Analysis of media issues, politics and current events.
The GOP apparently out of big policy ideas about managing government has, for the last two years, been using the last bargaining chip it has to shape legislation in its favor: making the American public and their livelihoods economic hostages.
Pass the bills to help farmers? Cut taxes first.
Help the people in Sandy Hook? Cut social security spending.
Want unemployment Insurance. Fund business initiatives? Cut Medicare.
The more strident members of the GOP has consistently pointed fiscal devastation as a metaphoric gun to more measured members of Congress to dictate policy demands. Threats or projecting the willingness to use such a force with seemingly no little fear is the fragile economy is collateral damage.
The basic GOP demands: cuts to entitlements and program spending. That itself is not the problem. The problem is that it’s a threat willfully and dangerously blind to the bigger, more immediate threats: a fragile economy, uncertainty for business and consumer spending around public policy and the increasing doubt of the competency of government to do the most simplest of things. It’s an irony that in trying to stop spending or pay for the spending sins of the past that may bankrupt us, government is spending the only last resource that really allows it to work and debt to be manageable, credibility.
The threat of the GOP to demand painful programs cuts and pull revenue out of the economy would likely shock an economy into recession. Refusing those demands will delay funding or critical legislation that could help the economy get back on its feet. This is forcing Congress members who want to help the economy to face a lose/lose threat: Destroy the credit rating and temporary support for the economy to promote policies that may hurt the bystanding public by raising taxes, cutting programs and pulling the rug out under the economy and keeping job growth elusive.
It’s like being a pilot and being told by a terrorist with a gun “Let the plane crash or I’ll shoot you.”
What do you choose? How do you negotiate a halfway solution out of that?
This is no-win environment that creates tepid solutions like the soon-to-be-signed fiscal cliff bill. Signed only because the GOP has decided that the debt limit, (a fight that already hurt America’s credit rating) still makes for a good gun to brandish. And like those who use a powerful force like a gun, it’s a tacit admission that the strength of GOP ideas and willingness to compromise alone won’t work– to the point that a threats seem like a much better plan than thinking out an big picture policy to help the country.