Friday, June 3, 2011

Dancing on the debt ceiling

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Dancing on the Ceiling
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This is all political theater, yes, but they're playing with fire. It's a big deal to default on your loans. For most of our history, the full faith and credit of the United States of America has been as good as gold. The U.S. dollar is the standard of international commerce, and for good reason.

When things get scary, people worldwide flock to the dollar. And we can fund that massive debt (brought to us by Republicans, I might remind you) because our borrowing costs are so low. That's what having superb credit does for us. But let this become a political football and that will change.

So this really is playing with fire. But Republicans have two bases of support. First, they've got ignorant Tea Party yokels fired up on Fox "News." Thanks to constant rants about the deficit (since they're desperately trying to pass the blame onto the Democrats), they've got to pretend they're going to do something about it - and without raising taxes. (It's right-wing dogma that taxes are always bad.)

But their Wall Street base, which normally demands only deregulation and continuing tax cuts for the rich, knows what a complete disaster failing to raise the debt ceiling really would be. So Republicans have to assure them that this is just political theater.

OK, this is dishonest, of course, but that doesn't bother me. It's the GOP, after all. What do you expect? What's scary is that political games can easily get out of hand.

I'm sure the Republicans expect Democrats to fold. After all, they always have. (Please note, Democrats, that you're in a terrible position for negotiating when you've got a reputation for never standing up for anything.)

But playing chicken is dangerous. It really is. Really! Even when you're playing with Democrats. After all, you've just told the Democrats - and everyone else - that this is just political theater, that you don't really intend to block raising the debt ceiling. I know it's unlikely, but maybe even Democrats will develop a spine after that.

Jeebus, aren't there any adults left in the GOP?  This is complete insanity! They are playing political games with America's entire economy!

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