Can We Stop Playing Politics With People's Lives?
Photo from Haley Byrd’s Twitter @Byrdinator
Alexander Ioannidis, Politics Contributor
Opinion- You may have heard a liberal mention to you that Obama had a great economy. Their argument usually sounds something along the lines of “Obama has created years of job growth and he got us out of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.” This line in itself was enough to persuade me to support President Obama in his reelection bid (keep in mind I used to be a Democratic Socialist). However, there is one fundamental problem with this argument. Obama “grew our economy” via deficit spending. Through the Recovery Act of 2009, President Obama borrowed trillions of dollars and pumped it into the economy to get it moving once again. This did work to an extent as many months of job growth followed. What they will not tell you is that under President Obama’s watch, our national debt increased from approximately $10.6 trillion to over $19 trillion. This past week, we just surpassed $20 trillion, which literally amounts to over 100% of our GDP. This is an exorbitant amount of debt, and this crisis should be at the top of our list.
Thankfully, many Republicans thought the way I do about our debt, or at least they claimed to. I remember when David Perdue was running for Senate in Georgia in 2014 and he kept stressing the importance of addressing our debt. Today, his official Senate website features the US debt clock on the front page. Mr. Perdue and President Trump, along with many other Republicans stressed the importance of addressing our national debt, and they won my vote along with the votes of millions of Americans who were also gravely concerned with this issue. When Donald Trump won the presidency and Republicans held both the House and Senate, I still considered myself a socialist, but I was also thankful that something was about to be done to address our rising debt, or so I thought.
Last week, President Trump made a deal with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi where he tied Hurricane Harvey relief with an increase in the debt ceiling. House Majority Leader Paul Ryan was quick to slam this gesture calling it “ridiculous and disgraceful.” On the other hand, Schumer and Pelosi got the Democrats to vote unanimously on raising the debt ceiling, something that Democrats have been more than happy to do over the course of history, but there were also 133 Republicans in the House and 35 Republicans in the Senate who allied with the Democrats to increase the debt ceiling and provide $15 billion in disaster aid. Now, the liberal media has become quick to try to paint Republican lawmakers as inhumane for voting against Harvey relief, but in reality, this last week has shown us just how low the Democrats are by taking something as controversial as raising the debt ceiling and tying it to a must-pass Hurricane relief bill.
Two weeks ago, I wrote an article about how our country needs to put partisanship aside, compromise, and unite for the common good. This notion is every bit as adequate today, but compromising and uniting for the common good does not mean that you cave to 100% of the demands of Schumer and Pelosi. In fact, since Republicans are in the majority, Democrats need to cave to the majority of our demands. We need to be calling the shots while also remembering that there are Democrats in the country to cater to. When it comes to bipartisanship, the wisest thing for President Trump to do would be to reach out to moderate senators up for reelection in 2018 such as Joe Donnelly, Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, Bill Nelson, or Martin Heinrich and ask them how he could get their support for some of his objectives like tax reform or balancing the budget. He should tell them his goals for the budget, for border security, for the tax code, and for healthcare, and they should work together along with some more moderate Republicans to fix the problems. That’s how the legislative branch was designed to work. The majority of the compromise needs to come from Schumer and Pelosi, and we should go a little bit of the way to fight for the America that we all love.
It is very sad when someone takes much needed hurricane relief aid and uses it to play politics with the debt ceiling. It is also very sad that only 17 Senate Republicans and 90 House Republicans were able to put their foot down and say no. Some of the Senators voting against a debt ceiling increase include but are not limited to Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, Pat Toomey, and Ben Sasse. Today, we should be thanking everyone who voted for our financial future, and we need to be voting against people who think it is okay to play politics with the debt ceiling over something as dire as hurricane relief, Republican or Democrat. In 2018, get out and vote. Go vote in your primary, go vote in local elections, go vote in runoff elections, and go vote in November. We have no excuse to be complaining if we don’t vote, and we need to elect leaders that will move America down the right path (pun intended).
You can follow Alexander on Twitter: @RevIoannidis