Nothing has been decided, and bankruptcy still threatens the United States. According to the president’s latest prophecy, if the debt limit is not raised, it could result in a scenario comparable to the biblical plagues — a “harmageddon,” so to speak.
The Senate and House will therefore have to work all weekend to come to a compromise (perhaps) by the Tuesday deadline. But the bottom line is that the winner in the fight over the U.S. debt ceiling has long since been determined: America’s right wing dictates, and the nation must obey.
The price will be paid mostly by the poor and the low-income wage earners — they are the ones who will lose the social programs they need. The wealthy, on the other hand, won’t be asked to contribute anything: Higher taxes or even cutting the absurd fiscal rebates given to the oil industry and the richest corporate jet owners are just plain taboo, even among Democrats.
A worldview that regards government as evil has emerged victorious. Washington’s influence has to shrink — that’s why so many new Republican representatives who were elected last fall with the tea party movement’s assistance now so brashly and cluelessly reject any compromise and willingly push the nation toward bankruptcy.
That conflict is tearing the Republican faction in the House of Representatives apart. The old-establishment Republicans know full well what’s at stake: A savings package of $2.5 trillion (perhaps even as high as $2.7 trillion) would be the biggest self-circumcision Washington has ever committed.
Losing Sight of Reality
In addition, the Republican Party would be blamed by many Independent voters if it allowed its right wing to reject any compromise that its own leadership had crafted. A rebellion by the tea party movement in the Republican ranks would only benefit the opposition — the Democrats and their supposedly liberal leader, President Obama.
But it could well happen that such blind rage will result in panic on global markets next week. These two or three dozen Republicans now playing with fire have long since lost any sight of reality. Reality to them looks entirely different: All or most of them come from rural, white backgrounds where one out of two people believe Obama is a closet Muslim illegally occupying the White House because he has a forged birth certificate.
In their right-wing gruel pots, they would love to go back to the year 1773, back to the days of America’s birth. The fact that America’s Founding Fathers built a system of government that cries out for consensus has been lost in the ecstasy of their right-wing nirvana.