Republicans Giddy And Full Of Glee About Their Debt Ceiling 'Hostage' (America)
Every cop show from the past 30 years taught us a few things: Never negotiate with terrorists, don't give in to blackmailers because they'll only come back for more, and most women officers are models.
These first two lessons loom large during the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations. Republicans are holding the nation's economy hostage and demanding far-right policy concessions in exchange for not causing a devastating recession. They're not masking their perfidy, either.
Although originally President Joe Biden was the tough cop refusing to negotiate with hostage takers or give in to blackmail, he's changed his position recently, probably because presidents don't usually win re-election when Americans are standing in bread lines. He's willing to negotiate in good faith with Republicans who only act in bad faith. He'll at least consider a spending freeze and maybe some work requirements for deadbeat poor people.
This week, Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said, "We're willing to discuss freezing spending at current levels. That's an inherently reasonable position many in our party might even be uncomfortable with, but President Biden recognizes we're in a divided government situation."
Of course, this MAGA-factured debt ceiling crisis is not a result of "divided government." Democrats three times raised the debt ceiling during the Trump administration without demanding tax increases, Medicare for All, or drag queens on all US currency.
Biden tweeted on Monday, "I just concluded a productive meeting with Speaker McCarthy about the need to prevent default and avoid a catastrophe for our economy. We reiterated once again that default is off the table and the only way to move forward is in good faith toward a bipartisan agreement."
This only normalizes Republicans' gangster tactics, and now a CNN poll shows 60 percent of Americans think raising the debt ceiling should come with spending cuts. Biden should tell the American people every day that terrorists are holding the US economy hostage and the head terrorist refuses to release the hostage. The terrorists have even moved the hostage to a perilous position on railroad tracks. They're not coming back for spending caps or work requirements. They're coming back for everything.
House Rep. Matt Gaetz told Semafor Tuesday that his extremist buddies "don’t feel like we should negotiate with our hostage,” which is a revealing statement not just for its brazen scuzziness but because ... well yeah, mostly the brazen scuzziness.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus don't even fully believe that the government will run out of money on June 1. They demand that Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen show "proof" of her stated drop-dead default date, perhaps a notarized documented signed by at least three men.
“I don’t believe that the first of a month is a real deadline,” Gaetz said. “But she wanders out of some backroom in the White House with a Ouija board under her arm telling us the first of the month is the number. And we’re supposed to take that as some sort of article of faith.”
Janet Yellen earned her Ph.D in economics from Yale in 1971. Her professional experience is longer than this asshole's life. She's not some Marianne Williamson woo peddler or common street preacher. Seriously, Gaetz can go to hell.
Jeffries and Minority Whip Katherine Clark said they plan to reach out to "a handful" of House Republicans about signing a discharge petition that could bypass House Republican leadership and force a debt ceiling vote. That seems highly unlikely, considering Republicans are close to steamrolling the White House completely. Today, Kevin McCarthy insultingly claimed that the spending caps and work requirements are Republicans' concessions to Democrats.
Adding further injury to this insult is that any final deal will possibly require support from as many as 100 House Democrats, who'll screw over their own constituents to avoid catastrophe while far-right Republicans sit on their hands. What do Democrats gain from this scam? According to Republican Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, it's "the debt ceiling." Rep. Garret Graves graciously agreed, "That's what they're getting."
Your money or your life is quite the Republican bargain.
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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."