans entering his reelection and how Roosevelt handled a similar time in his presidency could not be more clear.  Obama has wanted to bring the nation above politics and create a grand bargain that incorporates ideas from both parties in an attempt to prove that our country is not as divided as our politics suggests, and he has, in his own words, been repeatedly left at the altar by Republicans with no conscience who want nothing more than to destroy him and his presidency."

The opinion is that FDR was both more practical and more principled than President Obama . . . in spite of the President's many compromises and vision of the future.  Mr. Obama's ability to dream big on behalf of the country may become his downfall.

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