Sunday, July 24, 2011

First and Ten, Ball on the Twenty

We're getting closer and closer to a resolution to the collective bargaining kerfuffle between the National Football League and the NFL Player's Association, so a football metaphor is apt to start this post.

But we're not talking football, dear readers. No indeed.

I'm talking about the negotiations between the two branches of our government concerning the debt limit.

The House Republican caucus, clinging to the anti-tax dogma like fanatics clinging to Holy Writ, haven't really changed their position a bit, despite the Democratic attempts to edge them closer to a compromise by offering changes in Medicare and Social Security. Which is stupid, since Social Security has no impact whatever on the national debt and never did (Social Security is funded by payroll taxes - more about that a touch later).

House Speaker Boehner has gone so far as to offer a two-step solution - a short term hike in the debt limit now, with additional hikes and spending cuts to be determined by a special bipartisan commission. Recommendations made by that commission would be voted up or down by the rest of the Congress, with no amendments permitted.

Boehner's skin dye has obviously affected his brain here. How does he expect something like that to break the current deadlock if the underlying ideology of his Party remains so fatally flawed?

We may have to face facts here, people - we are a First World nation, beset by Third World political gridlock. To quote the British Business Secretary, Vince Cable, "right wing nutters" have taken over the GOP, with dire consequences for our nation and the world economy.

The deadline's August 2.

So we're at first and ten, ball's on the twenty, and we have a minute left on the clock. Do we continue to slog, or is it time for a Hail Mary?

(Now, regarding Social Security: Hey kids! Did you know that if you earn more than $106,800 or so a year you pay little or no payroll taxes into Social Security? It's true! If that ceiling were lifted, Social Security would be solvent for decades. Which is why, naturally, it won't even be considered.)


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