The debt ceiling.
In this, I am, apparently, more aware of the consequences than the Republican members of Congress. Many of them think that defaulting on the debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
They say it’s like being late with a bill to a creditor. If you call your landlord and explain that you’re having a tough time, sometimes he’ll let you wait for a paycheck before you pay the rent.
Here’s the thing: The global economy is not like your household budget. It’s a lot more complicated. There are a lot more moving parts. When the bills come due, the United States government can’t turn out the lights and hide in the closet when creditors expect to get paid.
And also, a lot of those creditors are you and me. A lot of us have investments in funds that include Treasury bonds. Even more of us depend on services, such as Medicare, Social Security, and veterans benefits, that are considered government debt. Not only will we suffer if we don’t get those payments, but the people whose businesses depend on us having money to buy things will also suffer.
It might be that we would all have a basic understanding of this kind of simple economic theory if we were an educated nation. Unfortunately, that is no longer true. After more than thirty years of cutting government, especially in ways that hurt our schools, we are left with a workforce that woefully unprepared. That’s bad when one is looking for a job. It’s even worse when we’re electing the woefully unprepared to Congress. Many of the same Republican Congressmen (and Michelle Bachman) who poo-poo the consequences of defaulting on the debt are the same people who poo-poo climate change and evolution, and who think “religious freedom” means they get to force the rest of us to be “Christian” (but in a way that oppresses the poor, the queer and the female).
This is especially striking to me this week, because Malala Yousafzai has been in town and on television a lot. This is the young girl who got shot by religious fundamentalists for going to school and saying she liked it. I’m so impressed by her grace, her good nature (at least in public) and her enthusiasm for life.
It’s not only a stark contrast to the old men in Washington, but to the young women our capitalist society offers us to admire. I mean, I’ll take Malala over Miley Cyrus and Sarah Palin.
Martha Thomases, Media Goddess, thinks a consciousness raising group with Malala, Patti Smith, Grace Paley and Moms Mabley is an off-Broadway show waiting to happen.