Let’s face it: the only problem with the economy as far as Republican politicians and media mouths are concerned is that it could be even worse than it is. Certainly, if they had succeeded in their attempt to thwart any and all economic stimulus programs back in 2009, what modest economic growth we have restored since, and the significant but far insufficient drop in unemployment would not have occurred at all.
But give Republicans due credit for trying: they have ferociously opposed everything since the original stimulus that might have put people back to work, and put buying power back in the pockets of Americans whose spending makes the economy run. In fact, even more successful has been their propaganda effort to convince many Americans that immediate debt reduction is the key to economic health, rather than the dangerous retardant to growth it would actually be, a magnificent monkey wrench thrown into the economy, stalling GDP expansion with the attendant loss of jobs.
Republicans’ dirty little secret that isn’t, is that the currently weak economy is benefitting both their primary constituency and donors in the financial and corporate sectors, while it benefits Republicans in the political realm. A stagnant economy and high unemployment are a political bonanza for the obvious reasons.
But stagnation also means near zero inflation (principally energy costs, which are declining) and that means the big boys in finance Republicans represent don’t have inflation cutting into payback of what paltry number of loans they are currently handing out. The business and corporate sector is sitting on their piles of capital, already having restored their post-recession inventories but with nobody to sell the goods to with American buying power in a deep chasm. Naturally, these businesses won’t be hiring employees. Global corporations already have left home, hiring elsewhere and selling elsewhere. They may care about consumer demand in China or India, but who gives a flying donut hole about American consumers?
When’s the last time Republicans acceded to anything that wasn’t their first choice among policy initiatives simply because doing nothing may be the worse choice of all? When was the last time Republicans accepted that the other party had legitimately won the power to govern, and accepted that it was the other party’s turn to implement the policy prescriptions on which they had run for office, and which they believed had the best chance of improving the lives of most Americans? When was the last time Republicans, even in times of economic crisis, exempted from their ironclad obstructionism ideas and initiatives that did not hew strictly to their purest ideological beliefs, simply because it might give a chance for something to work for the eventual benefit of the American people as a whole? In fact, Republicans no longer will cooperate with, or accommodate in any way anything or anybody “for the good of the country.”
It is fair and reasonable to say that for some time now Republicans simply have not cared about their country, only a small, financially and ideologically simpatico slice of that country.
In earlier times (including during the Bush administration) when at least some residue of rationality still was extant in the body politic Republicans voted to increase the debt limit in order to avert the vast negative consequences for the nation itself were it not raised. Now? No matter how many economists or financial experts or even business interests implore the congress not to allow such a precipitous eventuality to actually transpire, Republicans are intransigent, easily, and absent any evidence of conscience, putting aside every concern for the welfare of the country as a whole, and the potential for a newly and severely devastated economy, with the belief that only political benefit will be in the offing for them by refusing to raise the limit. The fact that credit becomes all but unattainable for virtually everyone, and that the public sector and eventually most of the private sector all too soon come to a standstill? The Republican response would be, “We’re good.”
It’s difficult to view this behavior as other than beyond the merely politically expedient, or irresponsible, and as anything other than betrayal of country: betrayal by obstructionism and purposeful and malicious negligence. Rush Limbaugh said what Republican politicians, for practical political reasons never would: “I hope Obama fails.” Such a statement has one and only one meaning. Obama fails politically only if the country fails, or if the country is perceived to be failing. If the country succeeds, Obama succeeds. But actively and dramatically and radically conspiring to destroy the nation’s economy and the nation’s stability is manifest treason, or pretty damn close.
Very well written and convincing! The use of the debt limit as leverage to defund the government alone qualifies as treason if they actually do not raise the debt limit – which they may not. I am not so sure about their general economic strategies which, although they benefit only the wealthy and increase the financial burdens on everyone else directly or indirectly, because I think they sincerely believe in “trickle down” supply side economics. It is a demonstrably failed policy, but in spite of the general havoc they create trying to perpetuate it, it doesn’t qualify (in my estimation) as treason.
Their obstructionism towards anything Obama proposes (including things they have previously espoused) makes sense only in the context you provide, and their vows not to enact any major legislation (the Do-Nothing Congress) and refuse to allow any of his appointments to be approved also support that. They don’t want anything Obama does to be seen as good, and they trumpet the failures they create as Obama’s failings. Hypocrisy, indeed, and to the extent they are willing to harm the economy directly or indirectly, it is certainly unpatriotic. Maybe even treasonous in some sense – but maybe not the sense defined in the Constitution.
Thank you for writing this.
You know Joseph, I was leery of veering into hyperbole with use of the word treasonous, but in the end, it’s difficult to contextualize the willful destructiveness of the right’s obstructionism in any other way There is no doubt enormous conviction on the part of those behaving so irresponsibly, which is perhaps what is most disturbing about it.
If only they were just “irresponsible.” Unfortunately, the results of their policies is so predictably harmful to the general welfare that it is close enough to treason to at least bring it to mind.
And, in the case of the debt limit, if the results of this lack of responsibility manifest in our country’s prolonged pain, then even if unintended, it is still blameworthy. Speaking of which, I made a video. Here’s the URL. Sorry I suck at making videos. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvdixszVqiM
The video is a very good, succinct primer on the evolution of the “crisis” and why it is in fact now a dangerous crisis. Frankly, it’s the sort of thing broadcast and cable news organizations should be doing more of in order to better inform viewers. They don’t, prevented by their preoccupation with a dubious “appearance of balance” from presenting objective reality and conclusions based upon material fact. One assumes Edward R. Murrow is doing many, many RPMs in his grave.