Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 3:31 PM on Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's time for American people to correct course

Point of View

By Tim O'leary

After presiding over the worst economic downturn in 70 years, for the Republican Party to, with the election of Barack Obama, become "seekers of ill fortune" doing their ill-begotten best to thwart economic recovery has been appalling.

But do you know what's been positively amazing? Despite the seekers of ill fortune sole purpose to make President Obama a one-term president, an economic recovery has emerged with the economy doing better than most other large economies in the world.

But how further along on the road to recovery might we be if both sides, in the interest of the country, could work together again, if the Republican Party hadn't become so undemocratically, ideologically rigid. That not one candidate last winter, during the primary debates, could bring themselves to accept a 10-to-1 ratio in spending cuts to tax increases is unthinkable.

Just look how this past week Obama's Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act was filibustered by Senate Republicans. It would have provided small businesses with 10 percent tax breaks for expanding payrolls either through hiring or pay-raises and would have extended for another year the 100 percent depreciation that business can take on their assets.

What a deal.

Why did they kill it? Because it's estimated to add $87 billion to the GDP, create 990,592 jobs and increase personal incomes by $73 billion, overall bettering things enough to make a seeker of ill fortune turn to a puddle of wax, that's why.

Bad unemployment numbers and a stalled economy are what animate them. Just look how bad news stokes Mitt Romney right up on the campaign trail. Why? Because unemployment and debt are what seekers of ill fortune leverage into power. Also, it has the major benefit of making, for them, some remarkable fireside bargains.

Again, just ask private equities expert Mitt Romney how debt and rendering folks unemployed have personally benefited him.

Or, perhaps, ask House Majority Leader Eric Cantor why he shorted U.S. Treasuries in 2010? Just what was he betting on? But beyond individual gain, more broadly, look how Republicans in Congress squelched not only small business jobs and tax relief, but the entire American Jobs Act that would have brought badly needed relief to the unemployed.

So much for a morsel of goodwill from them.

What ill-will extraordinaire today's Republicans, for the annals, have made themselves. At what lengths they've gone to keep the misery index level high. They are holding hostage the livelihoods and well-being of so many American lives.

Remember how, last summer, Republicans, in the House, postured to go belly up on our creditors by refusing to raise the debt ceiling? How it looked as if we were about to go over a cliff?

And do you remember how Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in the face of the downgrade of our credit rating, assessed that the threat of defaulting "was a hostage worth taking." It was said just as a seeker of ill fortune would surmise, I suppose, given the treacherous game they've been playing of keeping hope of dealing meaningfully with our economy in agonizing uncertainty, in order to produce peak ill-will toward the president at election time.

Remember, brought to the brink of default, how House Republicans finally relented on the raising the debt ceiling by charging a so-called Super Committee with finding sufficient revenue for the federal government? What an absolutely ill-begotten farce that was — to think that some of those very same ill-willed Republicans would muster an ounce of goodwill to reach a compromise in a Super Committee or in any other scenario.

So it was the case.

And still is the case even as we are faced, today, with, at the end of the year, going off another fiscal cliff because of the double whammy of the Bush tax cuts expiring and the automatic domestic and defense cuts going into effect, which were exacted as part of the price last summer to raise the debt ceiling if the Super Committee failed. All toll, a half trillion dollars will be taken out of our economy. According to the Congressional Budget Office, back into recession, if not a depression, we'll go.

Yet with the seekers of ill fortune remaining hell-bent on not making a move that might improve the economy or improve the government's revenue before November, self-proclaimed hostage-taker enthusiast, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, had the brash to decry last week what he called the "Thelma and Louise" posturing of some Democrats, like Sen. Patty Murray who — to break the Republican's lockstep mentality of holding our country's recovery hostage — say they stand ready to go off the cliff if that is what it takes for Republicans to relinquish hold on our future.

Sounds frought with danger to me. Myself, I'm sick and tired of our fates being played chicken with.

More than ever it's now up to the American people to course correct. We need to send the seekers of ill fortune in Congress and fellow seeker Mitt Romney, packing into the political wilderness. I pray, let us find the way back to a world of compromise again. Lord, let us find our way.

Tim O'Leary is a longtime Homer resident and political oberserver.