House Speaker McCarthy Ready To BURN IT ALL DOWN
Hope you haven't grown too attached to a functioning US economy, because House Republicans are about to drive it off a cliff, while Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Marjorie Taylor Greene hold hands and gaze lovingly at each other.
This is somehow President Joe Biden's fault, as the Washington Postsuggested last week in its article, "Biden is running out of time to avoid calamitous debt ceiling outcomes." The subhed does note that "The GOP’s willingness to court economic disaster without major spending cuts leaves White House aides in a bind," but that's like a Gotham Gazette headline blaring, "Commissioner Gordon running out of time to prevent Gothamites from dying with a smile" with a much smaller subhed reading, "Joker gleefully threatens to poison city's reservoir." See, what's actually relevant and newsworthy is that a pack of Jokers is running the House of Representatives.
The Joker is at least honest about how he's only in this to hurt people. Republicans claim they want massive spending cuts and significant policy concessions such as repealing most of the Inflation Reduction Act because blah, blah, blah fiscal responsibility, but defaulting on the debt would have disastrous consequences: People on Social Security would get stiffed; federal employees would stop getting paid; the post office, the Transportation Security Administration, US Customs, and the Federal Aviation Administration would stop functioning without some sort of emergency stop gap. Stocks would crash. Businesses would stop hiring. Republicans would presumably laugh maniacally.
Under the cover of darkness, House Republicans negotiated further changes to their debt ceiling plan with Barely Speaker McCarthy, who'd earlier put his foot down and told members they'd have to accept the plan as-is. McCarthy's foot rarely stays down for long. It practically levitates.
Politico reports today that the House Rules Committee agreed to "major changes to help satisfy the demands of Midwesterners who were raising concerns about ethanol provisions and some conservative demands for stronger work requirements for social programs." Yeah, someone on SNAP and Medicaid apparently needs to work a couple more shifts at Walmart. If you want to suck on the government teat without meaningfully contributing to society, Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert already have that job.
Seriously, Republicans demand that poor people who require public assistance jump through multiple hoops to prove that they aren't deadbeats but Republicans would freak out if Democrats demanded similar requirements before rich people could receive their yacht deductions. It's not a coincidence that Republicans are so hot about cutting funding for the Internal Revenue Service.
Screwing the poor, however, is unfortunately popular among certain key demos, but Republicans aren't stopping there. They're even going after veterans' benefits, which you know is true because of how loudly they protest when Biden calls them out on it.
\u201cMake the accusation, don\u2019t give them an escape hatch. Make them deny it. This is the way.\u201d— Oliver Willis (@Oliver Willis) 1682482608
Biden tweeted Tuesday, "MAGA House Republicans would make cuts to VA health care so that the super-wealthy can cheat on taxes. That's not how we honor veterans' service and sacrifice."
Rep. Greg Murphy from North Carolina whined, "That is a BOLD FACED LIE. House Republicans are committed to supporting our veterans and growing an economy that includes them." Murphy is squirming here like a worm on a hook. The severity of the cuts proposed and their impact on veteran services are clear.
McCarthy declared this morning that he was "confident" he had the votes to pass this horrid plan, but his caucus routinely humiliates him publicly for sport. Nonetheless, if this passes, it won't get past the Senate or the White House. However, House Republicans would rally behind unpopular policies and punitive spending cuts.
And they might still tank the economy. It's all a big Joke.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."