At the risk of sounding like a broken record (for you youngsters - that's what came before
MP3s), the Republicans are once again pretending to be legislators while the country staggers along. Syria and the should-we-or-shouldn't-we debate over bombing to prevent/punish Syria from/for using chemical weapons has once again distracted the public from the very real problems we face.
The Republican-led House has voted to repeal Obamacare too many times to list (I hesitate to provide a number because it could happen again before this is posted, but at least 42). We've have also lurched from budget vote to budget vote, generally pushing through some flawed legislation at literally the 11th hour before the government grinds to a halt. Right now, those drop dead dates are about October 1st when the country runs out of money, and October 15th when the country hits the debt ceiling.
President Obama has criticized the Republicans for this before, stating that midnight votes when there is no more time left is no way to run the country. Naturally, he is irritated again
US President Barack Obama hit out at conservative Republicans, warning he would not negotiate on raising the debt ceiling in a showdown that threatens to throw the government into default.
Obama said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he was willing to talk to Republicans on the separate task of agreeing on a budget, but would not allow conditions to be attached to increasing the government's borrowing limit.
If no deals are reached in bitterly divided Washington, the US government could be shut down by the beginning of October and the United States could begin defaulting on its debts by the middle of next month.
The sequestor has hit the economy hard, which while lowering expenditures also guarantees less tax revenue for the government, thus creating a downward spiral. President Obama has tried to reverse this, but of course the Republicans kowtow to their well-heeled overlords, and impede him every step of the way
The president has powers to fight income inequality, President Obama argued in an interview broadcast Sunday, adding that Republicans in Congress have hobbled his efforts to do it.
Appearing on ABC's "This Week" program, Obama acknowledged that the wealthiest Americans have benefited disproportionately from the economic recovery of recent years. But he was quick to add that much of that trend is due to globalization, technology and, not least, the GOP's opposition to his economic agenda – all factors he suggested are beyond his control.
"I think the president can stop it," Obama said, when asked about the growing income gap. "The problem is that there continues to be a major debate here in Washington, and that is, how do we respond to these underlying trends?"
Obama promoted his efforts to increase funding for education, infrastructure and research and development programs, and he trumpeted his push to reform the tax code to discourage outsourcing.
"It doesn’t solve the problem entirely, but it pushes against these trends," Obama said. "And the problem that we’ve got right now is you’ve got a portion of Congress whose policies … just want to, you know, leave things alone, they actually want to accelerate these trends."
I linked to a story about the widening income gap in my Thursday blog
. The effects are felt all across the country, in cities like New York
and even outside our borders
. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the politicians distract the masses with their nonsense, while they continue to live off of the taxpayers' dollars.
Raine and I discussed a version of the TV show "Survivor", only call it "Survivor 1%", where rich people are dumped into a ghetto and forced to live on food stamps, welfare, and whatever they can earn doing menial labor. I am not familiar enough with the format of the show enough to flesh it out more than that, but it certainly seem like it would be enlightening television. Documentarian Morgan Sperlock ("Supersize Me") tried it for 30 days on his TV show "30 Days
", and found it extremely difficult.
Some people have tried this as an experiment. The latest is Panera Bread founder and CEO Ron Shaich, who tried to live on the equivalent of food stamps for a week
. He found it to be much harder than he ever imagined. There is also an effort among members of Congress to do the same thing; it's called the "SNAP Challenge
". If you click through to the link, you'll see that all 26 congresspeople are Democrats.
What does this tell you? Republicans bitch and moan about money spent by the government on "freeloaders" who are barely eking out an existence, while they get nothing accomplished and work less than half the year, knowing they will collect cushy pensions the rest of their lives. It would be merely aggravating if there weren't so many people actually suffering.
Maybe we should revise that "Survivor 1%" idea - make one team the rich and the other team Republican politicians. I imagine that would get very ugly very quickly.