Well, after a long hiatus, I’m back. I could not sit around without commenting on the outrageous conduct of Congressional Republicans.
First, some quick background. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was
- passed by the Congress,
- signed into law by the President,
- upheld by the Supreme Court.
Then in the 2012 election, the American electorate was given a choice between a candidate who supported the law, obviously, and one who said he would shut down Obamacare “on day one.” That candidate, Mitt Romney, was soundly defeated. So “the American people” had spoken, clearly, about what they wanted, and the ACA is the law of the land.
The role of the opposition party, if they are not happy with this or any other law, is to work through the normal channels to bring about change. But in this case, a small band of radical Republicans threw a temper tantrum and threatened to deeply wound the American economy.
And they did. Yesterday, Standard & Poor’s estimated that the GOP-forced government shutdown sucked around $24 billion out of the economy – and the meter is still running. (Remember when the GOP was the party of “fiscal responsibility”?)
Sen. John McCain called the actions of the House Republicans a “fool’s errand.” He knew there was zero chance they could get what they wanted – the defunding of the ACA. Yet this small group of crazies persisted, and we will all feel the effects as the damage ripples through the U.S. economy and beyond, forcing interest rates up and holding GDP down.
As egregious as the shutdown was, even worse was the threat to allow the U.S., for the first time ever, to default on its obligations. Some radical righties argued that a default would not be harmful. They are idiots. Not one mainstream economist (and that covers a wide swath of economic thought and theory) agreed with that stance. Not one. Economists were, and are, horrified by the thought of a default.
But where were the “moderate” Republicans during all this? Almost all were strangely silent. That’s not merely my opinion. Listen to what one conservative thinker, Bruce Bartlett, a former advisor to both President Reagan and the first President Bush, thinks about the current situation:
As he said, the Republican Party has been “hijacked by crazy people, stupid people” and he cannot understand why more of his fellow party members are not standing up to them. (The whole 14 minute video clip is excellent. I hope you will watch it.)
What is my opinion is this: I don’t think it’s mere coincidence that the dumbing down of the Grand Old Party aligns with the rise of Fox News. That organization, watched religiously by millions, stokes paranoia and is not encumbered by facts and rational thought. And the rest of us pay the price.
Thanks for caring about the truth.