The two great political facts of the current moment are (1) the takeover of the Republican Party by its lunatic fringe(s) and (2) the failure of mainstream political and journalistic discourse to come to grips with (1). I keep hoping that (2) will change over time as the evidence for (1) continues to mount.
The only silver lining in the debt-ceiling-crisis cloud is that it may help speed the process of recognition. The Economist, generally a reliable ally of the plutocracy, illustrates:
Shame on them … The Republicans are playing a cynical political game with hugely high economic stakes … Americaâ€™s net indebtedness is a perfectly affordable 65% of GDP, and throughout the past three years of recession and tepid recovery investors have been more than happy to go on lending to the federal government. The current problems, rather, are political .. .the vast majority of Republicans, driven on by the wilder-eyed members of their party and the cacophony of conservative media, are clinging to the position that not a single cent of deficit reduction must come from a higher tax take. This is economically illiterate and disgracefully cynical. … Americaâ€™s tax take is at its lowest level for decades …
the closer you look, the more unprincipled the Republicans look. … the blame falls clearly on the Republicans. Independent voters should take note.
On a different level, of course, the notion of either cutting spending or raising taxes in the face of massive unemployment and under-utilization of other economic capacity is also crazy. Surely it shouldn’t be hard to see that we need more stimulus now and better fiscal balance for the future: for example, by committing now to carbon taxes to kick in two or three years from now and rise steadily into the future.
But at least the transatlantic plutocrats have noticed that Republican anti-tax craziness is now at a level that threatens even plutocratic interests. Their counterparts on this side of the Pond tend to be slower learners.
Footnote As Keith points out, “Lexington,” The Economist‘s U.S. political correspondent, had already gone there.