These are the last words of Thelma and Louise in the 1991 movie “Thelma and Louise” as they drove off a cliff rather than being caught by the police. The leaders of the GOP in the US Congress both Rep. John Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell have the Tea Party Republicans breathing down their necks just like the cop in the movie, and Boehner and McConnell have no way out except to keep on going off the fiscal cliff.
The fiscal cliff, dubbed by Washington, is looming in the not so distant future. The horizon looks bleak as the end of the year comes to a close. The fiscal cliff was created by the same people looking for a way out.
The automatic budget cuts just did not happen; they were created by the US Congress when congressional Republicans pushed for strict cuts across the board with the thought that they would win both the White House and the Senate. The intention was to ram through only the cuts proposed and supported by the totally dominant GOP. Republican leaders, thinking the midterm elections of 2010 were going to bring them total control of the US government in 2012, did not just miscalculate; they over-estimated the power of the Tea Party and their right wing neo con rhetoric.
The American people did not throw out Barack Obama, nor did they give the Republican Party total control over the government. In fact, the opposite happened; Americans gave Barack Obama a national mandate.
I have heard Joe Scarborough and other GOP pundits say every representative who was elected believes he has a mandate and think they should vote accordingly. That thinking is the reason we are inching closer to the cliff.
The Tea Party Republicans last week told Speaker Boehner they would not play nice and basically took their ball and went home, since then nothing has happened. The members of Congress are at home; they were awaiting word from their leaders as to when to return to Washington and vote.
In the meantime, 98% of Americans are being held hostage by millionaires who do not want to see their own personal incomes or the incomes of their financial donors diminished — and that is the problem. The members of the congressional delegation of the Republican Party do not seem to care about the budding fragile economy. Retailers are crying the blues over the lackluster Christmas sales. It has been reported the average shopper spent half what was expected. The uncertainty of an added tax burden by the middle class kept shoppers home and that hurt the economy, companies and American families.
Experts are not sure as to what will happen to the economy if the convertible driven by Boehner and McConnell goes off the cliff but one thing is for certain: it will not be good. In 1933, the GOP did the same thing to the American people when they balked at FDR’s anti-austerity measures and caused a relapse of the depression causing the American economy to spend years in recovery and never flourishing until the onset of WWII.
Boehner and McConnell are revving up the engine with no place to go except off the cliff as the Tea Party obstructionist push America towards the fiscal cliff. What happens between now and January 1st is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for certain: whatever happens, the American people are the victims of a crime, and the crime is malfeasance. And, unlike Thelma and Louise,Boehner and company have another choice; they can turn off the engine and walk with the American people by extending the tax cuts for the 98% and let the chips fall where they may.
It’s time Republican leaders stop thinking about themselves and start thinking about the American middle class. If they don’t it will not matter if they drive the car off the cliff; their credibility will become extinct.