The Republican crazies are doing what no one ever suspected they would be insane enough to do – playing chicken with the US economy and by contrast the world economy, by refusing to raise the US debt limit unless they get the massive cuts in government spending that they are demanding.
One of the main things they are demanding is serious cuts in Medicare and Social Security. Republicans have always seethed with hatred for Medicare since the days when they were installed. To Republicans, these programs are “socialism” and the Republicans Party is dedicated to wiping out every trace of “socialism” from the US.
The debt ceiling limit has already passed, but accounting tricks could keep it going for another three weeks or so. It’s hard to believe that the Republicans are so insane that they are threatening both the US and world economy to get their diabolical wishlist.
Tom Donahue, not my favorite person at all, a fierce ultra-reactionary and head of the US Chamber of Commerce, is furious at the Republicans for playing chicken with the economy like this. Why? He represents US business, US corporations. Whoever is behind this loony game of chicken, apparently it is not the US corporations. Wrecking the US economy will be bad for business. Donahue is demanding that the Republicans raise the debt limit and get it over with.
But it looks like the Republicans are really doubling down on this one.
It’s important to be aware of what is going on here. Just about every single year, we raise the US debt limit. It’s no big deal as long as the debt stays at a relatively fixed percentage of the US economy. Say we raise the debt limit every year for 30 years, but the US debt stays at 25% of US GDP. This is not a problem, correct? You are right, it’s not a problem. Raising the US debt limit has apparently been routine for some time now. Prior to some recent moment, we probably did not even have to vote on it in the first place.
Voting to raise the debt limit raises a separation of powers question. Whose responsibility is it to raise the debt limit and borrow more money? It is the responsibility of the US Central Bank, the Federal Reserve. Does Congress have a right to tell the Federal Reserve what to do? Of course not. So it seems that this whole charade of raising the debt limit is constitutionally suspect. Some say that Obama could invoke a certain Constitutional amendment (the 14th?) and just raise it anyway. I would say that that is what he should do.
Right now, Obama is negotiating with the psycho Republicans on this game of chicken. The Republicans are demanding serious cuts in Medicare, otherwise they will blow up the US and world economy. Last I heard, Obama is agreeing with cuts to Medicare. The American people love Medicare, so why do they keep voting Republican? How is Obama going to run on saving Medicare when he’s gutting it himself? Do you see how the game works? Force Obama to slash Medicare. Then Obama can’t run on saving Medicare anymore, see? Politics is diabolical.
What should Obama do instead? Should he call these whacko Republicans’ bluff? Let us know what you think.