If you think they are coming to solve our country’s problems…

think again.  I never thought Republicans were serious about solving our economic crisis.  But over the past few weeks, two quotes solidified it for me.  On October 7, I was sitting at my breakfast table enjoying a bagel and my NYTimes.  There it was on the front page.  An article entitled:  “Some in the G.O.P. Find Soft Spot for Bill Clinton.”    I almost choked on bagel.  I will always have a spot in my heart for the former President.  But I am a die hard liberal.  I think he was the most gifted politician of any generation.  But like many great men, he was personally flawed.  And it turns out,looking back at it in hindsight,  many of his policies were also flawed (See, e.g., Commodities Futures Modernization Act and Welfare Reform).  That said, when he left office unemployment was at record lows, the budget was in surplus and the Fed was worrying about paying off our debt.  But for those of you who do not remember that time, the Republicans accused the President of being a murderer, drug dealer, and communist.  And if that was not bad enough, after losing seats in the 1998 mid-terms, the Republicans impeached the President over lies about sex.  But here they are longing for President Clinton.

I bring all of this up because there is a quote from Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wi) who is supposed to be one of the “serious” Republicans.  He is slated to be the Chairman of the Budget Committee if the Republicans take control in January.  Anyone who has looked at our long-term budget picture knows that our long-term deficits will mainly be the result of 3 (or 4) things:  Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security (and the Bush Tax Cuts if they are made permanent).  But in the late 1990s Congress and the President had a chance to solve or at least improve the social security part.  And why didn’t they?  “If it were not for Monica Lewinsky, I think we would have Social Security straightened out now.” said Rep. Paul Ryan.  So we could have solved the Social Security crisis but the Republicans thought it was more important to impeach the President.  Yeah, they are really serious about solving our problems.

And then there is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).  What is his number one goal?  Solving unemployment?  Ending the two wars?  Reducing our long-term budget deficits???  Ah, no.  His number one goal is:  “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”  And his counterpart in the House, Rep. John Boehner said “This is not a time for compromise, and I can tell you that we will not compromise on our principles.”


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