Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's Nice to Share

Republicans dug in deeper against adding tax revenues to any deficit reduction package Monday, suggesting that just voting for a debt ceiling increase qualifies as “shared sacrifice” and even taunting President Barack Obama by saying that if he feels compelled to pay more taxes, “he can write a check anytime he wants.”

You really have to love the otherworldly quality of our right-wing minded citizens,  now seemingly led by Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia. It seems that sharing the pain only requires the Republicans to actually vote to raise the debt ceiling, as that would cause them so much pain, sweat and angst you'd have to raise health care premiums to cover the run on private hospitals and insurers that would certainly follow.

This is truly the summer of our discontent: a blooming, weed infested, pollen-spewing garden of destructive ideas, disregard for the victims of irresponsible economic policies such as tax cuts and subsidies for wealthy companies, and a patent obliviousness to the suffering that would ensue if we cut social programs in an economic slump. Both parties can certainly share in the blame for how we got into this mess, but the Republican plans to clean it up are simply unsustainable and mean-spirited.

For all of their blather about how they pay such fealty to the Constitution, the Republicans fail to remember, or never learned in history class if recent polls are accurate, that our system of government is composed of several wrenching compromises over slavery, economic policies and representation. Cantor's home state came to Philadelphia in 1787 convinced of the rightness of their plan to have the big states dominate the national conversation. It was only when New Jersey and the small states threatened rebellion that both sides compromised and the result is a system of checks and balances that endures to this day (thank goodness). The compromise over tariffs ensured that the country would have a formula to allow businesses to grow and to provide income for the government so it could meet the Preamble's requirements.

And just to show you that they really haven't learned the lessons of the past, the flap over the marriage pledge that included this unfortunate phrase:

"Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA?s first African-American President,"

proves that the conservative right knows very little about the impact that slavery had on the African-American community. And if I truly wanted to be mathematically correct, a family of 4 slaves was, in reality, a family of 2.4, given that each member was counted as 3/5ths.

As a matter of historical fact, you could make the argument that the more intransigent one side of the argument becomes, the more disastrous the outcome. The south's secession of 1860/61, the Radical Republicans treatment of Andrew Johnson, Jim Crow laws, nativism in all eras, and isolationism prior to Pearl Harbor are all examples of actions that have had a deleterious effect on our country. I suppose we can add the economic crisis we face now as the latest example. 
Failure to compromise on the part of the Republicans will have many negative consequences for those least able to defend themselves against big corporate interests and their rights to entitlements under the law, but it will have one overwhelmingly positive outcome: the reelection of Barack Obama in 2012.

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