Americans come up short in debt deal

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    In the political mess that unfolded in
    Washington, D.C. over the past few weeks
    regarding deficit reduction and debt ceiling, all
    the American public got to witness was some
    really mangy dogs.

    In a dog and pony show, you at least get to see

    a pony.

    In the political mess that unfolded in

    Washington, D.C. over the past few weeks

    regarding deficit reduction and debt ceiling, all

    the American public got to witness was some

    really mangy dogs.

    If it is true that in compromise nobody walks

    away from the table happy, then this has been

    compromise most foul. The Republicans are not

    happy, the Tea Party members are not happy, the

    progressives are not happy and the Democrats

    are not happy.

    In announcing the “compromise,” President

    Barack Obama did not say he was happy, but he

    did profess to feeling relieved that the nation

    would avert the ignominy of failing its fiduciary

    duty and telling the world that the U.S. would

    not pay its bills. Obama did not get anything he

    wanted out of the deal, except a temporary hike

    of the debt limit. He did not get any revenue

    enhancement, he did not save Social Security

    and Medicare from the budget knife. He did notconvince

    his party that cuts in social programs

    that help the poor and middle class would be

    avoided.

    So, now all of the dogs are yelping, complaining

    that there is nothing good in this compromise.

    But the real victims in this paroxysm of posturing

    have been the American people. We

    watched our government get hijacked by a gang

    of zealots who put their principles above the

    people. We saw a conversation about cutting

    spending trump every other conversation, even

    the recession and job creation and defaulting on

    our debt obligations. We saw naked and unrepentant

    hatred for the nation’s first Black president

    drive all decision-making, to the point that

    nothing else mattered.

    What this compromise does is kick the can

    down the road when it comes to the debt ceiling.

    There is no real spending plan, no budget and no

    expectation that any further compromise will

    not be tied to some other Tea Party demand for

    shrinking the government. The bi-partisan committee

    that will decide on any further budget

    action will not be bipartisan at all. It will be

    driven by those Tea Party folks who are strangling

    the Republican Party and for whom revenue

    increases are anathema. Their idea of compromise

    is total surrender, and they have shown

    that they will not be happy with anything less.

    The problem with the compromise that

    President Obama signed Tuesday afternoon, is

    that the damage to the nation’s financial health

    has already been done. The world markets have

    already slumped and the bond rating agencies

    are poised to downgrade our credit status. That

    will affect every American who is seeking a

    mortgage, or holds a credit card or has a 401K.

    Higher interest costs will affect businesses that

    are trying to expand, or trying to keep their

    heads above water. It could mean fewer jobs

    created and fewer jobs retained. It could mean

    that the estimated 16.2 percent unemployment

    rate for Black people could creep upward.

    That this kind of financial calamity was

    risked to placate the howling of Tea Party mutts

    is unconscionable. That the president backed up

    so far on this issue that he started bumping into

    himself is even worse. At a time when we needed

    a bulldog at the negotiating table, the

    Democrats were toothless and the Republicans

    were diseased.

    Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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