Was America’s economy really a “hostage worth ransoming?”

A very sensible article!

Mon, 08/08/2011 -EricByler

“For Republican leaders, there was pride in a hand well played. I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting. Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this — it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming.”

— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

by Eric Byler

After a nearly 700 point drop last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Index dropped another 630 points today. I’m sure that Senate Minority Leader regrets saying what he said, quoted above, in yesterday’s Washington Post feature, just as I’m sure House Speaker John Boehner regrets saying he got 98% of what he wanted now that it’s clear what it led to. I’m sure there are others piling on — I haven’t even had time to look to be honest. But I’m a little bit mad, so I’m just going to come out and say this.

The broader package of deficit reductions that would avoided a stock market collapse and put our country on the path to fiscal solvency was left on the table by Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell in favor of a smaller, last-minute deal. Why? Because the grand compromise proposed by President Obama would have included asking for just a little bit of more of a contribution to this country from the largest multi-national corporations doing business in America, and, the one or two percent of us who qualify as aristocracy. In order to ensure that 100 percent of the sacrifices are made by the middle class, young people, our grandparents, and the poor, and, in order to protect the profit margins and hedge fund windfalls of people who have an awful lot of money already, a handful of lobbyists and politicians in Washington decided that the U.S. economy was a hostage worth ransoming.

Oh, and that’s the charitable way of interpreting the Debt-Ceiling Hostage Crisis. The cynical interpretation is that a double dip recession or even the world’s first “Great Depression On-Purpose” would make it easier to win the 2012 election. A willingness to “burn the house down” works well as a negotiation tactic. It remains to be seen as to whether it will help Republicans win any elections. Perhaps tomorrow in Wisconsin will be an indicator.

But the words above jumped out at me when I read them late Saturday for another reason. There were some in the Coffee Party community who wondered if “hostage crisis” was too strong of a term when I first started using it a few months ago. I made no apology then, and, I don’t think I will be now. What we are witnessing is, I hope, the all time low point for partisan politics in modern day America. But as the Standard & Poor’s report on the U.S. credit downgrade soberly points out, we really have no way of knowing if this tactic will be exploited again in late September when the next hostage crisis is currently scheduled (do what we say or else we shut down the federal government during a recession).


PS: Michael Stafford’s video debut takes on the same subject:

If you want to see the video, go to the original site:


About martisima

After over 50 years of teaching literature to undergraduate and graduate students, I feel I have earned my retirement (it happened when I was 72, five years ago). I do miss the classroom, however, but not the meetings and all other requirements of the profession. I love teaching, and wish I could still do it. But now I read for pleasure, and watch films, and listen to all kinds of music (no TV, though). I love to travel, and hope I can resume doing it soon. I need to get over my health issues caused by thyroid surgery three years ago!
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3 Responses to Was America’s economy really a “hostage worth ransoming?”

  1. Leopoldo says:

    Sin embargo los comentaristas hablan “de la posibilidad de que este en peligro la reeleccion de Obama”!

  2. martisima says:

    Leo: Nadie sabe nada y todos “comentan”. Esta es la trsite realidad. Lo unico que sabemos es que la economia va MUY mal…

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