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Treason
There is a word for holding one's own country hostage, even if one is a member of Congress.

July 13, 2011
Also published on Quora

Topics = { Corruption + Government + Politics }

Tonight, The New York Times reports that we are witnessing a fiscal clash between Republicans and Democrats. The debate over whether or not to raise the debt ceiling has been escalating for months now. To call it a "debate" even is a bit of a stretch, and one that does the Republican party far more justice than it presently deserves. The sheer degree of nonsensical reasoning being employed by the Republicans in order to justify sudden fiscal restraint, after presiding over enormous amounts of spending during the Bush administration, reveals that the party's refusal to acknowledge logic extends to virtually all issues, and not just global warming.

What makes this particular episode of rather carefully-coordinated insanity far worse, however, is that unlike the global warming issue, which will affect countries including but hardly limited to the United States over the long term, the debt ceiling will affect the United States disproportionately within a matter of less than three weeks. Simply put, the Republicans are using the imminent threat of national fiscal suicide to force President Obama to take action, or if he refuses, they hope to stick him with the blame so that his chances of re-election in 2012 are nil.

There is a word for this, and it's treason.

In terms of the United States Code, it actually falls best into 18 U.S.C. § 2384, seditious conspiracy, just two sections away. Republicans advocating for this unprecedented catastrophe are putting their party ahead of their country in a way we haven't seen before. A "fiscal clash" is what happens when politicians can't agree over a tax rate; the situation as I understand it, were the United States government to default, is at least an order of magnitude more dire.

I'm no political scholar, but it doesn't really matter. I'm disgusted. If a group of any kind threatened to blow up the New York Stock Exchange with an explosive, the Republicans would invoke their anti-terror laws before the television cameras in seconds. If a group threatened to reveal information that might discredit the United States of America in any way, they would send its leaders to military prison. (It doesn't take much imagination to think of recent news headlines proving out both scenarios.)

Now we have a group threatening to destroy the United States economy as we know it—and at a time when unemployment is relatively high, making life difficult to say the least for many Americans.

One small part of the government is trying to overthrow the rest, and it will take the whole country down with it if it can't. The weapon is an accounting trick, but the plan is the same.

Are we angry yet? If not this, what else is left for our supposed leaders to get away with?

Aaron Greenspan is the CEO of Think Computer Corporation and author of Authoritas: One Student's Harvard Admissions and the Founding of the Facebook Era. He is the creator of the FaceCash mobile payment system, ThinkLink business management system, and PlainSite legal transparency project.

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