Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The debt debate drama

Image source : ecorealty

Uncle sam seems to be facing a financial crisis. He's running out of money, and needs to borrow, problem is, he is already pretty deep in debt, and  there is a constitutional limit on how much he can borrow,  and has reached that limit. The Obama government, has approached the US congress to vote in favor of rising the debt ceiling, so it can borrow more, but the opposition party, isn't very much in favor of this, with little regard for the consequences. So we have on our hands a raging debate, heck an all out war going on in the country currently between the two parties of the country, i.e the democrats and the republicans. It's explained in a nutshell here

I am a very keen follower of US politics, even though I'm not a citizen of the country, I could be one day, and even otherwise, I find it extremely intriguing . I shall write in depth my views on american politics on another day, today I just wanna write about the debt debate craziness going on in the country currently. I find the whole crisis (which has been created exclusively by washington politicians) amusing, and also disgusting at the same time.
The USA suffers from a bipolar disorder when it comes to politics, because in their two party system, the parties have polar opposite views, with no middle ground or agreement on pretty much any issue. This results in constant butting of heads, and clashes over idealogy, but the debt debate issue has taken it far beyond petty party politics.

I find the game currently being played in washington to be a very very dangerous one, these politicians are literally playing with the country's future, and a very powerful country at that, so in effect they're playing with the entire world's future. As a casual observer, I place the majority of the blame on the opposition...i.e the Republican party (GOP). They are acting worse than a toddler, being unreasonably stubborn, and unyielding on such an important issue.
I have many issues with the GOP overall, but ever since Obama came to power, I've seen a slew of viscious attacks on him personally ( birth issue, muslim issue) and on his policies (healthcare). It reveals at the very crux the GOP's and essentially the right wing's discomfort with seeing a black man in the highest position of power. Never mind how much time and energy the right wing spends on clearing up that it's not about his color, but any lay person can clearly see, that to see a black man, hold the highest position in the country has the right wing squirming, they're desperate to tear him down, taint his legacy in a way that shows him as an utter failure to future generations .

Now, there's another key player in the mix, which is the 'tea party'. Even though America has a two party system, after the US faced a major economic meltdown in 2008, (and as a result the ruling party was ousted and Obama won the election), citizens around the country galvanized together and created essentially a third front which is named the tea party. This party is essentially a part of the GOP, only they are way more right wing than even the GOP. It consists of the most ultra right wingers of the GOP who constitute the tea party. In the last congressional elections the tea party won 60 seats, and those 60 people are among those refusing to budge on this debt ceiling issue .

Let's take a moment to look at what are the actual issues on which the two parties are locking horns . The GOP+ Tea party want the government to make substantial spending cuts, before borrowing more. Which is actually a very sensible request, the US government has been spending way over their means, and like any family which has been hit by the economic crisis and has to revamp their lifestyle and spending pattern, so should the US government. The president's plan actually does incorporate spending cuts, but it also asks for increasing taxes on the wealthy. This issue is where it all falls apart. The GOP & the tea party simply detest taxes, and want as few taxes as possible, and so this tax-hike is a condition they simply cannot accept, at any cost, even if the cost is the country's economy going into a downward spiral.

The GOP+tea party always seem to give an argument in favor of low taxation, that if taxes are low, it leads to more jobs, i.e the corporations and businesses who get tax breaks and subsidies, will use it in turn to create more jobs and employ people. This argument seems flawed, there isn't much proof in favor of this argument. For eg : President clinton raised taxes and still managed to have 20 million + jobs added to the economy,  President Bush (II) lowered taxes and added only 3 million jobs to the economy, so just based on results, there's no hard evidence to support the republican theory .

This being the year before the next presidential election, adds to the hysteria of the partisanship, turning every debate into a three ring circus. Some of probable candidates to oppose Obama next year, like Michele bachman, have already declared that they won't be voting for the bill no matter what, that kind of behavior clearly shows that these people care more of getting elected and votes, rather than doing what's good for the country. The whole world is watching, with eyes firmly locked at washington, and hoping that they do the right thing, while there's still time. The republican's look at the issue as a big way to get political points against the president, and pleasing their vote banks at the same time. The main reason, why I put the majority of the blame of the GOP is because, when the president and the treasure secretary and other people who are incharge of running the country, who have been put there by the people, propose a plan, instead of having a little give on some points, the republicans are acting stubborn beyond reason, and holding the whole country ransom.
The August 2 deadline is approaching fast, very fast, and people are getting worried, the stock markets already plummeted a little today, due to anxiety over the lack of a resolution. I just hope the people in washington, are able to do what's right for the country as a whole, rather than just pandering to their votebanks.

 On a different note, I'll be away for a few days, while I'm on vacation, so I'll see you after the break.


  1. The debate isn't as partisan as many pundits will have you believe. The things Obama have proposed would be considered right of center. Good NY Times editorial about it here:

  2. I agree, Obama's plan was right of center, infact the whole country is kind of moving to the right of center, mainly because the right wing keeps moving further and further right, and asks the left to meet them in the middle, so the middle is now right of center !! Anyway, the deal is done now, and the republicans got most of what they wanted, but that hasn't stopped them from whining and complaining about what they didn't get...


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