Jewish World Review July 15, 2011 13 Tamuz, 5771
By Roger Simon
Let's take that last one first, since you are never supposed to accuse anyone of a lack of patriotism because we are all good Americans, right?
But I will accuse most members of Congress of a lack of patriotism because they love power more than they love their country. They love knee-jerk ideology more than they love their country. And they love getting re-elected more than they love their country.
Which is why so many of them are sitting on their ample behinds right now, rather than doing anything meaningful about averting a global economic collapse.
That's right. Too many Republicans refuse to raise taxes on the rich, no matter what happens to this country.
And too many Democrats refuse to consider cuts in entitlement spending, no matter what happens to this country.
That's the extremism crisis, which makes people willing to follow their ideologies off a cliff. Are the two sides equally to blame? No, I don't think so.
But it really doesn't matter, since it has led to a paralysis that has brought us to an economic abyss. Talk to lawmakers about economic theory? Heck, some of them don't even believe in evolution.
So let's skip to the probable result: If the United States defaults on its debt, your savings could be wiped out. The money you have been keeping for your retirement or your kids' college education or just for a rainy day could be gone. Even brokerage money market funds could take a huge hit. At the end of 2008, there were 2,000 such funds in this country with assets of $3.8 trillion. People think they are safe. People are wrong.
Think I am being extreme? Think I am shouting fire in a crowded theater?
It is OK to shout fire in a crowded theater if the theater is really on fire.
Now let me get to the hatred part. Let's admit it: A lot of Republicans just plain hate Barack Obama's guts. You can't blame racism for all of it. Bill Clinton was hated, too. As Mike McCurry, Clinton's press secretary, told me in 2007, the year before the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, "One-third of the American people have a deep, visceral dislike for this president."
And economic times were good under Clinton, debt was changed to surplus, and millions of jobs were created. Note I don't say that Clinton created those jobs. The truth is, presidents have far less to do with job creation than we think. (And gas prices, too.) But because presidents claim to create jobs when times are good, it is tough for presidents to escape blame for job loss when times are bad.
And while nobody calls him "Slick Barack," like they called Clinton "Slick Willie," there is the feeling among Obama haters that he is too smooth, too intellectual and, to some, just too darn uppity. Like when in April 2008 he said of small-town voters, "It's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
A lot of people didn't like that. And for all the "post-racial" bliss that Obama's election was supposed to signal in this country, keep in mind he lost the white vote by a landslide 12 percentage points.
But, as I said, it's not all race, either. Remember Velma Hart? Sure, you do, even if you don't remember her name. She's the middle-aged black woman who stood up at a nationally televised town hall in September 2010 and said this to President Obama: "I'm one of your middle-class Americans, and quite frankly, I'm exhausted. Exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now."
When she made that statement, Velma Hart was the chief financial officer for a nonprofit veterans group. Two months later, she lost her job. "It's not anything she did," her boss said. "She got bit by the same snake that has bit a lot of people."
That snake is still biting. President Obama is trying to avert an economic crisis by agreeing to make cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in exchange for raising taxes on the rich.
"No tax hikes!" scream some Republican lawmakers.
"No cuts in benefits!" scream some Democratic lawmakers.
They scream because they are afraid of losing their jobs. They don't want to compromise, even if compromise would be best for this country and would avert a financial catastrophe.
And who elected these bozos? We did.
So if the crash comes and you are wiped out and looking for someone to blame, look in the mirror.
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© 2009, Creators Syndicate