Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
There is no other way to describe it. The insurrectionist Tea-Publicans in Congress who are holding the country hostage over the so-called "fiscal cliff" austerity crisis to extort the ransom of a tax cut bonus for the top two percent of plutocrats whom they represent are "economic terrorists." Their latest terrorist threat is a "doomsday scenario" if Americans do not acceed to their demands.
Ezra Klein summarizes the reporting on the latest economic terrorism threat. The GOP’s bizarre ‘doomsday plan’:
* * *
[But] this week, Washington is obsessed with another so-called “doomsday
plan.” But it’s a funny kind of doomsday plan. It’s not a plan meant to
save the country in the event of a doomsday scenario. It’s a plan meant
to create a doomsday scenario in the event that Republicans have to
compromise on tax rates. On Monday, ABC’s Jonathan Karl explained how it would work:
Republicans are seriously considering a Doomsday Plan if fiscal cliff
talks collapse entirely. It’s quite simple: House Republicans would
allow a vote on extending the Bush middle class tax cuts (the bill
passed in August by the Senate) and offer the President nothing more:
no extension of the debt ceiling, nothing on unemployment, nothing on closing loopholes. Congress would recess for the holidays and the president would face a big battle early in the year over the debt ceiling. Two senior Republican elected officials tell me this doomsday plan is becoming the most likely scenario.
Today, the New York Times adds
more detail, including this quote from Rep. Michael C. Burgess
(R-TX): “There’s always better ground, but you have to get there.”
In this case, the “better ground” is exchanging the threat of a
congressionally induced recession for the threat of a congressionally
induced global financial crisis. That’s better ground?
Not for the economy, certainly. But it’s also difficult to see how
it’s better ground for the GOP. Hill Republicans tell me that the
underlying insight is that while the president can permit the economy to
fall over the fiscal cliff, he can’t allow a default. That gives
Republicans a stronger hand, or so they think. But run the scenario out
in more detail and its political risks come clear.
Later this month, Republicans would, by voting “present,” permit the
Bush tax cuts to expire for income over $250,000 and become permanent
for income under $250,000. This would allow President Obama to bank $1
trillion in revenue and secure a win on his key priority in the talks.
But nothing else would get done.
At the end of the year, we would still go over the fiscal cliff.
Remember that the Bush tax cuts are one of the least stimulative
policies in the negotiations. According to the Economic Policy
Institute, extending the middle-class tax cuts would wipe out about 11 percent of the fiscal cliff’s economic impact.
Come early next year, the economy would likely be entering a
recession, and markets would be convulsing as they realize that an
austerity crisis is about to slam into a possible default on the
national debt. Poll after poll
shows the Republicans receiving more blame for the possible failure of
the debt talks, and after a high-profile stunt like voting “present” on
the tax cuts and allowing everything else to expire, those numbers are
likely to turn even more sharply against the GOP.
Meanwhile, Republicans will be threatening not just to take us over
the fiscal cliff, which will already have happened, but to trigger a
financial crisis by breaking through the debt ceiling. And they will be
doing all of this after having lost an election. And for what? Because
they want deeper Medicare cuts that they refuse to publicly specify?
* * *
Republicans may believe that the White House would be so afraid of
default that it would simply capitulate, but my reporting suggests the
opposite: The White House is utterly steadfast in its insistence that it
will not permit the debt ceiling to be used as leverage against it
again. White House officials see this as a matter of good governance. It
would be irresponsible of them — a breach of trust with their
successors — to permit this kind of economic brinksmanship to become the
It is hard to see how this strategy gets the GOP what it wants,
either substantively or politically. The doomsday they’re courting might
be their own.
President Obama has his own "nuclear option" on the federal debt ceiling. Section 4 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution precludes
defaulting on the national debt. Some authors refer to this as
the "nuclear option," i.e., the U.S. must continue to honor its debts regardless of any action or inaction by the U.S. Congress. Section 4 was designed to prevent what the Republican leaders of Congress are currently doing. (Update) Does the 14th Amendment preclude defaulting on the national debt? Yes, it would be a "constitutional crisis" to be resolved by the courts, but there would no longer be a financial crisis. The Tea-Publican economic terrorists will have lost their only leverage.
Note: The Obama administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the President the ability to ignore the debt ceiling. They say that now… unless it becomes necessary.