---- — To the editor:
Once again the Republicans in Congress are threatening real harm to the country if they don’t get their way. They say they will shut down the government or stop it from paying its debts, or both, unless the administration and congressional Democrats make more spending cuts like the disastrous sequester and agree to kill the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by defunding it — two bad ideas that require a letter all their own.
They seriously float the idea of not raising the debt ceiling even though it would mean that the United States will not be able to pay bills it already owes. That would be a clear signal to our trading partners and the rest of the world that we are fiscally unreliable and certainly not to be taken seriously as a world leader. The negative effect on the global financial system of having the country that has been central to the world economy fail to pay its bills is hard to overstate — it could make our recent recession look like a walk in the park.
Shutting down the government would undoubtedly have the effect of slowing down the economy as it will stop all the economic activity of the government — lots of public sector employees out of work, private contractor work and payments stopped, truly an economic mess.
How can a political party that claims it wants create jobs through economic growth actually push for actions that would depress the economy and cost jobs? Easy — the whole right-wing position is to destroy the government and somehow miraculously the marketplace will just make everything OK. This is all of a piece with a record number of Senate filibusters and in the House a refusal to bring legislation like the president’s jobs proposal to the floor for discussion and a vote. Make no mistake, the slow recovery isn’t because the president got things wrong. It’s because the tea party Republicans have refused to even debate, much less vote on, taking steps to provide jobs, support research, fix our infrastructure, and on and on.
The Republican avoidance of participation in governing is tearing apart the substance of our democratic system and threatens the economic viability of the country.