The Fools on The Hill

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

"Something has gone
terribly wrong, when the biggest threat to our American economy is the
American Congress
." – Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

Meet the "Fools on The Hill," The leadeship of the Tea-Publican Party who want you to believe that taking America hostage and engaging in economic terrorism that will destroy our economy is perfectly legitimate. It is not. Economic terrorism in violation of the Constitution is not to be tolerated.

Steve Benen writes today, At the intersection of recklessness and stupidity:

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle
today, explaining why he believes it's responsible to hold the debt
ceiling hostage until President Obama "puts forward a plan" that makes
Republicans happy. The piece is filled with errors of fact and judgment,
but there was one truly bizarre claim that stood out for me.

"The
coming deadlines will be the next flashpoints in our ongoing fight to
bring fiscal sanity to Washington," the Texas Republican wrote. "It may
be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure
the long-term fiscal well being of our country."

Just at a surface
level, this is ridiculous — to prevent possible trouble in the future,
Cornyn intends to cause deliberate trouble now? But even putting that
aside, I'm not sure if the senator understands the nature of the
controversy. Failing to raise the debt limit — that is, choosing not to
pay the bills for money that's already been spent — doesn't just
"partially shut down the government," it pushes the nation into default
and trashes the full faith and credit of the United States
.

Does
Cornyn, a member of the Finance and Budget committees, not understand
this? Just as importantly, is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
(R-Ky.) equally confused?

"By demanding the power to raise the debt limit whenever he wants by
as much as he wants, [President Obama] showed what he's really after is
assuming unprecedented power to spend taxpayer dollars without any
limit," McConnell argued on the Senate floor.

At the risk of being impolite, McConnell's comments are
plainly dumb. As a policy matter, it's just gibberish, and the fact that
the Senate Minority Leader doesn't seem to know what the debt ceiling even is,
after already having threatened default in 2011 and planning an
identical scheme in 2013, raises serious questions about how
policymakers can expect to resolve a problem they don't seem to
understand at a basic level.

* * *

It's really not that complicated. Congress approves federal spending,
the executive branch follows through accordingly. When the legislative
branch spends more than it takes in, the executive branch has to borrow
the difference.

In the 1930s, Congress came up with the debt
ceiling, mandating the White House to get permission to borrow the money
that Congress has already spent. If McConnell, Cornyn, and their
hostage-taking friends refuse to raise the ceiling, the administration
can't pay the nation's bills. [Resulting in default.] It's that simple.

Either GOP
lawmakers like McConnell and Cornyn haven't yet grasped these basic
details, or they're cynically hoping the public is easily misled by
bogus rhetoric. Either way, there's little hope of a sensible public
debate if Senate Republican leaders repeat nonsense about a looming
national crisis.

Paul Krugman recently explained what is really going on here in Perspective on the Deal:

So, what are the two sides really fighting about? Surely the answer
is, the future of the welfare state. Progressives want to maintain the
achievements of the New Deal and the Great Society, and also implement
and improve Obamacare so that we become a normal advanced country that
guarantees essential health care to all its citizens. The right wants to
roll the clock back to 1930, if not to the 19th century.

There
are two ways progressives can lose this fight. One is direct defeat on
the question of social insurance, with Congress actually voting to
privatize and eventually phase out key programs — or with Democratic
politicians themselves giving away their political birthright in the
name of a mess of pottage
Grand Bargain. The other is for conservatives to successfully starve
the beast — to drive revenue so low through tax cuts that the social
insurance programs can’t be sustained.

Paul Krugman adds this salient point today:

Politico reports
that Democrats are planning to run against Congressional Republicans by
portraying them as incapable of acting responsibly, of creating
“chaos.”

[Or as Naomi Klein described it, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.]

This line of attack has the virtue of being true; the
112th Congress was the Worst Congress Ever, and it wasn’t because of the
Democrats. But it will be an uphill struggle, essentially because the
news media still, after all these years, can’t bring themselves to
abandon “balanced” reporting in which every GOP sin must be matched with
an equal Democratic sin, even if the latter has to be invented out of
thin air.
Can the message break through that fog of confusion?

It is up to readers like you to hold the media villagers accountable, and to write letters to the editor explaining what is going on to low infomation voters by cutting through the fog of confusion created by the conservative media entertainment complex which gets repeated in the "lamestream" media echo chamber.

"Threatening to hurt tens of millions of innocent victims unless you get
your way — which is what the G.O.P. strategy boils down to — shouldn’t
be treated as a legitimate political tactic
." – Paul Krugman.

UPDATE: Ed Kilgore at the Political Animal blog has more on The Deeper Problem With Media Acceptance of Republican Irresponsibility.

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