All About Falls and Elders – Part 2 of 2
How Did You Meet Your Significant Other?

So We Avoided Default – Now What?

NOTICE: Last week, I announced the second annual Elderblogger Meetup at my home, scheduled for Saturday 15 October. I've received only one confirmed attendee and will do this only if there are at least 10 people who commit to come. The deadline to RSVP is Friday 5 August.

category_bug_politics.gif With yesterday's Senate vote on the Budget Control Act of 2011, Congress at last raised the debt limit of the government thereby avoiding default.

This prolonged fight, some of it from the Republican side the definition of insane, did not need to be. This is the first time in the history of the U.S. that the debt ceiling has not been raised as it should be, on its own.

According to the Village – the mainstream media that so widely misreported and misinterpreted the facts – pretty much everyone voted yea while holding their noses. Even the tea partiers wanted draconian budget cuts they didn't get.

The general public sees the months of wasted time in terms that are devastating (we can only hope) to Congress.

In a survey conducted between 28 and 31 July by the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of 1,001 adults described the clown show in Washington with terms shown in this word cloud.

Word cloud debt ceiling vote

Only two percent of those polled offered positive terms and only 11 percent were neutral.

What else did the legislation give us? Worst of all, zero revenue – no new taxes – along with some cuts that will be harmful to the poor and to elders. The day before the Senate vote, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont explained why he would vote against the bill:

Why is there no one else in the Senate with the passion and conviction of this lonely voice who never fails to speak up for the people instead of corporations and the rich. (Hat tip to one of my senators, Jeff Merkley, for joining Sanders with a no vote.

The best that can be said for the legislation is that there are no cuts, as were included in earlier debt ceiling bills that failed, to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But that doesn't mean anyone can breathe easy.

The bill creates a new, 12-member Joint Congressional Committee – a so-called super committee - composed of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans from both Houses of Congress that is charged with recommending $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction cuts by the end of this year.

If the committee is able to agree on cuts (I highly doubt it), it must be voted on with almost no debate and no amendments at all. That pretty well cuts out participation by the other 523 other members of Congress in governing. This can't be good.

Thanks to relentless misreporting by the Villagers over months (and years) that Social Security contributes to the deficit, that Medicare (not health care costs) is the problem and that we can save America only by destroying these two programs and Medicaid, you can be sure that all three will be on the chopping block in the committee.

It could have been so easy if there were reasonable people in Congress not beholden to corporations:

  • Medicare for All
  • Eliminate the Social Security salary cap
  • Let the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire
  • Fix corporate tax loopholes
  • Raise taxes on the highest earners
  • Create a temporary jobs program a la the WPA and CCC

Countries that cannot raise or collect taxes are called banana republics. In our current global troubles, think Greece.

Meanwhile, with all the problems we have, Congress has recessed for five weeks until after Labor Day and just 11 weeks later, they will close down again from Thanksgiving to New Years.

Nothing good is happening.

My email inbox is overflowing with more than a thousand unread messages. I cannot possibly read those and keep up with the daily deluge so I am declaring Email Bankruptcy today and deleting them all.

A large number being trashed are newsletters and other alerts I subscribe to, but I've undoubtedly missed some personal and TimeGoesBy-related messages. If you believe it is important for me to respond to a message you've sent and have not heard from me, you will need to resend.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Madonna Dries Christensen: Gone But Not Forgotten


Why not take all the cuts from the defence budget? The rest of the world would be happy with that.

Oh Peter...
You're speaking from a rational worldview. That's now allowed in the U.S. Congress. I think there's a rule stating so somewhere.

I have to say that requiring a commitment 6 weeks ahead of the meet-up is too long, IMO. I would expect few to commit that far in advance.

Gosh, another committee to further muck up the waters! I can hardly wait!:( Dee

Mmmm..I did not see the invite to the elderblogger do. I must have been screaming at CNN at the time! I would dearly love to come but it depends on finances and plane ticket prices. Will RSVP a bit closer to the projected date, if that's OK.

When McConnell and Boehner state that no one who will be appointed to the committee who will raise taxes and the Democrats, who are not quite as adamant, will not appoint anyone who will consent to cuts in S.S.or Medicare how much do you think this committee can accomplish?

It's a farce and is just a method for the craven members if Congress to pass the buck to a committee to do the work they should be doing.

Until the next election nothing will get done and the way Congress has performed so far, that might be a good thing.

I have been literally ill as well as angry over what has been occurring. Holding elders' Social Security hostage is unconscionable. These alleged humanoids are beneath contempt.

It will probably all be decided by the toss of a coin -- heads "they" win and tails we lose!!

I have a sneaky suspicion that's how they make all the important decisions in Congress anyway.

We should make them all take the same vow as a physician does to "go forth and do no harm" !!!!

The only 2 bits of news I have heard this week were Matt Damon's standing up for teachers and my congressman, Emanuel Cleaver, accurately describing the debt deal. Congress obviously did not consider the 85% polls wanting to raise taxes on the wealthy. The news media, all probably in the upper 2% of income, never pursue the outrageous comments made by these crazy Republicans - tea party or just getting on the big business side. Karl Rove's group, already putting out ads against Democrats- is funded by big corporations including Walmart and Visa.
so disheartening.
Mary Florance

If a committee must be had, it should comprise those chosen by lottery form the membership! At that, an odd number should be included.

Anytime a "promise" to get something done in the future is accepted, someone is being terribly, terribly naive - or conniving.

I love the concept of "email bankruptcy." I'm off to trash the most absurd of my huge horde today! Thanks for the language.

As for Washington doings --- puke! But some people in Wisconsin may be able to start fixing this next Tuesday when recall elections can get rid of a few Tea Party state legislators. Here's hoping our folks turn out.

Darlene is onto something. When the new commission or select committe is formed it will be comprised of the same people who made this latest impasse so much fun...extremists. According to the Washinton Post which mostly tries to be balanced, the moderates won the day with the new bill. This means that two old war horses, McConnell and Biden, put their heads together and that neither the extreme left or the extreme right prevailed. Interstingly, most of the tea party members voted against the bill along with Bernie Saunders. My Senator, Mark Warner (D-VA) says he held his nose and voted yes. Mark is one of the gang of six, and would like to be on the select committee but probably won't be appointed because he is too moderate. Ditto Steny Hoyer.

Thank heavens for Bernie Saunders who tells it like it is. I just hope these Tea B...)(_&*(& get voted out but I am not optimistic. So many states are now rigging the elections to keep the b)(*()* (expletive deleted) in power that we may be stuck with them for a long time - and what is happening to the remains of our democracy in the meantime?

I am also mulling over the trip to Oregon, since I am up here in the extreme northern country of Washington. It would be fun, and I'm trying right now to see if I can find at least one other blogger to make it a road trip with me.

I have taken a news fast, I can't stand to watch any of it right now...

So, what happens now is the right question to ask. I'm among those disgusted with Congress. Rec'd long reply from my Rep. Congressman David Dreier explaining the marvels of this bi-partisan bill. It was all about increasing the deficit as far as I was concerned.

I wonder about the committee entrusted with so much responsibility when action resumes -- and -- what are the other 500+ Congresspersons going to be doing?

I, too, expect having to commit so early to an Oct. Elderblogger Meetup is difficult for many people -- except for those needing to make plane reservations.

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