Thursday, October 17, 2013

2014 and the US Government - Welcome to the Rocky Horror Show

Ninety one days from now the United States government is likely to demonstrate yet again its incompetence. The Jihadist section of the Republican Party will once again refuse to face the reality of the way the world works and demand that the US Government relentlessly pursue an austerity policy that would make the IMF and Angela Merkel blush in its audacity.

Ted Cruz, the Tea Party senator from Texas, is already signaling that Obama-care and social security spending together with other entitlements must be cut dramatically and no new spending permitted. He is joined by other tea party Jihadists – the new terrorists within Government who want hostage taking and bomb threats (blowing up the US economy should be seen for what it is – a threat to peace and stability and a weapon of mass economic destruction) who call for a massive scale back of equity based entitlements and health care supports. They also want tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.
Their core argument is that the deficit – at around $17 trillion – is too high. They don’t accept the argument that it is all relative and that the real challenge is to get economic growth back to 3.5 – 5% in the US so that the ratio of debt to GDP becomes sustainable.

Nor do they accept the growing view that their own actions have wiped some 3% off the GDP of the US. That is, republicans who pursue this Jihadist stance are bad for the economy, for communities and for the standing of the US in the world.

Their current claim is that the President would not negotiate. Quite right. It is a long standing policy of western governments not to negotiate with terrorists, especially when hostages are involved and a weapon of mass [economic] destruction is about to be deployed. In some countries, the tea-party would be declared a terrorist organization and be banned.

It is very unlikely that a deal will be in place along the time-lines Congress agreed to yesterday. Both the Senate and the House passed budgets for 2014 in April but have not met in conference at all since then. Paul Ryan, failed Vice Presidential candidate and Chair of the House Budget committee, thinks that the gap between the two budgets is so wide as not to be worth discussing. Who is not negotiating now?

We can expect to see rating agencies downgrade the US, interest rates rise and more threats about the debt ceiling and a shut-down in the new year as well as new “cause célèbre” emerging between now and the deadlines established in the “kick the can down the road” deal struck yesterday. Three separate attempts to secure long term financial deals in Congress based on “blue ribbon” panels have failed. What hope is there now?

To make matters worse. The Jihadists have given up using evidence and reason as the core of civil debate and reject compromise as a normal behaviour in politics. They confront, challenge, cheat and demean – that is their stock in trade. When faced with compelling evidence – for example, that Government spending is falling faster under Obama than under any Republican since the way – they simply deny evidence and it deepens their conviction to their version of “truth”. They are born again by evidence that shows them to be dead wrong.

So sit back and watch incompetence, poor leadership and the gradual decline of the United States. It will be the horror movie of 2014.

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