The debt crisis is only on hold

By EDITORIAL  |  August 3, 2011

What that means is that entitlements are going to have to be curtailed and the resulting savings reinvested in job growth. It will be painful and impossible to achieve without increases in taxes, which as a portion of the total economy are at a 50-year low. (Increasing rates by $30 per thousand on everyone making $250,000 annually would more or less do it.)

That's how America gets out from behind the economic eight ball.

Here's the problem: the budget adjustments due to kick in later this year will be decided by a committee appointed by Congress.

The Republicans have already said that they will appoint only those opposed to all tax increases to the committee.

So the compromise achieved through blackmail will operate through coercion. It's the Republican way.

It will spell economic disaster, or at least serious grief. It will be interesting to see how voters react to all this in 2012. When will the Republicans be repudiated? Or does the American public confuse politics and policy with reality TV? These days, it is hard to tell.


Since the ascension of Fidel Castro's brother Raul as Cuba's singular leader, economic reform has been steadily taking place in Cuba: it is now possible to have cell phones, and legal self-employment is slowly becoming more widespread. There is talk of loosening emigration and making buying a car easier. But hands down, the possibility of Cuban families being able to own their own homes is, well, the most revolutionary.

But if two freshman congressmen from New England have their way, it will once again become extremely restrictive for Cuban-Americans to visit their loved ones, even at times of illness and death, and the amount of remittances they are now allowed to send to their families on the island — the major source of income for large numbers of Cubans — will be severely reduced.

Democrats William Keating of Massachusetts and David Cicilline of Rhode Island voted in committee to reverse President Obama's move to ease relations with Cuba by, among other things, ending the draconian travel ban and remittance reductions heartlessly put into place by George W. Bush.

In this, Cicilline and Keating were bizarrely following the lead of Cuban-American congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the Republican who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

As Phoenix political writer David Bernstein points out in his story on, Ros-Lehtinen and her fellow Republican Cuban-American from Florida, David Rivera, not only want to block family travel and curtail remittances, but to prevent educational and cultural exchanges, as well.

Why Keating and Cicilline have allied themselves with pillars of the old-guard right-wing Floridian Republican establishment, who cling to out-of-date ideas about the best way to bring about change in Cuba by maintaining our country's punishing embargo, is not only a shameful mystery, but clearly antithetical to Democratic ideals.

To let William Keating know what you think of his vote, call his Washington office at 202.225.3111, or his Quincy district office at 617.770.3700, or send him an e-mail message using this form on his Web site.

To let David Cicilline know what you think of his vote, his Washington office at 202.225-4911, or his Pawtucket district office at 401.729.5600, or e-mail him using the form at

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