I have this sinking (but totally expected) feeling that Republicans are about to sell out us and the nation yet again.
Before we get to that, though, let’s begin with some good old fashioned class warfare rhetoric from a true artist:
“If we do not have revenues, that means there are a bunch of kids out there who do not have college scholarships,” Obama said. “[It] might compromise the National Weather Services. It means we might not be funding critical medical research. It means food inspection might be compromised. I’ve said to Republican leaders, ‘You go talk to your constituents and ask them, “Are you willing to compromise your kids’ safety so some corporate-jet owner can get a tax break?” ‘ ”
Let’s ignore that the corporate-jet owner tax break was acutally part of President Obama’s stimulus package, and instead focus on his default rhetorical tactic of demonizing the rich (except for him and his friends, of course–they’re totally cool). He frames every economic policy in terms of rich vs. poor to sell his legislation.
I’ve already shared my thoughts on the importance of smacking down this insidious approch wherever we find it, so I won’t belabor the point in this post. Instead, I go back to my original statement to prepare you for the coming Republican fold on this issue.
Few things scare them more than being perceived as the “party of the rich.” This fear causes them to do foolish things, like agree to raising the debt ceiling while getting nothing in return. Oh, they’ll tell you they’re hanging tough and won’t accept any raise without significant spending cuts. But these are Washington politicians. That means that (a) their definition of “significant” and ours aren’t found in the same dictionary, and (b) they (wrongly) assume that you’ll be too ignorant, stupid, or lazy to figure out the game they’re playing.
What exatly is that game? JJac has the details, but the short version is that the proposed cuts–while sounding large as a total dollar figure–would happen over a period of many years, basically reducing them to meaningless in terms of our annual deficit, ensuring that it’ll still continue to skyrocket year after year, until we finally come too close to the economic black hole to pull away (if we’re not there already).
I can confirm that this is the likely approach. RTP has communicated directly with Rep. Eric Cantor’s office on this issue (as he is a crucial player in the negotiations), asking for his position on the debt ceiling and specifically if the cuts would be stretched over a number of years. Their response was very general and completely ignored the years-stretching part of the question. They simply said there would be significant cuts, possibly on a 1:1 ratio with the amount of the ceiling raise.
That may qualify as “significant” in the eyes of Republican career politicians (and “unpatriotic” in the eyes of Democrat career politicians), but that is decidedly INsignificant to those of us who are tired of the political games and are starving for SOMEONE to stand up and actually address the deep fiscal crisis we are in.
We need to shut down Rep. Cantor’s office with calls, e-mails, faxes, and visits, letting him know that we expect him to stand strong in the class warfare battle and win it for the American people by rejecting meaningless cuts and refusing to raise the debt ceiling without AT LEAST the Cut, Cap, and Balance approach. If he’s not willing to do that, then he shouldn’t expect much–if any–support from Tea Partiers (and many non-Tea Partiers, I would bet) in next year’s primary. In fact, with his poor record, it may be too late for him already with Tea Partiers, but perhaps standing strong on this issue might earn back some good will.
Cross-posted at redstatevirginia.com