Thursday, October 3, 2013


Well, here’s one species of political madness we might not have to worry about: the US defaulting on its national debt.

The NY Times says, Republican House leader John Boehner will not allow it to happen.

Speaker John A. Boehner has told colleagues that he is determined to prevent a federal default and is willing to pass a measure through a combination of Republican and Democratic votes, according to multiple House Republicans.

If I might be permitted a suggestion:  DO IT NOW, MR. SPEAKER!

As relieved as I was to read the Times headline and Ashley Parker and Annie Lowry’s well-reported story, I wondered why, if Boehner had made his decision, he was not acting on it immediately.

Every day the Republican leader waits, he adds to uncertainty and anxiety in the nation and the world’s markets.  This uncertainty and anxiety is pure torment to most participants, but it represents a predatory opportunity to a few.  “Frightened” creditors are entitled to demand a bigger payoff from their “uncertain” borrowers; they raise interest rates.  Every rise in interest rates on public debt comes right out of taxpayer’s pockets; every rise in private debt stalls projects and kills jobs.  Every rise in interest rates displaces wealth, both within the economy and without; it shifts money from the 99% to the 1%, and from the United States to its creditors abroad, like China.

The politically damaging idea that the Grand Old Party is the political organization that consistently makes the poor poorer and the rich richer (and today, the very, very rich, very, very much richer) is not one that wants reinforcing.  But the current and abhorrent “hostage-taking” of the nation’s credit in order to re-litigate Obamacare does just that: it puts the Republican brand on an artificial crisis with very real effects, including tossing a bonus bundle of Big Money to the people in the world who need and deserve it least.

Not only is the threatened default a GOP-manufactured disaster, it is unnecessary, redundant.  Hostage situations are one area of life where 2 heads are not better than one.  The threat to take one life makes the point.

The real fight here is not over our debt, anyway.  It’s about how American acquired it, not just how much we spend or owe, but what we get for it, or lose by skimping.  I think the Republicans are dead wrong taking the federal Budget hostage, shutting down the government and causing for Americans completely avoidable economic losses and personal inconveniences.  There are plenty of legitimate legislative ways to take on every investment, expense or program thought by the Tea Party and others to be wrong.  The way for Republicans to change laws is available within the rules and customs of Congress.  It has been used for almost 225 years.  It is shameful that rather than do the jobs for which they were elected, House Republicans are choosing to paralyze and de-populate the government to amplify their already-clear objections to what clear (if secret, on the House side) majorities of Senators and Representatives are ready to vote for.

But ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  “Young guns” and “tea bags,” be that way!  I am confident you will pay politically for the shutdown, but you will have been loudly heard on the money issues you care about most.

But, no one needs to do that twice.

So, GOP, be happy with your one hostage issue and flail way!  Let the other hostage free! 

The national debt is a fact not an issue.  Trifling with America’s “full faith and credit” is an economic and moral crime.

Recognize that, by moving immediately to raise the limit on the debt, and focusing your (to me, mostly mean-spirited, intellectually shoddy) arguments on your real targets: shrinking the government by down-scaling the budget.

Mr. Speaker, why wait another minute, another day.  Move on the debt ceiling NOW!




1 comment:

  1. Check out David Brin's take on how this will end.