Of all the mainstream media coverage of the Oct. 1 government shutdown, none have asked why Republicans insist on slashing the budget and mucking around with the nation’s debt ceiling. Since the Revolutionary War, the U.S. government has carried a national debt generation after generation, faithfully borrowing from U.S. and international banks and paying down the debt. When the Financial Panic of 1907 crashed the U.S. economy, the government created the Federal Reserve System in 1913 to assure the full-faith-and-credit of the U.S. government. Since President Barack Obama was sworn in Jan. 20, 2009, the U.S., according to former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, went through another Financial Panic in 2007-08, where the nation’s biggest banks ran out of cash. Under the careful watch of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the U.S. has slowly climbed out of its hole.
Republican members of the House and Senate know that the Dow Jones Industrials rose nearly 100% since Obama took office. In one of the strongest bull markets in U.S. history, the economy added back 5 million of the 7 million jobs lost in the 2007-08 recession. Nobel Prize-winning Columbia University economist Joseph I. Stiglitz attributed the crash to excessive government spending on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama ran in 2008 on the promise to end wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and recycle tax dollars back into the U.S. economy. His plan was to use that extra revenue to fund health care for some 40 million uninsured citizens. Republicans fought tooth-and-nail to stop Obama’s national health care law that was signed into law March 21, 2010, with a four-year window for implementation. With insurance exchanges opening Oct. 1, the GOP shutdown the government.
It’s no accident that the GOP’s government shutdown and refusal to increase the debt ceiling correlate with the Oct. 1 implementation of Obamacare. GOP’s vehement refusal to fund the government or increase the debt ceiling relates directly to intractable philosophical opposition to government entitlements. While the GOP’s Tea Party wing oppose any new government entitlements, especially Obamacare, they didn’t say boo when former President George W. Bush signed Dec. 8, 2003 Medicare Part D, giving seniors prescription drug coverage. Elected officials like 42-year-old Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) or 64-year-old Rep. Steven King (R-Iowa), oppose anything with Obama’s name on it. They have no problems handing U.S. tax dollars over to publicly-traded energy or defense companies, just not private citizens. To Cruz and King, defaulting the nation is preferable to implementing Obamacare.
Not long after the nation’s first Black president placed his left hand on the bible Jan. 20, 2009, the GOP media machine pinned the Great Recession on Obama, blaming the newly minted president for almost everything. Whether the Tea Party’s motivated by xenophobia or actual racism is anyone’s guess. Tea Party favorite former Alaska governor GOP 2008 VP candidate Sarah Palin whipped crowds into a frenzy over Obama’s fictional ties to the Muslim world and socialist leanings. Now the Tea Party is willing to default the nation to stop the Supreme Court vetted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Opposition runs deep into the belief that U.S. tax dollars should not be spent on minorities, immigrants or poor people trying to survive in difficult economic times. Stopping Obamacare at any cost to the U.S. economy shows the Tea Party’s anti-American fanaticism.
Negotiating feverishly to stop the Tea Party-driven train wreck to default the nation, the U.S. Senate hopes to complete a temporary re-opening of government and debt-ceiling increase. Meeting behind closed doors, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are looking for a face-saving way out with only five days to go before the government runs out of cash Oct. 17. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon warned of global economic catastrophe if the Tea Party get its way and defaults the U.S. government. If and when the Senate agrees on a temporary fix to the Tea Party-induced crisis, Boehner better get the unruly mob to back down or slap them with contempt of Congress citations. Tea Party officials like Iowa’s King have admitted they were elected to stop Obamacare, not “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Opposing any government entitlements, the Tea Party has thrown a monkey wrench into the workings of the U.S. government. Shutting down the government Oct. 1 and threatening to default the country shows that fanatical insurgents now control the Republican Party. Led by 41-year-old Tea Party zealot Reince Priebus, the GOP has been hijacked by the most destructive force since a little known Wisconsin Congressman Joseph McCarthy seized the Republican Party in the 1950s. While Priebus pleads with donors to back the Party, he’s debased the Republican brand so badly the Party faces possible extinction. Tea Party types like Priebus can’t accept the changing U.S. demographics and the needs of a struggling population to maintain the American Dream. Obamacare has become the Tea Party’s grandiose last stand while mainstream America adapts to a new age.
About the Author
John M. Curtis writes politically neutral commentary analyzing spin in national and global news. He’s editor of OnlineColumnist.com and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma.