Vice President Joe Biden, Jr., aka "the Hostage," met with a half-dozen Congressional leaders in the latest of a half-dozen futile rounds of talks ostensibly aimed at reaching a debt reduction deal to clear the way for raising the nation's debt ceiling.
Futile not because raising the debt ceiling is normally a pro forma vote, and no discussion of slashing trillions from the federal budget while coddling the richest, most powerful plutocrats in history is really necessary. Futile not because addressing debt and budget deficits is vital to America's well being.
Futile because a solution is the last thing Republicans want.
Unfortunately for Biden, Congressional Democrats, and the American people, recent reports of a weakening economic recovery are sure to bolster and embolden Republicans, who are demanding an additional $2.5 trillion in tax subsidies to the world's wealthiest moguls in exchange for letting the federal government continue to lift the heaviest loads in running the world. Republicans are sure to be emboldened not because their schemes would actually reduce budget deficits or help grow the economy, but because the Republicans' real goal is to wreck the US economy and destroy Barack Obama's presidency.
To recapture the White House in 2012, Republicans would need an economic catastrophe like the disastrous free-market, trickle-down, supply-side, unregulated funny-money pyramid crash they caused in 2008. Fortunately for Republicans, they have the lingering effects of their disastrous free-market, trickle-down, supply-side, unregulated funny-money pyramid crash from 2008 to work with, and no one knows how to crash an economy better than Republicans. To guarantee Obama won't save America's economic hide, Republicans have been diligently obstructing any attempts to stimulate the economy, save for more tax giveaways to their plutocrat patrons, and relentlessly hammering Democrats to slash the spending that's been keeping America and the world treading water.
It is the perfect venue for the venerable Republican scam to create a disaster, then insist that they and the very schemes that caused the disaster are the only solution to the disaster they created. Fortunately for Republicans, most people nowadays have the attention span of an amoeba, so the scam works every time.
Biden's negotiations have reportedly netted $200 billion in spending cuts, or $200 billion in tax giveaways to the ultra-rich, depending on how you want to look at it. Republicans want trillions more, as the cost of their patrons' high-priced service providers has gone through the roof. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) boasted Thursday's talk would include GOP demands on entitlement reform, meaning that Republicans would demand slashing Social Security and Medicare, despite the electorates' universal rejection of GOP scams to privatize those vital lifelines.
Republicans have been demanding spending cuts that would exceed the amount the debt ceiling is raised. Across America, ignorant bumpkins who couldn't balance a checkbook to save their lives, and who form the core of the GOP constituency, cheer without understanding the issues in even the vaguest Sarah Palinesque way.
Republicans can be pretty smug, as Biden and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Harry Reid (D-NV) are negotiating to save America, while Republicans are after the very opposite. If Democrats cave in to Republican demands, the GOP pols know as well as anyone the spending cuts alone would plunge America into another recession. If Democrats don't cave in, Republicans will refuse to hike the debt ceiling, cause America to default on maturing obligations, and plunge the entire world into global financial Armageddon.
Slashing spending has nothing to do with debt reduction. Anyone really interested in reducing debt would be talking about revenue reform. Slashing spending has nothing to do with stimulating the economy. Anyone really interested in stimulating economic growth would be investing in infrastructure, new technologies and education.
Neither have Republicans ever really been interested in fiscal restraint. Throughout the George W. Bush years, Republicans spent money like drunken sailors on a three-day pass in New York City after finding Donald Trump's wallet. Hardly a day went by Republicans didn't fling another billion dollars at Dick Cheney's Halliburton Corporation.
But, when the sober folks of America put Barack Obama in the White House, Republicans couldn't cut the purse strings fast enough. Granted, Democrats spent money on stupid things like propping up the financial system, saving millions of jobs in the auto industry, and building and repairing roads and bridges so they wouldn't fall down like the one Tim Pawlenty deferred maintenance on in Minnesota when he was ungovernor there. Republicans want money spent on important things, like vital subsidies to oil moguls who every year want an extra four billion dollar bills to stuff into strippers' g-strings.
When Republicans chant their mantra, "More tax breaks for the rich, more spending cuts on everything else," they do so not to grow America's economy or to create jobs. Growing America's economy would probably offend the GOP's Chinese and Russian plutocrat friends. And, why would Republicans want to create jobs in America after they'd diligently toiled thirty years to get rid of all the jobs in America and ship them to China and India? Those Chinese plutocrats friends would really be tee'd off, then.
No, Republicans chant the mantra, "More tax breaks for the rich, more spending cuts on everything else," solely to make sure their very, very rich and very, very powerful patrons over at all those Republican-boosting PACs and clubs become even richer and more powerful. And, lest anyone claim Republicans can't accomplish anything, let it be known that Republicans have succeeded in concentrating 84% of America's wealth in the hands of 20% of America's richest, whiniest, and most spoiled moguls and tycoons.
Republicans have no intention of doing anything to pull America out of the economic doldrums any time soon. Real economists and Republicans alike know that, after the crash of 2008, America needed government stimulus to pull the economy up by its bootstraps, needed more stimulus than it ever got, and still needs more stimulus now. That's why Republicans are so thoroughly focused on obstructing any sort of stimulus and thoroughly committed to slashing even baseline spending. All they have to do is destroy the economic recovery, plunge America into the second dip of a double-dip recession, blame it all on Obama, and wait for the amoeba-attention-spanned electorate to vote a Republican back into the White House.
Then, Republicans could really get on with the important work of handing every dollar, dime and penny in Medicare and Social Security to their very, very, very rich and powerful cronies.