Senate Republicans Attempt to Sink the Economy by Blocking Their Own Appointees

Capital sinking
Any business understands that sound economic policy is crucial to success, and few business owners would put a child in charge of a company’s finances. America is different in that when a Republican is in the White House and the GOP holds majorities in both houses of Congress, their childish economic policy generally leaves a fiscal mess Democrats have to clean up when they are in power. Republicans have complained that the Senate has not passed a budget for four years, and now that they finally acted, several senate teabaggers are blocking progress on the federal budget and creating a minor rebellion in the Senate between old-guard Republicans and idiots representing the tea party.

In normal times, the Senate appoints members to serve on a conference committee to negotiate with the House to work out the differences between the two budgets each side has passed, but teabaggers Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee are blocking appointees to a conference committee and efforts to craft a federal budget unless the Senate meets demand that prospective conference members refuse to engage in any negotiations that might raise the federal debt limit. Senators John McCain and Susan Collins, both Republicans,  lambasted the teabaggers this past week for their unprecedented demands with McCain accusing the teabaggers of not understanding “how business has been done” in Congress, and asserted that most GOP senators agree it is time to stop stalling and go to conference. McCain’s warmonger buddy, Senator Lindsey Graham, backed up the Arizona senator’s claim and said, “I think it’s a good idea to get a commitment not to raise the debt limit, but I trust the normal course of business — that we’re not going to use reconciliation to raise the debt limit, we can have a motion to instruct our conferees not to raise the debt limit so I’m fine with going to conference.”

Inter-party bickering aside, it is Graham, and most Republicans’ comment that a commitment to “not raising the debt limit” informs Republicans are Hell bent on economic terrorism as well as shunning their duty to support the U.S. Constitution. Graham is not a freshman teabagger, and he knows full well that demanding that America defaults on its debts is a violation of Article 4 of the 14th Amendment that clearly says, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, shall not be questioned.” When Bush and Republicans were piling up debt for two unfunded wars, tax cuts for the rich, and an unfunded Medicare prescription plan to enrich the pharmaceutical industry, Republicans never questioned the debt and raised the limit 19 times to cover their wild spending. Those debts are still adding to the national deficit and did not stop when Barack Obama was sworn in as President because except for the Bush tax cuts for the rich that ended in the waning days of 2012, the wars’ costs and prescription plan are still adding to the deficit.

The idea of not raising the debt limit implies that Republicans want America to default on its debt and go bankrupt, and that is precisely what Boehner and Republicans proposed nearly three weeks ago with an insane debt prioritization bill.  The bill was sold as a means of avoiding an American default, but by prioritizing paying certain debt obligations held by the public as well as Social Security benefits and defaulting on the rest is the definition of a bankruptcy sans a bankruptcy court judge.  President Obama railed on the Republican plan and said, “No one should threaten the default of the United States for any reason, no one should use the default of the United States as a budget path or negotiating tool, American families do not get to choose which bills to pass and which ones not to pay, and the United States Congress cannot either without putting the Nation into default for the first time in its history.” The President also reminded Republicans that “This bill would threaten the full faith and credit of the United States and do damage to the economy. This legislation is unwise, unworkable and unacceptably risky.” It is also childish and economic treason, and yet Republicans are “committed to not raising the debt limit.”

The debt Republicans want to default on is nearly all due to their economic malfeasance including the wars, tax cuts, prescription plan, the stimulus, bank bailouts, and added safety net costs as a result of crashing the economy during the Bush years. If Republicans had not deregulated the banking industry that precipitated the Great Recession, the numerous bailouts and President Obama’s stimulus would have been unnecessary, and the economy would be healthy.  The Republican leadership in both houses of Congress have promised to repeat their 2011 debt limit fiasco, and it portends that the GOP will  follow through on their threat despite President Obama’s warning he will not negotiate the debt ceiling increase again. In 2011 Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Republicans that “as a negotiating strategy you say: ‘If you don’t do things my way, I’m going to force the United States to default–not pay the legacy of bills accumulated by my predecessors in Congress.’ It’s not a credible negotiating strategy, and it’s not going to happen.” However, it did happen and Republicans are prepared to do it again based on their assertion that budget negotiations are predicated on a “commitment not to raise the debt limit.”

For eight years Bush Republicans’ economic malfeasance decimated the economy and racked up debt that continues to this day, and they have spent the past four years attempting to finish what they started. For four years they made the American people pay the price with Draconian budget cuts, and despite their efforts, President Obama managed to mastermind a tepid recovery and get Americans back to work. It appears that absent success at completely destroying the economy by obstruction, they intend on causing a default they failed to achieve in 2011, and new Senate and House debt limit threats expose their plan to default on the nation’s debts regardless the consequences to the country’s fiscal health. It is important to remember that just holding the debt limit hostage in 2011 caused a credit downgrade, slowed recovery, and created more economic hardship for Americans, and if they intend on entering budget negotiations with default as condition for a deal, there will be no good outcome for the economy. However, that is the result of economic terrorists intent on violating the Constitution’s directive that “The validity of the public debt of the United States…shall not be questioned” because it is Republican debt and a Democrat is President.

Image: Bloomberg

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