Working families felt the brunt of the recession, they received no government bailouts or blank checks, and now they are feeling the brunt of the “recovery”. Budget austerity is championed by the rich for a reason; they don’t feel a thing. The American people need help, and they need leadership, at a time when the loudest voices in Washington offer nothing more than ridicule and partisan bickering.
American incomes are flat and wealth inequality is at an all-time high. Tens of millions of Americans are either completely out of work or desperately looking for a stable paycheck. Millions of Americans still lack health insurance, even after President Obama’s healthcare overhaul.
Two weeks ago, the Washington Examiner reported that leading Tea Party Senators Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) would oppose any continuing resolution to fund the federal government unless it included a full repeal of Obamacare. Days later they were joined by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Blocking the continuing resolution would result in a summary shutdown of the federal government. Operations around the country would grind to a halt; hardly the kind of leadership America needs during a recession.
Why would three Republican senators resort to such measures? Do they think that President Obama would sign a law that strikes his legacy from history? Do they not care that the Affordable Care Act passed the intense scrutiny of a majority conservative Supreme Court? Did they not notice that Mitt Romney built his failed presidential campaign against the Obama healthcare bill?
The thought of repealing Obamacare today is a brazen waste of time. A repeal is both without merit and utterly without support. These senators attack Democrats, particularly the White House, for waste and inefficiency. How much federal salary is wasted when a member of Congress takes a day to trash Obamacare? Senators “work” just 15 days per month. They make $174,000 annually. That is just under $1,000 per day at the office. Every time Senators Cruz, Rubio, Lee or any other mentions Obamacare in a sentence dock them $1,000 for waste.
The lack of seriousness about Obamacare spreads to the budget as well. Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) has introduced the last three GOP budget proposals. Each received a ringing endorsement within the party only to face crushing defeat from the Democratic majority Senate. Democrats point out that the budget has already been slashed to the tune of trillions of dollars. The point to European budget austerity measures like those proposed by Mr. Ryan have caused recession and panic.
The 2012 Election was supposed to be Paul Ryan’s chance to shine. Instead, exit polls showed that 6 in 10 Americans favored the president’s tax hike proposals over Ryan’s tax slashing austerity budget from 2012. Americans have seen Ryan at the forefront of his party for nearly a year and his popularity now stands at a lifetime low. Even pro-Republican pollster Rasmussen shows the congressman with an unfavorable rating of 54 percent.
Paul Ryan is unpopular, his budget is unpopular, and he just lost a national election.
Undaunted, Mr. Ryan has a new budget for 2013. The latest version obviously includes a repeal of Obamacare, but it keeps the Obamacare taxes and the most recent tax hike on the top 0.4 percent of wage earners. Robert Schlesinger of US News and World Report summed it up with one word: laughable.
The latest Ryan budget lost 10 Republican votes, as well as every Democratic vote, in the House of Representatives. According to Politico, Senate Democrats are going to introduce Ryan’s toxic austerity vision for a floor vote to prove just how unpopular it is on both sides of the aisle.
Americans voted in 2012 to end the talk of budget austerity. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan championed austerity and lost convincingly. Americans can see the pitiful austerity economics of Europe. They don’t want severe cuts to retirement, health benefits, and education. The latest Ryan budget does not even include tax cuts. It balances the budget at all costs, and the costs are unforgivable with the nation still set deeply in recession.
The United States needs sweeping and comprehensive tax and economic reforms. Our so-called “recovery” is barely perceptible to most Americans. Americans need help. More importantly, they need actual leadership in Washington. Both sides attack one another for being unwilling to compromise, but the fact remains the Democrats have offered compromise and the Republicans simply ignore it. The main voices in the GOP offer nothing at all. They have offered nothing for most of the last four years. We can’t afford it anymore.