Republicans To Big Business: Guess What? We Don’t Care What You Want (October 14, 2013)


I don’t often say this in print so my detractors should enjoy the novelty. I was wrong. Granted, I have been in error at several intervals when I believed that Tea Party Republicans, no matter how fervent and misguided their messages, were ultimately Americans first. There’s no way they’d take us close to the brink during the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, causing our nation’s credit rating to be downgraded for the  first time since those stats were recorded, right?

Once Obama roundly won re-election in November 2012 and after Obamacare became the law of the land, they’d come to accept this as reality and move onto another target? Anyone? Anyone?

But most assuredly I had been led to believe that no matter what intransigent, batty opposition this faction of the G.O.P. had to all things POTUS supported, there was still one group’s authority that brooked no opposition. I speak of course of Big Business, that bastion of free market, deregulated “freedom” that these Tea Party patriots seem to value above all things, starting with the fabric of the social safety net.

It isn’t very often that the views and interests of compassionate liberals and sterile, bottom-line driven business leaders intertwine, but these my friends, are unusual times. Thus we encounter headlines such as Business Groups See Loss of Sway Over House G.O.P. in last week’s New York Times. The piece, from writers Eric Lipton, Nicholas Confessore and Nelson D. Schwartz, opens with the following:

“As the government shutdown grinds toward a potential debt default, some of the country’s most influential business executives have come to a conclusion all but unthinkable a few years ago: Their voices are carrying little weight with the House majority that their millions of dollars in campaign contributions helped build and sustain.”

Realizing that they are part and parcel of the tools used to build the 21st Century edition of Frankenstein’s Monster, the story goes on to observe:

“Their frustration has grown so intense in recent days that several trade association officials warned in interviews on Wednesday that they were considering helping wage primary campaigns against Republican lawmakers who had worked to engineer the political standoff in Washington. ”

Well that is certainly a seismic shift in attitude toward the years of dollar-funneling in support of political campaigns, representing the most conservative “lawmakers.” But I suppose even entities with interests that run counter to the health of the American worker see this indefensible legislative squatting for what it really is: a threat to the collective livelihood of everyone. How democratic.

The Times piece, however, was written a week ago. Since then Republican leaders have flirted with the possibility of a reasonable, balanced solution to the government shutdown/debt ceiling standoff. At the moment when a weekend compromise finally seemed possible, they then pulled the football away, Lucy-style, just as a tentative Democratic caucus (definitely the Charlie Brown of this analogy) was ready to kick it.  What was the result?

Writers Annie Lowrey and Nathaniel Popper write a fresh Timespiece, World Leaders Press the U.S. on Fiscal Crisis that widens the net of recorded business community frustration. It represents an area no smaller than, you know, the entire planet.  The article begins:

“Leaders at World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings on Sunday pleaded, warned and cajoled: the United States must raise its debt ceiling and reopen its government or risk ‘massive disruption the world over,’ as Christine Lagarde, the fund’s managing director, put it.”

Let it never be said that the IMF, former superfans of austerity, are in the pocket of liberal, Keynesian economists like Paul Krugman.

But here’s my favorite section of the Lowrey and Popper piece:

“Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, painted a bleak picture of the days ahead if there is no resolution. ‘As you get closer to it, the panic will set in and something will happen,’ Mr. Dimon said …’I don’t personally know when that problem starts.’ He added that JPMorgan had been ‘spending huge amounts of time and money and effort to be prepared.’”

People, when the pleas of the vaunted Jamie Dimon, Wall Street kingpin and “London Whale” trading loss shepherd, go unheeded, we have entered a new era.

An era when a small minority of terrorists (I care not that Democratic leaders have tried to soften their language. It’s getting them nowhere.) stand for nothing, care for no one, above and beyond getting their own way. I’m not sure people on the right know what that even means anymore. Is there anyone left who can articulate and defend the maneuvers of these crackpots?

The business community has finally gotten hip: you were pawns. Pawns with a lot of money. The Tea Party intends to bring you down along with the rest of us. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.


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