As the Treasury warns of an “economic catastrophe worse than 2008 if Congress allows default”, Paul Ryan is quietly working on leading House Republicans into holding the debt ceiling hostage.
Suddenly House Republicans’ Thelma and Louise “solution” makes a lot more sense. You see, Paul Ryan (R-WI) is running the show behind the scenes. Apparently leadership trusts him and “they’re looking for him to guide them on any emerging deal,” according to Robert Costa at the National Review.
Ryan says we need something to force the two parties to agree. Something like a debt ceiling hostage. If this sounds familiar, it’s because pre-sequester, Paul Ryan told us all that the sequester would force both parties to the table.
It didn’t. But it did get funding slashed recklessly and without debate. It imposed austerity, which was the goal all along. When Republicans say some new tactic or mechanism is going to force compromise, the country had best check its back for the knife.
Ryan freely admitted last week that Republicans had no plan to “negotiate” without a hostage, “I like combining all of our leverage, which is sequester and the debt limit.” This is no surprise, because he also admitted this in May. Yes, this was all planned.
This is not an accident.
Meanwhile the Fed warns Republicans to shut the hell up about the debt ceiling because a default has the potential to be “catastrophic”.
A default would be unprecedented and has the potential to be catastrophic: credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, U.S.interest rates could skyrocket, the negative spillovers could reverberate around the world, and there might be a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse.
Even suggesting that they are going to use the debt ceiling as a hostage again is unacceptable. Republicans are causing harm already.
Political brinksmanship that engendgers even the prospect of a default can be disruptive to financial markets and American businesses and families.
We paid dearly for Republicans 2011 debt ceiling games:
The financial market stress that developed in August of 2011 persisted into 2012 even though Congress raised the debt ceiling prior to the exhaustion of extraordinary measures.
House Republicans are letting the guy who lost as Vice President — while running on the very ideas that the GOP is trying to impose even though they lost the Senate and the White House — run their show.
They “trust” Ryan, even though they could not make his budget work and that’s part of how we got here, held hostage by the Republicans’ relentless refusal to face the reality of the consistent failure of their radical fiscal ideology. These Republicans are not “conservatives” in the traditional sense; they are corporate puppets trying to pass reckless and radical irresponsibility as fiscal conservatism.
To this end, Ryan is eying up not raising the debt ceiling as the ultimate hostage. These guys are going to impose the economic agenda Americans rejected because elections mean nothing to them.
Democracy? Please. Tell it to the corporate money.
To add to the chaos and drama, an unnamed lawmaker told the New York Times that Boehner “indicated he would be willing to violate the so-called Hastert rule if necessary to pass a debt limit increase.” Translation, Boehner reportedly won’t let them hold the debt ceiling hostage, but “He’s also been clear that a ‘clean’ debt hike cannot pass the House.” Can’t pass a “clean debt hike” = If Democrats give them what they want, they’ll raise the debt ceiling.
Perhaps this unaccountable “leak” is supposed to foster a narrative regarding the goodwill of Speaker Boehner. The subterfuge is deep. We all know that John Boehner does not run the House, so his promises are as meaningless as his failed attempts to pass bargains with his name on them.
Heads up to the Speaker: It’s time to stop taking refuge in a non-existent rule. Even Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) knows there is no such thing as the Hastert Rule — “The Hastert Rule never really existed. It’s a non-entity as far as I’m concerned.”
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.