If you’ve been living in the United States during the past three months and you’re not aware of this “debt crisis” everyone inside the Beltway is talking about, then you’re living under a rock.
The sad truth is, the rest of the world knows about it as well, they’re watching, and let’s just say they’re even more scared than we are on these shores. The reason? The U.S. dollar acts as the reserve currency for hosts of commodities traded every second of every day around the world. Further, the dollar also acts as the “pegged” currency from which many more goods and services are linked, most notably oil.
And for anyone waking up yesterday in London, they would have read this headline in the The (London) Sunday Times, “WASHINGTON PLAYS POKER WITH WORLD ECONOMY.” The editorial from which that headline came goes on to say, “It would be unthinkable now were it not for a dangerous stand-off between the White House and Congress over the country’s debt. … With this humiliating and destabilising threat hanging over them, one would expect politicians in Washington would be rushing to strike a deal. Far from it. They are engaged in a game of political brinkmanship. The US economy is in danger of looking alarmingly dysfunctional.”
Dysfunctional, ladies and gentlemen. And after the weekend’s events, I have to say I’m not sure what sort of poker game House Speaker John Boehner is trying to play, let alone win.
I’m on a roll with this “poker” analogy, so let’s keep it going. Both the White House and Congressional Republicans are holding measly hands, say… a Jack and 10 off-suit. The rest of their hand is full of meaningless low cards, and they’re essentially drawing dead. They’ve both gone all-in, and at best, they will split the pot.
Yet here we find ourselves barely 10 days from “Debt-ageddon” and it seems both sides are trying to out-bluff and out-maneuver the other. For what? What would it accomplish? Are these politicians so hell-bent on beating the other side that they have forgotten why they’re working round the clock – to save the financial health of the country?
Let’s be honest, both sides are to blame here, so they should stop jockeying for more political points, because it will do neither any good.