Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

[In typical American politics of brinksmanship, which normally follows a pattern of “end of the world” type predictions (followed by pragmatic compromise), you have the Republicans trying to tear it all down, while the Democrats do everything that they can to prevent that from happening.  The anarchic philosophy of the Republicans butts heads with the Democrats’ unwillingness to let any program end, leading us to the same place year after year, as they maintain our non-functioning government.  The Reagan Republicans are there to make sure that it all falls down, so that they might be elected again to rebuild it all under their new design.  To give-in, at this time, to the demolition politics of the Reaganites, would be the end of the American Empire, leaving only the defense-related corporations intact.  A $4 Trillion debt-reduction package, which targeted only non-defense related expenses, would increase the suffering of the American people exponentially, at a time when every family is in need of some form of economic relief.  This is of no consequence to the neoconservatives.

On the other hand, when the primary problem with the American economy is all the “pork,” which never gets trimmed from the budget, then the intransigence of the Democrats prevents any constructive solution, which will surely require a lot of economic demolition.  The US budget seems as though it has been put together, based on the whims of a thousand drunken sailors–there is something for everybody in there.  The compromise between the idiotic positions of the Republicans and Democrats, of $2 trillion in budget cuts, instead of $4, is not a solution, but is, in fact, just an excuse for not fixing anything, plodding on as ever before.

To save America from these Bozos, we have to let their “Amerika”  fall away.  We cannot preserve a militaristic, parasitic economic system, which perpetuates the absolute unfairness of penalizing the poor and the “Middle Class,” in order to further the enrichment of the rich.  Their pirate politics of plundering the Nation, have destroyed our “way of life,” even though the claim is that our many wars are being fought against people who have done us no wrong, in order to protect us.  

It is high time we got our house into order.  It is time to find-out if there really is “Life after capitalism.”]

WASHINGTON – House Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, abandoned efforts last night to reach a comprehensive debt-reduction deal worth more than $4 trillion in savings, telling President Obama that a midsize package was the only politically possible alternative to avoid a first-ever default on the nation’s mounting national debt.

Boehner told Obama – who is hosting a key meeting tonight on the debt issue – that their efforts to “go big,’’ as the speaker says, were stymied by the toughest issues: taxes and entitlements.

Democrats continued to insist on tax changes that would not pass muster in the conservative-dominated House, and Republicans wanted cuts to programs such as Medicare and Social Security that Obama and Senate Democrats would oppose.

“Despite good-faith efforts to find common ground, the White House will not pursue a bigger debt reduction agreement without tax hikes. I believe the best approach may be to focus on producing a smaller measure, based on the cuts identified in the Biden-led negotiations, that still meets our call for spending reforms and cuts greater than the amount of any debt limit increase,’’ Boehner said.

Without a lifting of the debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said that by Aug. 2, the nation will begin to default on the more than $14.3 trillion in outstanding debts the nation has collected after decades of runaway deficit spending.

The impasse leaves Obama and congressional negotiators back at the smaller package, which includes agency budget cuts and more modest changes to entitlement programs.

That package, which had been negotiated by Vice President Joe Biden and key GOP leaders, including House majority leader Eric Cantor, would come to somewhere between $2 trillion and $2.4 trillion in savings, allowing Congress to approve an extension of the federal debt ceiling into spring 2013.

Obama, whose aides had not yet responded to Boehner’s announcement at press time, had been cajoled by Boehner into pushing for what the speaker called “the big deal,’’ as opposed to the midrange package Biden and Cantor were assembling.

The larger package would have been the most significant compromise in taxes and spending of the past three decades, including cuts to Social Security and Medicare, reductions in Pentagon spending, and a large rewrite of the federal tax code.

The emerging deal, however, collapsed of its own ideological weight. Liberals were outraged at the proposals for entitlements, particularly a cut in the annual increase of Social Security benefits, and conservatives were opposed to the idea of raising federal revenues through the tax overhaul proposal, which they would have labeled one of the largest tax increases in history.

Democrats blasted Boehner’s actions.

“I really do think this is unfortunate. It’s very disappointing that the Republican fixation with protecting tax breaks for corporate special interests and the very wealthy has prevented them from agreeing to a broad and balanced deficit reduction plan that would be good for the country,’’ said Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland.

Last night’s announcement capped a whirlwind three weeks in which the president and speaker engaged in a series of meetings that culminated last week with their decision to push for the biggest possible debt deal.

Boehner’s decision makes tonight’s summit all the more critical, as Obama, Biden, and the congressional leaders expected to attend must decide the next steps to avoid the default process.

© Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.
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