The country has been mesmerized now for weeks by a completely fake drama over whether the parties in Washington will find a way to compromise over raising the debt limit. The purpose of the farce has been to give John Boehner (semi)plausible deniability, but the intent has been, all along, that the debt ceiling not be raised. Apparently hardly anyone has noticed, but Michelle Bachmann has been saying all along that she will not vote to raise the debt ceiling under any circumstances; and she is laying down the requirement for Republican incumbents not to get teabagged in the primary elections and Limbaughed to death in the Faux News propaganda machine.
You don't have to take my word for it, Tea Party leader Mark Meckler explains it all for you:
Q: Is there any scenario where you think it would be OK to raise the debt ceiling?
A: No. . . .
Q: If you wake up on August 3rd and the debt ceiling has not been raised, how will you feel?
A: August 3rd to me will be the same as August 2nd. I’m not looking for any kind of victory. This is not about Democrats versus Republicans. This is about the future of our country. So August 3rd, August 2nd, August 4th, it’s the same day. The Tea Party Patriots are fighting to preserve this nation for our kids and for our grandkids.
So that's it folks. That's what they want to happen. They are making two calculations here:
1) Most voters will end up perceiving that they can live without the federal activities that will end next month, proving that we don't need Big Gummint;
2) Economic catastrophe will be good for them -- just like it was for the Nazis.
As for the first, nobody from the administration has indicated what exactly they will do as the cash runs out, but knowing the loyalties of Obama's economic aides it's pretty clear the bondholders will get paid. There isn't a whole lot they can do to the military budget in the short term -- they'll obviously have to keep paying the troops and procuring supplies to sustain current operations. They could suspend payment on R&D contracts and long-term big ticket procurement -- ships, planes, tanks and whatnot -- but the contractors would likely keep working as long as they could sustain the cash flow on the assumption they'll get paid in due course, so the big Republican constituencies around those military plants won't get hurt any time soon. And if they do, they'll just blame Obama for misplaced priorities.
There's no way they can suspend Social Security and Medicare payments until they can absolutely prove that they had no choice. So what has to give? They can close all the national parks, eliminate payments to the states -- Community Development, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, Maternal and Child Health, other public health programs, K-12 and higher education support, Juvenile Justice (which pays for good stuff like diversion and counseling instead of locking 'em up). Hey, that'll be Tea Bag heaven and most voters won't feel any immediate impact. They probably can't stop paying Congressional salaries as long as they expect the members to come to work and, say, vote to raise the debt ceiling so the most they can do is stop paying congressional aides. That might make some of the members a little sad but it's not the end of the world. They can drastically scale back the functioning of the federal civil courts. Most voters won't really notice. They can shut down NIH, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. No problem, all those infidels believe in evolution and cosmology and other satanic scientific stuff.
This is what they want. It's the plan.
As for seizing all the levers of state power in the midst of the second Great Depression, I don't know but maybe they will.
Whether there are enough Republicans in the House who care more about the country and the future of humanity than they do about being on the general election ballot in 2012, I can't say, but it does not appear to be the case. Fasten your seat belts.