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Thoughts About The Debt Ceiling Satan Sandwich PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chet   
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 00:00

RaygunDebtCeiling18I have a lot of thoughts about the new debt ceiling law. Some aren't completely formulated yet, so I'll hold off.  But I do have some thoughts that are completely formulated.  So I'll ask you to suffer through some of them:

(1) This bill made a liar out of John Boehner and the Republicans (again).  Boehner has repeatedly promised legislators in the U.S. House would have at least 72 hours with all legislation, and they had about a day with this bill.   (Sunlight Foundation)

(2) This bill made a liar out of President Obama. He promised legislation would be posted online at least five days before he would sign it.  (Sunlight Foundation)

(3) I think we should call what the Teabaggers did by its true name: Terrorism.  Saying to a country, "We demand that you give us everything we want, including an amendment to the United States Constitution, or we will destroy the American economy" is terrorism.  That is exactly what the Teabagging Terrorists did, so we need to call them Teabagging Terrorists.  If it was the Chinese or Pakistani government making a demand like that, it would be an act of war and bombs would be dropping.  Let's call Teabaggers what they are: they are terrorists. The President would have been well served to have treated them like the terrorists they are. Period.

(4) I have heard a dozen reasons why I should be outraged that President Obama capitulated to the Teabagging Terrorists demands.  I've also read a number of arguments suggesting Obama was playing three dimensional "Star Trek" chess against Teabaggers who can only see in one dimension, and he "ate their lunch."  I haven't had time to digest the details, so I'm staying out of it for now.  My initial reaction is that Matt Taibbi probably gets it right, again.  Obama and the Democrats probably took a dive.

(5) The debt ceiling was raised 18 times under Reagan, trippling the U.S. Government's debt.  George HW Bush raised the debt limit 4 times.  Bill Clinton raised the debt ceiling during his two terms from $4.145 trillion to $5.95 trillion. George W Bush raised the debt limit twice, doubling the U.S. debt from $5.95 trillion to $11.315 trillion. Most of the debt the Obama administration is trying to service was incurred during the two terms of George W. Bush, with Republican leadership in Congress.  Our government, right now, is just trying to pay bills incurred by Republicans.  That said, if you stand Barack Obama in a group that includes the 16 presidents, over 23 terms (that's 92 years), who raised the debt ceiling, what one thing sets Barack Obama apart from all those other Presidents that set off the Teabagging Terrorists now? The increase in spending needed by the executive branch today to cover the bills run up by congress over the last 10 years is a pittance when compared even to the increase in military spending, alone, under George W. Bush.  What is different about Barack Obama?

(6) I'm wondering if anybody knows of a single credible economist who argues that America can balance its budget without raising new revenues by closing some or all of the tax loopholes big corporations and billionaires use to avoid paying their fair share? Importantly, can a legitimate economist make that argument without telling me the streets will be filled with homeless children, sick people and the elderly? I haven't seen or heard such an argument yet and would be interested to see the argument made by someone with credibility (i.e. not Grover Norquist, who has none).  

(7) I wrote most of this blog post last night. This morning I watched a little bit of the Morning Joe program on MSNBC. I watched in amazement as Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan waxed nostalgic about how great it was during the Nixon years when Buchanan and his Republican buddies could go out and have dinner with Democrats after peacefully duking it out on the legislative floor.  

They apparently think we're all a bunch of idiots.  Most of us know Republican leaders are scumbags. Some of you might not have heard that Nixon became president through an act -- or series of acts -- of treason.  

For Scarborough and Buchanan (a senior advisor for Nixon), the treasonous acts Republicans engaged in back in the 60s and 70s must seem quaint -- even cute -- by today's standards.

Maybe the difference between those congenial, civil (criminal) Nixon years and today is that today there are a few progressives in the world who aren't willing to sit back quietly while Republicans engage in their typical treasonous acts without calling them on it.  Today, some of us can watch as Teabag Terrorists hold America's economy hostage, and we're willing to call treasonous teabagging terrorism what it is.

Because it is.

Comments (7)add comment

decker4 said:

Obama is reading the polls
Here's my take: Obama and the Dems caved because they're reading the polls, and the polls say there are a whole lot more conservatives and moderates than there are liberals. Obama needs the independents to win in 2012.


August 03, 2011 | url
Votes: +0

What the Heck said:

might be withholding my Independent vote
I listened to the Democratic Senator from Vermont give his take on the debt deal last night on Lawrence O'Donnell. Obama screwed up in December when he didn't demand a debt ceiling increase in exchange for keeping the Bush upper income tax breaks.

Unfortunately, I'm not seeing a decent Republican candidate in 2012. When I say 'decent' I mean not even one I can hold my nose on as I'm voting.

It might be the first time in a couple decades that I just stay home and not vote for anyone.

Btw, keep an eye on the Berg bill to give states flexibility in administering unemployment benefits. Watch for use of funds to subsidize employers on their 'cost' of hiring. I'd bet a steak dinner on it. If it passes.
August 03, 2011
Votes: +3

Chet said:

Coupla' things...
First, I didn't see the show last night, but the "Democratic" senator from Vermont you're talking about might have been Senator Bernie Sanders, who isn't a Democrat; he was elected as an Independent (he calls himself a "socialist democrat") but caucuses with the Democrats. FWIW. (Or maybe Patrick Leahy was on; I don't know.)

I too read that unemployment benefits bill press release from Berg's office and also read the bill (it's short). If you read the bill, you'll see it seems like a fairly open-ended "pilot program"-type of bill. State governors can submit proposals for test programs for new ways to spend federal unemployment money. I can see Berg -- who, as a state legislator, passed legislation that allowed his own slum-lord business to secretly receive tens or hundreds of thousands of free public money -- coming out of the chutes, in his first ten months in Congress, proposing legislation so his own company can suck more cash out of the federal government; money that could be better spent helping/retraining/etc people who need it, rather than lining the pockets of some millionaire congressman.
August 03, 2011
Votes: +4

Marty said:

contra Tabbai (or at least the majority of his commenters)
Me, I'm with Andrew Sullivan: http://andrewsullivan.thedaily...efeat.html

Folks think Obama took a fall on this just as some think he took a fall on Universal Healthcare just as some folks think he took a fall on gay rights. Baloney. To blame Obama is like blaming Adrian Peterson for not scoring touchdowns on every play when he's got the world's worst line blocking for him. Somehow he's gaining yardage. Blame Dems in Congress for not getting more done when they had the numbers. Blame ourselves for letting Fox News and other neocon bullshit artists win over the hearts and minds of our friends and families. Meanwhile Obama keeps gaining yardage without much help at all, and we bitch about him not scoring touchdowns.
August 03, 2011
Votes: +2

What the Heck said:

my bad
I believe it was West Virginia although I was nodding off as I was listening. It wasn't Sanders, I know he is an independent.
August 03, 2011
Votes: -1

What the Heck said:

It was Rep. Peter Welch from Vermont. He didn't actually put all the blame on Obama but rather said 'in December the Democrats made a huge mistake and committed political malpractice by not negotiating for a debt ceiling increase when agreeing to leave the upper income tax cuts in the Bush tax cut extension'. Paraphrasing. My take as an independent voter is Obama will have a hard time convincing me to vote for him again. Whether he screwed up or the entire party screwed up, it will be he who pays the price in the next election.

August 03, 2011
Votes: -1

nimrod said:

Recent events represent a radical shift in government, more radical in social engineering terms that the Affordable Health Care Act or the New Deal. The new objective of government appears to be to transform the USA into a nation that throws out Keynesian economics and worships at the altar of laissez-faire capitalism in order to enter a new era of utopian capitalism. Of course, this utopian capitalist ideal completely disregards the teachings of Adam Smith, who advocated government controls to dampen the excesses and miseries of pure capitalism, Prof. Keynes, who advocated government regulation of capital markets and government incentives to advance societal well-being and improve market conditions in predictable ways based on novel, yet rational, theoretical constructs, and President Eisenhower, who cautioned against the threat to democracy posed by a too-powerful "military-industrial" complex. It has yet to be demonstrated that a seismic shift to create a utopian capitalist state is any less dangerous to the democratic ideals upon which this nation was founded than a seismic shift to create a utopian fascist state (for example, Nazi Germany), or a utopian socialist state (for example, the Soviet Union). The utopian capitalist agenda is advanced by bought-and-paid-for politicians who defy rational economic principles by (a) refusing to raise taxes to fund global military adventures fighting a contrived "war on terror" (will we send assassin drones into Norway next?), (b) refusing to raise taxes to reduce the deficit, improve the economic standing of the nation, and reduce poverty, and (c) cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans in order to increase employment and increase government revenues, despite the fact that cuts in spending in the past have not caused increased employment or increased government revenues and that the actions are based on "faith" in Grover Norquist rather than rational theoretical constructs. As for Obama, all I can say is "WTF?" The US President as Great Capitulator. I hope Germany doesn't propose to annex the Sudetenland.
August 04, 2011
Votes: +0

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