Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Wall Street" Has No Sway Over the Tea Party Freshmen

Dean Baker has a column in the Guardian (via Mark Thoma) arguing that:

The idea that Republicans in congress were going to force big cuts in the country’s most important programs – social security, medicare, and medicaid – by taking Wall Street hostage with the debt ceiling is absurd. It was only necessary for President Obama to call their bluff.

The bottom line is that the debt ceiling is a gun pointed first and foremost at Wall Street’s head. And, there is no way on earth that Wall Street is going to let the Republicans pull the trigger.
This is silly. “Wall Street,” by which Baker means the major banks, has very little sway over the 87 Tea Party freshmen. It’s the GOP freshmen who are currently the key constituency in the debt ceiling negotiations, and if anything, most of them would take pride in rejecting impassioned pleas from JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs. The idea that the major banks can just snap their fingers and get the Tea Party freshmen to drop their debt ceiling demands is beyond ridiculous. The Tea Party freshmen are thoroughly crazy, and there’s no telling what they’ll do. But if you think they’re all tools of Wall Street, then you simply haven’t been paying attention.

Of course, making this argument allows Dean to — what else? — blame Obama, this time for not “calling their bluff.” (It’s easy to call bluffs from the sidelines, isn’t it?) Which, let’s be honest, was the point of his column anyway.

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