Monday, January 14, 2013

Saddam Hussein, Republican terrorism, and the debt ceiling

By Frank Moraes 

I had a thought about the Debt Ceiling crisis. But first, let's think about Iraq. After Saddam Hussein was deposed and Iraq got a new government, they still owed all the money that Hussein borrowed when he was in power. Many nations forgave some or all of that debt, but there was never any doubt that it was owed. It doesn't matter if a ruler borrows lots of money just to abuse all the people in that country, after he's gone those abused people owe that money.

Got that?

Because I'm not sure that the Republicans in Washington understand this. Their manufactured Debt Ceiling crisis is exactly the same. The 112th Congress voted to spend a certain amount of money. President Obama, as the head of the Executive Branch, is constitutionally required to spend that money. Now, the 113th Congress is suggesting that they don't want to pay for roughly 40% of what the last congress voted for.

I am starting to lose my patience with this discussion. Platinum coins? Moral obligation bonds? Do we really need to live in this fantasy world created by the Republican Party? The Congress has mandated spending. The spending must be done. If they don't want to mandate spending going forward, then cut the budget. The Debt Ceiling is ridiculous and it makes our country look even more foolish than usual.

But I'm not a fool. I know why the Republicans don't want to fight over the budget and are instead trying to blackmail the president over the Debt Ceiling. They don't want to be held accountable for budget cuts. Hell, they don't even know what they want to cut! They know that the government is too damned big and they are going to continue knowing that until the government doesn't exist. Because their knowledge is not based on any facts whatsoever.

If I had any faith in the American electorate, I would say, "Fine! Let the Republicans destroy the economy!" But I feel certain that on 5 November 2014, we would find that at best all that had happened was that the Republicans had lost a couple of seats in the House. A great country like the United States does not get a revolutionary party like the Republicans without a dysfunctional electorate -- without 40% of its (mostly liberal) members not voting.

Unfortunately, unlike Iraq, there will be no one eager to cancel out our debt if we default. People in the military will not be able to go without pay. Seniors will die without their benefits. Oh yeah, and bond holders will not sit idly by while their investments disintegrate. But there will be a big upside for conservatives. The government will have to pay far more for its debt going forward and so will use this as an excuse to reduce benefits. Shock doctrine USA!

I have a new definition for the word "patriot": someone who hates -- really hates -- the United States. Or we could all just agree to call the Republicans what they are: terrorists.

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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