Monday, December 23, 2013

The Republican House blows it yet again

The recent caving by Republicans in the House and Senate was breathtaking.  The much-ballyhooed budget from Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democrat Sen. Patty Murray will erase much of the hard-fought sequester cuts.  It also cuts military pensions.  Oh, it also raises the airport tax on your plane ticket that ostensibly goes for the TSA only this extra money is going to cover some of the sequester cuts.  That, my friends, is a tax increase, something Boehner and the boys in the House said they would never do.

The sequester cuts, although not ideal, were the first real cuts in federal spending since just after the Korean War.  Even Newt and the Republican Revolution of 1994 couldn’t get real
cuts and had to settle for slowing growth.  It was that slowing of the growth in spending that gave us several years of surpluses.  

This new budget does absolutely nothing to balance the budget.  Republicans who voted for it will tell you that it reduces the deficit but it doesn’t reduce it nearly as much as the sequester cuts and it doesn’t balance the budget.  

I’ve come to the conclusion that not enough people in Congress care about the deficits and the debt.  They say they do but they don’t.  They also say they want to kill Obamacare but each chance they have to do it they blow it.  The only way we were going to kill Obamacare was to defund it.  The House budget fully funded Obamacare.  Not one dime was stripped from it, despite the cacophony of protests from the millions who have had their policies cancelled.  

The Republicans who caved pointed to polling that showed the American people blamed them for the government shutdown.  The American people don’t even remember the government shutdown and if you’re not willing to go to the mat for something you believe in what good are you?  I’m sick of politicians who vote based on polls that say they’ll be wrongly blamed for something.  At some point you have to have the guts to stand up for what’s right.

Killing Obamacare is what’s right.  In fact, I believe those same polls would have shown support for anyone who tried to rid the country of this horrible law.  Unfortunately, we’ll never know.  But that’s really beside the point.  The point is we now have far too many in Congress who cherish their jobs.  We need folks up there who don’t care if they get re-elected.  We need statesmen instead of politicians.  We need reliable representation.  The mark of a true statesman is someone you know before they vote how they’re going to vote.  It’s someone who doesn’t pander to the people in order to stay in power.  It’s someone who is quite comfortable losing that power.

How many folks in Washington does that apply to these days?  Certainly not enough.

So, where do we go from here?  I think it is imperative that we get more involved in the process.  It’s very easy at a time like this to turn it all off, to take a vacation from the madness and the frustration.  That’s exactly what they’re hoping you’ll do.  When good people no longer pay attention then bad people prevail.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

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