Refreshing our Short Term Memories on the Debt Ceiling Crisis
Some history of the last 7+months.
A few things that are worth remembering:
1) The initial request for a debt ceiling increase was on January 6, 2011 when Secretary Geithner sent a letter to Congress requesting the increase based on the projections of revenue and financial obligations of the US.
2) In April: (via CBS News) Boehner: No chance for “clean” bill on debt limit and (via Bloomberg): Ryan Rejects White House Push for ‘Clean’ Bill on Debt Limit. This position, by the way, is what necessitated a deal of some sort.
3) To put a crescendo on that point, the House defeated a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling on May 31, 2011 in a 318-97 vote, which demonstrated not only Republican intransigence on the issue, but cravenness on the part of many Democrats who, instead of putting their votes where their mouths were, decided that if the bill was going to die anyway, that they ought to do the politically expedient thing and vote against the bill (because, after all, who wants to be seen voting for more debt?). The bill would have raised the debt limit by $2.4 trillion.
As such, we have a few things worth keeping mind:
a) That this has now been going one for just under 8 months. That we have pushed the issue to this late date is ridiculous.
b) The need for a deal to more the process along has been around for months and it a line in the sand drawn by the House GOP. One can interpret that as good (as George Will did last week) or as bad (i.e., playing chicken with this issue is the wrong thing to do), but it is a fact nonetheless.
Steven, You keep talking about a “clean bill,” and are seemingly perplexed why there is so much grief and/or dissent over just passing it and moving on with life as we know it. That timeline you composed does show that the debt ceiling was requested at the first of the year. Maybe it was assumed they would just be following some standard procedure, as the previous debt ceiling was raised 1.9 trillion in February ’10, with no muss, fuss or cameras present.
However, 2011 was known to be different. After the 2010 midterms the House shifted dramatically with a large freshman class who went to Washington with a purpose — to decrease the size of government. Being aware of this, I don’t see how Obama and his advisors could have been so blase as to think raising the debt ceiling would be a cake walk this year, or that they could get away with raising the debt ceiling while ignoring concurrently lowering the debt.
This indifference to the Congressional changes the dems faced in 2011, IMO, has led to the current stalemate. Or, maybe it was less an attitude of indifference, then brazenly waiting until the last minute (I’m not talking about a request here, but a serious debate over cuts) to genuinely negotiate with the republicans, which would then put these talks in a vice with a timed fuse. In this way if Obama lost the gambit, he could do what he is doing now and blame the republicans. If he won, then it would enhance his reelection chances by elevating his profile to that of being more statesman-like. In any case, I think this is very much a calculated debt crisis more orchestrated by Obama than by the republicans.
@jan: I’ve been listening to this “reduce the size of government” crap since I was 16 years old (and I’m old enough to have had to worry about being drafted for the SE Asian war games way back when). I’ve listened to Democrats rail about the size of government during the Nixon, Ford, Reagan and both Bushs years and to Republicans rail the rest of the time. The only thing I’ve not heard very often is what things that ANYONE wants the government to stop doing–especially what programs they want to stop. The newly elected freshperson Congress, having been elected with the purpose (your words) of reducing the size of government has joined the silence on what they want to do. Maybe the reason for all the silence is because wanting to WANT smaller government is easier than DECIDING what to do without. If that is the case, all of the yahoos in DC–and their flacks in the commentariat–need to shut the bleep up and leave so that people who can do the job–wherever they may be–can get to work.
I think the problem is that both parties like big government, but the Republicans don’t want to pay for it.
A few more relevant highlights might be the House’s passing two bills that included raising the debt ceiling, but the Senate killing both, and Obama’s proposal failing in the Senate without a single supporting vote. Also, the lack of the House to even generate a budget in over two years now was in the minds of a lot of voters. As jan noted, a LOT of House members were elected on this very issue, and things like a “clean” bill to continue business as usual was exactly the sort of thing they pledged to oppose.
Elections have consequences. One of the clearer messages from the last one was “stop borrowing and spending so much frakking money,” and it appears that — for once — a significant number of elected officials are actually listening.
To repeat one of the things Obama has said that really bears repeating: elections have consequences. Giving the Democrats full control in 2008 led to two years of no budgets, for example.
Almost 100% of the Rs in that “large freshman class” (i.e., all but one) voted for the Ryan plan, even though it keeps running deficits and increasing the debt every year for another fifty years. If they really want “to decrease the size of government,” why does it take them 50 years to balance the budget?
You’ve been repeatedly dodging this question. Are you finally ready to answer it?
Outside of James Joyner, I’m not aware of a single “conservative” who demonstrates the ability to reason beyond a set of vaguely worded principles (I don’t know if Steven Taylor would call himself a conservative).
“Decrease” the size of government, Jan? What does that even mean? When challenged to be specific you disappear into the ether, returning to spout platitudes from the EIB Network. People no longer respond to your comments because they take you seriously, they respond to ensure readers aren’t misinformed by your foolishness.
Could the House pass, right now, an increase in the debt limit of any amount they see fit?
I’m not sure if you’re genuinely confused or if you just choose to ignore the basic mechanics how our appropriation system works, but the debt limit debate we’re having right now is over money that Congress has already appropriated. The President assumes that the debt limit vote is a “cake walk” insomuch that the debt limit vote is simply a second vote on money Congress has already spent.
The Freshman all voted for the Ryan plan…which would require raising the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling does not adress the size of government…the debt ceiling is about money already spent. The government is shrinking under Obama. None of Jan, or J Teas or Boehners arguments stand up to reality. Yet they keep trotting them out over and over again. So there you go.
You mean, like President Obama? The one who proposed a $4 trillion reduction package?
And the Democrats want others to pay for it. Remember tax the rich. That is why the Democrats have all of the non-white voters locked up forever. The Democrats keep promising to tax the crap out of the Whities/Gringos and give the money to core Democratic groups.
This shows the fundamental unseriousness of the democrats on fiscal issues.
The ryan plan, which juke argues does not cut spending fast enough, has been universally slagged by democrats as being too draconian in its cutting.
Of course the senate still has not come up with a budget further emphasizing the democrats reckless fiscal irresponsibility.
1. Have no plan and refuse to put anything on the table
2. Relentlessly slag the ryan plan that does not cut fast enough.
@superdestroyer: Ahh, more racial politics, eh? Yes superweenie, all them darkies is out to gets yo’ white money and spend it on crack and burritos. My understanding is that minorities are afraid of ghosts, so maybe you should summon up the spirit of Nathan Bedford Forest to guard your chest of Confederate cash.
Bringing up the Ryan plan is meant to show how Republicans talk a good game about balanced budgets, but can’t even present a plan of their own to achieve balanced budgets…
Indeed…who could have guessed that the 2010 elections would lead to our country defaulting on its debt…
@Duracomm: The Gang of Six, which includes Democrats, have released a plan. The President endorsed it. The Republicans rejected it.
Harry Reid has released a plan. The President endorsed it. Republicans have rejected it.
You know Duracomm, when you have to repeatedly lie on behalf of your “team”, it should be a clue that there’s something wrong with it.
If you’re going to raise tax revenue, you have to get it from people who actually have some money. The top 20% of the population owns nearly all the wealth (and that 20% is overwhelmingly white, since you brought up race). Trying to squeeze blood from the stone that is the other 80% of the population (particularly the bottom half or so) is an excercise in futility. The money just isn’t there. Add to that the fact that the richest folks have gotten repeated tax cuts (lower marginal rates + lower capital gains tax) and that this has quite obviously resulted in the the rich getting richer while the middle class and poor stagnated (this information is not hard to find. If you’re surprised by any of this, you should not be), and it’s pretty hard to make the case that additional revenue should be raised by taxing the poor and middle class (depending on your personal definition of middle class, of course!).
@Gerry: Yes and No— The House can pass any bill with any limit that they feel like at any time (given of course the basic logistics of organizing a vote etc). The question is if that bill which passes the House has conditions attached to it that are acceptable to both the Senate Democrats (at least 13 are needed to vote YES) AND a Democratic President.
Right now the conditions that House Republicans are attaching to the bills and negoatiations are basically the repeal of at least the Great Society and a chunk of the New Deal — not going to happen.
Basically, the House is trying to accomplish things that should only be done with a true majority government: If this is a constitutional democracy, and if you’ve got a majority, then sure, you can roll back the Great Society.
Of course, if Republicans couldn’t do that between 2000 and 2007, when they had House, Senate and Presidency … what the heck are they pulling now?
It’s absurd. They know they don’t have the votes, and they should know that they can’t get them in 2012.
At this point they are a dead-end suicide pact.
@john personna: The GOP had strong working majorities in the House, Senate and control of the White House and tried their best to wreck the signature piece of the New Deal — Social Security as a defined benefit program with significant risk spreading across the population — in 2005, and they got hammered for it politically.
Everyone knows that touching the old age entitlements in a manner that voters can recognize who the relevant actors are means those relevant actors are going to get hammered. That happened in 2005/2006 to the Republicans, and that happened in 2010 to the Demcrats due to PPACA [as a side note, reducing Medicare Advantage subsidies is actually a good policy in my opinion].
So the game is one where the GOP wants to end/massively reduce/significantly transform the old age entitlements from a defined benefit social insurance system to an individual risk bearing system without the voters being able to effectively blame them — they need a Democratic veto player to sign off on that plan [preferably 2 of the 3 veto players is the GOP preference] so voters can’t directly blame the GOP and the Democrats lose their ability to be perceived as effective defenders of the social welfare state.
You know, it shows a basic lack of moral development when someone puts their personal opinions above democracy.
Now that the Tea Party has cratered to a dead-end minority, they are demonstrating that flaw.
I was writing as you did. I think I lean toward the GOP being less self-aware at this point.
What Dave said. The Republicans found out that Ryan’s Medicare Trashapalooza was more toxic that a subprime mortgage tranch (esp. when it was discovered that the “savings” would go to fund tax cuts for Ryan’s hedge fund buds). All this GOP bullshit has been in the interests of getting that politically carnivorous monkey of their backs.
I identified as a conservative for most of my life. Of late, however, I have been uncomfortable with that designation–at a minimum, I do not identify with the vast majority of politicians and commentators who call themselves “conservative” at the moment (of course, I don’t think most them are actually conservative in the traditional sense of the word). Certainly in terms of contemporary polices, I am a moderate. What that means in terms of liberal/conservative/libertarian views is a longer discussion. One thing I am not is an ideologue.
Although, I would note, I have always found one word labels problematic, as the person hearing that label then makes a host of assumptions about that label that may not be accurate as it applies to a given person.
Let me put it this way: I want to be reasonable and to work within the confines of reality and recognize that there is a difference between the way I might want the world to be and the way the world actually is.
@Steven L. Taylor: :
I guess that means you’re not a Republican.
It is interesting that Steven frames his criticism in those terms, in terms of reality.
The idea that Republicans had been building an alternate, consensual, reality has been a long time forming. As I’ve been noting recently though, it matters a lot how inclusive they want that reality to be. Even 3 years ago the reality was about “the real Americans.” They may have been wrong, but they were asserting majority.
It is a pivotal change now when the House majority splits from the American majority. They don’t even answer the polls. They wave them away, and continue on, widening the gulf between themselves and the moderate center.
@Jay Tea: Elections have consequences — except when Democrats win them, right Jay? Or did you support Obama’s goals after he won because you felt duty bound to follow the will of the American people?
And those people turned down a deal for more than two trillion in cuts with no tax increase, in favor of a bill proposing only one trillion in cuts? Why? Because they wanted to make sure the President didn’t get any credit for. You don’t give a damn about spending, this is all about partisan posturing.
And SD delivers!
Which shows duracoms basic lack of reading comprehension! The Ryan plan was a wealth transfer vehicle from the poor and middle class (Medicare & SS) to the rich (tax breaks) It did absolutely nothing to balance the budget. But then what did you expect from a party who when given the keys to a balanced fiscal truck promptly destroyed it in a paroxysm of an unrestrained shopping spree like a teenage girl with a credit card. (to mix a few metaphors… no single metaphor can do justice in describing what happened from ’01-07)
Ben Wolf, I accidentally clicked “Dislike” on your 7:57. I was aiming for “Like.” Sorry. This is my only complaint about this system: it should be possible to use a second click to change your mind.
I didn’t say it “does not cut spending fast enough.” I said it doesn’t balance the budget for fifty years. You seem to have trouble grasping the difference between those two statements. You need to work on your reading comprehension, and you should stop making shit up.
Cutting spending and balancing the budget don’t amount to the same thing, unless you’re part of a cult that believes that it’s taboo to ever, ever raise taxes (even though Saint Ronnie did so eleven times). But of course you are part of that cult, which is why you find this simple concept so hard to grasp.
The Ryan plan doesn’t balance the budget until 2063. This is sufficient to prove that the GOP doesn’t really care about debt, deficits, or small government. All it really cares about is cutting taxes for the rich, and cutting programs that help everyone else.
If the Ryan plan balanced the budget quickly, and it did so just by cutting spending (that is, if it reflected the philosophy embodied in Cut, Cap and Balance), that would at least be honest, and it would prove that the GOP really does believe in small government, and living within our means. But the Ryan plan runs deficits and increases the size of the debt every year for the next fifty years. This proves that the GOP is perfectly happy to have a government bigger than what we can actually afford (or bigger than what we’re willing to pay for), as long as we can pass the cost along to our kids. This is repulsively immoral.
But there’s no doubt that this is what the GOP is all about. It’s the inescapable meaning of the Ryan plan, and it’s also reflected in the way the GOP behaved when they were in power during the Bush years. It’s reflected in the fact that Reagan tripled the debt and Bush nearly doubled it. Fool me once etc.
Obama’s plan, the Gang of Six plan… have any of these actually been committed to paper? I recall the CBO refused to evaluate Obama’s plan, saying they couldn’t rate speeches. The Gang of Six plan was similar vaporware.
Like it or not, the House has put forth two concrete plans, in writing, and passed them on to the Senate. The House Democrats could at least whip up something and try to pry off at least a few less conservative Republicans (and there are plenty) to make it “bipartisan,” and they don’t. Obama could put his plans into writing (or, rather, have his staff do it — the guy has the entire Executive Branch at his beck and call), but he won’t. Instead, he has to give BS speech after BS speech denouncing those who actually put forth something substantive while offering his own vague goals as alternatives.
For example, last night, he said we should “ask” the wealthiest citizens and corporations to pay more. Well, nothing’s stopping him from doing that right now. But when he says “ask,” he means “take.” “Ask” sounds more polite, but there’s nothing voluntary about his plans. It just sound better than “take,” so he uses the wrong word to obscure the truth of his statements. I think there’s a term for that sort of thing…
Oh, and yeah, the 2006 and 2008 elections had consequences. We’re enjoying them today — debt ceiling increased from 9 trillion to 14.2 trillion, and no federal budget passed in over two years. Good times, huh?
A good start would be to understand what your party did to cause most of that debt, and then take responsibly for doing so.
You are speaking for a minority there, Jay, and you are demanding that the minority rule.
I get the logic, well illogic really.The idea is that since it would be immoral for the majority to violate the rights of some group, it (the is where the error lies) is also immoral for them to agree to any shared burden for them all.
Taxes are a shared burden. A progressive tax is a shared burden. It is just tilted to protect those least able to contribute.
You know, Bachmann said something like “everyone should pay something, even if its $1.”
Think about that. If you moved the contribution of the poor from $0 to $1 per year, what did you actually achieve? You still have a progressive tax. You still have the rich paying more. It’s just some bizarre litmus test.
She basically agrees with the whole progressive tax package. She just wants $1.
Until it is time to actually construct a balanced budget of course. At that point you punt, whine, and demand a constitutional amendment.
@Jay Tea: The Gang of Six Plan can be viewed here.
@James: Interesting summary, James. May I quote from it?
That’s not a plan, that’s a plan for a plan.
@Jay Tea: That’s the way these things work,
What do you think that Ryan Plan was?
@Steven L. Taylor: The Ryan Plan was a bill that was introduced to and passed by the House, then defeated 57-40 in the Senate. That makes it a “serious” plan to me.
Do you have an HR or S number on the Gang of Six plan?
@Jay Tea: This is a typical response from you, Jay, Your gripe was “That’s not a plan, that’s a plan for a plan.”
My point was: that is no different than that Ryan Plan, which was an outline that would require a boatload of additional pieces of legislation to be passed. Hence, it was a plan for a plan.
Instead of owning up to what you said and why what I said counters it, you shift slightly to something else.
You did not gripe that the Gang of 6 plan had not passed a chamber of Congress (no one asserted that it had). You griped that it was “a plan for a plan.” I pointed out that that is how things work in Congress and that the vaunted Ryan Plan was no different.
Is it really too much to ask that you actually deal with your own statements?
@john personna: No, John, I’m not arguing for minority rule, but minority rights. The group in question is, yes, a minority — but the Constitution was set up to protect the rights of minorities against the tyranny of the majority.
If they were a smaller minority, then they could be blissfully ignored. But they aren’t.
juke: “my” party? Sorry, registered Independent. My “party” is a party of one, and we’ve NEVER held any elected or appointed office.
@Jay Tea: Yes, but there is a rather significant difference between minority rigths and minority rule.
@Jay Tea: Amazing how an independent manages to memorize and regurgitate every Republican talking point as soon as it’s available. New today — “those meanie Democrats never wrote down their proposals during negotiations.” It is, of course, both moronic and meaningless, but Rush said it so Jay’s got to repeat it.
Independent? The only thing you’re independent of is ever thinking for yourself.
I can’t decide what’s funnier, Jay Tea pretending not to understand how legislature is proposed, negotiated, and passed, Jay Tea pretending that Republican proposals that require a lot of follow up steps are responsible and real but similar Democratic proposals are fake “vaporware,” or Jay Tea pretending he’s not a Republican.
Well, whichever is funnier, one thing is clear. Jay Tea is completely full of shit, and he knows it. That’s his game. Why bother arguing with someone whose every word is written in bad faith?
When I was 18 I registered as an Independent. Then, because of my parents’ party affiliation, I moved over to the Republican party. That only lasted a few years before I finally changed and officially become a Democrat. I somehow felt being a democrat was more the “people’s party,” empathetic and fair to the needs of all people.
But, that warm, fuzzy feeling for the dems has been diminishing, and with Obama being in office totally evaporated. By the next election I will have changed my party ID back to Independent, right back where I started from.
Reagan’s famous reason for leaving the democratic party is similar to my own: The democratic party has left me by becoming so entrenched with progressive ideology.
Jan, the question you’ve been repeatedly ducking is here. Just in case you forgot.
I can’t imagine that anyone who is not a fool believes a single word you say. That’s what happens to your credibility when you duck fair questions.
Really? Who would be included in this “plenty”?
You are certainly free to try to place all the blame for our current deficit/debt mess in the laps of the Democrats, but only the most partisan Republicans/conservatives would actually believe such horse$hit…
You know juke, I’m probably getting as tired of you talking about me ducking the question as you are in posting it numerous times.
Answer —> No one said it was a perfect plan. No one said that the plan was going to be implemented intact should it even passed all the legislative gauntlets. What the plan did offer was some kind of entitlement and tax reform, which overall was seen to increase revenues. Here is yet another explanation of Ryan’s Plan. As far as how long it will take to balance the budget — 50 years or 5 years — it’s all in the juggling of numbers, fiscal speculation, each party’s own political analysis of a plan, and events no one knows about on a year to year basis.
I am just not going to get all caught up in your barbed wire question, when there is really no one way to answer it. For instance when Medicare passed in 1965 the CBO predicted (scored) that it would cost $60 billion by 2010. The real numbers in 2010 were 480 billion, or 8 times the cost presumed.
Furthermore, even if I did spent the time/energy to research resources to be more specific, it would just be continuing fodder for yet another extraneous question and accusation of ‘ducking.’ Your working ideology is that progressive policies are the ones producing acceptable legislation, and there are stats and links out there to fit any premise on any policy a person wants to question.
Oh yes, on being a democrat…it makes no difference whether you believe me or not. Somehow progressives march to the same drum roll. And, if anyone steps out of line, their allegiance is instantly called into question. The same goes for the far right. You both are really wingnuts, having different opposing philosophies fueled by the same fixated intensities.
You are still refusing to accept that the Ryan plan takes 50 years to balance the budget. On another thread you said this:
So you still don’t believe it, right?
Then why don’t you show us the “stats and links” which explain why Ryan needs 50 years to balance the budget? Why should anyone believe that the GOP is sincerely concerned about debt when their best plan adds more and more new debt every single year for 50 years?
English translation: you have no answer at all. And you are still not even willing to accept the simple factual reality that according to Ryan himself, his plan will not produce a balanced budget until 2063.
Your problem has nothing to do with “allegiance.” It has to do with running away from all inconvenient facts.
What I’m getting from you is that no reasonable answer will please you. So, think what you will, I am not going to respond anymore to the redundancy of your posts. Call it what you may, to make you feel good. BTW, are you OCD?
What I’m getting from you is nothing but pure denial and evasion. You haven’t provided anything remotely resembling any kind of answer at all, let alone a “reasonable answer.” Hell, you still can’t bring yourself to even acknowledge the factual premise of the question, that Ryan’s plan adds to the debt every single year for 50 years. Even though I showed you Ryan’s own numbers, from Ryan’s own web site. That’s how deep your denial is.
Let’s see if you can manage a straight answer to this exceptionally simple question: according to Ryan’s own projections, in what year does his plan first produce something other than a deficit? Do you even know? You should, since I told you. But it’s hard to take in new information when you’re doing this.
It is rather amusing to see anyone bitch about the debt and deficits and then latch on to the Ryan Plan, which does little to nothing about the debt/deficit situation in the short term but does end Medicare and gives more tax cuts to the wealthy…
Re. minority rights versus minority rule.
Sorry, it’s a game I’ve seen enough to expect it. That’s why I described it to you before you tried it out on me. Your game is that “minority rights” require “minority rule.”
It’s pretty astounding illogic really, that because the minority has some rights, they should rule.