Global markets are slumping, and the dollar is rapidly losing ground in international trading (hitting a record low against the Swiss franc Monday) amid fears that the determination of John Boehner, Paul Ryan and their henchmen to hold the US economy hostage for political purposes could create an international crisis.
Concerns about the Republican refusal to allow the debt ceiling to rise are now being voiced far from Washington. And some of the loudest objections are coming from long-time US allies and governments that led by conservatives.
Britian’s Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable, an economist who serves as a member of Conservative Party Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government, has been particularly blunt in his criticism of the economic madness that is being imposed on the United States—and now the world—by a band of career politicians whose only knowledge of how finance works comes from collecting campaign-contribution checks.
“The irony of the situation at the moment, with markets opening tomorrow morning, is that the biggest threat to the world financial system comes from a few right-wing nutters in the American Congress rather than the eurozone,” Cable, a former chief economists for the Royal Dutch Shell Oil company who currently serves as president of Britain’s Board of Trade, told the BBC.
Cable is recognizing a reality: The fiscal struggles of countries such as Greece and Portugal, and the need to help to stabilize their economies, pose far less of a threat to the global economy than Boehner’s political gamesmanship.
And his statement of that fact drew international attention and support.
That’s because Cable, a veteran member of Britian’s centrist Liberal Democratic Party, has been a key player in Cameron’s cabinet and is one of the most respected commentators in Europe on economic issues. He is, as well, a keen observer of American politics, whose dismissal of House Speaker’s Boehner’s minions as “right-wing nutters” is no casual comment.
Nor is it an isolated observation.
The International Monetary Fund warned late Monday that a refusal to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit would "have disastrous consequences for the U.S. and global economy."
Germany’s Bild newspaper summed up the growing sense of frustration with Boehner’s botched economics in an editorial that explained: “Playing poker is part of politics, as is theatrical posturing. That’s fair enough. But what America is currently exhibiting is the worst kind of absurd theatrics. And the whole world is being held hostage.”
“Irrespective of what the correct fiscal and economic policy should be for the most powerful country on earth, it’s simply not possible to stop taking on new debt overnight,” the editorial continued. “Most importantly, the Republicans have turned a dispute over a technicality into a religious war, which no longer has any relation to a reasonable dispute between the elected government and the opposition.”