Call The Conservatives’ Bluff On The Debt Ceiling
The Republican Tea Party is threatening to send shockwaves through the world economy by holding the debt ceiling hostage, hoping to extract even more painful concessions. They play a good game, but any good strategist knows that they are bluffing. The rich and corporate masters of the right stand to lose the most by a financial crash. Progressive and centrist Democrats need to call their bluff for the sake of America.
I’ll give the authoritarian right some credit here: they play one hell of hand. They have won every major battle from the public option to Wall Street reform with teeth to extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich by pretending they have two aces in the hole. This time, just like every other time, they do not actually have the cards to support their lavish bets.
This tactic has turned out well for them in the past. Democrats have consistently folded every single time the GOP has gone all-in. Some claim this is due to the party being hindered by some of their own conservatives who work directly for the corporations, some say it is Obama’s pragmatic nature that seeks appeasement at any cost, and some just say the whole system of government has been hijacked by a theocratic plutarchy, and the only recourse is to water the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants.
I’m not sure which it is honestly, but I can tell you this for a fact: the rich and powerful will in no way jeopardize the lavish profiteering scheme they have going on in the country. They are literally making out like Robber Barons and have amassed wealth of epic proportions by shearing the working man ever closer to the skin. If they are willing to spend billions debunking the well researched science behind climate change or send poor kids to die in a war for oil, what makes anyone think they would allow a default on the debt payments crash the system?
The right wing has always been in the back pocket of the rich and powerful, but for the last 30+ years there has been an unholy alliance of theocratic social conservatives, military/security complex authoritarians, and rich industrialists that has a lock on the system of power in America.
Add to this mix the election of a young black reformer as president in 2008. That scared the daylights out of the unholy triad, and their think tanks quickly devised a grand scheme to derail change and reform in America: take over the grassroots libertarian Tea Party that had it’s grassroots quickly astroturfed over with Koch-seed. Themes about legalizing all drugs, opening the borders, and ending all overseas military presence were quietly pushed aside, and purely economic themes were projected. In time, the former libertarian stances became just as taboo as liberal though, and aggressively shouted down like Ron Paul in the 2008 GOP primary debates.
This blatant corporate astroturfing served its purpose well. Despite a few token victories by progressives, real change and reform was sacrificed on multiple levels. Instead of massive works projects on things like green energy and bridge repair, Washington D.C. opted to do everything the rich and corporate elite wanted. For them, the Great Recession officially ended in 2009, even though it rages on for the rest of us.
Profits have never been greater for those at the top. The top 1% own 42% of the financial wealth in the US. The top 10% own 85% of the stock market, 85% of financial securities, and 90% of all business assets. The US defaulting on its debt would send markets into a huge spiral, erasing literally trillions of dollars in wealth overnight. While this could be devastating to any working person who has made the mistake of investing their life long nest egg in the stock market (401k, etc.), it would erase far more from the vaults of the rich, and this is something they will never allow to happen.
If Obama let it be known in no uncertain terms that he would veto any bill that cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid by one penny (as most Americans agree with), the Tea Party would capitulate. If the fiscal conservatives really cared about paying the mortgage on the national debt that they are guilty of creating with their starve the beast policy, they would agree to generating more revenue by taxing the rich and corporations. Now is precisely the time to take the fight to them.