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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 9/29/21

Debt Ceiling: Republican Suicide Bombers Threaten America

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Mitch McConnell just had Republicans in the Senate declare a filibuster against a simple piece of legislation that would raise the debt ceiling to keep the federal government running, telling Democrats if they want to avoid a massive and destructive government shutdown they're going to have to raise the debt ceiling using reconciliation.

It appears that this is suicidal behavior. Why would they be willing to blow up the entire country along with themselves and their reputations?

On its surface, strapping an explosive vest to yourself and blowing yourself up seems pointless, an exercise in futility or even nihilism. But only a very small percentage of suicide bombers are simply suicidal.

Mitch McConnell's Republican Senate suicide bombers are, like those who blew themselves up to try to drive Americans out of Iraq or Israel out of Gaza, actually on a mission with clear purposes and objectives.

Not that you'd know it from the media. Just like the grievances of Middle Eastern suicide bombers are usually ignored or glossed over, the actual reasons why McConnell's Republicans would strap on the debt-ceiling suicide vest is almost never mentioned in mainstream American reporting.

There's plenty of coverage about how worried Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is about how severe the impact an American default - or even a pause in issuing Treasuries, which are essential to the smooth functioning of the international monetary system - would be.

"I think there would be a financial crisis, and a calamity," Yellen told reporters yesterday.

But left unsaid was why Republicans would want such a "crisis" and "calamity." What's possibly in it for them?

After all, raising the debt ceiling has, on its face, nothing to do with Democrats' plans to spend $3.5 trillion or so on infrastructure over the next decade; that would be dealt with in future debt ceilings.

Why would the Republicans filibuster the debt ceiling, forcing the Democrats to burn through their one-reconciliation-bill-a-year?

Perhaps that question answers itself, although it is possible under Senate filibuster rules to have a separate reconciliation bill just to raise the debt ceiling; the problem is that doing so makes the entire reconciliation process for other things even more complicated.

So what do they want? Why the suicide vests?

When McConnell last tried this, then against President Obama eight years ago, the GOP had a list of demands that Must Be Met to stop them from blowing up the country along with themselves: cut taxes on the morbidly rich, turn Medicare into a welfare program, and make it easier for big refineries and coal mines to pollute our air and rivers.

This time it appears their goal is to stop President Biden's Build Back Better legislation, also known as the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, a failure which will damage the Democrats politically both with their base and with independent voters for 2022 and 2024.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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