Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Leverage II, A Progressive Opportunity

The House Progressive Caucus and Liberal Democrats rarely get the opportunity to dictate public policy and legislation but they have a opportunity now. They have all the Leverage in the Debt Ceiling increase debate. The Tea Party Wing has locked themselves out of the debate with their 60 – 70 guaranteed no votes on any Debt Ceiling deal. Speaker Boehner has trapped himself between Eric Cantor, Wall Street, and the American people. Eventually, he will choose Wall Street. The Senate is as corrupt as Bernie Madoff, both Democrats and Republicans will do anything to protect Wall Street and Corporate America. If the Senate even allows a vote. it’s a complete Republican/Democratic capitulation to the Gods of Wall Street. President Obama is irrelevant. He wanted to triangulate Independents but he is so desperate now, he will sign anything the closer it gets to Aug 2. That leaves the House Democrats, and since Nov. 2010, a “supposedly” liberal House Progressive Caucus to pass the Debt Limit increase.

The conventional wisdom is Boehner won’t bring a bill to House floor unless he has a consensus in his caucus. That’s crap, Boehner has to answer to Wall Street. If it was up to Boehner, he would have cut a deal long ago. He’s just trying to hold on to the Speakers office. Eventually, Boehner will bring a bill to the House Floor, and it will need overwhelming Democratic support to pass. At that point, the Progressive Democrats have all the leverage. They should back-door Pelosi and Obama, and vote down the 1st Eleventh hour bill. Then present their demands to Obama, McConnell, Reid and Boehner.

The Progressive Caucus can demand anything and everything, and they will get it. There is no other option than the Progressive option. Obama, McConnell, Boehner, and Reid have to “save the economy”, in other words, protect Wall Street and Corporate America. Obama has the added responsibility to not let the American economy collapse on his watch (2012 election). Pelosi has cover. She can blame everything on Crazy Left Wing Nuts. If she was smart, she would secretly organize this little coup d’ etat. Politically, a short term default won’t hurt Progressive constituencies as much as it will hurt Obama/Republican constituencies. Obama is a liar, there is enough money to pay all social security recipients on Aug 3.

Progressives should demand SSI COLA’s for the last two years (political cover), repeal the GWB tax cuts, reduce the Medicare age to 50, and a $100 Billion direct hire government jobs program to reduce unemployment. I’m sure the Progressive Caucus has a long wish list, they should dust it off. The list should include enough items for them to give back half (look reasonable) but retain their core demands.

To the casual observer, this sounds unbelievable but if you understand the pressure points of the competing interest groups, it’s perfectly reasonable. Wall Street and Corporate America can’t take even an one hour default, neither can Obama, Reid, McConnell, or Boehner. If the Democrats are bold enough to challenge Obama, they will seem crazy enough to bring down the economy. If Wall Street is faced with complete financial collapse or Clinton era taxes, they will choose higher taxes. If McConnell and Boehner are faced with Medicare at age 50 or Wall Street collapse, they will accept Medicare at 50. If Obama, Reid, McConnell, and Boehner has to choose between a new jobs program and Wall Street collapse, … If Obama, Reid, McConnell, and Boehner has to choose between Wall Street and SSI COLA’s, …

If the Progressive Caucus has the guts to pull off this maneuver, they can dictate the terms of any deal. They have more leverage now than they will ever have again. It’s up to the Progressive Caucus to represent their constituents or continue being the Poverty Pimps I’ve come to despise

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