During the recent debt ceiling crisis, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., suggested that in a default the very first people to feel financial pain should be the congressmen and senators who helped create the problem, then bickered and postured rather than working together like mature, responsible adults to fix it.
If government checks must bounce, why not help elected officials understand the people’s pain by starting with their paychecks?
Now, even though a default was averted at the last second, considering the current sad state of affairs we ought to ask ourselves if we taxpayers have been getting our money’s worth when we pay senators and congressmen handsome salaries only to get such ugly results. Take, for instance, what might be called “Boehner’s Billion Dollar Boner.”
President Obama has been advocating a balanced solution that involves revenue increases along with spending cuts. In his rebuttal of the president’s speech about the debt ceiling stalemate, Speaker of the House John Boehner said, “The sad truth is that the president wanted a blank check six months ago and he wants a blank check today. This is just not going to happen.”
Strong words from a strong-minded man? Boehner tried to come across as a tough-talking, no-nonsense realist who’s ready to cut spending to the bone while holding the line on higher taxes. But when his own budget proposal was analyzed by experts, according the Associated Press, it fell wildly short of Tea Party expectations: “Of particular embarrassment was a Congressional Budget Office finding that Boehner’s measure would cut the deficit by just $1 billion next year,” the AP wrote.
So why all the machismo, political posturing and grandstanding? If the best Boehner can come up with is a measly billion dollars in savings for an entire year, when the deficit is $14.3 trillion and still climbing, he has no call to berate President Obama and other Democrats. Our government spends a billion dollars in about five hours. What Boehner admitted — if only we have the ability to read between the lines — is how very difficult and dangerous it is to radically cut government spending in a weak economy.
Democrats didn’t ask for a “blank check,” nor did Boehner improve on their more balanced approach. All he did was stick his foot in his mouth, at a time when Republicans need to admit that a real-world solution to the national debt is going to require the rich to suffer along with other Americans, for a change.
Can Boehner survive his Billion Dollar Boner? Will the Tea Party types ever let him live it down? Only time will tell the outcome of this latest tempest in a teapot.