Deconstructing The Absurdity

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Can enforced mandatory voting in a post-industrial United States increase political efficacy?

In Democratic Party, Elections, Electoral process, Republican Party, U.S Congress, U.S States, United States of America on June 3, 2016 at 9:49 am


An outline of the problem

Political participation can assume various forms: protesting, voting and actively engaging in campaign activities, however in industrial democracies, more people vote than engage in a routine mass political behavior. A participatory culture creates an atmosphere where citizens depict a heightened enthusiasm for politics and take pride in the institutions and its roles in public life (Jackman 405). But interest in matters of state and policy framing is dependent on individual experience and relationship to the sociopolitical environment. Sociologist Andrew Perrin posits that we fabricate a “democratic imagination” from experiences in civic life along with other domains such as work, family, and neighborhood. This democratic imagination drives the motivation of getting involved in politics, how to do so and when to stay away (Perrin 2).

A relatively new trend in the American political system is emerging where public engagement with the policy framing process is on a steady decline towards a deep legitimacy crisis. In the 2014 U.S midterm election, a meager 36.4 percent of the eligible voting population showed up to the polls. According to the New York Times editorial board, this national election cycle marked a 70-year low in terms of voter turnout going back to 1942 when 33.9 percent of adults reportedly voted. The excuse in 1942 was reasonable as most young men eligible to vote were fighting in the Second World War (Montanaro et al).

The detrimental aspect of the 2014 midterms was the disproportionate outcome when viewed across the lines of race and ethnicity. According to the latest U.S census data: 75 percent of the population is Caucasian; 12.5 percent Hispanic or Latino (of any race); 12.3 percent African-American; 3.6 percent Asian. The United States has a tremendous mixture of ethnic groups with different expectations from government, however, the exit poll data from the last election shows a grim picture when it comes to representation from the above-listed communities. In the race for the U.S House of Representatives, 75 percent of the voters were white and the next significant number is 12 percent from the African-American community followed by eight percent of Hispanic voters (NBC news). Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking Down The Policy of Taxing

In 2012 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Republican Party, U.S Congress on December 7, 2012 at 8:54 pm

During the 2012 political campaign we got to hear a lot about the tax policy and how unfair the United States taxing system is supposed to be. We also heard the slogan “Tax the rich more” several times. All this talk about the inequality of taxes levied on the citizens in this country made me dig a little deeper into the tax system to find out what was really going on. Who needs to be taxed, what tax breaks should be eliminated, who is not paying and why is our focus not on changing the tax policy?

How is it that tax rates have gone up and down over the years but it has never been enough to fix the budget or the economy. That leads us to draw the conclusion that somewhere the money is not coming in. Someone is not paying the fair share.


A study done by Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez examines the progressiveness of the U.S Federal Tax System. The research which was published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives found that the most dramatic changes in the federal tax system almost always has taken place within the top 1 percent of income earners, with relatively small changes occurring below the top percentile. The research also suggests that any debates within the Congress on the topic of tax and tax policy also affects the top 1%. Topics like permanent reduction in tax rates for capital gains and dividends and repealing of the estate tax all concern the top income level of the society. In essence, the tax issues of the marginal voter never gets discussed making the policy of taxing in the United States extremely unfair. An opinion post on Bloomberg online carries the headline, Forget the Fiscal Cliff, Fix the U.S Tax System. The post talks about all the things wrong with the U.S Tax System and provides some ideas as to how we could fix those issues. Authors of the post, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers argue that, “The real danger, is not that we’ll fall off the cliff. It’s that Congress will solve the problem badly, missing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to design a better tax system.” The study done by Piketty and Saez only proves their [Steven and Wolfers] point. Read the rest of this entry »

Another page added to history, one more step towards change; DADT is repealed!

In 2012 Presidential Election, Democratic Party, Presidential Debates, Republican Party, Tea Party, U.S Congress on September 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm

At 12:00 am on September 20th 2011, one of the most discriminatory policies existing in the United States military ceased to exist. The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy is now officially history. For the past decade and more the idea of letting LGBT As per the December 21, 1993 Department of Defense Directive 1332.14, it was legal policy (10 U.S.C. § 654) that homosexuality is incompatible with military service. Any person engaged in homosexual acts or stated that they are homosexual or bisexual were to be discharged.  The Uniform Code of Military Justice, passed by Congress in 1950 and signed by President Harry S Truman, established the policies and procedures for discharging service members.

The one thing I love about America is how as a country we have learnt so much from our past and made changes. Slavery, civil war, civil rights, assassinations, integration, wars and finally 9/11. Every event has had a devastating impact on the American society and we always learnt something valuable from it. That learning is what made and makes the United States such a strong country and by strong I don’t just mean hard power. I am talking about social and structural power. The mistakes we made us stronger and a better country. So why is the whole sexual preference concept so alien to the American community? As a culture America is perhaps the most open and progressive culture in the western world. Popular cultural trend is mostly set by America and American institutions/people. The question mark is still on the sexual preference being such a taboo. In a free country like this, how can the people discriminate against someone who has a different sexual preference? How can you discriminate against Americans who have sacrificed their lives and are on the battlefield fighting your security or maybe even your pride?

Herman Cain is one person on the GOP hopeful roster who you’d think would be against any kind of discrimination. Considering he is a “representative” of the African-American community he would know not to discriminate a fellow human being on any basis. Cain has supported the military’s ban on homosexuals and says he would have never repealed it as president. As for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA – a proposed bill that would prohibit “discrimination” against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity), the conservative commentator explains that he “would veto that relative to special rights to homosexuals.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Future of The American Jobs Act

In 2012 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Republican Party, U.S Congress on September 19, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Warren Buffet has gone on record saying that his secretary pays higher taxes than he does. President Obama just released his jobs plan which he has been promoting an awful lot these days. He also has said that he is ready to work out the tax code with both Republicans and Democrats. The American jobs act was released to the public sometime ago. Let’s weigh in on the key points of the plan:

  • Cuts payroll taxes: The President’s plan will cut in half the taxes paid by businesses on their first $5 million in payroll, targeting the benefit to the 98 percent of firms that have payroll below this threshold. Perhaps, Perhaps! The only point that both Republicans and Democrats might agree when this bill comes to a vote. Republicans LOVE tax cuts and this is a perfect opportunity building up to 2012 making the point that the GOP isn’t opposed to tax cuts for the middle class. Democrats have been pushing for payroll tax cuts for a long time now. It has been extended temporarily for a while but President Obama. Experts say that this might create 8-10 millions jobs in this painful economy.
  • Tax cuts for veterans:  A “Returning Heroes” hiring tax credit for veterans; This provides tax credits from $5,600 to $9,600 to encourage the hiring of unemployed veterans. Veteran unemployment is at 12% and this tax breaks would go a long way in helping veterans seeking a life after the military.
  • Tax credit for employers, employing: A $4,000 tax credit to employers for hiring long-term unemployed workers. Prohibiting employers from discriminating against unemployed workers when hiring. Expanding job opportunities for low-income youth and adults through a fund for successful approaches for subsidized employment, innovative training programs and summer/year-round jobs for youth.
  • Modernizing public schools: The President is proposing a $25 billion investment in school infrastructure that will modernize at least 35,000 public schools – investments that will create jobs, while improving classrooms and upgrading our schools to meet 21st century needs. Read the rest of this entry »

A New Low: Eric Cantor

In Republican Party, Tea Party, U.S Congress, U.S House of Representatives, U.S Senate, U.S States on September 2, 2011 at 11:44 am

Republican hypocrisy has been a pretty open issue. But today once again a Republican member in Congress has proved that being a politician means loosing all sense of humanity. House majority leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) is asking for spending cuts to offset any spending done for disaster relief. YES! You read it right. Cantor wants to play politics when there are places who are still stuck without communication and waiting for relief. It’s nothing new for Republicans and specially Cantor to ask for spending cuts for just about anything. Even if nothing is being spent, they will end up asking for spending cuts. But, this is a brand new low for Cantor and the party he represents. HOWEVER! Do you think if Cantor’s district was devastated by a natural disaster he would have maintained his position on spending cuts? The 2004 emergency supplemental was proposed after five hurricanes hit the United States, including Tropical Storm Gaston, which did damage to Cantor’s home district of Richmond. Cantor voted against an amendment to an emergency supplemental bill for disaster aid that would have “fully offset” the cost of that supplemental with “a proportional reduction of FY05 discretionary funding” elsewhere. He wrote a letter asking for federal funding for his district. The federal assistance provided to Richmond following Gaston totaled nearly $20 million, according to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. 

But today it’s a different story. Cantor said, “Just like any family would operate when it’s struck with disaster,” Congress would “have to make sure there are savings elsewhere” to pay for the aftermath of the storm. “We are going to find the money,” Mr. Cantor told Fox News recently. “We are just going to have to make sure there are savings elsewhere to continue to do so.”

The situation has worsen since the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund is down to $713 million as a result of recent emergencies like the devastating tornado that struck Joplin, Mo. That has prompted FEMA to delay consideration of long-term rebuilding projects that have not yet been submitted by local authorities.

Would Eric Cantor have a different view had Virginia taken most of the damage? Well at least not all Republican politicians agree with Cantor. New Jersey governor Chris Christie said, “Our people are suffering now, and they need support now. And they (Congress) can all go down there and get back to work and figure out budget cuts later.” Well at least someone gets it.

S&P strips U.S credit ratings; Government cries foul!

In Barack Obama, Debt Ceiling, Democratic Party, Republican Party, Tea Party, U.S Congress on August 6, 2011 at 6:29 am

So it finally happened. All this while Washington was in a fight with itself to save the economy and protect the full faith and credibility of the nation. Some congressmen/women however were eager to let the country go ahead and default or just prioritize and pay the interest only. On Friday after the markets closed, S&P decided to downgrade the U.S credit rating from AAA to AA+. That A+ does look nice on a college transcript but here the downgrade has been done with a negative outlook. The government officials on both sides of the aisle are furious at a nearly $2 trillion error on the part of the rating agency.

Among the many reasons cited by S&P which led to the downgrade two of them stand out. S&P stated that the fiscal plan released by the U.S Congress falls short of reducing the deficit. Rep.Barney Frank (D-Mass), the former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee said, “The private debt has been over valued and the public debt has been under valued by S&P.” Government official are screaming foul and have pointed out basic math problem with S&P’s calculation. The  Treasury attacked S&P’s calculations, saying: “A judgment flawed by a $2 trillion error speaks for itself.” Many lawmakers are also of the opinion that these credit rating agencies have been given too much power. Also, S&P alone downgrading the U.S credit rating will not have much effect on the country’s economy. All three agencies, Moodys, S&P and Fitch downgrading the U.S at the same time would have cause significant financial trouble. Pensions would be greatly affected. Interest rates will shoot up for student loans and mortgages etc. Washington calling this an “amature hour at S&P’.

In midst of all this there was indeed a big black spot that S&P pointed out. It is something nobody can deny.

S&P blamed political weakness and instability for triggering the downgrade apart from criticizing the budget which would not do much to lower the deficit.

More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.

Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government’s debt dynamics any time soon. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s the Deal? The good, bad and the ugly!

In Barack Obama, Debt Ceiling, Democratic Party, Republican Party, Tea Party, U.S Congress, U.S House of Representatives, U.S Senate on August 3, 2011 at 10:03 am

Ok! So a home-made disaster just got averted. A family member spread gasoline around the house threatening to light the match UNLESS you agree to buy him his very expensive car. The deal was done and you just bought him the car and he put the matchbox in his pocket. He is sending out the message that, ‘Don’t be too happy. I might think about lighting the match anytime in the future.’

That my friends is exactly how the U.S Congress and president Obama dealt with this home-grown crisis. It is a no brainer. For the GOP there was is better time to debate spending cuts when a Democrat is in the White House. Had it been a Republican, they would have raised the debt ceiling without raising an eyebrow. Rep.John Boehner, speaker was asked by CBS if he would continue to be the speaker of the house. His reply was, “Of course! I got 98% of what I wanted and I’m happy.” 

The house passed the debt ceiling bill 269 – 161. 66 Republicans and 95 Democrats voted against the bill. This bill was forwarded to the senate where it passed 74 – 26. It was sent to the president who immediately signed the bill into a law. The progressive caucus, liberals and democrats are fuming over this debt ceiling compromise and some calling it  a ‘satan sandwich’. Republicans and Democrats alike were not happy with the deal but they had to swallow it like a bitter pill. “I would like to say this bill solves our problems. It doesn’t. It is a solid  first step.”said Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas (R), a prominent fiscal hawk in the Republican leadership. “The default of the United States is not an option,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland (D). Mr. Hoyer urged lawmakers to vote not as members of either party, but as “Americans concerned about the fiscal posture of their country, about the confidence that people around the world have in the American dollar.”  This debt deal has no mention of any revenue’s which is a major sticking point for most Democrats. Both parties were worried about defections by party members and had briefings to explain the proposal. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., told House and Senate members in separate meetings that the administration had to cut the deal with uncompromising Republicans to avoid a default. Speaker John Boehner met specially with Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee, an important voting bloc whose members were raising alarms about potential spending cuts for the Pentagon.

So where does this bill lead us? Who won and who lost? We have the facts and figures. Let’s dissect it.

This is President Obama’s video explaining the deal.

So the basic facts of the deal are:

  • $1 trillion of cuts over a 10 year period.
  • It guarantees that the debt limit will be hiked by $2.4 trillion.
  • Immediately upon enactment of the plan, the Treasury will be granted $400 billion of new borrowing authority.
  • After that President Obama will be allowed to extend the debt limit by $500 billion, subject to a vote of disapproval by Congress (would need 2/3 of both houses to block).
  • That initial $900 billion of increase in the debt ceiling will be paired with $900 billion of discretionary spending cuts, first identified by the bipartisan working group that had met under Vice President Biden, which will be spread out over 10 years.
  • Obama will later be able to raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion, subject to a vote of disapproval by Congress.
  • That increase will be paired with the formation of a Congressional committee (being called the Super Congress) of 12 members of Congress (6 from each party) that will be tasked with reducing deficits by a minimum of $1.2 trillion. That reduction can be composed of spending cuts, tax increases or a mixture of both.
  • If the Committee fails to reach $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, it will trigger an automatic across the board spending cut, half from domestic spending, half from defense spending, of $1.5 trillion.
  • The domestic cuts would come from Medicare providers, but Medicaid and Social Security would be exempted. The enforcement mechanism carves out programs that help the poor and veterans.
  • The domestic cuts would come from Medicare providers, but Medicaid and Social Security would be exempted. The enforcement mechanism carves out programs that help the poor and veterans.
  • If the Committee finds $1.5 trillion or more in savings, the enforcement mechanisms would not be triggered as $1.5 trillion plus the original $900 billion would equal $2.4 trillion, the amount the debt ceiling would be raised under this two-stage plan.
  • If the Committee finds between $1.2 trillion and $1.5 trillion, then the balance will be made up by the corresponding percentage of the enforcement mechanism’s cuts, still in a one-to-one ration.
  • There will be a vote on a balanced budget amendment. It would require a 2/3 majority in Congress. However, it is not likely to pass.

The Goods

The impact of this deal on the economy is mostly favorable for now. The economics team from JP Morgan says that federal fiscal policy will subtract around 1.5% points from GDP growth in 2012. The country would avoid a default and the cuts are big enough for the United States to retain its AAA rating. In fact it’s important to know that the credit agencies will not drop America’s rating. It’s just very simple economics. Any country would want to hold American credit.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was in the house. It was a wonderful thing to see her back in office. She got a 10 minute standing ovation from her colleagues with some of them even misty eyed. That, believe it or not is one of the plus points. Giffords voted on ‘Yes’ on the bill. She said, “I had to take this vote. I could not take the chance that my absence could crash the economy.” It was refreshing to see a different ray of hope among utter chaos.

Both parties have some news to be happy. Republicans virtually got everything they wanted. All their criteria’s laid down by John Boehner were met. Perhaps the only thing which the right-wing is not happy about is the amount of cuts, which in their opinion is very less. It’s a haircut, is what they love to call it. Although the  Democrats are not happy, they too get to share some ‘glee’ in this deal. At least they should. After all the time they had to take definitive action, it’s something  they brought upon themselves. The debt ceiling is out of the 2012 discussions and the deal has been struck for a long-term. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are off the table.

The Bad:

The biggest ‘bad’ point of this outcome is the creation of the ‘Super Congress’ or the congressional committee which would consist of 6 members from each party. Congress will have to agree and pass the bill this committee comes up with without any questions asked. If, however, this ‘super congress’ cannot come to an agreement then what is being called a trigger would kick in. It would mean automatic cuts across the board ranging from defense to entitlements. These cuts will be large and will be something both the parties would wish to avoid.

There are no revenue’s in the deal. This is the only time in the history that a budget deal has been struck without any revenues making up for that $1 trillion cuts. I’d like you to take a look at this chart below. It shows the spending % and the revenue % under each president of the United States before Barack Obama.

Notice something? Who has more blues than reds? Clinton, Carter and Johnson. All Democratic presidents. Who has more reds than blues? Bush Jr, Bush Sr, Ford and Nixon. All Republican presidents. I’m not trying to make Republicans presidents look bad. My point is this? Spending has been greater all throughout GOP’s life. How do you hold another party accountable when your party have never followed what you’re fighting for. Follow what you preach. Let’s take Clinton for example. Look at the revenue’s. It’s a huge variation. Why? He barely had any wars during his time and so he could focus all his resources at home.

No tax increases. The Republicans got exactly what they wanted. A spending cut deal with absolutely no tax increases. Taxes, as part of the GDP are at a 50 year low.

No impact on the recession. In the near future this deal will not have any impact on the recovery from recession. However, if the dollar value drops along with the United States credit ratings (which the agencies are still speculating), the country will go back into a recession.

The Ugly:

Now it’s time for the worst thing to have come out this debate. Hold on to something. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

When the deal was done you would expect the markets to come back to its normal state. When congress gives a thumbs up to save the economy, the market reacts the same way, giving a thumbs up. That’s what usually happens. The last time congress voted against saving the economy the markets took a hit and we went into the worst recession. This time however, the congress did vote to save the economy and the markets still tanked. After the senate voted to pass the bill DOW lost 265 points.

The whole concept of the super congress is not setting well with either parties and mostly liberals. If the committee fails to reach a deal which most think would be the case, then the automatic cuts due to take place are going to be devastating for both parties. The ‘Super Congress’ is due to present its deal by Thanksgiving. The whole part of giving a group of people so much of power is unsettling. Specially when this committee will be dealing with everything on the table. As senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) said, “For the committee, everything is on the table.” It becomes even more complex when you hear senate minority leader Mitch McConnel. McConnel told Fox News, “The chances of a tax increase passing with the appointees, speaker Boehner and I are going to put in (the committee), are very low.” With the debate already creating fiction I see a lot of fighting still to come.

The $900 billion worth of cuts come from fragile sectors such as infrastructure, education, clean air, affordable housing etc. The bill doesn’t include unemployment insurance extension and there are no payroll tax cuts.

It doesn’t help the job sector at all. With this deal the Republican side sent out a clear message. Jobs Jobs Jobs? Nope! Sob Sob Sob! 325 million job lost. 43 billion (-0.3%) from the GDP. The already slow economy comes to a screeching halt. 1.8 million fewer jobs in America. That -$241 billion (-0.21%) lost. The negative signifying the country going back into recession. Unemployment is a 9.2% and its only going to get worse as we roll into 2012 and 2013.

And the thing that is going to hut the most. In all these debt negotiations the FAA tax collecting authority has been neglected and now the government agency controlling air traffic is shut down. That means safety workers working without pay and all construction jobs frozen. It’s projected impact on the economy? The FAA shutdown cost American tax payers $30 million a day. 4,000 FAA workers are off work. 90,000 construction jobs at risk. Congress has been granting temporary extensions to the FAA for the past 20 times and now the Republicans have refused to even given the FAA a temporary extension. The FAA shutdown is projected to cost the American government $1.2 billion in revenue from uncollected airline ticket taxes in a quarrel between Senate Democrats and House Republicans who are demanding a $16.5 million cut in rural air service subsidies. Democrats say the subsidies fight is actually a ploy to get them to accept a GOP labor provision in a separate, long-term FAA funding bill passed by the House. Republicans deny that’s the case. Republicans complain that the new rule reverses 75 years of precedent to favor labor unions. Democrats and union officials say the change puts airline and railroad elections under the same democratic rules required for unionizing all other companies. Knowing the fact that air traffic controllers were caught sleeping one the job, I wonder how wise was it, on the part of the U.S congress, to shut down the FAA. The senate almost ready to go into vacation, house already on vacation, the FAA shutdown could go well beyond September. Senate majority leader Harry Reid said, “The House has tried to make this a battle over essential air service,” he says. “It’s not a battle over essential air service. It’s a battle over Delta Airlines, who refuses to allow votes under the new rules that have been passed by the NLRB [National Labor Relations Board].”

So if you’re a person about to travel and looking for someone to blame/ sue incase something happens to you while in an aircraft. You know who to pin the blame on. Delta Airlines!!! I know I will, since I have to fly in the next 17 days. Good luck to all those who are taking a flight soon.

And finally I leave you with a graph which shows the job losses over the last ten years. Job Creation! Something which the American government should start working on looks something like this. This however, was before all this chaos regarding the debt ceiling came up. Before all this happened. THIS is where we were heading.

The irony that’s killing Washington..

In Debt Ceiling, Democratic Party, Republican Party, Tea Party, U.S Congress, U.S House of Representatives, U.S Senate on July 30, 2011 at 11:55 am

In all my time of only covering United States politics, I have never seen Washington so stubborn and irresponsible. Yeah! They made some very bad decisions regarding policy and war. But that was mostly because of external causes. This right here is a self-inflicted disaster. It’s manufactured by the American government for the American people and America herself. For all this time this debt ceiling debate has been going on, we have been hearing these idealistic phrases. ‘Washington needs to cut down on spending, Too much spending is being done, We should live within our means, We should not spend what we don’t have.’ All these statements are mostly thrown out by the GOP and Tea Party supporters and politicians. On the practical side  we have to agree that spending needs to be curbed. Holy crap! We really need to stop spending on so many wasteful things. These GOP and Tea Party guys are absolutely right about this part. But somebody explain this part to me. HOW IS THE DEBT CEILING RELATED TO FUTURE SPENDING? Why are we confusing paying for dues and future spending. Yes, future spending needs to be reduced but you HAVE to pay for what you have already consumed. The Republicans love referring to micro economics of an average American household. The thought goes. The American government needs to spend like an average American family. “When someone is overextended and broke they don’t continue paying for expensive automobiles, they sell the expensive automobiles and buy a cheaper one. They don’t continue paying for country club dues, they drop out of the country club,”  Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) told Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC. Perhaps they could sell their Mercedes or maybe the middle class families could forget about that vacation they were thinking of taking to the Seychelles. This statement of his shows a tremendous lack of understanding about the average American family on the part of Brown. Mr Brown most Americans do not have complete health care let alone a ‘country club’ membership. These severely deluded congressman forget that when you try superimposing micro economics over macro the two just don’t cover each other up. The American government cannot exactly function the way an American family does.

So the question often kept popping up in my mind. Why is the congress acting this way? What could they possibly be getting out of it. The already tainted image of U.S as a military power is getting even worse as a degrading economic power. Washington is falling apart with statements like ‘Nothing can pass the House’ and the president of America almost on his knees begging his fellow politicians to think about the country before pushing for their own agenda. Just think about it for a minute. The most powerful man in the world in control of supposedly the most powerful country in the world has to beg his own people to think before they act. John Boehner could barely pass his own bill in the house that he has a majority in. Now there are several reasons why his own caucus didn’t support his but I’ve already discussed that in my previous post. This is not about Boehner. This whole problem is so much bigger than one person or one party. Nobody can speculate the exact effects of the disaster of not raising the debt limit. Nobody knows because in all of American history there has never been a mention of America defaulting. In fact it’s unconstitutional (section 4, 14th amendment).

Coming back to the point of economics. Let’s take this latest bill that John Boehner forced through the House. Not a single Democrat is on board his plan and neither are 22 Republicans. But did that stop him from wasting tax payer dollars and creating wasteful bills. Harry Reid in the senate has already said that this kind of bill is D.O.A. It can never pass the senate leave alone the president signing off on it. Then why doesn’t Boehner make a constructive bill. Let’s see what the Boehner and Reid bills have to offer.

John Boehner’s Bill (House of Representatives)

  • The Boehner bill (including the July 29 changes) would save $917 billion.
  • It would cut about the same amount (about $1 trillion) from the 2012 and 2013 budgets (the only budgets that this Congress has any real authority over)
  • Creates a super-committee – a bipartisan committee of 12 members from both houses – to come up with a bill that reforms taxes and entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security). Both houses would be required to vote on whatever bill the committee came up with.
  • It cap discretionary (non-entitlement) spending. The caps rise with inflation after 2014.
Harry Reid’s Bill (Senate)
  • The Boehner bill (including the July 29 changes) would save $917 billion.
  • It would cut about the same amount (about $1 trillion) from the 2012 and 2013 budgets (the only budgets that this Congress has any real authority over)
  • Creates a super-committee – a bipartisan committee of 12 members from both houses – to come up with a bill that reforms taxes and entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security). Both houses would be required to vote on whatever bill the committee came up with.
  • It cap discretionary (non-entitlement) spending. The caps rise with inflation after 2014.
So there you have it. It’s not like both the bills are hugely apart. They have quite a few similarities. The reason why mentioned the similarities separately is because none of what is in Reid’s plan is a Democratic idea. The Democrats would never side for something like what Reid has proposed had it not been this extreme moment. Nancy Pelosi and President Obama are also doubtful of about leader Reid’s plan to some extent. The important point to be noted. The Democrats stepped out of their comfort zone. Heck they walked a mile from it. Now, I know by this point y’all must be asking. So what are the differences. Here they are:

Reid’s plan assumes a drawdown of United States’ forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to save $1.2 trillion. These savings are not included in Boehner’s bill. House Republicans are calling this part of Reid’s bill a “gimmick”. They are saying that drawdown of troops will reduce spending no matter which bill is passed. Ok! So if you are so wise. Why hasn’t speaker Boehner proposed the same thing? No clue!

The Reid plan would raise the debt ceiling enough to get past the 2012 election in a single vote – a one-step process. The Boehner plan would require a two-step process – a small debt limit increase now, a large debt limit increase later which would be tied to the super-committee bill. This means once this debt limit crisis is averted. Another one would be following six months later. We’re all back in the same loop. Do they really think that the markets are going to approve of that idea?

AND that’s it ladies and gentleman. Broadly. These are the differences. After speaker Boehner failed to get enough votes to pass his bill in the House on Thursday, he added a balanced budget amendment requirement to the bill in order to get more Republicans to support it. This stunt that he pulled made it even more impossible to pass the senate.

When Boehner knew that this bill would never pass the senate. Why did he waste precious time in ramming through a pill that ultimately would be no good? In fact when he couldn’t get a majority from his caucus he added a clause that would most certainly kill the bill in the senate. Money lost, time lost and the country is still hanging by a thread. Why not work with the Democrats and come up with something really bi-partisan. None of the Democrats in the house signed up for Boehner’s proposal. NONE! The big question mark is here. Boehner did not step out of his comfort zone and on top of that he made it certain that the bill would be killed. Now that the bill has been passed onto the senate the Republicans in the house and the country can put their hands up and blame Obama and the Democrats. This has been their game plan since November 2010. Push your agenda and blame Obama. Is is still applicable now that the economic collapse of the United States is on the brink? Can any politician afford to push his/her agenda first?

Neither one of these plan had ANY tax increases. Something which the Tea Party and GOP are dead against. Republicans said they would not support a plan that increased taxes (even if it came from eliminating deductions, rather than increasing tax rates). Democrats said that they would not support a plan that did not include some tax increases (which could come from eliminating deductions). Ironically, the Reid bill, supported by Democrats, has no tax increases and the Boehner bill, supported by Republicans, most likely would increase taxes (by eliminating deductions) through the super-committee bill. THIS is the irony that is murdering Washington and the United States right now. Pray for the country. Each and every working individual needs it.

The Fall of the Speaker? Inside the work of John Boehner

In Debt Ceiling, Republican Party, Tea Party, U.S Congress, U.S House of Representatives, U.S Senate on July 29, 2011 at 8:39 am

John Boehner’s leadership is collapsing. Slowly and steadily Boehner is loosing control of his caucus. This new blow came after some Republicans said they would vote ‘No’ to Boehner’s bill to raise to the debt ceiling. His bill cuts about a trillion dollars in spending with no revenue and extends the debt ceiling for six months. After six months there will be another crisis in America. Boehner’s bill would also set up a committee to work on trillions of dollars in future deficit reduction either through more spending cuts or tax increases, which would then earn another future debt increase. It would also require both the House and Senate to hold votes on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. 

Several house Republicans including Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Dennis Ross (R-Florida), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Arizona) are planning to vote NO! on the Boehner bill. Rep. Jim Jordan who heads the powerful conservative caucus in the House  told reporters Tuesday morning, “There are not 218 Republicans in support of this plan,”. Voting yes “assures we get to watch them vote it down,” Gohmert said of the Senate. “That’s not terribly helpful.” Senator Harry Reid as made it very clear that even if the house manages to pass the bill it will be instantly killed in the Senate. “It will be defeated,” Reid predicted yesterday, calling Boehner’s plan “a short-term Band-Aid that would put our economy at risk and put the nation back in this untenable situation a few short months from now.”

Since he could not get the votes simply by asking John Boehner is now rounding up Tea Party freshman and Republicans planning to vote ‘No’, for behind close doors discussions. Yesterday he released a statement saying, “Get your ass behind the line. I can’t do this job if you’re not behind me.” Who’s fear mongering now Mr Boehner? Today Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said that he is, “Bloodied and beaten, No!.”  And on Thursday again, Beohner could not gather enough votes to pass his bill in the house. Voting on the bill has been delayed to Friday. This is the second night in a row that John Boehner’s efforts to get a clear majority for his own bill from his own caucus is failing. But conservative Republicans in the House, many allied to the tea party movement, said they don’t just want votes on the amendment, they want an assurance it will be sent to the states. Mr. Jordan and other conservatives said they would prefer the Senate vote on the debt increase the House passed last week (cut, cap and balance), that includes deeper spending cuts and requires both chambers approve a balanced budget amendment and submit it to states for ratification before any debt increase happens. Both the Heritage Foundation and Club for Growth, two key conservative activist groups, are also urging a “No” vote and said it will be one of the key votes they use in their annual lawmaker scorecards.

It doesn’t take a genius to see through John Boehner and his dire efforts to get some people on to his side. Maybe Mr Boehner you could drop some of your extreme idea’s and get some Democrats on board. But Boehner has never appealed to the Democrats. The worst part is he never tried. When Nancy Pelosi (D) was the speaker of the house she passed 308 laws in her first term and 254 laws in her second term. They included some major bills like health care reform, repealing of the ‘Don’t ask don’t tell’, better pay act, minimum wage act, stimulus, ethics reforms and financial reform. In John Boehner’s first term he only managed to pass 12 bills into law. YES! You saw it correct. JUST 12 bills. At this rate it can be estimated that by the end of his term he would have passed a total of 48 bills into law. That is however not taking into account situations like these where his own party and members of his own caucus revolts against him. Is John Boehner is successful speaker? Well unfortunately for him the numbers and statistics don’t lie. Maybe Mr Boehner you can try your hand at golf instead of politics.

Eh Righties! Can you hear us now?

In Debt Ceiling, Democratic Party, Republican Party, Tea Party, U.S Congress, U.S House of Representatives, U.S Senate on July 28, 2011 at 7:15 am

The very first thing John Boehner and Republicans in the house did when they came into power in 2010 was to read the constitution of America. Remember? If not then here’s the full new from back then.

Ironically congressman Steve Israel (D-New York) read section 4 of the 14th amendment. It reads:

 “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.”

So if President Obama does end up invoking the 14th amendment the GOP should have any issues about it right? Hey after all it was Boehner and his house mates who wanted to get the constitution clearly read out and understood by each member. Hope the Tea Party was paying attention.