Oh my. If Amy Walters, George Will, and Major Garrett agree that Tea Party Republicans need to grow up before they wreck the US economy, maybe there’s hope . . . but not much. Follow the logic if you can:
First, Will opened by noting the Federal Government had bailed out Wall Street and the automakers, but now it faces the prospect of several states, including California (world’s 8th largest economy) declaring bankruptcy.
Next, Will disagreed with Amy Walters that the message from the elections was voters’ hope that everyone in D.C. could just get along and solve the country’s problems. The correct message, Will insisted, was that voters wanted the Tea-GOPs to “throw sand in the gears” and “make it stop.”
Finally, Will, Walters and Garrett agreed that John Boehner would have a problem getting his new Tea-troops to understand that sovereign nations shouldn’t needlessly default on their debt, which Will said would happen if Congress refused to raise the debt ceiling. He and Walters then repeated the theme that previous “no” votes on raising the ceiling were tolerated only because they weren’t the majority, but we’d have a serious financial crisis if there weren’t enough adults to override the crazies. My, my. Where have we heard that before?
In a rational, humane and grownup world, the US would, consistent with the view that the US Constitution was created to “form a more perfect union . . . ensure domestic tranquility . . . promote the general welfare . . .” be working hard to develop a plan to fund essential services that states could not afford to carry during a major economic downturn.
There would be sufficient federal funds to pick up the entire increase in unemployment insurance and Medicaid and other safety-net programs that explode when recessions occur and collapse state tax revenues.
There would be sufficient funding to keep states and local districts from laying off teachers, firemen, police, sanitation, health and other essential workers which states and cities struggle to fund when their own tax revenues collapse.
There would be funding to keep essential programs functioning, to keep infrastructure from collapsing, to keep parks and other civic amenities from deteriorating at a huge, irretrievable loss to their communities.
And these efforts would be linked to programs to put the unemployed back to work, doing all the things that state and local communities need done to keep things going now and to build the foundation for the next generation.
We’re in a national crisis playing out at the state and local level. We need a national crisis response that can only be led and funded at the federal level. That’s what the federal government is for. And that’s the agenda for the next Congress. It would require they become adults.
But to summarize the bipartisan Beltway view, while one of the most dangerous but solvable crises facing the country is the impending bankruptcy of several US states and the collapse of services in communities all over the country — welcome to Ireland and Greece — the Tea-GOP Party coming to power doesn’t have the slightest inclination to allow the federal government to respond but would prefer to “stop it, to throw sand in the gears.” And while this brings several US states crashing to the ground, the same Tea-GOPers think it’s fine to crash the US fiscal and financial system.
Where’s Richard Clarke? “US Taliban planning to attack America.” You’ve been warned.