Riddle me this Batman: How does a 30%, across-the-board sales tax on everything from eggs to shoes help Americans facing inflation pressures? How does preventing the president from using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to address supply shortages that area pushing up gasoline prices (not to mention price gouging) relieve everyday Americans’ pain at the pump? How does cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits or raising retirement age alleviate Americans’ financial anxiety? And how does refusing to raise the debt ceiling – even the threat of which will cause interest rates to rise – not turn the American Dream of owning a home, a car, going to college and a comfortable retirement into a nightmare of woe?
Defaulting on our debts –which is what failing to raise the debt ceiling means – would severely, perhaps irrevocably hurt the economy: up to 6 million jobs lost, a surge in unemployment from its 50-year low to as much as 9%, even higher interest rates than the Fed’s effort at steering a “soft landing” which could likely trigger a Great Recession here and globally. Moreover, destroying the essence of the “full faith and credit” of the United States would undermine the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency and America’s role as an economic and political superpower.
Now think about why Republicans would have as their singular policy to destroy the United States economy and inflict untold pain and suffering on working people while advancing a policy to coddle the richest 1% by going after the IRS and law enforcement and actually looking to roll back the 15% minimum corporate tax while raising taxes on the middle class? It’s not just to secure campaign funding and show their obeisance to their donor-masters: they think that if they destroy the economy, unleash suffering, and if more than two decades of history are the example, then the masses will blame Joe Biden and the Democrats (after all, they control the White house and Senate) for profligate spending, so they will win the 2024 elections. This ploy has worked consistently, going back to Reagan.
The answer is that Republicans really have no interest in improving the lives of ordinary Americans. It is easy to chalk it up to the fact that they are bought and paid for by the monied interests (and only make this ridiculous pretense of caring for the “little guy” who actually is drawn to the Republican Party because of its permission to commit to unrestrained racism, misogyny, White Christo supremacy, and violence). But in actuality, it is their agenda to destroy American democracy by destroying its economy. It is Steve Bannon’s playbook, and Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Majorie Taylor Greene are all in Putin’s pocket.
You know Speaker Kevin McCarthy is disingenuous about screaming about the need to raise the debt ceiling (to pay the bills that Congress already authorized and the government already purchased) because the Republicans had no problem raising it three times (without any extortion on the part of Democrats) during the twice-impeached, disgraced Trump’s corrupt administration. In just four short years, Trump – who continues to hail as his (only) significant “accomplishment” passing a tax cut that almost entirely benefited the richest 1% and the corporations (50 of the Fortune 500 companies that collectively earned over $50 billion in profit paid zero in tax), and (as predicted by the Congressional Budget Office) added $2 trillion to the national debt. That was even before pandemic relief spending, billions of which were basically handed out to Trump-Mnuchin’s cronies (including 13 Republican congressmen) like candy from a candy jar. Trump added $7.4 trillion to the national debt – that is 25 percent of all the debt accrued in American history.
In contrast, President Biden’s economic policies not only addressed the supply chain problems that pushed up prices when he first came to office, got COVID under control so people weren’t overwhelming hospitals and morgue freezer trucks and got people back to work. He kept people from going bankrupt, but oversaw unprecedented job creation (10.5 million), the first real wage increases in decades (yes, more than inflation), addressed the Putin-caused spike in gasoline prices and despite all that the Federal Reserve has done to increase interest rates to slow inflation, consumer spending and employment remain robust, defying the self-fulfilling predictions of recession.
If you see what Biden has created – as I do because I get the actual reports – you will know that his promise to build a sustainable, stable economy from the bottom up and the middle out with economic and environmental justice at the heart – is actually happening.
And Republicans can’t stand that. They are out to engineer an economic collapse in order to blame Democrats, despite all the history that shows that the economy falls apart under Republican rule and Democratic administrations have had to come in and put the pieces back together.
Riddle me this, Batman: How is it that voters keep falling for this crap?
This week McCarthy is meeting with Biden for the first time, and presumably will carry the Sedition Caucus’ extortion demand.
Biden should send him packing. The fact is the Constitution mandates the president fulfill America’s debt obligations, so Congress is obligated to do what has in the past been pro forma until they began to use it for political extortion: raise the debt ceiling in order to satisfy the nation’s obligations.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, having notified Congress that the debt ceiling has been reached, said she needed to impose “emergency measures” in order to delay catastrophe for a few months.
So I suggest this: Starting now – not waiting to be dangled over the brink – the first cut in spending should be the salary of everyone in Congress including members, staff and aides until the debt ceiling is sufficiently raised.
Let them feel what others will experience as a result of their wildly irresponsible actions.