Let’s get back to real issues, shall we? Moody’s Investor Service sent out another warning that it would lower the U.S.’s credit rating if there isn’t some firm progress toward raising the debt ceiling, and soon.
The game of chicken continues, and the GOP apparently believes it has found a win/win. They either manage to blackmail the Dems into supporting Medicare cuts (thereby inoculating Republican candidates from the political consequences of the Ryan budget vote) or else the economy is trashed, and they can blame President Obama for it.
… the evidence from political science does appear to suggest that if Republican intransigence destroys the American economy, that the voters will respond to this by punishing the incumbent President and electing a Republican. Obviously the models on which that conclusion is based donâ€™t include a scenario in which out-party irresponsibility leads to sovereign default. No model is better than the parameters in which itâ€™s based, and a sovereign default could easily be a model-busting occurrence. Still, it seems like at least one â€œHouse Republican close to Boehnerâ€ thinks this isnâ€™t the case and the president will get most of the blame for a default. Thatâ€™s a dangerous case of power without responsibility.
As far as Republicans are concerned, thereâ€™s no need to compromise â€” theyâ€™re the ones with the gun and the hostage. Why strike a deal? If Obama caves, they get what they want. If Obama stands firm, and the GOP deliberately destroys the economy, Republicans will blame the president and destroy his chances of re-election. As far as the GOP leadership is concerned, all they have to do is wait.
In the abstract, this is arguably one of the great political scandals of recent American history. There is no modern precedent for a political party acting like an organized crime family this shamelessly. The American public isnâ€™t hearing much about these tactics, but I canâ€™t help but wonder what the mainstream would think if someone were to tell them that the Republican Party intends to cause a recession, on purpose, unless Democrats drastically cut Medicare and other popular domestic programs.
Which leads me to ask, why aren’t the Dems saying just that? A lot, and loudly? Why aren’t Moveon and the Center for American Progress and other progressive organizations cranking out YouTube videos and television ads explaining the issue?
I still say most Americans don’t understand the issue. A fairly recent Pew survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe that raising the debt ceiling would be bad, because it would result in more spending and a bigger budget deficit.
I say again, lots of people are assuming that the debt itself can’t go above the ceiling, which is not the case. They have no idea what impact not raising the ceiling would have on the economy, and that not raising the debt ceiling would make our debt situation worse.
On the plus side, President Obama says he will not permit the Bush tax cuts for the rich to be extended again.
Update: Senate Dems demand that GOP drop Medicare overhaul from debt-ceiling talks