Tick, tick, tick. Every day the shutdown drags on and every day we edge just a little bit closer to default on the debt. A week ago I would have given the chances of default at about 20%. Today I would say the odds are 50-50, and growing more likely by the day. Why? Reading the Tea leaves, so to speak.
Boehner is urging his troops to gear up and remain united for the “epic battle” ahead. Sounds like apocalyptic language to me. At the same time he’s telling them to prepare for battle…
“The overarching problem for the man at the center of the budget fight, say allies and opponents, is that he and his leadership team have no real idea how to resolve the fiscal showdown.”
Boehner says he won’t allow default on the debt, which is an incomplete sentence. He won’t allow default on the debt…as long as his conditions are met.
“I think the American people expect if we’re going to raise the amount of money we can borrow,” he went on, “we ought to do something about our spending problem and the lack of economic growth in our country.”
Earth to Boehner, government spending is already down and the reason for the lack of economic growth is because of the austerity you’ve already demanded and gotten, and because of the uncertain economic conditions created by you and your fellow hostage takers in the House. But that’s reality and the Tea Party will have none of that.
So now that the kidnappers have taken the hostage and made their demands for release, are they willing to shoot if their demands are not met? Sadly, I believe they are.
The conventional wisdom is that at some point Boehner and the House Republicans will realize the futility of their efforts, come to their senses, and pass an increase somewhere just shy of actual default. But the Tea Party loonies in the House who are pulling Boehner’s strings have no senses to come to. They are convinced that all the doom and gloom predictions about what a default will bring is just “needless panic,” and won’t actually occur. That’s just what them there pointy-headed, librul economists are saying. What do they know?
They are listening to the likes of Steve King and Ted Yoho and Tom Cotton. They’re listening to the Fox News/talk radio blowhards. You know, the same people who were certain of a Romney landslide last November. They’re listening to their constituents back home–the people whose knowledge of economics is about the same level as their knowledge of spelling and grammar. The people who see the word “debt” in the name and scream “Hell no.” They’re listening to their economic boy wonder Paul Ryan, who has been hard at work since the last default threat on a plan to prioritize payments in the event of a default. Never mind that every economist outside the bubble says that is a fantasy. Just like Ryan’s budget numbers.
There’s another aspect to this apparent intent to drive the car off the cliff that I don’t discount. The Tea Party reps in the House are from the whitest of the white districts that gerrymandering could ever hope to create. They, and the people on whom they depend for re-election, would like nothing better than to hang the first ever default of the United States on the first black president of the United States. ‘See, that’s whut yew git fer electin’ one of “them.”