Stephanie Grace’s column (“Shutdown politics within La. delegation,” 10/19/13) only scratches the surface of the disaster that GOP members of Louisiana’s delegation voted to bring on the country. With the exception of Rep. Boustany, all of Louisiana’s Republican congressmen and Sen. Vitter voted for default, by voting against the bipartisan Senate bill when it came to the House floor. This was so late in the process that defeat of that bill would have left no time for another measure before the October 17 deadline that the U.S. Treasury cited as the time when its “extraordinary measures” for avoiding default would run out.
The willingness to threaten default of the U.S. government, which has benefited even during the recession as a “safe haven” and our dollar as the currency of choice, demonstrates appallingly bad judgment. Rep. Fleming embarrassed the state by supplying his own theory of debt default for that of economists, while Rep. Bill Cassidy embraced the default threat and as Ms. Grace notes, the fictional “Obamacare exemption” for Congress that Sen. Vitter has misleadingly trumpeted.
The shutdown cost the economy an estimated $24 billion (according to Moody’s) and accomplished absolutely nothing. A default would have rocked the world economy, and inflicted far more pain on the American people. Doctors Cassidy and Fleming have clearly forgotten the oath they took to “first, do no harm.”