Photo: White House
Reports that the United States is the main obstacle to increasing the size of the IMF bailout fund to support the European bailout for Greece should be far from surprising, given the American public’s lingering frustrations with the 2008 bailout and concerns over debt and deficits.From Occupy Wall Street to steadfast Republican opposition, President Barack Obama would be hard-pressed to gain authorization to send more U.S. aid to help stem the Eurozone crisis — and the political downside for him would be extreme.
One year away from reelection, Obama has tried to strike a populist image as the crusader for the middle class — and when necessary, attack bankers and the wealthy for refusing to do their fair share. Reversing that position by bailing out Greece opens a new front for Republican attacks, but also alienate those on the left and centre who opposed even the domestic bailouts in 2008.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, is leading voice on Capitol Hill against the initial transfer of $100 billion to the IMF — and she has pledged to stop any more U.S. funds from going to help Europe. She will speak to reporters today to reiterate her opposition to new aid for “Euro-TARP,” as she calls it.
To put it simply, the United States can’t give the IMF more funding — there simply isn’t the political will for it in the White House, in Congress, or on Main Street.
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