Monday, January 28, 2013

Is He Really "Tired of the Drama"?

Well, that didn't last too long. Earlier this morning, Desert Beacon caught this lovely nugget in the Elko Daily Free Press. Supposedly, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Born Again "TEA" Lover) is "tired of the drama" on Capitol Hill.

The Republican Party is making some changes, both internally and externally, following the re-election of President Barack Obama, according to Nevada GOP leaders at the Elko County Lincoln Day Dinner Friday night.

“I am tired of the drama,” U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei told an audience in the Red Lion Inn & Casino. “I’m full up on drama. Drama doesn’t get anything done.”

But notice what he then said at the Elko Lincoln Day Dinner. So how "tired of the drama" is Mark Amodei? Oh, he's just tired enough that he wants to bring on the drama (and the economic pain) of a federal government shutdown!

“Come the end of March, if you’re not talking to us about the debt, if you’re not talking about the continuing resolution, if you haven’t done the (budget) in the first time in over three years, then guess what? No more debt limit increase,” he said, emphatically. “If you don’t talk to us about all that ... and we don’t start on the job of balancing the federal budget ... we’ll shut her down.”

Jeez, where do we start? Doesn't Mark Amodei know that under Article I of the Constitution that he and his G-O-TEA supposedly love so much, budgets are supposed to originate in the House. And under the 2011 debt ceiling deal, the federal budget was already pre-set for Fiscal Years 2012 & 2013. So who's really to blame for "budget malfeasance"?

And then, there's Amodei's "shutdown solution". If a Congressional stalemate forces a federal government shutdown, there are real economic consequences. With a non-functioning federal government, 800,000 federal workers are furloughed, national parks are closed, small business loans & tax refunds are halted, many mortgages are thrown into limbo, and many more unsavory events are unleashed. That means our burgeoning economic recovery is likely killed. And on top of that, the federal budget deficit is further increased due to additional borrowing costs. So much for those "tea party budget hawks" and their "fiscal solutions" that Mark Amodei so admires!

Even if we just fall off "The Fiscal Cliff" next month instead of experiencing a government shutdown, that will likely cause unnecessary economic pain.

More seriously, the threat of more austerity also remains. Republicans shifted the deadline on the debt ceiling principally to obtain leverage over Mr Obama through the sequester—automatic, across-the-board spending cuts. If it kicks in as scheduled in March, Macroeconomic Advisers, a consultancy, reckons it would knock 0.7 percentage points off growth this year. Though both parties would like to replace the sequester with more gradual, selective deficit cuts, they cannot agree on how to do so. Then, at the end of March, a resolution that finances roughly a third of the government expires, raising the possibility of a government shutdown.

“A big part of why the US economy is doing better than Europe’s is precisely because we did not switch to rapid austerity,” says Christina Romer, a former economic adviser to Mr Obama.

Right now, Republicans keep throwing political temper tantrums because they lost the bulk of the last 2 years' worth of fiscal fights. What they fail to recognize is that there are real world economic consequences for playing Russian Roulette with both the federal government and the nation's economy. Well, it's either that or they simply don't care if their manufactured "crises" cause unnecessary economic harm.

That's why Mark Amodei's cries over being "tired of the drama" ring quite hollow. If he's really "tired of the drama", he can actually let the government function the way it's supposed to. And that means not shutting down the government, threatening a debt default, or doing anything else that can cause real economic pain simply because he doesn't like the terms of the budget debate in Congress. Oh, and Dean Heller & Joe Heck should also take heed.

If Nevada's Republican Members of Congress are truly "tired of the drama", then why must they keep creating it? If they're really "tired of the drama" of their own manufactured fiscal fights, then they can prove so by stepping away from "The Cliff".

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