The Chicken Game Continues

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.

Matt Yglesias:

… 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 don’t include a scenario in which out-party irresponsibility leads to sovereign default. No model is better than the parameters in which it’s based, and a sovereign default could easily be a model-busting occurrence. Still, it seems like at least one “House Republican close to Boehner” thinks this isn’t the case and the president will get most of the blame for a default. That’s a dangerous case of power without responsibility.

Steve Benen:

As far as Republicans are concerned, there’s no need to compromise — they’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 isn’t hearing much about these tactics, but I can’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.

Senate Dems demand that GOP drop Medicare overhaul from debt-ceiling talks

6 thoughts on “The Chicken Game Continues

  1. I drew exactly the opposite conclusion. In 1994 the Gingrich-led Congress threatened to shut down the government, and They got blamed for it, not President Clinton. Now, this is not the same as throwing a country into default and tanking the economy, but there’s ample precendent for the Democrats to properly stage manage this.

    Now,where I see the win-win, is that by letting the country default, not only would Republicans destroy the recovery, but they would achieve their long standing aim of destroying the government’s ability to function, destroy the poor and the middle class, and go into full neo-feudal mode. That’s the real prize and ultimate goal for them. They don’t care about re-election, they do care about establishing and cementing in place an oligarchy that can never be threatened. The real issue in my mind is whether they’re ready at this point to take the big step toward this, and catch all the blame, to go after what they really want.

  2. I’m still waiting for the Democrats to make their point(s).
    Then I’ll believe the Obama and Dem’s will be tough and firm when I see it.

    What I don’t get is why Obama doesn’t do a prime time address to the nation (BEFORE summer and vacation season really get going) about the debt, the debt ceiling, and the Republican plans to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid (and then SS when the NEXT budget or debt ceiling comes along?).

    Explain it to people like this (I used this analogy here yesterday – but I think it fits):
    “Right now, Medicare is the t-bone steak of programs for seniors.
    And who wouldn’t want a nice t-bone steak?
    What the Republicans want to do is strip off the meat, give that to the rich, and leave you the bone – and then, that bone’s only availabe via a voucher system.
    And they’re trying to sell this by saying it’s still Medicare – “Hey, it’s still a t-bone, right?”
    Yeah, Republicans, “But WHERE’S THE BEEF?”
    Why can’t we tax some of the top earners to let people get some meat, and not just leave them the bone?”

    Also, where does all of this end?
    What do we have to give up next time?
    It’s not like we’re NOT going to have another budget fight later this year, or NOT be raising the debt ceiling anytime soon.

    How many more times will we have to negotiate with these terrorists in the next few years?
    Ask the public, ok, how much more of the social safety net are you willing to give up, just to lower the debt? And ask your Republican representatives, who had no problems driving that debt up, why he/she doesn’t want to raise taxes on the top 2%, but instead, wants to gut YOUR kids education, and YOU and YOUR parent’s Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security?

    If he doesn’t start to use it soon, the only time he’ll use it is when he gives his farewell address in January of 2013.

    Jesus, don’t do a f*cking thing right now, and let Wall Street pressure these assclowns.
    Wall Street hasn’t yet maximized their profits until the next coming recession/depression – coming soon to a theatre near you. Sooner than Wall Street wants and is ready for. So, if the Republicans do what they claim they’ll do, in August, they will have cut Wall Street’ss profits short short, pissing off the corporations and the Oligarchs.
    Obama and Dems – let Wall Street do your work for you.

    But no. I worry that Obama and the Democrats will do what they always do – bend and crack under pressure.

    I’m afraid that sometime past performance IS an indicator of future performance.

  3. I can’t help it. The conduct of the House (Republicans AND Democrats) reminds me of the old saying about Nero – he fiddled while Rome burned.

    It isn’t as though everything will work out in spite of them, which is often the case on other issues before them. The Framers gave the House the responsibility of deciding issues on money probably thinking that its members would be ‘closer’ to the people and thus make decisions based on how they affected the populace. Little did the Framers imagine that the House would end up a being a body of self-absorbed, ego-ridden popinjays only interested in their own political welfare.

  4. When Obama caved in on the tax cuts he proved to the boner that he can be manipulated, he’ll cave again.

  5. I think we are seeing a desperate ploy to repeal Medicare because the tea party has peaked, the puppet masters know they will lose seats in the House, won’t make gains in the Senate, and have no shot at the White House. So they are raising on a busted flush.

  6. Well, being a economic bottom feeder has its advantages.. From my perspective the only direction I can go is up…And if he government defaults and the economy tanks even further then there will be a whole lot of people in the same boat as I’m in..Which means maybe there will be a chance the clowns in Washington will get serious about job creation.

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