Saturday, July 23, 2011

I agree with Obama

by Gordon Cooper

From Broader View Weekly, July 21
, 2011.

If one were to read Keith’s column without a clear knowledge of history, one would have to conclude that the era of partisan politics began in the fall of 2008 when the American Electoral College declared Barack Hussein Obama the President of the United States of America. Many, like Keith, believe the Republican party has been having a hissy fit since then. They see the GOP acting as petulant adolescents, opposing everything Obama proposes merely for the sake of opposition.

I suppose Keith, and others who believe as he does, would prefer a nation where one party rules and the other just sits back and nods in agreement. Perhaps that would make for a peaceful news hour, where rhetoric and politics would melt away and choruses of Kumbaya could be heard from the House floor, but I contend it would make for terrible policy. If you doubt me, just think of other nations who have that “peaceful” air of one-party rule, where none dare to utter a word in opposition, where dissent is met with handcuffs and a one-way ticket to a re-education camp.

I would remind Keith, and others who believe as he does, that our nation was born in a spirit of passionate debate. Our founders recognized the fact that truth and progress usually lie somewhere between two polar opposites. In fact, most of the greatest accomplishments and reforms in our nation’s history have come only after many hours of rancorous debate.

However, in the spirit of spreading some goodwill and compromise in this current battle over extending our nation’s debt limit, I am hereby proclaiming my agreement with a Democratic senator. When I read this man’s words, I immediately concurred with his points. Knowing that words can sometimes be taken out of context, I actually did the due diligence of searching the Congressional Record and read the actual transcript. The following are his words copied and pasted from the Congressional Record of the 109th Congress, dated March 16, 2006 on pages S2238 and S2239:

“Mr. President, I rise today to talk about America’s debt problem.

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.”

I said “Amen, brother, preach it!” He went on to add even more:

“…the cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the Federal budget. This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and States of critical investments in infrastructure like bridges, ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on.
Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America's priorities. Instead, interest payments are a significant tax on all Americans – a debt tax that Washington doesn’t want to talk about. If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we would see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies.”
Another “Amen!” from me. Then he went even further:

“Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.
I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

Of course, that senator’s name was Barack Obama – but that was the Obama of 2006 – not the Obama of 2011, just as the Obama of 2008 opposed the surge of Iraq, until the Obama of 2009 ordered the surge of Afghanistan, but I digress.
Keith followed the party line of the Democrats and the tired class warfare tactic of blaming owners of corporate private jets for taking advantage of a tax deduction that was signed into the stimulus package contrived by President Obama and Geithner. The tax deduction merely allows accelerated depreciation for new jet purchases and its repeal would have diminished our deficit by a whopping $3 Billion over ten years! In other words, it is 0.075% of the deficit spending this year alone! Yeah, baby, let’s get that tax deduction repealed even though it has been credited with increasing sales of domestic aircraft by 43% and has pumped $2 Billion into the economy and saved American jobs.

It has often been the tactic of the Democrats to portray the Republicans as favoring the rich, the corporations and the military, while they themselves come across as compassionate and caring for the middle and lower classes. This latest battle over the debt limit merely perpetuates both myths.

The facts are clearly stated in the above quote from Barack Obama of 2006: raising the debt limit without reducing spending is irresponsible “…it is a failure of leadership, and it is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

I couldn’t have said it better.

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