I try to avoid the urge to blog about politics. I follow things, I have opinions, I love talking about it, but for some reason I find blogging about politics... I don't know, cliche maybe? I feel like no one really cares I guess. Which is ironic considering this is a blog. As a warning, there might be strong language in this post. I'm a bit annoyed right now and have no desire to watch my language.
Anyway, I need somewhere to vent my frustrations on the recent debt ceiling debacle. As of now they've reached a deal that will be passed in both houses tomorrow. The day before the deadline. Did it really need to come to this? The deal they came up with isn't all that different from what they've been throwing around for months.
My first complaint is just about the petty politics. The pandering. Apart from a few idealistic freshmen who think they can change the world in the two years they're in office, politicians knew full well that a deal had to be made and that a deal would be made. There was never any real question if the debt ceiling was going to be raised or not. So why the hell do we need the theatrics? I like a good show as much as the next person, but not when you're dealing with an economy that's already in a bit of a shit hole. It's all about looks. That's all these negotiations have ever been. Any time progress was being made or it looked like REAL compromise was happening, pressure would mount from the far right and Boehner (spell check wants to change that to "Boner") would storm out to look good for the 10% of the country that doesn't want the Republicans to compromise. Same goes for those that kept saying how crappy the bill of the week was and that there was no way in hell they would vote for something so watered down. They knew something would pass just in the nick of time, but until then, they're going to look really good to those who vote for them in the primaries. Cause those are they only people that matter. The 20% (10 on the left, 10 on the right) that are the outliers who vote in the primaries. They are the ones that come up with the candidates and the rest of us only have extremes to choose from. But that's a completely different post right there.
My second complaint (and the one that will be the bulk of the rest of this post) is the lack of compromise. Real compromise. They're calling what they have now a compromise. The fact that the debt ceiling is being raised at all is a compromise. Cut with the BS, Sarah Bachmann et al. I'm gonna let you in on a not secret. Democrats want the debt ceiling raised. Republicans want the debt ceiling raised. The American people want the debt ceiling raised. World economies and governments want the debt ceiling raised. And if "want" is too strong a word for you, let's just call it a necessary evil. Either way, it has to happen.
So that's not compromise, that's the common ground you're starting from. The means to get there is where compromise comes in and I'll make it overly simple for you: Democrats think it's necessary to raise revenue. Republicans think it's necessary to cut spending. The compromise is we do both. I know raising taxes is hard for anyone (including Democrats - gasp!) to swallow when the economy is in the crapper, but if you really want to make the debt a priority right now (which personally, I think we can afford to wait on that one after people have jobs and the government has revenue), some kind of increase in revenue can't really be avoided if we're compromising.
Idea! How about we just close corporate loopholes so big business is paying the taxes they should be anyway? Sounds easier to take than flat out raising taxes and that's exactly what the Dems proposed. As it turns out, compromise is a dirty word and that idea didn't fly (even though the income and wealth gaps are wider than ever and getting bigger every day). Cuts in military spending were off the table too. As were any ideas for revamping medicare, medicaid, or social security.
It's a joke. Nothing of any real substance is getting done in this country because a bunch of assholes are more concerned about keeping their jobs by becoming more and more polarized than doing what is right for the country (because remember, it's the 10% on each end that decide if they have a job next election).
People always talk about how irresponsible Washington has become, and it's true. Wasteful spending is rampant, economic policies benefit the rich and leave the middle class and especially the poor in the dust, and overall this country is going downhill. What gets me though is that they know it. Those responsible for these things know that they aren't doing what they should. Whether you want to admit it or not, politicians are generally smart people. They've been to college, they have law and masters degrees, they have a grasp on basic economics. But they've collectively decided that instead of doing what's right for the country and maybe losing an election, they would rather stay in a position of power by trying to look good in front of that 20% on the edges of the spectrum, thereby slowly but surely leading us down a path of an unsustainable existence.
God bless America.