“I’ll ruin your home/business/reputation if you don’t do what I say.” We have a word for that: extortion.
Boehner said, Obama “wants a $2.4 trillion blank check that lets him continue his spending binge through the next election”, a claim that packs three lies into a mere 17 words. 1) the debt limit is not a check. It allocates no new funds. Rather it authorizes the US to borrow enough to cover the deficit already approved in the 2011 budget. 2) this non-check is not blank. The amount of the deficit was specified in in the Congressional budget. 3) It’s not Obama who is asking for more borrowing. Congress approved the deficit in a hotly fought compromise last April in Public Law 112-10, a bill which was approved by Mr Boehner himself with a “yea” vote. Therefore Congress, Mr Boehner included, is primarily responsible for the need to raise the debt ceiling.
Only three months later, the Republican Party has conspired to manufacture a crisis, holding our economy hostage to political and economic demands that are biased to benefit corporations, the financial elite, and the very wealthy. Such provisions include repeal of the new Healthcare Act, cutting of Social Security and Medicare to finance corporate and high-end tax reductions, and retaining tax breaks for financiers. This agenda is one the Party lacked enough political support for to push through during the legitimate budgeting process, but one which they might now achieve by threatening to damage the creditworthiness of the United States. For a major political party to threaten the economic health of our country in order to impose their minority agenda surely marks a new low point for US politics.
No one will deny that we need to address our ongoing budget deficits. But to do so under threat, in secret, at the last hour, in order to impose a radical minority political agenda is bound to result in a terrible outcome for everyone. I can only hope that, on both sides of the fence, we Americans still despise being blackmailed and will let our elected officials know it.