“While I appreciate the extraordinarily difficult situation President Obama’s lack of leadership has placed Republican members of Congress in, I personally cannot support this deal.” So begins Mitt Romney’s dissent of the approaching compromise between the Democrats and Republicans in Washington. While I do agree with the general sentiment of Romney’s statement – President Obama hasn’t shown a particularly discernible display of leadership - I can’t help but feel it is for entirely different reasons.
This country is in shambles. What once started out as a democratic nation has evolved into a plutocracy; it's ridiculous. For a country that is decidedly "poor," it's quite amazing how rich certain individuals are - there is a greater concentration of wealth in this country than there ever has been. Yet the Republicans (and their Tea Party brethren) vehemently oppose any increased taxes on those making over $250,000 a year (how soon we forget the $800 billion bailout), but also desperately want a "balanced budget" (as evidenced by this obvious plea for attention @ Washington).
Speaking of this 21st century Tea Party movement, the basis for their resurgence is not wholly similar to the ideologies of their 1770s genesis. While increased taxes no doubt played a factor, the larger point of the matter is related to taxation without representation, a fact often ignored during this current economic crisis.
According to a 2010 American Values Survey (http://www.publicreligion.org/objects/uploads/fck/file/AVS%202010%20Report%20FINAL.pdf), over 80% of the Tea Party movement identified themselves as Christian; a 2009 Gallup poll stated roughly 75% of Americans have some religious affiliation (http://www.gallup.com/poll/124793/This-Christmas-78-Americans-Identify-Christian.aspx). If the U.S. truly claims to be a "Christian" nation, then it should practice what it preaches: how can the wealthiest individuals stand idly by as their American brethren increasingly fall to the wayside? Isn't a popular Christian edict to give to those in need? Jesus teaches, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” The Koran reads, “Righteousness is this: that one should give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin… and the needy.” But why, then, has the nation's deficit continued to decline for the past 10 years while the richest Americans have become more concentrated?
Make no mistake, the Democrats deserve a fair share of the blame with their constant truckling against the seemingly intransigent GOP, but cutting spending can only provide so much. You've got to spend money to make money, and we'll have to dig this ditch a little deeper before we can fill it up again.
There are a few things this country can do to make things better - making cuts to military spending is certainly one avenue worth exploring; the aforementioned tax increase on the wealthy is another (or just simply letting the Bush Tax Cuts, finally, expire). Also, why has this nation not adopted a VAT? Pretty much every developed nation across the globe has, so why not the U.S.? Changes definitely need to be made, and in order to get to where we need to be, this country certainly needs to make a few sacrifices.
So when Romney goes on to further state that “President Obama’s leadership failure has pushed the economy to the brink at the 11th hour and 59th minute,” he is being somewhat disingenuous. President Obama’s failure as a leader has, for the most part, been exacerbated by the intransigence of the opposition, namely the Republican Party.
In closing, I’ll end this entry with a recent quote from Rep. Jan Schakowsky: "In battle, when you accidentally shoot your own it's called "friendly fire." When you deliberately shoot your own, it's called "fragging." Republicans, stop fragging the American economy."