Even though the Rapture earlier in the year didn’t work out, it looks like Republicans are trying to bring about the end of the world regardless:
With prospects of a government default looming in early August, leaders on both sides denied Thursday that a deal was close…Both sides warned that an agreement is not near. “There is no deal,” Mr. Boehner told radio host Rush Limbaugh. White House spokesman Jay Carney used similar language. And White House officials said Mr. Obama has never considered an agreement that did not include revenue increases.
For those of you not inclined to follow American politics, here is a quick summary. A quirk in US law requires legislation to raise the debt ceiling, and without it the Treasury can’t borrow any more money. That would mean the Treasury would default on its loans, destroying faith in T-bills and generally putting the global economy on a glide path to (another) meltdown.
I didn’t pay much attention to this in the beginning, because grandstanding and hostage taking is how the modern GOP rolls. I assumed they’d wring some concessions out of the perpetual chumps known as the Democratic party and then move on to another racket. I think that was the assumption of almost everyone.
Boy were we wrong.
The Republicans have been offered almost everything they want in exchange for an increase, and there’s still no deal. Washington is slowly beginning to realise that, instead of just being a hard-knuckled style of negotation, the GOP leadership may not have the power to deliver on a deal at al. Eric Cantor has been gunning for Boehner’s job, and appears determined to blow up negotations, even as his own wealthy backers ask him to raise their taxes in exchange for a deal.
The corporate wing of the party is terrified, because their wealth is dependent on the financial markets that will be thrown into chaos by default. The Tea Party wing, on the other hand, is actually hoping for a default. They think it will somehow bring the debt under control, and have made voting against the increase one of their many fetishes in an imagined campaign against Obama’s tyranny. They’ve drunk so much Kenyan post-colonialist-flavoured Kool-Aid that they are incapable of believing anything that doesn’t fit in with their pre-existing views. So when pretty much everyone tells Tea Partiers that the consequences of default will be catastrophic, they are as much incapable of believing them as they are unwilling. The default, like the Tribulation, is a cleansing fire from which a stronger nation made in their image will emerge. In the meantime there won’t be any frills like social security or veteran’s checks, but they think that’s another lie too.
A society holding so many contradictory fantasies that it becomes unable to tell the difference between reality and its own delusions was a big part of The Children’s Crusade. I used Maoist China as my inspiration, but it seems around 27% of the American public is hell bent on making me prescient. They really need to stop, it’s frickin’ terrifying.