House Speaker solution...

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Seattle, Jan 6, 2023.

  1. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    billvon has beaten me to it.
    That's not the reports I've read, such as this and this, which suggest that he has not "agreed to not increase the debt ceiling", but rather that any agreement to increase the ceiling will require significant spending cuts. i.e. they will agree to an increase if certain conditions are met.
    Which source are you getting your understanding from?
    To be fair, billions is roundings for the US economy. As to whether it has cost more than the spending cuts they insist on, I'll leave that to an economist to give input.
    By one of the agencies, yes. That's somewhat different to a default, though, and a failure to agree to increase the debt. It caused quite a stir on the markets, I agree, but was all rather short-term, though.
    There is history, and what I said is factually not bullshit: both sides have raised the debt ceiling while in power. Point to a President that has not, during their term, raised the debt ceiling. Clinton didn't increase it by much, but that was due to the Republicans controlling Congress for much of his tenure. So, what exactly is bullshit?
    It's simple, really. If they don't reach some agreement to raise the ceiling, the government goes into shutdown, and the US will default on debts. That they will utilise this opportunity to make political gains, and to try to instil some spending reductions etc, is to be expected. Now, if it turns out that their demands are simply nonsense such that they're going to refuse to uplift the ceiling regardless, then okay, that'll be a different matter.
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    That question seems at least a little inappropriate, given that I already listed it↗.

    Let's try it this way: What do you actually think these debt-ceiling games actually mean?

    Oh, don't even. Only one side threatens to not pay the bills. Democrats don't do this shit when it comes time to raise the debt ceiling; your statement that, "Heck, I think both parties breach the debt ceiling when in power", intentionally ignores what Republicans are doing.

    Remember, politicians set this up so we need to raise the debt ceiling in order to continue to pay the bills; one of the suggested solutions to Republican hostage games is to simply eliminate the debt ceiling entirely.

    Historically, remember that over twenty years ago, Republicans demanded a balanced budget, which a Democratic president delivered, including a plan to pay off debt; then the next Republican president called it off for tax breaks, and then demanded massive deficit spending. In the years since, shutdown politics are standard Republican fare during Democratic presidencies. Sure, people borrow money, but not everyone takes hostages in the course of doing so. Pretending there is no difference is bullshit. This is not "acting sensibly in as much as agreeing to increase the debt ceiling".

    Or, perhaps you could explain for us how it is.


    Anyone who actually believes Republican debt-cutting rhetoric leads anywhere good, or even intends to, probably ought to explain what in the world would make them think that. Moreover, as PJ pointed out↑, this is the House Freedom Caucus. Debt talk is only one part of what they do; they are the post-Norquist faction. As I said↑, theirs are the presuppositions that would murder government. Pretending they are doing something else is just silly.

    Historically, it's true that Democrats have done their part along the way. And while they are capable of plenty of damage on their own, their worst moments come when compromising according to voter or customary expectations. I can't tell you at what point Democrats should have figured out that Republicans were no longer in good faith, but up until Trump any number of radical departures from custom would only have alarmed Americans sufficiently to elect Republicans. Still, if the last twenty-two years, at least, haven't made the point that Republican bawling about debt is just a façade to mask their craven cruelty, it remains unclear what will.


    The problem with letting other people speak for you is that they can be wrong, or, at least, unnecessarily complicated: "When any politician is presented with two options," Billvon↗ suggests, "vote to not raise the debt ceiling, and force the US into a shutdown and a default … or vote to raise the debt ceiling and avoid those outcomes - then a responsible politician will vote to raise the debt ceiling." As it is, that sounds approximately correct. But, as with your bothsidesing, Billvon overlooks what Republicans are actually doing: Speaker McCarthy was presented with a choice, to either not raise the debt ceiling or not be Speaker. Mr. McCarthy chose to be Speaker; given a choice, he has at least agreed to not raise the debt ceiling—the degree to which being a liar is fundamental to acting sensibly does stand out insofar as Congressman McCarthy will have lied to his own caucus in order to become Speaker of the House without a majority vote in his favor.

    And maybe McCarthy will betray the Freedom Caucus, but the idea that such a complicated and dishonest route to doing the sensible thing is somehow acting sensibly is just ridiculous:

    Expected, sure; but you still need to explain how that is sensible.

    That such behavior is "expected" is merely the latest excuse.
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    On Sensibility

    The story so far, per Benen↱:

    Late last week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sent an important letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The cabinet secretary explained that the United States would hit the debt ceiling this Thursday, Jan. 19, and it was time for Congress to begin taking necessary steps to prevent default.

    It's worth emphasizing that hitting the debt ceiling this week does not mean that default is just a few days away. Rather, the Treasury Department will now begin a series of moves — described as taking "certain extraordinary measures" — to prevent a crisis. But those temporary measures will be exhausted by early June. Before that deadline, lawmakers will have to agree to allow the government to pay its own bills.

    "Failure to meet the government's obligations would cause irreparable harm to the U.S. economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, and global financial stability," Yellen said, accurately describing reality. She added that even threatening default has "caused real harms, including the only credit rating downgrade in the history of our nation in 2011."

    It's one thing if Speaker says Republicans "don't want to put any fiscal problems to our economy and we won't", but, it is important to observe what that means; as Roll Call reports, McCarthy explained that "fiscal problems would be continuing to do business as usual". He also said he told President Biden, "I'd like to sit down with him early and work through these challenges."

    Or, as Benen put it:

    A day earlier, the new House speaker told reporters that, as far as he's concerned, there's no need to wait until the last minute: President Joe Biden, McCarthy said, should begin the process now of negotiating with GOP leaders and making them happy so as to avoid a default.

    Furthermore, "Democrats are not just rejecting Republicans' demands," but, "also explicitly rejecting the very idea of negotiations." White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters the White House "will not be doing any negotiation over the debt ceiling", and that the new debt ceiling "should be done without conditions". And that last is actually the important part.

    And it's one thing if Benen suggests Jean-Pierre "was clearly articulating a position held by all Democratic leaders", and, sure, the director of the National Economic Council is going to declare the "full faith and credit of the United States" a "sacred obligation", and of course he is going to say that "Congress is going to have to deal with the debt limit, and do so without conditions, without games, and without putting our economy at risk", but we must consider, to the other, the proposition↑ that it is "expected" that Republicans would take the "opportunity to make political gains".

    Sam Brodey↱ reported, last month:

    Lifting the debt ceiling, said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), must be non-negotiable.

    "In exchange for not crashing the United States economy, you get nothing," Schatz said in an interview with The Daily Beast. "You don't get a cookie. You don't get to be treated like you're the second coming of LBJ. You're just a person doing the bare minimum of not intentionally screwing over your constituents for insane reasons."

    The moment Democrats invite Republicans to the negotiating table over a debt-limit deal, Schatz argued, is the moment the situation gets dangerous.

    "We have to tell them there is no table," he said. "The one thing that is more dangerous than staring these guys down is not staring these guys down. Because if this becomes a tactic that works, it will never, ever end."


    Most Democrats agree with Schatz's general view that the debt ceiling is a fatally flawed concept and that lifting it should be nonnegotiable.

    When they last really negotiated with House Republicans over the debt ceiling, in 2011, the result was the decade-long spending slashes known as budget sequestration. Last year, when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) played hardball over the debt limit, Democrats pursued a strategy of forcing him to blink first—which he did, giving the party confidence ahead of a future fight.

    But the denizens of the House GOP are a different breed than their Senate counterparts, and the House GOP of today is far different than it was a decade ago. Within the party, the influence of Tea Party fiscal orthodoxy has eroded—but their zero-sum political outlook and hatred of deal-making has only grown more potent.

    Remember, these are the people McCarthy has bargained with. Watching American conservatives collapse into this condition has been an extraordinary historical experience, but especially in the time of the Tea Party and House Freedom Caucus, it just seems strange that there are still those who might view Republican brinksmanship as something other than the seething passion of an anti-government loathing and fearmongering and hatred reaching back to Norquist in the Reagan years, and Goldwater before them. This is about the promise that government doesn't work; it is about a government so weak it can easily be murdered. We have multigenerational history to observe on this point; if Republicans could truly come through on debt-reduction, instead of calling it off for upperclass tax breaks.

    And so we might also remember that House Republicans, following the 2011 debt ceiling standoff, went and did it again the next year↱ and appear to have lost↱, especially as when House GOP hardliners tried yet again, as Politico put it, "Democrats, again, saved John Boehner".

    And back then, what was a "reversal" for was "also a clear sign of the House Republican Conference's inability to move beyond fiscal fights and lays in plain view the leadership's inability—or unwillingness—to corral votes for their priorities". Nine years later, not much has changed.

    To whatever degree it is expected that Republicans, in populist thrall, might behave as impassioned hardliners do in seeking "political gains", we might still easily wonder what part of it seems sensible.


    Benen, Steve. "Democrats respond to GOP calls for debt ceiling negotiations: No". MSNBC. 16 January 2023. 18 January 2023.

    Brodey, Sam. "Dems Take Hard Line on Debt Limit Talks: Absolutely Not". The Daily Beast. 15 December 2022. 18 January 2023.

    Chappell, Bill. "House Votes To Approve 'Fiscal Cliff' Legislation". The Two-Way. 1 January 2013. 18 January 2023.

    McPherson, Lindsey. "McCarthy seeks to calm debt ceiling waters". Roll Call. 12 January 2023. 12 January 2023.

    Sherman, Jake. "House passes clean debt ceiling bill". Politico. 11 February 2014. 18 January 2023.

    Van de Water, Paul N. "'Boehner Rule' Linking Debt-Ceiling Increase to Spending Cuts Is Dangerous Policy". Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 4 october 2013. 18 January 2023.
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    The law that establishes a debt limit is there, in theory, to make sure there is some debate in Congress to keep debt to a reasonable level (however you might define that).

    It's odd to see it argued that it's wrong to ask for something in return for extending the debt limit. That was the whole point for it being established in the first place.

    Since it hasn't really served the function of keeping the debt down, I think that this requirement (for a debt limit) should just be abolished so that the financial markets aren't potentially destabilized each time this comes up.

    We have incurred the debt so we are going to pay the debt. We should still push politicians to do the responsible thing regarding spending, taxes, monetary and fiscal policies. It's just that the debit ceiling law, which was supposed to help with that, hasn't had that effect so IMO we would be better off without it.
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Certainly, you can support this assertion with the historical record. And it should be pretty straightforward: When did who establish that the point of the debt limit was to bargain with the other party before agreeing to pay for outstanding obligations?
  9. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    It's common sense and it flows from the thing itself. What is the purpose of a debt limit that needs to be continually extended if not in an attempt to keep the debt level down or to require discussion and compromise from Congress?

    I posted that my solution would be to eliminate the debt limit requirement. I don't think you disagree with that, so why are you even posting this?

    It's like when my OP spent the first paragraph disparaging the current Republicans and your only response had to do with tying my comments to the clown show that is the Republicans.

    It seems that you just like to continually rant in a biased one-sided manner regardless of what is posted. Sarkus and Billvon posted nothing that was unreasonable and you rant at their comments as well.

    If someone said Trump had on a nice suit (and he had on a nice suit) you would still rant about everything other than the suit, right?
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    So, then, it's "odd to see"↑ someone disagree with make-believe?

    The first paragraph of the OP—

    —speculates an utterly unrealistic solution.

    Is it really so hard—

    —for you to support anything you say?

    Or, at the very least, make sense?
  11. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I think you'd prefer not to deal with reality.
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    To consider how it goes:

    Seattle: It's odd to see it argued that it's wrong to ask for something in return for extending the debt limit. That was the whole point for it being established in the first place. (#44↑)

    Tiassa: Certainly, you can support this assertion with the historical record … When did who establish that the point of the debt limit was to bargain with the other party before agreeing to pay for outstanding obligations? (#45↑)

    Seattle: It's common sense and it flows from the thing itself. What is the purpose of a debt limit that needs to be continually extended if not in an attempt to keep the debt level down or to require discussion and compromise from Congress? (#46↑)

    Thus: Certainly, we can support this assertion with the historical record? No, we cannot. When did who establish that the point of the debt limit was to bargain with the other party before agreeing to pay for outstanding obligations? Nobody; rather, it is supposedly commmon sense. Thus, the debt limit is leverage to demand political satisfaction before paying debts already accrued or obligations already undertaken, and this "common sense" "flows from the thing itself".


    Tape-stop. Time out.

    Do you recall complaining↑, and not so long ago, at that: "You are allowed to bait me and others by implying that 'we' might be stupid over and over but you don't get any warning emails do you?"

    Well, let's take a look at what I did say↑:

    • … simplistic mush about spending and tax, with the regular talking points about GDP and budgets and no debate and all the same boo-hoo we hear from Republicans, anyway, is actually part of an historical discussion fouled nearly to the point of being delusional. That is, it's a fine discussion about fancy, but it is also true that Americans will destroy the place with this voodoo, and inasmuch as it's partisan, we should remember these are also the presuppositions of those who would murder government.

    • … if this seems like a lot of words to make the point, the short form is to remind that, sure, I can accept that you really are that stupid, if you insist. It's like your cluelessness about racism. The whole bit where ostensibly educated and informed people can't manage anything better than the murmur and buzz of base superstition is what it is, but, no, it's not credible, and neither are they.​

    I actually stand by those statements. One describes observable conservative and Republican Party history; the other simply reminds that playing games dwelling in ignorance does not do anything to establish credibility. Such as it is, you falsely attributed a statement to PJ in order to torch the straw man, and to the one, sure, it kind of looks like you knew what you were doing but, to the other, if you really insist, people can—and easily, at this point—accept that you didn't.

    Neither is this unique behavior. Still, trade in potsherds—(kind of like your bit on the "Achilles heal"↗ of liberalism and something about "economic illiteracy")—is unreliable, and when the answer is no, you cannot support it—(because it is "common sense" that "flows from the thing itself")—you actually demonstrate the point about ostensibly educated and informed people failing to manage anything better than the murmur and buzz of base superstition. It's like excusing your dabble in racism↗, and what I describe as the passionate but clueless advocate; some people have much to say about an issue, but apparently are somehow unaware of the history¹, and inasmuch as you don't like the implications of certain behavior, the better thing really is to not behave that way: Really? You're upset that I do not find the murmur and buzz of base superstition credible, but you're going to go with, "It's common sense and it flows from the thing itself"?

    Okay. So, let's test that: Do you understand why I refer to debts accrued, oustanding obligations, and what is already undertaken?

    You said: "It's odd to see it argued that it's wrong to ask for something in return for extending the debt limit." But part of what debt limit extensions pay for is existing debt service. Thus, according to that aspect, you find it odd that someone would say it's wrong to ask for satisfaction before agreeing to meet existing obligations. And is that really the argument you want to go with? Is that really the "common sense" that "flows from the thing itself"?

    Because you were just complaining about the implications of that very behavior.


    Consider what I suggested to Sarkus, about why people behave in certain ways; the epistemic mystery is not a bothsides behavior, and there are many ways it influences discourse. And at that point, it becomes a complex discussion, because while it has common sources and needs, not all of it is, for instance, a Southern Strategy. But you have to remember that your "economic illiteracy" chatter is forty year-old politicking and conservative more-than-everism; the actual explosion in the deficit was for Reagan's space laser that never worked, and what we blame Democrats for is not wanting to sacrifice Social Security and Medicare to pay for a space laser that never worked—in other words, Ronald Reagan wanted a space laser, so it was time to cut these things he always opposed. And if the last twenty years have blown smoking holes to the smoking bits in the smoking crater of the conservative and anti-liberal economic narrative, well, the big smoking hole full of smoking holes in smoking holes has been a long time in the blowing smoke.

    We're how many days past the deadline, and House Republicans have not sensibly agreed to raise the debt ceiling; inasmuch as nobody ought to be surprised, we can only wonder why anyone would have pretended otherwise.

    There is a certain degree to which one side of our two-sided American political adventure is make-believe and say-so. And, actually, the say-so part is an interesting—and, yes, complicated—tale, but think about what it means in practice: If refusing to pay existing debt until one receives explicit additional satisfaction now passes for sensibly attending those debt obligations, how does that work? We don't know, somebody just said so, and, well, that's just it, we don't know why. But someone says so, which means it must be true.

    Not all of it is antifeminist reactionism; some of it has always been the cocksure comfort of traditional power knowing it is right. These days, it's pretty widespread, and has been for a while, because it is the most part of what remains for conservatives. Crackpottery about liberal economic illiteracy, and belief in Republican debt rhetoric, were falling apart twenty years ago, and broke fifteen years ago.

    It's one thing to complain about implications, but people like you have had a lifetime to check in with reality, and forty years later the politic is still to just make it up as you go. Superstition and disrespect probably seemed like a better idea a couple generations back, when conservatives felt much more confident about their historical footing. After decades of reality intervening, sure, some might wonder at the holdouts bitterly clinging to articles of faith and idyll that will never actually come true. Again: When the ostensibly educated and informed cannot manage anything better than the murmur and buzz of base superstition, no, they are not credible.

    And in assessing the actual record compared to your make-believe, yes, it's true, at some point it will occur to wonder why you bother, and why anyone else is expected to sift your potsherds.

    It's kind of like other conservative articles of faith: Making believe like you do gets pretty stupid over time, but if you insist, yes, I will believe you.

    Try this: Think back to last year, when you complained↗ about site traffic, and the idea that you are, in that context, a disincentive↗. Then then look at your behavior in this thread, and ask yourself who would actually look forward to engaging with you. You said you would "like to see this site become more of a friendly, general discussion forum", and, sure, I said at the time↗, that was actually kind of funny, coming from you. In this thread, you've provided a clear example of the contrast. That is, we might wonder what part of the cynicism, misrepresentation, zealotry, and make-believe you think lends to a friendly anything.

    As a basic discursive function, you might as well be telling me the Good News about Jesus Christ is common sense that flows from existence itself, but cannot explain what that means.

    So, again: When did who establish that the point of the debt limit was to bargain with the other party before agreeing to pay for outstanding obligations? How is the purpose of the debt limit to renege on obligations already undertaken?

    Think it through, this time.


    ¹ It's a tabula rasa demand that comes with complications.​
  13. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Let's talk about reality. Your "style" of commentary is tedious, verbose, and to say that your overuse of "potsherd" is an affectation is to state the obvious.

    Speaking of obvious, why do you think there is a debt limit? I am not condoning what the Republicans are doing, if you live in reality, you already know that although you act as if you aren't fully dealing in reality.

    I wouldn't let it get to the point where it could destabilize the economy threatening to bring the country into default. Obviously we have to pay our existing debt. It's just as obvious that we never talk about the debt limit until we are about to exceed it so for there to be a debt ceiling law in the first place it would have to be for there to be some discussion of debt each time we run up against it.

    It's ridiculous to say the reason we have our current excessive debt is because of Reagan's "space lazer", and you want to be taken seriously, potshards and all?

    I would eliminate the law and the debt limit as I've said several times before. I wouldn't hold the economy hostage now either. I would talk about the debt problem and no one is seriously doing that.

    There is no need to lecture, rant about smoke, talk about "people like you". You're upset because your ideal political system isn't practical, it's never going to exist and you're going to be angry about that fact forever (it appears). That's not dealing with reality, "epistemic mystery" or not.

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