Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats

OpEdNews Op Eds

After the Ransom

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

Headlined to H3 8/10/11

Become a Fan
  (8 fans)

While we all cringe at the consequences of the hostage-taking we've just witnessed, the question becomes: how can progressives shape the narrative, and the future?

The debt deal, fears about the super committee, S & P's highly politicized downgrade, the fall of the stock market, the continued high unemployment rate, the hemorrhaging of local city and state coffers - all of these are bad enough. But the insidious spread of the right wing frame among even mainstream journalists - and even Democrats who apparently think they are criticizing the Tea Party - only adds to this infuriating state of affairs.

Just some examples: Tom Hartmann recently played a montage on his radio show of news "reports" on the S & P downgrade, all claiming that it was based on government overspending, as opposed to what it was actually based on: Republicans' unwillingness to consider revenues, and willingness to bring the U.S. economy to the brink of default.

Recently, John Kerry - after calling it the "Tea Party downgrade" went on to talk about social security, medicare and medicaid, as if these programs were the cause of our economic woes, as opposed to the financial collapse brought about by banksters' house of cards, the War in Iraq, and the Bush tax cuts. (He even threw in such right wing ideas a "regulatory reform!")

Other disappointments include journalists such as Andrea Mitchell blaming Democrats and Republicans equally for acting like children; even former Clinton advisor Alice Rivlin took on the Republican meme of blaming social security, medicare and medicaid when speaking to Lawrence O'Donnell recently, colorfully saying that the continued growth of medicare will "eat us alive." (Really? The best run insurance program we have? Then why do proponents of medicare-for-all say it would save money?)

Finally, MSNBC's Tamron Hall announced today that the super committee's task would be budget cutting - rather than it's actual task, reducing the deficit, which could easily be done with revenues.

Perhaps alone among progressives, Randi Rhodes has been defending Obama and the Democrats on her radio show, claiming that the debt deal itself is a kind of trap for Republicans, forcing them to adopt Democratic policies. But beyond the questions of budgets, spending and taxation, is the terrible precedent that Obama allowed to occur - i.e., taking the American economy hostage. While anger and hand-wringing among progressives abound, what steps can we take to make sure this never happens again? Of course, Republicans are already vowing to make such threats standard operating procedure, but even beyond Obama's presidency, absent a fix to this vulnerability in our current legislative framework, I see this as a constitutional, and existential threat to the U.S.

The easiest route to fix the flaw, would be to throw out the whole idea of the debt ceiling, which is highly unusual among developed countries.

Another route takes us back to the 14th Amendment option, favored by many progressives, as the hostage drama took place. If Obama had the power to invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling, then it stands to reason that any thought of not raising the debt ceiling would be unconstitutional - and that he could still declare that now.

(My personal preference, would be to declare any attempt to threaten to take the U.S. economy into default to be a violation of the Congressional oath of office, thought I don't expect to see that any time soon.)

As a non-lawyer, I expect plenty of criticisms for my suggestions as naive. However, in a post Bush v. Gore, hostage-taking world, perhaps progressives should be as expansive in their view of what's possible as the radical right has been.

Amy Fried is the author of "Escaping Dick Cheney's Stomach." She received her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior, and has been an advocate for church-state separation and other civil liberties issues. She writes on women's issues, media, veganism and (more...)
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

What Makes a Good Leader?

Why Disability is a Feminist Issue

Confessions of a Junk Food Vegan

Old Enough to be Raped

What Part of "Emergency" Don't You Understand?

Tiger Woods Makes a Fool of Brit Hume


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
4 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Any legal or legislative minds out there with prac... by Amy Fried, Ph.D. on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 4:57:53 PM
First, I believe, as large as possible number of o... by BFalcon on Friday, Aug 12, 2011 at 6:38:19 AM
Amy, you  published  a compendium of you... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Aug 11, 2011 at 7:03:56 AM
"The easiest route to fix the flaw, would be to th... by Rixar13 on Thursday, Aug 11, 2011 at 5:08:47 PM
Which is why I was hoping for a solution through t... by Amy Fried, Ph.D. on Friday, Aug 12, 2011 at 11:26:37 AM