Let me be sure I have this clear

The Republicans plan to demonstrate their horror of the economic consequences of policy uncertainty by creating a rolling series of debt-ceiling crises every three months. Doing that, rather than wrecking the national credit right away, is intended to show that the crazies are no longer in charge. Whatever.

The Republicans, having spent all of last campaign season fretting about how “policy uncertainty” was crippling the economic recovery, have now decided to impose a rolling series of debt-ceiling crises on the country every three months until Santa brings them the unspecified spending cuts they wanted for Christmas.

And this is how they’re trying to persuade the country that the crazies are no longer running the House Republican caucus? Really?

I understand that John Boehner thinks his kindergarten class needs to have a tantrum from time to time “to get it out of their system,” but this is pretty lame.

And of course the proposal to cut off Congressional pay until a budget passes would be unconstitutional even if it weren’t pointless.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

8 thoughts on “Let me be sure I have this clear”

  1. “Uff a mishigeneh fisch, fraigst du a frageh?”

    Sorry about the poor transliteration, but it’s the punch line of one of my mother’s favorite jokes. Translated from the Yiddish, the joke involves a conversation wherein one participant announces,

    “Today I saw a crazy fish walking down the street.”

    To which the response is,

    “What do you mean? Fish can’t walk down the street.”

    And the punch line:

    “Why are you questioning the behavior of a crazy fish?” (A rough translation of the above).

    In Yiddish, it’s a good joke. In English, it’s not so funny, but still apt.

  2. i teach in the public schools in texas. every day i talk to people with college educations, many with master’s degrees and a few with docorates. despite their educational background, most of them are hoping the republicans in the house can manage to cause the undoing of obamacare; the reduction, if not elimination, of public assistance programs; the passage of a balanced budget amendment; and in general stop obama in his tracks on most issues. i know a couple of teachers who don’t understand that stephen colbert represents satire. as a liberal democrat i am something of an oddity in texas, especially the part of texas outside of dallas, austin, and houston.

    what i’m trying to get at is that it’s not so much that they’re trying to persuade the country as it is that their constituents and, quite probably they themselves, believe in the things they say and do. i don’t think you’ll get very far in understanding the modern republican party by thinking of them as insincere or hypocritical. they may appear crazy but they are sincerely crazy. it would pay to understand that.

    1. You have my sympathy, it must be difficult at times to be surrounded by people who are so right-wing. I have a few in my circles and I can never quite get my head around it — in your case it is teachers, who of all people, should understand how important the social service safety net is (and also, that the target is painted on their backs too), and in my case, it is fellow special needs parents, who think it is for the greater good that our children be denied the most basic services and supports.

      My tongue can get awfully sore being bitten while they go on, I imagine yours has scar tissue in places.

    2. Navarro, I think you stole that terrific last line (two sentences, actually) from my grandmother.

      Sixty years ago I had an aunt who was a fanatical socialist. She was always carrying on about some issue that “the socialists could solve so easily.” My grandmother would say “you gotta understand … she may seem goofy, but she’s *sincerely* goofy.”

      I loved her because she was my aunt, and because she loved me. But if we hadn’t been related, I don’t think I’d have had the slightest patience for her and her loony ideas.

      1. Well, there’s style and there’s substance. Your aunt may have had a style similar to today’s ditto-heads, which is indeed very tiresome. No one wants to listen to hysterical tirades no matter what the topic. I have some lefties among my friends with whom I dread discussing the news of the day.

        But don’t you think you have to give your aunt credit for the substance of what she believed, which was that we strive to have a fairer, more just and more peaceful community? I think holding those values dear is admirable.

        1. The problem is that, stated that broadly, almost everyone believes that we should strive to have a fairer, more just and more peaceful community. If I’m going to hold dear anyone who wants to do that, I’m going to have to include most Republicans.

          1. Okay, I’ll try restating that. A more compassionate, humane and charitable society, where no one wants for the basics of food, shelter, medical care, and the like, where the least among us are taken care of.

            I know some actual Tea Partiers and based on conversations I’ve had with them, I know that they think it perfectly fine that tens of thousands of Americans die each year because they don’t have health care. Yes, they think that’s “fair,” so you are right, I should have chosen my words more carefully.

            As annoying as Ken’s aunt’s behaviors might have been, her heart was in the right place, which I absolutely cannot say about those Tea Partiers.

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