Home » Republicans are hellbent on destroying the economy

Republicans are hellbent on destroying the economy

Campaign Action

“These are people on very low, sometimes fixed incomes that rely on these payments as a lifeline to pay for housing, to pay for food, to pay for expenses for children and other family members,” Cole Lyle, a Marine Corps veteran and executive director of the veterans advocacy group Mission Roll Call, told NPR. “So it could be potentially very crippling.”

Even if Biden and McCarthy come to some agreement to avoid default and the drastic cuts Republicans are insisting on are implemented, there will still be pain for these two groups in particular. On paper, Republicans say they’re holding Medicare, Social Security, and veterans health care sacred. They won’t let those programs be cut. But adhering to the level of cuts Republicans are demanding means that housing, food assistance, and utility help all get cut. It means that the federal employees who staff the agencies that help them are cut, too, which means delays in all sorts of services, including benefit claims.

The vulnerable will obviously get hammered first and hardest, either in a default or in the austerity budget Republicans are insisting on. The pain will ripple out from there—every person who becomes unemployed, or can’t buy food, or pay their rent means another job lost at a grocery store or apartment complex. That’s a feature of the Republican strategy, if not the whole point: pain.

Pain that will hurt Biden’s and the Democrats’ electoral prospects in 2024. Why else would Donald Trump be egging them on? Yes, the same Trump who couldn’t “imagine anybody ever even thinking of using the debt ceiling as a negotiating wedge” in 2019 is now saying, “Republicans should not make a deal on the debt ceiling unless they get everything they want (Including the ‘kitchen sink’).”

So that’s what Republicans, with the Freedom Caucus calling all the shots, are doing. Last Thursday, the Freedom Caucus called for an end to talks, and on Friday the McCarthy team decided to “press pause” on the talks that were supposed to continue later that day. Then the Freedom Caucus upped the ante by demanding that the racist, xenophobic immigration bill—the border bill the White House has said Biden will veto—be included in the debt ceiling deal. That would be Trump’s “kitchen sink” approach.

On Saturday, Biden offered a freeze in spending on a wide array of domestic spending programs, which would amount to cuts because of inflation. Republicans rejected that and countered with a demand that more money be spent on defense, their fig leaf of veterans health care, and border security. Oh, and they totally ruled out repealing the tax cuts they pushed through in a middle-of-the-night vote back in 2017. The Freedom Caucus, with their de facto chairman Donald Trump pushing them, is gunning for a default, and so far, McCarthy is dancing to their tune.

Hell yeah! Democrats and progressives simply crushed it from coast to coast on Tuesday night, so co-hosts David Nir and David Beard are devoting this week’s entire episode of “The Downballot” to reveling in all the highlights. At the very top of the list is Jacksonville, where Democrats won the mayor’s race for just the second time in three decades—and gave the Florida Democratic Party a much-needed shot in the arm. Republicans also lost the mayor’s office in the longtime conservative bastion of Colorado Springs for the first time since the city began holding direct elections for the job 45 years ago.