Victory laudable, but still partial
That the US Senate and House of Representatives managed to overcome at last the immense procedural and ideological hurdles and prevented a default crisis indeed comes as a huge relief. The last minute deal between the traditional wranglers, the Democrats-heavy Senate and the Republicans-led House of Congress saved the day for many an American, whose jobs and future were at stake. Had the deadlock continued past 17 October, and had the two legislative institutions not agreed to raise the debt ceiling and clear government funding for the next three months, until 15 January 2014 to be precise, millions of American lives would have in extreme jeopardy. In fact, had the US really defaulted, it would have sent shockwaves so huge through the global market, that even the 2008 Wall Street crash would have dwarfed in comparison. It is commendable that Barack Obama held his ground and did not budge from his original position, thereby not only ensuring funding for his landmark Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), but also secured another crucial victory in getting the debt ceiling hiked, even though both the provisions are temporary. Obama’s signing the deal signified the end to a 16-day lockdown that spelled anarchy and uncertainty for millions of Americans as well as meant a withdrawal of important public services that the citizens take for granted. Moreover, the 0.3 per cent of GDP loss accrued in the two-week long shutdown would also be retrieved soon, now that the government has recovered from the dreadful gridlock.
Although many have described the extended crisis as a ‘pseudo-filibuster,’ the fact remains that US history, (that is dotted with several congressional impasses and conflicts) is a living proof of how effective actual political will can be. In fact, this was a moral victory for not just America’s founding principles enshrined in its constitution, but also for the people of America, especially its uninsured, jobless have-nots, whose health would not suffer as much under the new watershed act. Moreover, the Grand Old Party was once again dealt a blow, this time on the world stage, since the international community had been closely watching the theatre of ideological and fiscal tug of war unfold. Both the Republicans and the f ringe hardliners of the Tea Party have lost face, coming across as a bunch of lunatics tarnishing America’s image on the global dais, seeing their approval ratings plummet like never before. They even risked America being downgraded over creditratings by global financial organisations, a veritable nightmare for Wall Street and a major dent in US’ ‘soft power.’ Naturally, America had a close shave with disaster.