We’ve Been Screwed

As we’ve learned with terrorism there isn’t much you can do when your nemesis is willing to take himself down while taking you down.

I have avoided writing about what’s just happened in Congress concerning the federal debt ceiling. Actually, I’ve done more than that. I’ve avoided reading about it or watching programs about it on TV.

I feel I’ve we’ve been screwed. It hurts a lot.

As we’ve learned with terrorism there isn’t much you can do when your nemesis is willing to take himself down while taking you down. That’s what went on. The deal was shaped by partisans willing to act as suicide bombers!

The right wing of the Republican Party threatened to blow-up our economy if they didn’t get what they wanted. Everyone was scared because we knew they would!

Worse still the president and Democrats in Congress caved without a real fight. They control one house of Congress and the Executive Branch and they came away with bubkis.

This agreement might appease the bond rating agencies and help our nation’s balance sheet in the short term, but it guarantees the pain felt by the middle and lower class will persist and probably get worse. This deal won’t spawn jobs. The gulf between haves and have-nots will grow. The President and Democrats in Congress ought to be ashamed.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t cut back government spending. We should. There are loads of wasteful military programs and subsidies which produce the opposite of their intended result. At the same time we should put money into rebuilding our crumbling national infrastructure. We can should raise revenues by asking wealthy people and corporations to pay more.

There is little in this agreement I like or support. The intransigence shown by the Tea Party is a nightmare for all of us and now they that they feel empowered that will only get worse!

It’s worth saying again: We’ve been screwed.

(This is seems a good time to remind you these are my opinions alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my family, friends or employer.)

45 thoughts on “We’ve Been Screwed”

  1. I agree – just saw a news program making it clear that this deal will hurt job-creation, not help. So much for the so-called ‘main issue’ – jobs, jobs, jobs! Nope, nope, nope.

  2. I so agree with you Geoff! How they could let BRAND NEW, shall we say TEEN-AGERS bully everyone else in Washington until “they” got what they wanted. I can only see “The Tea Partyers” flushing us right down the proverbial toilet. You are so right: “WE ARE SCREWED” !!! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!

  3. I agree with you totally Geoff. I have written every politician that I could to no avail. People say it should be treated like a business, but if they stopped and listened they are NOT increasing the revenue and cutting programs on the poorest of the people. I don’t know what some of our elderly are going to do at this point as they have been just scraping buy with no cost of living increases in the last couple of years because supposedly there were no increased costs. What has our country come to? It is so depressing to see this and very very scary. These politicians don’t have a clue that they just made everything worse for their own political and financial gain. Where are their concessions? Nada, they keep voting themselves raises with no problem. Well I gotta get off my soap box before I have a heart attack screaming. We need to go back to economic standards pre-Bush, it worked, there was no need for the tax cuts, none and Medicare and SS should not be touched.

  4. Today, Joe Lieberman came out and said we need to cut Social Security in order to avoid cuts to Defense! My advice to Joe is do not visit Connecticut. You do not live here any more.

    1. My answer to that is we wouldn’t need more money in defense if we would get our boys back home and stop fighting wars all over the world. Leave SS alone. Our seniors need and deserve those funds.

  5. Pamela, a business increases revenue by providing a good or service the public desires. Governments increase revenue by forcing us to give it to them, lest we be thrown in prison. The parallel is simply not logical.

    As for the elderly, they’re only being helped at the expense of other Americans. Social security is nothing more than a ponzi scheme, and the intentions behind it were anything but altruistic.

  6. Warren Buffet, who I feel is one of the smartest, savviest business people in the world has been saying for years now that the richest people in America are NOT paying their fair share of taxes and yet the folks in Washington are refusing to close tax loopholes or raise the tax rate for these individuals – we need to elect smarter people to represent us.

  7. Bravo, Geoff. The wingnut element of the Republican Party has commandeered the ship. Scary.

    The reality is that the Tea Party is composed of anarchists. Nick, commenting above, is a perfect example of such.

    1. We love Nick. I’m going to leave your comment in so I can point out I will tolerate no more attacking the messenger here. Argue points, not people.

      1. Geoff, thanks for standing up for me. I really hope no one is taking what I say personally; I’m just trying to share my ideas.

    2. And Farfel, I am not an anarchist. I am a libertarian…I agree that government should provide certain services–namely non-excludable, non-rival public goods like defense. Even though I say taxation is theft, I am not opposed to a minimum level of it to pay for essential services that can’t be provided by markets.

  8. I’ve written to Boehner, DeLauro (who voted against this debacle), Lieberman and Blumenthal. I’ve only heard from Blumenthal who made no reference at all to the need to increase revenue by taxing the likes of Exxon-Mobil and those who buy $55 million homes.
    My boss came up with an idea: next time they come around begging for campaign contributions, just tell them, “Sorry, it’s all I can do to pay my bills, thanks to you.”
    Social Security is not an entitlement. I’ve been paying into it for 40 years!
    They all must be living on Pluto and we know where that stands these days.

  9. I agree Geoff. It’s past time to close the loopholes in the tax laws that let the wealthy pay significantly less than the middle-class. The Tea-Party Republicans had a temper-tantrum, stomped their feet, and refused to play. And no one in our government was willing to stand up to them, tell them they needed a time-out, and to come back when they were willing to be rational adults!

  10. Social Security came about because of a dire need. People should learn a little about what things were like before Social Security was created. Those were very dark times. We need to go forwards, not backwards.

  11. Oh, Geoff: You said what is in my head. I’ve been tweeting and blogging about those unpatriotic, un-American nincompoops (that’s the nicest word I can use) for a long time. If you really want to know what I think, go here: http://bit.ly/mZiuqV

  12. Reid could have gotten this handled months ago while the Dems enjoyed control of both houses but he and Pelosi chose not to hoping to dump it on the GOP.
    Then the Tea Party people came along……

    For one reason or another and regardless of perspective, I doubt anyone is particularly happy with the agreement.

    1. Yes Doug, Will Rogers’ famous line still holds true: “I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.”

      Reid and the rest of the Democratic leadership get no pass from me.

  13. >> It’s past time to close the loopholes in the tax laws that let the wealthy pay significantly less than the middle-class.

    It just isn’t true aside from odd anecdotal cases.

    Maybe if we cooled it with the class warfare we could get someplace once in a while.

    1. Doug – C’mon, you know hedge fund profits are taxed at a much lower rate than earned income. We’re not talking about a couple of bucks here.

  14. I believe I read somewhere the comment that people who hate government shouldn’t be allowed to run the government. I want all the crazy people out of my government. With them, our country is ungovernable.

  15. It seems that the powers that be do not have a clue. One idea that crosses my mind… everyone has to go on Medicare at age 65/ retired or not. If we have our own insurance, why can’t we opt to keep it ? It certainly would save money. Next, cut staffing in the offices of congress. Way more people than what are needed. Curtail lifetime benefits for congress and make them ante up for their benefits. Delete the spas, bowling alleys, golf course priviledges, barber shops etc. Stop flying them and their entourages all over the world. Start funnelling some of the world aid to USA peole who need it and stop borrowing to support the rest of the world. On the state and federal level,plenty of retired people who would volunteer to keep our parks and facilites open. Not necessary to pay people when volunteers could do it and it would keep America’s treasures available. Just a few random ideas. might save a nickle or two. They can’t seem to save a penny, and are taxing us into oblivion.

  16. So much for Obama’s Yes We Can. That was a crock. I have known for years that I don’t matter to anyone in goverment. I don’t have the money to buy them so I don’t exist.

  17. There is an ELEPHANT in the room. They are voting to FEED the ELEPHANT and clean up some of its mess – but there is STILL an ELEPHANT in the room and it’s going to get bigger and make more of a mess! (nat’l budget debt ceiling – just my thoughts)

    My post yesterday on the debt ceiling…

  18. I’m sorry Geoff but the only way we have been screwed is by a Government that refuses to be responsible with managing its debt. For you to blame the Tea Party is irresponsible and very narrow minded. Please broaden your perspective to realize that this is not a Democrat or Republican issue. Its an American Leadership issue. We no longer have men and women in leadership in America that have the moral backbone to do the right thing regardless of their re-election results or their own partisan political ideas. Our current President has repeatedly apologized for our nation, has betrayed our friends in Israel, and failed to take responsible leadership in the debt crisis. Not sure I am in agreement with all the Tea Party brings to the table but they are at least standing on a firm principle that we must dealwith our debt today and not pass it on to our children. This President has spent Trillions more than any President in the History of our Nation. It is time for an election that will bring responsible leadership to Washington and restore our right standing in the world economy. Thanks for listening!! You are a great American…its so good to have the freedom to freely exchange ideas that will help restore our Nations credibility and strength!!

  19. Hey,GEOFF! My electric bill, in my one-bedroom basement apt, ran up to $380 a month, dec-til march. I usually get around $500 for energy assistance,BUT, that is now cut in half by the tea party hard-liners. Yes, we ALL must sacrafice,but, what a choice, eaqt, or,FREEZE! I am obligated to keep my heat on, in case my pipes freeze, so, I’M basically screwed!!! Others on social security who heat with oil or, gas, are equally screwed. Global warming can’t come fast enough!! Of course, we all “KNOW”, there is NO GLOBAL WARMING,its a myth made by the democrats! LOL!!! With more cuts in my benefits (social security, medicare, food stamps AND hud/section 8) people will be forced into shared living situations,combining resources,which, right now, violates federal laws. I guess the tea party/republican party, are cold, calculated callous individuals,who care NOTHING for the poor,or, indigent. I see the ranks of the homeless increasing , over the next decade. Warm states will be over-whelmed with the poor, seeking shelter from the brutally cold winters predicted.

  20. Obama should have handled this issue back when Nancy and Harry were running the show up on the Hill. The inability to get anything done only proves what the average American voter has known for years,that Republicans are wrong but strong and Democrats are spineless,weak and ineffectual.

  21. Geoff…I would love to see Americans get back to work by rebuilding our “stressed” infrastructure….but I have some agreement with Jim Detweiler. At least the Tea Party “freshmen” did not waver on their promise and commitment. There is merit in making a stand and having principles. They are saying…Hey idiots…stop spending money like drunken sailors…and as you suggest…let’s make crucial cuts. Cuts to things the military openly says they don’t want…but get anyway because of lobbying. Or well intentioned and kind hearted social programs that are good natured…but don’t work. One in particular…urban housing projects. What a noble and brotherly idea from liberals in the 50s and 60s. Now those apartments and housing projects are ghettos or have been torn down. And yes, the Tea Party could be viewed as stubborn and willing to send our economy over the cliff. But I personally don’t see it that way. You ARE RIGHT. We are screwed. Tea Party winning or not. The bill signed today will do ZERO to change our credit rating and is like spitting into the ocean. Let’s see how the stock market responds in the next month. My opinion? The solution: A national sales tax, a flat income tax, re-vamp and simplify our tax laws to eliminate the loop holes so GE and EXXON/MOBIL don’t get away without paying a penny in federal income tax. Let everyone, not just the so called “rich”, contribute a % according to their income and purchases. If you make under $15,000 you are exempt. A handful of simple incentives can remain…a tax break for homeowners…and for small business’ who rely on getting manufacturing products from local or U.S. suppliers. Big business’ have enough profit to get worldwide deals…not available to the little guy. Plus…Washington mentality and forgiveness must change. One example: Americans should not tolerate the cavalier, pay when I feel like it attitude of our own Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/18/AR2009011802070.html What’s good for the goose is good for the gander…plus…if the job can’t be done and agreements can’t be made and resolved in Washington, then Congress doesn’t get paid…period. No healthcare deals or SS loopholes. Term limits for Senators and Representatives. No more career politicians. But all this is much too logical to ever come to fruition. So I have wasted the past 10 minutes of my life writing this. Good Night All.

  22. It’s time to think outside the box. Maybe radically outside the box.

    How about doing away with the income tax, and instead having a national sales tax? As it is, if you’re a drug dealer, prostitute, or illegal working “under the table” you don’t pay tax. (And those are the people who SHOULD be paying taxes!) If instead of income, purchases were taxed, then they would be paying on their ill-gotten gains. Think about it – how much money would we have if all the money being spent on drugs in this country ended up getting taxed? There could be some provision made to “rebate” the tax money back to those who are below the poverty line.

    Better yet – there is a way the government could be making essentially “free” money. Advertising. I recently read of a couple towns that were going to start selling advertising space on their school buses. That’s a good start – make the government vehicles look like NASCAR stock cars, covered with logos – you could do the same with NASA rockets, Air Force One, etc. Sell naming rights to bridges, buildings and highways. Make Pepsi the “Official soft drink of the White House.”

    Yeah, eventually either the novelty would wear off, or the companies would run out of advertising money – but in the meantime, it would serve to put at least a little bit of a dent in the national deficit.

  23. It’s refreshing to finally see someone with a rational opinion! Thanks, Geoff, for opening this discussion. My solution is that they eliminate the IRS and all Americans pay a percentage of their income to the government – no deductions. You make more and you will pay more. It’s time for the “job creators” to pay their fair share.

  24. Geoff,

    I always agree with your weather forecasts. When you delve into politics, far less often. You are like a neighbor. Geoff forecasts a hurricane has a 90 % probability of direct hit on the CT shore. BUT my friend then notes that Geoff says that there is a 10 % chance it will go out to sea, thus leaves his boat moored on the sound. The next week he is filing insurance claims, for his destroyed boat.

    Likewise Obama, and the Dems are leading America into a near certain disaster. Moody’s may still down grade the US Dollar, due to Obama’s fiscal irresponsibility. What do the Dems want to do, spend EVEN more (the 10% chance of success). Unemployment went UP, while the Dems wasted TRILLIONS on inane projects. With such an uncertain future, no business is expanding (Apple recently had more IDLE/ non productive cash on hand than the US had in the Treasury).

    The recent, overwhelming Tea Party victories were a direct result of a vast population upset at the Dems. Before the Dems obviously had veto proof margins (ala Obama Care) in the House/Senate. Yet with no guidance from Obama, no budget was enacted.

    Obama even commisioned a panel to look at the deficit – then totally ignored their advice. SS is NOT sustainable, in its current structure. All economists agree that it will fail, less needed changes (no change is the 10% path). Does Obama do anything to address that issue, of course not.

    We now have the job destroying disaster, aka Obama Med Plan on the horizon. The tax scene is another major deterent to hiring – what will the tax structure be in just two years? Hopefully the Tea Party will continue with more House wins, and take the Senate and WH after Nov 2012.

    Looking forward to Geoff’s hurricane forecasts (to know when to bring my boat in).


  25. There’s a very interesting plan out there that is gaining momentum. Cut one penny from every dollar that the government spends!! Done deal!! We would not be having this discussion. Let’s get back to common sense reasoning and stop the ridiculous partisan stupidity. HAve a great day everyone!!

  26. Could not have said it better myself !!!!!! And when I read quotes like you posted the other day (below), I get sick……… People like this and Rum Limbaugh that make these statements should immediately be reoved from their jobs and maybe even have their citizenship revolked!!!!! (maybe a bit harsh). But in the end, they may not have a president in office of their party, but it is their job and all our jobs to support him and make the best of what we can for the good of ALL of us. We don’t have to agree with them 100%, but we have to give them their due !!!!!

    “Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said this last fall,

    “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president””

  27. Geoff, The dem’s pulled this type of “ploy” many times themselves in the past. I guess you don’t think the Government spends TOO much of our money! I guess you think entitlement programs should go on forever, unchecked.

  28. Again only 53% of the people in this country pay taxes. That will decrease as the lower middle class will become non payers due to losing jobs, and the rich will keep paying little or nothing to help this country out.

  29. For four years now, I have learned that the best way to evaluate Obama is in retrospect. Everyone wanted him to fight Hillary and he wouldn’t. He won. We thought he was nuts to make her SecState, but she has done an amazing job. Given the candidates on the other side, we don’t have a chance if he doesn’t get re-elected, so I am reserving judgment right now. I have always had the feeling he is playing three dimensional chess 10 moves ahead, and this might be the case again.

    The analysis of the deal I’ve been reading is that nobody is happy with it (olbermann and Limbaugh hate it), and that there is not much to it with a lot of ways to fund around it and nobody who wants to be on that committee. For the time being, I’ll consider that a victory — live to fight another day.

    Overall, this is about the independents in the middle and they do not flock to extremism. Presidents are much more free in their second term but they have to get there.

  30. I have read all the comments, and first of all, isn’t it funny how people are throwing the label “entitlement programs” around, objecting to paying in UNTIL THEY OR SOMEONE THEY CARE ABOUT needs help. 2nd, I think lobbying should be outlawed. As long as the rich have money to pay off the politicians and make it impossible or nearly so, for them to do their jobs without their influence, the rich will be protected and loopholes will remain common. I became a Democrat because I was working doing Meals On Wheels and saw how insane and illogical the Republican cut-backs were that affected people. People that could afford help were still getting it for free, those that couldn’t were forced to go into convalescent and nursing homes. It started me looking at policies and who voted for what. Nothing will change if we don’t make our voices heard and let these politicians know we will not vote for them if they continue to go against what we see as needed. For the Tea Party, 5% of the Republican vote, to control things, signals that something is very very wrong. My Mother was born in 1926 and grew up during the Great Depression. She takes nothing for granted and we’re all very grateful that Social Security, Medicare etc. came into being to help those who need it the most. They earned this and deserve this, minimal as it is. The most important thing is to stop playing the blame game and e-mail, call, write and let our politicians know where we stand. If we don’t, it just becomes venting and nothing will change. After Ted Kennedy died I heard a phrase that I am proud to say describes where I stand. I’m a “Ted Kennedy Liberal”…

  31. Linda, You know Ted Kennedy came from a rich family that threw it’s money around and “bought” votes right? Or is that okay to do as long as it falls under the democrat label?

    Help in times if crisis is one thing, making welfare the family business over 2-3 generations is another thing completely.

    No one in this country “earned or deserved” any program, it was never specified in the constitution. People collecting medicare benefits and SS have no “right” to do so. The sooner we get rid of both programs the better – the gov’t have screwed them up royally.

    Depend on yourself and your family not the gov’t. Take resposibility. Ask for help from the gov’t only in an overwhelming crisis.

  32. I believe that Ron Paul can save us from this mess. He would bring the troops home and Close foreign Bases, do away with wasteful Government programs and start spend that money here. Jump start Business and stop meddling in foreign affairs and return to a constitutional government. Start rebuilding our nation.

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