Thursday, July 28, 2011

Standing Firm

In March of 2010, the day after Obamacare was rammed through the legislature with a series of questionable but certainly unethical technical tactics, many of us felt righteous indignation and wanted to figure out—what can we do? Out of that a group called Not On This Watch was born. It is a facebook group; you can go to Not On This Watch on facebook and “like” it to get frequent updates. The administrators are an energetic and intelligent crew.   

Yesterday, one of the administrators, Shawn Rogers, posted his analysis regarding the debt ceiling debate. And it got me thinking: 
  1. It is an attempt by the old guard Republicans to break the back of the 2010 freshmen class by getting them to go along.
  2. An attempt by Obama to do the same thing as 1.
  3. The usual class warfare, socialistic, Marxist rhetoric from Obama.
  4. Cloward-Piven attempts to gin up a crisis and use it to further their ideology.
  5. An attempt to make this issue the distraction of the day. Distraction from what, you may ask:
    1. The continued healthcare debate.
    2. Fast and furious controversy (a weapons scandal related to selling arms to Mexican drug lords—one article here).
    3. The war in Libya.
    4. The price of gas.
    5. Obama’s horrible polls and satisfaction [rating].
    6. Inflation that is creeping in.
    7. Continued wicked-bad employment numbers.    This has successfully knocked all of the above out of the media.
  6. An attempt to knock the legs out from under Michelle Bachmann and her near-front-runner status.
  7. An attempt by Obama to preserve his chances for [re-]election.
  8. An attempt by Boehner to find a way to raise taxes but provide the conservatives “plausible deniability”—the proposed commission will take the fall for raising taxes and allow all of the other incumbent Republicans (H/T to Mark Levin) to claim they kept their promises.
It’s foul-smelling, deceptive, manipulative politics at its worst. And it’s almost making me physically ill from disgust…. 
I don’t buy into the hype that it is the crisis they are making it out to be. There are ways this can go beyond the 2nd and not be a collapse of the economy. However, if it is going to collapse, as I believe it inevitably will at some point, I say let it be on my watch while I still have the energy and fight within me to help rebuild it for my kids. The plans I’m seeing are so full of smoke and mirrors that it’s just another kick down the road at the cost of at least $2 Trillion more that our kids are going to be shackled with. We’ve had one commission already, and its recommendations have been ignored because they were too controversial. If they succeed in neutering the freshmen class that were sent there to reign in the agenda, we’ve lost all of our 2010 gains.
While I frequently talk about ideas that are in the political realm, I am not attracted to politics, to the strategy of manipulating the beliefs of the masses to gain personal power. Sharing and persuading with ideas is what I see myself doing. So it has been a difficult week facing this debt ceiling “crisis,” and I share a number of Shawn’s concerns. 

But the part of his commentary that got my attention was the part about hyping the crisis, maybe Cloward/Piven style. I am reminded of 2008, when it appeared there was going to be a financial collapse if government didn’t step in and “do something!” Remember when George W. Bush said, “I have abandoned free-market principles to save the free market system”?  

There were a few days there when I was a little shaky about what should be done—not because I didn’t know what the free-market solutions would be, but because there were so many trusted conservatives who were being persuaded. Should we bail out these failing companies? If we don’t, won’t it be disastrous? During that week even Glenn Beck had a few days when he admitted that he was persuaded the bailouts were necessary. I thought, “Really? If Glenn Beck thinks that, maybe he has sources of information I don’t have.” But within days, he was back on track, realizing the principles still held true. 

Following those original bailouts—which I believe were a mistake—the companies in question mostly repaid the bailouts. These were banks and financial institutions. The ones who would have been solvent anyway had to press the government to take the money back quickly, because government was refusing. The ones that were going to fail anyway either collapsed or were bought out by more successful companies—all of which would have happened smoother and without the expense to taxpayers, if the bailouts hadn’t happened. 

So I’m looking at the current “crisis.” There is always tumult on the other side—because they must convince people that they are powerless, so they will yield control over their own lives to government power-mongers. But when we really get into trouble is when the conservative side fails to stand up to that continual onslaught. “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything,” as the saying goes. So our conservative elected officials absolutely must know what they stand for. 

What they must stand for is the Constitution and the limits it spells out. If they can stand strong now—despite threats that the entire world economy will break down unless we take on infinite debt without responsibility—they might find a way back to the safety of the Constitution. 

Seriously, do you believe that taking on additional debt will bring greater prosperity? That would be like getting to this near bankruptcy spending problem in your real life and saying, “If we don’t take on a bigger mortgage, we will go bankrupt.” The real answer is, if you stop overspending and tackle your debts as aggressively as you can manage, you’ll free yourself of the threat. That model fits the US economy exactly the same way it fits yours. 

On Obama’s side there is nothing but more debt as far as the imagination can reach. On the conservative side there is fear that they will be blamed for catastrophe. But fear of blame is no reason to do anything other than the right thing.

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