“We are not going to pay a ransom for America paying its bills.” ~ President Obama
The 8-day old U.S. government shutdown has been described as ‘a game of chicken‘. Today at a press conference, President Obama announced that he spoke with House Speaker John Boehner and told him that “Hanging the threat of economic chaos over the heads of the American people should not be part of any discussion about the government shutdown.” That certainly set the stage for what is now clear: the president is not blinking as of right now on the issue of the debt ceiling and defaulting on the nation’s debt.
In explaining his position the president further stated that, “They don’t also get to say ‘unless you give me what the voters rejected in the last election I’m going to cause a recession.’”
Here’s the position the American people are now in: imagine if the Democratic Congress threatened to crash the economy –Republicans would not think that is an appropriate course of action. In an article that appeared in the New Yorker, it clearly indicates what many of us have long known: a tiny minority is dictating policy for the overwhelming majority in this country. Only 18 percent of the US population is represented by the congressmen who are, effectively, standing with their feet firmly on the backs of the citizens of this nation.
Democrats have requested 19 times to sit down with Republicans to hash out a budget that can meet the needs of the nation but they were rejected each time by Republicans. The obvious implication is that only one side wants to keep government operations running while budget negotiations are in process, and it’s clear that House Republicans, led around by Tea Party representatives, have been saying that they will shut down the government and tank the economy if they don’t get what we want.
The Tea Party has forgotten that voters rejected their extreme agenda twice in re-electing President Obama – but, once again, the president is in the position of having to explain to the American people and, more than likely some members of Congress, the seriousness of preventing the debt ceiling from being raised. It’s shameful that elected officials have to be warned about the national and global consequences of a default on the nation’s debt.
The last time this game of chicken was played the United States, for the first time in its history, suffered a credit rating downgrade which served to decrease market confidence in the nation and its debt repayment and decision-making abilities while subsequently increasing our future borrowing costs.
There’s far more at stake here than just GOP egos. But perhaps this was all part of the plan all along; with over 800,000 furloughed federal workers and consumer confidence declining rapidly, the ultimate result will be a worsening economic situation and a bigger divide between the haves and the have-nots. In other words, a Republican utopia.