Trump teams up with Democrats on debt limit deal

Trump today backed a Democratic proposal to only extend the debt limit by three months, instead of the Republican plan to extend that ceiling first 18 months, than six.

While it is clear the Democrats want more debt ceiling negotiations in order to force the Republicans to make repeated concessions each time, I find it disgusting that the Republican leadership is more interested in kicking the can down the road than to address the problem now. In a sense, this might be why Trump is siding with the Democrats, as it keeps the debt ceiling on the table as a political issue, and might eventually force these brainless cowards to eventually do something to gain some control over the budget.

Then again, it might not. It could also be that none of these politicians, including Trump, has any interest in controlling the budget, and are merely playing petty politics with the nation’s future.

Boehner suggests linking the debt-limit hike to a restoration of recent cuts to military benefits.

The unseriousness of the Republican leadership: Boehner suggests linking the debt-limit hike to a restoration of recent cuts to military benefits.

First of all, only a few weeks ago the Republican leadership was telling us these cuts were essential, which is why they went along with them in the last deal. Second and more important, we have far more significant issues — Obamacare and the federal debt — for which any serious conservative in office should be far more interested in pursuing than the relatively small cuts to military benefits.

If the Boehner and the Republican leadership were really serious about rolling back Obamacare as well as winning elections, they would link every negotiation with that issue. We all know they would eventually have to back down, but the goal would be force the Democrats to vote for Obamacare, again and again, even as that terrible law is devastating families nationwide. Not only would it put them in a bad light, it would emphasize the differences between the two parties.

Paul Ryan says House Republicans are going to demand something in exchange for raising the debt ceiling again in February.

We shall see: Paul Ryan says House Republicans are going to demand something in exchange for raising the debt ceiling again in February.

Though I’m glad he’s saying this, forgive me if I am skeptical. The Republican leadership in the House has proven itself weak and willing to back down all too often. For example, they have allowed the lie that they alone caused the government shutdown to become accepted as truth, merely by acting as if it were true. The result: they were unwilling to demand any concessions in the just completed budget negotiations, even though they had a strong hand and could have easily obtained concessions, especially on Obamacare.

Then there’s this: Ten quotes that explain why conservatives do not trust the Republican Party.

His conclusion is most pertinent:

Incidentally, the solution to all of this is not to leave the Republican Party. To the contrary, it’s to treat the Republican Party like a puppy that’s having difficulty with house training. When Republicans do the right thing, praise them, support them and do what you can to help them out. When they do the wrong thing, rub their noses in it. Attack Republicans who betray their principles relentlessly, primary them at every opportunity and take over the Republican Party so we can shove the politicians who won’t listen to us to the side. While we will never be able to build an entire party full of men like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, we can make it miserable enough for bad actors that the go-along-to-get-along Republicans will conclude it’s better to work with us than face primaries and incessant attacks from their own side in the new media. Most people don’t realize it, but we have already started moving the Republican Party to the Right and the time will come when Republicans are just as afraid of their base as Democrats are of Planned Parenthood and the unions. It’s not going to happen overnight, but if we keep going after Republicans who sell us out, even the ones that are as hostile as John McCain, Peter King and Lindsey Graham will eventually have to get on board if they want to keep their jobs.

“I wanted the Affordable Health Care Act. The problem is, is it’s not affordable,”

An Obama supporter finds out what’s in it: “I wanted the Affordable Health Care Act. The problem is, is it’s not affordable.”

I would laugh except that I am crying. Moreover, the article is from a San Francisco media outlet, which is as surprised as this Obama supporter at the cost of Obamacare. Too bad these liberals all considered conservatives and tea party people terrorists, murderers, and hate-filled killers of small children and therefore not worth listening to back in 2009. Had they listened, they would have found out about the unworkable nature of this law then, instead of now, and the law would never have been passed.

They should maybe consider this reality and recognize that this is why there are Republicans putting up a fight now to delay or defund the law.

No budget deal: The Democrats continue to refuse to give in at all, and the bulk of the Republican caucus has shown some spine and refused to cave.

Well hallelujah and amen! No budget deal: The Democrats continue to refuse to give in at all, and the Republicans have shown some spine and refused to cave.

This deadlock has been a team effort, from both sides. To say it is entirely the fault of one party or the other is to reveal your partisanship.

Nonetheless, legislation requires negotiation, and the only ones refusing to negotiate at all have been the Democrats. In the real world outside of government, such pig-headedness always results in no deal at all.

Right now it looks like 17% of the government will remain shut for quite awhile. And with the debt ceiling kicking in, the federal government will find its hands tied even more. The American people are about to find out that life will go on quite successfully without their big daddy to boss them around.

“Obamacare has raped my future”

From a college student: “Obamacare has raped my future.”

This budget fight exists because Republicans are trying to delay or repeal Obamacare while Democrats are doing everything to keep the law in place. If the Republicans had any brains they would focus on this point, as I do, all the time. Obamacare is a disaster, everyone sees it, and by showing how the Democrats are willing to even shut down the government to endorse it can only work to the Republicans’ political advantage.

Obama apparently has rejected the Republican capitulation offer from yesterday.

The budget negotiations continue: Obama apparently has rejected the Republican capitulation offer from yesterday.

The Republican plan, which I think sucks, was simply not humiliating enough. Meanwhile, there appears to be some pushback from conservative Republicans. I am not hopeful, however. The cowards at the head of the Republican party always back down.

The federal government has reached its debt limit today.

The day of reckoning looms: The federal government has reached its debt limit today.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told Congress that the U.S. hit its statutory debt limit, necessitating emergency steps announced last week as a way to keep funding the government and avoid default. Geithner said he had issued a “debt issuance suspension period” for the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, effective today and to last until Feb. 28, 2013. The letter said the Treasury was taking similar action for the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund.

This is only a temporary solution that solves nothing. And the fake negotiations over the fake “fiscal cliff” are doing even less than nothing to deal with the debt situation. We are bankrupt and worse, we are continuing to refuse to face that reality.

The federal government will hit the debt ceiling on December 31.

The day of reckoning looms: The federal government will hit the debt ceiling on December 31.

The treasury will do things to stall the inevitable crash, but in the end, our elected leaders – backed by the voters — are doing nothing to solve this debt problem. (On this note, consider the absolute refusal of this Democrat to consider any spending cuts in negotiations with the Republicans.) The crash is coming.

The federal government is expected to hit its debt ceiling before the end of the year.

The day of reckoning looms: The federal government is expected to hit its debt ceiling before the end of the year.

The federal government is bankrupting the country, and it will take hard sacrifices to rein in that federal government. I fear that, regardless of how today’s election ends, neither party will be willing to propose those sacrifices, mostly because they will believe the voters are not willing either.

Lying for Politicians

With the recently passed debt ceiling deal, there are going to be a lot of news reports talking about how that deal is going to force cuts and reductions in government spending. Everyone one of these stories will be a lie.

Take for example this story today in Nature, discussing the fate of science research under the deal. Here is how they describe what will happen if the Congressional “super-committee” cannot come up with an agreement and across-the-board “cuts” are triggered:

“Then there will be extraordinary pain,” says Michael Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society in Washington DC. “And it will get worse in 2014.”

The two-stage structure of the debt deal explains both the short-term reprieve and the long-term worry. The first set of agreed cuts, totalling US$917 billion, will be spread over 10 years, but two factors mitigate their effect. First, reductions to defence spending will account for a significant share of the cuts — meaning that other US agencies won’t bear the entire burden. Second, the cuts are heavily loaded forward onto the 2014 fiscal year and beyond, in an apparent effort to shelter the current fragile economy. Only minimal cuts will be implemented in fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

The trouble with this is that it is simply not true. There will be no cuts at all, under any condition, according the debt deal.
» Read more

Federal payments required by Obamacare understate the cost by as much as $50 billion

Finding out what’s in it: Federal payments required by Obamacare actually understate the cost by as much as $50 billion, according to a new study.

In May a congressional committee set the accounting rules that determine who will qualify for federal health care subsidies under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. When the committee handed down the rules to the Congressional Budget Office, its formula excluded the health care costs of millions of workers’ spouses and children. The result was a final estimate for 2010 that hides those costs.

Treasury Adds Another $20 Billion In Debt Overnight, Just $160 Billion Below Revised Ceiling

Get ready for another battle in Congress: The U.S. Treasury added another $20 billion in debt last night, putting it just $160 billion below the newly passed debt ceiling.

The total US treasury balance (subject to the ceiling) is $14.54 trillion (and $14.58 trillion for total), an increase of $20 billion overnight, the Treasury will hit its latest ceiling no later than the end of September. . . . The debt ceiling now is $14.694 trillion: a number which Tim Geithner will hit in about a month.

According to the bill that raised the debt ceiling, the ceiling is only raised in stages. The next stage of $500 billion requires Obama to request it and Congress to okay it.

Dow dives below 12,000

The Dow today dived below 12,000, a nine-month low.

The report above tries to look past the just signed debt agreement, but I wonder if maybe it was the debt deal itself that worried investors, since the deal really did little to gain control of the federal government’s out-of-control spending.

Update: “The joint committee process is yet another promise by Congress that it will get spending under control — just not now, but rather some time in the future, always in the future.”

Outlines of debt ceiling deal leaked to press

The outlines of a possible debt ceiling deal have been leaked to the press. No tax increases, and a lot of promised cuts, some real but many that are probably likely not to happen.

If true, this deal will represent a victory for the Republicans, despite what appear to be the weak nature of the cuts. And John Podhoretz explains why in a very cogent column today, using the Cold War as an analogy.

Everyone on the Right agrees that the U.S. is on an unsustainable fiscal path that must be altered. The difference comes down to the acceptance of political realities. Just as the United States could not effect rollback in the late 1940s (or any time thereafter), so too the Right and the Republican Party cannot effect a revolutionary change of course on July 31, 2011 with the Senate and the White House in liberal Democratic hands. The strategy, like containment, must have a longer time horizon, though it has the same goal: Ending the entitlement state before it swallows up the rest of the country.

Senate kills Boehner debt ceiling plan

That didn’t take long: The Senate has killed the Boehner debt ceiling plan that passed the House.

What the Democrats are missing in all this is that if no debt limit extension is passed, it is their beloved programs that will be hurt the most. The Republicans have more or less always preferred limiting government, so imposing the debt ceiling will only serve their purposes.

Thus, it is the Democrats who need the debt ceiling extended more than anyone. That they seem unwilling to agree to any deal or even propose one of their own seems the height of stupidity. Talk about cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face!

How High Would Taxes Have to Be to Close the Budget Gap This Year?

How high would taxes have to be to close the budget gap this year? One blogger took a look:

I decided to look at the IRS data and calculate exactly how high would the tax rates have to be close this year’s budget gap of around $1.6 trillion (it’s $1.65 trillion according to the White House and $1.55 trillion according to the CBO). What I found was certainly not surprising but still quite disturbing.

Take a look yourself. It is very clear that increased taxes cannot solve the debt problem. It can’t even make a dent in it.

In other words, those advocating a “balanced approach” are really only avoiding the problem. In order to get the federal budget under control we have to cut spending. Nor should that be hard, considering that the federal budget has literally doubled since 1999. If we simply went back to 2000 numbers we’d almost certainly have a surplus, and no one would die nor would the world end.

Tea Party Members ‘Bloody and Beaten,’ But Still in ‘No’ Column

Tea party members still in the no column.

The debt ceiling situation is really very simple. The Democrats won’t propose anything, nor will they vote for anything that cuts anything. And a large percentage of the new Republicans elected to office in November won’t vote for anything that doesn’t include real and significant cuts. The result is there simply aren’t enough votes to pass a bill. This might change, but based on what I’m reading I suspect that come next week, the federal government will have to find a way to live within its means. And I think that will be a good thing, despite the short term pain it will certainly cause to us all.

Why the Republicans revolted against their own leader’s proposed debt ceiling plan

Why the Republicans revolted against their own leader’s proposed debt ceiling plan:

The $7 billion that [was described as] “a real, enforceable cut for FY2012″ represents what the Government of the United States currently borrows every 37 hours. If the CBO’s scoring is correct – that it reduces the 2012 deficit by just $1 billion – then the ”cut” represents what the United States borrows every five hours and 20 minutes. In other words, in the time it takes to photocopy and distribute Boehner’s “plan”, the savings have all been borrowed back. [emphasis mine]

What Democrats did wrong on the debt ceiling in 2010

Analysis from a liberal at the Washington Post: What Democrats did wrong on the debt ceiling in 2010.

Raising the debt ceiling is really, really unpopular. The idea that Congress should vote itself more authority to run deficits is really, really unintuitive. Even now, after many months of coverage and the most aggressive communications campaign this White House has attempted, Americans are closely split on whether we need to raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2. Whenever I try to run out the logic of Obama simply refusing to allow Republicans to take the debt ceiling hostage, I end up with us approximately where we are now, but Obama’s numbers are lower, the GOP’s numbers are higher, a number of congressional Democrats have broken ranks, and Washington elites are firmly arrayed against the White House.

Downgrade could come as soon as Friday

The day of reckoning looms even closer: Credit rating downgrade for the U.S. government could come as soon as Friday. Key quote:

It’s not the debt ceiling that’s triggering a potential ratings change — it’s the trajectory of debt generated by the federal government.

And this:

The problem, as [the ratings agencies] see it, is not that America can’t pay its debts next month, but that America has grown its debt to such a degree that we can’t pay them in the long run without serious restructuring of the federal government — and this administration refuses to consider it:

Conservatives bridle at trillions in ‘phony’ cuts

Trillions in “phony” cuts?

The devil is in the details,” says a Republican strategist closely involved in the debt fight. “When you’re talking about $1 trillion [over ten years], you’re talking about $100 billion a year, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be evenly distributed among the years.” Does that mean it might be loaded mostly at the end of the decade, when it might not even happen? “That’s where you get into the details,” the strategist says.

1 2