Many are using the word uncertainty these days to describe conditions in business, sports, government and other interests.
“California facing $24 billion shortfall amid economic uncertainty,” Fox Business declared in a headline.
“Packers process emotions, uncertainty with season over,” the longtime NFL rivals of the Chicago Bears said on their website.
“Experts share tips on fundraising amid uncertainty,” The Chronicle of Philanthropy said last week.
Uncertainty seems have gained steam since the pandemic began disrupting practically everything nearly three years ago. COVID-19 and its variants made it tough to book vacations, plan group functions or buy advance tickets for entertainment events.
If you needed a spare part for a vehicle you might have had to wait a while due to lingering supply chain issues. The fog of uncertainty clouded judgment and affected such longer-term concerns as real estate leases and purchases, employment opportunities and relationships.
No one, it seems, likes uncertainty. People want the opposite of uncertainty. Gamblers love a sure bet, like a horse guaranteed to win, place or show. In athletics, coaches and managers prefer players who consistently perform well to those prone to hot streaks and dry spells.
Employers tend to value workers who reliably show up on time and who are dependable and trustworthy. Many workers seek the security of a steady paycheck. I’ve always admired entrepreneurs and small-business owners who deal with risks and rewards in their pursuit of the American Dream.
Lenders reward people who pay their bills on time with good credit scores. Musicians, actors and other artists appreciate the stability of steady gigs performing regularly at the same places as opposed to the unfamiliarity of different venues.
Parents know routines are essential to raise children. It takes patience to show unwavering commitment to regular times for meals, homework, chores and going to bed. Certainty would seem to boost confidence and self esteem.
Given the many benefits of surety and drawbacks of uncertainty, I’m baffled at why House Republicans seem intent on creating chaos by vowing to refuse to increase the nation’s debt limit.
“Speaker drama raises new fears on debt limit,” The New York Times reported.
The debt ceiling affects faith and trust in the United States of America and should receive unequivocal bipartisan support, like defense spending. Instead, some crazy politicians have latched onto the notion that the debt limit is something negotiable that they can leverage for spending cuts or some other concessions.
“Failure to raise the $31 trillion debt limit would risk a default on U.S. debt, an unthinkable event previously likened to ‘financial Armageddon,’” CNN reported. “Even a near default would cause mayhem on Wall Street and risk delaying paychecks to federal workers, military salaries and other payments millions of Americans rely on.”
Thomas Kahn, a university professor and former House budget director, called the prospect of default “terrifying” in a recent Chicago Tribune opinion piece.
“Failure to raise the ceiling in time would be a disastrous shock to the nation and a world economy reeling from inflation, a looming recession and the impact of the Ukraine war,” Kahn wrote. “Interest rates would skyrocket, the government could not pay its bills and timely benefits to millions of Americans on Social Security and Medicare would be in jeopardy.”
I just don’t understand the political strategy of playing chicken with the financial equivalent of dynamite. How exactly do Republicans hope to win votes in future elections by denying Social Security and Medicare to millions of Americans.
I suppose they calculate that denying those benefits would somehow free up more wealth that could then be transferred to the ultra rich to buy more mansions and yachts.
Then the rich will take some of their excess wealth and give it to politicians in the form of campaign contributions to buy their votes, and they’ll give some of it to boost right-wing echo chambers that spread hate and division.
Those foot soldiers of misinformation will try to say the debt ceiling is about reining in spending. Everybody knows the debt limit deals with spending that has already been approved.
I fully support any elected official who wants to discuss balancing budgets and reducing deficits. I bet we could find common ground by looking at revenues and expenditures as a whole and finding ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
Let’s catch those wealthy individuals and corporations who cheat by not paying their share of taxes. That’s how you balance budgets. Refusing to raise the debt limit is like borrowing money to buy a car then refusing to make your monthly payments.
The looming fight over the debt ceiling looks like another attempt to use lies and threats for political gain. In this case, the stakes are astronomical. If there are any moderate Republicans left in the House, this would be the time for a handful of them to put country before party and break ranks with their crazed colleagues.
Ted Slowik is a columnist at the Daily Southtown.