Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Debt Crisis "Resolved"

Well it's official. With mere hours to spare, the debt ceiling compromise bill passed by Congress last night and this morning, got signed by President Barack Obama. It's definitely a good thing that this thing got settled, rather than letting America default on its loans, collapsing the country's economy and probably devastating most of the world as well.

But you know that I wouldn't be writing a Bored on the Corner article on it, if I didn't have some problems with it.

The particulars of this are over my head, but I'm very skeptical that this deal has done any real long term good, because it looks like the majority of the plan was to scrap trillions of dollars worth of social spending, over the next decade or two. Lots of truly innovative plans were touted, but every single one of them was shot down, usually by the conservatives in control of the House of Representatives. Particularly against meaningful action, were the Tea Party lunatics, who seem to think that defaulting on your loans is just a myth. It would be interesting to hear what their working-class constituents have to say about that, given how many people have been bankrupted in the last few years.

In my view, the most sane approach to this, would have been a mix of all of the major proposals. It goes without saying that spending needed to be clawed back, but my first target would have been the military (especially since the US has wasted tons of money on foreign wars that it has no business sticking its nose into -- Libya being a prime and contentious example, right now). Once America's troops are back on domestic soil, then we could talk about further cuts to other programs (though I wonder if any would be necessary, after a reduction that big).

It would also be utterly stupid to not address income, namely by taxing the super-rich. Now, I can already sense the conservatives reading this, itching to call me a communist (at which point I'll ask that you read this), so let me explain the point. The absolute richest people in America, make BILLIONS of dollars a year, regardless of the economy; so first of all, they have plenty of cash to spare, and I'm not convinced they'll miss a few million bucks. Second of all, while they are pocketing this insane amount of money, these same billionaires are very often cutting front-line employees; this is not only grossly unfair, but it further endangers the economy because companies need average-grossing customers, to sell anything. Finally, there are companies in the US -- like General Electric and ExxonMobil -- that pay NO INCOME TAXES WHATSOEVER, and yet are still moving jobs overseas! So excuse me if I don't feel a ton of fucking sympathy for these leeches -- especially when the people supporting them, are so cold-blooded that they would just as soon run over the homeless, as help them get decent housing.

Finally, on top of all of this, the debt ceiling did need to be raised. I know it sounds stupid to basically raise the credit limit of an entity that's trillions of dollars in debt, but to be honest with you America is so far gone that solutions are needed that cover all of the bases -- that includes giving it some room to work. So that's probably the only part of this deal that I did like (but again, I'm not convinced the signed deal has done a great deal of good over the long term).

Unless America is willing to make some major leadership decisions -- like rethinking its global actions, and representing the people instead of the corporations -- then all that this will do is delay the inevitable. Sadly, delaying the inevitable seems to be just fine to most of those suit-clad, middle-aged, wealthy sycophants in Washington.

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