David Cay Johnston: Republicans Might Be Willing To Tank The Economy To Make A Political Point

Ed Schultz expressed some of the same frustration I have right now with President Obama continuing to put out the olive branches to Republicans and as he said, “have an amiable tone about it” and asked economist David Cay Johnston about the

Ed Schultz expressed some of the same frustration I have right now with President Obama continuing to put out the olive branches to Republicans and as he said, “have an amiable tone about it” and asked economist David Cay Johnston about the upcoming meetings between Republicans and the White House which is about to take place, and if anything positive for average Americans might come out of it.

Johnston wasn't optimistic and he's not the first person I've seen ask if the GOP is actually crass enough that they might be willing to actually tank our economy because of their rigid political ideology and their absolute unwillingness to raise taxes or do anything else that would get Americans back to work if heaven forbid it might make President Obama look good.

I hope to hell he's wrong and I don't know if it will do an ounce of good or not, but I would hope these members of Congress start having their phones ring and their inboxes filling up from any of their constituents who are following what's going on with this hostage taking telling them they've had enough of it.

JOHNSTON: I don't think so Ed and I think it's getting to be very, very troubling. You know there's an assumption out there that eventually the Republicans will come around and they'll have to settle so we don't default. I think we have to consider the very real possibility that they're willing to submarine the entire history of American economic dominance in the last seventy years or so, in order to achieve a point.

And there's nowhere if you think about it for the Republicans to go. They have made cutting taxes their sole issue. There's no...

SCHULTZ: That's right.

JOHNSTON: ...there's no idea of any other kind, of building the country. I was in China last week and you marvel at the roads they build, at the way that government has seized the future. What the Republicans have done is painted themselves into a corner. And they have nowhere to go but to say more and more tax cuts and even if it means that the country goes into much deeper trouble than it's in now. And that will happen if we don't pay our debts.

Dr. James Peterson followed with one of the better points I've heard made in a while about just what the demands of the Republicans are after Schultz pointed out that they don't seem to listen to anyone that doesn't have money.

PETERSON: That's pretty much the long and the short of it. They want everyone else to tighten their belts. They want school teachers and educators – tighten your belts, poor folk – tighten your belts, immigrants – tighten your belts, every social service to tighten its belt, Medicare – tighten your belts. But they want to insulate the people you're calling job creators, that's very generous Ed.

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

PETERSON: They're not job creators. They're debt shufflers and CEO's of multinational corporations that outsource our labor force. So in the end I have no idea how the Republicans can see how we're going to move forward and progress in this country playing this chicken game with the debt ceiling.

Ed showed a chart from Think Progress and the stats from this post showing that Since 2009, 88 Percent Of Income Growth Went To Corporate Profits, Just One Percent Went To Wages.

Ed asked Johnston how it was that Americans don't get this and Johnston countered that the polls show that they do and said the real question is why is President Obama continuing to treat Republicans as though we're in some “post-partisan” America where everyone's going to get along and asked why he wasn't calling out Republicans more sternly for putting the entire country at risk and “distorting the economy on behalf of very few people.”

After warning that what we may have to look forward to is pretty much the elimination of our middle class in America if something doesn't change, Dr. Peterson did point out on the president's behalf that it's good to keep in mind just who he's dealing with and just how radical the Republican Party has become and all of them acknowledged that he can't seem to win for losing when he does come out strong and he also is dealing with a great deal of misconceptions by the public due to the huge amount of misinformation that's been disseminated out there.

That said, his refusal to draw lines in the sand with Republicans in public and news like this, doesn't give me any comfort that this is going to end well for average Americans - In debt talks, Obama offers Social Security cuts.

I take anything coming out of the media right now with a grain of salt and the devil is going to be in the details of course when any deal is finally made, so I'll hold my fire until we see what happens and what ends up being agreed to during these negotiations. That said, if what was reported in that story is true, and if President Obama thinks making any cuts to Social Security is going to help him get reelected, he's sadly mistaken.

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