$18.9 billion. That’s what the 2011 debt-limit standoff and the threatened U.S. credit default will be costing taxpayers in higher interest payments over the next decade, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.
And who was responsible for those billions? That would be the Republicans in the House and Senate who some of us loyally vote for election after election, no matter how destructive their governance.
Way to go, voters. Were you MIA when the memo came out outlining which party shows up wearing the pretend mantle of fiscal responsibility and which one actually suits up, rolls up its sleeves, and goes to work fashioning rational solutions to real problems—not the manufactured ones?
Way to go, Republican imposters! You sure did fool some of us. That first salvo at economic chaos two years ago sure did a lot to lower our taxes! And wow, did that ever cut the feds’ spending! Thanks to you, I’m feeling really optimistic right now about paying off my part of that wasted $18.9 billion!
Guess what? 2011 was just act one of an invented fiscal crisis fashioned lovingly by the Grand Old Party. If you thought act one was disturbing, get ready for act two coming to D.C. some time before cherry-blossom time.
That’s when those same warm and fuzzy Republicans will be putting shoulder to the battering ram again, trying one more time to push us (and the world) to the brink.
Think their shenanigans have nothing to do with you? Well, think again. Here’s a short (and, admittedly, simplified) sampling from various online sources of where the pain could land this time around if Republicans succeed.
- Further downgrading of U.S. credit rating (Hey, we already lost the triple-A, it won’t feel so shocking this time around, will it?)
- Putting at risk continuing safe-haven investments by individuals and countries in U.S. treasuries
- Defaults on the federal government’s legal obligations
- Stocks and bonds (Watch ‘em fall.)
- Delayed Social Security and Medicare payments to fixed-income grandmas and grandpas
- Delayed payments of salaries to people in the military, and benefits to their families
- Delayed tax refunds and federal payments to investors
- Gutting of programs, such as food stamps, to those in need
- Higher interest rates on U.S. treasuries, home mortgages, car and college loans, credit cards, and federal grants to cities, counties, and states (Hey, who amongst us isn’t craving higher state and property taxes?)
- Plunging 401ks (Early retirement? Forget about it.)
Perhaps you don’t trust my Internet wise guys’ take on the fallout from the economic catastrophe Republicans are shoving us into. Then what about the words of Saint Ronald—holy patron saint of Republican economics? Would you trust his instead?
Here he is, Reagan himself, in a radio address of September 1987, decrying the catastrophic effects of playing chicken with the debt ceiling.
Renee Shur lives and works in New York’s Hudson Valley.