Category Archives: debt ceiling struggles and Grover Norquist

Hot Potato

This week I feel like I am sitting “Shiva” for the “debt deal”. No, I’m not Jewish, but a wake isn’t as long as sitting Shiva. I believe you observe Shiva for seven days and this is taking a long time.

Each day we wake up with hope only to hear that negotiations have fallen apart. One day we almost have a deal between Representative Boehner and President Obama. Later that day we hear the Republicans will not go for it. I think that first deal involved big cuts and some tax increases. We know that Republicans have signed a pledge that they will not increase taxes in any way (why isn’t this illegal). They are not even backed by half of Americans but they insist on winning.

Next we hear that our fearless leader has put entitlements (benefits) on the table, I guess in an effort to see if he can tempt Republicans to be flexible in spite of their pledge. That’s a no. I hope this is just politics, but I do feel a bit betrayed by our President. Perhaps Democrats need to be asked to sign a pledge that they may change but may not abandon benefits to Americans. Still Republicans will not change in the smallest way their stance against tax increases. Obama cautions that if the nation defaults on its debt, seniors and veterans and soldiers may not be paid. We quail, but not the stubborn Republicans who are absolutely certain they have all the right answers. Maybe Obama wants seniors and vets and soldier’s families to take to the streets in protest.

Today’s newest development comes from Republican Mitch McConnell. He says that Congress will vote down the debt ceiling increases and then Obama can veto the vote and raise the debt ceiling anyway. The mind boggles at the convolutions our representatives go through to not be left holding a political “hot potato”. How old are we? Budget cuts will also be tied to this process but will not have to precede the rise in the debt ceiling. Notice how cunningly he bypasses the issue of tax increases. This is a deal, but not a very good deal.

Our elected lawmakers may not be flinching, but I am. So I hope you will “sit Shiva” with me, but each day with the hope that our observances will end with a rebirth and a celebration.