We are now 24 hours away from not paying our bills, as a nation. The country is engaging in the same game of paycheck chicken that most of us participated in for years during school. The only difference is our Chinese debt holders are not as kind as your junior year landlord. Or maybe they’re more kind. I don’t know your life…. this metaphor has gone off the rails.
There was a deal, then there wasn’t a deal, then the House Republicans blew up the deal. I don’t know. I’m done paying attention. This isn’t funny any more. It was just me and 799,999 other federal employees salaries, and the shutdown of services across the country. But a debt default is going to fuck us all.
To be clear, the shutdown and the debt ceiling are two different things; the debt ceiling is about paying for the things Congress already authorized, while the shutdown over the budget is about authorizing new things. But they have become tied, because this is all arguably about spending. The difference is that we already made these purchases. We don’t get to say “um, I don’t feel like paying this, even though I said I would, because I don’t like the President.” No. We are grown ups. Congress is made of 535 grown ass people. Many of them have mortgages, and car loans, and student loans, and utility bills, so they should know how this goes. I don’t like my downstairs neighbor, I don’t write that on an IOU to the Department of Education loan servicer. Why? Because it doesn’t make a fucking difference. I took out a loan, I am obligated BY LAW to pay it back. Congress defaulting on our loans by not raising the debt ceiling is the same thing. It’s the same thing as me sending a picture of a spider to my creditors with a note that says “this is pretty good. Kthxbyeee.”
I don’t know what to tell you, people. Congress has lost it’s damn mind, and it’s taking the rest of us with it. On day one of the shutdown, the morons of the internet kept talking about how this meant we had no laws, how none of the rules mattered anymore. At the time, I thought they didn’t understand what a shutdown really entailed (for example, a shutdown does not automatically trigger marshall law or a “purge”). But now I’m beginning to think they were right. Sure, law enforcement still exists. Sure, I can still call 911. But the conservatives in Congress are leading us down a path where we as a nation no longer play by the same rules which we demand others follow. They are dragooning us into their hypocrisy, and decimating our salaries and stocks for the privilege.
This behavior is criminal. Literally.