8 days to go: The number one reason no one should vote Republican this year…

There is really only one fact that voters need to know when it comes to deciding how important it is to vote, and vote for Democrats:

In October 2013, 144 House Republicans voted to default on the national debt.

The number one reason we even have to deal with teabaggers is because we are ill-served by a news media populated by people who think the definition of “objective journalism” requires one to present all sides of any argument, regardless of how stupid and uninformed the opinion is. There is one issue above all others on which this tendency is apparent, and that issue is the debt ceiling.

The debt ceiling is not important. Keeping our credit rating intact is so mportant, it was memorialized in the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. The debt ceiling is an artificial barrier Congress put in place many years ago in order to pretend they were being responsible with our money. It is technically illegal for the United States to borrow more than the debt ceiling allows, but only if you believe an arbitrary law is more important than the Constitution. But, in order to make themselves seem responsible, Congress votes to raise the debt ceiling to a number a bit higher than the projected deficit, thus “allowing” the government to borrow money at will up to the new limit.

Over the last few years, however. the GOP, especially its Tea Party Caucus, has chosen to make it a political issue. These people are dumb as rocks, but far more dangerous, because rocks have the good sense to simply lie there and not screw things up. As idealistic and naïve as PUBs are at times, at least one has a sense that they can be taught. Teabaggers can’t be taught anything, because they see everything in simple black-and-white terms, and they’re too convinced of their own genius that they can’t absorb anything about which they have not preconceived a notion.

But the press tends to treat these people as if they have something important to say. They will speak to an economist, a couple of politicians and, for “balance”, a Tea Party spokesperson. Guess which one of the above will claim it’s important to not raise the debt ceiling, because that will force the government to “live within its means.” How naive is that notion, really, especially in an economy that was built on debt, and thrives on debt?

The problem is, refusing to raise the debt ceiling has nothing to do with government spending or the deficit. I mean, thanks to Republicans, we’re still recovering from the Bush near-Depression. If they really care about the deficit as much as they claim, they sure as hell wouldn’t mess with the country’s credit, because that is destined to make the deficit worse.

And yet, last year 144 House Republicans voted to default on the debt and ruin the credit of the United States.

The way government is supposed to work is, when the economy is going gangbusters, there is enough of a revenue stream out there to take a little more without hurting anyone, and you use that extra revenue to pay down the debt and put a little away for a rainy day. The time to borrow money is when the economy’s way down, and you need money to grease the wheel and get the economy moving again. You know, like now. See, adding $3-4 trillion to the debt over 3-4 years wouldn’t be so bad if the previous administration hadn’t already added $7 trillion and left us with a deficit that was threatening to close in on $2 trillion.

I do agree with the teabaggers in the abstract; the level of deficit is not great, and the level of debt we are carrying would have been potentially troublesome, if no one had gotten a handle on it. Of course, the Obama Administration did get a handle on it, and has reduced the deficit by more than two-thirds in real dollars and nearly 80% as a percentage of GDP. While the size of the debt is currently about 95% of GDP now, even that is lower than it was when Obama took office. And that is still not unprecedented. It was 120% of GDP after World War II, and, with a rational economic policy in place, Democrats were able to get it down to less than 32% of GDP. That was, until Reagan, Bush and (especially) Bush, Jr. exploded it. Only two presidents since 1981 have reduced the deficit; Clinton and Obama.

On the other hand, not only did Vice President insist that “deficits don’t matter,” but every time a “fiscally responsible ” Republican has been in charge, deficits and the debt have exploded. Why? Because of their attitude. Like I said…

Last year, 144 House Republicans voted to default on our national debt.

Any pretend benefits of not raising the debt ceiling imagined by Republicans would be more than offset by the detrimental effect to the economy. I’m a glass-half-full progressive, and I don’t usually do gloom and doom. However, failure to increase the debt ceiling would have been an unmitigated disaster. See, the government gets a lot of money from its revenue stream, but it doesn’t get it all at once. Just like you, they get their money slowly, throughout the year. But bills don’t always come due at the same time. So, even if the country had a balanced budget, it still has to borrow money throughout the year to pay its bills to get by, with the promise that it’ll have the money to cover before the end of the year. Think of it as a credit card that you pay off every month. You may not have the money to buy groceries or fill the gas tank right now, but you know you will in a couple of weeks, so you use the card and pay down the balance before you get hit with interest payments. Without the ability to borrow money, the  government can’t pay its bills. If it can’t pay its bills, it defaults.

If the United States defaults, the value of the dollar would drop like a rock. That’s not only significant for those preparing a trip to Europe or Asia, by the way.  That, combined with the high interest triggered by the sudden shortage of dollars, and the unavailability of credit to businesses, would also cause a round of hyperinflation like we have never seen before. Remember the 1970s? Double or triple that. If the value of the dollar drops by a third, expect prices for goods from abroad to at least double in price. And since only cash-rich businesses could afford to stay open, expect the largest round of busts and layoffs ever.  Not only that, but the stock market would crash almost immediately, meaning any savings you had would once again be vaporized in a matter of days or weeks. Oh, and those banks you hate so much? You won’t get your money out of them, either. The FDIC and FSLIC don’t have enough on hand to pay off every single account in the country, and they wouldn’t be able to borrow the extra. Remember?

Once more; the current deficit is not being caused by government spending; it’s being caused by an unsustainable tax policy in which people without money are being asked to pay too much, so that millionaires and billionaires can pay next to nothing. That’s a Republican thing, and in about a week, you have a chance to make them go away.

Once more. Last year, 144 House Republicans voted to default on the nation’s debt. That is not okay.

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