This is excerpted from an opinion piece, “U. S. Debt Ceiling: It’s All Greek to the Public, written by Temple University law professor Jan C. Ting in this morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer. I link to the whole thing but I cannot find it anywhere on the PNI site.
The political deadlock can be traced to three failures of the Obama administration. First, it hasn’t clearly explained what happens if the ceiling is not raised. Officials may honestly not know. Obama’s description of the consequences as “unpredictable” leaves open the possibility that the results could be positive. “Good news! Americans are going to spend and borrow less and live within their existing debt limit after all!”
Second, the administration has failed even to suggest that its proposed raising of the debt ceiling will be the last one, instead of just the most recent of many authorizations on the financial road Greece has already traveled.
Third, and perhaps most important, the administration has failed to address the fear of middle-class taxpayers that they will be stuck with the consequences of more national debt, either as higher taxes, inflation, or recession and more unemployment. Americans have learned from the financial crash that the rich and powerful always get paid, and that government is their collection agent — even if the moneylenders cause the financial crisis.
AIG’s foolish credit default swaps were paid in full. Goldman Sachs profited from the securitization of real estate debt and went merrily on its way. No one on Wall Street went to jail, and bonuses are at record highs. The credit-rating agencies are still in business and paying bonuses despite their horrendous calls on securitized real estate debt. The middle and working classes end up paying the price for everything that goes wrong.
The burden of proof always lies with the proponent of any action. Obama hasn’t satisfied that burden on raising the debt ceiling.
His administration has also been unpersuasive in denying there is any alternative. Maybe Bachmann is right that we can live within the existing debt limit by prioritizing our obligations. Maybe we can cut spending by ending our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, which we pay for now with borrowed money.
This administration’s unwillingness to actively engage the other side on the issues rather than doing a political dance for which only they hear the long-out-of-date music of conciliation and collaboration is mind-bogglingly stupid. And probably irreversible.
Obama will likely be re-elected–seriously, can you see any of the GOP entries actually reaching the White House? This country may be certifiably crazy at this point but it surely isn’t totally mad–but he ain’t bringin’ Hope with him this time around.