Sunday, July 3, 2011

Minnesota Shutdown Previews Catastrophic Republican Debt-Ceiling Intransigence

In Minnesota, the relentless Republican juggernaut demanding more and greater tax cuts, tax breaks and tax subsidies for history's richest and most powerful plutocrats has shut down the state government. In California, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown couldn't get even two Republicans in each of his state's legislative chambers to vote, not to extend certain taxes, but to allow California's citizens to vote to extend certain taxes.

Minnesota Republicans shut down their state rather than inconvenience their wealthy patrons with the modest revenue reforms Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton needed to address Minnesota's revenue crisis.

California Republicans refused even to permit their state's residents to decide for themselves how much revenue they wanted to raise to meet their state's revenue crisis. Taxation without representation, Tea Party zealots should realize, is tyranny. But, Tea Party tyrants are ignorant of American history, as Sarah Palin demonstrated with her insistence that Paul Revere warned the British, and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) revealed with her assertion that John Quincy Adams was a Founding Father who freed the slaves.

Tea Party zealots understand only a feudal medieval world order incompatible with democratic principles. To Tea Party zealots, the proper world order is for the rich to reign, for Tea Party knights to enforce, and for all others to be subjugated chattel. Minnesotans and Californians are thus the subjugated chattel of a tiny, extremist minority that refuses to fund schools, cops, health care, parks, and the environment.

Republican intransigence is on plain view for all to see, and Republican intransigence is on a collision course with the critical need to raise the nation's debt ceiling. While the federal government must raise its debt ceiling to continue funding operations, sending out Social Security and Medicare checks, and paying existing obligations, Republicans, completely isolated from reality, only care for their relentless self-aggrandizing rhetorical harangues rationalizing their unconscionable demands for more tax cuts, tax breaks and tax subsidies for their wealthy patrons.

Republicans only see the debt ceiling crisis as another opportunity to plunder the nation for their ultra-rich overlords, and focus on grandstand rhetorical harangues and bankrupt pledges to deflect attention from their critical responsibility to govern. Of course:
"The broad masses are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force."
-Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
"What I'm concerned about is the President by not seriously putting a proposal forward but rather just criticizing those who have," Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) fired off his latest rhetorical harangue on Fox News Sunday, regurgitating the latest Republican mantra that President Barack Obama hadn't been "leading" because he hadn't acceded to every Republican demand. Cornyn crowed, "That's just irresponsible."

"Where in the world has President Obama been for the past month?" screeched Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, regurgitating the Republican harangue du jour.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has gone a step further, circulating another favorite Republican rhetorical flourish, the Pledge. In an unabashed homage to GOP presbyter Grover Norquist of no-tax pledge infamy, DeMint invented the Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge as another venue for fanatic Republican vassals to demonstrate their fervent commitment to their ultra-wealthy plutocrat patrons.

"The people who sign the pledge are the ones that are committed to fight until we get the Right solution," Tea Party ringleader DeMint said. DeMint and McConnell have browbeat the Senate into voting on a balanced budget amendment after July 18. As the pledge's name implies, service cuts and tax subsidies for the ultra-wealthy constitute a balanced budget.

Republicans are demanding trillions in plutocrat-coddling tax cuts in the form of dismantled services and abandoned governance as well as direct cash payments to oil moguls, coal tycoons and trans-national corporate plutocrats. That Republicans might eventually see reason and step back from their demands is in itself unreasonable.

"Now, it would be nice if we could keep every tax break, but we can't afford them," President Barack Obama told the nation during his weekly address. "Because, if we chose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, or for hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners, or for oil and gas companies pulling in huge profits without our help...we'll have to make even deeper cuts somewhere else."

Obama and Democrats have acceded to billions in service cuts to massage Republican egos despite responsible economists' warnings that crippling austerity moves would destroy the nation's nascent economic recovery and create havoc worldwide.

Such conservative bastions as the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers have asked Republican zealots to set aside their fanaticism to raise the debt ceiling, to no avail.

"We have been very upfront. We support an increase in the debt limit," said Dorothy Coleman, a NAM vice-president. "We need to meet our obligations. There is a huge downside to default"

The very plutocrats Republicans fall all over themselves to serve are mortified that failing to raise the debt ceiling would precipitate a government default on existing debt, plunging the bond markets into chaos, insolvency, and cascading systemic failure.

But, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) defended debt-ceiling intransigence before the New York Economic Club in May, saying revenue reform was off the table because, "We do not have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem."

One unimpressed attendee shook his head.  "Disconnected from reality," he said as he left.

Republican ideologues and zealots were incapable of visualizing the global market catastrophe they caused in 2008 when they rejected the first stabilizing TARP infusions. The markets crashed, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 777 points in a day, causing the economic morass still suffered today.

Now, no wiser and even more ideologically intransigent, the Republicans are poised to do much, much worse.

Paul O'Neill, George W. Bush's Treasury Secretary, said extremist Republicans who refused to raise the debt ceiling were, "a version of Al Qaeda terrorists."  Like any coven of vicious extremists willing to strap dynamite to their chests and blow up the entire world's financial system, extremist Republican terrorists are ideologues fervent beyond reason. The general military prescription for such extremist covens is Seal teams, Predator drones, and anti-insurgency squads drilled in targeted killings.

For Minnesota Republicans like presidential hopefuls Tim Pawlenty and Bachmann, it was not enough just to guzzle champagne and scarf caviar with their ultra-wealthy patrons while deferring vital infrastructure maintenance until a bridge in the middle of their biggest city collapsed, killing 13 and injuring 145. For Minnesota Republicans, as for Republicans everywhere, proffering more and greater tax cuts, tax breaks and tax subsidies for their wealthy patrons in hopes of grabbing a few lucrative tokens is God's plan for the world. All must bow, all must fall, all must sacrifice their livelihoods, their safety, their health, their children's education and future to hand the rich all the land contains.

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