What’s your debt ceiling got to do with me?

I just spent the last hour trying to piece together what I understand of the debate around the debt ceiling, as both an exaggerated crisis and the potential for a really big problem, to explain what it is and why we should care but then I got confused (and I even took economics as an undergrad) and the Feministing email thread ended up with a whole lotta “fuck republicans” and “this is all because the President is black.” I know, you would rather read that email thread, but here are a few links to help flesh out a debate that threatens a lot of what we know to be foundational to our country.

The imitable Melissa Harris-Perry guest hosted the Rachel Maddow show this past week and gave the best and easiest to understand explanation of the debt ceiling debate and how it impacts the average American.

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It is important to note that the debt ceiling has never been this much of a political issue before and even when there was debate around it they always passed it. The political grandstanding is infuriating, as are the subtle racial undertones that speak to widely held public anxieties about who benefits from the spending that needs to get cut (i.e. Medicaid cuts which are a centerpiece of the Boehner proposal being voted on today).

Ezra Klein has an easy to understand breakdown of the everything we need to know about this issue, as does Mother Jones. And Adam Serwer gives us data to explain away the Republican narrative that Obama is trying to tank the economy as payback to racism and oppression. If only!

As Vanessa said to me on Monday, “it is just sad, scary and appalling that people are deliberating over our financial fates in such an irresponsible and childish way.” I’m going to have to agree with her. I remember running cases about impending economic collapse on when I was on the debate team in high school, an exaggerated space where political calamity was part of the theater of making your point and winning arguments. It just can’t be good when those political fictions threaten to become realities.

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