Vail Daily column: Another (yawn) big showdown
September 23, 2013
One week from today, two very important issues will occur that will either A) end the world as we know it or B) continue the world as we know it.
The "world," in this context is, of course, "'Merica — hell yeah!"
On Oct. 1, Obamacare will kick off and Congress will once again move the goal posts. Open enrollment will begin for the health insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act and our federal debt ceiling will again be raised to pay bills for goods and services already rendered.
Same (expletive deleted), different day.
Democrats will shout and scream that Social Security checks will start bouncing, American servicemen and women will not be paid, food stamps (actually they are debit cards nowadays) will no longer work, bridges will collapse, highways will be in ruins, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria, etc.
Republicans will shout and scream that Obamacare will double unemployment and enable gay Marxists to go door to door confiscating guns and passing out joints. Anonymous bozos online will yell for the fat lazy poor people to go get a friggin' job while complaining that it takes a lot of cajones to own a cell phone, a big screen TV, a computer, air conditioning, cable and Internet yet still have the audacity to call themselves poor.
And yet that's not the really sad part.
The Republican Party continues to implode, apparently doing everything within their limited power to guarantee a woman president in 2016, as a few of the vocal minority actually believe the way to govern is by shutting down the government. It's like Peyton Manning saying the way for the Broncos to win the Super Bowl is for the entire team to retire and join a bowling league.
The GOP is now not even a team, but a practice squad consisting of no head coach and at least 22 quarterbacks, with misguided tea party agenda-setting-crazies Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee all vying for the starting job in spite of every other position being available.
Back on earth, neither side has a clue as to what will actually happen if the U.S. defaults on its debts, and both are using fear and strategic scare tactics in a silly attempt at political posturing for the 2014 election. Both want to win in order to be or stay in charge, yet having the other side lose is the larger desire.
I am consistently amazed how few truly understand it is Congress that raises the debt ceiling, not the president, yet he is the one associated with the never-ending debacle.
So, let's see, Reagan raised the debt ceiling nineteen times (199 percent in accumulative total) while also enacting the largest tax increase in American history during a recession, and it seemed to work pretty well. Clinton raised it four times (44 percent) while enacting his own "largest tax increase in American history," also during a recession, and it seemed to work pretty well too. Bush raised the debt ceiling seven times (90 percent) but cut taxes and started two unfunded wars, not during a recession, and call me forgetful, but I'm pretty sure that one didn't work out so well.
Either way, at the last minute each side will cave in some symbolic, yet superficially meaningless way, leaving us with a new ceiling and the same ol' Obamacare. Both will claim victory while poking fun at the other's embarrassing defeat.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
And, oh yeah, yawn.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes a weekly column. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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