Politics or Policies: Which Really Matters in Washington?

26 July, 2011

Last night we witnessed a prime time heavyweight bout between the President of the United States of America, and the Speaker of House, played out for the nation and world to see. President Obama was relentless in his attack of the Republican Party; even going as far as making an attempt to paint the image that the massive debt incurred was mostly the fault of the Bush administration, which he inherited; only admitting that his party too was to blame for “some” of the debt. On his blissful canvass of imagination, President Obama left out the storm cloud looming overhead, when he failed to tell Americans that the spending in the first three years of his administration already had nearly surpassed the enormous level reached in the eight years under our nation’s previous top executive. We heard him twist the perception of the citizens of this great nation, whose tax dollars it is that Washington keeps spending, into believing that the republicans were doing nothing, and would do nothing, as America comes dangerously close to defaulting on our debt. Republicans, according to our President, were refusing to work with him, or the house Democrats to find a solution. According to the democrats, the GOP refused to cut military spending, or raise the debt limit– two acts which certainly do need to be accomplished at this time. More times than I care to count, I heard the blame shifted to republicans.

When speaker Boehner took the soapbox, we heard the exact same sad song. The other party was to blame, and the other party was not going to allow a deal to be accomplished. Our Speaker repeatedly criticized our President, and attempted to shift all the blame on him and his constituents. Speaker Boehner even went as far as to say that the President, even in this dangerous situation, only wants a blank check so he can add even more to his record setting national transactions.

While two of our nation’s most powerful leaders held the country captive to political finger pointing, caring more for who was right and who was wrong than they did about fixing the problem at hand, we as its citizens–whose taxes paid for the last two administrations breakneck spending–are about to suffer the greatest hit if our nation defaults on its payments, and we lose our coveted AAA credit rating. If this is the case, we can assume three things will be certain. First; higher taxes. While this may not necessary be a bad thing, no one in the 50 Great States will be very happy to lose more hard earned money, just to see Washington spend it all away yet again. Which brings me to the second problem of a national default: spending. Hard to imagine that a country that had just gone bankrupt could spend, right? Unfortunately with the last six to eight years as an indicator, that is exactly what will happen. Washington will panic, assuming that the economy will plummet, which it certainly would, and inject more money as “stimulus” to help the economy. Because we will not be able to borrow money at a reasonable rate, the Federal Reserve will then most likely print it out of thin air, further devaluing to dollar we all work to the bone to bring home. Third, and possibly the most painful, a credit drop, and payment default will most likely mean a hike in import prices. If this is the case, our pocketbooks will take hits in many areas, but maybe none more so than at the gas pump. While Washington plays the seventh grade game of who is to blame, we face a real possibility of forking over five dollars for a single gallon, or more. So who is really to blame for this crisis, and what is holding the two sides back from agreeing to a compromise?

Here are the facts. The Democratic sponsored bill currently in the Senate cuts an estimated 2.7 trillion dollars, almost entirely from the military budget, over the course of the next few years, and raises the debt ceiling. That figure is estimated because it is not really a cut in spending at all; it all comes from anticipated closure to the two wars currently being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan. This means the money we would have stopped spending by virtue of the two wars winding down and hopefully coming to a close, is exactly the money Democrats are proposing that we “stop spending”, even though we have no way to guarantee the wars will end. If the wars do end, this would happen with or without their bill. Democrats are pulling a fast one on American citizens with an impressive number, but not actually making any cuts in their spending. This is why Speaker Boehner referred to it as a “blank check”, which in itself is not necessarily true. Speaker Boehner was telling the truth in that he did pass a bill with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, which the President outright rejected on the terms of having a short-term settlement now, and then creating a long-term settlement in six to twelve months. This is the idea President Obama will not budge on, but why? House republicans, who did not want to cut any military spending or raise the debt ceiling, did both in their bill in an honest attempt to make a bipartisan decision that is best for this country. If Republicans as adamant as Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, and son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky can compromise enough to raise the debt ceiling, why cannot the President budge on his no-short-term-deal objections? This is where Speaker Boehner walked out on the President, as was reported. President Obama would not budge, and Speaker Boehner had had enough. However, the short term deal seems to be the best option; it allows the government to change what it needs to now in order to get by, as well as provide six to twelve months to take a deep look at our spending issues, and overhaul the budget to really do us tax payers some good. The old saying haste makes waist really has applied on Capitol Hill lately. Just to name a few of the latest bills passed by Congress in too much of a hurry, which caused too many negative drawbacks on us citizens: We have the Department of Homeland Security, the new TSA regulations, more FEMA spending, TARP, Obama’s massive bailouts, Obamacare, and the list could continue. Clearly both parties are at fault in this pattern; nobody can claim the moral high ground. Both parties have used fear as a motive to pass large spending bills too quickly. This is why we should fear fear; as one of our greatest leaders once said. If a bill is passed too quickly, the representatives who vote on it do not have time to read and discuss fully what they are really voting on, and now we have negative consequences from bills with fear as the driving force, and time as a nuisance.

For this reason, I am on the side of the Republican constituents in the debt crises. We need to do something now, but we need to do something major, which cannot happen now; therefore let us do a short term fix, and then give the government time to formulate one for the long term. Why would the President disagree with this? For starters it means that he would have to cut spending in the long term, drastically. It also means that there is a chance that an ugly debate, which would plant him on the side of wanting to spend us into farther debt, right in the middle of his campain for re-election. Now this is obviously a two sided sword, and I am not naive enough to believe the Republicans had no idea they were doing this, I am sure it was part of the plan for them. It is just by happenstance that it appears to be the more fiscally responsible and logical plan. If President Obama passed the bipartisan bill which came from the house, he would be able to campaign on the fact that he is willing to do what was needed to fix the debt crises, but he will not. Why? Knowing that elections are playing a major role in the policy decisions which can result in crippling or freeing our economy is quite disturbing, for both parties. For this reason I ask, what is more important to the law makers in Washington, politics, or policy? It is terrifyingly tragic to see our future being gambled away just for favorable odds in the next election. Examples like this illustrate the exact reason why most Americans distrust and despise our government. We as citizens elected them to formulate sound policy, and that is exactly what they must do. Why are political party and games more important than the nation, and its citizens which fund the nation?

This must end, so let us do just as President Obama asked, and let our representatives know exactly how we feel. They must do what is best for us, not their party, or they will be voted out. Pick up your phone, pen, or start typing away to your representatives. Now more than eve it is time to put an end to these immature political games. Now more than ever, it is time for Americans to speak up!

–Matt Young

About patriotslog

I am studying to achieve a double major in political science and journalism from the University of Kentucky. I am married to a wonderful woman named Sierra. I am starting this blog because I feel the political climate in Washington is carving deep canyons for our children to climb out of. Our representatives, on both sides of the isle, do not represent us, they represent the lobbyists.This blog is not to give answers, but to make people think. I believe the more we think about our ideas the better they will become; as opposed to becoming more and more intrenched in far left or right wing brainwash, where it seems nobody thinks anymore. I hope y'all enjoy.

Posted on August 28, 2011, in Patriotslog Articles, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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