Don’t reward the criminals for their crimes.

Immediately the Republicans are blaming the mess they created on Obama the way a rapist might blame the ineffectiveness of the local police. Romney (via NPR):

“America’s creditworthiness just became the latest casualty in President Obama’s failed record of leadership on the economy.”

Romney is a lying, flip-flopping, soulless piece of garbage. He was always a liar and a flip-flopper but the loss of soul is a more recent development.

If you think there’s too much crime in your neighborhood, firing the police and putting the criminals in charge would be a bad strategy. But Republicans are expect the American people to put them in charge as a reward for the damage they’ve done.

Although the S&P press release does spread the blame around a bit, the overwhelming message is clear (via TPM):

The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.

And

Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues.

How bizarre it would be if the Republicans benefited by causing mayhem and then blaming Obama and the Democrats for failing to stop them.

If the crime rate rises in my neighborhood, my solution would be more cops, not more criminals. Elections are coming soon.

Cutting Military isn’t a Win, but the Deal is Alright

I’m hopeful that the future won’t be quite the disaster that Paul Krugman predicts with his chronic and pessimistic Obama-bashing, but still I agree more with Krugman than anyone who says this budget deal was a win for the Democrats or for the American people.

For one thing, I’m not ready to cheer just because much of the cuts will be from the military. The idea that cuts in the military balance out cuts in education, health services, and other programs is just plain false and perpetuates the myth that Democrats don’t like the military and that it’s somehow a win for them if the military is defunded. Despite all the talk about supporting the troops, Republicans have proven more willing to start wars then to provide the men and women who fight them with adequate supplies and numbers. And the Tea Party, crazy as they are, seem to be the only people in town who realize the military is part of the government. So they’re just as happy about our weakened defenses as they are about our crumbling infrastructure.

In the near future, there will be economic ups and economic downs. Partisans on each side will take credit for the good and blame others for the bad, and nobody will know for sure how different things would have been if their own side had won more. But important government programs have been cut, and It seems pretty clear to me that our military will be weaker, our infrastructure will suffer, we will loose ground in the technology race, fewer of our children will be adequately educated, and jobs that would have been created by the effort to avoid all of these pitfalls will not exist.

Furthermore, when the threat of cross-the-board cuts, including cuts to the military looms over the bi-partisan negotiating team, the Democrats will be at a disadvantage because they will not be as willing to cut off vital supplies for our fighting men and women as the Republicans will be to allow cuts in children’s health care, education, and other investments in our nation’s future.

So I agree with Paul Krugman’s stance that this hasn’t really been a win for liberals. Where I depart from Paul Krugman’s thinking is on blaming Obama and the Democrats for being too weak. Instead, I agree with Al Frankin:

Unfortunately, in a game of chicken, the player most concerned about protecting the full faith and credit of the United States is put in the most difficult position.

So I have to disagree with Deaniac’s assertion that Obama “ate Boehner’s Lunch”, but, as Daniel Markovits more realistically explains, the Democrats came away with a much better deal than a “rational observer would have predicted”, considering the risks Republicans were willing to take with the nation’s economy in order to get what they wanted.

Rather than accusing Democrats of being weak, we need to make them stronger. It’s our job to ensure Republicans don’t have the power to get want they want through threats rather than fair negotiations.

This debt deal wasn’t the result of a Democratic president with a fighting chance caving in to empty threats. This was a Democratic president facing down an opposition willing and able to put our economy in jeopardy unless their demands are met, and actually coming away with a surprisingly acceptable deal, even if it shouldn’t be called a “win”. We should praise Obama’s negotiating skills, not criticize him for giving too much away.

Who’s Compromising?

In broad terms, Republicans want to slash programs and avoid tax hikes. Democrats want to do neither, but have offered a bills which drastically cuts programs and raises taxes on only on the wealthiest Americans. Republican have not deviated from their stance. So what to people mean when they say Democrats need to work harder?

I’m not asking to be sarcastic. There is a huge gulf between what we citizens are hearing from our leaders and our news sources. From what I hear, Republicans haven’t given an inch on anything and Democrats keep offering more cuts in hopes of getting Republicans to agree on something. I’m interested in knowing what people think Republicans have done so far in the name of compromise.

To be fair, I think I’m right. I don’t think anyone’s going to say anything that will make me think the Republicans aren’t putting their careers over the future of our nation. I think we Americans, especially those of us with busy lives who can’t spend hours each day analyzing proposals, can’t possible know all of the details and can’t predict the future. But I believe that the wealthiest Americans, including our politicians, will do very well no matter how hard the rest of us are hit. I think Republicans are taking advantage of our ignorance and pandering to populist, simplistic concepts such as lowering taxes and cutting government programs because supporting these simple, popular ideas will earn them political points and will be good for their financial supporters. And they’ve proven that no matter what happens, they can blame the president.

So, if this starts a conversation, I admit that I’m not entering with a clean slate. It’s more like this: I think the Earth is round and revolves around the sun. If someone told me otherwise, I’d think that person was an idiot. If lots of people told me otherwise, and among them were people who I think are reasonably intelligent, I’d still think they’re wrong but I’d be willing to listen to their arguments. In that light, I’d be interested in hearing why anyone believes it’s the Republicans who have been negotiating honestly.