The expression “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face” is an old saying used to describe a needlessly self-destructive over-reaction to a problem, or in terms of today’s Republican Party: Standard Operating Procedure.
If you are in the company of women and reference the “C-Word”, you are probably going to get yourself slapped. If you are a Republican in Congress and utter the “C-Word”, you might get voted out of office. The difference is that the dirty “C-Word” that you can’t speak in the current GOP is “Compromise”. The 112th Congress is now officially on record as being the most inept, ineffective, and legislatively dysfunctional body of government in the history of our Republic. At one point, the idea of America becoming a Communist nation was polling with higher national approvals than Congress.
The 113th Congress, anxious to change the perception that our government is broken and useless, kicked off the new legislative session by introducing its first bill: To repeal Obamacare.
It’s a good thing that with the “fiscal cliff” crisis narrowly avoided Congress can waste time with symbolic votes that will go nowhere. Keep in mind that this was the very first thing that Congress had on its docket…
… Not extending the Violence Against Women Act.
… Not making sure victims of Hurricane Sandy finally get the funds that they have been waiting months for.
… Not immigration reform or gun control.
… Not the DREAM Act, DISCLOSE Act, Paycheck Fairness Act, Veterans Job Corps Bill, or any of the countless other popular bills that would have passed the Senate if not for the complete abuse of the filibuster by Republicans because you know, fresh start.
We elect our leaders to represent the Will of the People. We trust them to put country first, even above party. Now, the party of “fiscal responsibility” is threatening to literally destroy the world economy if they do not get their way. Imagine going out to a REALLY nice dinner: You and your family eat an amazing, expensive meal. At the end of the meal you don’t pay for it – You threaten to burn the restaurant to the ground.
Congrats – You’d be a great Republican.
The debt ceiling is not about current spending or future spending. Raising the debt ceiling is about us as a nation saying, “Hey, we spent a lot of money on things and we should probably pay for that at some point.” Now, you may not like all of the things that Congress has appropriated money towards to rack up 16 trillion dollars of debt but the fact is that as a nation we STILL have an obligation to pay our bills. Didn’t that come up somewhere in our history? Oh yeah, it’s in the 14th Amendment:
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Why are conservatives so quick to defend the Constitution when it comes to the 2nd Amendment but fail to defend the rest of the document with the same passion?
So Republicans are poised to hold the entire world economy hostage if Democrats do not agree to slash Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – Three very popular programs that the country really doesn’t want to see go away. The GOP is committed to showing how good they are with money by intentionally – INTENTIONALLY destroying the world economy because this is AMERICA – We love our country so much that if we can’t have this relationship EXACTLY the way that we want it, NOBODY WILL!
During 2011 when the GOP did this, it cost the United States billions of dollars. It caused our credit rating to be downgraded, costing us even more billions of dollars. It cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs in an already slow recovery. How is it “leverage” for Republicans to threaten to quite literally cause the country to go bankrupt? Why would Republicans want that? Why would they allow that? The better question is Why would ANYONE vote for representatives who would allow that to happen?
What does defaulting on our debt actually mean? Here are just some of the things we can expect as a nation if Republicans decide to sabotage our credit:
1) The stock market will take a dive. The DOW is at its highest level since 2007 today; coming all the way back from when it was under 7,000 in the early parts of 2009 in the midst of the Great Recession.
2) You won’t be able to use credit. Banks will basically be useless because the global economy is so tied into our own. Cash will probably go through a period of hyperinflation as well. Forget about a loan for a car or college. Want to guess what is going to happen to interest rates?
3) The job market will crumble. When companies can’t get credit, they’ll have to cut corners somewhere and that will often be in employees. During the 2011 debt-ceiling fight job growth stalled just because of the THREAT of not passing an agreement.
4) The government won’t be able to pay its workers. Yes, this includes the military. When you hear blowhards like Senator Pat Toomey on television saying that Republicans should endure a government shutdown, he’s saying that we shouldn’t pay our servicemen.
5) Grandma will have to eat cat food. Because Social Security is a trust fund that relies largely on treasury bonds, and the value of those bonds will plummet – so will Social Security.
There will also be substantial damage to the US Dollar abroad, making it next to impossible to afford international goods or travel. The rest of the world will be pretty upset that we stopped paying our bills, and even when we DO start again, they’ll charge us a higher interest rate. Medicare bills could go unpaid, leading to healthcare collapsing. The threat of Medicare and Social Security needing reformed in ten years is apparently enough to cause Republicans to put the metaphorical gun to the country’s head and threaten to pull the trigger if we don’t cave NOW. It is important that we as a country understand that THIS is what Republicans are threatening to do to ALL of us: Democrats and Republicans and Independents alike. This is not a partisan issue – This affects rich and poor, black and white, men and women alike. EVERYONE living here relying on the dollar is going to be crippled economically. That is their platform. That is what conservatives voted for. For a little perspective: The payroll tax holiday just expired (No, Obama didn’t “raise” your taxes) causing a 2% bump in taxes taken out of the average paycheck. Democrats fought to extend it, Republicans said no as part of the “Grand Bargain.” Now taxes are slightly higher and conservative voters are OUTRAGED. What do you think your GOP leaders holding the economy hostage is going to do to your paycheck? Why are you voting against your economic interests? Are you THAT worried about gay people getting married?
Are we really at a point in political discourse that the only leverage our elected officials have is to destroy the country? Are we electing a bunch of guys who grew up wishing that they could be villains in a James Bond movie who now have the chance to set the proverbial laser right at the crotch of America? Is this really what we as a nation want? Does Congress still represent the Will of the People and if so – Why are so many of us willing to skip out on the check when the waiter brings it over?