There is a political movement led by anti-tax and anti-government crusader Grover Norquist that yearns for the day they can bankrupt the United States government and “drown it in a bathtub” because of their sheer hatred for America and its people. Most Americans may not agree with the way the nation is governed, but it seems unreasonable that very many voters want their representatives to deliberately cause near and long term damage to the government’s ability to function. In fact, other than die-hard teabaggers and libertarians, one would think that the idea of deliberately crashing the economy would not garner much support among the population, but the truth is that an overwhelming majority of Republican voters want their representatives to cause an economic catastrophe.
According to a recent WaPo/ABC poll, if the nation does face a crisis over raising the debt limit, it will be because Republicans follow the will of their supporters who assessed the disastrous economic consequences of a credit default and concluded it is an acceptable alternative to raising the debt ceiling. Doubtless, most Americans are ignorant of what the debt limit is, because overall only 46% of Americans believe the nation should meets its debt obligations and 43% want to destroy the full faith and credit of the United States. Even though 73% of Americans understand a credit default will create serious economic damage, 61% of Republican voters are in favor of default and 66% are aware that not raising the debt limit will cause serious harm to the economy and still think it is a good idea.
It is likely that in their dysfunctional minds, Republican voters look at the debt ceiling crisis of 2011 and the million jobs lost, credit downgrade, $18.9 billion cost to the nation, and devastating sequester from SpeakerJohn Boehner’s point of view and are “pretty happy” they got 98% of what they wanted. However, economic experts warn that not raising the debt ceiling will be catastrophic and result in another credit downgrade, a stock market crash, higher interest rates, and a new financial crisis that will dwarf the 2008 economic meltdown.
For the record, America has never defaulted on its debt, and it is due to the 14th Amendment that says “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.” Section 5 of the amendment says “the Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article,” but as Americans have learned over the past three years, Republicans do not accept any provision of the U.S. Constitution save the 2nd and 10th Amendments; at least since Americans elected an African American as President.
During the Bush Administration, Republicans took their constitutional obligation to pay the debt they incurred very seriously, and current leaders voted 19 times to raise the debt ceiling unconditionally because they viewed increasing the limit as vital to keeping America’s economy running. In fact in May 2003, the Republican-controlled Senate raised the debt limit the same day they gave $350 billion in Bush tax cuts to the rich that had nothing to do with keeping the economy running. Republican concern for keeping the economy running ceased in January 2009 when destroying it became their raison d’être. In 2011 Republicans seriously assaulted the economy when they claimed their default threat was to extract Draconian spending cuts for their phony deficit crisis, and now it is founded in their lust to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. Regardless the outcome, Republicans are intent on assaulting the economy with support from their voters despite the outcome is definitely not in any Americans’ best interests.
Over nearly five years, ignorant Republicans have persisted in voting against their own self-interests whether it is racist southern conservatives opposing domestic programs they benefit from, or retired Republicans voting for candidates promising to slash their Social Security and Medicare benefits they paid for. The fact that 44% of Americans do not believe Congress should raise the debt limit means they either fail to understand the consequences are economic devastation, or they do understand and want the nation to go through a financial meltdown; according to a new WSJ/NBC poll, 66% of Republican voters want a more devastating recession than Bush Republicans presided over in 2008. It is possible that the 44% are still unaware the debt limit is to pay for legislation, two wars, and tax cuts for the rich Republicans incurred when Bush was president, but it is incomprehensible they know not raising the limit is devastating and still think it is prudent.
There are hardly any establishment Republicans who think America should not raise the debt ceiling because they understand the consequences would be catastrophic to the economy even though they will use it as a threat to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. However, that 66% of Republican voters support deliberately defaulting on the nation’s debt with full knowledge it will seriously damage the economy informs that they are just as anti-government and anti-American as Grover Norquist libertarians who lust to destroy the government whether by drowning it in a bathtub or creating an economic disaster by not raising the debt limit.
It is irrelevant exactly why a majority of Republicans think creating a financial crisis is a good idea, and whether it is because they are ignorant of what raising the debt limit means, or if they just hate doing anything the President wants, they are insane. In part the blame falls on Republicans’ 4 year campaign to convince their supporters a non-existent Obama spending crisis poses an existential threat to the United States. It is impossible to believe such a large percentage of Republicans support a credit default out of confusion because they know not raising it invites financial ruin.
Likely the 66% of Republicans who know a default will create economic calamity are expressing their racial hostility towards anything President Obama wants combined with their blatant disregard for the Constitution’s mandate that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, shall not be questioned.” Whatever drives Republican voters to support a credit default, they are sincere in their insanely stupid belief that to prevent a non-existent Obama spending crisis they claim is destroying America’s economy, they support a credit default that will destroy America’s economy. All the while, the anti-government cabal led by Grover Norquist and the Koch brothers are sitting patiently and waiting for the dust to settle to drown what is left of the government in a bathtub.