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Negotiating with post-Trump Republicans is like dealing with a toddler's tantrum | Richard Wolffe | The Guardian

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  jbb  •  last year  •  3 comments

By:   richardwolffedc (the Guardian)

Negotiating with post-Trump Republicans is like dealing with a toddler's tantrum | Richard Wolffe | The Guardian
While one side is happy to defecate on the floor, the other side has no choice but to clean up the mess

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Richard WolffeRichard-Wolffe,-L.png?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=4de2c232ee804654f0fffdccdfad7e31

While one side is happy to defecate on the floor, the other side has no choice but to clean up the mess

They say that negotiating with a toddler is like a hostage situation: only one side of the discussion wants to defuse the crisis.

Welcome to Washington in the post-Trump era, as the United States stares down the barrel of debt default.

The US debt ceiling crisis is more proof of Republicans' cynicism and bad faith | Jill FilipovicRead more

The fate of the global economy now rests in the hands of the grown-ups inside the Biden administration and the tantrum-prone children who populate the House Republican caucus.

This is not a fair fight. One side is happy to defecate on the floor. The other side has no choice but to clean up the mess.

The spiritual leader of this crappy caucus is of course the man-child who has built an entire post-presidency from the grievances he blathers about every day.

Freewheeling in front of a televised audience of his fans on CNN last week, Donald Trump displayed the kind of mastery of finance that has led to his multiple bankruptcies over the course of his dismal career of business failures.

"I say to the Republicans out there - congressmen, senators - if they don't give you massive cuts, you're going to have to do a default," said the unindicted co-conspirator of an insurrection to overthrow the United States government.

When pushed whether he really meant what he said about having to "do a default", Trump just shrugged it all off.

"Well, you might as well do it now because you'll do it later," he explained. "Because we have to save this country. Our country is dying. Our country is being destroyed by stupid people, by very stupid people."

Now if there's one thing Trump and his Trumpy Republicans understand, it's the thinking of very stupid people.

Who else would know that very stupid people are going to do something very stupid like a totally unnecessary default on sovereign debt? So you may as well get ahead of them by doing something very stupid like that yourself, sooner rather than later.

To be clear, Trump and his Trumpy Republicans think this whole default thing is just some kind of brain fog. "It's really psychological more than anything else," he told CNN. "And it could be very bad. It could be maybe nothing. Maybe it's - you have a bad week or a bad day."

To be clear, Trump and his Trumpy Republicans think this whole default thing is just some kind of brain fog.

A bad week, a bad day - or even, and just hear me out here, a bad couple of generations.

Here's what happened last time the House Republicans drove the global economy to the edge of debt default, back in 2011 when President Obama was grappling with the Tea Party Republicans.

The credit ratings agencies downgraded United States debt for the first time in 70 years, which ended up costing the government more money to sustain its debt. A brilliant outcome.

To be clear, the debt ceiling debate is not about the grotesque size of federal spending. That is the budget debate, and both parties have enjoyed spending massive amounts of debt over many decades.

The debt ceiling is a technical measure to decide whether the Congress - which approved of those budgets - is going to pay its own bills.

This is not a new crisis or even a fast-moving one. It is as predictably slow as it is gob-smackingly dumb.

The United States actually reached its debt limit in January, around the time the Democrats handed over the House to the Republicans after last year's congressional elections. Yes, they could have lifted the debt ceiling themselves, but decided to lob the grenade to the next Congress.

So for the last four months, treasury officials have been shuffling around large pots of cash to stay within their limit of what is now a $31.4tn debt. Apparently we have not yet reached the gazillion phase of American borrowing.

These financial shenanigans will exhaust themselves in all of two weeks, give or take a few days or weeks. Some Republicans have suggested that treasury could just pick and choose a few bills to leave unpaid. Those Republicans can't spell insolvent.

Trump for one knows how this is going to play out. Not because he's a genius, although clearly he thinks he is. But because he knows that only one side is going to behave like grown-ups and that side isn't his own.

"I don't believe they're going to do a default because I think the Democrats will absolutely cave because you don't want to have that happen," he told CNN.

That of course is what Obama did. And that is what Joe Biden has already indicated he will do. Earlier this week, Biden said he was "confident" that there would be an agreement to avoid default.

"We're going to come together because there's no alternative way to do the right thing for the country," he said. "We have to move on."

By "we," he meant his own Democrats. The man on the other side of the Oval Office sofa was Kevin McCarthy, the catastrophically weak House speaker, whose majority - and job - rests on the internal monologues of just a handful of Trumpy Republicans.

The side that needs to be house-trained is sadly, barely, in control of the House. If McCarthy loses just four or more of his own 222 members, he is doomed. Which means we are all doomed.

Until recently, Democrats inside the White House and Congress have insisted on a "clean" bill to raise the debt ceiling. They abandoned that position this week, as Biden toyed with the idea of a bunch of budget cuts. Republicans want to see $4.8tn of cuts, mostly to stuff that only Democrats seem to care about, like feeding poor working families or dealing with the climate crisis.

Democrats are witnessing the slow centrification of their own White House. Team Biden is preparing to junk the last two years of progressive policies in favor of some classic pandering to the right ahead of a tight presidential election. After trying to look tough on migrants on the southern border, they now want to look tough on spending - especially spending on social welfare.

This is the kind of politics that inspires and satisfies nobody. McCarthy cannot win the debt ceiling battle because his Trumpy caucus thinks the cuts are not enough and it's fine to default. Biden cannot win because he is ready to dump his party's principles and priorities to avoid default and defeat next year.

Somewhere in the middle of this, working families that need support will find there is less food each month and higher medical bills. But the debt default crisis will dissipate, until the next one, and most swing voters don't need to worry about the people whose safety net is about to get shredded.

It's really psychological more than anything else.


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JBB
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JBB    last year

Is it any wonder that the once Grand Old Party of Abraham Lincoln is now known merely as the gop?

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.1  Tessylo  replied to  JBB @1    last year

It's worse - I'd rather negotiate with a toddler.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Guide
2  Bob Nelson    last year

I hope that Joe will have the guts to call their bluff. If the gop wants to screw up the world economy, that's their choice.

 
 

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