Karen Dolan, Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, makes the following statement:

It is the height of recklessness for the current crop of uncompromising Republicans in Congress to play political games with our nation’s economic soundness.

As a nation, we must pay our bills, and we need to raise our debt ceiling to do so. Ronald Reagan tripled the debt and his Republicans raised the debt ceiling 17 times. George W. Bush doubled the debt and his Republicans raised the debt ceiling seven times. Obama inherited a recession, profligate war spending and the lowest tax rate on the wealthy and corporations in 60 years. The debt ceiling must once again be raised to avoid national economic suicide.

But these uncompromising Republicans have decided to hold 98% of us hostage while they tie raising the debt ceiling to breaking the backs of our seniors, children and working families.

These uncompromising Republicans easily reject even a hint of compromise and scoff at a balanced approach to deficit reduction.

These uncompromising Republicans instead demand deep cuts to children’s health, food and nutrition programs, to Pell Grants that enable our children to attend college, to Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security. They propose to eviscerate the beloved, cherished programs that keep our parents, grandparents alive, our economically vulnerable children healthy and our disabled citizens productive.

And why do these uncompromising Republicans want to impose life-threatening austerity on 98% of us? Why do they want to destroy the American Dream which holds the promise of a better life for people who work hard, who raise families, who play by the rules? They want to do this in order to finance even greater economic ease for the wealthiest 2% and for corporations already fat from sucking from the government teat.

Not only is this ideological approach to deficit spending unfair and unjust. It is unnecessary. Spending can be responsibly reduced and revenues responsibly raised. We can start with cutting unnecessary war spending and save hundreds of billions of dollars. We can allow the extra tax breaks enjoyed by millionaires and billionaires to expire as they are slated to do and save almost a trillion dollars. We can tell tax-dodging corporations that they can no longer profit from handouts from hard-working American people and we will save hundreds of billions more, even as much as a trillion dollars over the coming decade.

Finally, we can truly reform the greatest threat to our long-term debt: a for-profit healthcare system with skyrocketing costs. Then we will have long-term financial stability and a society which is fair and equal and in which all of our people and generations have a shot at a decent life.

It’s commonsense. It’s fair. It is rather straightforward and it’s what most of us think is the American Way.

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Karen Dolan is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and director of the Cities for Progress and Cities for Peace projects based there. She holds an M.A. With Highest Distinction in Philosophy and Social Policy from the American University in Washington D.C. Karen joined IPS in 1996; Karen’s public scholarship and activism at IPS have included organizing the Cities for Peace movement and the Cities for Progress project. These link community-led organizations with policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels. The focus of her work is on local democracy/empowerment, peace and economic equality.

Some of Karen’s publications include: Our Communities are Not for Sale; Paying the Price: the Mounting Costs of War in Iraq, Unleash Democracy in Mandate for Change, and Foreign Policy Goes Local. She also appears in print and broadcast media. Karen serves on the boards of: The Liberty Tree Foundation, The Backbone Campaign, and the Jobs With Justice Worker Rights Board. She sits on several steering committees including the Bring the Guard Home Now and the D.C. Human Rights City project.

Institute for Policy Studies (www.IPS-DC.org) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power.

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