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On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told the Washington Post that “some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting.” He added that initially, “most of us [Republicans] didn’t think that,” but “what we did learn is this — it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming.”

The remark comes two days after Vice President Joe Biden accused the Tea Party of having “acted like terrorists” during the debt ceiling negotiations. Biden’s accusation prompted howls of protest from conservatives. Michele Bachmann tried to turn it into a fundraising opportunity. “I am offended by Vice President Biden’s irresponsible words and need your immediate support to defend myself and fellow Tea Party members right away,” she said in an email to supporters. Sarah Palin, meanwhile, joked that “if we were real domestic terrorists, shoot, President Obama would be wanting to pal around with us,” referencing the President’s friendship with William Ayers.

The precedent set — the full faith and credit of the United States is a bargaining chip in terrorism-style negotiations over the fate of the U.S. economy — is an ominous one.

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For a long time, inflation has been the phantom of the American economy: often expected but never seen. But the latest Consumer Price Index, which showed that prices rose by five percent from May of last year to May of this year, raises fears that it is breaking down the front door and taking over the guest room.

The price jump was the biggest one-month increase since 2008. It appears to support the warning of former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who wrote in February that President Joe Biden's budget binge could "set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation." Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell charged last month that the administration has already produced "raging inflation."

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