Gary Horton | McCarthy, Republicans Extort USA

Gary Horton
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Why does this mess have to happen whenever there’s a Republican House and a Democratic president? Nearly every time, these so-called “conservatives” threaten to drive us off worldwide economic cliffs by “shutting down the government” if they don’t get their way of slashing your Social Security, Medicare and other desirable “entitlements.” 

This has become routine with Republican “leadership.” Newt Gingrich essentially invented the modern practice when he shocked Americans and shut down the government on a dare to Bill Clinton. But Ronald Reagan, too, commonly used his veto powers, halting payments to strong-arm Congress, usually at the expense of hundreds of thousands of federal workers furloughed for various lengths of pain. 

Back in President Barack Obama’s time, Ted Cruz and John Boehner took the practice to a new level. Fighting to shut down Obamacare before it took hold, they shut down the government for 17 days, furloughing 800,000 workers while driving the USA’s credit rating down in international rating agencies from A to A-, costing billings in interest expense for the country and billions more for those who had invested in U.S. treasuries. 

Today, this is our own House of Representatives telling the American public, “If you don’t let us steal the things you’ve worked for and the things you like, we’ll break your friggin’ knees until you give in.”  

That Kevin McCarthy refuses to raise our debt ceiling is nothing short of extortion against his own constituents. Bakersfield Kevin is pointing his newly acquired wild West six shooter at you and me, and telling us to “hand over your wallet, or else.” 

This is what we get for handing the keys to the clown car crowd. Kevin should go back to his cow-pooh patch where he’s much more suited. Plainly, he’s sucked in far too much methane to think straight. 

This is not a complex issue. Every year the U.S. produces and accepts something akin to a budget and agrees to move forward. And ever since Bill Clinton, these budgets have been in deficit. During both Republican and Democratic presidencies. Congress agrees to run in deficit, and everyone knows it. But during the year, as the deficit is about to trigger, Congress must pass a redundant resolution to fund what it previously agreed to spend. It’s a no-brainer. Congress agreed to spend X amount of money, and now, for political leverage, McCarthy (and others in the past) hold us ransom by refusing to pass the debt ceiling resolution to pay the bills they themselves incurred. 

If a CFO did this, they’d be fired the same day. If you refused to pay your credit card after a buying spree, your card would be cut off and you’d soon be in debtor’s court. This is essentially the situation. The USA bought stuff and now McCarthy is refusing to pay for it. If you were married to McCarthy, you’d divorce him in a hot minute to save your credit rating. 

But here we are, again. And Biden has plainly stated he’s not going to negotiate and again we’ve got a stand-off. So far, the Fed is taking “extreme measures” to keep the government funded until June or so. But international markets are already getting jitters and businesses are already preparing for turbulence and economists are already adding this into all that weighs on us already toward a potential recession. 

Thank you, Stinker Kevin. Just short days on the job and you’re already serving us with threats, extortion and retaliation. You get a great big “F” for failure to lead. 

Most know these theatrics are largely for show to score points with this or that conservative group or think tank. It’s “own the libs.” It’s, “being tough.” It’s, “Being a hard-nosed conservative” for your mouth-foaming retrograde base who doesn’t understand it is their Social Security and their Medicare, their benefits you’re extorting.  

Meanwhile, the rest of us pay the tab for this ugly showmanship and brinksmanship.  

Is this any way to run a functioning democracy? Not remotely. Budget negotiations should happen as budgets are prepared. Not paying the bill after the fact is the financial equivalent of a Jan. 6 insurrection breaking into the Capitol. McCarthy might as well affix his Viking Horn Hat and wave a taser while he plops his pooh-patch boots on his own desk this time. 

None of this debt ceiling brinksmanship happened when Democrats last held the House. You didn’t suffer this disruption. Oh, Donald Trump himself held up the government for a few hours or days himself – but the standoff was short-term and never taken seriously. This time it’s international news and folks are getting on red alert, worried that “burn down the government” types like Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Matt Gaetz might just force weak McCarthy’s hand and let things burn down.  

If you can’t win through elections, why not just burn it all down? 

I have a business to run. You have your life to live. Our city and state requires federal stability. The nation needs its perfect credit rating. And our country, if it is to remain internationally inspirational, must honor its financial commitments and act exemplary. 

Kevin McCarthy threatens all the above. If you don’t want Cowboy Kev messing with your quality of life or threatening your Social Security and Medicare, it’s time to write this conservative darling and give him a piece of your much saner mind. 

God, this mess is what we get when we vote for the government we deserve.  

Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.

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