I wrote this two weeks ago, and nothing is still resolved.
When major crises like this occur I’m always reminded of that quote, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” David Brooks, who I probably would rarely agree with, wrote a nice criticism in the New York Times of conservatives who kept this from being a great conservative victory. The reasons he gives are the same reasons I’d give for how democrats squandered this chance as well. Politicians either stick to ideology or electability when making decisions, and we all lose.
If you’ve ever gone through a financial crisis, and I’m guessing most of America has a firm understanding of this, then you know that there are only two things you can do to get out of it: decrease spending and increase revenue. You can do either one by itself, or you can do both together. The best solution is to do both together. Try to get a raise or change jobs (back when there were jobs) and then cut some of your expenses. That’s how you build savings (or what government calls a surplus). (The American people seem to understand this) If we had people who were serious about solving America’s problems this would be what they would do. John Boener said as much, though he decided that increasing revenue wasn’t as important (and in fact wants to reduce revenue even more).
The best, and fastest way, to get out of this debt crisis is to cut spending and increase revenue (taxes). I’m a hard core democrat & liberal, but you can’t tell me that there isn’t money to be saved (in intelligent and responsible ways) in medicare, Medicaid, & social security. The other problem is that we can’t see spending money to save money as a solution.
One of the ways you could probably save millions is over hauling the databases that handle the separate systems. It’s just a suggestion, but faster more efficient computer systems mean less time per customer. In 20 years the retirees are going to be more computer literate, let’s get ready for them by getting the system set up now. But you’d have to spend money to do that. I pay all my bills online and hate when I have to make a payment with a check. Sure this means that you cut jobs (you no longer have to pay someone to physically take my payment) but in terms of government, that’s savings. Don’t the Republicans WANT smaller government. Heck to create these new systems you’d hire private sector companies to create and install them. Short term spending, that infuses the private sector with cash, reduces the size of government, and creates long-term savings (those jobs eliminated will never come back). This seems like a win/win. Oh, there’s the problem. This is politics and it can only be understood as “I win/you lose!”
As long as Republicans seek to deny Pres. Obama anything that can even remotely seem like a victory, we’re going to continue to have these problems. Though, honestly, next time a Republican is President, Democrats will probably pull this same crap. And people wonder why the average American is so cynical about politics.