Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This Is No Time to Negotiate

President Obama is making a huge mistake by trying to build consensus between the two parties. This is no time for negotiating nor is this any time to be talking about taking down the national debt.

This talk of making a "deal" with his opposition as a sign of leadership is ridiculous. The president doesn't have to make deals to lead. Oh, sure,
Lyndon B. Johnson was known as the consummate deal maker when he was in the Senate, but when it came to his war on poverty, he drew a line in the sand.

It's time for Barack Obama to draw a line in the sand, and mean it. So-called consensus building with the current Republican cabal in Congress is like trying to play Monopoly with Napoleon. It just isn't going to happen.

And, where was all the concern for trimming the deficit by rank and file Republicans when George W. Bush, a president who added trillions to the national debt, was in office?

When faced with similar concerns about the deficit, another president, John F. Kennedy, recognized that deficit reduction at the expense of working families is a bad idea. To amend the Constitution so that balancing the books is a federal imperative means permanent austerity programs for the poor, and working class of this country.

There can be no compromise when it comes to those values that have traditionally distinguished New Deal Democrats from trickle-down Republicans.

As another former president, Bill Clinton, suggests, Mr. Obama may exercise his constitutional prerogative and raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval. That this country should enter into default for even a day will be a symbolic tragedy of far greater proportions than even a temporary increase.

Clearly, this effort to politicize a fundamental principle of this republic, the principle of making good on our financial obligations, sets a precedent that is not merely dangerous, but deadly.

Congressional Democrats must stand up to Paul Ryan, and Ryanomonics, now, and stop it in its tracks for this isn't just about Republican desire to keep the Bush tax cuts for the rich, but a deeper restructuring of society such that the federal government itself will be privatized, and the Treasury in the pocket of the banks, and big business.

Should the country go into default on the August 2nd deadline which is, by the way, just around the corner, the FDIC will be in jeopardy as will everyone who has a bank account in this country.

This is no time for consensus building, Mr. President. Stand firm. Once a scalpel is taken to Social Security and Medicare, there's no turning back. You've opened Pandora's Box. Any cut, any cut at all, to either program represents a threat to both programs down the road.

The time to be concerned about reducing the deficit, and paying down the national debt, is when the nation has recovered from the catastrophic economic collapse it experienced as a result of the reckless, and misplaced allegiance of those Republicans who call the upper 1% of the population "job creators." They aren't job creators, but gross consumers.

The president would be well-advised to remember Thomas Jefferson's words, "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies," and not turn over control to the same forces of which Jefferson warned.

What's left of our credibility as a nation is at stake here not just who wins the next presidential race. This is no time to negotiate. This is a time to show future generations, and the rest of the world, what we stand for which is not putting the needs of big business over those of the working man.

It's time for this president to take a principled stand. Wall Street brokers make deals. Legislators and chief executives make public policy.

One way Mr. Obama can ensure that this is Cantor's last stand is if he takes the wheel, signs off on raising the debt ceiling, and stops trying to appease those who have wanted to decimate the New Deal ever since it passed.

He should forget about pleasing those bankers, oil barons, and heads of Fortune 500 companies who also elected him, and think instead of the rest of us, yes, 98%, whose so-called entitlements will be cut should they prevail. Economic justice doesn't begin in the boardroom. It ends there