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May 30, 2023 / 15:58

Avoiding catastrophe, awaiting anxieties

Both the governing side and the political opposition must do their best and, at most, prevent being seen in the eyes and minds of US voters.

At the end of their common race against the time, US President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from the Republican Party finally, and still just in time, reached the final agreement on a deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling, thus, according to Joe Biden, preventing "the worst possible crisis, a default, for the first time in the US's history," because it takes "the threat of a catastrophic default off the table." Their deal now would be sent to be passed by the House.

 Biden and McCarthy in Washington on March 17. Photo: AP


This news was both new and nothing new. Since 1917, when the US Congress enacted the original debt ceiling legislation, the federal government and the House have crashed 102 times on the issue of increasing limits on the national debt, among them 72 times only since 1960. But in the end, by every time, the government and the House all came to their compromises necessarily to prevent the national default. The reason was in the past and has been very simple this time: This country could not afford any national default. Both the governing side and the political opposition must do their best and, at most, prevent being seen in the eyes and minds of US voters as those bearing responsibilities to have led the country to any national default. Otherwise, the prices they would have to pay in the next year's elections would be extremely high and painful. 


The just-reached deal will be valid until 2025, which means beyond the coming presidential and Congress elections in 2024, so both sides couldn't instrumentalize this issue for their elections campaigns. But many old and new domestic political anxieties are already ahead of this country, its political establishment, and its people. Kevin KcCarthy didn't get all his demands so that he couldn't satisfy all fractions within his Republican Party. But Joe Biden must make painful concessions, change his governing priorities, and relocate his budgets. This narrows his possibilities to maximally exploit his position as incumbent president in his election campaign. The Republican Party will be more internally divided, and the conservative wings of this party getting more radicalized. The national default catastrophe has been avoided, but this country won't politically and socially be at ease. This innoble political and power theater between the government and the House Republicans only weakens this country in many aspects. It has been nothing but washing one's dirty linen in public.