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Thursday, October 27, 2016

As America lurches toward new and unfamiliar status as a nation that defaults its debts, commentators around the world are wondering how the democratic government that was once the most admired in the world – for many reasons – is now so “dysfunctional,” to use the polite term. But the truth is that the entire US government is not dysfunctional. Much of the government functions well enough or better, and even the members of the troubled US Senate seems to be trying, a little late, to deal with the problem before us.

No, dysfunctional is the too-polite term for the House of Representatives, specifically its dominant Tea Party Republicans, who can be described in far less dainty psychological terms. Even the most extreme Republican partisans in the Senate seem to realize that their House colleagues, seized by some combination of ideology, madness, and pig ignorance, are propelling the country and the world toward economic chaos.

Of course, the Tea Party Republicans insist that no such thing will ever happen – the warnings from economists, business leaders, financiers and public officials are merely so much “scare talk.” When President Obama says that he won’t be able to send out Social Security and Veterans Administration checks or meet the nation’s obligations on Treasury debt come August 2, he is just trying to frighten his opponents into giving up their principles. They don’t accept the idea that we have to pay for financial obligations already incurred – or that the rising interest rates caused by default will make future deficits much deeper.

But they don’t have to believe the president to understand that the threat posed by default is real. They could listen to ultra-conservative Senators like Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), members of the Gang of Six/Seven whose own profound ideological hostility to Obama and the Democrats still leaves space for prudence.

Or they could listen to more than 60 business groups, from the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce to the Telecommunications Industry Association and the American Gas Association, all fearful of the consequences of default.

Now those business lobbyists may find out why it isn’t so smart to fund any bozo running for office who claims to support “free enterprise.”

It is revealing to listen to the Congressional freshmen affiliated with the Tea Party as the debt clock ticks down and panic begins to set in. Many of them have repeatedly vowed to vote down any bill to increase the debt limit, but somehow they’re sure that if those checks don’t go out and that debt doesn’t get paid, it will be the president’s fault and not theirs. Some say there is no reason why the Treasury should miss any of its bond payments. Others have sent a letter to the White House, urging Obama to “prioritize” those Social Security checks if worse comes to worst.

Such outbursts prove that the Tea Party is not only against taxes and spending, but is strictly opposed to arithmetic, which like climate science is probably just another socialist plot. They also prove the utter insincerity of these characters, who just voted this week for the “Cut, Cap and Balance” bill that would gut Social Security, along with Medicare, while erecting a constitutional wall around tax breaks for society’s wealthiest individuals and corporations. They want to pose as defenders of the middle-class and the American dream, even as they promote legislation that would destroy the programs and institutions that are the foundation of that way of life.

There is no need to look too far to find the source of our discontent – our “dysfunction,” if you must. It is in the Congress, which the American people mistakenly turned over to fakers and fools last November. Every poll shows that most voters regret that error now, and wish that Congress would tax the wealthy and preserve social insurance. Now those voters had better make their remorse heard, and loudly, if they hope to avert catastrophe.

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Copyright 2011 The National Memo
  • euleva

    I have had it with the “Tea Party”. I wonder how many of them are retired and on Social Security and Medicare. If they are they should cut up their cards and take of themselves. If they aren’t there yet then they better start saving a lot of money for retirement. They also better not get disabled because that is also Social Security. So Tea Partyers CUT up your Social Security and Medicare cards. That would leave more money for the rest of us.

  • 3430bien

    As a member of the tea party I would like to say I do not want the government to default but we do want their to be government cuts in federal spending before we raise the debt ceiling Because if we do not start cutting our spending now there will be a time when the deficit will be so large that we will default because our creditors will be demanding it.

  • cecil lee

    Once services are rendered or commitments made, one pays them. Budgets are make before not after the fact.

  • sstrizak

    Why was it OK to raise the debt ceiling 18 times when St. Ronald Reagan was President, 7 times when G.W. Bush was President witout anything attached? It was also raised by G.H.W.Bush and Clinton, but not by Obama.Would the Tea Party default on its own personal debts?They do not understand anything. They can be summed up by a famous Tea Party quote, when a Tea Party senior said “keep your Government hands off my Medicare”. Enough said.

  • Kensr55

    This is what happens when voters cast their ballot for slogans based on lack of understanding of consequences instead of policies.

  • linda marsik

    If the Tea Party Terrorists don’t raise the debt ceiling, maybe Grover Norquist should hide out in Pakistan.

  • Barbara Hall

    As a business owner and employee I have paid into SS and Medicare as have other businesses and employees. Both are not entitlements and should not be treated as such. Debt free and funded for the next 20+ years, Congress has the ability to interfere with their functioning; but not the moral right to use their monies to pay to reduce the debt.

  • H.K. Anders

    “I have had it with the ‘Tea Party’. I wonder how many of them are retired and on Social Security and Medicare.”

    The answer is, a lot of them.

    You only need to look around at a Tea Party rally, before such events dwindle away into extinction, and see how many of these rugged, free-market individualists are there on motorized scooters.

    Matt Taibbi summed it up well having observed this phenomenon in Kentucky: “‘The scooters are because of Medicare,’ he whispers helpfully. ‘They have these commercials down here: “You won’t even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!” Practically everyone in Kentucky has one.'”

    A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can’t imagine it.”

    Taibbi concludes the most salient fact about Teabaggers is this: “They’re full of shit.”

    Work Cited:

    Taibbi, Matt. The Truth About the Tea Party. Rolling Stone. 28 September 2010

  • bob h

    The people responsible for the triumph of the Tea Party last year, the Koch Brothers, Rupert Murdoch, Wall St., the Chamber of Commerce members, et. al., are going to suffer horribly from a default and recession as massive amounts of paper wealth are wiped away. Are they totally happy now with the mindless, knee-jerk support they gave these people?

  • ValKill

    Somebody (Joe Conason) FINALLY SAID IT: “Neither the Speaker nor any of his partisan colleagues can deny that their party voted to extend two wars and hugely expand Medicare spending, while cutting taxes on the wealthy — a series of acts that squandered the surplus earned by the Clinton Administration. Now Boehner wants the poor and working families to pay for those gross and costly mistakes while insisting the wealthy escape any such sacrifice.” I would add: the crisis is also brought to us by the greed of Wall Street and deregulation of Wall Street by GWB. It is an obscenity to make the elderly and the poor pay the price for these reckless misdeeds of the GOP.