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Debt limit: Politicians extend and pretend
August 5, 2011 - Ron Hart
By RON HART
Syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator
"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to a teenage boy." – P.J. O'Rourke Congress and Obama had America on the edge of our seats this week (seats made – and soon to be repossessed – by the Chinese), when they bumbled the debt ceiling issues. Our finances are more messed up than Mike Tyson's checkbook, but our leaders seem to think they have served us well by just raising our debt limit. Heroic move.
Cam Cardow, Ottawa Citizen
ADVERTISEMENT Thinking they solved the problem by extending the debt limit and the supposed cuts past the 2012 elections, Washington patted itself on the back. Just raising the debt limit would be like saying you have fixed the DUI problem by raising the illegal blood alcohol level from .08 to 1.2. Problem solved, right? For weeks leading up to whatever "deal" they cut, Obama and various Republicans worked the press conferences with the bravado of professional wrestlers before a match. Obama warned Eric Cantor (R-VA) "not to call his bluff" on tax hikes. He then backed off his own tax hikes. Then the Re-pugs backed off from entitlement cuts. Perhaps we have elected the worst poker players of all time. Fundamental to bluffing someone is not to tell him up front that you are bluffing. I bet they don't play poker at Columbia and Harvard. As they always seem to do on important matters, at the last minute Congress jammed through a bill that no one read but supporters felt pressured to sign to stave off yet another pending, Congress-made disaster. They did it with TARP, bailouts, stimulus (a.k.a. "porkulus"), Obamacare, and now the debt ceiling and fake cuts scheduled to take place in 2013. The supposed "trigger" way down the road will start cuts. Trigger, please! It won't happen, and if it does it will be six Repubs and six Dems doing it, with no room for the catalysts of the cuts: the Tea Party and Libertarians. The Tea Party has made the Republicans vote as less of a monolithic group of lemmings like the Democrats. Republicans used to be able to go to Washington and get their power by just not being quite as bad as Democrats. It was a shirts and skins game there; they would just work out a deal and spend more of our money without incident. The Tea Party has been a game-changer, and John Boehner now has some cats to herd. He was so mad his face turned from orange to burnt orange. As we know, math is not the strong suit of America's Democratic voters. Something like 5 of 4 of them do not even understand fractions. Anything you say will pacify them, as long as they can take money from others. Reducing handouts to the moochers out there is like trying to take a salmon from a grizzly bear. They are "entitled." It's right there in the name: entitlement. Obama says he will not stand by and let our government default on its debt obligation. Thank you again, Obama, for standing firm against something that no one even suggested. He creates a fake crisis and then saves us from it. Obama "saved or created" jobs with our money, and he "prevented mass murder" by bombing Libya (in a good way); he is our savior. Now Obama has "saved" us from being downgraded and becoming a banana republic. On the bright side, if we do become a Third World country, Hollywood starlets might start adopting babies from here and then maybe we can outsource our jobs to ourselves. Obama then appears on his personal PR appendage, CBS' "60 Minutes," to scare seniors by saying he cannot ensure that Social Security checks will go out. But the funny part is that 75 million Americans, otherwise known as Obama's core constituency, get entitlement checks each month. He makes no mention of not sending out welfare checks. If Moody's downgraded the USA from its AAA rating, Obama's economic team would immediately retaliate by cutting off stimulus funding to the auto club. They are just that smart about business. We have to support those politicians who actually cut spending. Washington has gone from spending $2.2 trillion in 2002 to $3.8 trillion now, with tax revenue being about $2.2 trillion. There is no stopping this madness unless we cut off funding with a balanced budget amendment. The inmates are running the asylum. Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator. Email Ron@RonaldHart.com or visit www.RonaldHart.com
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