Posts tagged default
Posts tagged default
In what would be a dramatic change of course, House Republican leaders are considering a strategy of risking a government shutdown at the end of this month if Obamacare isn’t defunded.
Seriously? The 40+ symbolic votes to repeal it — at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $1.75 million each time — just weren’t enough. And now, in hopes of attaching it to a must pass bill, conservative Republicans are squealing with delight at imaging the blame they can place on Democrats for either voting to shut down the government by voting against a repeal. However, others are speculating that it’s Boehner caving to the tea party caucus and kicking the can to the Senate, where it has no chance of passing.
Either way, it’s more of the same — the House is playing chicken with a government shutdown that has very real consequences. On the 37th repeal vote, Boehner justified it by stating, ““We’ve got 70 new members who have not had an opportunity to vote on the President’s health care bill.” By that logic, there’s over 300 members of the House who didn’t get a chance to vote on the original Civil Rights Act of 1964. Is he going to hold a vote on that?
Actually, don’t answer that. I don’t want to give them any ideas. This is not a party of ideas or solutions. This is a party given to tantrums and hostage taking.
Meanwhile, as House Republicans prepare to
set another million bucks or so on fire vote on the Obamacare repeal yet again, millions of Americans are losing income and vital services daily because of the sequester they pushed for and quickly disowned.
This is where political messaging is going. Justin Fucking Bieber apparently has something to teach Washington. Ooh, “Never say never!” - to spending cuts!
But let’s be offensive, and call America a bunch of drug addicts.
Here’s the ad script:
America could learn a lot… from a drug addict. Even though this country’s $14 trillion in debt – Washington raised the debt ceiling 10 times in the last 10 years. Each time – it’s like another hit – another spending hit. But you’re the junkies. 41 cents out of every dollar you spend is borrowed –from places like China. So China is like your dealer… And your addiction and your dealer control your life. To borrow less – you need to spend less. Yeah – Washington could learn a lot from a drug addict.
Yep, meeting our obligations is totally like tweaking. I’m guessing meth just because this looks like a leftover meth PSA. I’m not even going into how ridiculous it is to compare the national budget to the horrific disease of addiction. This whole campaign was ripped off from the laughable “______ is my anti-drug” PSAs. Faulty metaphor is faulty.
Um, no. Just no. This debt ceiling issue was a manufactured crisis. However, it’s not Grandma and single moms driving up debt.
This is why we can’t have nice things:
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), quoted by Roll Call, describing the debt ceiling deal negotiated between the White House and Republicans.
And why would it be described as such? Roll Call has the details:
The deal framework appeared to give Republicans most of what they were seeking — with about $3 trillion in guaranteed spending cuts but no tax increases, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday.
In return, Obama gets to avoid another debt ceiling battle before voters head to polls in November 2012, and he will be able to argue that he was willing to compromise to help save the country from a default crisis.
But first, the president and Democratic leaders could face a backlash from liberals angry that they appear to have agreed to a revenue-free debt ceiling bill that includes a “trigger” only for automatic cuts in defense, Medicare and other programs if a second deficit reduction package isn’t enacted by the end of this year.
"This deal trades people’s livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it," ripped Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “The lesson today is that Republicans can hold their breath long enough to get what they want.”
The White House tried to tamp down the liberal unrest by making it clear that Obama still wants revenue in a final deficit reduction package later this year. National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling said on CNN that Obama would still insist on a balanced package that includes tax reform, and he noted that the president still does not support anything that would cut benefits for seniors without asking the wealthy to sacrifice as well. But there is no guarantee that Republicans will give an inch on revenues.
I predict they’ll hold the First Family’s dog hostage to avoid tax reform. Yet again, we’ve been sold out by a president who’s slightly to the right of Richard Nixon. But it’s not 100% his fault. The Tea Party caucus whined and threw tantrums until we are literally facing global financial collapse from a purely self-inflicted crisis. Obama should have sent them to their rooms and invoked the 14th Amendment. Instead, he’s reinforced their bad behavior.
Anyone who claims we don’t have class warfare in this country is either naïve or winning.
The framework of a tentative deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling calls for up to $2.8 trillion in total deficit reduction over the next decade, two sources familiar with the negotiations told CNN late Saturday night.
The agreement, still being negotiated by the White House and bipartisan congressional leaders, would allow the debt ceiling to be raised by enough to last at least through the end of 2012.
The debt limit would be increased in two stages, both of which would occur automatically — a key Democratic demand that would prevent a repeat of the current crisis before the next election.
The agreement includes upfront spending cuts in the range of roughly $1 trillion, the sources said. A special congressional committee would recommend additional spending reductions of up to $1.8 trillion no later than Thanksgiving. If Congress failed to approve the recommended cuts by late December, automatic, across-the-board cuts - including both defense and Medicare - would take effect.
And why can’t we just pass a stand alone bill to raise the debt ceiling? One of my friends said it well: “Whether or not it is a spending problem or a revenue problem is not relevant to the question of what to do about it now. It doesn’t matter what we had for dinner, the check is here.”
I imagine this was slipped under the Oval Office door this morning.
What if we try to ignore raising the debt ceiling? Well, those proposing this are arguing that we simply prioritize spending. If we enact this plan, the first thing covered would be servicing our debt’s interest, plus paying bondholders. Then we pay Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and military payroll. This will halt most federal spending.
Many economists have pointed out this would have drastic consequences, and the US Treasury said in a statement that this would be seen as a default anyhow.
But let’s go to Tea Party fantasy land, where it’s not. Megan McArdle, senior editor at The Atlantic, takes a look at what this will mean for the country:
Let’s say that we refuse to raise the ceiling. Does the prioritization mean that we don’t need to cut politically untouchable programs? No. Let’s think through what would happen if we tried to use this plan:
- You just cut the IRS and all the accountants at Treasury, which means that the actual revenue you have to spend is $0.
- The nation’s nuclear arsenal is no longer being watched or maintained
- The doors of federal prisons have been thrown open, because none of the guards will work without being paid, and the vendors will not deliver food, medical supplies, electricity, etc.
- The border control stations are entirely unmanned, so anyone who can buy a plane ticket, or stroll across the Mexican border, is entering the country. All the illegal immigrants currently in detention are released, since we don’t have the money to put them on a plane, and we cannot actually simply leave them in a cell without electricity, sanitation, or food to see what happens.
- All of our troops stationed abroad quickly run out of electricity or fuel. Many of them are sitting in a desert with billions worth of equipment, and no way to get themselves or their equipment back to the US.
- Our embassies are no longer operating, which will make things difficult for foreign travelers
- No federal emergency assistance, or help fighting things like wildfires or floods. Sorry, tornado people! Sorry, wildfire victims! Try to live in the northeast next time!
- Housing projects shut down, and Section 8 vouchers are not paid. Families hit the streets.
- The money your local school district was expecting at the October 1 commencement of the 2012 fiscal year does not materialize, making it unclear who’s going to be teaching your kids without a special property tax assessment.
- The market for guaranteed student loans plunges into chaos. Hope your kid wasn’t going to college this year!
- The mortgage market evaporates. Hope you didn’t need to buy or sell a house!
- The FDIC and the PBGC suddenly don’t have a government backstop for their funds, which has all sorts of interesting implications for your bank account.
- The TSA shuts down. Yay! But don’t worry about terrorist attacks, you TSA-lovers, because air traffic control shut down too. Hope you don’t have a vacation planned in August, much less any work travel.
- Unemployment money is no longer going to the states, which means that pretty soon, it won’t be going to the unemployed people.
These are just the very immediate, very theatrical outcomes. Obviously, over any longer term, you’d have issues from bankrupt vendors stopping work funded with federal highway money, forgone maintenance on things like levees and government buildings, and so forth. Averting any of these things would require at least small cuts in Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid spending, or military payrolls.
Even though these seem theatrical, it could happen. This is the kind of fire the Tea Party is playing with - do we really want to test these possibilities?
In the lead (of course) is President Obama. Not a shock though. It’s asked by RightChange:
RightChange is a new generation of conservative film, Hollywood, TV and technology professionals who are bringing a new approach to a predictable political methodology. Operating as both a 527 and a 501(c)4 organization, RightChange is illustrating just how significant and effective the use of cutting edge video content blended with social media web platforms, can penetrate voters with targeted and cost-effective relevant messaging. We use animation and non-traditional production techniques to provide independent and conservative voters with something more than the traditional political sound bite that is sometimes ignored.
Penetrate voters…? Uh…
This is no more rational than any other explanation…
Gawker writer Jim Newell sums up House Republicans nicely:
Counselors at the youth summer camp that we know more commonly as the “House Republican Caucus of the 112th Congress” penciled in time for a movie yesterday! All of the campers were so excited to relax a little bit after pretending to be members of Congress for so long. And better yet, they got to watch an R-rated movie — without their parents’ permission! Is that even legal?
Here’s the scene as described by theWashington Post. They were meeting to discuss the their latest camp project, “Fucking Up the Nation’s Credit For No Reason Whatsoever: Should We?” It’s a tough one. But maybe Ben Affleck and his ragtag band of Boston goons were able to get through to these kids:
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the party’s vote counter, began his talk by showing a clip from the movie, “The Town”, trying to forge a sense of unity among the independent-minded caucus.
One character asks his friend: “I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later.”
"Whose car are we gonna take," the character says.
After showing the clip, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), one of the most outspoken critics of leadership among the 87 freshmen, stood up to speak, according to GOP aides.
"I’m ready to drive the car," West replied, surprising many Republicans by giving his full -throated support for the [Boehner] plan.
Allen West, he’s the coolest!
Bickering children, that’s it. And yes, they really did watch a movie clip for “unity’s” sake.
Johnathan Alter, writing for Bloomberg, rips apart House Speaker John Boehner’s speech last night. A sample:
Speeches by politicians are usually full of spin, biased use of facts and appeals to emotion. President Barack Obama’s address to the nation last night on the debt ceiling was no exception. House Speaker John Boehner’s response was in a different league. It was chock full of statements that simply aren’t true.
Let’s go to the videotape.
Boehner: “Here’s what we got for that spending binge: a massive health-care bill that most Americans never asked for. A ‘stimulus’ bill that was more effective in producing material for late-night comedians than it was in producing jobs. And a national debt that has gotten so out of hand it has sparked a crisis without precedent in my lifetime or yours.”
Facts are stubborn things. Whatever one thinks of it, the Obama health-care law wasn’t part of the “spending binge.” The law has yet to significantly contribute to the budget deficit because most of it hasn’t been phased in yet.
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus bill created millions of new jobs, which as a factual matter is at least as “effective” as a David Letterman monologue. And anyone with the most rudimentary knowledge of the 2008-09 economic meltdown knows that it was “sparked” by a crisis in private debt, not “the national debt.” The latter wasn’t a big problem when, say, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. went bust.
Emphasis is mine. The health care bill is being targeted simply because they don’t like it. The national debt sparking crisis is one of the GOP’s own creation, as Alter rightly observes:
Boehner: “You see, there is no stalemate in Congress.”
We do see, and our eyes tell us the plain truth: There is in fact a stalemate in Congress.
Boehner: “If the president signs it,” meaning the House bill, “the crisis atmosphere he created will simply disappear.”
Boehner is right that if Obama fully capitulated and signed the House bill, the crisis would end. But it’s simply untrue to suggest that the president “created” the “crisis atmosphere.” Saying so is Orwellian.
Conservatives can legitimately argue that they were right to turn the debt ceiling into a crisis to achieve their ends. But it’s unfair to blame someone else for creating something you created yourself - and, make no mistake, the Republican Party has turned what should be a standard procedural increase to the debt ceiling into a potential calamity.
Your move, Mr. Speaker.
"The Debt Ceiling Rap" by Remy
We may not be able to address our current debt ceiling woes, but we can at least put them to a good beat.
Shep Smith today: “If we default, it will be a sort-of tax increase to every American in the form of higher interest rates.” Thought about that, GOP?
Small business loans and lines of credit, student loans, mortgages, car loans, etc. will all have higher interest rates. That’s not a good outcome, guys.
Clever politicking on the debt ceiling: On Wednesday afternoon, every House Republican will receive a letter urging them to raise the debt ceiling.
Or, rather, a letter from President Ronald Reagan to Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker in 1983 urging Congress to raise the debt ceiling.
The letter reads:
This letter is to ask for your help and support, and that of your colleagues, in the passage of an increase in the limit on the public debt.
As Secretary Regan has told you, the Treasury’s cash balances have reached a dangerously low point. Henceforth, the Treasury Department cannot guarantee that the Federal Government will have sufficient cash on any one day to meet all of its mandated expenses, and thus the United States could be forced to default on its obligations for the first time in its history.
This country now possesses the strongest credit in the world. The full consequences of a default or even the serious prospect of default by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and on the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result. The risks, the cost, the disruptions, and the incalculable damage lead me to but one conclusion: the Senate must pass this legislation before the Congress adjourns.
I want to thank you for your immediate attention to this urgent problem and for your assistance in passing an extension of the debt ceiling.
The letter is being sent to House GOP members by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
[Photo via PoliticsUSA]
See this chart? It’s 29 public companies who had more cash on hand than the U.S. Treasury Department as of July 13th. American companies are highlighted in yellow.
According to ThinkProgress:
In the first half of July alone, Treasury cash balances were depleted from from $130 billion to just $39 billion. That means the most powerful nation on earth currently is tied with Google for the amount of cash that it has, and is less flush than Bank of America, JP Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs, among others.
Note that several companies received hefty bailouts and paid little to no income tax in 2010. From Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office:
"Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion. Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS. Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department."
This is completely outrageous. ThinkProgress sums it up nicely:
The numbers effectively rebut Republican claims that the government has plenty of money to keep funding essential services while paying down its debt. It also belies GOP claims that companies are in need of lower corporate taxes. American corporations have a record amount of cash — they are just refusing to invest domestically while lobbying for tax breaks.
Several Republican candidates have called for drastically lowering the corporate tax rate, while congressional Republicans are refusing to concede in debt ceiling negotiations that corporate tax loopholes should be closed to give the government more much-needed revenue.
So, who will the US Congress represent? This list, or we the people?