THE DEATH OF THE
30 July, 2011
Writing this (at 21:55, 30 July, 2011), It seems as if the economically
unthinkable is about to happen: Default. Sixty fanatical Tea Party
House members are about to push this country (and much of the rest of
the world) off the edge and into financial chaos. Sixty nut cases are
about to make all our lives (except those of their billionaire backers)
a lot more difficult.
I believe, at this point, that default is what we are about to get.
First, The the Tea-baggers are not going to compromise.
They know that they are driving the Republican Party: they've got 60
solid votes, and many more scared Republicans that won't dare cross
them (and Grover Norquist). You can see it in the frustrated, pained
and exasperated look on John Boehner's face. He wants to know that if
he negotiates a deal that he can get it through the House; yet he knows
that he can negotiate all he wants: if the Tea-baggers don't get 100%
of what they want, it's no deal. All he will get out of this is no
Second, The Tea Party
Republicans are the ones who started tacking demands on the debt
ceiling process; they know that if this tactic works, they can use it
again and again to hold the entire country hostage. Why else would they want to do this all
over again in 6 months? Easy: it's so they'll have another
opportunity to enforce more demands, (possibly many demands) the next
time around. If they back down, they know that they will have disarmed
what they believe to be their most potent weapon.
Third, There are other options
available to President Obama, such as the 14th amendment end-run. It
would be a bold, daring, outside-the-box solution, and it's very easy
to argue that this is certainly the time that a bold, daring
action is precisely what's needed. Some constitutional scholars have
that there is a good argument for
him to invoke the 14th amendment and
just do it. Some have even
suggested that he could be considered in
violation of the Constitution if he doesn't; even ex-President Clinton
urged him to pursue the 14th amendment solution. Yet the president has
stated that he doesn't believe the 14th amendment is applicable, (and)
that he won't use it. He has
indicated that he is not interested in other options and intends to
stick to this process. I believe him. One thing I
think we can all agree on is that bold, daring, outside-the-box moves
are not this president's strong suit.
So why would this be the death of the Tea Party? The consequences of
default are legion: rising interest rates, falling dollar, (think gas
prices are high now?) far less investment, possible job losses as
businesses go to a cut-my-losses-and-see-what-happens mode, and a
general economic atmosphere that could make the 1930's look like the
sandbox at the church playground. It is quite possible that the dollar
will lose its place as the world's standard currency. While we're on that subject, whose currency do you
think will take its place? Think Red China.
Since the Tea-baggers are the ones who are obviously enjoying their
stomp in the no-compromise limelight, they will (rightfully) get the
blame (and rage) for what happens next. Ending up as America's most
despised political movement is not outside the realm of possibility.
President Obama, on the other hand, would, after all is said and done,
come out quite the hero for invoking the 14th amendment and making a
bold move to save the country's fragile economy from taking another
beating. Yes, there is some risk that the Tea-baggers might try
impeachment. It could be nothing more than a symbolic gesture. The
Democrats wouldn't go for it, and the rest of the Republicans
would most likely be quite glad they were off the hook (with no desire
to get back on). Public opinion would also be on the president's side.
This just in: More talk of an impending deal, with cuts to Medicare.
The president blinks and caves. That
I would expect. If that happens, the Tea-baggers win big,
learning that intransigence works, and
we get a bigger, stronger Tea Party.
There is the chance that invoking the 14th amendment is exactly what President Obama has in mind:
he's just waiting for the last minute to keep the element of surprise.
I sure hope so.