Extortion by any other name

Extortion by any other name is still a crime, unless the extortionists are Republicans in Congress. The price the Republicans demanded to reopen the government and raise the debt limit, something President Reagan did 18 times, had nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). These extortionists want more. The Affordable Care Act wasn’t ever threatened by the shutdown, and yet the Tea Party Republicans took this country to the brink of disaster, claiming it was the reason.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., acknowledged his price to end the shutdown was to negotiate the privatization of Social Security and Medicare. He voted to continue the shutdown. The Ryan plan that was rejected soundly by the voters last November appears to be the main goal of many Tea Party senators and congressmen. I hadn’t heard a mention of the Affordable Care Act in a week until Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex, via Canada, mentioned it on Oct. 16, when he said he would not block a vote to end the shutdown.

These blackmailers changed their rhetoric as the Affordable Care Act began to become more popular and gain even greater support of the American people. As the shutdown lingered on, congressional Republicans’ popularity sank to an all-time low. Cruz became very unpopular within the ranks of normal Republicans. I don’t count among normal Republicans those Tea Party-Confederate flag waving- birther fools. As a matter of fact, I don’t even consider them normal.

These fools, who just cut $39 billion in the food stamp program, cost taxpayers an estimated $24 billion for this shutdown, which accomplished absolutely nothing. A total waste by Tea Party radicals who constantly harp about wasteful spending. They’re hypocritical fools. They clearly were responsible for the shutdown and the misery it caused millions of people, yet they claimed half way through it that the shutdown was President Obama’s and Sen. Harry Reid’s, D-Nev., fault. Their thinking goes something like this: If you don’t give us what we want, whatever follows is your fault. If you don’t pay the ransom, whatever happens is your fault. Gut Social Security and Medicare and we’ll give you your kid back - unless we change our mind about what we really want.

The very idea that we must go through this every time when it’s necessary to raise the debt limit is ridiculous. Warren Buffet calls the failure to raise the debt limit a political weapon of mass destruction. This president, any president, all presidents, must not negotiate with extortionists. You give in just once and their demands will be even greater the next time around. The Republicans’ insistence on renegotiating laws long since passed by congress and supported by the people is just plain nonsense. What’s next?

Will the extortionists demand that their religion be taught in our public schools? Can we expect them to demand that women become second-class citizens, making less money for the same work as men? Maybe they’ll shutdown clinics that many women depend on for healthcare. They like shutdowns. Can we expect them to demand that Gays be denied the same Constitutional rights as the rest of us?

Will they demand any aid to poor folks, such as food stamps, and healthcare for children whose parents can’t afford it, be abolished? Will they demand the privatization of Social Security and Medicare? They’ve already demanded all of this, of course. Generally their demands are extorted to pass a budget every year so the government can keep running. It’s my way or the highway, they say. Their way is the low way. No way, I say.

The current agreement, which wasn’t supported by Tea Party fanatics, ended the shutdown by raising the debt limit until February. It is still a short-term solution. We can expect to go through this again come January. The Republicans will insist on more concessions to keep the government going and the President will again refuse to negotiate with extortionists. It’s getting old. The United States must pay its bills. It’s that simple. This quarterly brinkmanship threatens our credit rating, our reputation around the world, and the economic recovery. We shouldn’t renegotiate the budget every quarter.

Republicans want you to believe that raising the debt limit means new spending. Actually, it just allows the government to pay debts already incurred. The time to debate new spending, hopefully with a spirit of compromise and conciliation, is during budget negotiations. Then we must pay for what’s budgeted, even if Jesus is coming to get Michele Bachmann next week. Please Lord do come and take her away, at least to Uzbekistan.

Glen McAdoo, a Churchill County resident, can be contacted at glynn@phonewave.net.


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