Meant to call Robert Ariail today and suggest a cartoon idea to him. It would be based on the classic National Lampoon cover seen at right. Only it would have Jim DeMint holding the pistol to the head of the U.S. economy (some variation on Uncle Sam, perhaps), saying, “If you don’t do my will, the old guy gets it!”
I don’t know if Robert would have done it or not, but it’s the kind of thing I would have been eager to suggest to him in the morning when we worked together. Not that he necessarily would have listened. He probably would have come up with a better idea. But we’d enjoy the brainstorming process…
What brought this on? Oh, this story in the paper this morning:
DeMint to fight debt limit hike
Senator vows to block measure unless future federal deficits banned
WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim DeMint, who has wrought chaos in Congress over earmarks, immigration and health care, is preparing to launch a crusade that would make those fights look tame.
DeMint, a Republican from South Carolina early in his second term, is vowing to block any vote on raising the U.S. debt ceiling unless Congress moves to amend the Constitution by banning future federal deficits.
“I will oppose any attempt to vote to raise the limit on our $14 trillion debt until Congress passes the balanced-budget amendment,” DeMint told McClatchy.
DeMint’s stance puts him on a collision course with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who is warning congressional leaders of cataclysmic consequences if Congress fails to authorize a higher debt limit by mid-May, when he predicts the current $14.3 trillion ceiling will be reached.
“Defaulting on legal obligations of the United States would lead to sharply higher interest rates and borrowing costs, declining home values and reduced retirement savings for Americans,” Geithner wrote last week in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“Default would cause a financial crisis potentially more severe than the crisis from which we are only now starting to recover,” Geithner wrote….
Our junior senator is really something, isn’t he?
I wonder what he’s really thinking. Does he really believe that he WOULD do it, and destroy the U.S. credit rating, pulling the world down with us?
Does he think everybody ELSE believes he would, and will therefore do his will?
Does power mean this much to him?
Hey, Jim, I’m really disturbed about the towering U.S. debt, too. I have been for as long as I can remember, and never more than now. To be racking up this kind of debt when we aren’t in an existential war (and folks, the proportion of GNP going to military activities in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya is pretty small compared, say, to the kind of national effort required in WWII — or at the height of the Cold War) is pretty scary, and a testament to a lack of political will, courage and wisdom.
But the reason it’s a concern is what it could do to our economy, how it could substantially and materially affect our futures and those of our children and grandchildren. It’s not that it offends us ideologically or something.
And yet, in service of his ideology, he wants to threaten to do something potentially every bit as damaging as out-of-control debt.