Posted by | January 4, 2011 23:47 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

With a critical vote this March on raising the debt ceiling imminent, Republican hostage-takers are already licking their chops at the concessions they plan on wrestling from Democrats. If we as a country fail to raise our debt ceiling,  it is akin to telling the rest of the world we will not meet our bond obligations and pay back our creditors.  Since we are the world’s reserve currency, it would lead to a global financial catastrophe that would make the 2008 crash look like an episode of Glee. But Republicans have actually become maniacal enough to play politics with the entire global economy. So what do they want in exchange for their vile obstruction?

On Meet the Press on Sunday, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham laid out his demands:

GRAHAM: This is an opportunity to make sure the government is changing its spending ways. I will not vote for the debt ceiling increase until I see a plan in place that will deal with our long-term debt obligations starting with Social Security, a real bipartisan effort to make sure that Social Security stays solvent, adjusting the age, looking at means-tests for benefits. […]

GREGORY: That’s a big condition just on Social Security alone.

GRAHAM: Yeah, it is!

GREGORY: You think Republicans are prepared to follow you and two things you said: raise the retirement age and means-test benefits for older Americans?

GRAHAM: I would suggest that if we’re serious about taking America in a new direction and you’re not putting entitlement reform on the table, you’ve missed a great opportunity to change the course of America’s future.

This little excerpt provides a perfect window into the mindset of the modern Republican congressman. A vote on raising the debt ceiling, where the fate of the entire world economy hangs in the balance, is an “opportunity” to rob the middle class of their hard-earned retirement money. Raising the Social Security retirement age would amount to a massive across-the-board benefits cut to tens of millions of Americans who desperately rely on that money. Which is why when 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair asked the American people how they would like to see Congress cut the federal deficit, 61% of Americans said raise taxes on the rich, another 20% said cut defense spending, and only 3% said cut Social Security benefits.

Someone should show Lindsey Graham and his fellow Republicans that poll.

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