May 15, 2012

Republicans Hold Debt Ceiling Hostage Again

Mitt Romney has endorsed the Ryan budget in which there is no provisions for new taxes on the very wealthy. The President last summer offered cuts in entitlement programs in exchange for increases in the taxes on the most wealthy. These discussions fell apart. Now the Republicans are threatening again to not pass an increase in the debt ceiling without a dollar for dollar reduction in spending.

When this happened last summer the country's debt ratings were lowered. More importantly, the citizens of this country lost faith in Washington's ability to solve our debt problem and the result was nothing got done. A reason, not the entire reason, why the economy is so slow to recover is that the American people have been inflicted with the "confidence boogeyman". They no longer believe that Washington has the competence to address our debt problem. Who can blame them?



Republicans complain that a major reason why business is hoarding cash and not investing is over regulation and are not sure about our future. Business is not sure what will happen next and they do not believe Washington knows how to govern. I agree, much of the regulations put excessive burdens on small business and it should be lightened where possible. At the same time, government should enforce anti-trust regulations in those industries where oligopolies are controlling markets and preventing small business from competing.

The Republican Congress has done a good public relations job in pushing all the blame for this ineptness in Washington on to the Democrats and specifically the President. This is not true. In our country the president does not have the power to pass a budget by himself; congress must also approve it. No informed and unbiased person who has studied our debt problem has suggested that it be tackled while we have one hand tied behind our backs and that is tax increases.

The Republican congress, which is ruled by the "no tax increase" Grover Norquist, must enter debt reduction negotiations with the understanding that tax increases must also be on the table. If not. I repeat what I said last summer. More

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