(Note: Open Salon appears to have ressurected itself from the ashes of inoperability. I am following Koshersaalam's lead and posting both here and on Our Salon for the time being.)
Once again, the Dunderheads in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives are creating a wholly fictitious fiscal crisis in yet another attempt to re-legislate settled social policies of the United States.
This is yet another instance of the Big Lie, the constant repetition of false statements designed to scare the public – meaning the 98% of the American people that they don’t represent – into accepting draconian changes to our social policies.
The Big Lie in this case is that we will go into default if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling.
Default is only one of a number of potential alternative solutions to the failure to increase the debt ceiling.
The major precipitated event resulting from the failure to raise the debt ceiling has been portrayed as our failure to make good on our debt service costs….but that’s a choice the government doesn’t have to make.
In the event that the federal government was not to receive the authority to increase the debt ceiling, the government could simply prioritize its disbursements, beginning with debt service, and then continuing with the federal payroll, including the military payroll, social security payments, unemployment benefits, Medicare and Medicaid.
Everything else can wait. No, really: EVERYTHING ELSE CAN WAIT.
Instead of defaulting on the debt, the government could, for example, default on federal subsidies to states that have elected Republican representatives to Congress and, yes, this would be legal to do. The government is under an obligation to provide federal subsidies where they have been voted, but there is no rule of law that says WHEN the government has to honor those obligations. Let the Red States wait until the debt ceiling is raised.
Instead of a sequestration as mandated by an absurd and unconstitutional law, the President could exercise his executive powers to prioritize the utilization of the available funds to protect our credit rating by not defaulting on our debt service, and continue the other essential functions of government.
The unconstitutionality of the sequestration law is based on the fact that the President, not Congress, is responsible for the administration of the government, which includes decisions about when and how to pay the government’s bills. The House is responsible for originating budget bills, but the Senate must approve them, and they must be signed by the President. The fact that President signed this bill doesn’t mean that it passes the division of powers test.
Who would be hurt by this alternative to sequestration?
Everyone, but in proportion to their culpability for the present debt crisis.
Republican House Districts who have sent obdurate and irresponsible members to the House of Representatives would see their federal subsidies suspended. Let them explain that to the constituencies they have bamboozled into believing they aren’t recipients of federal funds.
Non-essential purchasing of goods and services would be suspended. No new weapons systems would be purchased. Maybe we could simply pull our troops out now and save billions on those expenditures.
Implicit in this suggestion is the basic principle that the primary function of government is to protect the people of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Right now, the most vicious enemies of the United States are sitting as elected members of the House of Representatives, where they have been voting against the interests of the American people for the past four years.
More dangerous than any foreign cabal, these homegrown financial terrorists are trying to dismantle the socialist state that we have crafted in this nation since the first Roosevelt administration, a government that puts people first, and pragmatism before impractical philosophy.
The reason these homegrown terrorists are pursuing their scorched earth policies in an effort to blackmail the American people in abject submission is very, very simple: they are the bought and paid for political lackeys of a small coterie of very wealthy and very greedy people who want to translate their financial power into the political power to subjugate the American people by impoverishing them financially, depriving them of their political rights, and squeezing them to the point where they are destitute and so desperate they will work for Chinese or Indian wage scales. It is really that simple.
During the past fifty years, we have seen an unprecedented concentration of wealth which has been accomplished through the simple expedient of imposing draconian and ultimately confiscatory taxes on the lower economic classes, while providing enormous tax breaks, tax shelters and other economic benefits to the upper economic classes.
This is part of a historic process of wealth consolidation that has been going on in the Western World since the advent of Christianity, in which process the Christian religion has been used to reinforce the idea that the rulers rule through divine right – God wills it. No other religion makes that statement. The divine right of Kings is a Christian concept.
Today’s ultra-conservative right wing is operating off the same bizarre ideation: the rich are rich because God wills it, and the poor are poor because God wills it.
The rich have been raping everyone else for generations, while promoting the myth that anyone can make it, a fallacy reinforced by the fact that a very small number of people really do make it, and each of those stories reinforce the false notion that anyone can make it in America.
Anyone can’t, because EVERYONE can’t.
This is the simple fact of a zero sum economy. In order to have winners, you have to have losers and in order for one winner to win, there have to be hundreds, if not thousands, of losers.
Therefore, the winners have an absolute responsibility to take care of the losers because the winners only win by creating more losers.
The failure to understand this relationship is the reason that Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness fails the litmus test of social responsibility. We are absolutely responsible for ourselves, but we are also absolutely responsible for each other.
Our failure to provide adequate health care for everyone will inevitably result – sooner or later – in devastating pandemics that will affect everyone because the rich inevitably come into contact with the poor – or with people who come into contact with the poor. No one is immune to a pandemic.
There is very a real equation between the debt ceiling debate and pandemics because the Republican demands for cuts to Social Security and Health Care in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling will inevitably result in more sick people and the further spread of diseases we can’t even imagine today through incubation and the effects of antibiotics on the development of more resistant pathogens.
But the worst pathogen is ignorance, and the worst kind of ignorance is economic ignorance because, if you are ignorant of economics, you are easily manipulated.
When politicians say that it’s so because they say it’s so, it’s time to replace them with people who live in the real world. The best way to do this is to move people into Republican Districts where the margin of victory in the last election was thin enough so that a small shift in the population will turn that District from Red to Blue.
Wouldn’t that be a step in the right direction?