And, as digby points out, along with Stan Collander, the Dems appear to be perfectly willing to go along with it.
He says that just because the Republicans get their wish for a failure of a clean vote, it does not necessarily follow that they would vote for a "dirty" one either. He feels this vote is entirely a kabuki dance that's necessary (because of the polls saying people don't want to raise the debt ceiling) for the Republicans to record a "no" vote no matter what's in it.Digby has a point. That seems fits both bases quite nicely. The Republican base gets to celebrate a Republican victory, whereas the Democratic base gets to mourn one.
So basically, the Democrats are sacrificing their position so that Republicans can be comfortable voting to raise the ceiling with spending cuts in a couple of months. If Collander is right, the Democrats are even stupider than usual. It's a twisted good cop/bad cop scene where the Republican base applauds its leaders for being tough guys and the Democratic base hand theirs a hankie and commiserates with their powerlessness. (And then the leadership goes out and has a cup of coffee and a donut, or in more common parlance -- Tipnronnie have a drink together.)
So that's where it stands. After all the bullshit about building confidence by cutting spending, we now have a Republican party that's preparing to DEMOLISH confidence by cutting spending. Notice the common theme, there? It isn't about building a strong economy. It's about driving taxes to zero for their ultra-monied friends and clientele, while simultaneously driving wages to rock-bottom by making people so desperate that they'll accept absolutely anything.Collander does allude to an end game that seems to be making its way into the beltway ether:Many Members publicly insist that a big “no” vote on a clean bill will have little to no effect on financial markets. But here’s another dirty little secret: There is a growing suspicion that, like what happened the day after the House rejected the Troubled Asset Relief Program in September 2008 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by almost 7 percent, such a vote could quickly change market perceptions of the situation and have a substantial negative effect on interest rates and equity prices.
It’s even possible that’s part of the plan. Former Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said last week that it is going to be difficult to get Members of Congress to agree to increase the debt ceiling without some kind of “turbulence” in the bond market. A big “no” vote on a debt ceiling increase bill could easily accelerate that type of disturbance in the financial force. Indeed, it might be what’s needed to precipitate it and the leadership may be counting on that happening.It’s even possible that’s part of the plan. Former Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said last week that it is going to be difficult to get Members of Congress to agree to increase the debt ceiling without some kind of “turbulence” in the bond market. A big “no” vote on a debt ceiling increase bill could easily accelerate that type of disturbance in the financial force. Indeed, it might be what’s needed to precipitate it and the leadership may be counting on that happening.
I don't know what kind of sick nihilism makes a scenario like that remotely possible, but again, I don't believe it. We are talking about Big Money here and there are a lot of things that aren't working right in this country right now, but the greed mechanism isn't one of them. I don't believe "the markets" are going along with that plan. And I don't think even the Republicans are going to take that kind of risk going into an election year.Well, that's the rub, isn't it? I disagree with digby that this is implausible. It's extraordinarily plausible, and will pay off big for the Republicans and their buddies. Going along with this program of tax cuts WILL mean that the Democrats will get punished. The Republicans will get away with selling the cuts by lying about their economic impact and because they'll retain the support of their deluded base. The Dems will watch as their base simply doesn't bother to vote. The "swing" voters won't help the Dems, either; they'll go to whichever party can promise that they won't be homeless in two years, and the Republicans will be more than happy to swoop in with supply-side horseshit about how this engineered panic will ultimately help "job creators".
But if these people are actually planning a financial panic in order to destroy the safety net, can someone explain to me just how it is they can possibly be considered anything but criminals? This isn't a joke. Panics have a way of getting out of hand --- it's not like you can wave a magic wand and it stops. At the very least can we at least admit that every single sentence they've ever uttered about the desperate need for market "confidence" and "uncertainty" was unadulterated rubbish? (If this happens keep an eye on the short sellers because somebody's going to make money on it and you have to assume the people who caused it are among them ...)
The Democrats can turn this clean vote against the Republicans if they want to. The polls may say that the people don't want the debt ceiling raised, but they also don't want the government shut down, Medicare to get privatized and the economy to get worse. If the Democrats have even a modicum of guts they'll relentlessly hammer this vote home for the next two months as a sign of the Republicans' willingness to do anything to destroy Medicare, even destroy the economy. There are several months of negotiations ahead and they could tie this albatross around their necks right along with the dead Ryan plan if they want to. The real question is whether they want to.
It's a lie, of course. the whole POINT of this thing is to demolish the middle class and loot the wreckage left behind for every nickel. The middle-class will be poor, the poor will be destitute, and America's income distribution will look like something out of the third world. But, hey, that's what Republicans are ABOUT, now, isn't it?
Digby's right in saying that the Dems could turn this around. The Republicans are taking it on the chin for this anti-Medicare bullshit of theirs. The Dems could absolutely savage the Republicans for using this sort of game to threaten America's economy. They probably won't do it, though. If they had THAT sort of sense, they wouldn't have gotten their asses kicked last year after a recession which should have discredited the Republicans once and for all.
Edit: And, yes, the Republicans are probably gunning for a bond panic. They've been hoping for one for years, because rising interest rates would give them the cover they need to insist that America's turning into Zimbabwe. When the current situation just isn't supporting your story, why not create the situation yourself?