Ben Boyce


Debt ceiling Kabuki

Posted on May 29, 2023 by Ben Boyce

The most black-pilled aspect of 21st-century party politics is how high the stakes are relative to the reckless or oblivious attitudes of the partisan political actors. Watching Republican Freedom Caucus ghouls like Matt Gaetz, MTG, and Jim Jordan (all pumped to blow up the dam over the city and see what happens) featured on Fox, OAN, and Newsmax celebrating their willingness to tank the world economy and drop our credit rating from AA to A in order to get a one-week news cycle W on Brandon is obscene. 

We used to be the model AAA-rated country until the previous Republican debt ceiling hostage-taking ‘crisis’ in both 2011 and 2013, one for each term of the Obama Administration, demonstrated a level of political instability that functionally dropped the U.S. to a AA bond rating. It is a sign of the financial elite’s decadence that they aren’t taking this debt ceiling kabuki seriously enough to start issuing strong warnings to the Republican leadership.

Why isn’t Wall Street taking a firm public position? Given that a federal default would immediately drop their net worth about 40% across the board, double borrowing costs overnight, lead to a 2008-level recession with 10+ million jobs lost, and induce an international recession… just to put some GOP political points up on the board, like this was a college football game? There is way too much bag at stake to be so cavalier with the money machine.

The dirty secret is that they’re not worried because they know that, as usual, the Democrats will cave to whatever random demand the GOP buccaneers want to extract…and then come back one more time before the 2024 election to repeal the other half of Joe Biden’s only legislative victory, the IRA. It’s maddening. As soon as Biden took meetings with McCarthy after repeatedly claiming that he would not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the U.S., I knew that the fix was in.

That’s how we do politics in the USA. Conventional politics, to millennials and Gen Z, looks like one group of people painstakingly constructing a red brick fence and the other group periodically getting out sledge hammers and knocking down years of work in a day. Why would you get invested in that dismal spectacle? 

One action that the Biden Administration can take that could end this recurrent hostage-taking ‘crisis.’ is to have the Fed Chair announce that she has been instructed by the President’s counsel that the 14th Amendment requires that we pay our bills on time. Lawrence Tribe, the famous Harvard legal scholar, has found the answer right under our noses in the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1866, which contains a long-forgotten provision, Section 4, that states: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” (Wikipedia). QED…Just do it.

The Republican Congress creatures and their media complex would pitch a fit for a month, and then that bomb is defused for good.

Finally, here in Sonoma Valley, the workers at the Fairmont Hotel and the UNITE-HERE organizers will hold an event sponsored by The Center for People Power: ‘Panel Discussion about Labor Organizing in the Sonoma Valley’ on Thursday, June 1, 6-7:30pm. The Center for People Power/Centro del Poder Popular (CPP) is a space dedicated to advancing grassroots activism in the North Bay. 

Activists will run the space at 18346 Sonoma Hwy in Boyes Hot Springs. “The CPP will provide a home for transparency and multicultural community engagement as we center BIPOC history, leadership, and a powerful vision for a just future,” said D’mitra Smith, Human Rights and Equity Consultant and a CPP founder. The storefront will be free for performances, media production, community meetings, workshops, classes, events, and a community library.

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