When the laughable George W. Bush administration decided to reward its Scrooge McDuck buddies with ridiculous tax cuts and underestimated the costs of two wars, another buddy favor, they neglected to recall their 11th grade economics – you know the class where you were taught that it takes money to pay off debts.
For Bush and his passel of right-wing fanatical advisers, funding trillion dollar wars while handing out multi-trillion dollar tax cuts made all the sense in the world. Especially when you’re trying to “Drown government in a bathtub.” As a result of the incomprehensively hurtful actions the Bush Boys, the economic Richter Scale registered a domestic and global 10 with tremors still reverberating to the present day, something that’s never happened with the real scale although there have been a few 9′s and older Anchorage residents will certainly never forget the 9.2 in 1964.
Speaking of the relative olden days, I’m betting your grandparents (great grandparents?) remember a popular radio/TV show from the 40′s and 50′s called “It pays to be ignorant.” A three-person comedic panel missed every question, most of which had the answers contained within the question itself. A typical example: “For what meal do we wear a dinner jacket?” The lyrics to the catchy theme song went something like this: “It pays to be ignorant, to be dumb, to be dense (I’ve also heard ‘dopey’), to be ignorant. It pays to be ignorant, just like me.”
If this show were to be reprised today, casting would be a breeze. Sure-shots for the panel would be Republican Senators Richard Burr, Rand Paul and Bob Corker. All three shrug off the prospect of a vote refusing to raise the current debt ceiling drop-dead date of October 17 past a matter of a few weeks. Of course no Congress has ever declined to raise the ceiling and no subsequent debt has ever done anything but increase. Burr insists the money is still there to pay off what we owe; Corker questions Treasury’s default date and Paul says it’s just an Obama scare tactic designed to rile the markets. In Paul’s words, “All you’re doing is balancing the budget!” It pays to be ignorant.
For his part, Senator Burr of North Carolina (THAT explains it!), who takes his Capitol Hill marching orders from big business, insists “We always have enough money to pay our debt service.” Burr claims that tax revenue is always flowing into the Treasury. News sources quote him thusly “You’ve had the federal government out of work for close to two weeks; that’s about $24 billion a month. Every month, you have enough saved in salaries alone that you’re covering three-fifths, four-fifths of the total debt service, about $35 billion a month. That’s manageable for some time.”
What a tragic and hilarious take on the issue. Boot out enough government workers to save billions in salaries so you can keep government running. You also save the money from the agencies that will be rendered impotent because there’s nobody to service constituents; services that also cost money. Nor is there anybody to send out federal payments. Are Republican voters that easy to fool? And will they still be fooled when Social Security payments come to a halt and other government programs they’re relied on all these years?
As for the Treasury’s deadline of Oct. 17, the Senators concede that some government services might have to be curtailed. “But I think the real date, candidly, the date that’s highly problematic for our nation, is Nov. 1,” said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee (THAT explains it!). Highly problematic; two weeks later?
“It really is irresponsible of the president to try to scare the markets,” said Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky (Another fanatical right-wing simpleton from Kentucky? You’re kidding!) Simpleton #1 was Jim Bunning, a former major league pitcher and now a former major league heartless doofis who, as Kentucky Senator, single-handedly blocked legislation extending unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands. Bunning lovingly endorsed Tea Party favorite Paul to replace him. In addition to his political bromance with Bunning, Mr. Paul is also gets all giggly when reading right-wing economist Peter Morici. He quotes a recent column in which Morici argued that “Refusing to raise the debt ceiling until they obtain budget reforms, may be the country’s last hope to avoid a financial ruin.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, two influential business boosters who basically slobber at the feet of the knee-jerk Republicans aren’t quite so sure anymore. The duo sent letters to Congress on Tuesday urging action on the debt ceiling.
People who haven’t intellectually straight-lined pretty much disagree with this witless trio of Senators across the board. Christine Lagarde, who I suspect has a higher IQ than the three put together, is head of the International Monetary Fund. At a news conference, she issued a warning that if the debt ceiling is not raised, deep damage to both the American and global economies would be the consequence as a result of the ‘spillover’ effect. She told the U.S. to “Put its fiscal house in order.”
Here’s some recommended reading; the Washington Post ‘Wonkblog’ written by Brad Plumer. It’s a comprehensive summation of the hell to pay if the Koch and Tea Party puppets don’t come to their senses.
The latest GOP proposal on the table is Republican approval to raise the borrowing limit for a period of about six weeks while retaining the partial shutdown. Those six weeks would, of course, be dedicated to 24/7 attempts to dismantle Obamacare. Continuation of the partial shutdown will have a tremendous impact in areas that are not obvious. CNN had a feature on the multiple millions that crab fishermen will sacrifice for instance.
Here’s what needs to be done, dumb arses. A clean one-year vote upping the borrowing limit. Six-months of weekly visits with your therapists and/or hypnosis sessions that open what remains of your conscience to the notion that the federal government is the most vital cog in all of Capitalism. Service to the people is the number one obligation of this government. ALL the people. That’s what the president and most Democratic Congresspeople are trying to do.
There are those who find my occasional name calling, necessitating the journalistic version of a five-second delay, off-putting. What I find off-putting are people who would deprive infants and toddlers, the infirm and elderly of pre-school, food, and healthcare. Who call minorities lazy SOBs. Who grovel at the feet of the super wealthy, (a great percentage of who cheated to get there) and use sincere spiritual believers as political crowbars to pry open hatred of gays, certain immigrants and some imagined right to tell women how to conduct their reproductive lives.
That’s what I find off-putting.