I dislike politics in general. I dislike both major political parties. I even dislike most of the minor political parties, which requires more cynicism than you garden variety political cynic can provide. However, even for one like me who reacts to politics at all times with a constant level of simmering dislike, there are times that call for more dislike than normal. This is such a time.
Let me back up for a minute a recount my political history. I was raised in a left-wing household. I was taught to believe that all things which the Republicans did were evil. In 2000 I even campaigned for Ralph Nader. (Yes, yes.) During my college and graduate school years I grew up somewhat. I realized that politics were more nuanced and complicated than the simplistic picture I was raised with would suggest. I acknowledged that the Republicans were right about some things, including the basic fact that most government programs are unresponsive to change and inefficient. At the same time, I still believed that the Democrats were right about other things, most notably foreign policy and the environment. Most of all, I became aware that corruption was rampant throughout the political system, always had been, and always would be. Politics naturally attracted inferior human beings. Nonetheless it was a necessary evil, as a governed country was preferable to anarchy and a democratic republic was preferable to a dictatorship or oligarchy. The intelligent approach is to do the best you can with the corrupt and selfish politicians that you have.
Within this framework, however, there’s still a possibility for politicians of varying quality. In American history we have often had crises, and when they occurred we have often been lucky enough to have politicians who rose to the occasion, such as Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. On the other hand, we’ve had our share of lousy politicians and there have been occasions when their lousiness got so bad that it seriously threatened the welfare of our country. We are currently dealing with such an occasion. Moreover, the fault lies entirely with one party: the Republicans.
For the past 235 years, the United States government has always made good on its debts. Now the Republicans are threatening to prevent the government from doing exactly that, starting on August 2. I wrote a post a couple weeks ago explaining why, in my view, the Republicans are doing that. It’s part of a political strategy to get the biggest spending cuts they can get, and viewed in that light it makes sense. However, they have now taken the tactic too far. Genuine fear about a U.S. government default is “roiling the markets”, as numerous newspaper articles have put it. That’s bad. The more the Republicans delay, the worse it will get.
Our reputation for paying our bills as a nation is one of our most valuable resources. We have earned that reputation over more than two centuries. To sacrifice it, or even pretend that you’re going to sacrifice it, would be utter idiocy. What the Republicans are currently doing is wrong. Therefore I use the mighty influence that I have accrued at this blog to urge the Republicans to stop it. President Obama and the Democrats have already offered what should be, from their perspective, a very good deal. They should take that deal right now, rather than letting the markets get roiled for another day.