Booman Tribune: Getting the Crazy Out of the Philly Burbs

October 16, 2012
By Alex Showerman | 0 comments

This post appeared in its orginal form on the Booman Tribune. byBooMan Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 02:24:52 PM EST Here is why people in Philadelphia's Sixth and Eighth suburban congressional districts need to vote out Jim Gerlach and Mike Fitzpatrick. They have acted in an excusable and reckless manner on the country's budget, debt, and credit rating. Let's review. When Bill Clinton left office, the government wastaking in more money than it was spending. Then George W. Bush passed big tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 promising that they would lead to economic growth sufficient to make up for the lost revenue. That never happened. Then Bush started deficit spending like a drunken sailor. In effect, Bush borrowed all the money he used to wage war in Afghanistan and Iraq. He borrowed all the money he used on No Child Left Behind. He borrowed all the money he used to create a prescription drug benefit for seniors, and he refused to negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices. He borrowed all the money he needed to create and operate the Department of Homeland Security. You can see the result in the following chart: Of course, thingsreallygot bad in 2007 and 2008, as Bush's economy came to resemble something the country hadn't seen since Herbert Hoover was president in the 1930's. He handed President Obama an economy that was shedding as many as 700,000 jobs a month. To help put things in perspective, many of the costs that Bush put in place are permanent, or nearly so, while Obama's deficit spending was temporary. For example, Obama's stimulus is over now but Bush's tax cuts have been in place during his whole first term. The Medicare Part D prescription drug program is still in place, we still can't negotiate drug prices, and it is now more generous since ObamaCare started closing the donut hole. Millions of veteran's are now owed lifetime benefits, and many of them will need expensive medical care. The Homeland Security Department isn't going anywhere and will cost us hundreds of millions of dollars. These are the reasons that the Republicans' behavior during thedebt ceiling crisiswas totally hypocritical and, asSteve Benenput it, "the worst thing an American major party has done, at least in domestic politics, since the Civil War." Prior to the 2011 Debt Ceiling Crisis, Congress had raised the debt ceiling68 times. Normally, it was routine, but sometimes the minority party used the occasion to score political points and accuse the majority of profligate spending. But at no point prior to 2011 had Congress seriously considered defaulting on America's debts. Here's a fuller version of Steve Benen's reaction: It was a move without parallel. The entirety of a party [the GOP] threatened to deliberately hurt the country unless their rivals paid a hefty ransom -- in this case, debt reduction. It didn't matter that Republicans were largely responsible for the debt in the first place, and it didn't matter that Republicans routinely raised the debt ceiling dozens of times over the last several decades. This wasn't just another partisan dispute; it was a scandal for the ages. This one radical scheme helped lead to the first-ever downgrade of U.S. debt; it riled financial markets and generated widespread uncertainty about the stability of the American system; and it severely undermined American credibility on the global stage. Indeed, in many parts of the world, observers didn't just lose respect for us, they were actually laughing at us. It's the kind of thing that should have scarred the Republican Party for a generation. It was a totally unnecessary self-inflicted wound on our country.Standards & Poordowngraded our country's credit rating and largely blamed the Republicans forweakeningAmerica's institutions and bringing dysfunction to Washington DC. The Obama administration wanted a clean vote on raising the debt ceiling, but when the House Republicans finally gave it to them, they poisoned the well. First, they used a procedural move requiring a two-thirds majority for passage. Then they accused the Democrats of refusing to address debt reduction even though the Democrats and the administration were willing to make significant concessions if the Republicans would do the same. But they wouldn't make even one small symbolic concession. They demanded a 100% win for themselves, refusing even 10 dollars in cuts for every dollar in new revenue. When the clean vote was held, no Republicansvoted for it. Jim Gerlach and Mike Fitzpatrick, just like every other Republican member of Congress, chose to trash our country's credit rating rather than pay the bills for the debttheyran up. I have already written about how Gerlach and Fitzpatrickco-sponsoreda bill to completely defund Planned Parenthood and which originally sought to distinguish between forcible and ordinary rape. I wrote about how both Gerlach and Fitzpatrickvotedto turn Medicare into an inadequate voucher system, slash Medicare with draconian cuts, and use the savings to line the pockets of rich people like Mitt Romney rather than to pay down the debt. But their willingness to hold our government hostage because they didn't want to pay for the disastertheycreated is their worst sin of all. Gerlach and Fitzpatrick like to pass themselves off as moderates, but on all these critical issues they voted in lockstep with the most conservative members of the Republican Party. This is why I have called the modern GOPthe worst American political party since the Civil War. Yes, I ultimately had to agree with Steve Benen about that. Plus, according to theWall Street Journal, President Obama has presided over theslowest growth of federal spendingin the last sixty years. We need to replace Jim Gerlach withManan Trivediand Mike Fitzpatrick withKathy Boockvar.

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