Like spoiled children, the remaining two Republicans quit bipartisan budget talks.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senator Jon Kyl, the last two GOP members, left the Biden chaired budget negotiations.
But this is not the first time Republicans have quit.
Because things weren't going his way, Senator Tom Coburn left the Gang of Six. Sarah Palin continues to quit everything she starts, more recently her big bus vacation. And Republicans have, over and over, abandoned positions they had previously supported as soon as the Democrats or Obama endorse them, even if they're good for the nation.
This time, the consequences may be more serious -- the results far more devastating.
Why, when negotiations reach critical points, do Republicans take their ball and head home?
Republicans appear to be unable to compromise for the good of the country, but are extremely good at spinning their inadequacies into the fault of the Democrats. They've drawn a hard line in the sand regarding raising taxes.
Or, is it something more sinister? Do the Republicans want to destroy the economy, believing they can blame Obama and the Democrats? Are Republicans willing to suck the life out of the economy to gain political power?
Unfortunately, the Democrats are weak at countering the Republicans' false accusations and asserting the positives of their positions.
Republicans are demanding cataclysmic spending cuts before they will agree to raising the debt ceiling. The spending cuts they're demanding will further erode the U.S. economy and have nothing to do with the debt ceiling. The cuts alone could throw us back into a deep recession. Failure to raise some taxes to increase revenues exacerbates the deficit and steepens our economic decline.
Budget talks and reducing the deficit are important but should be separate and not tied to the debt ceiling.
Both Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner have warned of the consequences of not paying our debt obligations, yet on May 30 the Republican-controlled House, joined by some Democrats, rejected legislation to raise the debt ceiling by the needed $2.4 trillion. The vote was 318 to 97 against raising the debt limit.
Their demands are not only dangerous for the potential damage failure to raise the debt ceiling could cause, but could be ruinous to the fragile U.S. and global economies.
The debt limit has been raised 10 times since 2000 and 78 times since 1960; 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents. It has never been held hostage by either party.
In the 30 years since Reagan took office, the national debt has climbed from one trillion dollars to fourteen trillion dollars.
Reagan tripled the debt, from $968 billion to $2.76 trillion in only 8 years. George H.W. Bush had to raise the top marginal tax rate by 3% and in only four years, the national debt grew to nearly $3.5 trillion, the result of Reagan's tax cuts the last two years of his presidency. Clinton raised the top marginal rate to 39.6% and the national debt climbed to around $5.7 trillion over the next 8 years.
But, under George W. Bush, the national debt exploded, more than doubling in his 8 years to over $10.6 trillion. By the end of his budget cycle, September 2009, it had jumped to $11.9 trillion.
The amazing thing is, not once did these deficit hawk Republicans ever hold raising the debt limit hostage; not because of the unpaid wars, the unfunded Medicare Part D, or No Child Left Behind. Not once did they raise their hypocritical voices when George Bush was spending this country into debt as far as the eye could see.
Bush's last budget, plus supplemental requests for the wars, was $1.3 trillion and at the end of his term he asked for an additional $700 billion to save the world economy.
It took near global destruction and a request for TARP before Republicans raised their voices in protest.
But that was too late. He and 12 years of a Republican Congress had already destroyed the economy, forcing us to borrow trillions of dollars to pay for our rising debt. In fact, Republican presidents are responsible for the greatest increases in the national debt since Gerald Ford.
In a recent Gallup Poll, taken May 5-8, Americans said they did not want Congress to raise the debt ceiling by a 47% to 19% margin. But 34% didn't know enough to make a judgement. More than likely, a big portion of the 70% of Republicans that responded against raising it do not truly understand the potential ramifications.
Republican lawmakers are relying on polls like this as support for their untenable position.
It's time to call the Republicans' bluff, to adopt and promote their threat to vote against raising the ceiling. It's time to expose their hypocrisy.
It's time to expose their evil plan and desire to wreck the economy in order to defeat Obama and return to power.
It's time to expose these corporate bought charlatans once and for all.
Let the devastation begin!
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