Showing posts with label Debt Ceiling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Debt Ceiling. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why The GOP Surrendered On The Debt Ceiling

Politico has a good piece up about why the GOP caved on the debt ceiling. The political reality is obvious. The Senate and the White House weren't going to budge and if the federal government defaulted, that would be the end of the Republicans chances in this year's election. It's interesting to watch Reince Priebus riding herd over the nutters in his party. It will be interesting to see if he can keep the moonbats locked up for the next 9 odd months.

For those out there who feel that our debt is steering us into collapse, I have one simple question: does the debt of the United States outweigh our assets?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Debt Ceiling Raised

House passes clean debt ceiling bill

Yes, I believe they have learned the folly of their ways...especially in an election year.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Seven Years

I wonder if Republicans will look back on this week and note that this was the beginning of the end of their party. It is truly something to behold as one of the two major parties in this country commits ritual suicide. They haven't gotten over the fact that the Affordable Care Act is law. They haven't gotten over the fact that they lost the election of 2012. They haven't gotten over the fact that Barack Obama is the president. In short, they are whiny babies throwing an all out temper tantrum.

The reaction has been swift.

Andrew Sullivan...

How does one party that has lost two presidential elections and a Supreme Court case – as well as two Senate elections - think it has the right to shut down the entire government and destroy the full faith and credit of the United States Treasury to get its way on universal healthcare now? I see no quid pro quo even. Just pure blackmail, resting on understandable and predictable public concern whenever a major reform is enacted. But what has to be resisted is any idea that this is government or politics as usual. It is an attack on the governance and the constitutional order of the United States.

An attack? Well, it is amusing that Republicans are behaving in a more obstinate fashion than the Iranian president. American Taliban indeed.

Thomas Friedman

“Give me the money and nobody gets hurt.” How did we get here? First, by taking gerrymandering to a new level. The political analyst Charlie Cook, writing in The National Journal on March 16, noted that the 2010 election gave Republican state legislatures around the country unprecedented power to redraw political boundaries, which they used to create even more “safe, lily-white” Republican strongholds that are, in effect, an “alternative universe” to the country’s diverse reality.

An alternate in a bubble? Well, they are going to have to learn the hard way, I guess. I don't think they realize what's going to happen in 2014 now that they have shut down the government. It might be even worse if they let the government default in a few weeks. Speaking of which, Henry Aaron has a great solution for that problem.

Obama should ignore the debt ceiling

The debt ceiling is the fiscal equivalent of the human appendix — a law with no discoverable purpose. It is one law too many. Once Congress has set tax rates and spending levels, it has effectively said what it wants the debt to be. If Congress leaves the debt ceiling at a level inconsistent with duly enacted spending and tax laws, the president has no choice but to ignore it.

Indeed. Our country functioned just fine without it up until 1917. If the moonbats want to fuck around over the debt ceiling again, I say the president should just ignore it and pay our bills. That's his job and Congress has already given him parameters with which to work. Further, the Constitution guarantees that "the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned." Not surprising that the Right has trouble remembering that there is a Fourteenth Amendment.

I'm setting the clock for today and predicitng that the GOP has seven years of life left in it. They are going to lose more seats in 2014, lose in a big way in 2016, lose more seats in 2018, and, when the new census is taken in 2020 and we get out of the gerrymandering boondoggle, it will all be over.

Unless, of course, they grow up and change. How likely is that?

Oh, and how many hits did get yesterday?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How Fucked Up?

When children throw a temper tantrum, they usually end up breaking something. Mom's dishes or dad's sports memorabilia isn't quite on the level of the US Economy.

Republicans are far more likely to oppose raising the debt limit than anyone else; they say don’t raise it by 61-25. Republicans, however, also believe overwhelmingly that not raising it would cause serious economic harm — by 66-27.

At least we now have confirmation as to just how fucked up the Right is there days.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happily Going Over The Cliff

It's been amusing in a sort of horrifying way to watch Congress try to come up with some sort of plan to avert the tax rate rise and spending cuts that are going to occur on January 1, 2013. I don't think I've ever seen a Republican leader admit that he was powerless as Speaker Boehner did last week. "It's now up to the president and Harry Reid," he said. Unbelievable.

But that's what happens when you have a caucus that is comprised of juveniles who are eternally stomping down the hallway and slamming their doors at what they perceive to be their dad. They're perfectly happy to crash the car in order to sate their adolescent power fantasies. They'd rather cut of their nose despite their faces.

And that's just what is going to happen. If no deal is reached by Tuesday (and it looks doubtful), January 2nd is going to be a barn burner at the New York Stock Exchange. At that point, the GOP will be fucked. If they deal now, they are going to get something for those upper income folks. If they wait, however, the only bill they are going to see is one that makes the tax cuts permanent for those making under 250K and they will have no choice but to sign it as the market drops 500-1000 points.

They're also going to get bloody ears (and possibly more) in terms of the spending cuts and will likely have to give in on those as well. Much of their constituency is old people who love Medicare and Social Security. Any sort of cuts will be viewed with much animosity. This doesn't even take into account the defense cuts which, in my view, if they happen, will basically mean the end of the Tea Party. Democrats learned a long time ago that you don't fuck with defense contractors.

So, this begs the question, do the Republicans want to be the Whigs of the 21st century? Given their intransigent stance on immigration (along with the rest of all of this), I think they do. Bottom line: they need to change. If they don't, Texas will turn blue in 2016 or 2020 and that will be it for them.

Monday, August 01, 2011

One Giant Shit Show

Our nation's leaders have finally come together and will pass a bill at some point soon to raise the debt ceiling. The last few weeks have been one giant shit show and, now that it's all over, I thought it prudent to devote a post to the various thoughts I've had over the course of all of this. As always, I welcome your summative comments as well:)

To begin with, I am SO fucking tired of the "Washington's Broken' story line. It's not even remotely true and it's just a bunch of media drivel. Government ain't pretty, folks, and it never has been in our history. "Broken" was the Civil War, not an argument over spending and taxes. Let's declare a moratorium on this, shall we?

And while we are on the subject of whining, the professional left can go fuck themselves. They are disappointed in Obama and are "abandoning" him. To go where, exactly? Rather than wasting energy complaining, they should use that energy to go and find the 45 percent of the people in this country that don't vote and light a fire under their collective asses. Don't blame the president for the fact that he has to deal with a large bloc of completely intransigent people. Transform the Tea Party into a massive minority, send them back to their short wave radio set, and then maybe some of your wishes for government will come true. AP News had a good story on this recently.

Here's the truth: The overwhelming majority of senators and House members do what their constituents want them to do. Or, more to the point, they respond to people in their districts who bother to vote. Nothing is dearer to politicians than re-election, and most have a keen sense of when they are straying into dangerous waters.

A McClatchy-Marist poll this year found that 71 percent of registered voters want political leaders in Washington to compromise to get things done. If those voters skip key primaries, however, they may have little say in the matter.

Exactly right. Not only do these complainers have to get out and vote themselves, they have to get 10 other people to vote as well. That's how it fucking works so if you don't like the outcome, do something about it. No one said it would be easy.

Getting back to the media...what a load of shit they were during this debate. Paul Krugman absolutely nailed it perfectly in this recent piece.

News reports portray the parties as equally intransigent; pundits fantasize about some kind of “centrist” uprising, as if the problem was too much partisanship on both sides.

Some of us have long complained about the cult of “balance,” the insistence on portraying both parties as equally wrong and equally at fault on any issue, never mind the facts. I joked long ago that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read “Views Differ on Shape of Planet.” But would that cult still rule in a situation as stark as the one we now face, in which one party is clearly engaged in blackmail and the other is dickering over the size of the ransom?

To me, this is essentially what happened. The current form of the GOP basically got everything they wanted. There was no additional revenue at all because of the anti-tax catechism of the right. They wouldn't even allow subsides to in the final plan even though basic economics proves that they too distort markets just like taxes. And what more proof do we need that the Bush Tax Cuts didn't work? We extended the cuts last year. Where are the jobs? In fact, our economy is stalling. That's not what I was told would happen. As Krugman notes in his piece, reality doesn't seem to matter.

From this point forward, we need to decimate the Cult of Balance. As Krugman notes,

For when reporting on political disputes always implies that both sides are to blame, there is no penalty for extremism. Voters won’t punish you for outrageous behavior if all they ever hear is that both sides are at fault.

But making nebulous calls for centrism, like writing news reports that always place equal blame on both parties, is a big cop-out — a cop-out that only encourages more bad behavior. The problem with American politics right now is Republican extremism, and if you’re not willing to say that, you’re helping make that problem worse.

This is what I have been saying for quite some time on here and it is now time for people, and especially the media, to accept this reality. We are spending far too much time managing the fantasies of the right and coddling their paranoia. In trying to be fair and think that "everyone's a winner and correct," we are holding back our country from solving the problems we face.

We can't continue to work with people who are closet fascists. Heck, some of them aren't even in the closet. They want everything exactly their way and are, conveniently, never wrong. Krugman summarizes this well.

As you may know, President Obama initially tried to strike a “Grand Bargain” with Republicans over taxes and spending. To do so, he not only chose not to make an issue of G.O.P. extortion, he offered extraordinary concessions on Democratic priorities: an increase in the age of Medicare eligibility, sharp spending cuts and only small revenue increases. As The Times’s Nate Silver pointed out, Mr. Obama effectively staked out a position that was not only far to the right of the average voter’s preferences, it was if anything a bit to the right of the average Republican voter’s preferences.

Remember, though, he must fail...even if reality is starkly different.

We already have a centrist president. Indeed, Bruce Bartlett, who served as a policy analyst in the Reagan administration, argues that Mr. Obama is in practice a moderate conservative.

Mr. Bartlett has a point. The president, as we’ve seen, was willing, even eager, to strike a budget deal that strongly favored conservative priorities. His health reform was very similar to the reform Mitt Romney installed in Massachusetts. Romneycare, in turn, closely followed the outlines of a plan originally proposed by the right-wing Heritage Foundation. And returning tax rates on high-income Americans to their level during the Roaring Nineties is hardly a socialist proposal.

While I'm not happy with the way things turned out, I'm not going to blame the president. At the end of the day, he has to govern. And when you are dealing with a large, immovable object that the American people (the ones that could be arsed to vote, that is) put into office, you have to do the best you can. He did.

This entire affair should serve as an excellent example of what the GOP is all about these days. If you don't like it, do something about it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fifth Largest

With all the talk on the debt lately, it seems like our country has a lot of problems. One would think that our debt is worse than other countries if you listen to the pundits. "We're going to become like Greece," is the phrase we hear most often.

Greece is actually second among the bigger economies of the world if you measure debt to GDP standing at 161 percent. We are at 95 percent of our GDP which is actually the fifth largest in the world today. So we have quite a ways to go to "become like Greece" although we might get there if people continue to be ridiculously unapologetic about dodging their taxes here as they do there.

If people really wanted to use scare tactics, they should say we could "become like Japan" which has a debt to GDP of 245 percent. Wow! Given this ridiculously high number, why are they still even functioning as a country? My buddies in the Tea Party have assured me that if we go over 100 percent, our nation will be ruined (never mind the fact that we have been over 100 percent before, have a 15 trillion dollar GDP, and have 65 trillion dollars of wealth in this country).

Given these figures and the fact that these countries, while in bad shape for a variety of reasons, are not ruined, should we completely lose our head about our debt?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Would Reagan Do?

A fine example of how the image of Reagan and the reality of Reagan are in direct conflict. If Reagan were president now and asking for the same things that President Obama is asking for regarding our finances, it would be alright because he is REAGAN!! But since it is Obama, it must be bad.

Sad, but not surprising. Like they do with Jesus Christ, the right makes up whatever fiction they want to create in order to further their (dangerous) beliefs.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Deal?

It looks like we might be moving closer to a deal regarding the debt ceiling, the debt, spending cuts, and taxes. President Obama and several senators on both sides of the aisle are embracing the "Gang of Six" plan which is considered the grand bargain that the president was looking for for the last few weeks.

The question is how the House will respond. Not well is my guess. Hence, the symbolic vote of a balanced budget vote this week. Much of this is nauseating political theater but it's going to be interesting to see if the GOP can pass up an opportunity like this one. This plan limits the growth of Medicare and Social Security which is vital to reducing the debt we currently hold.

The right has been squawking about this for decades. Will they break their purity pledge on taxes to fulfill their life long dream? Hmmm...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Are These Numbers Accurate?

Take a look at these numbers.

2001 – $5.871 trillion in debt
2008 – $10.640 trillion in debt

Jan 31st 2009 = $10.569 trillion in debt
Jan 31st 2011 = $14.131 tr­­illion in debt

But of the $3.56-tril­­lion increase, 98% was carry over from Bush programs:

Bush: $910-billi­­on = Interest on Debt 2009/2011
Bush: $360-billi­­on = Iraq War Spending 2009/2011
Bush: $319-billi­­on = TARP/Bailo­­ut Balance from 2008 (as of May 2010)
Bush: $419-billi­­on = Bush Recession Caused Drop in taxes
Bush: $190-billi­­on = Bush Medicare Drug Program 2009/2011
Bush: $211-billi­­on = Bush Meicare Part-D 2009/2011
Bush: $771-billi­­on = Bush Tax Cuts 2009/2011

So that means...

Bush’s contributi­­on:

2001 to 2008: $4.769-tri­­llion
2009 to 2010: $3.181-tri­­llion

Total: $7.950-tri­­llion

Increase Since 2001 = $14.131 – $5.871 = $8.26-tril­­lion

Bush’s contributi­­on: $7.950-tri­­llion / $8.26-tril­­lion = 96%

Increase caused By Bush’s Programs: 96%
Increase caused by Obama’s Programs: 4%

My simple question is...are these numbers accurate? And, if so, why is Obama's spending portrayed as much worse when the numbers show quite clearly that it has not been worse.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What Do You Want Him To Do...Pull Your Car Around For You?

A few days ago, President Obama called on Congress for a much bolder plan to reduce the deficit. He asked for double the amount of reduction ($4 trillion dollars) that is currently being discussed. This was in line with the Bowles-Simpson plan from last December. The GOP response?


They only want $2 trillion in reduction.

I'm trying very hard to find the logic in what they are doing but I can't. In all honesty, I feel for John Boehner He's a good guy but he simply doesn't have the votes because his party has been hijacked by true believers. Like the socialists who believe in their utopia, the Tea Partiers have their own unicorn fart land and they are not budging from attempting to realize their warped dream. The word "compromise" isn't in their fucking vocabulary. Part of me thinks they would love it if the government defaulted on its loans so then it could be destroyed and everything could then be privatized. They may yet get to realize their dream.

Rick Ungar breaks this down quite nicely over at Forbes.

What Boehner likely understands – better than those who he is supposed to be leading – is that the GOP is permitting the fundamental change, long at the heart of the conservative cause, to vanish into thin air and that it is happening in the name of protecting corporate subsidies that are the very antitheses of a free market economy – another of the inviolate tenets of conservative policy.

I've been saying that for the last couple of weeks. At least Ungar has an explanation to my confusion.

I don’t know about you, but I can only think of one other explanation – fealty to the wealthy corporations and wealthy individuals who keep your Republican leadership rolling in the campaign cash so they can remain in their powerful jobs.

I fear we are witnessing one of the most perverse and dangerous games our leaders have ever embarked upon. I’m stunned by the sheer audacity of these elected officials so ready to play chicken with the financial lives of so many simply to benefit a very few.

And yet people keep supporting them. As Maher said the other day, I get the 1 percent that support the GOP. What I don't get is the other 99 percent. No doubt, this is one the greatest achievements in propaganda in the history of the world. A very small (and wealthy) group of people have convinced a very large group of people that anyone who makes up the the entire left half of the political spectrum (as well as the 25 percent to the right of center because, let's face it, they're RINO pussies) are actively working to destroy our country when in reality the complete opposite is true.

The GOP has a chance here at very serious entitlement reform but they are letting in slip through their fingers. Even Krugman admits that Obama is out GOPing the GOP. So far the markets are acting like the debt ceiling will be raised and there will be a deal. I guess I'm not so sure.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Random Economic Thoughts For Friday

Economic bad news from a number of quarters today starting with the unemployment number going up to 9.1 percent. As expected, President Obama is getting all the blame for it. GOP front runner Mitt Romney says that the president is destroying our country and "we are only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy." Here's why that is a load of shit. 

What I find amusing about all of this is these same people that are doing the blaming seem to forget that if he did more than he is doing then we would be slipping into a more centrally planned economy. There's not anything he can do about high gas prices or the tsunami in Japan, the two main reasons the job market is so weak, so why put the blame on him?

Simply put, people aren't spending money. Whether it's individuals or governments, no one is spending which means businesses aren't making money which means they aren't hiring. Public sector job losses are seeing the biggest hit with 28,000 job losses last month, the most since November of 2010. 18,000 of those jobs are in education.

The only good news out of all of this is that most economists think these are temporary setbacks. And I tend to look at reports like this with a grain of salt. These days, economic reports have the emotional balance of a 14 year old girl. One day, everything is amazing. The next, all is lost and we are drowning in a boiling pit of sewage.

Through all of this, we have the debt ceiling dithering. At this point, anything coming out of the mouths of the GOP is silly when you consider these 10 points.

1. Republican Leaders Agree U.S. Default Would Be a "Financial Disaster"
2. Ronald Reagan Tripled the National Debt
3. George W. Bush Doubled the National Debt
4. Republicans Voted Seven Times to Raise Debt Ceiling for President Bush
5. Federal Taxes Are Now at a 60 Year Low
6. Bush Tax Cuts Didn't Pay for Themselves or Spur "Job Creators"
7. Ryan Budget Delivers Another Tax Cut Windfall for Wealthy
8. Ryan Budget Will Require Raising Debt Ceiling - Repeatedly
9. Tax Cuts Drive the Next Decade of Debt
10. $3 Trillion Tab for Unfunded Wars Remains Unpaid

What about #5? Taxes are low and people still aren't spending their money. So the argument that taxes need to be cut more makes no sense. Corporate Taxes, as I demonstrated the other day, are in the negative in some cases. Yet they are still holding on to their cash. Why? Because of the evil gubmint? That makes no sense either. They have everything they want and no taxes.

Honestly, I'm not sure I have the answer. Part of it does have to do with the plutonomy we created but are people really that stupid to hoard cash when they know it will ultimately bring down the system they need to remain wealthy?

None of this makes any sense.