Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sent a letter to Congress to officially inform them that this coming Monday, the United States will reach the artificial construct known as the debt ceiling. I say “artificial” because the debt ceiling is a complete fabrication, a limit Congress imposed on itself. It has no basis in the Constitution and has rarely been an issue until the GOP realized they could take it hostage.
While this dire pronouncement from Geithner might seem to be the leverage the GOP desperately needs in the fiscal curve negotiations, it really isn’t. Along with the the official (artificial) deadline, Geithner also explained that he would be able to stretch our current budget by two months before we became unable to pay our bills. While the Tea Party wing of the GOP would happily let the country suffer through the opening stages of the tax hikes and automatic spending cuts that comprise the fiscal “cliff,” the rest of the GOP knows this is absolute electoral suicide. The debt ceiling is off the table for the current rounds of negotiations.
This is a good deal of the reason that the GOP is unable to work with the Democratic Party right now: they don’t have anything to hold hostage. For the past four years, this is has been the only way for them to get anything they’ve wanted and they’ve led their base to believe all compromise is complete and utter betrayal. With no hostage, they simply don’t know how to get the votes, particularly in the House where Tea Party fanatics hold sway, to govern in a responsible manner.
However, even after the GOP eventually capitulates in the fiscal cliff negotiations, thus falling victim to a crisis they created in 2011 during that year’s debt ceiling battle, they have hinted they will get their “revenge” when the debt ceiling comes up for debate. The last time the GOP did this, they hurt the United States’ credit rating (just a little, but still), measurably hurt the economy and panicked the world markets. Remember, these are the same people (in most cases, they are literally the same Senators and Representatives) that voted to raise the debt ceiling during the Bush administration SEVEN times and will absolutely do so again when there is a Republican in the White House. The rank hypocrisy is truly a wonder of the modern world.
Just as an aside, it’s important to note but almost completely unreported, that the GOP admits that huge cuts to spending WILL hurt the economy. This is in direct contradiction to their stated “belief” that cutting spending will somehow magically spur growth. At last, the GOP’s real goal of cutting spending enough to hurt the economy while pretending it’s really Obama’s fault stands exposed by their own words and actions. Unsurprisingly, the Beltway media refuses to acknowledge this reality.
These are the facts that should presented to the public at every available opportunity. Don’t let others blame “both sides.” Place the blame squarely where it belongs and stop them from enabling the GOP’s reckless actions.