Is there a common element in the Tea Party's insane rush toward financial Armageddon and its stand on immigration? Merely asking the question answers it. Both are expressions of extreme xenophobia. One does not have to be a financial genius to know that America's economy, standard of living and influence in the world (such as it is) depend on the federal government's abililty to borrow from foreign countries, especially China, but including many others as well. Refusing to raise the debt ceiling means that the US would no longer be able to borrow the money it needs to pay interest on the trillions of dollars in debt it already owes to foreign central banks and private investors. Sooner or later, after all the accounting tricks have been used up, America would default.
At that point our foreign creditors would lose faith in our ability to make good on our promises and would stop buying US assets. America would become what Argentina was a decade ago. In essence, America would be saying to its foreign creditors: "Ha, ha, suckers, see what you get for trusting our word!" But the Tea Party doesn't care of foreign creditors get hurt. After all, they are only foreigners. If America's economy shuts down as collateral damage, who cares?
We already know what the Tea Party and the other Republican right wing radicals think of foreign citizens. One of the main speakers at the Tea Party's founding convention last year was Tom Tancredo. Sheriff Joe Arpaio spoke at one of Sharron Angle's Senate campaign events in Nevada, where he openly suggested that the state should lock up Spanish-speaking immigrants in desert tents, just as he did in Arizona. Look at the draconian anti-immigrant laws coming out of Alabama, Georgia, Arizona and other states with Republican-dominated legislatures.
(By the way, an ID reader recently posted a comment implying that I am an anti-Republican partisan for pointing out the above fact. I invited him, and I invite all ID readers, to name a single state with a Democratic - controlled legslature which has passed or is considering any anti-immigrant law even remotely comparable to the ones that have been coming out of the Republican-dominated states. I would also like to hear from anyone who knows if the Democrats have ever introduced or passed a bill in Congress similar to the Republican anti-immigrant HR 3447, which passed the House in 2005.
This tells us all we need to know about where the Tea Party and other radical right wing Republicans stand toward foreigners, financially and demographically. But what about President Obama? Is their any difference between his dithering about using his executive powers to let in a few skilled immigrants and to put a break on the rush toward turning America into Deportation Nation, and his reluctance to announce that he will use Section 4 of the 14th Amendment to do whatever is necessary to pay America's obligations to foreign creditors?
The debt ceiling and immigration - this pair of issues could be solved, or at least headed in the right direction, if the president could somehow grow a different type of pair.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.