Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Raising the Debt Ceiling - Call Your Congressman

Update: Well, an agreement was reached between The Democrats, Republicans, and the President - ensuring America wouldn't default on it's bills. Everyone equally dislikes this bill, it seems. It's obviously not great, but I'm glad the President managed to make a deal happen. He's catching a lot of flak from Democrats who hate this bill - and while I agree with them on the merits of their comments, I'd like to remind everyone that the alternative was default, which would have had apocalyptic economic repercussions. The Tea Party backed Republicans must be very proud of themselves - they managed to bring America to it's knees during this process, and nearly blew our economic brains out. If you want to ensure politics of this nature don't happen again in the future, I'd urge everyone to vote those Tea Party Republicans out of office. They may have pleased their base, but I hope independent voters will remember what they put this entire country through going into the next election.

As for me, I'm going to be voting Democratic on every single ballot. And, honestly, I don't consider myself a Democrat. I use to consider myself a Republican. I suppose I should consider myself an independent; but a independent who isn't going to vote Republican for a VERY long time.

I hope our country continues to do well, and that the economy is spurred on by whatever short-lived peace that's been achieved today. But it's going to take independent voters to ensure this never happens again. I'm not speaking of voting all incumbents out of office (that's how we ended up with the Tea Party), but to pray and consider thoughtfully wether the person representing you in your state or congress will contribute to this problem happening again in the future. I'm not talking about just voting Democratic, either. There where plenty of responsible Republicans who still represent a more respectful way of governing. Even those Republicans I vehemently disagreed with - I felt could have achieved something better, and more responsibly, simply because they are willing to compromise. I'd just like to urge anyone reading this to remember what happened this week going into future elections.

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I typically will gripe about a political issue, but actively getting involved sometimes is another matter. Even more, is urging other people to get involved as well; it just too often feels like campaigning, which there are always other people much more aggressive and better at that than me. Yet right now is a time I feel the need to speak out, and urge anybody who reads my blog, who live in America, to please contact their congressman about raising the debt ceiling.

I have been infuriated and disheartened by the political bickering and posturing on both sides of the political spectrum. I have consider this crisis more the fault of the Tea Party backed GOP - but pointing fingers is not the issue here.

The Debt Ceiling has to be raised, and by August 2ed. The sooner, the better. From all I've heard on the news so far, we're already too late. The market is already scared enough by Washington's failure to act - and even if a 6 month extension is done, America is still at risk of loosing it's AAA Credit Rating.

A lot of people don't necessarily know about the Debt Ceiling, or don't care; either that or they feel the country has spent too much, and has to live more within it's means. That's a very valid point, but one of the biggest faults of this crisis is the misguided belief that America's economic woes can be solved in a single fell swoop. Cutting to shreds entitlement programs will only plunge already suffer Americans into even more economic hardship; and the flip side is that raising taxes on the the higher income earners (so they pay about the same as everyone else) is not going to solve things long term either. Real consideration needs to be given to each path, and while both won't solve things overnight - a balanced approach of some cuts, and some taxes would have been a right step in both of those directions.

But the that time is past. That time was past a week ago, and already our credit score is at risk. If we default, I cannot express to you the dire consequences that will have; both immediately and long term. Higher interest rates will be the least of our worries - everything that has a foreign parts or is made overseas will instantly cost more; from iphones, ipads, tvs, cars. This is in addition to Social Security Checks not being sent out, for retirees, the disabled, the unemployed, and veterans. And if you don't live in America, and think this doesn't concern you: it does. The entire world is deeply connected and invested in America. We've never defaulted on our loans - which has made us a reliable bet over the years. Already struggling foreign economies are going to be deeply affected by this.

America simply needs to pay it's bills. People can complain all they want about how much Obama has spent during this term; but I'd urge you to remember that Obama walked into one of the worst economies on record. The GOP has argued that they do not want to give Obama a blank check anymore. This isn't a blank check -- this is the business of Washington, of staying in business, period. Every single President in American history has received a debt increase when needed. The raising of the debt ceiling is so vitally important, that it's even construed that the 14th Amendment gives the President the power to raise the debt limit by himself, and without Congress or the Senate's approval. To the President's credit, he has not opted not to use that option. It would be surely be challenged in court (as it's never been tested), but right now I wish he would risk it. I believe the President didn't imagine it would ever come down to the wire like this. Every single President before this, from Reagan to Bush, have received a raising of the debt ceiling. I think Obama never thought it would come to this, because on such a vital and necessary process of government, no one imagined we'd still be playing Russian Roulette with America's Economy, let alone with only a week left.

I believe the poisonous atmosphere in Washington has never been greater - and the last few years of the GOP Demonizing Obama has left them little political room to move back from previous statements of not compromising. Yet that is exactly what needs to be done here. I've witness in dismay as offer after offer from Obama was rejected by Boehner. The Republicans where given victory after victory -- deals that normally would have been herald as a decisive victory over Obama. But the Tea Party backed Republicans have gone so far to the extreme right, that anything short of a wish-list of cut and shredded entitlement programs wouldn't be enough. This is not politics as normal. I shudder to think weather many of the Freshmen Republicans really are interested in re-election; because the minute any senior citizen or disabled person fails to receive their check in the mail....... This crisis could not be more disastrous for everyone involved.

Right now, as of writing this, I've heard Senator Boehner is rewriting his proposal. I hope it will be something which will be able to be passed through Congress and the Senate, and be able to be accepted by Obama. The previous plan Boehner suggested was not acceptable, because it only extended the Debt Ceiling for another 6 months, with another vote to be done later. While it has been suggested that Obama doesn't like this plan because of his re-election, I do wish to stress that this plan reportedly would not save us from a decease in America's credit rating. Any type of short term plan, that doesn't result carry us well into next year, will no appease the already skittish markets. It is not a political ploy for Obama to avoid a short term bill like this; it's simply a fact that we have waited too long, and played politics (on both sides) too long for a short term solution to be acceptable.

Harry Reid's plan is equally viewed by the markets as a band-aid to the situation, but supposedly his plan would allow us to keep our AAA Credit Rating.

It's simply too late for a long term solution, with lasting and effective modifications to entitlement programs or the tax code. All we can push for now is a plan that hopefully gets us through to the next election, and lets us retain our credit rating.

Whatever the case - whatever side of this fight you fall on - what is agreed by all parties is that the Debt Ceiling MUST be raised. Yet talking is not doing; and far too many Congressmen and Senators are already posturing their talking points for expected failure. That is why I'd like to urge everyone to please call your congressman and tell them to get the debt ceiling raised.

You can find you're congressman here, Write Your Representative; which will lead you to their website, where you can usually find an email form or phone number to contact them. Their servers are already experiencing overload and high call volumes -- but keep trying. Just in the hopes it will help, I would also suggest contacting you're state senator, and Republican and Democrats Party leaders as well. (Republicans: John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, Democrats: Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid)

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On a personal qualifier, I feel the need to mention my stake in this is not as a bystander, but as a disabled person who relies on public programs. I fear I will not receive the money which I rely on. Even if you yourself do not rely on such programs, I'd like you to look at you're loved ones and consider wether they will be affected by this as well. Any retirees, disabled, unemployed, veterans, or government workers are all at risk. So please contact you're congressman.

I'd also like to add that I can only give my best and most informed opinion on all of these matters. If I got something wrong, of if you disagree - my stance, I hope, still remains valid - that the Debt Ceiling Must be Raised. (I just don't want to start a shouting match here. Tensions and emotions are running high for everyone in these matters.) I am only trying to advocate that we, as the American people, have to directly get involved and contact our leaders, if anything is to be done by the end of this week. Time is very short.

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