Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Republican Treason

As the clock marches on, it has become increasingly clear that the Republicans are hell-bent on using the debt ceiling as a means to push their fiscal and political program on the United States. Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has admitted as much of the Republican refusal to play along, stating that "It's a political strategy-it's not a policy strategy."

My Gut Reaction: People willing to play politics with our economic well-being are no better than traitors.

Analysis: The effects of a failure to raise the debt ceiling could be catastrophic. As a recent story by NPR reports, one of the immediate effects would be an inability for the government to pay out Social Security, as the federal government would only collect $12 billion in taxes while needing to pay out $23 billion. That's not getting into other issues such as paying the military and federal employees.

Some are trying to tell us that it would not be so bad. For example, Nick Gillespie of Reason Magazine raises the point that the August 2nd deadline is at least somewhat arbitrary, as it is difficult to measure the full amount of borrowing taking place. He also suggests that it is unlikely the United States would actually default on its debt, as the amount of money the federal government takes in well surpasses its annual debt payments. However, that assertion fails to explain the recent announcement by Moody's that it is considering downgrading the United States's credit rating.

Luckily, not all of the Republican Party has gone insane. Senator Mitch McConnell has recommended a "Plan B" whereby the President would be able to raise the debt ceiling subject only to a veto-proof vote by Congress. This has enraged Congressional Republicans, but stems more from Sen. McConnell's political savvy than any real patriotism on his part. He is on record warning that failure to raise the debt ceiling would leave Republicans vulnerable to being held responsible for ensuing economic woes. Yeah, plunging your country into economic chaos tends to hurt your poll numbers.

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