Cutting Through the Talking Points

The problem at the moment is not the lack of a Democratic plan.

The current GOP talking point (as least as it was rather clearly presented on Fox News Sunday today by Chris Wallace, Speaker Boehner, and Britt Hume) is that the problem at the moment regarding the debt ceiling is that the Democrats/the Senate/Obama lack a plan.

Now, one can debate whether or not the Democrats ought to have a plan, or not, and one can say that the Senate should pass something, etc.  This is not the issue to me.

Let us all be clear here:  any crisis being created at the moment (with a potential crescendo in early August) is not because the Democrats (or anyone else) lacks a plan.  It will happen, plain and simple, because Congress will have failed to engage in a procedural vote over the debt ceiling.

There is no requirement for a plan to avert the crisis.  There is no need for spending cuts to avert the crisis.  There is no need to raise taxes to avert the crisis.  There is no need have a short term bargain to avert the crisis.  There is no need for a grand bargain to avert the crisis.  There is only a need to raising the debt limit to avert the crisis.

That’s it:  raise the debt limit and there will be no crisis.

This is why it is so insane that we face a crisis to begin with.

And I think we have to be honest about the bottom line of why we have this pending crisis at the moment:  a faction of the House GOP caucus is currently refusing to raise the debt ceiling save under very specific conditions.  As such, it is rather difficult, logically, to state the crisis is the result of the lack of Democratic plan.

I say this not as a booster of Democrats (although I am sure many will read it as such), but  I say this as a booster of logic and reason.

If crisis X can be averted by action Y, it is illogical to state that crisis X is being caused by lack of Z.

I will say this:  the Democrats in the Senate should vote on a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling.  If they fail to do so as we approach the deadline, then they deserve opprobrium.  Some part of the federal government needs to demonstrate the willingness of some part of said government to act in the best interest of the country.

Indeed, I think it is problematic that there hasn’t been greater movement to push a clean bill, because, again:  raise the debt limit and there will be no crisis.

FILED UNDER: Deficit and Debt, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Hear, hear!

  2. Dustin says:

    What good was the plan the GOP put forth anyway? Everyone knew it wasn’t going anywhere, but it allowed the GOP to puff their chests for the cameras, blame the Democrats, while they wasted time.

    But the GOP is holding us all hostage over a procedural move, and the Democrats are capitulating to them, and the GOP still blames them for nothing being solved. I agree, go out and vote on the procedural move alone and see if the GOP is really going to hang the country over this.

  3. sam says:

    David Frum puts it this way:

    The president walked away from Simpson-Bowles, declined to present plans to reach long-term budget balance, etc. etc. etc.

    But in the argy-bargy, keep this in mind: the debt problem has become a debt crisis for one reason only: because Republicans put the threat of debt default on the table.

    That never needed to happen.

    House Republicans could have kept the debt ceiling issue wholly separate from the budget cut issue.

    Instead, Republicans put the gun on the table. They raised the menace of deliberate default in a way it has not been raised before.

    Then, having issued the threat, they discovered that their own core supporters would not allow the gun to be holstered again.

    They issued demands they knew could not be met, for budget cuts much bigger than Republicans ever enacted when they had the power to enact them. They cocked the weapon. And now here we are: the demands are unmet and Republicans find themselves facing a horrible choice between yielding on their exorbitant demands or pushing the United States into financial upheaval.

    But, hey, he ain’t nuthin but a RINO, so who cares what he thinks?

  4. Murray says:

    Agreed.

    Wouldn’t it have been nice if the employees of the fair and balanced news network had said all this to the Speaker of the House’s face? You know, journalism?

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    With any luck at all 2010 may be remembered as the year we reached peak wingnut and with a little more luck we may actually survive it.

    Yes the teabillies want to cut government spending but they don’t want their stuff cut and their stuff makes up over 70% of the budget.

    Tough decisions are going to be necessary:
    1) Increased Revenue
    2)Serious changes to Medicare and Social Security
    3)Major cuts in defense spending

    None of these are going to be popular and both the Republicans and Democrats want to be able to blame the other side.

  6. lunaticllama says:

    The problem with suggesting Democrats vote to pass a clean debt ceiling in the Senate is that to quickly a bring bill to vote requires Senators not putting procedural roadblocks in the way. People seem to often forget that the Senate only works well if Senators act in good faith and don’t make procedural objections to moving forward. Making such objections, however, has essentially become the norm of behavior among Senate Republicans.

  7. @lunaticllama: This is certainly the case. However, I think that the leadership needs to make the attempt.

  8. john personna says:

    @Dave Schuler: sorry, I tried to thumbs up, but my phone thought I wanted down. I guess we cannot change, or it’s beyond the phone.

  9. Argon says:

    At this point they should pass a clean bill *only* if the issue doesn’t reappear in 2012. This has been a colossal waste of time.

  10. jan says:

    Yes, the simple way, is what has been done with each and every Congress in the past. Just do something, anything to skirt the existing problem. Sweep the debt under the growing pile of denial beneath the Congressional rug. In this way the politicians hope to assuage all the fears they have hyped in the public, while, at the same time, paving their own way to reelection. It’s a win/win, DC style!

    As a side note, though, what about S & P and/or Moody’s provision cautioning the US they may downgrade us anyway, even if we do raise the debt ceiling, if we don’t address how we are going to lower our debt?

    Somehow, this debt issue keeps getting lost in the immediacy of the August 2nd deadline moment. It’s like we don’t want to think about the ’cause’ of our problems; only the effect of what might happen if we don’t somehow circumvent them. Now, is that sound fiscal policy? Just because we have gotten away with this automatic increase, does it also automatically make it all right now, especially in light of how much more debt we have incurred over the years? When does it all stop?

    I just don’t see the republicans being the ‘bad’ guys in this particular scenario. They are simply saying we have gone far enough without some kind of solution to both pulling the debt down and stimulating the economy up.

  11. Ezee says:

    Steven the house passed a bill that raises the limit. Doesnt that not fit your partisan drivel?

  12. Ezee says:

    This site and its commentors have really devolved in the past few years of failed left wings bilge

  13. Liberty60 says:

    We can ease the deficit and debt in a number of ways, chief among them being to let the Bush tax cuts expire, end the wars overseas, and so on.

    But Republicans don’t want to lower the debt. Their primary goal is to cut taxes, and eliminate Social Security and Medicare, by any means necessary.

    If this results in lower debt, fine, but that is only a side benefit in their minds.

  14. jan says:

    @Liberty60:

    But Republicans don’t want to lower the debt. Their primary goal is to cut taxes, and eliminate Social Security and Medicare, by any means necessary.

    BS!

    The primary goal should be cutting spending, while at the same time growing the job market by providing incentives to business. Raising taxes on business, many of whom are shakey, going under ground, or just peeling off, is so regressive!

    This category of “the rich,” has almost hit fantasyland for many of you. It’s like looking at the Tooth Fairy and saying this is how we are going to get extra money to fund the economy. Paradoxically, the more you lean on ephemeral chunks of people you term “the rich,” the more you take the energy away from being innovative, prosperous and getting ahead in this country. When the “rich” people run out of money, who are you going to call? Ghost busters?

    Also, no one I know of, in either party, has talked about eliminating SS or medicare. As the Trust Funds are running out, yes, sensible politicians have suggested reforming them so as to extend them into the future. But, I guess you just want to drain them dry, and then just cry, in thirsting for more money.

    Hyperbole is what your post is all about. And, no solution can be derived from such nonsense.

  15. An Interested Party says:

    Steven the house passed a bill that raises the limit. Doesnt that not fit your partisan drivel?

    Oh, you mean the one with “Cut, Cap, and Balance”….talk about partisan drivel…

    Hyperbole is what your post is all about. And, no solution can be derived from such nonsense.

    Pot, meet kettle…

  16. jan says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Pot, meet kettle…

    Nonsense, meet incoherent….

  17. ratufa says:

    @jan:

    To some degree, I agree with your first post. I am not all that bothered by the Republicans using the debt ceiling vote as a way to leverage spending concessions out of the Democrats. May as well make use of a deadline. If we were now discussing the merits of some negotiated spending package with a 5-1 (or so) ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases, I might be unhappy about the details, but I wouldn’t think Republicans had lost the plot.

    But, instead, Republicans painted themselves into a corner where they were unable to accept any deal at all, even one that includes revenue increases of the type that someone like Tom Coburn would find acceptable. I think they are missing an opportunity by not taking the best deal they could negotiate out of this situation. I also don’t see a failure to raise the debt ceiling as a good thing for the Republicans or the Tea Party. This may be one of those “Be careful what you wish for…” situations.

  18. steve says:

    “Paradoxically, the more you lean on ephemeral chunks of people you term “the rich,” the more you take the energy away from being innovative, prosperous and getting ahead in this country. ”

    Unsurprisingly, the wealthy got incredibly rich over the last 30 years. Everyone else had stagnant wages. Our reward? Debt and a busted economy. You need to tell us why making them even richer will somehow help the economy when it has not done so in the past.

    Steve

  19. Argon says:

    @jan:

    Raising taxes on business, many of whom are shakey, going under ground, or just peeling off, is so regressive!

    And when would those rates go into effect? Tomorrow? No. They go up a couple years from now. If you want to do something bad to already shaky businesses, drop government spending in a recession. The biggest problems businesses face now is that nobody is buying.

  20. ken says:

    For the first time in US history we have to contemplate the real possibility that the USA will default on its obligations to pay lenders what is due to them.

    Who caused this?

    Republicans caused this. Every one of them.

  21. ratufa says:

    @jan:

    The situation with Medicare and Social Security is this:

    For the foreseeable future, both programs will increasingly rely on Trust Fund redemptions to pay their bills. Money for these redemptions will come from sources other than payroll taxes. This means that income taxes will increasingly be used to fund Social Security and Medicare.

    Since most voters from both parties really really like Medicare and Social Security, this creates problems for everyone, but Republicans are harder hit than Democrats for a few reasons, such as:

    1) Republicans are more committed than Democrats to not cutting Defense spending, which will be competing for money with social programs.

    2) Republicans are much more committed than Democrats to not raising income taxes, but income taxes are the main source for the revenue pool used to fund social programs and Defense.

    One thing that Republicans are much less committed to than Democrats is the idea that Social Security and Medicare should be kept in their current form. Republicans are much more open to the idea of privatizing Social Security to some degree or turning Medicare into something close to a voucher-based system. You may think that Republicans are right to want to make these changes, but willingness to change these programs into programs that function very differently than they currently do, plus the additional motivations listed above, are reasons why some people say Republicans want to eliminate Medicare and/or Social Security.

  22. Liberty60 says:

    @jan:
    Apparently the Republican Party did not get your memo.

    They had a deal on the table that would have reduced spending by 4 Trillion. But they rejected it because they absolutely refuse to raise taxes by even a penny.

    no one I know of, in either party, has talked about eliminating SS or medicare

    This made me laugh. I like how you stressed ELIMINATING, like a sly teenager arguing about a curfew.

    “No, we don’t want to ELIMINATE the social safety net…just… um, y’know, REFORM it!”

    Pretty funny stuff.

  23. jan says:

    @ratufa:

    If we were now discussing the merits of some negotiated spending package with a 5-1 (or so) ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases, I might be unhappy about the details, but I wouldn’t think Republicans had lost the plot.

    A very reasonable reply, ratufa. 🙂

    Using this debt ceiling deadline as a lever to reduce debt I believe is the primary goal of the republicans. But, they have variegations of opinions, within the republican caucus, which they have to either satisfy or appease. This is a juggernaut in both the democrat & republican parties.

    I personally think some kind of ratio, as proposed in the excerpt from your post above, would be a good compromise, if the ‘revenue’ dealt with closing loop holes to render said revenue. However, I don’t believe in raising any taxes, per se, at this juncture of the game.

    Also, most seem to peg the teas as the ruffians putting the country in jeopardy over this debt ceiling by their refusal to raise it without conditions attached. I think the teas definitely factor into the ‘spine’ being shown by the republicans. But, they are but a component, not necessarily the entire reason for there being a show-down at this point in time.

  24. An Interested Party says:

    This category of “the rich,” has almost hit fantasyland for many of you. It’s like looking at the Tooth Fairy and saying this is how we are going to get extra money to fund the economy. Paradoxically, the more you lean on ephemeral chunks of people you term “the rich,” the more you take the energy away from being innovative, prosperous and getting ahead in this country. When the “rich” people run out of money, who are you going to call? Ghost busters?

    After writing passages like that, you really have no credibility to lecture anyone else about nonsense and incoherence…

  25. jan says:

    @Liberty60:

    I’ve responded to many who keep using the $4 Trillion deal as a sign of Obama’s readiness to compromise. It, however, turned more into a game of brinkmanship being played by the prez. Boehner agreed to 800 billion in revenue increases, via closing loopholes and tax reform, in return for 3-4 trillion in cuts. Obama than raised and called the deal by, as it was termed ‘demanding’ he accept another 400 billion in revenue increases to make the deal. This upping the ante is what Boehner refused, not the original deal tentatively crafted and put forth by the prez.

    The term ‘eliminating’ was the one you wrote and I responded to, making you, I guess, the sly teenager. My, how soon one forgets what they put in a post.

  26. jan says:

    @An Interested Party:

    ….and you do! LOL

  27. jan says:

    @ken:

    Cut the drama and worst case scenario, in order to make what accounts as a bogus point.

    If we default it will be because the president chose not to pay the interest on our loarns. We still do have enough revenue coming in, that is not borrowed, to not default. It will be other bills we may not be able to pay for….. and, again the prez has the discretionary power to prioritize what gets paid when.

  28. john personna says:

    Jan, imagine that you had to shift something as large as the federal government, with all its people and systems, in a couple days flat, to re-allocate cash flow. Seriously?

    They should be spending millions in preparation and reprogramming right now.

    It is an example of fringe insanity that this is something that can be done the morning of the 2nd.

    Basically it’s the old red flag when ideology makes you believe impossible things.

  29. jan says:

    @ratufa:

    One thing that Republicans are much less committed to than Democrats is the idea that Social Security and Medicare should be kept in their current form. Republicans are much more open to the idea of privatizing Social Security to some degree or turning Medicare into something close to a voucher-based system. You may think that Republicans are right to want to make these changes, but willingness to change these programs into programs that function very differently than they currently do, plus the additional motivations listed above, are reasons why some people say Republicans want to eliminate Medicare and/or Social Security.

    I see your point, ratufa. So, in rephrasing it, I would say that republicans, and dems like me, think that the current structure of SS and medicare should be replaced by ones that are updated to reflect our current fiscal problems, as well as the changes in life expectancy stats. In the 30’s it was somewhere around 64. Now it is well into the 70’s, and climbing. Also medicare fraud is spectacularly rampant and costly, and should have more oversight and be more fool-proofed. What we allow we only encourage.

  30. Ben R says:

    The House voted on a “clean” debt ceiling bill. It was defeated 381-97. My guess would be that to get them to vote and pass a ceiling raise..you should develop a plan and make some offers.

    Note to the President and the Senate…The ball is in your court.

  31. WR says:

    @jan: Although I rarely wish people ill, I sincerely hope yo have many investments in the market, and can watch them all circle down the drain over the next couple of weeks as your party deliberately destroys this nation’s economy in order to wipe out the social safety net for the poor.

    I realize you bellieve you will never need help from anyone, and thus you believe that anyone who does need help is a parasite. I only hope the next few months of chaos and disaster demonstrate to you that you are not actually superior to those who have not been as lucky as you.

    I do hope you survive this period and learn from it.

  32. WR says:

    @jan: That’s right, Jan. Screw the old folks and the sick people. To hell with the soldiers. We’re going to pay the bondholders, and Jan will never have to pay a nickel more in taxes. If a few million people have to suffer or die, if vast swaths of the government has to shut down, that’s fine — as long as Jan holds on to every nickel she has. Because this country does nothing for her. She’s made all her money all on her own, with no help from anyone.

    Just be careful to build really high walls around your gated communities, Jan. You want to live in a third world country, but maybe you should see what that life is like first.

  33. WR says:

    @jan:Do five seconds of research. This life expectancy is total BS. The reason life expectancy is so much higher now is because so many fewer people die in childhood. The life expectancy for a person in their 60s has hardly budged over the decades.

  34. john personna says:

    Oh yeah, Ben what could be simpler than a Constitutional amendment.

    What did I say about red flags?

  35. jan says:

    @john personna:

    And, that is why I hold Obama to be responsible.

    He knew about the debt limit coming up in August, and yet he fiddled, just like the myth of Nero fiddling as Rome burned, and did nothing to address this crisis speeding towards us.

    As it has been said, even his SOTU address hardly made reference to this stone on our back. It has been incessantly chronicled how dangerously our debt has leapt under Obama’s Administration —the stimulus, the bail-outs, Obamacare have all been ‘investments’ that have taken their toll on our financial integrity. It was ultimately up to Obama and his administration to take this into consideration and start the ball rolling many months ago, rather than just the last few weeks.

    You all know he has not been present on the playing field. And, now due to his ineptness he has been kicked off the playing field, by both sides of the party.

  36. jan says:

    @WR:

    You’re just plain wrong.

  37. jan says:

    @WR:

    Life Expectancy at Birth by Race and Sex, 1930–2007

    I heard a news clip recently that claimed there is someone alive today who will live to be a 150 years old. We are making so many strides in keeping people alive longer. I am a business woman who is also an RN, and know a lot about the health field.

  38. jan says:

    @WR:

    Screw the old folks and the sick people. To hell with the soldiers. We’re going to pay the bondholders, and Jan will never have to pay a nickel more in taxes. If a few million people have to suffer or die, if vast swaths of the government has to shut down, that’s fine — as long as Jan holds on to every nickel she has. Because this country does nothing for her. She’s made all her money all on her own, with no help from anyone.

    …just like the bondholders were screwed in the GM bailout deal —-> Not!!!!!!

    You’re so out to lunch that it’s just pathetic. What a bombastic idiot you are!

  39. john personna says:

    So support a straight extension Jan, don’t try to have it both ways.

    This “give us what we want or it’s your fault” stuff is pathetic, and most of us here, and in the public, have figured that out.

  40. jan says:

    @steve:

    Unsurprisingly, the wealthy got incredibly rich over the last 30 years. Everyone else had stagnant wages. Our reward? Debt and a busted economy. You need to tell us why making them even richer will somehow help the economy when it has not done so in the past.

    IMO, the super wealthy always get wealthier. If you try to tap into their wealth they find legal outs, go overseas, just like the Kennedy family, especially Teddy, was famous for. He always argued to tax the wealth of others while he found shelters for his own —-> definition of a hypocrite.

    People like my husband and myself, don’t have expensive lawyers, so we just pay what the brackets say, and oftentimes feel like government is a leech to our work efforts.

    Stagnant wages for the private sector have been that way because of so much uncertainty in that sector, while competition and productivity in the marketplace stimulates wages. Workers have been cut, making overhead less burdensome, creating greater corporate profits, not necessarily productivity. Big business learns ways to survive. Small business either hangs on by it’s fingernails, or goes out of business.

    BTW, debt and a busted economy did not come from people being too wealthy. It came from people becoming enabled by the government. Food stamps is a prime example. The government has put out a series of radio ads almost begging people to get food stamps. There are so many people logging onto to this program who do not fall into the poverty guidelines, it’s ridiculous.

  41. jan says:

    @john personna:

    I support an extension with cuts. Debt is a problem which is not going to get solved by continuing to extend it, like we have been doing, over and over again. We should have addressed this a long time ago, not waiting until the last minute…..

  42. Scott O. says:

    @jan: There is a difference between life expectancy at birth and life expectancy at age 65.

    “The average life expectancy of someone who has reached age 65 was about 78 in 1940 and about 83 in 2005. In other words, a gain in the average length of retirement of about five years over six decades.”

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/20/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20100720

  43. An Interested Party says:

    @jan: Oh, I’m not lecturing about those things…just pointing them out when I see them…

    By the way, all these conservatives who are now talking about how they will absolutely not raise the debt ceiling unless their extortion demands are met…I notice they didn’t make those same demands when the debt ceiling was raised multiple times over the past decade…hmm…now why is that…

    BTW, debt and a busted economy did not come from people being too wealthy. It came from people becoming enabled by the government. Food stamps is a prime example.

    Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Great Recession and our country going broke can be blamed on food stamps…and you were calling someone else an idiot…

    We should have addressed this a long time ago, not waiting until the last minute…..

    And yet Republicans had numerous opportunities to do so when they controlled the White House and the Congress…but now, when they think they have the perfect opportunity to hurt a Democratic president…

  44. WR says:

    @jan: I believe you’re an RN almost as much as I believe you’re a former Democrat. You’re a medical professional, and you’re sole argument is “I heard a news clip about some old guy.” Yeah, real credible.

  45. WR says:

    @jan: Yeah, screw the bondholders before you screw the workers. Sorry, Jan, but people who invest are supposed to be taking a risk — that’s why they get a payout for their investment when all goes well. But you want to protect the money guys and let the middle class go to hell. Because in your mind, the rich are the only ones who count.

    Boy, I hope you are as rich as you pretend to be. Because otherwise, you’re digging your own graves just so a bunch of scumbags will be impressed at how eager you are to sell yourself out for their benefit.

  46. WR says:

    @jan: Sorry, Jan, you’re a fraud. You’re not a small business owner. You’re either some hack who works for a right wing “think tank” or you’re a wannabe. You want us to think you’re the voice of the sensible middle, while you pimp for the superrich against the interests of the middle class. No wonder you’re pimping PJTV videos — you’re probably some intern working for them, daughter (or more likely son) of some investment banker, guaranteed a multi-million dollar job at daddy’s firm, and now you’ve got to convince the proles that the ultra-wealthy are really concerned about the national economy, rather than their own bank account.

    We all see through you, so you can go back to your idiot bosses and PJTV, and I’m sure they’ll give you a new identity. One hint — knock off with the “I’m a Democrat” crap. You are fooling absolutely no one. Call yourself “Jane” next time so we’ll know it’s you.

  47. jan says:

    @WR:

    …and, you apparently like to dabble in creative writing. I got a wonderful laugh out of all your nutty speculation!

    Go back to the drawing board, and try again. It’s amusing.

  48. jan says:

    @Scott O.:

    Although that is an interesting differentiation, I wasn’t referring to life expectancy once a person reached 65. I am assuming when SS was first enacted, the powers that calculated when SS was to start were using figures starting from birth, so in that way they would be covering people truly in their old age, just before they died. Now, statistically, we live much longer than that, and there are bigger and bigger swaths of people reaching 90 and 100 years of age.

    With our dwindling work force, and tanking trust funds, like another poster said, it will be the taxpayer supporting people for many more years than was originally intended. Now we do update SS payments and other benefits based on inflation upticks. Why not update based on life expectancy?

  49. erik says:

    If there are, in fact, any adults in the room on either side of this mess why haven’t they figured out that the solution isn’t going to come from creating a plan aimed to garner all the votes from one party or the other, with just enough from the opposition to get it passed. Everyone is blaming the fringes of the parties for intransigence, but if this is the case the fringes should be jettisoned by both parties and a deal worked out by the (relative) centrists. On this point I have to give the democrats credit since they were at least willing to put social security/medicare on the table. It appears that the republicans can’t get past the idea that republicans must vote as a block (party discipline and all) on bills, so the tea partiers have to be on board with any proposal or it has to be tossed out.

    If the leaders of either party can’t lead without pandering to the fringes they need to step down. And if the “adults” in the party can’t get things done because their leaders don’t represent them then they need to change leaders. There aught to be enough “adults” in both parties to get a clean bill passed. (and for those arguing that cut/cap/blah blah blah was a clean bill, sorry, but a clean bill does only one thing: raise the debt ceiling). Hold the vote and see who votes against: those are the people to hold accountable when we default and the economy tanks. Those who actually think default is a good, or even acceptable, idea need to be forced to put their job where their mouth is.

  50. WR says:

    @jan: Actually, I don’t dabble in creative writing, I’m a pro — 25 years as a TV writer/producer. And you are still a fraud.

  51. jan says:

    @erik:

    Unfortunately, your definition of a “clean” bill is probably one that simply raises the debt ceiling and nothing else, which, is skirting the underlying problem.

    Also, your definition of “centrist” and “adult” is probably someone who will compromise all the important stuff away, leaving us at square one with nothing to show for shrinking the debt. And, the rating agencies have already said they could lower our rating, even if we complied with raising our debt ceiling, if we don’t have a solution for our debt problem.

    This is not a simple, wave a magic wand, take some pepto bismo, and all will settle down type of thing.

  52. jan says:

    @WR:

    Sorry, you don’t sound like a pro to me. You sound rather hysterical, verbally swaggering around like a know-it-all telling me who I am. I’m not doing that to you.

    My POV is simply different than yours. I’ve been a moderate to conservative democrat most of my adult life. I have a bachelors in nursing, and operate a small business with my husband. My husband has a bachelors in business administration. I absolutely detest what is going on in Washington, and I think Obama is far worse than Bush. Those are my opinions.

    You being an entertainment type, I can see why your philosophies bend in the way they do, in that they have no pragmatic business feet on the ground. Your write for a living. I have been hand’s on making a living, both at the bedside and in the work force. There’s a big difference between us.

  53. erik says:

    @jan 0015:

    Unfortunately, your definition of a “clean” bill is probably one that simply raises the debt ceiling and nothing else, which, is skirting the underlying problem.

    Yes, that is the normal definition of a clean bill and the one I am using. I agree that the underlying spending/revenue balance needs to be addressed. I disagree that the way to address it is to force the country into default. The more pressing problem at the moment is the debt limit and it needs to be raised (or, preferably, eliminated).

    Also, your definition of “centrist” and “adult” is probably someone who will compromise all the important stuff away, leaving us at square one with nothing to show for shrinking the debt.

    I suppose this is the crux of it: I think the “important stuff” at this point is addressing the issue of impending default. What, to you, is the “important stuff?”

  54. Scott O. says:

    @jan:

    Why not update based on life expectancy?

    We have been.

    “The earliest age at which (reduced) benefits are payable is 62. Full retirement benefits depend on a retiree’s year of birth.[67] Those born before 1938 have a normal retirement age of 65. Normal retirement age increases by two months for each ensuing year of birth until the 1943 year of birth, when it stays at age 66 years until the year of birth 1955. Thereafter the normal retirement age increases again by two months for each year ending in the 1960 year of birth, when normal retirement age stops at age 67 for all born thereafter.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_%28United_States%29#Dates_of_coverage_for_various_workers

    You’re just plain wrong.

  55. john personna says:

    @jan:

    Also, your definition of “centrist” and “adult” is probably someone who will compromise all the important stuff away, leaving us at square one with nothing to show for shrinking the debt.

    I would like to see some spending reduction, but this is really back to wanting it both ways.

    That is, wanting to avoid default, but to satisfy your political goals at the same time.

  56. Duracomm says:

    Steven L. Taylor said,

    That’s it: raise the debt limit and there will be no crisis.

    That dog will not hunt.

    The problem is not the debt limit, the problem is washington’s out of control spending.

    Raising the debt limit without credible spending cuts shows politicians are incapable of ending the spending binge that is wrecking this nations balance sheet.


    What If the U.S. Treasury Defaults?

    What’s going to be catastrophic is if we don’t solve the real problem,” meaning Washington’s spending addiction.

    “Here are your two options: piece of paper number one—let’s just call it a 10-year Treasury. … one of my interest payments is going to be delayed,… but I know I’m going to get it.

    Then there’s “piece of paper number two,” he says, under a scenario in which the debt limit is quickly raised to avoid any possible disruption in payments. “I don’t have to wait six, eight, or 10 days for one of my many payments over 10 years. I get it on time.

    But we’re going to continue to pile up trillions of dollars of debt and I may have a Greek situation on my hands in six or seven years.

    Now as an owner, which piece of paper do I want to own? To me it’s a no-brainer. It’s piece of paper number one.”

  57. sam says:

    @jan:

    I just don’t see the republicans being the ‘bad’ guys in this particular scenario. They are simply saying we have gone far enough without some kind of solution to both pulling the debt down and stimulating the economy up.

    Well, one small data point in rebuttal. The Washington Post has been running a poll that we can loosely title, Who’s Been the Biggest Asshole in This Whole Mess? — results: Consensus of 46,373 voters allocates Obama 15%, Boehner/Cantor/McConnell 82%, Reid/Pelosi/Other 2%. [H/T Anne Laurie]

    As I said, a small data point, but there it is. Even Brit Hume was saying yesterday on Fox that he thinks the Republicans are gonna be the fallguys if the feces hits the fan. Now, you might say that is unfair, but you’d be wrong. After all, there is this ferocious cadre of Tea Party folks newly elected to the House who are vociferous in asserting that no way, no how will they vote to raise the debt limit. And, unfortunately for the non-crazoid Republicans, that ever-dwindling band, these TP folks are now thought of as the face of the Republican party. And rightly so.

    BTW, I’d like to know the measures upon which you base your belief the Obama is worse than Bush. I think a lot of us would.

  58. Argon says:

    Life expectancy is something that is being factored. One problem is that the tails of the longevity curve are reshaping too. People wear out at different rates — Some physically can’t work beyond 60-65. Others can stay employed into their 80s. So it’s not longevity per se that we should be considering but lifetime working capability and the different physical demands that jobs require. For example, one can supervise much longer than one can dig ditches.

  59. An Interested Party says:

    That dog will not hunt.

    And yet that dog was on the hunt numerous times during the last decade…

  60. john personna says:

    @Duracomm:

    The problem is not the debt limit, the problem is washington’s out of control spending.

    Isn’t it more fair to say there are two problems? One immediate and one enduring?

    What we’ve got is an attempt to use one problem as a lever for the other … which is fine within reason … but which seems to have gone beyond reason. A little brinkmanship is OK, but it seems to have gone beyond brinkmanship.

  61. Rob in CT says:

    Steven’s absolutely correct: this crisis has been manufactured (by the GOP, for political gain).

    We do indeed have a long-term debt problem, and that should be tackled. I’m all for that, and I’ve been all for it for my entire adult life. THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO DO IT.

  62. john personna says:

    @An Interested Party:

    And yet that dog was on the hunt numerous times during the last decade…

    Yes, we must always pretend that the debt limit was never routine, and so no one reasonable would have expected it to be routine now.

    Of course it is the end of America’s credit reputation!

  63. jan says:

    @sam:

    Sam, I guess if you want to use one (1) poll from the Washington post as your entire perimeter on determining which party, or people in a party, are more wrong or right than the other, have at it.

    Yes, I heard that remark from Brit Hume, who is a cautious and thoughtful analyst of the political landscape. His comments, however, reflected not an opinion that the republicans were more at fault than the dems, but rather that the dems are better at orchestrating circumstances so that the republicans take the fall.

    Hume used Clinton as an example of this, indicating his strategy and brinkmanship, dealing with his budget crisis, cleverly gave ownership of government’s partial shutdown to the republicans. Therefore, he reasons it could happen again under Obama, where, while the dems merit ownership of this problem more, they are once again attempting to cast the shadow of it’s controversy onto the republicans. And, I think he is right.

    Democrats are much better chest players than republicans. And, unfortunately the democratic audience tends to rate and interpret their skill of playing the game as if it reflects their integrity as well….which it doesn’t.

    I’d like to know the measures upon which you base your belief the Obama is worse than Bush.

    My belief is based upon my personal observation. Both presidents were spenders, but Obama has been far more reckless and ideologically driven than Bush. Obama has also flipped on more issues (including his original vote in the Senate on raising the debt ceiling, which he earlier cited as a lack of leadership, when Bush was requesting it); seemed more insensitive to natural crisises and terrorism (rmember his disengagement and lack of participation in the ‘Underwear Bomber” event, as he was vacationing in HI?); lives large in his presidency (trips and costly expenditures with his family); has been awkard when dealing with the military (they don’t respect him); has apologized so much to the world that we appear now as a weak horse vs. a strong one, especially in the ME; has made inane foreign policy decisions including going into Libya the way he did, dissing the Eastern block countries at the get go of his presidency, how he dealt, early on, with the Hondurean crisis; vascillating on the terror trials and the closing of Guantanamo.

    Obama’s use of the teleprompter, even when talking to school children, shows a lack of connection to his audience when he doesn’t have a written script in front of him. Bush may have bumbled his lines. However, Obama robotically delivers them with great flourish, but with no warmth or understanding. Like Bush, after closing in on 8 years of being president, I can no longer stand to even watch obama after 2 1/2 years. Also, while Bush was ridiculed for playing golf games during times of crisis, Obama had played as many games in 9 mos as Bush did his entire presidency. And, even during the Bin Laden take down, Obama had to be fetched from the golf course so he could look like he was a part of the gang. Afterwards, though, he had no trouble taking all the credit for this mission. His over- usage of “I” in his speeches is sickening, showing absolutely no humility or awareness of others when citing accomplishments. However, when there are problems in the country he then quickly reverts to blaming others before him, endlessly talking about his inheritance of problems. The ironey is that one can inherit anything, but it becomes their’s to either grow or squander after they take owership of it. That’s what being Commander-in-Chief is all about. But, all he wants to do is have the glory, while showing absolutely no guts!

    I don’t respect the man at all!

  64. WR says:

    @jan: Fail again. As a showrunner, I routinely had to manage budgets over two million dollars a week. At the higher levels, being a TV writer/producer means running a good sized business, managing hundreds of people spread out over a dozen departments.

    And I’m sorry, a “moderate Democrat” doesn’t choose to destroy the world’s economy if her party can’t get everything they want. This is radical reactionary politics, closer to terrorism than negotiation.

  65. jan says:

    @WR:

    Again, it’s all a matter of perspective. I for one, think it is you (your reasoning) which is destroying our way of life here.

  66. jan says:

    @Argon:

    Now you’re analyzing when people wear out etc. which is more of a disability issue than setting a standarized time frame, for everyone, when they should start receiving SS benefits for life.

    No matter what resource one wants to cite or use, people, as a whole, are living longer lives through the constant innovations brought about by modern medicine. When that happens, it’s a variable which should be factored into the age when SS benefits commense as well, especially given the lack of being able to fiscally cover the debt of this benefit as it is being funded for the time being.

  67. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jan, anyone who might still have some doubt about your identity as a worthless partisan hack needs only to notice that you have posted multiple comments in multiple threads this morning, totalling about 1,000 words, while completely ignoring what I said to you here.

  68. Rob in CT says:

    And that’s not the first time someone has taken the time to point out the, um, problems with the Ryan plan. I’ve done it to. Jan will not be moved.

    You cannot reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.

  69. jukeboxgrad says:

    Yes. But I think what’s especially remarkable in this instance is this statement on her part:

    I don’t believe what you are saying about the Ryan Plan.

    She’s part of a group that routinely denies reality, but it’s somewhat rare to see such a candid, direct admission.

  70. David M says:

    Most other people have pointed out Jan’s BS properly, but her claim that “Obama knew about the need to increase the debt ceiling but didn’t do anything” kind of slipped through. The Administration first requested the debt ceiling be increased in January of this year, and the first debt ceiling bill was voted on back in May. So no, the Administration wasn’t surprised by this, and neither was Congress.

  71. Rob in CT says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    Well, that struck me too, hence my quote about reasoning with her. Her opinion of the Ryan plan was most likely shaped by reading newspaper articles about it. The papers generally praised it, called Ryan “brave” and whatnot, but avoided drilling down into the specifics and noting the obvious conclusions. I’m also betting not too many newspaper articles mentioned Ryan’s role in Bush’s spending (Ryan is a total fraud). Under the circumstances it was pretty easy to form a positive opinion of the Ryan plan even if you’re not a movement Conservative. Undoing that first impression required doing some follow-up reading.

  72. jan says:

    Wow, are you guys smart, or what! So, self congratulatory. It’s surprising that you don’t grow a third hand to slap yourselves on your collective backs.

    I am one person, who enjoys submitting a different POV from the majority opinion being posted here. I am not describing myself as a masterful genius, like you appear to be doing to yourselves. But, I do have a fair grasp of the issues, and I am truly interested and concerned about what is happening in DC under this presidency.

    However, to take every item each of you throws out as a “gotcha point”, dissecting it the way you demand, only to have you disagree in the end, by finding some article in the Huffington Post or equivalent, or even the CBO office, when it scores a bill by what information and perimeters it is given by the administration, is too tiring and futile for me to do, on a tit for tat basis.

    However, juke, here is an opposing analysis of the Ryan Plan, in juxtaposition to the one offered by Obama. I’m sure there are more out there, but you will continue to think Ryan is a nut, while I see him as one of the smartest and most reasonable politicians in the Congress today. So, I am leaving it at that for you tear apart, and feel superior.

    Also, David, regarding your last proclamation:

    Most other people have pointed out Jan’s BS properly, but her claim that “Obama knew about the need to increase the debt ceiling but didn’t do anything” kind of slipped through. The Administration first requested the debt ceiling be increased in January of this year, and the first debt ceiling bill was voted on back in May. So no, the Administration wasn’t surprised by this, and neither was Congress.

    There is a big difference to simply ‘call’ for an increase in the debt ceiling, sort of like ‘calling’ for the dog to come home, than actively engaging in the debate, coordinating strategy with the republicans, early on, not a few months prior to it going into a default mode, about how to raise the debt ceiling amidst all the known opposition to doing this. And, if you noticed, I never said the administration was surprised by this. That’s a convenient term you “slipped in” so as to make your admonishment seem more valid. Of course Obama “knew” about the debt ceiling coming due for a vote. He waited too long to seriously address it, though, which has created more stress to the debate.

    Obviously, much of the BS going on here is from some of you, in your need to coalesce around any talking points, which you think will give you the edge, as you put someone else down who is trying to make sense of this problem.

  73. sam says:

    Guys, we owe Jan a small debt, though. In her Monday, July 25, 2011 at 10:01, she managed in a small compass to include every single rightwing hack criticism of Obama that has poisoned our political air since the election. It was a tour de farce, I grant you, but I’d keep the comment if only for its reference value.

  74. jan says:

    @sam:

    Condescending, Sam, very condescending. But, when that is all you have, then that is all you can be.

    BTW, All those points made were not talking points either, They were simply part and parcel of how Obama has conducted himself during his term in office, which is why I see his presidency as being so vapid, inept and embarrassing.

  75. sam says:

    “Condescending, Sam, very condescending. ”

    Jesus, there for a minute I thought you wouldn’t get it.

  76. Rob in CT says:

    Jan:

    Did you actually read the article you cited?

    The things the Reason author liked about Ryan’s plan:

    Block-granting Medicaid
    Going to a “Premium support” model for Medicare (which is praised as both a money-saver for the government but as something that will actually benefit the people’s whose benefits are being cut (!), because the magic of the free market will bring down healthcare costs because seniors will now be price concious when shopping for heart surgery or hip replacements.)

    The things the author didn’t like:

    No military spending cuts. Zero. Not on the table.
    Ryan talks about radical tax reform, but offers no specifics. He simply plots out a revenue target (which is well below his spending target until 2063).
    Spending averages 20.5% of GDP under Ryan’s plan (Reason prefers trying to stick to the post-WWII average of ~18%, and the budget isn’t balanced until 2063).

    Even if I thought the changes to Medicare and Medicaid were good ideas (and I’m highly skeptical of both proposed changes), the problems with the plan outweight the benefits. As the author (who, as someone from Reason, is a Libertarian or Libertarian-leaning, with views on government policy that should be obvious to you) points out, the Ryan plan only looks good (to the author) next to the Obama budget which failed (which the author hated for obvious reasons – more spending, more revenue).

    The Ryan plan boils down to this: lower spending compared to the baseline, largely because of cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, plus some unspecified non-defense discretionary cuts + lower revenue + military spending remains sacrosanct. In what universe is that a serious plan? Cut benefits for the elderly and the poor, lower taxes, but still rack up more debt because you gotta get your War on.

  77. Rob in CT says:

    <jan says:
    Monday, July 25, 2011 at 10:01

    Holy shit. I just saw this one.

    Nevermind my last post, it’s a waste of breath. Sam’s diagnosis is 100% correct. You literally could not have packed more nonsense into a single post. You hit nearly every RW talking point. I’ll give you credit for introducing me to one I didn’t know existed (the underwear bomber thing, which he handled calmly, which is apparently verbotten. He should’ve come back from HI and personally interrogated the guy, in an enhanced way if ya know what I mean, amirite?).

    You only missed a few:

    Anti-colonialist.
    Apologizes for America/doesn’t believe in American Exceptionalism.
    Doesn’t share American Values (defined, of course, as Conservative values)
    Hates Whitey.
    Hates successful people.
    Chicago politician.
    Radical Leftist.

  78. ratufa says:

    @jan:

    BTW, All those points made were not talking points either, They were simply part and parcel of how Obama has conducted himself during his term in office,

    OK. I’ll bite. One of your points was:

    [Obama] has apologized so much to the world that we appear now as a weak horse vs. a strong one, especially in the ME;

    Could you provide two specific examples where you believe Obama has “apologized to the world” (or some part of it)? I ask for two, as opposed to one, because the claim is that he’s done this “so much”.

  79. erik says:

    still waiting for Jan to let me know what the “important stuff” is that should take precedence over averting the default….

  80. Rob in CT says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Oops, jan did get “apologizes for America” in there. Scratch that off the list.

  81. Scott O. says:

    @jan:

    I’d like to revise my earlier comment. In addition to being just plain wrong, you’re nuts.

    And, even during the Bin Laden take down, Obama had to be fetched from the golf course so he could look like he was a part of the gang.

    Do you honestly believe that’s true?

  82. Fiona says:

    @Jan

    BTW, All those points made were not talking points either, They were simply part and parcel of how Obama has conducted himself during his term in office, which is why I see his presidency as being so vapid, inept and embarrassing.

    I call BS. I’ve heard everyone of those points before from my parents. They’re pretty much the Glenn Beck, Faux News take on Obama and they’ve been repeated ad infinitum from the day he was elected. Nothing new or original there.

    The deficit ceiling has been raised routinely by the same clowns who now claim a need to slash the budget. Boehner, Cantor and Bachman never questioned raising it when GW was in command; never demanded necessary cuts even though the deficit had doubled under GW’s watch; never seemed concerned about how much GW grew the government. As Andrew Sullivan pointed out this weekend, the Republicans are no longer a serious political party. They’re anarchists willing to destroy the economy on the bet that it will bring them back to power and they’ll somehow be able to fix it.

  83. WR says:

    @jan: I’m sorry if you feel people are being mean to you just because you’re here reciting Republican talking points and pretending to be a Democrat while cheering on the death of the world economy.

  84. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jan:

    However, to take every item each of you throws out as a “gotcha point”, dissecting it the way you demand, only to have you disagree in the end, by finding some article in the Huffington Post or equivalent, or even the CBO office, when it scores a bill by what information and perimeters it is given by the administration, is too tiring and futile for me to do, on a tit for tat basis.

    What a lame excuse for running away from the simple question I asked you. I asked you why the Ryan plan keeps increasing the debt every year for another fifty years. And I didn’t document my claim “by finding some article in the Huffington Post or equivalent, or even the CBO office.” I documented my claim by citing Ryan’s own document, on Ryan’s own web site. So of course you responded by running away.

    However, juke, here is an opposing analysis of the Ryan Plan

    That “opposing analysis” does nothing to answer the question I asked you.

    You’ve been running away from that question, and I’m sure you’re going to keep on running.