It’s Friday October 11th 2013 (11 days into the government shutdown) and members of congress are going home for the weekend. Most of them will not be back until Tuesday, day after Columbus day, which also happens to be two days before we default on our national debt. (October 17th)
I’m not going to sit here and ascribe blame to one political party or the other; for three simple reasons: One, It’s been a long day and I’m exhausted, two, there is already enough of that going around and I don’t feel like joining the chorus.
And the third reason stems from the simple fact that, it has been clear for some time, at least to those who’ve been paying attention, that both parties are incompetent and don’t feel like they have any real sense of responsibility towards the American people; except, perhaps for those rare moments when members of each side stand in front of the cameras and fake outrage as they yell about how it’s the other party’s fault.
So no, ascribing blame to one side or the other is simply an exercise in futility. But for those of you who don’t agree and think it’s one or the others fault, lets quickly examine these sets of facts:
The republicans were wailing about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, long before the bill, that made it into law, was ever passed. Granted it is now law and should be observed by all Americans, and they don’t get to hold the government hostage because they don’t like it.
But the other side is not blameless either. After passing the law, the Democrats, headed by President Obama, gave into pressure from lobbyists and suddenly decided that big businesses should get a one year pass while the average American is threatened with a fine, if they don’t subscribe.
While this blatant favoritism for Big Businesses is not as bad as shutting down the entire government, it’s almost just as unacceptable. If the Democrats wanted to suspend Obamacare for a year, they should have done so for everyone. So, much as we may feel tempted to blame the republicans for all of it, they kind of have a point on this issue.
But what I find even more disturbing than the shutdown and our elected officials inability to come together and reach an agreement, less than one week before the nation goes into default, is how we the people blankly look on at the scene.
We’re going into our three-day weekend with a mind-boggling aloofness. It’s almost as if we think it’s business as usual. I can assure you that it’s not.
According to a letter send by the Secretary of the Treasury, Jacob Lew, to the members of congress on October 1st 2013, come October 17th, the government will definitely not be able to meet its financial obligations.
If that happens, as it very well might, given the extremely strained relationship between the two parties, the government will have to stop a number of payments to a number of groups and entities. Those who’re retired may not get their social security checks. Millions of people, who depend on government insurance, including those on Medicare and Medicaid may not get paid.
Those with treasury notes from Wall street and global banks to governments of foreign nations will also not get paid, severely hurting the solvency of many financial institutions and in the process destabilize global credit trends.
That in turn will inevitably lead to a sharp decline in the value of Treasury bonds and our borrowing cost will rise as it will become clear to investors, both here and in foreign markets that the U.S government cannot be trusted to pay its debts. The dollar will definitely drop in value, the interest in credit cards, student loans, mortgages etc, will increase and Stock markets, both in the U.S., and elsewhere will take a nosedive.
The reason why, in the face of the aforementioned consequences, our elected officials have not been able to reach an agreement, two days before we default on our debt, stems from the simple fact that they can’t.
Now we can give them more rope and hope they reach a resolution before the 17th (stranger things have happened) Or we can stop sleepwalking and start applying pressure.
Read more from Nkorni at http://www.nkornitankwa.com/