Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Obama, The Deadbeat Relative

President Obama has just become that relative that only calls when he needs money.  I say 'just become' because now that he doesn't have a stranglehold on both houses of congress, he has to ask rather than take whatever he wants.  And despite what the old guard thinks, we have the Tea Party to thank for this.

First and foremost, the process of getting these hugely unpopular bills has changed because the Tea Party-backed House majority banned earmarks; therefore when Boehner needed votes, he had to make real deals rather than buying support with tax money.  I hate to think how much money the DNC would have siphoned to pass this sham if they were in charge.

Next, the Tea Party-backed Reps held their ground for a long time through this farce, which frustrated the hell out of people in the old guard.  It also brought out the true feelings of our nations leadership.

People like John McCain, who referred to the Tea Party as 'hobbits.'  People like Joe Biden (and several other Democrats) who started referring to the Tea Party as 'terrorists' who were holding the economy 'hostage.' I found the insertion of this extreme rhetoric by the Democrats interesting given that Rep. Giffords returned to cast her first vote since being shot in the head by an assailant who was allegedly inspired by what the left believed to be extreme rhetoric, prompting them to say we need to end all of the extreme rhetoric.  You see what they did there?  They brought it full circle, in a kind of hypocritical-we're-so-superior-to-you-we-don't-even-know-we're-hypocrites kind of way.

The barely intelligible Chris Matthews seized on this meme, incessantly referring to the GOP as hostage takers, and the debt ceiling as a baby.  "Why'd we let them get control of the baby?" he whined while sounding as though he was 5 martinis into a 3 martini lunch.  But I digress.  This screed started off talking about Obama.

Obama dealt with stiff opposition like a rookie used car salesman trying to sell a taxi that's been repainted (bonus points for anyone who gets the movie reference).  He lied, badly, and tried to shift blame everywhere but on himself.  He pushed for the stimulus bill (because there would be Armageddon if it wasn't passed NOW), he pushed for Obamacare (because there would be Armageddon if it wasn't passed NOW) and so he naturally blamed Bush and said if we don't raise the debt ceiling NOW there would be Armageddon.  Only, like a savvy auto shopper, we know there's no such thing as yellow primer.  We knew that there would be enough tax money coming in to pay for Social Security, Medicare, military expenses and pay the interest on our debt.   The only way we were going to default on our interest was if Obama deliberately defaulted, or the government stopped collecting income tax.

The treasury threw in their two cents, echoing the same statements that we were running out of money.  Of course, asking the treasury department to handle our finances is like asking a fat man to stand watch over a freshly baked batch of Krispy Kremes.  The media bought into it (surprise) including the evil Newscorp e-publication 'The Daily' (which did surprise me.)  There were several stories published about how, ending July, Apple Corp. had more cash on hand than the US Government did.  All that did was make me think that Steve Jobs should be running the economy instead of Obama.  I bet if he were in charge we would have come up with more than $1 Trillion in savings over 10 years. 

In an odd coincidence, the average household that has credit card debt has $14,600 of it; just a few (nine) decimal places away from the national debt figure of $14.6 Trillion (I know, it's only $14.3 trillion but I am trying to make a point).  If someone told you that they were trying to pay down their debt, and they had a plan to reduce their $14.6 thousand credit card balance by $1000 over ten years ($100 per year, less than $10 per month!), would you think they were serious about their situation? Me either. And neither is our government serious about paying down our debt.  You know it, I know it, and the stock markets sure as hell know it too.

In the end, passage of the increase in the debt ceiling was inevitable.  (Almost) all of Washington wanted to see it raised so they can keep spending our money.  Obama dropped double digits in the polls throughout this sideshow, so he clearly lost some ground in the process.  The Tea Party made it more difficult than it needed to be and in the process exposed that much of Washington, on the left AND the right, is afraid that their business as usual way of doing things is coming to an end.  And it will, if we continue to elect principled leaders in 2012.  Insult us, denigrate us, try to minimize us, but this Tea Party is just getting started.  Viva la revolucion!!

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