Washington DC]-------Something is afoul in the U.S. and the stench is emanating form the chambers of Congress, Corporations and legislative offices all over the land.
Yes, we are in deep financial crisis. Yes, we have a foreign debt that would make the Founding Fathers keel over and die a second time from sheer shock. Yes, unemployment is high. Yes, we need to reduce our stagering 14 plus trillion dollar debt and balanced our budge. Yes, several States budgets also need dire repair.
But how and why did we get here and what should we do to get out of it? Many of our politicians are now focusing on the later part of this question and are completely ignoring the first, all important part. What happened to this country to lower us to this point?
The simple law of bugeting is, do not spend more than you take in. This applies to a simple household budget all the way to the Federal coffers. Ironically, or should I say, eerily, numerous families across America are in debt, right along with our country. What does this mean?
Does it mean that those at the top holding the reins spent us into the poor-house with scant regard for fiscal responsibility and taught us to do the same? George Bush's advice to the nation after the horrific tragedy of September 11, was to go shopping.
The Republicans on Capitol Hill and across the land are now screaming for this fiscal responsibility, when they were the ones holding the limitless charge card racking up the debt on credit for wars, tax breaks for the rich and nonexistent regulations on Wall St. and Corporations.
Now many on that 'Right' side of the aisle are proposing outrageous cuts in an effort to close the gaping hole in the Federal coffers. Incidentally the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which was recently extended for another 2 years, were not seen as an entitlement program or unnecessary in these tough economic times.
Folks who can afford to pay their fare share, have been given a big break while programs for the poor are set to 'pick up the slack' on closing that gap. What gives?
We hear of corporations like General Electric (GE) raking in $14.2 billion, and shockingly, tax free to booth! In fact after not paying one cent in taxes, they got a 'tax refund' from Uncle Sam in the form of almost $4 billion. Didn't the Supreme Court say that corporations were people? We pay taxes, don't we? another corporation, giant software company Microsoft, raked in $6.32 billion in profits and paid only 7% in taxes.
Again, are we paying attention? Republicans want to slash $1 trillion from the Medicaid program. They also wanted to privatize Medicare and replace it with a voucher program. Didn't we hear this one before? The privatizing of Social Security and investing them in the stock market, proposed by our last esteemed president Bush Jr.? Could you imagine what would have happened to SS during the Wall St. meltdown?
You see, they need to balance the budget and pay down our huge debt, so what better way to do that than on the backs of the Middle Class poor working class and seniors, right? Millionaires and billionaires desperately needed that 2 year extension on their sweet deal of a tax break. That would make it how many years of 'welfare' for the rich--over a decade?
Arizona wanted to impose a 'fat fee' and smokers fee on Medicaid recipients and to some that sounds fair. Why, I'm sure Brewer was feeling quite altruistic in her argument for this' slippery slope to bias' proposal: it would save the State over $500 billion, plus it would make those lazy, poor, fat slobs get up and lose weight; kick the smoking habit or get off the Federal dime. (and we know who they think those lazy, fat, smoking, slobs are, don't we?)
Wisconsin has also balanced their budget on the backs of the hard-working,public servant. Those teachers, bus drivers, janitors, prison guards etc are living too high on the hog and can afford to make some sacrifice for a good cause.
What do they need bargaining rights for? They already have sweet deals: like tax breaks for another 2 years; estate exemptions--no death tax--million dollar salaries--some even millions for just their bonuses, right? Oops, sorry, that's not the teachers and other public workers, that's the 'ax break, billionaire/millionaire crowd,' who contributes heavily to the political campaigns of the ones calling for the budget cuts--doing so with their boots planted squarely on the necks and backs of the hard-working American.
They gave Trillions to Wall St. Freddie and Fanny, big banks, even foreign ones like the bank of Libya--yes, you read right-- Gadhafi's Libya. Several foreign companies had their hands out for the free handout from the Federal coffers, while 'Main St. continues to suffer.
Billionaire Mayor of New York, Bloomberg, bought himself a third term and is now threatening to lay off over 6,000 teachers, while Wall St. continues to pay out outrageous bonuses and despite the paltry reform from the Obama administration, business is booming along as usual.
But we need to balance the budget, just not upset the status quo of the 2-3 'percenters' who control most of the wealth in this country. We can't ask them to sacrifice. We can't ask them to pay their fair share. We can't ask them to give up their cushy tax breaks. After all, aren't they the "job creators?" So what if we still have an 9 percent unemployment plaguing the land?
Now the debt ceiling war rages on in Washington, with 4 more days to default countdown. Speaker John Boehner can't get his ducks in a row and have rewritten his plan 3 times now for he can't get the Teaparty far right-wingers to support his measure. The Democrats and President Obama has firmly stated that the GOP's plan would be voted down anyways even if Boehner manages to squeeze a majority yea vote out of his hard-liners in the House.
So the country and the rest of the world watches and wait as the drama escalates on the Hill. Stay tuned: Act 5, scene 5 promises to be the most interesting episode yet.