Time To Shut Down Ideological Purists In Debt Ceiling Fight

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Watching Republicans and Democrats squabble over their ideological battle lines with regard to the debt ceiling is the same as looking at a bratty child fall out in the middle of the floor with a temper tantrum when he doesn’t get his way.

On one hand, Republicans are trying desperately to hold on to their purely insane ideological position of there being no revenue or tax increases. It is as if these idiots refuse to believe any data that make clear that the massive tax cuts put in place by President George W. Bush have increased the federal deficit. But they are afraid of running afoul of Grover Norquist and his Kool-Aid drinkers at Americans for Tax Reform, who are more than willing to protect the millionaires and billionaires in this country — with their jets and yachts — from having to pay taxes at previous levels.

Then there are the Democrats, who have this equally insane belief that we can reduce the deficit and not touch Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Those three areas, along with the billions we continue to spend on national defense, constitute most of the dollars we spend on the federal budget. And those costs are spiraling out of control. So of course, we must make some hard choices, and yes, that will mean making adjustments that might upset seniors.

At the end of the day, this ludicrous standoff is doing severe damage to America’s credibility in the financial markets, and even toying with not increasing the debt ceiling could have severe repercussions on all of us. But when clueless representatives, such as Michele Bachmann, suggest that nothing would happen if we were not to raise the debt ceiling, they just prove they would destroy this nation in order to preserve an ideological purity.

Right now, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, the world’s two leading credit rating agencies, have put the U.S. and our AAA credit rating on their watch lists, with S&P stating Thursday that “owing to the dynamics of the political debate on the debt ceiling, there is at least a one-in-two likelihood that we could lower the long-term rating on the U.S. within the next 90 days.”

No party can try to claim that the other is at fault for this perilous situation. Both have contributed to this mess with their unwillingness to make the tough choices. And yes, American taxpayers must absorb the burden, as well, because when a politician makes the tough choice to cut or not fund our every whim and desire, we toss him out of office.

This debate is all about politics. No matter that not raising the debt ceiling would impact every American in a negative way. Social Security and military checks would be in jeopardy; expect to see massive losses in our 401(k) accounts; and access to credit, already difficult, would become nearly impossible. But Democrats don’t want to touch Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, because those are a potent bat to bash Republicans with in every election.

We just saw the Dems win a congressional seat in a hard-core Republican district in New York based on Rep.

Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal. They know seniors vote in larger numbers than anyone else, and losing a potent political weapon is unthinkable for them. So that’s why they are angry with President Barack Obama for putting the options on the table.

Republicans are like a suicide bomber when it comes to the mantra of low taxes and smaller government; no matter how much damage is done, as long as they hold their ground, they think they are doing the right thing. Get angry all you want about my making the suicide bomber analogy, but even threatening to blow up the American economy is akin to committing suicide, all for an ideological purity. But by holding firm to their position, they know it appeals to their core voters.

That is precisely why I’ve despised the labels of Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. Damn an ideology. At some point, you’ve got to analyze a situation and say, “This is the right thing to do.”

But all of these politicians are afraid of one thing: losing their jobs. Frankly, they really don’t care about the millions of jobs that we have seen lost in this economy over the past four years. It is about those 435 powerful jobs in the House of Representatives, the 100 in the Senate and the one at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

This is when the American public, especially the silent majority, must get off their collective butt and say, “Get this deal done. Now.” Enough with the tea partyers driving Republicans over a cliff with their insistence on no revenue increases. And enough with Democrats bowing down to the liberal left, which says “no mas” to any entitlement cuts.

All of you who sit passively by and watch as the ideological purists make all the noise and dominate the cable news shows must take a stand and say, “Enough!”

All Americans should be blowing up the phone lines and email inboxes of their representatives every day until a debt ceiling deal is brokered. Sure, you may not like a revenue increase or an entitlement cut, but thinking the other side must share the full burden is just dumb. “Shared pain” is not a negative statement. It’s real and necessary.

If the GOP gets its way, we lose. If the Democrats get their way, we lose. We simply cannot continue down this insane path of ideological purity driving our nation’s agenda. If President Ronald Reagan understood that he would have to accept revenue increases and President Bill Clinton saw that welfare needed to be changed, then Obama must be followed in brokering a deal in which all sides have skin in this game.

So, folks, it’s time for you to get in this game. Pick that phone up. Send that email. We aren’t in the room negotiating this deal, but I can guarantee you that if Congress and the White House hear from the millions of us with enough common sense to compromise, a deal will get done.

None of us wants to see the carnage that would ensue if we let the self-inflicted bomb to our economy go off.

Roland S. Martin is an award-winning CNN analyst and the author of the book “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as originally reported by Roland S. Martin.” Please visit his website at www.RolandSMartin.com. To find out more about Roland S. Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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