During the summer of 2011, Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats agreed to massively cut social programs for the elderly, poor and disabled.
If Congress failed to raise the borrowing limit of the federal government by August 2, the date when the U.S. reached the limit of its borrowing abilities, America would begin defaulting on its loans.
As Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, explained the looming economic catastrophe:
“If you don’t send out Social Security checks, I would hate to think about the credit meeting at S&P and Moody’s the next morning.
“If you’re not paying millions and millions and millions of people that range in age from 65 on up, money you promised them, you’re not a AAA,” said Buffett.
A triple-A credit rating is the highest possible rating that can be achieved.
And while Republicans demanded that the disadvantaged tighten their belts, they rejected any raising of taxes on their foremost constituency–the wealthiest 1%.
As the calendar moved ever closer to the fateful date of August 2, Republican leaders continued to insist: Any deal that includes taxes “can’t pass the House.”
In the end, what counted was what the House Republicans wanted.
To prevent the government from defaulting on its loans, President Barack Obama agreed to sign the Republican-crafted Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011.
The Act provided for a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to produce legislation by late November to decrease the deficit by $1.2 trillion over ten years.
When the so-called “Super Committee” failed to reach agreement, the second part of the BCA went into effect.
This directed automatic across-the-board cuts (known as “sequestrations”) split evenly between defense and domestic spending, beginning on January 2, 2013.
A major casualty of sequestration has been the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And this, combined with the Ebola crisis, has threatened the safety of the Nation Republicans claim to love:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- In 2013, the CDC was forced to cut 5%, or more than $285 million, from its budget.
- The sequester cut $195 million from the National Centers for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, a CDC program that tries to prevent illness and death from infectious disease.
- For fiscal 2014, CDC’s budget was $5.9 billion, down from the $6.5 billion allotted in 2010.
Moreover, the United States is now confronting the Ebola crisis without a Surgeon General–thanks to NRA-funded Republican Senators.
President Obama nominated Dr. Vivek Murthy to fill the spot in November, 2013, when the previous surgeon general left the position.
But the Senate still hasn’t approved Murthy. And support for him has declined since he tweeted on October 16, 2002, that “guns are a health care issue.”
At the same time, Republicans have rushed to blame President Obama for the continuing Ebola menace in West Africa–and the danger it poses to Americans.
“I think this Ebola outbreak in Africa is a serious problem,” said House Speaker John Boehner. “And I’m a bit surprised the administration hasn’t acted more quickly to address what is a serious threat, not only to Africans but to others around the world.”
“The President made a lot of commitments to combat Ebola, actions which I supported,” said North Carolina U.S. Senator Richard Burr. “But it has become clear that the administration’s capacity to fulfill these promises in a timeline that sufficiently addresses this crisis does not exist.”
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As the Third Reich came to its fiery end, Adolf Hitler sought to punish the German people for being “unworthy” of his “genius” and losing the war he had started.
His attitude was: “If I can’t rule Germany, then there won’t be a Germany.”
In his infamous “Nero Order,” he decreed the destruction of everything still remaining–industries, ships, harbors, communications, roads, mines, bridges, stores, utility plants, food stuffs.
Fortunately for Germany, one man–Albert Speer–finally broke ranks with his Fuhrer.
Risking death, he refused to carry out Hitler’s “scorched earth” order. Even more important, he mounted a successful effort to block such destruction or persuade influential military and civilian leaders to disobey the order as well.
As a result, those targets slated for destruction were spared.
Since the election of America’s first black President, Republicans have waged a similar “scorched earth” campaign.
Their avowed goal–as stated openly by Kentucky’s U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell–was “to make Barack Obama a one-term President.”
Literally during his first Inauguration, Republicans, in a secret meeting, agreed to block every effort he made to repair the economy.
Acting as extortionists, they have repeatedly threatened to shut down the government if they didn’t get their way in legislative matters.
And just as repeatedly, they have blocked legislation that would have helped the poor, unemployed, women, elderly, disabled or middle-class.
At the center of their fury has been the Affordable Care Act, providing medical care to all citizens. Even after Congress passed it and the Supreme Court affirmed it, House Republicans shut down the government in October, 2013.
By doing so, they hoped to pressure Obama into killing his signature piece of legislation. The effort failed.
Like Adolf Hitler, their attitude has been: “If I can’t rule America, there won’t be an America.”
It remains to be seen whether a Republican Albert Speer will step forward to save America from the self-destructive excesses of this Nation’s own fanatics.