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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