Deficit impasse can be solved — if Congress looks out for the people and not just the rich

July 20, 2011

How pathetically sad and disturbing that the financial stability of our nation is in such a precarious, perilous state, and our credit rating is now being threatened by two top rating agencies, Moody's Investors and Standard and Poor's. The quick fix is to raise the debt ceiling, but now the Republicans have decided we can't just do that because it is not fiscally responsible, and drastic cuts are needed to reduce the deficit first, without the need for increased revenue. This is easy to proclaim now that we have a Democrat as president, expecting him to ask the middle class, the poor, the elderly on fixed incomes to tighten their belts and make the sacrifices necessary by draconian stripping of necessary public programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Nobody really wants this, but the Republicans in Washington seem to think they do. But why now when the debt ceiling has been raised seven times in the past decade under George W. Bush without anyone batting an eye? Where was the scrutiny and the concern when the previous president decided to wage two wars while at the same time cutting revenues by allowing tax breaks and loopholes favoring the very wealthy and "too big to fail" corporations, which have reaped enormous profits at the expense of our citizens and the environment? Where was the outrage when the housing market was ballooning to an obvious breaking point and average citizens began to see their wages stagnate or slip?

The middle class has been willing to make concessions, and they have been doing so for a very long time, but we are spent out. Now, the very wealthy and the corporations that have taken advantage of everything this country has to offer continue to refuse to give an inch to bring this economy back from the brink. They have hoarded their wealth, outsourced jobs, and enjoyed paying little or no taxes as a result. Yes, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, "where are the jobs," indeed?

The politicizing is destroying this country, and the Republicans are not interested in stopping it, even as they are now backed into a corner. The sad truth is that a very easy solution is not only possible but necessary. You cannot have a government that seeks to address the needs of its people without adequate revenue. The tax breaks that George Bush and the Republicans have allowed while he was president have given our country this terrible debt. In 2000, we actually had a surplus.

Military spending and outrageous tax breaks for those who can most afford it have destroyed this economy. It is time for the Republicans to start acting like adults and realize that they have been elected to represent their constituents, all of them, and that they must make decisions in the best interest of our country and its people, not just in the interest of the corporate elite and the wealthy that support them. If they are not willing to do this, then they should be the ones "flipping burgers" for minimum wage.

Barbara McNamara, Aberdeen

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