Lately, CNN's Ali Velshi has done a good job of pushing back at some of these Republican politicians when they come on his show and lie. This wasn't one of those times. While Velshi did do a good job of making clear that raising the debt ceiling is paying for spending which has already been approved by the Congress, and that it's not the same thing as a household running up the credit cards, he let Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson get away with a whole bunch of whoppers during this segment without much pushback.
He allowed Johnson to lay the blame for our deficits on the Obama administration, even though (as we've pointed out here time after time), most of that deficit is due to Bush policies and the recession and not because of Obama, as this article and its charts clearly point out. And even after Velshi pointed out that we can't just partially default on the deficit as a lot of Republicans have claimed, and that it would likely cause a great deal of economic havoc, he allowed Johnson to just flat-out disagree with him and didn't challenge him after that.
As long as we're allowing these politicians to pretend that Social Security contributes to the deficit when it doesn't, or pretending that raising the age for Medicare and throwing more seniors into the private health insurance market is a rational way to get our health care costs under control, they get to advocate for balancing the budget and paying for tax cuts and defense spending on the backs of the poor, elderly and middle class.
As Chris Hayes and Karoli pointed out here, the conversation we ought to be having is whether the Affordable Care Act is going to do enough to get our health care costs under control -- and if not, what steps we need to take to improve that? (None of our leaders want to talk about single-player, of course) We also need to talk about getting the United States back to full employment and quit allowing Republicans to just mindlessly repeat "job creators" and "tax cuts" in every conversation without rebuttal.
And of course, none of these guys are ever pushed on why we can't cut our bloated defense spending and get rid of the waste. They never seem to be too concerned about how starting another unnecessary war might destroy the future for their grandchildren. No, granny has to take a cut in her Social Security and Medicare benefits. The one word that never gets used here is privatization, because that's what they're advocating. These costs aren't going to go away. They just want to make sure the insurance companies and Wall Street gets their cut.
It would have been nice if Velshi asked Johnson if he really doesn't "want to play brinksmanship", why does he continue to do it? Why does he thinks it's acceptable to threaten our interest rates if that's something he's actually concerned about? Velshi also waited until the following segment when the Senator was off the air to point out the fact that President Obama's budget was never actually voted on, but sadly, even that wasn't done without some false equivalencies and "both sides do it" nonsense:
VELSHI: Why don't we have a budget? Gridlock, basically. In fact, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, says it was not worth trying to go through the process of passing the president's budget. That's why you hear that old Republican saw that Harry Reid won't even present a budge to the Senate. You may have also heard the of repeated claim that President Obama's budget was struck down in the House and the Senate, getting zero votes. Goose eggs from either party.
But those bills were not the budget. They were shell versions of the president's budget put forward by Republicans designed to fail. They were not budgets. They were just politics.
Republicans did put out their own budget plan in the form of Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity," but bipartisan bickering resulted in no progress there, either.
Sorry Ali, but it was more than just "bipartisan bickering" which prevented Ryan's budget from being passed. Most Americans hated it, Republicans were backing away from it and even Paul Ryan himself was doing some backtracking on that debacle he put forward. You can read more about Ryan's so-called "Path to Prosperity" here in Jon Perr's post, where Fox was pretending that it doesn't add trillions to the deficit.
Maybe someone can tell Velshi to give it a look before he starts blaming the Democrats for its failure.
Full transcript below the fold.
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