Recent weeks have brought some amazing news out of Washington. And by “amazing,” I mean the stupidity and incompetence of our elected leaders is enough to boggle the mind. These guys couldn’t lead us out of a paper bag, let alone lead the free world.
Let’s start with the so-called “super committee.” This was the group of congressman who were charged with the task of coming up with a compromise to reduce the deficit. These are the same people who got us into this financial mess, so putting them in a room and expecting them to solve the problem is a bit of a stretch to begin with, but the fact that they couldn’t even come up with any semblance of a solution, even a small one, shows how much they lack in ability to be leaders.
The usual bickering over who to blame followed the meetings, with Republicans charging the Democrats’ refusal to agree to enough cuts in entitlements. That the offer of cutting $475 billion from Medicare and Medicaid over 10 years, nearly half of which would have come directly from beneficiaries, wasn’t enough. That’s significantly more than any other plans put forward in the past by Democrats, showing they were willing to compromise. But it wasn’t enough for the Republicans, who actually proposed a plan that would make the Bush tax cuts permanent, and on top of that, reduce the top tax bracket from 35 percent to 28 percent.
It seems the Republicans see every issue as a way to try and lower taxes on the wealthy, no matter what the real purpose of a proposal. Every legitimate economist and financial analyst has concluded that to get out of this deficit mess, we need a combination of spending cuts and increased revenue. It’s utterly ridiculous that they won’t use a little common sense and get this done.
That goes along with the second idiotic piece of news to come out of Washington. President Obama has been pushing an extension of the payroll tax cut that helps people with lower incomes, since the payroll tax will only affect incomes up to approximately $110,000. Whether you agree with it or not, the Republican’s have opposed it, stating that any payroll tax cut needs to be paid for.
Even Grover Norquist, the behind-the-scenes anti-tax guru that Republicans bow down to, has let them know that opposing the extension of the payroll tax cut would not amount to supporting a tax increase, which is something they are not allowed to do under any circumstance.
Previously they have said that closing a tax loophole amounts to a tax increase. So does ending a temporary tax cut. Yet letting this payroll tax cut expire isn’t a tax increase? That makes no sense. The only conclusion that one can come to is that the Republicans don’t care about anything that doesn’t affect the very wealthy. It’s unbelievable, but I don’t know how you can come to any other conclusion.
Lest you think that I’m only picking on Republicans, here’s another bit of news that was supported by many Democrats as well as almost all the Republicans. Although for the Republicans, it’s another case of pure hypocrisy.
The House has passed a bill that would force other states to honor permits issued by another state that would allow people the right to carry concealed weapons. This means that a state such as New Jersey, with strict rules governing that right, would have to honor the permits issued in a state like Texas, where it’s very easy to get such a permit.
The Republicans have been using the argument of “states rights” for years, in attempts to reduce the size of the Federal government, and to abolish many Federal laws, saying it’s the sole province of the individual states. Apparently that doesn’t count if it’s something they want to push, like the right to carry a concealed weapon. Then they feel fine with forcing the states to follow a Federal mandate.
Here’s a bit of news that deserves more attention. The new National Defense Authorization Act contains a provision that would define the whole United States as a “battlefield” and allow the U.S. Military to arrest American citizens in their own back yard without charge or trial. This is a total step down the direction of the laws that military dictatorships use to control their citizens. I understand that we live in dangerous times. But this is just going too far. Letting the government take you into custody without charge and without any recourse is not freedom. It is the end of the United States as we know it.
And my final bit of craziness coming out of Washington… we’ve been lied to once again by the Federal government. It’s just come to light that they committed $7.7 trillion in secret loans to banks with no strings attached, and then fought to keep it secret.
New revelations about the recent financial crisis are evident from the 29,000 pages of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Details suggest the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.
Apparently these bankers were taking tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors they were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Federal Reserve Bank’s below-market rates. Saved by the bailout, these bankers then lobbied against government regulations aimed at preventing it from happening again.
The only conclusion one can draw from all these activities is that our government is broken. We need to replace these idiots that run our country. And we need to do it soon.