House Republicans will give President Obama the vote he requested on a "clean" debt ceiling hike today, meaning one without any spending cuts attached. Every Republican and at least half of Democrats are expected to vote against it, thereby giving Republicans the opportunity to say to the president, See? We told you that a bill to prevent America from defaulting on its debt and the global economy from collapsing wouldn't pass without some fundamental changes to the social contract attached, so now let's, uh, end Medicare or some such. What a world, right?
Of course it's easy to reject this symbolically now, and with "the markets" knowing well in advance that it's just a stunt. It will be more interesting to see if such a "clean" bill, or one with only superficial, face-saving pretend cuts to nothing, "can't pass" the House near the early August deadline, as the Treasury draws up paperwork announcing that it will be unable to meet its credit obligations within a matter of days, a market sell-off ensues, interest rates rise steadily, Social Security checks stop going out, the terrified Sun fucks off to a different, more stable solar system, etc. But don't worry, the Democrats should cave by that point.
Maybe House Republicans really won't ever vote for the "clean" hike, though, or anything without substantial and hastily arranged cuts to entitlement programs, because they're not that far along the learning curve yet. Consider this tragic paragraph from a recent Politico story about trying to educate new Republicans on their jobs.
The presentation [Rep. Kevin] McCarthy and other top Republicans are giving to lawmakers is stunningly simple and illustrates just how unfamiliar House Republicans are with governing. On presentation slides viewed by POLITICO, McCarthy and other House leaders are using colored, flag-laden charts to show how much debt China and other nations hold.
Enjoy the summer, everyone. It will be your last!
[Image via AP]