By Laura Murphy, Director, Washington Legislative Office
Even if the debt ceiling is raised, hard decisions will be made about which federal programs will continue and which ones won’t. The civil liberties consequences of those choices are not entirely predictable, but some are. We can already see that higher unemployment rates and the foreclosure crisis are creating a widening racial wealth gap. Stocks and bonds are not yielding the same return for pensions and 401Ks that working people earned and depend on for their survival in retirement. The middle class is shrinking and poverty is deepening.
The ACLU believes that "natural" economic differences alone cannot explain widespread poverty. Out of proportion to their numbers, the poor are denied adequate legal representation, due process, the right to be free from unlawful searches, seizures and arrests, and other constitutional guarantees.
The controversy over the debt ceiling is a totally manufactured debate that came about because many Republican House members signed a pledge not to vote to raise it. But the widening economic crisis is real. It will have very real implications for the ACLU’s work for decades to come.
NOTE: AAEA believes the ACLU concerns line up with our concerns over a lack of Black ownership in the energy sector.