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Friday, December 7, 2012

Speaker Boehner's Theatre of the Absurd

While earning my B.A. at SUNY Albany, I learned that Theatre of the Absurd is a style of Drama, which expresses the belief that human existence is meaningless, and therefore all communication breaks down. Logical plot construction and argument gives way to irrational and illogical speech and actions and an ultimate conclusion, which is silence. 

Like Theatre of the Absurd, Speaker Boehner's actions in the Fiscal cliff debate defies all logic, communication is breaking down and is primed to give way to the silence of the Republican Party and maybe for good.  And like the Wizard of Oz, he is ignoring the fact that he has ALWAYS had the power to go home.  Allow me to explain:
  • A tax increase is a tax increase: I don't know anyone who will walk into an auto dealership and proclaim, I want to buy a new car...and I demand to pay the sticker price! But that's how the GOP began negotiations-- by giving in raising taxes on the successful---they don't want to raise the actual rates but by closing loopholes which will have the same effect--raising taxes on the successful. It might look prettier but it's still a tax increase.
  • A tax increase is NOT a tax increase:  A few years ago, the president called for closing loopholes to increase revenue from the rich.  Today he is saying he will veto any bill that does not increase the actual percentage of taxes paid by the successful. So he is not looking for revenue --he is looking to punish the GOP.
  • SHHHH, It's not Just the rich: As former DNC Chair--Governor John Dean said the other day..it will not be just the rich who will be taxed---everybody needs to pay higher taxes.
  • A tax increase doesn't help: Our annual deficit is over a trillion dollars. Our national public debt is over $16 trillion dollars.  The both versions of the tax increase will raise approximately $80 billion a year for 10 years. The CBO projects the debt will be almost $25 trillion in ten years.  So the total $800 billion raised will cut only 3% of the debt (and then only if it is applied to the debt).
  • But he wants more spending: Actually Obama wants a $1.6 trillion tax increase...and he also wants more spending. According to Pete Sessions with the increased spending the deficit will cut only $400 billion from the debt. 

    If we end up with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, we can expect that the [10-year] deficit would go up $8.6 trillion, instead of [the] $9 trillion” expected under the current 10-year plan.
  • But you said.....? Last year the President we should not raise taxes because the economy was slow.  The economy is still slow but now he has changed his mind.
  • The Republican Civil War: What is it with John Boehner? If the purpose of his "purge" was to prepare for making a deal with the President it won't work. Even without "punishing" conservatives he will have to rely on Democrats to get the deal through.  What is he going to do when he needs conservative votes for other bills?
  • Why Won't Boehner Kill Obamacare? Its nice that the GOP keeps passing bills to repeal Obamacare, but the Democrats will not pass such a bill and the president will never sign it.  According to the constitution it is the House that controls spending, if Boehner really wants to kill Obamacare he can refuse to fund it. It's like what the good witch says at the end of the Wizard of Oz "You've always had the power to go back to Kansas." Well Mr. Speaker you have always had the power to kill Obamacare.  Many of the tax increases we will face in 2013 have nothing to do with the Bush tax cuts...they were passed as part of Obamacare and will hurt everyone.  Those tax increases are scheduled to take place no matter what happens with the Bush tax cuts. No one is talking about those.
  • Why Won't Boehner Cut Spending? According to the constitution it is the House that controls spending. (see above)..Well then why won't the GOP congressmen cut spending? Constitutionally they can block appropriations for almost anything but paying interest and penalties on the debt and payment/benefits to federal workers once the work has been done (they can cause layoffs).
  • Barack Obama is the "Uncle Ernie" of Spending.    Remember Tommy from the Who?            I'm your wicked Uncle Ernie
    I'm glad you won't see or hear me
    As I fiddle about
    Fiddle about
    Fiddle about !

    I am not suggesting that Barack Obama is a pedophile (nor would I ever)  but when it comes to spending he is just as "Wicked" as Tommy's Uncle Ernie. Besides the fact that it would be unconstitutional,  why would he ever think that Congress would ever give him the power to raise the debt ceiling on his own?
  •  The Let it Burn Option? Many conservatives including some of those in congress suggest they should pass the tax increase, some even say give Obama his entire plan.  They suggest that GOP member should vote present and allow it to pass with only Democratic Party votes so their hands will be clean when the economy burns.  The problem with this option is their constitutional fiduciary responsibilities.  There is a reason the House received the power of the purse---it is because they are part of the national government who are closest to the people (as they need to submit to their will every other year).  Many of those Republicans in the House were elected precisely because their districts wanted to blunt federal spending...the "let it burn" option ignores the representative's obligation to their districts.
  • Coming in January The Debt Ceiling Debate: Here's the "fun" part...even if the parties agree on a tax hike---once the new congress gets seated the debate will turn to raising the debt ceiling.   Its another opportunity to cut spending.  
America is about to go over a "fiscal" cliff.  It will not be caused by lack of revenue...but by too much spending. Our economy is being crushed by the debt and the new taxes scheduled to begin in January 2013 will slow down the economy and increase the debt.

Theater of the Absurd shows how irrational and illogical speech and actions will lead to an ultimate conclusion---silence.  The major players in this fiscal cliff argument are "playing" an absurd game.  The President's claims are irrational lies. By acting like a politician instead of a patriot the Speaker of the House is acting irrationally; not doing the things he has the power to do like reduce spending and cutting the legs out from under his potential allies. 

In the end it will all lead to silence; America will cease to be a world economic power and the GOP will cease to be a major political party in this great republic of ours.

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