BOOKS BY PATTI LISZKAY
AVAILABLE ON AMAZON
and the sequel, "Hail Mary" https://www.amzn.com/1684334888
Available on Amazon.
The situation is that, for better or worse, our country runs on debt. The national debt is a business. People and businesses invest in it, they borrow against it, they take out loans, they pay back loans, the process hums along smoothly. However the debt ceiling - the maximum amount of debt that the country can legally incur - was reached back in July and since then the U.S. has been slowly running out of cash to keep the American financial process running, pay existing bills, and cover the continuous costs involved in the day-to-day operation of our country.
Should the United States, the strongest, most stable economic entity on the planet, actually run out of cash and subsequently default on our debts the result would be, according to economists the world over, a financial crisis not only on the national level, but on a global level. In our country among the aftereffects of a default would be that there would be a government shut-down in the midst of the pandemic, Social Security payments would not go out, U.S. troops and federal civilian employees would not be paid, food assistance benefits would stop, retired military and government employees would stop receiving their pensions, and businesses would falter. Inflation would skyrocket and the stock markets around the world would plunge and the planet would tumble into a deep recession, if not a depression. All this is apparently in the cards if the debt ceiling isn't raised, and fast.
But here's the thing: There's nothing to raising the debt ceiling. Congress can do it in one quick vote. Congress raises the debt ceiling all the time. Congress - Democrats along with Republicans - voted to raise the debt ceiling twice during the Trump administration, which was necessary after Donald Trump cut taxes then went on a spending spree even before the COVID pandemic,
Now that the debt ceiling needs to be raised again, this time under Biden, Senate Republicans under Mitch McConnell are refusing to vote for the raise, and promise to filibuster if Democrats try to pass the ceiling raise on their own.
But even amidst the cruel recalcitrance of the Republicans there's still a way to avoid a default of our national debts. There's a fast-track congressional process that Democrats could pursue that would bypass a Republican filibuster. This process is really what Republicans are trying to force Democratic members of Congress into undertaking so that during the 2022 elections Republicans will be able to put together campaign ads in which they can point fingers at Democrats for raising the debt ceiling.
So, then, Republicans see this debt crisis as a win-win for themselves: The Democrats will have to take responsibility either for raising the national debt or for the country falling into default. Either outcome will yield good campaign material.
Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, don't want to use the fast-track process to raise the debt ceiling for the same reason: they don't want their vote to be used against them by the Republicans during the midterms. Democrats want the vote to be bipartisan so that Republicans are sharing the responsibility, especially since it was the Republicans who voted for the Trump tax cuts that created the need to once again raise the debt ceiling.
And so Congress is basically playing a game of high-stakes political chicken with the welfare our country and the whole world at stake.
I am not so naive as to hope the the Senate Republicans will relent and vote to raise the debt ceiling. They have too much to gain from a national disaster during Joe Biden's administration.
And you know what? In spite of all the political hay that Republicans may try to make of Democrats raising the debt ceiling, the truth is that by next year voters aren't really going to remember or care much about the debt ceiling. Unless our country is plunged into a terrible recession or depression brought about by the United States defaulting on our debt. Then we'll all care, and we'll all remember who let it happen.