Principled GOP Stand

Ted YohoAs 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.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Principled GOP Stand

  1. And why, pray tell, would the GOP care if their actions harm the economy? Economic distress is always blamed on the party holding the White House, or so they figure.

    The base (elite edition) will have carefully placed their investments in areas not likely to be affected, so it won’t harm them. The base (average Limbaugh listeners/Fox viewers edition) have never shown much in the way of repudiating P.T. Barnum’s views, and probably believe that "hey, a mandatory 25% cut in government spending is awesome."

    Should there be an economic disaster, it’ll be entirely possible for Fox and radio to take talking-point orders from on high and focus on the (self-sufficient) Post Office, or some other program they don’t like, and complain that this is why we’re all suffering. Nothing the GOP does at this point could ever possibly alienate any of its supporters.

    Whether or not the GOP motivates "moderates" to turn against them, well, that’s a different question . . .

  2. @JMF – That is the terrible thing about American politics: divided government allows for this kind of horseshit. I think a parliamentary system is far better. If the conservatives have good ideas, let’s see if they work. Ditto for the liberals. I’m willing to do that because I know that liberal ideas are better–at least they are at this point.

    I think the Fox News, Radio Ranters work the other way. This is why the conservative movement is so fucked up. Opinion doesn’t move from Republican to FNRR, it moves FNRR to Republican. Eventually, this will change. Either the Republicans will take their party back, or the Republican Party will be replaced with an actual conservative party. I’ve been pushing the idea that the Democratic Party could break in two in that case. It has all the makings of two excellent parties. A little tilted to the conservative side, actually. (Economically speaking.)

    I didn’t respond to your comment about [i]Sherlock[/i], but I am much in agreement. I saw the third episode last night. I’m torn on Moriarty. He is a totally stupid, unbelievable character. He is also totally awesome. Andrew Scott puts in a wonderful performance. However, it isn’t like he has an Irish brogue, but Scott [i]is[/i] Irish. So we still have that "evil mick" element to it.

    Also: even though the indication was that Moriarty was just pretending to be gay, I think the show is a bit homophobic, even if they are playful about it.

  3. I’d love to read another post on your reaction to the second season of "Sherlock." The ending has a big Moriarty moment and a big cliffhanger (a literal cliffhanger, in this case.) All the leads are at their best in it. It’s also my favorite kind of cliffhanger; not "who lives and who dies" but "how do the writers struggle their way out of this one?"

    As a "Doctor Who" nerd (not recommended, except maybe next season when Capaldi’s in it), which is currently helmed by the same head writer, I can attest that homosexuality is really no big deal in that show’s universe, except in how it frightens the squares. (Who always come around in the end.) So there’s that.

    Government should be divided if the populace is. It should be difficult to pass new laws that a sizable minority of the public does not want enacted. But the Affordable Care Act, for better or worse, was enacted. (I still think we should have had the public option, but oh, well.) The way to defeat it is to elect a new majority and repeal it. (Unless you’re saying you wish we had a parliamentary system — in which case, sign me up.)

    What we’re seeing here reminds me of a palace coup. There are certain unwritten assumptions about how legislative procedure works in Congress and the GOP are shitting all over them, hoping that by the end they will have come that much closer to their goal of dismantling what representative government we have. They certainly find democracy abhorrent. (Democrats, by comparison, seem to find democracy a tedium they still remotely believe in, like a lapsed Catholic who still attends Mass a few Sundays a year after stressful weeks.)

    Incidentally, I also thought Scott’s unhinged performance as Moriarty made the silly character interesting. Rather than "dueling masterminds," we’re just seeing different points on the spectrum of super-bright. Mycroft puts his mind to work within government. Sherlock can’t subdue his ego enough for that, but still only takes basically moral cases. Moriarty is a mercenary. Is is worth noting that his accent sounds generically American?

  4. @JMF – What you are talking about is the theory on which our system is based. The problem is that it doesn’t work. The people aren’t any more divided than normal. What we end up with is a government that pretty much never does what the people want. Or even what the people do not want. The people never get a clear choice. People thought they were voting for change in 2008, but 41 Republican Senators quickly stopped that. (Not that Obama was going to bring much change anyway.)

    I’ll let you know about the second season of [i]Sherlock[/i].

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