It's not about the debt ceiling. During the George Bush presidency the debt ceiling was raised seven times. Cheney famously said, "Deficits don't matter." The federal debt limit is a fluke of U.S. government budget law. Our debt is a matter of congressional taxing and spending so why another vote on the debt?
As we approach the current debt ceiling date the Republican Party has forsaken politics for terrorism. The markets and much of the world sees the failure to continue with orderly markets and raising the debt ceiling as such a no brainer they cannot conceive a national default on the debt. The Republican demands are simply this: Give us everything we want (no negotiations) or we will crash the economy.
In a July 4 column conservative David Brooks notes that the Republican Party has been captured by ideologues. Governing has been replaced with "true believers" who draw lines and refuse to budge an inch. Brooks states these legislators "... talk blandly of default and are willing to stain their nation's honor."
Shamefully, Democrats have responded to the extortion by appearing willing to "steal" our benefits from Medicare and Social Security for which we paid. In return they ask for some tax concessions that amount to a few billion. The fact is that none of the spending cuts-only approaches being discussed by either party will reduce the deficit more than a few percentage points.
A June 29 New York Times editorial stated: If the Bush tax cuts were extended beyond their expiration in 2012 that ... would account for 45 percent of the projected $11.2 trillion in deficits in this decade. Instead of gutting every program approved by the general public for minimal gain, a real solution is simple.
In his column Brooks noted that Democrats have stopped dealing because of Republican extremism. If Obama and the Democrats cave, they have no future. So, although we snooze in the dog days of summer, a serious crisis is brewing.
Today's Democratic Party is the Republican party of the 1950s and "60s. President Obama is to the right of Richard Nixon. Today's Republicans are the John Birch Society. The Birch Society was so radical it called Eisenhower a Communist and the national press would not cover them.
America has the worst political leadership in generations. A radicalized Republican Party meets a timid and leaderless Democratic Party. We all will suffer the consequences.