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Kevin McCarthy, Joe Biden, Deal
Joe Biden greets House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Photo credit: The White House / Flickr

After much hand-wringing and finger-pointing, it was business as usual in the nation’s capital: A crisis was manufactured and then averted while everybody claimed victory and nobody was happy.

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Late on Wednesday, the House did its part of preventing a looming economic disaster by passing legislation that would raise the debt ceiling. In the end, after much hand-wringing and finger-pointing, it was business as usual in the nation’s capital: A crisis was manufactured and then averted while everybody claimed victory and nobody was happy. Welcome to Washington!

It took months to get us to this point, and now the Senate has until Monday to do its part. It will, of course, after more hand-wringing and finger-pointing.

And, as per usual, there is plenty of blame to go around. Also as per usual, the Democrats displayed ineptitude and Republicans cruelty, hypocrisy, and disingenuousness.

Here is a brief review of how we got to Wednesday’s 314-117 vote.

Democrats could have simply extended the debt ceiling late last year before Republicans took control of the House. They didn’t (ineptitude). Then, President Joe Biden, clinging to the belief that bipartisanship is still a thing in Washington and perhaps hoping that Republicans would “do the right thing” in the end, said he would not negotiate any kind of debt ceiling deal.

Then, he sat back for a few weeks (ineptitude) while Republicans pointed a gun at the world economy and controlled the narrative of how they were heroes trying to rein in the rampant spending that surely was only the fault of Democrats (disingenuousness). Of course, when they are in power, deficits and debts are of no concern.

As a result, they insisted that, although they raised the debt ceiling three times under President Donald Trump with no strings attached, Biden would have to pay a heavy price for doing the exact same thing (hypocrisy).

And then they came up with a wish list of items to be included in any deal that would make Fox “News” viewers happy, protect the rich, and be paid for by the poor (cruelty).

Finally, when it wasn’t clear who would “win” this debacle in the court of public opinion, Biden and House Republican leaders sat down and crafted a deal that allowed plenty of victory-claiming while not making anybody happy.

On balance, Democrats probably got the better of it because now the debt ceiling won’t be an issue ahead of the 2024 election. And, of course, there is that whole, “The world economy didn’t melt down on Biden’s watch” thing.

That also explains why Republicans more proudly proclaimed that they had “won,” while Democrats kept quiet and voted for the deal in greater numbers than the GOP.

In reality, everybody kinda lost, which is why the lawmakers who voted “no” got it right. Right-wing Republicans rejected the deal because it didn’t burn down everything and because it wasn’t cruel enough. Left-wing Democrats voted against it because they didn’t like to be held hostage just to see poor Americans being forced to pay the ransom.

From their respective points of view, they are the most right in this whole affair.

For regular Americans, the best thing about it all is that there won’t have to be another debt ceiling fight until 2025… or 2029 if a Republican wins the White House next fall and debts and deficits are once again forgotten.

Because when you are in power, you can be cruel without taking hostages. 

 

 

Author

  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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