The Morning Sentinel editorial board has decided to repeat the conservative mantra that President Barack Obama is to blame for the debacle over the debt ceiling.

Perhaps the editors need to be reminded of a few background points.

Our Constitution specifically requires that revenue and tax bills originate in the House of Representatives. Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, had trouble coming up with a satisfactory bill that pleased his caucus and could pass a bipartisan vote in the Senate.

Obama and the Senate can negotiate with Republicans in the House of Representatives, but at the end of the day, it is the House that bears responsibility for generating a bill. It’s been six months, and we’re still waiting.

If congressional Republicans were serious about helping the economy, they would have quickly raised the debt ceiling (as they did dozens of times under Presidents Reagan and Bush) and focused on job creation. Instead, they seem to care little about wrecking the economy, grinding government to a halt, or gutting the Medicare and Social Security programs.

Their stated focus is thwarting Obama at every step of the way and further reducing the tax rates paid by corporations and wealthy individuals.

When Republicans rail against “government spending,” every recipient of Medicare and Social Security should be acutely aware that their programs are the intended target. Defense spending and closing tax loopholes appear to be off the table, so the “welfare programs” of Medicare and Social Security are the only places where the deficit can ever be closed on Republican terms.

Douglas O’Heir


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