With Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner’s decision to threaten a government financial shutdown in order to accommodate the radical right’s crusade to deny nearly 30 million Americans access to affordable healthcare and to deny already existing benefits of over 100 million other Americans by defunding the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, the republican-controlled House is poised to once again destabilize the nation’s entire economy.
Republicans have done this before; most notably during sequester talks in the summer of 2011 when they threatened to not raise the debt ceiling, despite the 14th amendment constitutional requirement to do so. Crippling the economy, the GOP action resulted in a lowering of the U.S. credit rating, caused a 17% drop in the stock market, increased consumer uncertainty, and devastated job growth.
Speaker Boehner knows that simply discussing a government shutdown does great harm to the economy. Boehner had at one time capitulated on the Affordable Care Act, stating in November 2012 in an ABC News interview that Obama’s reelection has made it clear that “Obamacare is the law of the land.” He even told conservative pundit Sean Hannity in a radio interview in March 2013, “’Do you want to risk the full faith and credit of the United States government over ObamaCare? That’s a very tough argument to make.”
Other republicans have stated their desire to not hold the economy hostage over the Affordable Care Act, including Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Senators John McCain of Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bob Corker of Tennessee, and John Cornyn of Texas.
Even the highly conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 to the U.S. House of Representatives, warning, “It is not in the best interest of the U.S. business community or the American people to risk even a brief government shutdown that might trigger disruptive consequences or raise new policy uncertainties washing over the U.S. economy.”
The letter continued, “Likewise, the U.S. Chamber respectfully urges the House of Representatives to raise the debt ceiling in a timely manner and thus eliminate any question of threat to the full faith and credit of the United States government.”
Yet knowing the damage that may be caused to our fragile economy, instead of taking a stand for the good of the country as a true leader would, Speaker Boehner and the majority of House republicans continue again and again to play politics as they evidently consider the future of the nation to be expendable. These continued GOP tactics have taken a great toll on our nation, allowing the richest Americans to amass even more unimaginable wealth at the cost of slowing the economic recovery for Main Street America and destroying our ability to build for the long-term. And in today’s highly competitive world, our nation may very soon end up being a follower rather than a leader thanks to these same republican tactics.