Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

The Corrupt Bargain

I guess I’m confused.

Tea Party activists and Republican firebrands were elected to office in droves recently on the wave of populist support; a new spin on your great-grandfather’s kind of populism: accountability in the national checkbook, fairness and restraint in the application of government, and real jobs for real people in America.

I guess I’m confused, then, after the most recent Congressionally-imposed crisis our country has endured.

Confused as to the questionable tactics used by so-called Tea Partiers and would-be twenty-first century American fatalists–those who believe that simply sharing their ideals and the business of good governance with progressive and liberal citizens would precipitate the end of civilization (though, as we have most recently seen in this debate, a belief that simply appears to be a self-fulfilling prophecy). Confused as to why these trumpeted-up “fiscal hawks” would allow their own brinksmanship tactics to cost the American taxpayers $1.7 billion over the past two weeks alone.

Confused as to why anyone would believe that the destruction of the American economy would be beneficial to American families and taxpayers. Confused as to why anyone would use our government’s stability as a bargaining chip, or leverage for political power. Confused as to why we should then hold our own form of government over those third-world places we see on the news and shake our heads at.

I guess I’m confused–if the current state of national affairs requires such great sacrifice, why is that sacrifice not also being asked of the wealthiest Americans and corporations? The two greatest contributors–by far–to the deficit over the past decade have been the Bush tax cuts and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the Bush tax cuts were meant as a temporary measure, why is it not reasonable in this era of shared sacrifice to simply allow those tax cuts to expire? Republicans are quick to accuse others of playing the “class warfare” card, but if they aren’t willing to ask their most fervent contributors to give a little bit in this debate–if they put more of the burden on the backs of American families and the few hard-workers left out there–just what would the GOP prefer we call this fleecing?

I guess I’m confused–if one truly believes in American exceptionalism, shouldn’t the preservation of exceptional education be a top priority? I’m confused, then, as to why this proposed bargain–being voted on in hurried fashion tonight–will force thousands and thousands of dollars in immediate debt down the throats of students. Why are we punishing our kids for going to college? When GOP policies (and some Dem ones too, to be fair) have shipped millions of blue-collar jobs overseas, why would we make it more difficult for Americans to earn that college education required for the only jobs we have left on our shores?

I guess I’m confused, because when I send my representative to Congress, I expect that person to serve the country–not to further its divide. The nation had high hopes that Congressional Republicans and Tea Partiers would come together with Democrats and pass a grand bargain that would put us on the road to stability–perhaps cue in a little “Happy Days are Here Again” while reminding everyone that bipartisan cooperation can result in something tangible, meangingful and durable.

Yet here we stand, with frayed nerves from the second apocalyptic Congressionally-inspired meltdown and little to show for it, and instead of a grand bargain we have The Corrupt Bargain.


  1. DTOzone

    is thinking they were elected on a promise to create jobs. They were elected to obstruct Obama, that’s all.

    We warned America, they didn’t listen, elections, consequences and all that.  

  2. Kysen

    has been voting against their own interests since before the Tea Party formed. The average Tea Partier, the average member of the ‘Republican base’….has been voting against their own best interests for decades now.

    It is ignorance pure and simple. Some of it innate, some of it willful…but, ignorance nonetheless.

    Ignorance….and a fair dose of plain old stupidity.

    Neither, sadly, are lacking in the US (or, really, anywhere).

  3. jsfox

    Might I suggest deep breaths , step back and think of this as a single battle in a war that is liable to go on for awhile longer. We gave up a little ground, but not as much as some think. For a 1% budget reduction in 2012 the Republicans have exposed themselves to a large swath of the American public as clueless. The have pissed off more than a few of their natural constituents. They have put both revenue on defense cuts on the table and SS medicare and medicaid cuts to beneficiaries are off the table. The debt ceiling as weapon has now been rendered ineffectual through the election and the 2012 budget id deemed and passed taking that gun out their hands, as well.

  4. IL JimP

    comment about debt for students.  Didn’t we increase the amount of Pell grants and lowered the subsidies loans, which were always loans that needed to be paid back it was just that when you were college the government paid your interest.  Once you got out of college you were responsible for any additional interest and of course the principle.  

  5. Shaun Appleby

    If the markets were stable throughout this default crisis largely out of disbelief and a sense of security because Obama was president, 14th Amendment and trillion-dollar coins and all, then maybe we did win a bit of a victory which is hard to quantify.

  6. When I heard that average Americans were expected to get by with heavy cuts to discretionary spending–some of it warranted–while the rich got to continue to enjoy the Bush tax cuts.

    The Bush tax cuts, which have done little for job growth as they were advertised to do.

    The Bush tax cuts, which exploded the deficit Tea Partiers and Republicans currently talk about wanting so fervently to contain.

    The Bush tax cuts, which were supposed to be a temporary measure, but now–like a bad toupĂ©e stuck on with super glue–we’re stuck with because we taxpaying citizens haven’t made ourselves clear enough, loud enough to the lackies in the room dealing.

    These debt ceiling negotiations have made one thing clear: 2012 isn’t going to be about compromise for Republicans or Tea Partiers. It’s about the scramble to get to the top of the highest mountain first to shout from.

    Progressives and Democrats alike must summit first. 2012 is our mountain.

  7. was off by a couple orders of magnitude. It’s been corrected on the CNN site and now says $17 million. Oops! Not a good error to show up on a money site.

  8. No one seems to get all of the numbers right in any one post.

    The budget is about $3.7 billion for 2011 and the same for 2012. The cuts from this deal that will take effect in 2012 have been reported to be anywhere from $7-21 billion. That works out to anywhere from 0.19%-0.56%. Well under 1% of the budget. These are not ‘deep’ or ‘draconian’ cuts. Cutting billions from the budget will probably mean some pain for someone, depending on where those cuts are made. Keep in mind, however, that there is always some pain. We can’t alleviate every pain in this country with a budget of $10 trillion. That’s a cold, hard truth that we liberals are loathe to admit.

    One complaint I hear from the left is that these cuts will cause a double-dip recession. That’s a pretty hard claim to accept when you realize that even the highest number – $21 billion – is only about 1/10th of 1% of our economy.*

    * IANAE

  9. DTOzone

    “While Washington has been absorbed in this debate about deficits, people across the country are asking what we can do to help the father looking for work. What are we going to do for the single mom who’s seen her hours cut back at the hospital? What are we going to do to make it easier for businesses to put up that ‘now hiring’ sign?

    “That’s part of the reason that people are so frustrated with what’s been going on in this town. In the last few months, the economy has already had to absorb an earthquake in Japan, the economic headwinds coming from Europe, the Arab Spring and the [rise] in oil prices – all of which have been very challenging for the recovery.

    “But these are things we couldn’t control. Our economy didn’t need Washington to come along with a manufactured crisis to make things worse. That was in our hands. It’s pretty likely that the uncertainty surrounding the raising of the debt ceiling – for both businesses and consumers – has been unsettling, and just one more impediment to the full recovery that we need. And it was something that we could have avoided entirely.”

    I fully expect the left is going to complain he never said any of this by tomorrow.  

  10. jsfox

    Maybe Washington’s game of debt-ceiling chicken went on too long for comfort, but the resolution of the game looks a lot like a pragmatic compromise to me. … [I]t looks like our democracy will have raised the debt ceiling, didn’t really cut a thing, passed off responsibility for substantial deficit reduction to a “super committee”, which will either come up with a plan that does not bind the future executive and legislature or will trip a “trigger” that won’t go into effect until after the next election, and then, again, will go into effect only if the government of the future wants it to go into effect. If this is what “raw extortion” delivers, it’s not very much.

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