Bankrupting America

Make no mistake: The Republican Party intends to bankrupt America.

By Anatole d’Ecotopia

Artwork by Ghoster 96

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke to his party’s proposal for fiscal bankruptcy with remarkable bluntness in an April 22 interview with conservative radio hack Hugh Hewitt, in which he suggested that in might be more preferable to permit U.S. states to file for bankruptcy than to extend Federal aid to states that might do something irresponsible with that money. An example of such ‘irresponsibility’ : Protect pension plans that are considered a priority in ‘blue’ states like New York or California — but are either defunded or turned into casino capitalism fodder in states like McConnell’s own Kentucky.

By law, Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection cannot be sought by governments above the municipality level — with the notable exception of the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which was permitted to go into bankruptcy in 2017 after Republicans under the leadership of Donald Trump refused federal aid in response to yet another disaster. 

In any other news cycle, McConnell’s comments might have been considered remarkable — but not in a week that saw the Mayor of Las Vegas propose reopening the brothels and casinos of her city for business as usual , and letting ‘the market’ decide who might die as a consequence. And certainly not in a week that saw the President of the United States propose bleach injections as a means of combating coronavirus. That all of these proposals emanate from the same political party is no longer remarkable… or even surprising.

To the question of McConnell’s ideas concerning state-level bankruptcy, I have a proposal of my own: Relieve the blue states that he considers fiscally irresponsible of the federal tax liability of supporting red states like Kentucky. If the sole purpose of the federal union is to provide welfare to the descendants of those who tried to dismantle it,  Then perhaps it is time to do precisely that. If the Federal Government of the United States cannot provide aid in a disaster to its member states without making that aid conditional upon acceptance of an extremist ideology, than that union is little better than spousal abuse and gaslighting. It can only be preserved if that ideology fails.

The real driver behind McConnell’s bankruptcy proposal is neither the Coronavirus Crisis nor states attempting to deal with pension crises — crises derived in large part from Republican obstruction to a comprehensive federal healthcare system. The real driver is the toxic ideology that permitted these crises to even happen in the first place.

The moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party did not cause COVID-19 to exist, but it did cause this country to be under the ‘leadership’ of a reality TV star and failed real estate hustler utterly incapable of providing either leadership, compassion, or aid to victims of disaster. And the moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party enables it to protect and defend that leader, long past the point that doing so is anything short of criminal.

The moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party did not begin with Donald Trump. It didn’t even begin with Richard Nixon, even though Nixon set into motion the poisoned politics that would gift us fifty years later with the Trump presidency. It might have begun with Barry Goldwater, whose ideology eventually became too extreme for the Republican Party of his time — but would likely be considered ‘moderate’ by present standards.

Should Donald Trump remain in office past the end of this year, the moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party will have become complete — and become the bankruptcy of America itself. The ensuing fiscal bankruptcy of the United States will merely be a matter of time. 

If it is no longer possible to form an effective political opposition to the moral bankruptcy of authoritarianism, racism, ignorance, and corrupt casino capitalism that has come to define the Republican Party… then it is only a matter of time before there is no ‘United States’ as we have known it. There will either be a morally and fiscally failed dictatorship supported by an all-encompassing surveillance state, or there will be a splintered chaos not unlike what befell the Soviet Union — and no guarantee whatever that anything better might emerge. 

The choices are fairly clear: Either we reclaim what is left of our republic, or we lose it. Joe Biden may be an utterly flawed candidate, but anyone who claims equivalency between a Biden presidency and the continuation of the disaster that is Donald Trump is just as disconnected from reality as the Mayor of Las Vegas… and, very possibly, just as dangerous.

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