Friday, July 15, 2011

Scare Tactics Fall Flat on Debt Ceiling

My aunt in New York City is upset.

Not just because a nine-year-old Jewish boy was murdered just a few blocks away from her Brooklyn apartment this week.

But mainly because President Barak Obama went on national television and said she might not get her Social Security check if Congress can't resolve the Treasury's debt ceiling issue.

This debt ceiling debate flared up only recently, it seems, and now dire predictions of apocalyptic calamity suddenly are crashing through the media. Considering the fact that George W. Bush, Obama's predecessor, raised the debt ceiling seven times during his presidency without Republicans batting an eyelash, why have conservatives now decided to dig in their heels?

Hey - I don't think it's good governance for our government to simply get more debt when it can't pay its bills. Maybe the GOP has finally decided that enough is enough when it comes to raising the debt ceiling. And I'd like to think that Obama, even though he's a Democrat, would agree that his Republican predecessor has made an unsustainable mess of things.

Yet there goes the President, with a stern visage and choppy vocal cadence, pretty much scaring the wits out of millions of American senior citizens that one of their main sources of income will evaporate if the Republicans - let me repeat that, the Republicans (did you get that, the Republicans) - don't get their act together by the end of this month. Like the rest of America hasn't yet figured out that both political parties share the blame for our fiscal mess.

Do you hear that sound? It's the sound of a generation of Americans brought up counting on Social Security being thrown under the bus.

Now, how helpful is Obama's hype? It's not accurate, since Democrats are being as obstinate with their own sacred cows as Republicans are with theirs. It's not likely, since the Treasury scoops in billions of dollars a day already. And it's not ethical, since everyone knows - including the President - that Doomsday will not begin on August 2.

Well, it very well may, but it will have nothing to do with the debt ceiling debate.

Obama's intentions by issuing such a flagrantly alarmist statement probably had more to do with getting panicked seniors to their phones and e-mails, blasting their Congressional representatives with pleas for accommodating our President's heavy spending.

That's simply disingenuous on his part, isn't it? And a lot of people already know that.  But that's not even the worst of it.

What's dangerous about the President's tone and language involves the proof they provide for us that he really doesn't know how to lead. Leaders don't foment such fear over empty rhetoric. Nor do they rely on such tactics for establishing credibility with the group against which they claim to be negotiating. In this case, Republicans simply get more ammunition for their presidential nominee next year, affirming that the incumbent doesn't know how to get major decisions made on Capitol Hill.

If Obama genuinely cared about our senior citizens, he wouldn't use them as excitable pawns in tawdry charades over academic budget issues.  He's obviously never been in a financial situation where "fixed income" really was fixed.

Well, here again, he used to live in Chicago, where just about everything is "fixed," so maybe I'm wrong on that...

At any rate, I told my aunt that she has little to worry about when it comes to the debt ceiling. And it's her grand-nephews and grand-niece who will be paying for it in the unfortunate event it gets raised.

The President, on the other hand, since he's seized on this debt ceiling ploy, needs to worry plenty about whether his own overhead - the many programs liberals refuse to eliminate or reduce - will be like a plaster ceiling, falling down on his head in November of 2012.

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