The debt negotiations in Washington are actually non-negotiations. Are we going to raise the debt ceiling? Will Obama and the conservative right come to some sort of agreement? Will we default on August 2nd? Nobody seems to know. My greatest concern is the cut in government entitlements, especially social security and medicare. Many conservatives-especially the Tea Party-would like to ax these programs entirely. Many Republicans in the House are trying their best to appeal to these far right-wingers. Others are just trying to drastically cut into these entitlements to please as many in their contingent as they can. They may just succeed.
President Obama in many ways is alienating both parties. The Democrats are criticizing his willingness to cut into government entitlements. The Republicans are angry that he has not agreed to cut into them enough. It is a disaster on both sides and none of the emergency meetings orchestrated by Obama seem to be helping.
I am very afraid of the derailment of social security and medicare. Not only am I a recipient of these benefits, but so are many of my friends. The treasury has stated that there is only enough money to payout benefit checks for the month of August. Then what? I know people that would lose everything: housing, food, medications. I am lucky that I have a partner who has a job, but it would still be very difficult for us to get by without my monthly check. And yet we still do not tax the rich, the top 1% of our nation. Some economists have predicted that there may be a temporary solution that would hold us over for the next fifteen months. What happens in fifteen months? The 2012 election. And who expects to win the election by destroying our government while Obama is in office? The Republicans. Remember: All this chaos is happening on Obama’s watch.
So what are we to do? We elect officials to represent us, but often our representatives do not hear our voices. A high percentage of Americans believe-and rightly so-that our government and our economy are in dire straights. Being positive about it all is very hard, especially with high unemployment and the continuing mortgage crisis. I must also mention the 4 trillion dollars being spent on our military in what I see as unwanted occupations rather than wars. And yet that money will go untouched.
The outcome of this crisis is unclear. The suffering of millions of Americans is at risk. The question is: Does Washington care? At this moment, it appears not.