THE BLOG

The GOP's Debt Ceiling Gambit Is Destructive To The Hispanic Community

07/29/2011 04:51 pm ET | Updated Sep 28, 2011

Recently the Republican party has woken from its populist stupor and realized that it cannot be politically relevant in the long term without making major inroads with the Hispanic community. This is a good thing; the more representation and voting choices Hispanics have, the better the country is as a whole. Never mind that the GOP has long tried to pass laws which would harm this community; if they were serious about making inroads to this group they would think long and hard about what a default on our debt would do to Hispanics.

More than any other group in the country Hispanics have been hit the hardest by this recent recession. This is a fact. The New York Times notes:

Hispanic families accounted for the largest single decline in wealth of any ethnic and racial group in the country during the recession, according to a study published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

Given the deep hits that Hispanics took in the recession, any stoppage of benefits (an increasingly likely scenario given Tea Party resistance to pass the current Boehner plan which was going to cut $1.8 trillion from Medicare and Social Security to begin with) would be disastrous to this community.

This is especially the case with Social Security, Hector Sanchez of the Labor Council For Latin American Advancement notes:

Social Security is central to the economic security of all Latinos, young and old alike. For 75 years it has played a vital role in providing a safety net for the protection millions of retirees, disabled workers and aged widowers.

EPI's Daniel Costa puts it a different way:

A 2010 report by the AARP (PDF) detailed the percentage of Latinos 45 and older who were having trouble paying for certain basic needs, and identified those needs. As a result of the recession, 33 percent of Latinos in this age group reported having trouble paying their rent or mortgage, 35 percent had to cut back on medications, 35 percent stopped contributing to their 401(k)s, a whopping 56 percent had problems paying for gas, and grimly, 43 percent had problems paying for food and utilities.

As Republican members in the House look increasingly likely to take the fragile American economy to the precipice and perhaps beyond, one has to wonder with their resurgent interest in Hispanics as a voting block, how could they even think of defaulting on our debt.

Given how Hispanic families have already been hit hard by the recession, if the GOP were serious about courting this group, they would stop putting up misleading advertisements in Spanish. If they were serious about actually doing something help Hispanic families who are already struggling to make ends meet, they would stop wasting their time with anti-Hispanic legislation like the HALT Act, and they most certainly would not be willing to take our country to the brink of economic disaster.