Mike Thompson Watch


Mike Thompson Votes for Debt Deal

(August 14, 2011)

Mike Thompson voted Yes on the final deal to resolve the U.S. debt ceiling artificial crisis. Given that if enough No votes had been found to defeat the final bill, the United States of America would likely have been thrown into economic chaos, Yes was the right vote for citizens of the 1st California Congressional District. According to Greens and progressive Democrats the deal should have included tax increases on those who have been dodging taxes since the Bush Era Tax Cuts for the Rich. According to the Tea Party Republicans who voted against the bill, it should have cut federal spending even more, and included a balanced budget amendment.

The bill that finally passed originated in the Senate. S. 365, the Budget Control Act of 2011, was passed by the House of Representatives on August 1, 2011 with 269 Aye votes, 161 No votes and 3 members not voting. 93 Democrats and 174 Republicans votes for it. 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans voted against it. It was signed into law by President Barack Obama on August 2, 2011.

That action increased the debt limit of the United States of America, allowing the government to continue to function. The bill had numerous other provisions, mainly for decreasing projected federal deficits over the next ten years. However, it did not actual include a plan for ending annual deficits. It merely scaled them back from what they have been since the recession took hold in 2008, and of course the nation has been in deficit mode since the combined Bush tax cuts and military and corporate security state spending increases from earlier in the decade.

Despite dire predictions by some mainly left-wing economists, because the deal plans in a deficit for years to come, there is still plenty of economic stimulus for years to come. See also Still Plenty of Stimulus. Neither party would admit it, but the deadlock was over exactly which constituencies would get stimulated. Generally, unemployed people lost, as did civil servants. Military and homeland security won, as did corporate tax breaks and low tax rates for wealthy individuals. Regulatory agencies lost, meaning the environment lost, food will be less safe, and health will suffer. Pet projects of Congress members mainly were safe. It is easy to find stories of Tea Party congresspeople who ranted against the debt and deficit but vigorously defended federal expenditures in their districts. Social Security is safe for the moment.

Politics has always been mainly about who pays taxes and who gets the benefits of government spending. When Congress comes back from vacation you can expect another gory round of rhetoric and backroom deals.

For a more detailed summary of the act, see the Congressional Research Service summary of S. 365.

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Mike Thompson is the current elected member of the United States House of Representatives for California's 1st Congressional District.