Working the Refs
The Republican caucus in Congress has come out in strong public opposition to the Fed doing anything to help the economy. While this was not the phrasing they used, they made it clear that they would regard any action as, let’s just pick a word, treasonous. It’s obviously an act of shocking chutzpah, and I would note that the Republican’s chutzpah-based strategy has paid off handsomely during the Obama Administration. The classic definition of chutzpah is the boy who murders his parents and begs for the mercy of the court because he’s an orphan, which has been the core argument of the Republican Party for the last two years. “We may have destroyed the economy, but you should put us back in charge because the economy is so terrible!”
More crucially, this seems part and parcel of the overarching Republican strategy to erode the norms that make our government work when said norms are inconvenient for the Republican party. I’m not well-versed enough in Congressional history to judge whether this began in the mid-90s with routine filibustering or with President Clinton’s impeachment. I’d note that one of the most noxious efforts to sell the government to private interests, the loathsome American Legislative Exchange Council which literally provides pre-written legislation penned by industry groups, works on a state rather than federal level and dates all the way back to 1973.
This has extended to working hard to exert pressure on the non-partisan and unelected institutions that form the informal and formal governing framework, namely the Fed and the Supreme Court. The clear subtext of Perry’s remark on treason was that Ben Bernanke’s treason would consist of helping Obama’s reelection…by helping the economy. Without the logical leap that Bernanke’s money-printing would help the economy, Perry’s remarks make no sense otherwise. As of yesterday, opposition to economic improvement has become the new Republican policy – Republicans do want the Fed to abstain from any efforts to help the economy.
In other words, the Republican Party is now officially opposed to a healthy American economy (until & unless one of their own wins in 2012). Seems much more treasonous than printing money!