Government shutdown debt crisis caused by dependence on fossil fuels and Republican Insanity

US government leaders in Washington DC have gone insane and are threatening to stop paying US Debt, despite the unconstitutionality of doing so, and have shut down the US Government.  This is a little astray from my usual topic here (greening the transportation system) but bear with me.  The “shut it down” caucus claims they’re alarmed at the high level of debt (why weren’t they upset during the Bush administration about the debt his policies caused?) accruing during the Obama Administration.  A lot of the debt has to do with paying for war activities in the Middle East – and those war activities are obviously meant to protect access to fossil oil resources in the Middle East.

That’s my argument – this debt crisis, is due to the war activities.  War activities to protect access to oil, that were made far more complex than necessary, and more expensive than necessary, because of the stupid and in some cases illegal decisions made by the Bush Administration.  (The war in Iraq was both illegal and stupid)

The War activities in the Middle East therefore underscores the need to shift off of petroleum and onto electricity as a transportation fuel.

I don’t believe the was due to pure ideological reasons.  Those in Congress refusing to go with business as normal have been dead set on destroying President Obama and his policies.  It’s also true that many in Congress, especially Republicans, are protecting the Oil Industry and other fossil fuel industries.  Destroying Obama’s legacy, and his policies, are seen necessary to protect the fossil fuel industry, because his policies are strongly in support of renewable energy.

It may be coincidental, but at about the time the Iraq War started was when GM started crushing the EV1’s.  It was ten years ago, November 2003, when GM began crushing EV1’s in an earlier attempt to protect the interests of the Oil Industry.  That was also the year the Hummer H2 went on sale, the the Hummer H3 a couple years later.

I haven’t seen anybody else making the connection that the government-shutdown-debt-crisis is connected with the continued dependence on fossil fuels.

This morning I read two disturbing articles on Salon.com about the Shutdown, and the Economic Calamity that would ensue.  They’re really illustrative to understand what’s going on.

The right’s antics could cause a Depression: The terrifying default aftermath:  This article predicts a full-on Depression similar to the 1930’s if Congress can’t get its act together before breaching the debt ceiling limit.  Along the way it does an indepth discussion of the business-as-usual practice of dealing with economic recessions, and the routine practice of increasing the debt limit.

I do agree with the ideology that we can’t keep running up debt.  That our monetary system is based on debt is really disturbing to me, and we don’t have enough space to go over this.  I do know of a resource site, Essential Knowledge for Transition, that has a very nice discussion of why the financial and banking system is organized completely backwards.  (click on the Curriculum section)

Basically the Salon article says that since the 1930’s the routine practice has been to use government spending to stimulate the economy during recessions.  We’ve been in a recession since late 2008, thanks to the failed policies of the Bush Administration.  But, Congress has, instead of using government spending, insisted on budget cuts and other austerity measures that have acted to shrink government spending.

It’s meant a loss of government jobs at a time when the workforce has a high unemployment rate.

Do we seriously think that these legislators will react to a serious economic calamity in the normal fashion, by enacting an economic stimulus program?
No other Congress has had a philosophical opposition to Keynesian economics to contend with, along with a Tea Party base demanding more spending cuts. There may not be a working majority in the House that believes in economic stimulus, let alone one willing to vote for it. Policymaking in the post-recession period has been the proximate cause for the lousy recovery.

The base assumption of that article is more spending (government stimulus) is needed, which will lead us deeper into debt.  The problem with going into debt is the need to repay that debt eventually.  If the debt burden gets too high, when will it ever be repaid?

On the one hand – more spending – government stimulus – that’s been the practice for a long time, it’s worked all this time, seems like we should do it again, right?

On the other hand – I really don’t like debt, I don’t like spending money on interest payments, because it just enriches the bankers.  And we saw in 2008 that the bankers don’t care, they’re willing to wreck the economy just to play games with the financial system and rake in more money.

Tea Party’s shutdown lunacy: Avenging the surrender of the South
: This article was even more disturbing as it went over several theories about why these lunatics in Congress want to shut down the Government.  Maybe they’re really angry white men alarmed at how the shifting demographics in the country are pushing the US towards “majority minority” all across the country.  That is, there will soon be no majority racial groups, but instead all racial groups will be less than 50%.  It’s been that way where I live in the SF Bay Area, and it’s fine here, but there are people alarmed over that prospect.

But what’s actually disturbing about that article is the idea that Elites need to be asserting control over Congress.

I’ve been really impressed by the erosion of what I thought were the lines of class authority among the American elite. Normally you’d think that [Goldman Sachs CEO] Lloyd Blankfein et al. could go and sit these Republican backbenchers down and remind them of their class duty. But that doesn’t seem to be happening this time.

… The Financial Times has been writing about how groups like the Chamber of Commerce, who normally would put pressure on the difficult Republicans, don’t seem to be willing or able to do that — and one of the reasons is that they’re so enamored of the tax-cutting side of the Republican Party that they don’t really want to stop things like the government shutdown, or they don’t have the capacity to stop things. It does seem like there’s a breakdown at the elite level of society.

… It’s a kind of regional and inter-class battle. I think, to use the Marxist language, [the Tea Partyers] represent an enraged provincial petit bourgeois that feel that they are seeing society change in ways that they don’t like. They look at things like Obamacare and see that as a way of subsidizing a minority electoral bloc that will push the government in ways that they don’t like. These are the small-town worthies, like the local car dealers — people who are millionaires, but not billionaires. They are big wheels in their local communities, but not on a national level. And then you have ideological right-wingers like the Koch brothers who use these folks very effectively.

 

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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