Cosplay is a favorite activity among the fans of comic books and superhero movies who frequent Comicons, the big festivals of comic art hosted in many cities each year. If the term is new to you, imagine dressing up in the costume of your favorite character from a comic book, graphic novel, fantasy story or movie and acting the part in a public venue. That is cosplay.

And cosplay is what most of the Republicans in Congress are doing right now. Right-wing gadflies, such as Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene – not to mention Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy – are posing as serious political leaders and pretending to care about things like the federal deficit. This is not a new thing. For years, Republicans have been acting the part of fiscal hawks whenever Democrats hold the White House. Of course, they abandon the charade once one of their own becomes president.

For instance, in 2010 when Barack Obama was in his first presidential term, the GOP forced him to sign on to the Budget Control Act that put a damper on spending. That lasted until 2018 when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and President Donald Trump was in the White House. With full control in their hands, they scuttled the Budget Control Act and raised spending by 16%. It is also worthy of note that, for years, Republicans have boosted the deficit by cutting taxes for businesses and rich people whenever they were in charge.

Now that a Democrat is in the White House once more, the GOP majority in the House is refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless spending is reined in – including spending on Social Security and Medicare. The debt ceiling is an artificial limit that must be increased periodically to make sure the United States is able to faithfully pay debts already incurred by past spending. If the debt ceiling is not raised, by the way, the country defaults on its obligations and the world economy goes into freefall.

Congressional Republicans have little problem voting to raise the debt ceiling under a Republican president, but now, with President Joe Biden in the White House, they stand ready to risk economic chaos in order to demonstrate their passion for strict budgeting.

Don’t be fooled. It’s only cosplay.

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