I’ve got three articles on deck, about the GOP federal government shutdown and imminent debt default, and they’re all important, so figured I’d wrap them into one article.
With no further ado (read them all):
1. “The default has already begun,” by Felix Salmon
Felix Salmon, Reuter’s economic blogger, argues that the damage from the debt ceiling battle has already begun.
Just like the last time the Republicans threatened to send the world economy into a deep depression, the markets are already getting the jitters, and it’s hurting us economically.
The global faith in US institutions has already been undermined. The mechanism by which catastrophe would arise has already been set into motion. And as a result, economic growth in both the US and the rest of the world will be lower than it should be. Unemployment will be higher. Social unrest will be more destructive. These things aren’t as bad now as they would be if we actually got to a point of payment default. But even a payment default wouldn’t cause mass overnight failures: the catastrophe would be slower and nastier than that, less visible, less spectacular. We’re not talking the final scene of Fight Club, we’re talking more about another global credit crisis — where “credit” means “trust”, and “trust” means “trust in the US government as the one institution which cannot fail”.
While debt default is undoubtedly the worst of all possible worlds, then, the bonkers level of Washington dysfunction on display right now is nearly as bad. Every day that goes past is a day where trust and faith in the US government is evaporating — and once it has evaporated, it will never return. The Republicans in the House have already managed to inflict significant, lasting damage to the US and the global economy — even if they were to pass a completely clean bill tomorrow morning, which they won’t. The default has already started, and is already causing real harm. The only question is how much worse it’s going to get.
2. “Government shutdown unleashes racism,” by Roger Simon
Question: If Ted Cruz and John Boehner were both on a sinking ship, who would be saved?
Here’s a bit more, about the Tea Party rally, led by Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz, that was blaming the White House for the GOP government shutdown that Palin and Cruz and the Tea Party supported (some of the Tea Party revelers also shouted racist insults at the White House cops):
This weekend, racism came out of the closet. (Which assumes it has ever been in the closet.)
Protesters marched through the streets of Washington on Sunday with a Confederate flag and then a protester lounged against the White House fence with one. Displaying the Confederate flag in front of a home occupied by a black family was meant to send a particular, and particularly repellent, message.
There were other signs of our descent. Remember Samuel Wurzelbacher? Known as “Joe the Plumber,” he was selected by John McCain as his presidential campaign mascot in 2008 with the same care McCain used to select Sarah Palin.
Over the weekend, Wurzelbacher posted an article on his blog titled: “America Needs a White Republican President.”
“Admit it,” the article said. “You want a white Republican president again. Wanting a white Republican president doesn’t make you racist, it just makes you American.”
America has come to a sorry pass. Not because there are still racists among us, but because the racists among us think they can tell us what makes an American.
3. “Meet John Boehner’s old problem, same as his new problem,” by Chris Cillizza.
Our third article today is by Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post. It walks us through the disaster that was this morning’s press conference by GOP House Speaker Boehner in which he basically admitted that he didn’t even have the votes to pass his own proposal for resolving the shutdown and debt limit face-off.
The math simply doesn’t add up — time and again for Boehner. If he loses somewhere between 30-50 Republicans on any vote viewed as a compromise with the White House and Senate Democrats, he must find somewhere between a dozen and three dozen Democratic votes to make up the difference. And, to date, Democrats have refused to throw him a political life preserver to pass just about any of these measures.
Those facts repeatedly leave Boehner with only two choices: 1) Propose legislation favored by the most conservative wing of the party, ensuring unity in his ranks but dooming the bill in the Senate or 2) Accept that a compromise bill will have to pass with a majority of Democratic votes and the very real possibility of a minority of Republicans ones. The first option means we could be headed for default. The second means that Boehner’s speakership would effectively be over.