Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Did That Really Just Happen?

From left to right: Eric Cantor, John Boeh - wait, you know what?
Who gives a shit?  Let's just call them the guys that fucked us.

Around 8:15 P.M. eastern time last night, I watched as the House of Representatives passed the "Cut, Cap, and Balance Act."  Whoops, sorry!  Did I say House of Representatives?  I mean the Republicans in the House of Representatives.  In an almost pure-party line vote, the Republicans used their majority to pass their economic recovery "plan" which, if you look into it, is not so much as a recovery plan as it is a masterfully crafted shit-storm of blame.  It's almost as though the Republicans leaders consulted with Lord Voldemort, Darth Vader, Sauron, Lex Luthor, Satan, and (perhaps) Rupert Murdoch over the weekend and devised this brilliant piece of legislature.

Now, because H.R. 2560 isn't available online (at least at the time of this writing), I had to dig up a lot of "secondhand" research done by economists, news organizations, and other politicians.  Ignoring the bias was pretty easy, but something did catch my eye: there is actually a website called and it, fantastically, only has a pledge.  There is nowhere you can go to actually read just what the act is about.  Instead, you can sign a pledge saying that you oppose raising the debt ceiling unless the three conditions of cut, cap, and balance are met.  Due to the shadowy nature of this bill, I have to ask everyone to not take what I say verbatim.  While I fact-checked all of the following as must as possible, I urge you all to do your own research (although, as you'll see by the end of this, it really won't matter).  

How about we make some cuts and raise taxes for the wealthy!?!
Goddamn, I hate math, and even I know that makes sense!

That being said, allow me to walk you though this step by step:

The big thing about the CCB Act is that it is a call for a new amendment to the Constitution, an amendment that would require a supermajority in both the House and Senate in order for taxes to be raised, as well as imposing restrictions on how much money the government can spend.  Unfortunately, its biggest argument is also its least clear, perhaps on purpose.  The supermajority requirement would guarantee that the rich - shit, sorry, I meant job creators - never have their taxes raised again.  

The act also calls on an almost immediate spending cut of $111 billion.  Economists say that this is too much too fast - a cut like this will do more harm than good.  What exactly is going to get cut?  Well, from what I've seen, the bill doesn't say, but many people, including the Republicans that voted for it, believe that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will be the first three to get almost completely axed, followed quickly by education (of fucking course) and research.  Any why not?  Since the representatives, senators, and other government officials all get their own fantastic health care plan, why should they be worried about the rigors of age?  Leave that to us poor folks and our... er... what do we call them?  The old, wrinkly retired humans that are past their prime?  Oh, right, our grandparents.  Hah, us lower/middle class and our family values.  Whatever shall we do with them?

It's okay, Nana!  At the bottom of the stairs, you get a voucher to
buy your own private health care with!  Act quick though - it probably
won't be worth that much by the time you get to it.

But here's where the Republicans got devious.  President Obama said he would veto the bill if it made it to his desk, while the Democrats in the Senate assured him that it wouldn't even make it that far.  Well, tonight I watched, for the first time, a live feed of the House of Representatives.  I can't tell you how disgusted I was.  

People were just talking.  And I mean having full fledged conversations - standing around in groups, shooting the shit - while their fellow lawmakers were addressing them.  I just remember thinking as the speaker banged his gavel and called for order, "This looks more like a high school cafeteria than it does a group of politicians that are concerned about our economy."  

And then, not long after the vote, you've got representatives from their state reading the obituaries of door men.  My heart goes out to these guys but seriously?  There's a time and a place for that stuff.  "Our economy is going to collapse if we don't do something fast!"  "Now, hold on there, cowboy.  Before we continue, I just want to give a quick five minute speech about the thirty-year caterer of the North Dakota State Senate, Pig-Nosed Larry, who passed away two weeks ago from Tuberculosis..."  

Nothing pissed me off more, however, than when some swamp person from Louisiana stood at the podium and basically said, "Nanny nanny boo boo, us Republicans have a plan and you Democrats don't have shit!"  Well, something along those lines.  Here's where it gets a bit crazy.  

See if you can follow me on this:  The Republicans have a plan that they know the Democrats in the Senate/the Democratic President will veto.  Said plan does get vetoed, and the Republicans refuse to budge on anything else.  August 2nd swings around and, oh, shit!  We've defaulted on our loans!  Who's fault is it?  The Republicans?  No, no, no!  They had a plan.  It's the democrats fault for vetoing it, whether it was a shitty plan or not.  2012 rolls around, and the House keeps its Republican majority, the Senate becomes mostly Republican, and a Republican gets voted into office.  

Okay, okay, so that last part was a bit over the top.  And sure, it does sound a bit crazy.  Well, it did.  Except Republican Mitch McConnell outlined that very idea no more than a week ago.  If the Republicans increase the debt, they can make it look as though it was the president's fault, as he is the figurehead of this country (not to mention most righties think that the president is like... the king or something).  The GOP can then campaign off that very idea, even though it was, in fact, themselves that bent our economy over a Chinese dumpster and fucked it.  

McConnell's Back-Up Plan: "Woah, woah, woah!  We had the plan!
The president vetoed it!  So... technically it's his fault!"

Brilliant, huh?  Politics is rapidly becoming a blood sport and I gotta say, if the Democrats don't man up soon and start consulting the Dark Lord for some good ideas, then they are indeed going to get ousted next year.  While I knew, back in 2008, that I'd probably live through some other Bush-esque presidential era (frustrating, agonizing, seething hatred, etc), I never thought it would be so soon.  Well played, Republicans.  Well played. 

No comments: