More people are out of work in the United States than have ever been in most of our lifetimes. This is the real economic crisis. Yes, we should not be a debtor nation. Yes, some costs should be reduced but not social services, education, infrastructure support, and the like. More importantly, the nation needs to increase revenue to pay for projects to create jobs. Cutting costs does not create jobs. How could it?
The members of the U.S. Congress, however, have jobs and their job security requires campaign contributions from the wealthy; so guess why revenue for many of these folks is not an option? Their jobs – the ones their campaign-finance employees pay them for –are to keep these folks happy and as rich as possible. Thus, tax reform is somehow spun out as the devil’s handwork, a commie plot, a bad idea because “latté-limousine, bleeding-heart liberals” favor it.
So on goes the irrational, idiotic charade of trying to solve an economic crisis by cutting, cutting, and cutting. No one, however, will tell you how cutting alone will put America back to work. They will not tell you this for two reasons:
1) They can’t make a rational argument to support such a goal; two, they don’t really care or want to put people back to work. Those who “have,” deep down, really don’t give a damn about those who “don’t have.” The poor are not even a blip on the conservative/tea party folks’ radar.
2) They don’t want Obama to be able to help anyone and, hence, get any credit before the next election. So this new, debt ceiling arrangement handcuffs Obama from providing any meaningful creation of jobs. Mission accomplished.
And the American public? They seem to be weary and fed up with D.C. but not yet angry. The Tea Party folks seem just sort of angry in general, but when they rail away at government (while benefiting from the myriad services government does provide), it’s hard to see their anger as rational.
Ah, rationality. If it were a widespread phenomenon then we might see real anger and some action from the out-of-work and low-to-middle income folks for whom there is to be no relief because we can’t tax obscenely wealthy individuals or corporations because Congress is too beholden to them.
In fact, Congress has become rather blatant about their loyalty to the rich. Of course, they count on the apathy, despair, ignorance, and overall beaten-down feelings of the poor and even the middle classes who no longer look to government for any real help.
Go back and read the last 30 State of the Union addresses — from Reagan to Obama – and look for mentions of programs to help poor children and adults. The paucity of poverty references is astonishing; no, it is appalling. The demoralized poor don’t vote and, more importantly, they can’t contribute to presidential campaigns, so why should presidents care about them? Answer: They don’t! We don’t! Congress doesn’t.
Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Michelle Bachman, Newt Gingrich, et al. do not believe that caring for the poor, infirm, aged, has anything to do with their mission nor is it a part of their philosophy of government. “The poor have always been with us,” “They lack initiative,” “They just soak up welfare,” this is about the extent of their philosophy. A New Yorker cartoon a while ago portrayed an obviously wealthy man looking down on a hobo in the gutter saying, “If you had any ambition you’d go out and inherit a department store,” and that about sums up the conservative agenda for eradicating poverty in America.
So where do we go from here? I don’t think “we” know. We elected people that we expect to lead. I think it should be rather obvious to the president that his super cool, balanced, “come let us reason together” approach is not working. Perhaps it would be helpful if he were to demonstrate some passion, some fight, and call the American people to action behind a clear plan that he would put forward.