The best thing you can say about John Cornyn is that he’s the least—or rather less—revolting U.S. senator from Texas. That’s not saying much, of course. After all, even if the senior senator from the Lone Star State were an intestinal fluke who emerged fortnightly to sing Captain & Tennille B-sides during official state dinners, he still wouldn’t be as revolting as Ted “Probably Not the Zodiac Killer” Cruz. (You know how I know the border “crisis” in Texas isn’t a real crisis? Ted Cruz hasn’t booked his flight to Cancun yet.)
Of course, not being Ted Cruz doesn’t mean people can’t be egregiously awful, and Cornyn is a case in point.
As Senate Minority Reptile Mitch McConnell continues to play games with the debt ceiling, despite flinching Wednesday in the face of a likely economic meltdown, Cornyn and the rest of the Republican congressional delegation continue to play their own parlous games with the truth.
Cornyn and his fellow Republicans know that many—if not most—Americans aren’t savvy enough to understand that raising the debt ceiling doesn’t mean Democrats are being given carte blanche to go on a profligate spending spree. So, of course, they’ve been flogging the lie that raising or suspending the debt ceiling is all about throwing the doors wide open to a future socialist dystopia.
So we get tweets like this:
For the nontweeters:
CNN Anchor Jim Scuitto: “Today’s reminder the debt ceiling is about past spending commitments, not new spending.”
Senator John Cornyn: “No. Otherwise we would have already exceeded the debt limit. This is for future spending.”
We would have already exceeded the debt limit? No, not really. What part of “spending commitments” do you not understand, Senator? Sure, if the government just turned off the cash spigot tomorrow, we wouldn’t exceed the debt limit. But we’d also be unable to pay interest on our debt, which the Trump administration piled both high and deep. Also, all sorts of government payments and guarantees would simply go “poof,” as would a great deal of our economic progress under President Joe Biden.
Essentially, this is about the U.S. paying its bills: a concept anyone who’s ever paid for their own utilities can understand. If you don’t pay bills that have come due, eventually, you’re caught running headlong into a brick wall. Your credit rating gets destroyed, you can’t buy food, your children don’t get an allowance, and bill collectors hassle you day and night.
And if the government doesn’t pay its bills? Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen, who knows just a wee bit more about the economy than John Cornyn does, warns that such a scenario would be disastrous.
In an Oct. 5 interview with CNBC, Yellen said, “It would be catastrophic to not pay the government’s bills, for us to be in a position where we lack the resources to pay the government’s bills. It really undermines confidence in the full faith and credit of the United States, our willingness to stand behind our debts and make sure that we pay them. … I fully expect it would cause a recession as well.”
Oh, wow. That doesn’t sound good. And if Mitch McConnell didn’t have a stock portfolio that depended on a stable global economy, we might be having another conversation today. But luckily, he’s removed the Sword of Damocles. For now, anyway.
Meanwhile, trying to pin the debt limit increase on wasteful Democratic spending is beyond risible. As The Washington Post noted in a recent fact-check, “Raising the debt limit would cover the cost of programs that were approved in the past. Today, the government continues to borrow money to pay for policies that Trump signed into law, such as the 2017 tax cuts geared at businesses and wealthy earners.”
Of course, Twitter had its own reaction to Cornyn’s unctuous utterances.
Wait, didn’t Donald Trump say he’d eliminate the national debt in eight years? Yes. Yes, he did.
Wouldn’t a visual be nice?
There’s more red on this chart than on the 2016 “victory” map Trump kept pulling out in front of people like a Mario Kart toadstool.
By the way, why do Democratic presidents always have to clean up GOP presidents’ awful messes? I’m getting a little of tired of that.
Wait: The 2017 tax law didn’t pay for itself? Where’s my fainting couch?
Oh, and this is kind of inconvenient to your argument, isn’t it Sen. Cornyn? You better hop in the Wayback Machine with Mr. Peabody and shut this fucker up.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Republicans lie … a lot. It’s almost like they don’t even care about the truth. Unfortunately, they get away with it over and over again like a bunch of mead-besotted, low-rent Svengalis.
Maybe if Americans realized Mitch McConnell’s every move is designed to help Mitch McConnell and his cronies, they’d start paying closer attention to this kind of legislative minutiae.
I’d also like a magical pony. Frankly, I think the pony is more realistic.
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