The failure the Congress’ “Super Committee” to come to a resolution on the nation’s budget deficit is not a surprise. They were supposed to reach $1.2 trillion in budget cuts before Thanksgiving or mandatory “across the board” budget cuts would “trigger” to “automatically” reduce the budget.
I think it was a ploy all along to get past the debt-ceiling stalemate that allowed both parties to save face, in the face of a government shutdown. They kicked the can down the road, and now down the road is here.
They ended up doing just what many thought they would do. In fact, they did exactly what we expected–put on a grand show of nothingness beneath a plot of political theater. Did you really think the Republicans were going to cave on raising taxes on the rich? That’s the foundation of its whole ideology. Any concession on taxes is a concession to President Obama.
The Republicans hate Obama more than Black people hate the Klan, and certainly more than they love this country. Hell, some of the Republicans used to be the Klan (or Klan-affiliated), but this time around it has nothing to do with the love of country. Once again, the Republicans have shown its about Obama and rejecting his effort to govern by compromise or inclusion.
The Republicans don’t want to be included. They don’t want to meet in the middle. That’s why they can’t do the “people’s business.” They’re too busy doing the party’s business. The new “radicals” of Congress are a fringe element that the Republicans now bow to, and the Democrats cower to. They have highjacked the public and the process. The debt-ceiling debate was just the start. The Super Committee turkey day race was the second act.
The legislative process in Congress has become just political exercise in partisan gamesmanship. The illogical approach driven by the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party is to bring the debt down, and balance the budget, on spending cuts, largely social welfare entitlements.
The budget got out of whack with the start of two wars and defense spending that a Republican president and a Republican Congress created. The new Republican rhetoric is that it’s the entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) adding to the deficit when that is just not the case.
President Obama has laid out several plans to reduce the deficit, but they all require “shared sacrifice,” something the Republicans don’t want to adhere to. They just don’t want to take no orders from no ni…ghtly news cycle that already knows and calls out the partisan agenda.
Nearly every economist in the nation has said that economic recovery will not happen without additional revenue. Spending cuts alone will not do it. Still, Congress refuses to listen. Congress’ approval rating has fallen to 8 percent. It’s going to fall further. This ploy of obstructionism is surely going to fail. Why can’t they see it?
Now we are positioned for another whole round, maybe even rounds, of budget talks. If the president is talking about the budget cuts, he can’t talk about jobs, can he? The Democrats could get more aggressive in the debate on spending cuts, but they’re afraid the Tea Party will come after them.
It’s the Democrats in Congress that are the ones who are “leading from behind.” But it’s Obama that is the Republican’s preoccupation. Nothing gets done that Obama can take credit for, and nothing gets done that Obama can’t get blamed for. That was the strategy and the Super Committee: put the nation in one super, duper stupor, thinking they were going to get something done. The Congress is hopelessly landlocked until the next election.
The politics of obstruction is the order of the day. Damn what the people need….
Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum (www.urbanissuesforum.com) and author of the upcoming book, REAL EYEZ: Race, Reality and Politics in 21st Century Popular Culture. He can be reached at www.AnthonySamad.com or on Twitter at @dranthonysamad.
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