The radical-right tea partiers have proved themselves to be nothing more than lemmings hurtling off the cliff in mindless group-think destruction. They apparently are eager to take the rest of us with them in the name of their loony ideology.

The Chinese, who hold much of our debt, have downgraded our credit. So, too, has Standard & Poor’s. The stock market is in sell-off mode around the globe. And this after the debt ceiling was raised. How bad would it have been had the deadline actually passed without an increase?

Of course several of our elected officials obviously believe a downgraded credit rating, stock markets losing money and the United States becoming a deadbeat nation to be a good thing, since U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie; John Fleming, R-Minden; Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia; and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., all voted against America paying her bills.

The rest were just willing to take us all over the cliff rather than own up to their responsibilities. I believe they would have eagerly done so had Senate Democrats been as willing to act as childishly.

It was the GOP that did away with pay-as-you-go rules in Congress so they could borrow and spend and give tax cuts to the wealthy at the same time. It was the GOP that expanded the size of government with the Department of Homeland Security. It was the GOP that was a willing partner in an unnecessary war in Iraq. It was the GOP that passed an unfunded prescription drug benefit. And it is the GOP that believes the most affluent Americans are already making too much of a sacrifice.

How is any of that the fault of President Barack Obama?

According to the Congressional Budget Office, had we stuck to the budget, tax policy and pay-as-you-go rules from the Clinton administration, we could have paid off the national debt by 2009, excepting the war in Afghanistan which was a necessary response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The current debt crisis is almost entirely because of right-wing government.

Worse, the radical right’s vision is a goofy variation on a bad Ayn Rand novel. Ayn Rand was a Russian expatriate gadfly who advocated the deification of the Capitalist, in whom the rest of us poor parasites find our purpose and worth. Rand argued it is only in the selfish pursuits of the Capitalist that human civilization advances, therefore any restriction on the Capitalist is self-defeating.

It is this loony belief that drives the radical right’s obsession with taxes and regulation, both of which are — by definition, so the radicals believe — restrictions on capitalism. And, like lemmings, they happily will plunge over the edge in the name of their faith, taking all of us with them.

How much longer before that happens?

Paul Spillman

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St. Francisville