Mr. Speaker, Your Mano-a-mano is with the American People, and You're Losing

If you have not already called your member of Congress and your Senators, please go and do it now. Switchboard:(202) 224-3121. Call their local offices if DC line is busy or mailbox full.
Boehner - I didn't sign up for mano-a-mano with POTUS
Speaker Boehner may not have signed up for a mano-a-mano with the President of the United States, but it is not stopping him, and the entire Republican party apparatus, from waging full-on class war with the poor in America. For a guy who bused tables and washed dishes, John Boehner does not seem to be giving any indication in policy that he actually cares about people who bus the tables and wash the dishes at our local restaurants. Speaker just presented a "plan" yesterday that would devastate the poor, students, and anyone in the middle class who needs a hand up.
House Speaker John Boehner’s new budget proposal would require deep cuts in the years immediately ahead in Social Security and Medicare benefits for current retirees, the repeal of health reform’s coverage expansions, or wholesale evisceration of basic assistance programs for vulnerable Americans.

The plan is, thus, tantamount to a form of “class warfare.” If enacted, it could well produce the greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern U.S. history.
For you and your Constitution quoting morons, Mr. Speaker, try this part of the Constitution out for size:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
What? The Constitution mentions general welfare of the people as one of the purposes of our government? What pinko commie socialist wrote that piece of garbage?

But I digress. Let's go and look at what Boehner's proposal and what it will do. First, a short summary of the proposal: it would raise the debt limit by $1 trillion with $1.2 trillion in pure cuts in the discretionary budget. Then, it would require another $1.8 trillion in cuts at the beginning of next year in order to increase the debt limit by another $1.6 trillion. Not only would such a plan be akin to a default and subject the nation's economy to the political theater we have seen in the past few months, there is no practical way of enacting it. Here is a little lesson this: less than 40% of the federal government's spending is "discretionary" - i.e. non-entitlement, non-debt payment, etc. In 2010, that budget was $1.3 trillion. Of that, non-security spending was less than $500 billion. Who knows what Boehner is going to cut in the first go, but as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities says, there is not going to be any room on discretionary spending on the second go.
  • Because the first round of cuts will hit discretionary programs hard — through austere discretionary caps that Congress will struggle to meet — discretionary cuts will largely or entirely be off the table when it comes to achieving the further $1.8 trillion in budget reductions.
  • As a result, virtually all of that $1.8 trillion would come from entitlement programs. They would have to be cut more than $1.5 trillion in order to produce sufficient interest savings to achieve $1.8 trillion in total savings.
  • To secure $1.5 trillion in entitlement savings over the next ten years would require draconian policy changes. Policymakers would essentially have three choices: 1) cut Social Security and Medicare benefits heavily for current retirees, something that all budget plans from both parties (including House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan) have ruled out; 2) repeal the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions while retaining its measures that cut Medicare payments and raise tax revenues, even though Republicans seek to repeal many of those measures as well; or 3) eviscerate the safety net for low-income children, parents, senior citizens, and people with disabilities. There is no other plausible way to get $1.5 trillion in entitlement cuts in the next ten years.
This is the truth. And Speaker Boehner would conduct this war on the poor and on anyone who has ever needed a student loan, a school lunch, a disability check, food stamps, federal housing assistance, or a little help paying the medical bills of a sick child. He would wage this war while protecting this country's most egregious welfare system: the welfare for the ultrawealthy and multinational corporations through preferential tax welfare treatment.

And you know what? Not only has the President issued a veto threat against the beat-the-poor-and-the-students bill, and not only has Senate Majority Leader delcared the plan DOA, Boehner probably can't even get that plan through his own chamber. The tea-bagging crazies in the House think that Boehner's heartless, brutal plan does not bloody and bludgeon the poor and the middle class enough. Reports the New York Times:
Flanked by conservative colleagues, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told reporters he could not back the Boehner proposal and said it doesn't have the votes to pass in the Republican-controlled House. In a two-step plan, Boehner is pressing for a vote on Wednesday and a second vote Thursday on a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.

"We think there are real problems with this plan," said Jordan, who heads the Republican Study Group. He argued that the spending cuts are insufficient and expressed opposition to likely tax increases.

Added Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla.: "If I had to vote right now, my vote would be no."
The Republican Study Committee is not some obscure group. It counts 170 of the House Republicans - far and away the majority of their caucus - amongst its ranks. So Boehner's got a fight in his own ranks. The very people he is trying to placate with his bludgeoning of fellow Americans are staging a mini-mutiny.

But the real war the Speaker waged is not with the ridiculous right flank of his own party. It is with the American people. It is with the people who rely on social security - either today or at some future point. It is with the people to who Medicare provides a lifeline. Speaker Boehner has picked a fight with the children who need Medicaid to get vaccinated so they can go to school. With the student who is trying to go to school in the morning and bus tables at night and needs her Pell grant. With the people who got their finger chopped off at a factory and are now dependent on a disability check. With the single parent who is struggling to work, raise a child, and keep that child out of trouble. With the communities that have borne the brunt of the Republican economic nightmare, and have asked for very little.

It's those people that the Speaker is trying to have a mano-a-mano with. It is ordinary Americans that he has declared war on. And last night, the President took the case to the American people. He called on ordinary Americans to wake up and fight back by calling their Congresscritters. And boy have we been responding. The phones are jammed, websites crashed, and more. Here are just some examples of the American people fighting back and answering the President's call.
Tuesday morning, the congressional switchboard sent an email to congressional offices that read: “Due to the high volume of external calls, House telephone circuits serving 202-225-XXXX phone numbers are near capacity resulting in outside callers occasionally getting busy signals.” The 225 exchange is the one used by members of the House. In spot calls to six House offices Tuesday morning, a busy signal was often found. - New York Times
Over at the Capitol Hill office of Rep. Allen West, an outspoken Florida Republican with ties to the Tea Party, calls have been coming in from all across the USA. Spokeswoman Angela Sachitano said there were 25 messages on the office voicemail by 8:30 a.m. ET today, and an additional 50 to 60 calls were logged by 11:15 a.m. ET.

"The theme is compromise, just pleading with the congressman to get something done," Sachitano said. "Voters are clearly frustrated and are definitely expressing that through phone calls." - USA Today
Thank the president for interrupting all the regularly scheduled reality television shows out there last night and asking people to call their elected member of Congress.

Since dawn, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate switchboards have been overloaded with thousands of calls from people calling in to respective members’ offices with opinions on how a deal should be cut to raise the debt ceiling. - Denver Post
House members and operators were “deluged” with calls and e-mails today, said Kyle Anderson, a Democratic spokesman for the House Administration Committee. Dan Weiser, communications director for the House chief administrative officer, said in an interview that calls to House offices peaked at 40,000 an hour today, above the normal volume of 20,000 an hour. - Bloomberg
And we are not done with you yet, Mr. Boehner. We have had it up to here with you, and now you have pissed us off. We are going to keep calling, keep emailing, keep faxing, keep snail-mailing, and freak you the hell out until you start putting your country over your party's most extremist elements.

Once again, for everyone reading this who hasn't called your member of Congress and your senators already, please do it now. Switchboard:(202)224-3121. Call their local offices if DC line is busy or mailbox full.

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