If we come to November, there’s a whole lot of everything else that starts to fall apart.
He agrees to delay the Affordable Care Act for a year to restart the government, and agrees to budget cuts and entitlement cuts beyond the sequester-level budget Democrats have already agreed to in order to raise the debt ceiling. Tea Partiers triumph.
Many congressional Republicans still think this is a possibility. They see Barack Obama as a weakling who will always crumble in the end. They also suffer from a common political delusion, that the American public agrees with you on both the substance of policy and the tactics you’ve chosen. So even with polls showing approval of the shutdown, their party, and the institution in which they serve plunging to the depths of Hades, they believe they’re going to win and get everything they want.
Read the rest of our odds on how this mess ends here.
I would love to see some kind of Back to the Future Hill Valley/Hell Valley alternate-timeline scenario depicting how our brave colonial-garbed no-tax-aficionados would act when faced with the kind of government immolation they crave. Ignore for the moment all the ethereal machinery regarding fiscal policy and Medicare percentages and foreign relations and other intangibles. Think about your morning today. Your radio wasn’t a jumbled mess thanks to the FCC. And those weather reports only occur due to the National Weather Service (under the umbrella of the Commerce Department—hope Texas doesn’t need any hurricane or tornado warnings). On the way to work from the house you might’ve bought with governmental help in the form of the mortgage interest tax deduction, you may have your life saved thanks to federal regulations mandating seat belts and child safety seats. OSHA has your back against unsafe work conditions. The FDA labels food against manufacturers’ desires so you know what you’re actually eating. The EPA works to improve air and water quality. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
As part of the resolution to the crisis, Obama should demand that whatever agreement they come to include eliminating the debt ceiling. Not raise it, blast it to oblivion. The fact that we have a debt ceiling at all is ridiculous. It essentially requires Congress to approve every budget twice, once to spend the money, and once to pay the bills for the money they just spent. There’s only one other democracy in the world (Denmark) that has such a thing, and they set theirs high enough that it never matters. In the days before the Republican Party descended into madness, the debt ceiling was nothing more than an occasion for some harmless grandstanding by the opposition party, but now it has become a weapon of economic destruction that needs to be disarmed. So get rid of it. If Republicans don’t want the country to take on debt, they can try to put together a balanced budget and see if it can pass. But this insanity has to stop, and the way to do it is to take away the minority party’s ability to initiate what Bloomberg News calls “an economic calamity like none the world has ever seen.”
That’s what Obama ought to demand.
I was home
In Lincoln Heights
Named for Abraham
As many other small black
Only 20 years old
I had picketed Rich’s
Department Store in Knoxville
I sat in with Fisk University
But not all that Brave
Mommy didn’t want
Me to go
Neither did my father and I wondered
Would it matter
50 years later I know
We, too, were
I didn’t go
I stayed home
And reminded myself:
We also serve
Read a Q&A with the legendary poet here.
My basic problem with Paul is this: His conception of freedom is fairly simply expressed as the equation less government = more freedom. For someone like me, that equation is woefully inadequate, because the power of the federal government is sometimes necessary to ensure that people’s individual freedom isn’t being infringed upon by other sources.
The winning party next year will be the one that successfully pins the bleak economy on the losing party.