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Hostage Taking As Standard Practice

April 15th, 2011

It’s only been 100 days since the Republicans took the House? It already feels like it’s been more than a year. Geez, this is gonna be a long term.

We’ve already been through a protracted budget crisis where Republicans threatened to shut down government if they didn’t get their spending cuts. It sure sounded like the Dems caved, big-time. But now we’ve been hearing more of the details, and it looks like about half of the cuts were things that were going to be cut anyway–unused census money, for example–and the real cuts are $14.7 billion, not $38.5 billion. Another estimate has the real cuts being only a few hundred million, but that factors in increased war spending, which, if I am not mistaken, Republicans fought to get passed anyway.

Still, we went through a period in which the GOP used a threat of high-powered destructive action–shutting down the federal government–as a means to pressure for what they wanted.

Next up? The debt limit. Which, if not raised, could lead to far more dire circumstances for the nation. Republicans are saying they’ll refuse to cooperate unless they get to attack more Democratic programs.

It’s like being in a car driven by a petty, whining madman who threatens to drive off a cliff every time he doesn’t get to play the song he wants on the radio or stop at the restaurant he wants to–and you get the very strong feeling that he would drive off that cliff, he’s just that freaking crazy.

Is this going to be the norm from now on? Republicans refusing to go along with every major piece of business that could cause major disruption, as a way of getting stuff they want? Because that’s gonna get old real fast, and harder and harder each time to blame on the other guys.

  1. Troy
    April 15th, 2011 at 06:26 | #1

    this is ~60% kabuki for the rubes.

    it’s still unclear how much oomph the TP has these days. TP won rather big last November, not quite a sea change but certainly a warning shot — the threat of being primaried out by the TP jihadis has the fear of god in many vulnerable legislators.

    The general impression is that the US simply “can’t” allow itself to go down the path the Japanese took in the 1990s –cycling deficits into bigger deficits.

    Nobody wants to raise taxes, and Congress can’t print money so that leaves spending cuts, but nobody wants to cut, either.

    Actually, there is one thing they can touch, and that’s the SSA’s ~$2.5T holding of government bonds.

    It is very easy to say those are worthless — et voilà, you’ve got another 3 years of run-room before the national debt becomes a problem.

    They can just raise payroll taxes to make up for this theft. Only the little people pay payroll taxes, and they’re really not smart enough to see through this shell game on their own, and lord knows the press isn’t going to expose it, quite the opposite.

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