Well, it’s been a long time coming, but as I’ve been writing over and over on my blog the GOP –fomented deficit crisis is all horse manure. It was invented by Right wing ideologues and billionaires as an excuse to justify gutting social insurance programs like Social Security and Medicare. This has now finally been openly admitted by both Boehner and Ryan on the Sunday Talk Show circuit.
Boehner finally came clean on yesterday’s edition of ABC’s “This Week” and admitted that “we do not have an immediate debt crisis.” (His admission was followed up by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who quickly echoed much the same sentiment on CBS’ Face the Nation).
Boehner's confession finally revealed the fact that the GOP’s fiscal alarmism is not some natural reaction to reality, but a calculated means to other ideological ends, namely destruction of the social contract embodied in Social Security and Medicare. Since these rats couldn't do it for decades by way of the front door, they are trying to break through the back door using a deficit crisis. They are aided and abetted in this by the long time ideologue, Peter G. Peterson. ((To learn more about Peterson, his contrived campaign, and his millionaire CEO buddies, go to www.petersonPyramid.org)
TIME finance columnist Rana Forhoohar (March 18, p. 18) also observes that "if you combine cuts previously agreed to in the Budget Control Act of 2011, with the tax increases secured by Obama at the end of last year and add to that things like the associated interest savings and shifts in deficit expectations by the Congressional Budget Office, we are already two thirds of the way there ." (to the $4 trillion 'grand bargain' so many Neoliberals are ga-ga over.)
Indeed, two simple steps (ok, two and a half) could get us all the way there, or netting the remaining $1.3 trillion: Cutting the defense side of the budget by the $600b allocated for in the sequester, and raising the income tax level to cover the $200,000 income level while raising the payroll tax threshold to the $200,000 level. With these accomplished, neither Obama or anyone else has to make draconian and 'superlative' cuts to Social Security or raise Medicare premiums.
Besides, as Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman has pointed out, “Even if we do run deficits, federal debt as a share of GDP will be substantially less than it was at the end of World War II” and “it will also be substantially less than, say, debt in several European countries in the mid to late 1990s.” It is also lower than the 80 percent of GDP level that many economists say starts to put countries in a precarious position.
But WHY be surprised at Boehner's dishonesty? Over and over I had related their tactics (and their history) along with their prime directive and objective, emphasizing that Obama had to be smart enough not to play into their game. However, as we beheld in 2011, Obama let his guard down by allowing himself and the nation to be taken to the brink by GOP –Tea Party economic terrorists in the debt ceiling crisis. Panicked, he signed on to a “sequester” which cut equally from the domestic and military sides. The official rationale was that neither party would actually be insane enough to let it go through, but again- he underestimated GOP ideology and insanity. They were prepared to let anything happen, even take the country down a dumpster, in order to cut social benefits.
Now that the GOOPr Deficit game has been exposed, it’s time for Obama to grow a steel spine and reject all their spending cut plans and schemes (UNLESS it’s for defense). If another debt ceiling increase appears like it may be blocked, Obama needs to do what he ought to have two years ago: invoke the 14th amendment! Amendment XIV, Section 4, stipulates:
"The validity of the Public Debt of the United States, authorized by law, includes debts incurred for payment of pensions ....and shall not be questioned."
It is clear to me that if the Republican Congress refuses to act to raise the debt ceiling (and thereby honor the validity of paying the Public Debt) then President Obama can and MUST exercise an Executive Order to override a putatively derelict Congress and invoke Article 4 of Amendment XIV to raise the debt ceiling. The alternative, of not doing so, would also violate Article XIV and be lawless while also violating Sec. 8 of Article I:
"The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises to pay Debts and provide for the common defense and General Welfare of the United States"
As for the GOP -Pentagon warmongers and their media hacks, who want us to believe Afghanistan and Iraq were real wars, this is bollocks. And the proof is in the pudding, i.e. of taxes (as opposed to tax cuts) to pay for them! Real patriots understand that wars have to be paid for out of the common public sacrifice - via higher TAXES. As my dad once told me before he passed away in July, 2009: Anyone calling for no taxes or tax CUTS during a putative wartime (as in WWII) would have been branded unpatriotic at best, and a traitor at worst. So you never heard anyone bitching, pissing and moaning when gas was rationed. Or when income taxes went up!
Not one person complained about heavy new taxes during the four years of the U.S. fighting in the Pacific theater, or in Europe, though we've seen no similar pay-go with over ten years in Afghanistan. Nor did people bitch in the immediate post-war period when the high taxes helped to finance the Marshall Plan - to help pay for the reconstruction of Europe. People were smart enough then to grasp that Europe's stability meant their own - and if they paid NOW (in higher taxes) they would be less likely to pay later in another war.
Indeed, many of those post-war taxes were still in place when the Korean War broke out. Despite ALREADY high taxes, congress passed new taxes in 1950 and 1951 to pay for the costs of the conflict. They had enough sense to know, unlike the useless miscreant tea baggers today, that if you engage in military actions - especially prolonged- they HAVE to be paid for! You can't keep signing a national credit card and expecting future generations to pay the debt!
If the Repukes want to continue to hide behind their phoney baloney deficit lies and obstruction, let them be the first to come out and either fess up that those two "wars" we've allegedly fought were phony wastes of blood and treasure, OR, they were real wars that now have to be PAID for! If the latter and they don't allow the taxes to be raised to do so, they are not merely dissemblers but traitors!