The Republican Conundrum

Fact:  America is facing an unprecedented financial crisis, and every day of delay assures this crisis will be more difficult to emerge from.  We will spend $1.4 trillion more than we collect in taxes this year, our national debt is $14.5 trillion and climbing, and the debt per citizen is currently $46,191 and climbing.   The good news for the American people is that Republican leaders have decided to face this problem.  The bad news for Americans and Republicans is that the Democrats, especially our President, have decided it’s politically advantageous not to face this problem.  The likely result?  A loss for Republicans next November, and a bad financial situation will be made monumentally worse over the next 18 months.

Here’s the problem for Republicans.  As a primary method to reduce our debt and balance budgets they have proposed, through the Ryan Plan, to reform Medicare and Medicaid.  Every single thinking person in Washington knows this has to happen.  Everyone.  Despite the Ryan Plan provision that says no one over age 55 will be effected, seniors (a pivotal voting block) are frightened.  They become even more so when the President of the United States shamefully tells them that they SHOULD be frightened.  If you could imagine for a minute a President purposefully lying to seniors, causing them great unrest in their retirement years all for his own political interest.  It’s just awful.  But it will be effective.

Back to the problem for Republicans.  While they have a serious plan that solves the debt problem (it may have flaws, but it’s a solid foundation), the Democrats and President demagogue.  The President’s strategy is to focus on taxes, knowing full well that taxes cannot solve this problem, not even close.  He subtly and sometimes directly sets up the debate this way:  “they want to take away your Medicare, I want to tax the rich”.

Who will win such an argument?  I have great faith in the collective American intellect, but an argument like this coming from the President himself will have him winning in a landslide unless the Republicans figure out a way to effectively communicate with millions of Americans who would want to believe their President.  And unfortunately we have seen that the Republicans are woefully weak at such communication.

I’ll admit to being discouraged right now regarding our prospects (I use the term “our” to mean Americans, not Republicans).  If the President continues to execute this strategy until November 2012 and Republicans don’t effectively counter it, the debt problem will be exacerbated.  Will President Obama, freshly elected on self interested deceit, suddenly decide in December of 2012 that we need to reform entitlement programs?  If so he will have a much bigger problem to solve than he has today.  But even then, will he address it, or will he let it become even worse?

Sorry for the depressing post today, there is more hope than I have depicted above, but I am concerned.  Lastly, have a look at this link to get a unique perspective on what we are up against:  Debt Clock

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