Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gun-to-the-Head Governing--With Blanks

Don't bother to send in the clowns, they're here (see the 2012 GOP hopefuls), but it's those in Congress who are armed and dangerous, threatening to turn the world's richest nation into a gambling saloon for financial markets.

As last week's shutdown shootout cuts turn out to be illusory, Capitol Hill zealots prepare to repeat it with the vote over raising the debt ceiling and spook world buyers of U.S. bonds into raising rates, as they have in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Iceland, leading to higher deficits and even more borrowing.

Tea Party cowboys see themselves as riding to the rescue of an economy strapped to the railroad tracks, but their ignorant antics are threatening to shoot the hostage in the head and themselves in the foot.

The GOP could have pre-written its reflexive response to the President's proposal to cut borrowing by $4 trillion over 12 years with cuts in military and domestic spending as well as higher taxes on the wealthy.

But the stand of Boehner and McConnell is statesmanlike compared to that of Rand Paul and his ilk, who want to make a last stand at the fiscal Alamo over last week's agreement.

Wall Street is warning sane Republicans not to keep going to the brink, but the Congressional leadership will have a hard time restraining its newcomers from shooting up the debt ceiling debate.

Voters of all persuasions have already registered revulsion over this kind of gun-to-the-head governing but, when they start to see the real-life consequences, will they begin to rise up in outrage to sink the Tea Party and its cargo?

Update: An objective economic analysis finds the Ryan Plan "was generated by manipulating a model that would not otherwise produce this result, and that the basis for this manipulation is not supported either theoretically or empirically.

"This is indeed unfortunate, since it might encourage some legislators to believe that slicing federal debt dramatically can produce long-run gain without short-run pain...Unfortunately, we expect budget hawks to advance this argument during the coming debate over whether to raise the debt ceiling. That would be an especially bad time to make the mistake of assuming the answer."

Translation: The Tea Party gun is loaded with blanks.

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