Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Debt Ceiling Debacle - Death Watch?

Connie was on the other side of the room when I said I was going to post a note on "Debt Watch." She didn't quite hear and said "Death Watch"? Not hearing what I did say, she nonetheless may have it right. 

We are six days away from uncharted economic waters that most Republican and Democratic legislators, as well as most economists, agree that we must not test. Forget Michele Bachmann and other "Know Nothings"! I need not list sources for the broad consensus that a genuine crisis lies ahead if the debt ceiling is not raised and serious steps are not taken to reduce the national debt. 

Tonight, I was reminded of what I learned once in high school Civics: money bills must start in the House. (Article 1, Sec. 7) Speaker Boehner is having a difficult (impossible?) time getting a bill that will pass the House and go on to the Senate, where with any such bill's draconian cuts in programs and services is doomed to fail. I understand that if the House passed a bill, the Senate could amend it and it would go to a conference committee. (Please correct me if I've got this wrong.) 

The bottom line is that we are moving perilously close to default. I doubt that the friend in financial management who told me a week ago that this whole controversy was "much ado about nothing," would say the same thing tonight.

In the great scheme of things, there are many "sins" for which the Democrats have to answer, but in my view this debacle is not one of them. The Democratic leadership has insisted that there be no cuts without the wealthiest sharing the pain. The Republicans, cowering from the threats of their Tea Party members, refuse to ask the wealthy do anything but continue to enjoy their tax breaks and loopholes. 

I have written my Representative and Speaker Boehner, who insisted that he was the Speaker for all Americans. I have also made calls.

Last night, when I asked what more we should do, one friend suggested I take a vacation (he was probably weary of hearing from me about this). Another friend suggested it was time to leave it to God. My response was: 
"I have a suspicion that God might say, 'You got yourselves into this mess. You'd better work your tails off to get out of it.'"
 To that end, tomorrow I will begin another round of letters and phone calls.

 What will you do?

- Milo

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