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The Grand Debt Ceiling Political Theater Thread


Larry

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I'd be willing to see a unified thread on the debt ceiling debate/votes/theater. I don't think we have such a thread, now, although I'd have no objections to this being attached to the end of some other thread.

Link.

WASHINGTON -- Republicans are willing to push President Obama to the wall with their budget-slashing bill to raise the debt ceiling because they are convinced he will capitulate on his veto threat and sign it, GOP lawmakers declared Thursday.

The Republican bill, which passed the House Tuesday and which Democrats warn will require even steeper cuts than the unpopular House budget plan that passed in the spring, is starting debate in the Senate.

And although the President has threatened to veto the measure and Senate Democrats say it is unacceptable, the group of Republicans from the House and Senate said it was Democrats' only choice to avoid defaulting on America's debt -- and that Obama would take it to stave off catastrophe.

"This is the only viable plan, right now, that will do that," said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) "And I will bet you a porterhouse steak that, if it lands on his desk, he'll sign that puppy."

As for Obama's threat to reject the Tea Party-inspired "Cut, Cap and Balance" bill, Coburn suggested they were empty words.

"The president said he'd never take a short-term increase [of the debt limit]," Coburn said. "What did they say yesterday? He'd take a short-term increase. That's how good his veto threat is."

"He's going to do what's necessary to fix this country, and if he gets presented this bill, he's gonna sign it," the Oklahoman declared.

I observe that this article mentions 'the Tea Party-inspired "Cut, Cap and Balance" bill', but does not contain a single specific thing about it. If somebody knows a good place for information about what's supposedly in this bill, I'd certainly like to read it.

All this article has in it is a lot of quotes about the political theater. Which might be important, but I'd like some meat with my popcorn.

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I'd be willing to see a unified thread on the debt ceiling debate/votes/theater.

Sounds good.

LATimes: Obama, Boehner discussing $3-trillion debt package (With No Tax Hikes)

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-debt-progress-20110721,0,6920476.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fnews%2Fpolitics+%28L.A.+Times+-+Politics%29

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are continuing to work on a deal that would allow a debt-ceiling increase, even as both sides denied reports Thursday that an agreement was imminent.

According to a Democratic congressional aide, discussions have centered on a version of the so-called grand bargain the two leaders have sought -- minus a key element, new tax revenues, that has been rejected by Republicans. The White House told congressional Democrats about this proposal during the last 24 hours.

The deal would amount to as much as $3 trillion in spending cuts, and would likely be deeply opposed by rank-and-file Democrats who have insisted that any package that includes cutbacks in Medicare and Social Security must also include new tax revenue.

For both sides, a deal of that sort would also amount to a bet on the next election, because the tax cuts enacted under George W. Bush expire at the end of 2012.

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wtf planet do I live on where 70% of the population (or whatever it is) wants tax increases, but that's the position to back down from? Ah good ol' Democrats. Never failing to ***** out.

Well, to be fair, people say they want a lot of things, but I'd suspect that 70% number might drop a bit if they themselves end up being affected.

A similar experience would be to compare approval ratings of Congress with the rate of re-election of incumbents.

What people say and what people do are often two entirely different things. There's political danger in tax increases, even now.

That's true even if they confine those tax increases to the very top brackets, because the people in those brackets are the ones that finance campaigns (to say nothing of being the status of many politicians themselves).

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I'm not understanding how the 70% number drops with a (slight) tax increase on the upper bracket? Or, really, how that would personally affect people in a way that would change their opinion? I doubt they'd care much about the upper tax bracket donating less to politicians as a result.

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I'm not understanding how the 70% number drops with a (slight) tax increase on the upper bracket? Or, really, how that would personally affect people in a way that would change their opinion? I doubt they'd care much about the upper tax bracket donating less to politicians as a result.

He is saying the 70% drops rapidly if they have to pay as well

always easy to support taking from someone elses wallet

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Yup, lots of people want nuclear power, but few want a reactor in their back yard. I think there's truth to that complaint. Mind you, I also think it's fair that returning the tax rates to Clinton levels might not be a bad idea during this time of debt.

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I said in another post that, just like Scott Boras negotiations, nothing is going to happen until just before the deadline. The rest is pure political grandstanding. 48 hours until the deadline, when a deal isnt yet done, I will be reposting that post in every thread. :)

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Expect a last second deal that nobody knows about and nobody has read.

It will be passed as an "emergency" with the people seeing it about a week later.

It will be the worst of both sides.

Yup. I'm expecting a Frankenbill on August 1st, rushed through the entire process that they're claiming "forces" them to get something done by today. They'll just vote to change the rules.

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Here is the thing with taxes. I don't want them, I don't like them. Hell, I think I pay to much as is and that everyone needs to pay. Period. However, I am willing to accept tax increases as long as they are a) Temporary and will go down as the debt levels do down and B) The increased revenue will go towards the debt, not towards new spending. I have not heard anything about making sure new revenue go towards the debt. All I am hearing is yeah we need to reduce spending but we need more revenue also. Sounds like Dems want to raise the limit on the CC, but they want to turn around and purchase that 63 inch 3D LED TV with it.

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I think sacase's tax proposal exemplifies worthy compromise of personal interest for society's health and success, showing a citizen who certainly wants to pay no more than already paying but willing to take a hit for the greater good as long as reasonable conditions are part of the deal. That's the kind of attitude and approach we so desperately need to be commonplace yet still seems to be absent from our leaders and absent in much of our electorate, the "70% in favor of raising taxes" figures notwithstanding. We can all speculate/project on how polls do or don't support what people really think/would do, but nothing less than increasing tax revenues and cutting all spending should make sense to any sane and balanced thinking. Both will inflict hardship, both will touch almost everyone in ways they don't want, and both are needed.

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I thought the largest Victory in 70 years proved th people wanted the Gov't to stop spending.

Most people don't are if the top 10% pay more, who cares? They are not me.

I appreciate most of them gainfully employ us and will pay more this year than I will in my entire lifetime.

In tough times though we need to cut (not stop the rate of growth) by 3% across the board.

Everyone over 60k should have to kick in more, and i would base it on cost of living per state. A person in Knoxville making 60k is the same as Tysons corner making 90+k.

It's time to fix this.

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I recommend that everyone stop thinking about rational compromises for a second, and think instead about what Obama's thinking.

1. He feels he needs a Welfare-reform like deal to have any shot at re-election. Clinton the liberal was unpopular. Clinton the moderate was the mac daddy.

2. He might like some tax hikes, but he doesn't want a lot of tax hikes in this economy no matter what because he knows that would actually hurt the economy...and a bad or worsening economy will not be something he can overcome. Even raising taxes on corporate jet owners will cost jobs. It sucks, but it's a fact of life and politics.

3. Since he doesn't actually want massive tax hikes, what's the point in holding up a deal for tax hikes at all?

4. Come election time, he doesn't want to be the president who supported out of control spending over low taxes.

If you think about it, you understand that Obama doesn't want to raise taxes, rhetoric aside.

Reasonable or not, I'm here to tell you all that the rumors are probably true, and that a deal will get done with little or no new tax revenue.

That's my prediction...

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Once again, we all lose. We need some real leaders in this country and there is not one person in the current establishment that I would consider to be a leader.

Boehner just walked out of negotiating a real settlement, not that I blame him if what was reported was true. So now he is going to negotiate a piece meal half assed solution to the ever growing problem that we have. Thanks Beohner, Obama, Ried, et al. for your stellar leadership.

Obama wants to raise taxes and maintain entitlement spending and Boehner wants no increases on taxes.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2011/07/no-deal-debt-ceiling-talks-between-obama-boehner-break-down.html

"The president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised. ... The president is emphatic that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs," Boehner wrote.

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Obama wants to raise taxes and maintain entitlement spending and Boehner wants no increases on taxes.

Course, only the second half of your statement is true. Every offer I've seen discussed has suggested three dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in revenue increases. (Which, frankly, seems very generous, to me. Giving the Party that controls one half of one third of the government, 75% of the deal they want.)

But why let that stand in the way?

Well, actually, the second half isn't quite true, either.

Specifically, he said the two sides had agreed on an unspecified amount of revenue to be included in deficit reduction, achieved by broadening the number of Americans who pay taxes and lowering general tax rates.

Translation: Boehner is willing to raise taxes, as long as they're being raised on poor people, and if there are tax cuts for the rich in the mix, too.

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Once again, we all lose. We need some real leaders in this country and there is not one person in the current establishment that I would consider to be a leader.

Boehner just walked out of negotiating a real settlement, not that I blame him if what was reported was true. So now he is going to negotiate a piece meal half assed solution to the ever growing problem that we have. Thanks Beohner, Obama, Ried, et al. for your stellar leadership.

Obama wants to raise taxes and maintain entitlement spending and Boehner wants no increases on taxes.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2011/07/no-deal-debt-ceiling-talks-between-obama-boehner-break-down.html

I think that when we view this as two sides with (maybe vastly) different views of where to go and how to get there, it's not all that unusual to see that coming to any common ground is hard. I read posts from liberals on this board and, being a conservative, it's sounds like, at times, they're talking a language I just don't understand. I'm sure some of my posts are taken the same way, we're just worlds apart in our views of how to achieve the best measure of success for the greatest # of Americans. 2012 is looking like the most consequential election I think I can remember in all my years of voting, and being old now :) , that's a really long time at this point.

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Course, only the second half of your statement is true. Every offer I've seen discussed has suggested three dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in revenue increases. (Which, frankly, seems very generous, to me. Giving the Party that controls one half of one third of the government, 75% of the deal they want.)

But why let that stand in the way?

Well, actually, the second half isn't quite true, either.

Translation: Boehner is willing to raise taxes, as long as they're being raised on poor people, and if there are tax cuts for the rich in the mix, too.

Gee make EVERYONE responsible, what a novel concept.

Look dude, you obviously have your agenda in this. Fact is we need to get something done and ALL Americans need to make sacrifices. This class warfare crap seriously needs to stop, from both the GOP and the DEMS. We spend way to much money. I am all for cutting defense spending and entitlement spending. I can live with tax increses specifically used to pay down debt and ONLY to pay down debt, not to fund some swap tree frog study in Florida. Both parties are destroying this great country and sadly most of us are watching it slowly sink while still cheering on our teams. To big to fail applies to the Government to.

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Gee make EVERYONE responsible, what a novel concept.

Look dude, you obviously have your agenda in this. Fact is we need to get something done and ALL Americans need to make sacrifices. This class warfare crap seriously needs to stop, from both the GOP and the DEMS. We spend way to much money. I am all for cutting defense spending and entitlement spending. I can live with tax increses specifically used to pay down debt and ONLY to pay down debt, not to fund some swap tree frog study in Florida. Both parties are destroying this great country and sadly most of us are watching it slowly sink while still cheering on our teams. To big to fail applies to the Government to.

Unfortunately, the GOP doesn't answer to you right now. It answers to Grover Norquist.

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CNN: FAA funding ends at midnight; almost 4,000 at FAA to be furloughed

Almost 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration workers are facing furloughs after Congress adjourned Friday without passing a measure to reauthorize the agency's funding, according to the Transportation Department. A $2.5 billion program providing grants for airport construction projects also will shut down, and thousands of construction jobs could be jeopardized.

In a news release, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he was disappointed that lawmakers did not pass a reauthorization and that funding is set to run out at midnight Friday. "Because of their inaction, states and airports won't be able to work on their construction projects, and too many people will have to go without a paycheck," he said. "This is no way to run the best aviation system in the world."

The release goes on to say, "The safety of the flying public will not be compromised."

Air traffic controllers will remain on the job, but the furloughs will affect many FAA engineers, scientists, computer specialists, community planners and others. According to the Department of Transportation, FAA workers could be furloughed in 35 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Efforts to continue funding hit a stumbling block over House Republican efforts to make it harder for airline and rail workers to unionize and over a move to cut subsidies for air service to rural airports.

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Look dude, you obviously have your agenda in this. Fact is we need to get something done and ALL Americans need to make sacrifices.

Not according to Boehner, nor to a single GOP apologist on this voard. The rich and corporations are absolutely completely beyond being asked to make any sacrifices in any way. This deficit must be reduced 100% by cutting spending, and it must be from spending that goes to help poor people. No other option is permitted.

And the reason why this is so, is because those people (the rich and corporations) are the most important people in the country.

But feel free to throw the "class warfare" label at the people who disagree with that argument.

Spin all you want. There is one side in this debate that is demanding that 100% of any deal must be done their way. They control 16% of the government, have been offered 75% of the deal, (and, I'll point out, the mere fact that a deal of any kind is even being offered is the first time in out country's history that it's been done.), and it's not good enough. It must be 100% done to their specifications.

We spend way to much money.

And, frankly, that's simply a talking point. Frankly, the only real increase in spending, lately, is spending triggered by the depression. "We spend too much" is simply the GOP slogan for "we spend too much for poor people".

usgs_line.php?title=Total%20Spending&year=1950_2014&sname=US&units=p&bar=1&stack=1&size=l&col=c&spending0=15.25_14.42_19.97_21.09_20.42_17.71_17.37_17.74_18.42_18.46_18.48_19.25_18.24_18.02_17.86_16.44_17.08_18.92_19.58_18.66_18.84_18.65_18.63_17.78_17.96_20.29_20.38_20.16_20.00_19.67_21.20_21.69_22.92_22.87_21.67_22.44_22.21_21.20_20.87_20.86_21.60_22.10_21.78_21.14_20.63_20.44_19.91_19.22_18.79_18.20_17.98_18.11_18.90_19.39_19.32_19.56_19.82_19.38_20.65_24.67_25.38_25.06_23.17_22.79_22.87&legend=&source=a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_b_b_b_b_b

Yeah, when the second worst depression in our nation's history hits millions of people, safety-net spending (and some rather feeble attempts to prevent the depression from being worse) caused an increase in spending. And the fact that GDP went down (for the same reason) causes "spending as a % of GDP" to appear even larger.

But even including that spike, it's still not much larger than it was during the entire 80s.

Since WW2, spending has remained pretty much flat, with respect to GDP. It's ranged from 18%, to 22%. Yeah, 25% is bigger than 22%. OTOH, we're also facing a crisis to our nation that is arguably bigger than WW2, when spending hit 48% of GDP. (WW2 didn't threaten the US. Great Depression 2, does.)

(And I'll point out that there seem to be a whole lot of GOP revisionist historians who are trying to claim that spending 48% of GDP ended the Great Depression, undid all of the damage that they claim FDR did, and brought prosperity to America that lasted until Saint Reagan became the new Source of All Things Good. Which hardly stands with the claim that spending 25% of GDP is some grave, imminent threat to our survival.)

This claim that there's been this vast increase in spending that's posing a threat to the survival of our nation, is a myth. Being pushed by people who want to cut spending. (In certain places.)

(Frankly, it's almost as big a myth as the idea that government spending is a threat, ever. Taxes may hurt the economy. Debt may hurt the economy. Heck, I suppose it's theoretically possible that spending on the wrong things can hurt. But spending, simply in and of itself? Somebody's selling something.)

I can live with tax increses specifically used to pay down debt and ONLY to pay down debt, not to fund some swap tree frog study in Florida.

And such a thing

  1. Cannot be done, and
  2. Applies equally, to spending cuts and to revenue increases

You might as well announce that "I'm in favor of gay marriage, as long as it is guaranteed that it will never, ever, rain wherever I should choose to be, for the rest of my life"

To start with, it is impossible to pay down the debt until the federal budget has a surplus. Until that time, all you can do, with spending cuts or revenue increases is to slow the rate at which we go further into debt.

---------- Post added July-22nd-2011 at 08:59 PM ----------

CNN: FAA funding ends at midnight; almost 4,000 at FAA to be furloughed
Efforts to continue funding hit a stumbling block over House Republican efforts to make it harder for airline and rail workers to unionize and over a move to cut subsidies for air service to rural airports.

What, the GOP shutting down the government in an effort to force the majority Party to vote fort the minority Party's political agenda? I'm shocked.

Actually, I just went to check, to see if the GOP was trying to cut airport subsidies, or to keep them. Looks like they were trying to cut them.

(Which kind of surprised me. I thought that all the people who lived out in the sticks, but wanted airplane service, anyway, were Republican.) :)

But near as I can tell, at least that part of the GOP plan looks like an honest effort to trim the budget a bit. I'm giving them props for that.

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Basically how I see it..sadly.

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/07/americas-cold-civil-war.html

America's Cold Civil War

The Republican refusal to countenance any way to raise revenues to tackle the massive debt incurred largely on their watch and from a recession which started under Obama's predecessor makes one thing clear. They are not a political party in government; they are a radical faction that refuses to participate meaningfully in the give and take the Founders firmly believed should be at the center of American government. They are not conservatives in this sense. They are anarchists.

Their fiscal anarchism has now led to their threat to destabilize and possibly upend the American and global economy because they refuse to compromise an inch. They control only one part of the government, and yet they hold all of it hostage. I cannot believe they are prepared to allow the US to default rather than give an inch toward responsibility. Except I should believe it by now. Everything I have written about them leads inexorably to this moment. Opposing overwhelming public opinion on the need for a mixed package of tax hikes and spending cuts, drawing the president into a position far to the right of the right of his party, and posturing absurdly as fiscal conservatives, they are in fact anti-tax and anti-government fanatics, and this is their moment of maximal destruction.

I read George Will's retread column from the 1980s today and simply cannot fathom what he is talking about. Except, I fear I can. He is channeling Mitch McConnell. Boehner and McConnell have one goal and it is has nothing to do with the economy. It is destroying this president and this presidency. They are clearly calculating that the economic devastation their vandalism could create will so hurt the economy that it could bring them back to power through the wreckage. And they will use every smear, every lie, every canard possible to advance this goal. The propaganda channel dreamt of by Roger Ailes in the Nixon era will continue to pump poison into the body politic, until they defeat the man whose legitimacy as president they have never truly accepted.

Coming from abroad, this country seems as if it is beyond dysfunctional. It looks like a banana republic on the verge of economic collapse. Now that Nixon's dream has come true and the GOP is fundamentally the party of the Confederacy, it was perhaps naive to think they could ever accept the legitimacy of this president, or treat him with respect or act as adults in the governing process.

But this is who they are. I longed for Obama to bridge this gulf in ideology. But he cannot bridge it alone, especially when the GOP is determined to burn the bridge entirely, even when presented with a deal so tilted to the right only true fanatics could possibly walk away from it. And so the very republic is being plunged into crisis and possible depression by a single, implacable, fanatical faction. Until they are defeated, the country remains in more peril than we know.

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