Monday, August 1, 2011

FIre Everybody

I don't do politics posts all that often anymore, because frankly, its too depressing.  But I figure somebody needs to say what I'm going to say now.

Okay, so America has this thing called "the debt ceiling".  If you turn on CNN or Fox or go to any news source, you'll hear a lot about it.  Congress, as mandated by the Constitution, is the only body that can borrow money.  Before WWI, Congress had to basically vote every single time the nation borrowed money.  But since WWI would require a huge amount of borrowing, we collectively lumped all of our debts into a single pile.  The debt ceiling is the legal limit set by Congress as to how much debt the federal government can take on - right now we're at $14.3 trillion in the hole.  If you don't raise the debt ceiling, you can't borrow more money, which means you physically will not have enough money to pay for things.  So you can't pay salaries of government employees, you can't pay the bills on the debt you already own, and you can't fund the wars we're fighting right now.

US Government Debt, as it turns out, is an important commodity in the world financial markets.  Because the US pays its debts without fail every single time, buying Treasury Securities, essentially lending money to the government in expectation of a higher return, is considered to be a "riskless investment".  The rate of return on US debt is so certain that its actually the basis of all interest rates everywhere.  You might even hold a piece of the US debt in a drawer someplace, you'll call it a "saving's bond".  Grandma gave it to your for your birthday God-knows how many years ago, and you most likely forgot you even had it.  By not raising the debt ceiling, we're essentially shaking the very foundation our entire monetary system is based upon.  You either raise the debt ceiling, or America defaults.  Only a complete moron or a psychopath utterly without any love for humanity would threaten this foundation - and sadly I think today's government is filled with people who are a mixture of both.

It took Congress months and months, but finally just yesterday, a deal seems to have been struck.  The debt ceiling will be raised high enough to get us through Obama's Presidency.  Then its the next guy's problem (I think we can largely discount the possibility of Obama's second term now).  In return for that, the Republicans are getting some three trillion dollars in cuts over ten years as decided by a body called "the Super Congress"*.  Whatever Super Congress decides cannot be amended, filibustered, or otherwise tampered with.  Super Congress will be made up Senators, Congressmen, Democrats, and Republics in equal division, meaning that in all likelyhood it will be bogged down for months and come up with nothing.  If that committee fails, half of the cuts will come out of the military, and the other half will come out of domestic spending, but not Medicaid or Social Security.  They're protected.

What I like about this deal is that pundits on both political sides seem upset and disappointed, which is good.  What's not good is that its still not clear if the deal will go through at all.  Because honesty, I've had it with them all.  I'm sick of Democrats, I'm sick of Republics, I'm sick of Obama, and I'm sick of the Tea Party.  I want them all gone, forever.  I want Fox News closed down and see Glenn Beck in the poorhouse next to Bill Maher.

Here, let me break down what's happening today in the US government.  We'll start from 2008.  Obama walks in promising change, and he has the political capital to pull it off.  And you know what, he wasn't lying when he said he wanted to change how this country worked.  Obamacare is that great achievement, a universal health care system that Obama hoped would further move America towards a Western European-style of democracy.  Also the fact that modern healthcare in this country is a wide-awake nightmare of insurance, red tape, and unbelievable costs is another reason to get it fixed.  Unfortunately, Obamacare turned into a long bloody battle just to get passed, and sadly today is still being tooth and nail to keep going.  The Republicans will never give up destroying it, and the Democrats simply cannot surrender - they spent so much to get it, they can't give up on it now.  Now with Europe itself going through a wave of austerity, big government seems like a failed idea.

Meanwhile, we have the Tea Party and the Republicans.  Their one goal is to defeat Obama and swing government in the exact opposite direction.  The Right is fighting to balance the budget, cut costs, and kill Obamacare.  To them, the expanding government is crushing the economy, and the huge debts we've incurred will ruin America's future.  The only reason that the entire debt ceiling situation has become such a huge crisis is  because the Republicans would not allow the country to expand its debt without clear promises that costs would be cut.

One thing I don't seem to be seeing between the Democrats and the Republicans is this:  fixing the economy.  Both sides are solving problems, be it health care or the deficit, but here's the thing, neither of those problems are the most pressing right now.  Yeah, they're bad, we'll need to fix them, but the bigger problem is that globally the economy has stalled.  Republicans want to cut costs in exactly the places where Democrats want to raise them - its a hopeless deadlock.

Oh, and if you want to cut government costs, I'll do it right now.  Real quick, this isn't hard:  end the War on Terror, increase the retirement age to 70 for most people.  There's all the cuts we need to make, not withstanding all the little things we can cut away.  Add in some taxes on the rich, we don't need to worry about the budget for another decade.

You know, I'll do one better with solving America's political crisis.  If we can't settle this debt limit problem today, we simply fire every politician in Washington.  All of them, from Obama down.  The questions is:  can our government be trusted to even keep the financial system running?  So far it doesn't seem like they can.  We barely averted a second financial meltdown - while some politicians still think that nuking America's credit rating will somehow solve all of our problems.  Cutting funds is not worth this.  And holding onto programs is not worth this either.  The Democrats and the Republicans need to learn to play nice, or else we should just be rid of them all.  Start a special recall of every elected official, emergency elections, start from scratch.  A clean start from where we can begin again.  Tell the politicians that they can fight for America's future all they want, but they sure as Hell better not destroy our present in the process.

Obama can loophole his way out of the debt ceiling simply by citing the Fourteenth Amendment's "validity of the public debt" clause.  That basically states that public debt has to be honored, no matter what.  So if Obama wanted to be bold, he could raise the debt ceiling himself, claiming that Congress is violating the Constitution.  This would lead to potentially an explosive legal battle, where Obama could find himself impeached, but it would show real leadership.  When Congress is failing to do what needs to be done, Obama could step up.  Of course, if he fails to do that, we could just fire him too.

You know what I want?  I want a politician who will come into Washington, and actually do the job.  The Tea Party is almost there, but on the wrong issues.  I want a plan to cut debt that doesn't mean surrendering the entire nation to Fox News.  I want to see environmental regulations enforced, vast immigration reform, an end to endless wars we've already won, the education system saved, the list goes on.  Obama at least got Don't Ask, Don't Tell removed, but now he seems less than useless.  How about somebody with testicles?

Either that, or fire them all.

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* I find the Super Congress idea to be particularly funny.  It basically is a tacit admission that our bicameral legislature system has completely failed.  Partisanship has gotten so bad that the only way we can solve anything anymore is to lock people together in a room for weeks on end until they either kill each other or work out a deal.  And notably, most of us are so cynical at this point that we think even this won't work.

5 comments:

  1. Sadly, there are three kinds of politicians: corrupt assholes, idiots, and the honest ones who want to do their job right but are so vastly in the minority that they can't get anything done because of the other two groups.

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  2. Most politicians spend their time doing things to secure their reelection or keeping all unions or corporations are special interests groups or etc. that helped them get elected. If the "right" (be it on the right, left, or neither side on the political scale) side costs the reelections, most politicians will scurry back and hide.

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  3. I think we should shift political control to some kind of UN-related organization that builds giant biorobots to protect us. And the leader can be some kind of university genius who has glasses and will eventually develop some kind of megaiconic posture. At least by the year 2014 or so, 2015 at the latest.

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  4. ^Gendo Ikari? I like your thinking.

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  5. two groups fighting each other while we burn typical im in philipines and this is just sad and im 14 i wonder what il tell my kids.
    no one can say they represent the small when it costs a lot of money to get elected.
    spellfail

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