Déjá vu all over again
On Aug. 22, 2012, Speaker John Boehner made this statement: “Instead of threatening to drive us off the fiscal cliff and tank our economy in their quest for higher taxes, I would urge President Obama and congressional Democrats to work with us to stop the coming tax hike that threatens our economy and replace the looming defense cuts with common sense reforms.”
Astonished by this verbal jujitsu, I remembered back to the months of negotiations between Speaker Boehner and President Obama trying for a 10-year plan to reduce annual federal deficits and control the national debt.
As the Republicans opposed any increases in tax revenues, there was no agreement on the long-range budget. It was early August 2011 when the Republican majority in Congress blocked the vote on raising the U.S. debt limit and allowed the credit rating of our government to slip below AAA. This also resulted in a huge drop in the stock market immediately.
After the usual August break, Congress came back with a plan for 12 select Congress members to meet and agree on a 10-year debt reduction plan. Consisting of cuts to all federal budget programs with matching tax revenues, the goal was to reduce federal deficit spending and gradually balance the budget.
By November 2011, it was clear that this committee could not agree on a balanced plan. The result was the “sword of Damocles” agreed to by Congress: a fixed rate of 10 percent cuts to all federal programs and an end to the Bush tax cuts effective Dec. 31, 2012, when they will expire by law (for the second time).
I am a voter who has lost all patience with the theater of the absurd in Washington, D.C. I don’t believe that Speaker Boehner and the House majority will behave any better this year than they have over the last three and a half years.
The Democrats in Congress don’t have the votes in 2012 to negotiate a better deal for Americans. The Senate has only passed a few items that were not filibustered by the Republicans.
The middle of a severe recession is not the time to cut “safety net programs” affecting nearly 50 million Americans without jobs or savings.
The benefits of the Bush tax cuts go to people who can survive comfortably without them. The wealthy “job creators” are not investing in America or paying a fair tax. Mom and pop business people struggle to keep going.
So I think the best deal we little people can get is the “dreaded” Sequestered Budget Plan for 2013.
It will reduce our bloated Defense Department and the thousands of contractors that lobby our “representatives” for billions.
It will shrink the social programs by 10 percent, which will hurt many struggling people, and it will shrink the federal departments by the same 10 percent.
It will be bad medicine. The fact that Mr. Boehner now wants to renegotiate this budget deal that they agreed to in 2011 has convinced me that the sequester plan is our best hope.
Joan Field lives in Nevada City.
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