Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Greater Good endangered by the Veil of Democracy

On the way to softball games, I've observed a lot of war training going on below 96th street

which is ironic b/c a True B96 war is currently taken place in our country right now as the US Debt-Ceiling fight has reached DEFCON 1 status.

Now I know this is a softball blog and politics might bore you, but let's take a quick peek at this story as I think it is similar to political self-interest issues that damage the greater good that many softball leagues go through and more importantly, just cuz' you’re in the softball community doesn't mean you can't grow.

The issue facing the US is simple: Our country doesn't have enough money to pay its bills. The US has about 172 billion coming in, but owes like 304 billion - Yikes!!!!!!!!!! If Washington lacks the money to pay its bills, interest rates could skyrocket and the value of the dollar could decline, and important things like
·       Social Security
·       Medicare/Medicaid
·       Unemployment Pay
·       Interest Due
·       Military Pay
·       Veterans Checks
·       Food Stamps
·       IRS refunds    

won’t all get paid.   

Tense negotiations between top Democrats and Republicans, reflecting core ideological principles on taxes and the size of government, have become a race against the clock. Administration officials have warned that a failure to raise the debt ceiling by August 2 could trigger a partial default with global economic repercussions. Default is unacceptable.

To avoid default there have been some ugly/tense negotiations going on between President Obama and the congressional Republicans to raise the federal debt ceiling. Obama has indicated a preference for a "grand bargain" that would save up to $4 trillion over the next decade through a combination of spending cuts, raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans and reforming politically popular programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.  At the heart of Obama's call for more tax revenue would be allowing tax cuts from the Bush presidency to expire at the end of 2012 for families making more than $250,000. His plan would keep the lower tax rates for Americans who earn less. In other words, he is still cleaning up Bush's mess. 

Obama is not looking to raise any taxes until 2013 or later. He claimed he has "bent over backward to work with the Republicans" and not force them to vote on any revenue hikes in the short term -- a politically toxic move for the GOP's conservative base.  Obama expressed frustration with the unwillingness of congressional Republicans to compromise and called on them to stop posturing and catering to their interest (conservative Tea Party). The president has gone on television to declare himself willing to consider some startling moves: alterations to Social Security cost-of-living formulas, raising the age at which retirees qualify for Medicare, and large dollar figures for deficit reduction over the next decade.

Republicans aren't having any of that as resistance to higher taxes is now a bedrock principle for them. They have shown no sign of accepting higher taxes on the rich as part of a so-called "balanced" approach to debt reduction. They consider tax hikes detrimental to the economic recovery, blasted the president for failing to produce what they consider to be a legitimate spending cut plan, and adamantly argued that increasing the burden on "job creators" now would derail what has already proven to be, at best, a shaky economic recovery. 

Republicans have refused any concessions of their own, instead demanding that the president yield totally to their way of thinking which is “any change in current tax rules must be offset by an equal or greater cut in some other tax”. They have not yet agreed to alter even the silliest parts of the tax code in ways that raised more revenue. The only deal they would contemplate is one that was 100% spending cuts, 0% tax increases -- that is, all their own way, which is total unconditional surrender by the president. That ain't happening

The Republican plan is a political trap. They propose three short-term increases in the amount the government can borrow while at the same time registering the disapproval of Congress for such a move. The president would be required to identify spending cuts equivalent to each debt ceiling increase, though there would be no guarantee Congress would adopt the proposed cuts. Translation  they are throwing the country a band aide and keeping a bullet in their political chamber to use against Obama and further their political interests.

This is all political bullshit. It's time to put aside hard-line partisan positions in order to reach a deal. It’s time to set politics aside and at least avert financial Armageddon. If not it’s not only the GOP who is the loser, it's the whole country. Pull together, not apart

While softball is nowhere near as important as raising the debt ceiling, many leagues have similar sneaky power tripping self-interest members/groups/teams where political trap agendas are disguised & hidden behind the veil of democracy and ruin the competitive nature and credibility of a league.

It’s time for these types of leagues to pull together, not apart – you know who you are.


  1. Key to getting a debt ceiling that won't get downgraded to AA by the Sp or Moody's. 4 trillion, yes trillion, in spending cuts by the dems. Reps have to accept highjer taxes on the very wealthy. We're close. President said so today. They are talking 4 trillion which is great. If we default, financial catastrophie ensues. Won't happen but will be scary close.

    jack s.

  2. Jack is the one person I would listen to about this.