Obama's not bluffing: Social Security and military checks are in danger

Republicans need to get out of denial.  If the debt ceiling is not raised, the economy would go into a tailspin, taking us all with it. Photo: Associated Press

EASTON, Md, July 18, 2011 — Republicans must stop playing Russian roulette with the American people.

Enough of the GOP with its finger on the trigger. Enough of the likes of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va) and his cohorts holding America hostage.

Enough of the folks on the Right Wing fulminating that, of course, we can choose to not raise the debt ceiling and all those government services we take for granted will still be there. It’s just a Left Wing plot to make us raise taxes on the Billionaires Club.

As President Obama said as he silenced Cantor at last Thursday’s meeting: “Enough is enough.”

However, despite what you may have read, we will do more than bump our collective head on the debt ceiling if it is not raised on August 2nd, we will commit economic suicide.

The dire forecasts are true. Who says so? Not just President Obama, but economists, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Treasury Department, S&P Index, Moody’s, Wall Street, Democrats, and even Republicans, who are not enthralled by the Tea Party nonsense.

President Obama told Congressman

Eric Cantor, “Enough.” (Image: AP)

Come August 2, the government won’t have enough cash to pay for all of its programs and obligations.

It will take in a total of $172.4 billion in revenue during the month, but its total outlay will exceed $306 billion, a $134 billion shortfall.

So what to do? First pay the interest so that Moody does not downgrade our credit rating.

After we pay the interest owed, which we cannot ignore since to do so would tumble us into worse economic chaos, we must decide which Americans to save and whom we cut adrift.

In other words, the government would be faced with a Sophie’s Choice.  Whom would we pay? Whom would we delay? You pick:

* Social Security checks

* Military active duty pay

* Veteran benefits

* Food stamps

* Federal salaries

* Government contractor and defense vendor bills

* Payments to Medicare and Medicaid providers

* IRS refunds

* Departments like FBI and FAA

* Special education

* Criminal justice (Bipartisan Policy Center)

Simple, right? Just pick your favorite program to save and leave the others to their fate. 

We shouldn’t be at this point, but we are thanks to the likes of Congressman Cantor and 87 Republican freshmen in the House and the spineless Republican Senators now scared witless by their Tea Party constituents, who no longer find them pure enough.

Know Nothings Are In Charge

The debt ceiling, which usually ignites the shaking of fists and strong political rhetoric (even by President Obama as a senator), has always been raised, no matter the Party in power. It is seen as a necessary evil to be gotten out of the way so real budget negotiations can proceed.

This time the GOP, thanks to this century’s Know Nothings now in Congress, has taken America hostage, pointed a gun to our collective head, and demanded a ransom: punitive spending cuts and no added revenues to help bring down the debt.

Yet our deficit cannot be reined in with spending cuts alone. But that seems to beside the point. This is the new slash and burn Republican Party.

The fact that President Obama has entertained some of the GOP’s proposed draconian cuts and even suggested more (angering his Progressive base) showed he was willing to call the Republican bluff, but they blinked and backed off. 

The mere whiff of raised taxes on hedge fund managers, who only pay a 15% tax rate, or the elimination of oil and gas subsidies or the closing of corporate tax loopholes sent the GOP into apoplexy.

No wonder. They had stupidly signed Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge not to raise taxes.  

He has already promised he will unleash his wrath upon those miscreants who break their oath. And, you know what? He can and he will. (More on Norquist’s hold on the GOP in a future column.)

A Choice: Fat Cats or Cat Food?

Somehow, Republicans actually believe that we all pay too much in taxes. Not so. Federal and state taxes combined are at their lowest as a percentage of the GDP since the 1950s.  (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Corporations are actually paying less tax than ever and many do not pay any taxes at all but receive refunds/credits in the millions of dollars. (Institute for Policy Studies)

America is trying to run a 21st Century economy on tax rates from the late 50s while whining we pay too much.

How much is the clean up of the Exxon oil spill in the Yellowstone River worth? Or what’s it worth to make sure we don’t have a massive e coli outbreak here as they did in Europe? Or to keep a terrorist from blowing up the subway? 

Or what about government money and help following the Joplin tornado? Or the secure structure of that bridge you drive over every day on your way to work?

Yet Republicans are willing to gamble with our future, our safety, our full faith and credit, our economy, and those people who depend on the government, such as your grandparents or your Marine Corps brother.

Not raising the debt ceiling will do more than crash the system. The Republicans will send a clear message to the American people, that not only is it politics before people (take down President Obama, whatever the cost), but it also fat cats before the Middle Class, even if that means some seniors may end up eating cat food.

Is this any way to run a government? Apparently the Republicans think so.

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib in the Communities at the Washington Times. She can also be heard on the Democrats for America’s Future.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe


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