Economy

Guilty of Sedition? Tea Party Threatens America’s Economic and Political Systems

Pushing the country toward disaster is what right-wingers call patriotism. Perhaps there's another name for it.

Photo Credit: A.M. Stan

Members of the Tea Party like to wrap up in the American flag and call themselves patriots. But does a love of country include wrecking the country?

The behavior of the GOP’s extremist faction is looking increasingly outlandish and unprecedented, like the machinations of some lunatic fringe in a country far, far away. But they're right here. They want to destroy the U.S. government and they will plainly thwart laws they don’t like in the name of foolhardy austerity and unregulated markets. Hindering a law by using threats or force, by the way, is sedition, and some have argued that the Tea Party members are guilty of this crime.

Certainly extortion has become the Tea Party’s method of choice, behavior Andrew Reinbach of Huffington Post suggests might make them subject to the 1951 Hobbs Act, which covers “extortionate threats of physical, economic and informational harm.”

As these radical elements push the country toward default, there is no doubt that much damage has already been done. The fragile U.S. economy has taken a blow as communities across the country have suffered from the shutdown. American consumers will likely be stuck with higher interest payments. The financial rating agency Fitch has warned that it may downgrade the country’s creditworthiness. That could happen even if lawmakers agree to a last-minute deal.

The deadline for default is Thursday, whether crazed Republicans can be dealt with or not. It’s difficult to say when exactly when the unpaid bills will start piling up as America’s creditors call in their debts. No one really knows precisely what would happen, because a default hasn’t occurred in modern times. But the stock market would likely take a nose dive, interest rates would spike, and a credit crunch could ensue. All of which could bring us right back to catastrophic recession. Fast. 

Like a mentally unstable person standing on a bridge and mesmerized by the sight of the river below, the right seems hypnotized by a compulsion to jump into uncharted waters. They chatter that we could somehow prioritize payments. But they don’t know if this can even happen. They say that the Treasury could rig something up. Or maybe not. Maybe, deep in their hearts, they are craving a catastrophe that would weaken the government so effectively that oligarchs like the Koch brothers would be released on the country like the Kracken.

Occupy Wall Street protestors, who peacefully demonstrated in parks to call attention to economic inequality and corporate abuse, have been accused of treason and sedition and subjected to brutal suppression. Yet what was the result of their activity? A renewed public focus on the gulf that separates haves from have-nots and Wall Street crime.

The Tea Party has no such positive agenda. Its members seek to deny payments to Social Security and Medicaid recipients, letting them go without food or medicine. They have made the U.S. a spectacle of bad government, economic recklessness, and moral insensitivity. Why would global investors look favorably on a country that can’t run itself and threatens its most vulnerable citizens?

The Tea Party is really the Traitor Party.

 

 

 

 

Lynn Parramore is contributing editor at AlterNet. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." She received her Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from NYU, and she serves on the editorial board of Lapham's Quarterly. Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore. 

 

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