We’ve seen this all before. And it’s hard to believe that, more than 50 years later, we’re seeing it again.
We saw it in Virginia in 1958 when segregationist lawmakers opted to shut down the entire public school system of Prince Edward County, Va., rather than allow black students to attend school with white students.
Those schools remained closed until 1964.
We saw it again in 2011, when anti-tax Tea Party congressmen, driven by an obsession with undermining the nation’s first black president and a woeful ignorance of macroeconomics, drove the country to the brink of default by refusing to allow him to raise the debt ceiling.
No matter that their hero, Ronald Reagan, raised the ceiling 18 times and George W. Bush raised it seven times.
While an agreement was finally reached, the political dysfunction on display led Standard and Poor’s – one of the top three credit rating organizations – to downgrade the United States’ credit rating from AAA to AA+.
For the first time ever.
Now, those same anti-tax zealots are about to take the country over the edge again – the edge this time being the fiscal cliff.
And apparently, they don’t care about that – as long as President Obama goes over the edge with it.
Some patriots they are.
According to the Associated Press, a number of Tea Party activists are cheering House Speaker John Boehner’s failure to persuade his fellow House members to agree to a compromise on averting the fiscal cliff – a series of automatic tax increases and spending cuts that will take effect on Jan. 1.
Among other things, the cliff will lead to the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, as well as the Earned Income Tax Credit and increases in payroll and income taxes. Defense spending would be cut as well –and many economists have warned that going over the cliff could lead to another recession, and possibly another credit downgrade.
But apparently the Tea Party folks, who won’t agree to any compromise that raises taxes on the rich in spite of the fact that without an agreement, virtually everyone will be hit with steep cuts and tax increases, don’t see that.
They don’t see the American people suffering as much as they see them as collateral damage in their war to take out Obama.
Said South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly: “If it takes us going off a cliff to convince people of the mess we’re in, then so be it.