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Debt-Ceiling Talks: Yes, the GOP Has Gone Insane

debt ceiling cantor and Boehner

John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images

O.K., so we’re now just a couple of weeks away from the Aug. 2 deadline when, if no deal is reached on raising the debt ceiling, the U.S. government will default on its debts and the ailing economy will go into full-blown cardiac arrest. Didn’t you expect, given the stakes, that Democrats and Republicans would have this thing worked out by now? If you did – and I did – you were forgetting something: The modern GOP has gone insane. Apparently, Republicans are willing to hold out right up to (and maybe even beyond) the deadline unless they get everything they want (draconian spending cuts, including to social programs) and Democrats none of what they want (modest tax hikes to generate new revenues). As Paul Krugman suggests in his NYT column today, it’s not enough for Republicans to win – and by the way they’ve already won, having wrung concessions that “if anything, are to the right of what [even] the average Republican voter wants.” No, Democrats must be annihilated. Short of that, the GOP is willing to blow up the economy. This was predictable, Krugman says. First of all, it’s been clear for some time that the Republican Party “fundamentally does not accept the legitimacy of a Democratic presidency — any Democratic presidency.” Second, supply-side “voodoo economics — which claims that tax cuts pay for themselves and/or that any rise in taxes would lead to economic collapse” – has overtaken the GOP. It’s been a force since Reagan’s time, but recently “all restraint has vanished.” Mainstream pundit types bear some of the blame for this. We might not be here today “if outsiders had been willing to condemn those who took irresponsible positions,” Krugman writes. But they didn’t, “and sure enough, [the GOP] has gone off the deep end.”

‘Getting to Crazy’ [Paul Krugman, New York Times]

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