This Sunday morning, Tailgunner Ted Cruz went on CNN’s State of the Union to give his take on why it’s OK to hold the United States hostage. Cruz’s ship has been sinking for weeks now, but even weighed down with a billion tons of political self-interest, he plunges boldly ahead into waters that, according to him, aren’t exactly uncharted. According to him, taking hostages is just business as usual — and sad to say, these days, isn’t completely wrong.
“The debt ceiling historically has been among the best leverage that Congress has to rein in the executive.”
He then went on to list the Republican party’s three objectives in terms of negotiating on the debt ceiling:
- We should look for some significant structural plan and reduce government spending.
- We should avoid new taxes, and
- We should look for ways to mitigate the harm from Obamacare.
He continued, attempting to give some historical precedent on political hostage taking.
“Since 1978, we raised the debt ceiling 58 times. Twenty times Congress attached very specific and stringent requirements, many of the most significant spending restraints. So the president’s demand to jack up the nation’s credit card with no limits, no constraints – it’s not reasonable.”
Elsewhere in the interview, he said:
“A majority of those times, twenty-eight times, Congress has attached very specific and stringent requirements, many of the most significant spending restraints, things like Gramm Rudman things like sequestration, came through the debt ceiling.”
OK…where to begin, Ted? Let’s start with Gramm-Rudman.
The GR Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 was passed in the House by 271-154, in the Senate by 61-31 and signed into law by St. Ronald Reagan. You know Reagan…he was the same guy who said this just a couple years before:
“I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.”
So, let’s just put aside from the fact that the Balanced Budget Act HAD to be passed by congress to mitigate the damage that Reaganomics had already done to the economy. Let’s look at couple other details surrounding that particular act.
- It wasn’t passed in the middle of a government shutdown, itself used as “leverage” to get an unrelated law repealed.
- It passed about 60-40 in both houses, with the support of a bipartisan majority. Including a 1D and 2R bipartisan sponsorship.
- It was passed using standard democratic process…not by exploiting a loophole in filibuster procedure that allowed a minority to hold a nation’s economy for ransom.
- The rush-job act passed under duress still failed utterly to curb Reagan’s deficit, as did the follow-up modification in 1987. The budget didn’t balance until Clinton did it.
- There weren’t 800,000 federal employees waiting on paychecks when that passed.
- America wasn’t still recovering from its worst recession in 40 years.
So, cite all the historical precedent you want, Ted…what your little group of terrorists are doing is NOT what we do in America. Despite what you may have said elsewhere in the same interview. Paraphrasing from the original quote:
“The American people put us in office, which means they’re OK with anything we do.”
No, Ted…no, we’re NOT OK with it. The fact that you’re in office, supported by a bunch of psychotic white guys, doesn’t give you carte blanche to manipulate America’s political loopholes to hold it hostage. You know why we try not to extract information in torture? Is it because it’s wrong? No…it’s because every military man in the world knows that anything extracted under duress ISN’T RELIABLE.
In exactly the same way, any LAW passed using the kind of “leverage” you depend on ISN’T in our best interests. And it will fail, as did the original Balanced Budget Act that YOU cited.
But, don’t worry, Ted…you may sink, but your legacy is secure. Because if there’s one thing America loves to say about terrorists, it’s this…
We will never forget.