OPINION: How House Republicans plan to crush your 401(k)


HOUSE REPUBLICANS are demanding deep spending cuts from President Biden in exchange for voting to raise the debt limit. Failing to raise the debt limit will cause a massive economic crisis. – T.J. Kirkpatrick/New York Times photo

The most powerful Republican wants to put millions out of work. That’s what Senator Elizabeth Warren got Jerome Powell to admit on March 7 as the Donald Trump-appointed chair of the Federal Reserve testified before the Senate Banking Committee.

You can debate whether taming inflation, which has cooled year-over-year for seven straight months, is worth raising interest rates to put about two million Americans on unemployment.

But if Powell is really worried about the general health of the American economy, he should concentrate on a far greater threat to the U.S. economy than high egg prices – his fellow Republicans.

A new Moody’s report says failing to raise the debt limit by sometime in June would immediately send the economy into a recession.

“The damage could spiral to seven million jobs lost and a 2008-style financial crisis in the event of a prolonged breach of the debt limit, in which House Republicans refuse for months to join Democrats in voting to raise the cap,” the New York Times reported.

Even if House Republicans were to succeed in securing their ransom demands in exchange for not crashing our economy, which Joe Biden has said he’s unwilling to consider, 2.6 million Americans would be put out of work, according to the same analysis.

Only a very small, but growing, sliver of Americans seem to be taking seriously the threat of a default caused by the House refusing to raise the debt limit, let alone a prolonged breach of the limit.

We know, because if our betters knew more about the first intentional debt default in U.S. history, you’d hear corporate leaders screeching down from their penthouses as financial advisors informed the most wealthy Americans that the summer of 2023 (and up to five years after that) may be a terrible time to retire.

If this kind of laissez-faire approach to the debt limit continues, the chances of default will approach 100 percent.

Elites make the same mistake they made before the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Until it was too late, the ruling class coasted on the myth that sensible Prescott Bushs in smoking jackets who run the GOP would compel the Q rabble into doing the right thing. But nobody appears to have learned anything, except the Trumpists in the Congress who now appreciate that they’ve suffered zero consequences for their role in ending America’s tradition of a peaceful transfer of power.

The same members who were cheering on the attempted coup are now drooling over debt default and the chaos it would bring.

Why? Because it’s fun to own the libs!

They also figure a depression would benefit Trump as he seeks the only job in the world that would solve all his legal troubles.

But hold on. It gets scarier.

The only man who can save us from this disaster is a cowardly leech whose career is dependent on the good favor of insurrectionists.

That’s right.

The immediate future of the American economy depends on the political courage and savvy of the least powerful Speaker of the House in modern history and Trump’s chief enabler.

If you aren’t shaking yet, please have someone check your pulse.

I don’t need to remind you that Kevin McCarthy only leads the House because of a series of concessions to the freak wing of the Republican Party, the kind of walking Facebook posts whose greatest accomplishments include barely avoiding charges for child sex trafficking or harassing a survivor of a school shooting.

And it still took 15 ballots and six Republicans voting “present” to lower the threshold for his victory for him to grab the gavel.

One of the concessions he agreed to was that any member of the House can call for a vote to oust him any time. And he also gave the “Freedom Caucus” four seats on the Rules Committee, which will have a huge say in if and how this debt limit standoff is resolved.

And even if you believe that the party’s donors – who might like not losing large chunks of their wealth in sudden, avoidable stock market crashes – will force Republicans to pay our debts with the funds Congress already appropriated, you’re ignoring our sad reality.

More than three dozen Freedom Caucus members get nearly half of their donations from small donors and they’re much more afraid of a Trump-backed primary challenger than an angry CEO.

Even when Trump was president and Republicans controlled Congress, raising the debt limit required Democratic votes.

If McCarthy relies on Democratic votes to do anything – even if it’s to rename a structure “The Donald [sic] Post Office Building” – he risks losing his job.

(There’s a fantasy that a discharge petition, which would spare McCarthy from showing courage, will save us. That process takes four months, which means it’d need to have begun months ago.)

After 2016, the Jan. 6 insurrection and Dobbs (The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision last year, in which the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and gave individual states the power to regulate any aspect of abortion not protected by federal law), we should know the worst can happen. We should also know the Republicans have no reason to fear blowback for the worst thing happening. Yet we seem to be continuously surprised by the ever-deeper depths they mine.

So if you are one of around 32 percent of Americans with retirement savings, and you’d like to see years of hard work not erased, you’d better hope that someone finds a way to terrify the kamikaze insurrectionists in the House into obeying the 14th Amendment.

(Reprinted from Alternet via RAW Story.)

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