…That would be your present-day Republican party.
The just concluded budget skirmish was a mere amuse bouche to the gluttons-for-(other people’s)- punishment that is your modern GOP. The New York Times reports today on what looks to be the mother of all budget battles to come over the vote to raise the debt limit.
I’m waiting for the chorus of the swaddled commentariat to tell us just how principled are Republican moves like these:
…they will again demand fundamental changes in policy on health care, the environment, abortion rights and more, as the price of their support for raising the debt ceiling
If they don’t get what they want, and actually block the Treasury from raising more obligations, then this is how the Grey Lady (no longer) of 43rd St. rather demurely describes the consequences:
Once the limit is reached, the Treasury Department would not be able to borrow as it does routinely to finance federal operations and roll over existing debt; ultimately it would be unable to pay off maturing debt, putting the United States government — the global standard-setter for creditworthiness — into default.
The repercussions in that event would be as much economic as political, rippling from the bond market into the lives of ordinary citizens through higher interest rates and financial uncertainty of the sort that the economy is only now overcoming, more than three years after the onset of the last recession.
That is: with still achingly high unemployment; wage stagnation; food and energy cost hikes; the rise (again) of the financial sector’s share of corporate profits nation wide; the increasingly worn safety net and all that, the GOP is threatening to make life worse on just about every economic and social axis imaginable.
The irony is that it may be our last, best hope that the monied class will be able to tame the beast they’ve unleashed. Here’s Jamie Damon, head of JP Morgan Chase and someone often seen as one of the non-monstrous Wall St. types:
“If anyone wants to push that button, which I think would be catastrophic and unpredictable, I think they’re crazy,” Mr. Dimon said recently at the United States Chamber of Commerce.
But the problem is that this is what he — and the rest of us — have to contend with:
Representative Mick Mulvaney… dismissed warnings about default as “just posturing,” and said Democrats should bear the responsibility for passing any measure to increase the borrowing limit.
“It’s their debt,” he said. “Make them do it. That’s my attitude.”
Except, of course, this “Democrats did it” nonsense is simply false. Here’s the key part of the Times piece, an all too rare fact-based description of where our current debt comes from: