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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 8/3/11

Debt Ceiling Deal Trickery: A Catalyst for an Uprising?

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The outcome of the debt ceiling talks is a foregone conclusion. An agreement has been established. The Obama Administration and GOP leaders came together and came up with a deal that would satisfy enough Republican congressmen beholden to the right wing economic libertarian "Tea Party." Democratic leaders were stuck in the middle, trying to advance a plan that would be less destructive to the people of this country yet President Barack Obama gave very little support always indicating he was for a compromise with Speaker John Boehner, who was, as is typical, being driven by corporate interests and the faction of people Vice President Joe Biden would later accuse of "acting like terrorists."

It was scripted political theater from the beginning to end and had a predictable outcome. One might recall the American people were given a preview of the debt ceiling talks back in December when Obama announced a tax cut deal that validated the GOP's hostage taking strategy. Middle class tax cuts, jobless benefits and other items were held hostage until Obama committed to extending tax cuts for the top 2% of Americans.

Then, too, a bipartisan deal was achieved. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman warned giving into "blackmailers" would ensure demands in the future. "As long as Republicans believe that Mr. Obama will do anything to avoid short-term pain, they'll have every incentive to keep taking hostages. If the president will endanger America's fiscal future to avoid a tax increase, what will he give to avoid a government shutdown?"

On the debt deal, Krugman argues Obama surrendered. He agreed to "big spending cuts, with no increase[s] in revenue." Democrats and Obama decided Republicans might have an "incentive" to make cuts next time around. He further emboldened corporate and special interests that have a vice grip on the American government. Worse, Obama signed off on a clear subversion of democracy by advocating for the establishment of a 12-person "Super Congress," a panel of members in Congress that will cut at least $1.2 trillion and decide what to cut.

This is not surrender though. This is what President Obama wants. This is making  government "work." This is making certain gridlock doesn't get in the way of Obama's commitment to demonstrating he has "changed" Washington by making it "work." And, to better understand the outcome of this bipartisan deal, one should remember what comedian George Carlin said about the word "bipartisan" meaning a much larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.

Whose Delusionary and Uninformed?

Those arguing that Obama had no choice but to bow to pressure from the GOP or Tea Party are significantly misinformed or willfully ignorant. There was a legal remedy for all of this. He did not have to risk more economic injustice in this country and put social programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security on the chopping block. He had the opportunity to raise the debt ceiling in December but chose not to because he thought he would like to have a second chance to prove he can govern without being extorted.

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Those suggesting the people of this country have to find something positive in this outcome are even shallower. Defense spending will not face deeper cuts than Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Or, if defense spending does face cuts, it will likely mean defense spending cuts come out of an extra $50 billion deal negotiated outside of the debt ceiling talks and the Defense Department will most likely end up with more funding and resources than before the debt ceiling "crisis" began to be manufactured by the political class in Washington.

Ezra Klein of The Washington Post seems to think that Obama's strategy is "brilliant." He has attached a double trigger that means defense contracting cuts and Bush tax cuts could go into effect if Republicans don't "compromise." What theater ensemble has Klein been watching move about on the political stage in Washington? As Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone has written, the Democrats did not fight the GOP at all. They could not fight the GOP at all because they would have impeded the Obama Administration's ability to cut a deal favorable to the GOP.

"[Democrats] made a show of a tussle for a good long time -- as fixed fights go, you don't see many that last into the 11th and 12th rounds, like this one did -- but at the final hour, they let out a whimper and took a dive," Taibbi concludes. "We probably need to start wondering why this keeps happening. Also, this: if the Democrats suck so bad at political combat, then how come they continue to be rewarded with such massive quantities of campaign contributions?" Adding, "Who spends hundreds of millions of dollars for what looks, on the outside, like rank incompetence?"

The answer is a few million liberals, who get involved in organizations like MoveOn and Organizing for America (the worst of the two) get involved in spending millions of dollars on what appears to be "rank incompetence." The answer is unions with weak leaders like Richard Trumka of AFL-CIO, who pretend to be inching toward starting an independent political movement then turn coward and go back to business as usual.

Read the rest of the article at Firedoglake's The Dissenter.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for
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