As the Republican demand for not destroying the economy continues to change, I am curious. If the government had to be shut down because Obamacare would otherwise destroy the very fabric of our society, how is it that they would accept something else for returning to regular order? First it was just a repeal of the medical device tax. That at least had the advantage of relating to Obamacare. More recently, it is entitlement and tax “reform.” (Note: entitlement reform is entitlement cuts; tax reform is tax cuts for the wealthy.) Why don’t the mainstream press admit that the Republicans are only interested in, “Winning!”
By that I don’t mean to suggest that the Democrats aren’t trying to “win” this political crisis. But it is clear that the Republicans caused this crisis because they wanted to win. They wanted to defeat Obama. And all the talk of Obamacare and budgets is just a cover. If they were honest, the Republicans would have said, “Unless Obama admits that we totally rock and he totally sucks, we will shut down the government.” Because that’s all it is about. And that’s all it has ever been about.
But what a dangerous game we are now playing. This morning, Paul Krugman wrote, Automatic Destabilizers. It’s a tad technical, but the bottom line is terrifying. If the Treasury Department manages to pay bond holders and the banking system doesn’t flip out, a long term Debt Ceiling crisis (and if things are quiet in banking, it will be long term) will cause the economy to contract by 10%. A normal downturn of this absolute magnitude would cause a decrease of 6%, but because automatic government stabilizers would be unavailable, the effect would be much worse.
This amounts to a loss of five million jobs on top of our already large 11 million unemployed (pdf)—not to mention the under-employed and discouraged. Yet we have increasing talk that a Debt Ceiling breach wouldn’t be that bad, or if it was, it would be just because Obama made it that way. Representative Ted Yoho even went so far as summon the Confidence Fairy, “I think, personally, it would bring stability to the world markets.” Let’s think about that for a moment. The 2008 crisis caused a contraction of the government of about the same amount. So what Ted Yoho (Personally!) thinks will add “stability” will in fact, be as bad as the downturn we saw 5 years ago.
So right now we stand on the verge of hurting not just our economy but the world economy. And that will hurt countless people. In fact, it will cause people to die. And what is the reason? Is it Obamacare? More tax cuts for the rich? More benefit cuts for the poor? No! It’s the oh so principled stand that Republicans don’t like the president. This is what they would destroy the world for.