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Liberty Is What Matters: Why Americans Should Ignore Scoffing Foreigners

November 4, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

For two weeks most Americans didn’t notice that the federal government had closed. Other nations complained that the shutdown undercut America’s position as a great power, but Americans must debate fundamental issues despite the criticism of foreign governments.

For years Congress has failed to approve individual appropriation bills, instead funding most of the government through an omnibus “continuing resolution.” This time House Republicans refused to approve money to implement ObamaCare, while Senate Democrats voted to provide the cash.

The ensuing deadlock generated criticism abroad as well as concern at home. Some analysts warned that a partial shutdown—only about 17 percent of funded activity actually came to a halt—would ruin America’ international reputation and wreck the global economy. For instance, Sina Toossi of Foreign Policy in Focus predicted “the weakening of U.S. soft-power” and worried that “As politicians wrangle with one another in the halls of Congress, rival powers are watching with concern and no doubt grim satisfaction as the United States takes the world economy to the edge of a cliff.” Toossi added: “It is clear that politicking in Washington is reaching the point where consequential damage is being done to the broader and longer term national interests of the United States.”

What other think matters far less than preserving liberty at home.”

Of the separate possibility of a debt default—never likely, since even if the “debt ceiling” was not raised Washington could prioritize its spending and service past obligations—the International Monetary Fund warned: “The effects of any failure to repay the debt would be felt right away, leading to potentially major disruptions in financial markets, both in the United States and abroad.” IMF head Cristine Legarde worried: “It is mission critical that this be resolved as soon as possible.”

Secretary of State John Kerry joined the America-bashing. Although he told foreign leaders that the controversy was merely temporary, “a moment of politics,” he also warned that if the partial shutdown was “prolonged or repeated,” people might question America’s ability to “stay the course.” Indeed, other states might wonder if America can “be counted on,” whether “the Congress [will] come through” and a presidential agreement “will be held.” He claimed that “the shutdown created temporary but real consequences in our ability to work with our partners and pursue our interests abroad.” After the GOP caved he said that the political fight “didn’t impress anyone about the power of America’s …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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