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Endgame
July 24, 2011 6:58 AM   Subscribe

The talks between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner "collapsed" Friday with little more than a week to go before the United States may effectively default on its debt. The two parties have been in ongoing negotiations for months over GOP refusal to raise the legal limit on national debt unless tied to a significant package of spending cuts - with some members and activists opposed to any increase whatsoever

The President gave an uncharacteristically heated 30 minute press conference blasting the Republicans behavior as "inexcusable" and saying "[o]ne of the questions the Republican Party is going to have to ask itself is can they say yes to anything?". Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid added that "[t]heir unwillingness to compromise is pushing us to the brink of a default on the full faith and credit of the United States"

Boehner quickly responded to the President's press conference, pointing the blame for the impending crisis back at Obama

Ezra Klein at the Post summarizes the current negotiations and speculates that one of the major stumbling blocks to a deal is the GOP's reticence to let Obama appear to be a deficit-cutting deal broker, and considers what might change the Beltway calculations:
Perhaps taking the benefit for Obama off the table will be enough. I’m doubtful. It’s more likely that what we’re really doing now is wasting time until the markets plummet and Boehner’s members decide that a deal is better than no deal. And there’s a very good chance that the first major show of market concern could come tomorrow night, when the Asian markets open. Boehner is hoping to present a plan by then, but a plan is very different from a deal. A plan is something politicians can come up with. A deal, we’re increasingly finding, is something that we need the markets to force.
The latest news from Boehner's office suggests Republicans are preparing a vote for short term increase to the ceiling, a move Obama has previously suggested is unacceptable. (previously)
posted by crayz (3228 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite

 
Since the Tea Party wants to destroy the government, they should probably be called anarchists.
posted by exogenous at 7:07 AM on July 24, 2011 [82 favorites]


It is like the day the Feds refused to peacefully surrender Fort Sumter.
posted by humanfont at 7:12 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Very dog in the manger attitude. If they can't have the government, they want to break Obama's.
posted by arcticseal at 7:15 AM on July 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


This shit is so exhausting. I remember when I was young hearing about 30 or 40 year olds who had just stopped listening to politics. It never made sense to me, but after listening to this non-stop crap for 30+ years, it makes a whole hell of a lot of sense now.

It's amazing that the current crop of politicians make me look back at George H.W. Bush as an even-handed, sane statesman. When you look back fondly at any Bush presidency with any nostalgia, you know things have gone completely off the rails.
posted by milarepa at 7:16 AM on July 24, 2011 [116 favorites]


I love how Boehner is pointing the blame at Obama, when the budget is Congress' responsibility according to the Constitution. The fact that Obama is a Black Democrat may be his fault. The fact that the White Republicans in Congress don't like that about him is THEIR fault.
posted by hippybear at 7:16 AM on July 24, 2011 [24 favorites]


When I was in high school, people promised me that the petty histrionic bullshit going on around me was something that everyone would outgrow. they were wrong.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:19 AM on July 24, 2011 [17 favorites]


Look, it's simple. The Republicans dug this hole. They are the ones who attached all these conditions to increasing the debt limit. This simple fact needs to be pointed out at every opportunity.

Does the debt need to be dealt with? Absolutely, although IMO now is not belt-tightening time. Not even close, in fact. The Republicans are holding the economy hostage. There's simply no other way to put it.

(And as long as Republicans' idea of compromise is "take our position completely", there is no getting anywhere.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:19 AM on July 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


  • water
  • non-perishable food
  • gasoline
  • guns and ammo
posted by Meatbomb at 7:20 AM on July 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


water
non-perishable food
gasoline
guns and ammo


No literature? How could you forget Penthouse?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:21 AM on July 24, 2011 [15 favorites]


There is a parallel between what is happening now and the Clinton-Gingrich power struggles of the 90's. Obama has to find a way to make Boehner look like the bad guy and make it stick. One America sees Boehner as a weepy, tantrum throwing toddler, the GOP loses its lock on power and Obama coasts through the 2012 election. Dems might even take back Congress.
posted by Renoroc at 7:22 AM on July 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


And as long as Republicans' idea of compromise is "take our position completely", there is no getting anywhere.

I should point out that it seems that a lot of Democrats also are disappointed that "take our position completely" is not Obama's policy. Every FPP for the past two years that deals with Obama features comments from people that say he's wrong to compromise.

I'm a Democrat myself, and I disagree with that kind of "our way our else" thinking. That's the kind of bullshit Bush Jr. did, that's the kind of thing I Understood Obama was going to avoid, and that's the reason I voted for the guy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:22 AM on July 24, 2011 [25 favorites]


I rarely comment on these kinds of political issues, but in this case I'm not sure I can stop myself. Because, honestly, it's truly here that we see how repulsive and childish the Republican party is, and how devoid of sense or reason are Tea Party "economics".

To these people, it's all just symbolic gestures removed from political or economic reality. America defaulting on its debt would result in a goddamned CATACLYSM. It would literally destroy the American economy --- the causal chain here is pretty easy for anybody with even a mild curiousity in economics to follow --- but for the Republicans (and especially their militant Tea Party wing), they are incapable of seeing beyond a few poorly defined ideological sticking points. There is a not-small contingent in the party that does not want to raise the debt ceiling at all; they would happily destroy the country in order to maintain the purity of their childish ideology.

At this point, it's impossible to ignore the fact that all of this commitment to tax cuts and funding cuts is completely divorced from reality (or even reason), and is being perpetrated for its own sake. In a recent issue of the Economist, it was pointed out that 70% of Republicans do not support raising the debt ceiling at all. I want you to reflect on that for a moment: the majority of the party supporters are so committed to the party's narrow ideology that they are unable or unwilling to make even the most basic predictions about where that ideology might take them.

I had always felt that there was an almost evangelical zeal among the most ardent of tax cuts and spending cut supporters; that they felt that the cuts were somehow morally right in and of themselves, and that even if it clearly harmed the economy and everybody came out much worse off, then regardless, they needed to be made anyway because they were still somehow the right thing to do. And here we are, and it looks like I was right.

Sorry for the ire in this comment; I may have gotten carried away. But somehow, I've grown accustomed to evil and mendaciousness in politics; apparently it's when a party of supposed grown-ups acts like mewling children refusing to put on their shoes that really gets the blood pumping.
posted by Tiresias at 7:24 AM on July 24, 2011 [117 favorites]


I'm sure the party that wants to get the government "down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub" is negotiating in good faith here.
posted by Legomancer at 7:29 AM on July 24, 2011 [19 favorites]


I have been of the opinion that the longer the Republicans hold out, the more justification and indeed moral duty President Obama has for 1. Invoking the 14th Amendment, 2, Taking all compromise with the Republicans OFF the table.
It would be a good lesson to them to just negotiate in good faith.
I really do think the Republicans need a spanking and sent to their room.
But not before changing their dapers!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:36 AM on July 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


The Republicans are truly playing with fire here, because not only do they risk alienating independent voters and the more sane wing of their own party, they are thumbing their noses at their Wall Street masters, too.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:37 AM on July 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


There is a parallel between what is happening now and the Clinton-Gingrich power struggles of the 90's.

Unfortunately, it's Obama in the White House this time.
I like the guy. I voted for the guy. I had moderate hopes for the guy. But, he just isn't the sly political player Clinton was. I keep thinking that maybe, just maybe, Obama's going to pull some brilliant, unforeseen political maneuver out of his pocket and win the day while putting the "radicals" in their place.

But, alas, the only "radicals" I see him putting down are the ones in his own party, as he compromises further and further to the Republicans.

I'm beginning to see the 2012 election as coming down to a choice between the Chamber of Commerce candidate (Obama) and the Fox News candidate (whichever crazy gets the Republican nod). It will be that classic "least of two evils" choice between the one that will cut Medicaid by 20% and the one that will cut Medicaid completely.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:37 AM on July 24, 2011 [19 favorites]


One America sees Boehner as a weepy, tantrum throwing toddler, the GOP loses its lock on power and Obama coasts through the 2012 election. Dems might even take back Congress.

And then they get to dig out from a financial crisis that'll make that little difficulty with the mortgages and the insurance companies from '08 look like a minor accounting error, and lose Congress again in 2014. For an ideology its proponents barely even understand America will default on its debt before Greece, which made a bunch of not-so-wisely loaned money disappear on such things as a state railway system so famously wasteful that it would lose less money if it simply paid for each of its passengers to go everywhere in taxis.

Playing with fire over the tactics of a two-year election cycle is a game for whining, idiot children, regardless whether their snot-covered T-shirts are red or blue.
posted by Vetinari at 7:38 AM on July 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


I'm done.

The political system is completely broken in this country. I helped elect a man who has only managed to keep a few campaign promises, the main one being compromise. And he's compromising with crazy fucking assholes. And if I vote next year there will be no choice, as I will be choosing between the president I'm not very happy with and an utter lunatic. The two party system is awful.
posted by graventy at 7:40 AM on July 24, 2011 [42 favorites]


Considering the fact that McConnell has openly said the Republicans' main objective is denying Obama any kind of "political" victory thus paving the way for the next Republican presidential nominee.

And Grover Norquist's statement in 2003 about a future democratic president We will make it so that a Democrat cannot govern as a democrat. Things appear to be going exactly as planned by the conservative establishment.

This isn't about America or "the will of the people" this is about the Divine Right of one party to distribute U.S. tax payer dollars to THEIR benefactors not some unwed mother living in a trailer park or tenement building somewhere.
posted by Max Power at 7:40 AM on July 24, 2011 [28 favorites]


I should point out that it seems that a lot of Democrats also are disappointed that "take our position completely" is not Obama's policy. Every FPP for the past two years that deals with Obama features comments from people that say he's wrong to compromise.

Yes, middle of whatever road we happening to be standing in is truly the most wise political philosophy at all times. My unwillingness to compromise my desire for a social democratic state such as exists in the rest of the western world with half our country's desire for some incoherent form of anarcho-theo-fascist nihilism truly is one and the same with that half's unwillingness to compromise on the idea of having a functioning democratic government whatsoever. Truly the same. Is that you David Brooks?
posted by crayz at 7:44 AM on July 24, 2011 [35 favorites]


The Republican Party is now officially the party of magical thinking. Forget different economic theories- this is a party that believes if we pray hard enough; ban abortions; and put the Blacks, Mexicans and Gays back in their place, God will fix everything.

This is apocalyptic politics, and they may just get their wish.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:45 AM on July 24, 2011 [22 favorites]


Not raising the debt limit will *not* "destroy the government" or "destroy the country"... don't complain about the histrionics in Washington, as it appears that nobody here can discuss this issue without getting overly dramatic with their references. The chance that social security checks will not go out is zero. The gov't has plenty of money to meet all obligations. I am tired of hearing all the bullshit about this. And it is *all* coming from the Democrats. Paying bills and meeting obligations without increasing taxes on ordinary citizens is not zealotry. All of this underscores the fact that the Democrats cannot approach power in a balanced fashion, and it appears that they have no political prowess whatsoever. They appear to just hate the fact that someone is telling them they cannot spend as much money as they want to.
posted by midnightscout at 7:49 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


cut half the military budget

raise debt limit

problem solved
posted by LogicalDash at 7:49 AM on July 24, 2011 [19 favorites]


And Grover Norquist's statement in 2003 about a future democratic president We will make it so that a Democrat cannot govern as a democrat. Things appear to be going exactly as planned by the conservative establishment.

Most of us following the progression of Grover's plans didn't quite grasp a key feature that would be part of the endgame: the treasonous complicity of a pseudo-progressive president.

I am a life long Dem, and a moderately activist one at that. Barring some double-reverse backflip political jiu-jitsu from Obama (not bloody likely) I will not vote for him again. Period.
posted by mondo dentro at 7:50 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Paying bills and meeting obligations without increasing taxes on ordinary citizens is not zealotry.

This is where you are dead fucking wrong. Cutting benefits and raising contributions is exactly the same as raising taxes. On the people who can least afford it, to boot.

Pushing that agenda and refusing to look at defense or corporate subsidies or tax rates for millionaires is immoral, at best
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:53 AM on July 24, 2011 [79 favorites]


The chance that social security checks will not go out is zero. The gov't has plenty of money to meet all obligations.

On August 2, the U.S. will have 176 billion dollars to pay off debts, and will OWE 360 billion. Plenty of money really?

posted by Max Power at 7:54 AM on July 24, 2011 [20 favorites]


Who ya gonna vote for mondo? Bachman or Romney, maybe Rick Perry is more your speed?
posted by Max Power at 7:56 AM on July 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Trying to cut spending by using a debt ceiling is like trying to lose weight by wearing tight pants.

In a country with as many debts as the USA, it's not exactly hyperbole to say that intentionally defaulting on your loans and driving up interest rates is a crazy person's idea.
posted by Winnemac at 7:57 AM on July 24, 2011 [27 favorites]


"That thing you burned up isn't important to me. It's the fluid catalytic cracking unit economy. It made shoes for orphans jobs and stuff for everybody. Nice job breaking it, hero."
posted by Happy Dave at 7:57 AM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


But, alas, the only "radicals" I see him putting down are the ones in his own party, as he compromises further and further to the Republicans.

This video of Obama talking about compromise is interesting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:00 AM on July 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Some in Washington hold Norquist directly responsible for the inflexibility of House Republicans in the budget debate. He disagrees. "They're not against taxes because I asked them to. They're not against taxes because that's the politically popular thing to do this week. These are true believers."

The amount of disgust that I have for this man is not healthy. Diane Rehm interviewed him last week and he did not give a direct answer to her repeated question, "Here's what I want to know. I'd like to know exactly what programs you would like to get rid of." She asked that question over and over! He has no plan. None.

I was so furious that I wanted to throw my radio through my kitchen window. And then I watched Inside Job that evening and I haven't been the same since.
posted by futz at 8:00 AM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Of course both sides want this issue to be polarized. Nobody (in politics) stands to lose when they can point fingers when the smoke clears.
posted by plinth at 8:00 AM on July 24, 2011


So, who's up for some nihilistic sex and drugs?
posted by The Whelk at 8:02 AM on July 24, 2011 [49 favorites]


Not raising the debt limit will *not* "destroy the government" or "destroy the country"..

I guess we'll find out. Asian markets will open in a few hours. There isn't going to be a deal. There might be a plan about a deal, but there are too many people who share your opinion to expect anything other than a failure.
posted by humanfont at 8:02 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The chance that social security checks will not go out is zero. The gov't has plenty of money to meet all obligations.

On August 2, the U.S. will have 176 billion dollars to pay off debts, and will OWE 360 billion. Plenty of money really?

This is the problem, isn't it? No one on the right really believes that there's no money left, so there's no risk on pushing Obama to the edge. It's the same here in Europe regarding eurozone contagion, and perhaps also the case with things like climate change: no one believes the worst case scenario.

The problem being, of course, that there's really no money left. And worse than that, the world economy is so globalised that a US default won't just destroy the US economy, but will bring down a good deal of the rest of the world too. So, yeah, you know, thanks for that.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 8:02 AM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Paying bills and meeting obligations without increasing taxes on ordinary citizens is not zealotry.

Yes it is. The tax rates on the rich are as low as they have been in pretty much everyone's lifetime. Preserving these low rates, rates which are very very low compared to the both the rest of the industrialized world and our own nation's past at the cost of bankrupting our government is exactly zealotry.
posted by I Foody at 8:03 AM on July 24, 2011 [72 favorites]


If it's not zealotry how come republicans now are physically incapable of saying the word "rich" and will only use the phrase "job creator"?
posted by Talez at 8:05 AM on July 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


These are the same fuckers who shut down the FAA. 4000 people furloughed and enough operating funds to pay for air traffic control through august 15th or so.

THe government is no longer collecting taxes on airline tickets, costing them around 200 million a week. The airlines reacted to this by raising their ticket prices 7.5% to compensate for the new savings.


This is the new fucking norm.
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:07 AM on July 24, 2011 [37 favorites]




Oh, and I'd like to mention how fucking rich it is that the budget shortfall in Minnesota was 'solved' by borrowing from the future. Surely that's a wise decision! I can't believe they can get away with this utter bullshit.
posted by graventy at 8:11 AM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


This wouldn't have happened with Hillary.
posted by Ardiril at 8:12 AM on July 24, 2011 [15 favorites]


As I said previously, there isn't any legal basis for the 14th Amendment option, but the courts would prevent default either by dragging out that debate or by taking control over the budge themselves. Ergo, Obama should implement the 14th Amendment option, not by issuing new debt, but by cutting $200m off defense & other spending in Tea party states.

If the court doesn't order new bonds issued, then Obama can force the Tea party to the table by destroying their state's economies. If the court orders new bonds issues, they must invent the currently proposed 14th Amendment option themselves, which'll help long term.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:12 AM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


What bothers me most about the term "job creator" is that, since the Bush tax cuts went into effect, the rich haven't created jobs in any significant numbers. You want to be called a job creator? Create some jobs.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:12 AM on July 24, 2011 [64 favorites]


Paying bills and meeting obligations without increasing taxes on ordinary citizens is not zealotry. All of this underscores the fact that the Democrats cannot approach power in a balanced fashion...

Wow. You actually have no idea what's really going on, do you?

In a way, I envy you the rightist* bubble you live in as the world marches off of one very, very big cliff.

*Let me guess: you self identify as a "centrist".
posted by mondo dentro at 8:12 AM on July 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


Tiresias wrote: It would literally destroy the American economy

The more I've thought about it, the less I think that's entirely true. Or wouldn't be true if we didn't have Obama and the bumbling idiots in charge. If the debt ceiling isn't raised, the reasoning why we can't monetize the debt in the traditional manner or use coin seignorage to make up new money goes out the window. Thus, the government could easily enact a massive stimulus program to help repair the damage in reasonably short order.

We'll never do that, though, and the lack of will to have government pick up the slack in demand will ensure that a default will indeed cause severe economic problems.

midnightscout wrote: Not raising the debt limit will *not* "destroy the government" or "destroy the country"... don't complain about the histrionics in Washington, as it appears that nobody here can discuss this issue without getting overly dramatic with their references. The chance that social security checks will not go out is zero. The gov't has plenty of money to meet all obligations.

Please show your work. Thanks!
posted by wierdo at 8:13 AM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Not raising the debt limit will *not* "destroy the government" or "destroy the country"... don't complain about the histrionics in Washington, as it appears that nobody here can discuss this issue without getting overly dramatic with their references. The chance that social security checks will not go out is zero. The gov't has plenty of money to meet all obligations. I am tired of hearing all the bullshit about this. And it is *all* coming from the Democrats.

If the country defaults and our economy is excessively harmed - meaning markets drop 10% or more in value, government agencies are shuttered (however briefly), states don't get promised assistance, interest rates rise, credit freezes up, unemployment rises, the value of the dollar sinks, or some combination of the above, will anyone on the right admit they were wrong? Or will it simply be that the country *should* be fine, but the economy is being dragged down by the histrionics from the political party they oppose?

I believe that if the country defaults on its debt obligations, our economy will be damaged quite severely. But I'm also not an idiot who thinks he knows everything about everything and is willing to shape global events to fit a narrow worldview. If we default and, a week later, a compromise is found and the markets recover as though nothing has happened, I will readily admit that I was wrong and that I need to find new or at the least additional sources of news and commentary.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:14 AM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


What bothers me most about the term "job creator" is that, since the Bush tax cuts went into effect, the rich haven't created jobs in any significant numbers. You want to be called a job creator? Create some jobs.

I'd actually be pretty happy if there were big tax breaks on job creators. You know... giving rich people X% off their taxes for each new full-time employee with benefits they put into the workforce during a year, and a continued tax break as long as that job is in existence and filled by the same person.

That way, all those Wall Street bankers who have been raking it in hand-over-fist by gambling with other people's money will finally have to pay their fare share as leeches upon the economy, and the people who actually contribute value to the greater good can get the encouragement they need.
posted by hippybear at 8:16 AM on July 24, 2011 [27 favorites]


The two party system is awful.

The two party system is a relatively inexpensive, high-return investment for moneyed interests.
posted by fatllama at 8:20 AM on July 24, 2011 [35 favorites]


I'm thinking tomorrow might be a good day to move my IRA into a 100% cash position. I'd rather miss out on the possible 3% bump on the announcement of a realistic deal over losing 25% in the greatest one day drop in history on Aug 2.

Yeah, I know, timing the market is bad. But this one seems pretty damn obvious, especially in light of the fact that the relative stability of the market over the last month would indicate that Wall Street is expecting a deal to happen. When they are blindsided by the failure, the markets could be really ugly.
posted by COD at 8:20 AM on July 24, 2011


Hey, if the US defaults on it's debt, how can I benefit? Like, would I be able to buy certain US bonds and get higher than normal intrest back, since the credit rating would be lowered?
posted by hellojed at 8:21 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"pay their fare share"

Yeesh. FAIR share, thank you.
posted by hippybear at 8:24 AM on July 24, 2011


Deep down, the little anarchist in me is saying that a 24-hour US default is just the lesson this entire world needs. Let everyone get a taste of just how much power has been concentrated in our itty bitty District. Oddly enough, the Republicans are the ones trying to diminish that power.
posted by Ardiril at 8:24 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


So the republicans want to destroy Obama and don't mind taking the country to hell with them and Obama just wants to make massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare in order to appease this ethereal "deficit" god. I feel like a winner already.
posted by jake1 at 8:24 AM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Reticence" doesn't mean "reluctance" or "hesitance." It means "reluctance or hesitance to speak." It comes from the Latin "taceo," "to be silent."
posted by edheil at 8:25 AM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


hippybear wrote: I'd actually be pretty happy if there were big tax breaks on job creators. You know... giving rich people X% off their taxes for each new full-time employee with benefits they put into the workforce during a year, and a continued tax break as long as that job is in existence and filled by the same person.

We kinda sorta did that (albeit not a permanent tax break), but it didn't do much good.
posted by wierdo at 8:25 AM on July 24, 2011


And it is *all* coming from the Democrats.

Yeah, right. Playing that childish temper-tantrum blame game is exactly why we're in the position we're in at this moment.
posted by blucevalo at 8:26 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


We're making plenty of jobs. Just not here.

Multinational US corporations are not our friends.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:26 AM on July 24, 2011 [22 favorites]


I'm thinking tomorrow might be a good day to move my IRA into a 100% cash position. I'd rather miss out on the possible 3% bump on the announcement of a realistic deal over losing 25% in the greatest one day drop in history on Aug 2.

You are too late. The market will likely collapse tomorrow if there is no deal. If it doesn't the it isn't going to collapse august 2nd.
posted by humanfont at 8:27 AM on July 24, 2011


move my IRA into a 100% cash position - Yes, you pretty much missed the gold opportunity.
posted by Ardiril at 8:28 AM on July 24, 2011


Hey, if the US defaults on it's debt, how can I benefit?

I don't know the answer to that but I think the people who bought gold and gold correlated securities when the price was 500-600/oz (which seemed awfully high at the time) stand to gain from all this. They have been all along, in plain sight. I argued back when it was at 900 that the government should come in and diffuse the situation. I don't think anyone could benefit much by buying those things at this point, but I could be wrong.
posted by nervousfritz at 8:28 AM on July 24, 2011


Tin Foil Hat Prediction:™ The too-much-coffee edition.
• The debt ceiling will not be raised.
• Panic will ensue.
• The private sector, in the form of a giant Wall Street-based consortium, will eventually ride-in and "rescue" the government by either buying the debt or floating the largest loan in world financial history (at very advantageous rates). Either plan will include a large number of provisions which, in the end, will hand-over nearly all social programs to the private sector. Many programs will be cut completely.
• This will later be seen as the moment when the US adopted a completely unregulated, free-market world view and ceased to exist as a representative democracy. Markets will respond favorably.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:28 AM on July 24, 2011 [35 favorites]


We're making plenty of jobs. Just not here.

Multinational US corporations are not our friends.


Well, corporations in general are not our friends. They worry only about one thing, and that doesn't concern the wellbeing of people in general. If they could find a way to make money while paying nobody and destroying the health of everyone they come in contact with and not suffer any negative blowback while doing it, they'd take that tack if it meant the profits were as large as possible.
posted by hippybear at 8:29 AM on July 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


The political system is completely broken in this country.

this could well be the final test - if they fail to come up with a compromise, then it's broken

but some have said that this whole debate is irrelevant - that the u s treasury could invoke its ability of coin seigniorage to step around the problem

i have no idea how exactly this works or what the consequences might really be
posted by pyramid termite at 8:30 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd actually be pretty happy if there were big tax breaks on job creators. You know... giving rich people X% off their taxes for each new full-time employee with benefits they put into the workforce during a year, and a continued tax break as long as that job is in existence and filled by the same person.

Which would you rather do, hire an American for $30,000 and get a $5,000 tax break or hire someone in China for $5,000 to do the same job?

Anyway, it seems to me that people hire employees when they need to hire employees. There is always a certain amount of flexibility there, but you don't just hire people because you have extra cash lying around. You hire people because your business needs indicate that it makes sense to do so.

I'm neither an economist nor a small business owner, however, but it seems that stimulating the demand side would do more for hiring than stimulating the supply side.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 8:32 AM on July 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Not raising the debt limit will *not* "destroy the government" or "destroy the country"... don't complain about the histrionics in Washington, as it appears that nobody here can discuss this issue without getting overly dramatic with their references. The chance that social security checks will not go out is zero. The gov't has plenty of money to meet all obligations. I am tired of hearing all the bullshit about this. And it is *all* coming from the Democrats. Paying bills and meeting obligations without increasing taxes on ordinary citizens is not zealotry. All of this underscores the fact that the Democrats cannot approach power in a balanced fashion, and it appears that they have no political prowess whatsoever. They appear to just hate the fact that someone is telling them they cannot spend as much money as they want to.


Michelle Bachman is this you?

I suppose Jon Kyl and John Boehner are Democrats? Because they both predicted dire events this morning.

"Deficits don't matter" - Dick Cheney. Republican right?

Balanced eh? Taxes are at 60 year lows. We've had tax cuts for 2 administrations now (with 2 terms of Bush in there). The mighty Reagan raised taxes 6 times. Including having rates for higher income brackets over 50%. We argue about raising them 3%. We are willing to default on obligations over 3% for the rich. The Bush Administration (Republican, last time I checked) had two wars, a tax cut and a entitlement program (Medicare Part D) without trying to fund any of it. ANY of it.

The major initiative of the Democrats? 'Obamacare'? Tax increases and incentives to pay for it. Some will argue with the math but there is an attempt to pay for it. I think that's what balanced means but maybe that's just me...
posted by dig_duggler at 8:32 AM on July 24, 2011 [30 favorites]


a deal is coming down Sunday 7/24 before the Asian markets open
hmmmm
save the markets and throw the rest of us under the bus
nice
posted by robbyrobs at 8:34 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The private sector, in the form of a giant Wall Street-based consortium, will eventually ride-in and "rescue" the government by either buying the debt or floating the largest loan in world financial history (at very advantageous rates).

They don't have enough capital, and most of them are still up to their eyebrows in hock to the Federal Reserve Bank from 2008. There is no white knight available - either debt ceiling is raised, or we're in the Great Depression II. The economy is still fragile, and a sustained market shock will completely nuke it.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:34 AM on July 24, 2011


pyramid termite, don't feel bad, I've been mulling it over for days and am still not sure what I think about that option. It's clearly legal, based on what I've read, but I'm not entirely sure what the effect would be, other than allowing the government to spend more money.

I guess it might be inflationary, at least once the new money is spent on something other than repaying bonds, but I don't think that would be a terrible thing anyway, as we're seeing inflation trend downward again, and lord knows the last thing we need is deflation.

If we were just to pay off bonds with seignorage "profits," it wouldn't really be inflationary as we'd just be replacing one debt instrument with another. A treasury bond is, after all, used essentially the same way as cash in a lot of transactions.
posted by wierdo at 8:36 AM on July 24, 2011


You are too late. The market will likely collapse tomorrow if there is no deal. If it doesn't the it isn't going to collapse august 2nd.

Which is why, from the Republican perspective as the long-standing party of Wall Street, failing to raise the debt-limit is the political equivalent to holding a gun to your own head and saying "Stop or I'll shoot."

This circus was created because Obama wanted a "grand compromise" where "indepedent" voters see that the Democrats are willing to bleed SS and Medicare.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:37 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm beginning to have second thoughts about getting a degree that's mainly only applicable to jobs in the public sector. I'm watching this whole thing with weary resignation.
posted by codacorolla at 8:37 AM on July 24, 2011


The Republicans are going to raise the debt ceiling, McConnell has already showed his hand. Just from a pure negotiation standpoint, judging from Obama's past dealings with Republicans, what do the Republicans have to lose by standing firm until the last minute? Obama's history is to cave cave cave until a compromise is reached. A good negotiator would start moving in the opposite direction when being pushed like this. If you don't start taking things off the table what is there to lose on the other side?
posted by any major dude at 8:38 AM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


I am glad that some patriots are staunchly defending our right not to have to pay the federal government for any services. Taxing the job creators would be a terrible thing right now for our country. It would keep them from opening up all the hardware stores, auto plants, restaurants, movie theaters, nurseries, shoe stores, butcheries, record stores, bars, concert halls, furniture makers, grocery stores, stationary stores, book stores, and dry cleaners that they have opened up like a thousand points of light in my community ever since the Bush tax cuts went into effect.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 8:38 AM on July 24, 2011 [24 favorites]


Every FPP for the past two years that deals with Obama features comments from people that say he's wrong to compromise.

When a Republican compromises, it's usually something like, "Okay, in exchange for NOT demanding that you decrease taxes for the wealthy, we'll agree to funding unemployment benefits, but only 50% of what you actually asked for." When a Democrat compromises, it's usually something like, "Okay, in exchange for getting you to stop acting like crybabies and actually pass this budget that has already been slashed to the bare minimum for all social services, we'll let you turn the nation into a freaking Christian theocracy."

Republic compromise means going from "100% my way" to "75% my way." Democratic compromise means going from "50% my way" to "25% my way".

It's a good thing I'm a pacifist who doesn't actually believe in violence as a way to solve problems, because this sort of bullcrap makes me want to start punching faces and never stop.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:40 AM on July 24, 2011 [20 favorites]


midnightscout: " I am tired of hearing all the bullshit about this. And it is *all* coming from the Democrats. Paying bills and meeting obligations without increasing taxes on ordinary citizens is not zealotry. All of this underscores the fact that the Democrats cannot approach power in a balanced fashion, and it appears that they have no political prowess whatsoever. They appear to just hate the fact that someone is telling them they cannot spend as much money as they want to."

midnightscout, are you completely fucking ignorant of the fact that this debt ceiling has nothing to do with future expenditures (and thus "spending money as 'they' want to") and EVERYTHING to do with previous budgets that are due, and that it is a bill put in the previous year by the REPUBLICAN leadership who authorized these expenditures in their legislation and now refuse to pay up when the bill is due. And yet you talk about histrionics. Indeed. Who is the one saying "no compromise" on even a slight increase? Who is the one refusing to play ball or budge a goddamned inch? Which party is the one actually making massive cuts to programs that they believe in (albeit (supposedly at least) grudgingly) while asking for a small amount of the balancing to come from an increase in income (i.e. closing tax loopholes). In other words, now is not the time or place to make demands on the future issues. If the Republicans wanna play ball with the US credit rating (not that I have any love for the fucking ratings agencies, considering their role in the massive bubble we saw burst a few years ago), then they ARE playing the wrong game, because again. The proper time and place for this is DURING THE BUDGETING PROCESS when future funds are to be voted on, not when past funds are due.

Someone somewhere gave an analogy that it's like you and your Republican friends all phone up and order some pizza. The delivery guy comes to the door, you get everyone together to pitch in for the pizza you all agreed on to buy, and the Republican friends now refuse to pay for the food they ordered previously.

Like I like to say people who think the dems are some radical crazy left-wing socialist commies wouldn't know fucking socialism if it dragged them out to a ditch and shot them in the head.

And Empress... Really? Nice strawman. Jesus fuck. The dems aren't negotiating? The dems are the crazy stubborn fools? Or do you mean the few really left-wing folks like kucinich who are trying to prevent the Overton Window from being ripped completely out of their hands and spun so far to the right it makes your neck whiplash as you watch, completely stunned and disoriented, as the Republicans (with the collusion of a president who not only continues to compromise but starts from the center and compromises further to the right) do it yet again?
posted by symbioid at 8:40 AM on July 24, 2011 [48 favorites]


You know what's really freaking annoying? How both Obama and Boehner constantly used "The American People" as a euphemism for "Me and my party". The American People want this, the American People want that. Gimme a break. As if its that simple.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:41 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


As a leftist cripple who is dependent on payouts from the feds to survive (SSD, Medicare), let me say how completely fucking depressing it is to read statements along the lines of:

1) Oh, a little anarchy is good for the soul.
2) This is Obama's fault because he didn't display some imaginary level of political jujitsu that is completely undefined.

This is aside from that blurt of nonsense that was: "Don't worry, all those checks are going to go out. And grown-ups pay their bills."

This is not directed at anybody, only the situation

KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL
posted by angrycat at 8:44 AM on July 24, 2011 [24 favorites]


We kinda sorta did that (albeit not a permanent tax break), but it didn't do much good.

Yeah, we should have coupled with with a giant tax hike on everyone who is in the top percentiles and isn't a job creator. Make it basically mandatory to create jobs and hire people in order to maintain current or even lower tax levels -- everyone else gets hit for more money.

We would have seen jobs.

it seems that stimulating the demand side would do more for hiring than stimulating the supply side.

While I agree with you here, I think that encouraging hiring in a REAL way would stimulate demand. Because having 20% of your population out of a job isn't really helping increase spending much. Put them to work, and you'll suddenly find there's a class of consumer out there who now have money to spend which they didn't before.
posted by hippybear at 8:44 AM on July 24, 2011


The NIKKEI opens at 8PM EDT, right? 5PM on the west coast?
posted by BeerFilter at 8:45 AM on July 24, 2011


If that's right, it would be 2PM on the East. I suggest at that balmy time of the day that Boehner and the rest of the House Republicans discuss this issue in the middle of the Mall, outside of shade, without water. Sorry, you want to bring down the country, NO WATER OR SHADE FOR YOU
posted by angrycat at 8:47 AM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Right wing dominates debt ceiling ad war. Politico suggests that right wing groups are outspending liberals by 5 or 10 to 1 ratios. That kind of money backing your politics gives you kits of leverage.
posted by humanfont at 8:49 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not raising the debt limit will *not* "destroy the government" or "destroy the country"... don't complain about the histrionics in Washington, as it appears that nobody here can discuss this issue without getting overly dramatic with their references. The chance that social security checks will not go out is zero. The gov't has plenty of money to meet all obligations. I am tired of hearing all the bullshit about this. And it is *all* coming from the Democrats. Paying bills and meeting obligations without increasing taxes on ordinary citizens is not zealotry. All of this underscores the fact that the Democrats cannot approach power in a balanced fashion, and it appears that they have no political prowess whatsoever. They appear to just hate the fact that someone is telling them they cannot spend as much money as they want to.

Since you refuse to believe the facts the leaders of your own party have been repeatedly pointing out to you this last week, let me put it to you in language you do understand:

failing to raise the debt ceiling will add to the deficit significantly by raising the cost of borrowing for the US.

That's right. We're gonna have to pay higher interest rates on the debt if we default. Simple math. Failing to pay your bills means that people require more interest when you want to borrow again.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:49 AM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is Obama's fault because he didn't display some imaginary level of political jujitsu that is completely undefined.

It's Obama's fault because he is using his political jujitsu against an imaginary enemy: the whims of the "independent voter."

Somewhere, back at the Harvard Legal Review, or in Hyde Park at some cocktail party, back when people had jobs, Obama decided that what the Democrats needed to do was show that they were "responsible" and "serious." And the way to do that was to show that they were willing to cut the last remaining programs of the New Deal (if you count LBJ's program as the last extension of the New Deal.)

This is completely insane.

The root of the current "crisis" is that Obama wants to exploit the situation to push a historic shift in the politics of the Democratic party. Absent this, the Republicans would put on a good show, bleating and braying about the deficit, and then raise the debt limit when everyone gets tired of the performance.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:53 AM on July 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


The NIKKEI opens at 8PM EDT, right? 5PM on the west coast?

Yes. For real-time stock quotes there is a 20-min delay, though the press will announce exchange opening right away.
posted by stbalbach at 8:53 AM on July 24, 2011


pls define "effectively default on its debt". is the treasury planning to not pay its interest coupons? How is this time different from the previous 40 times the debt ceiling has been raised?

Why does political discourse have to sound like the sky is about to fall in a few hours? If the answer is "for the pageviews", do you think blowing things out of proportion is going to help in any way?
posted by 3mendo at 8:55 AM on July 24, 2011


Something I liked about the video Brandon Blatcher links to is this from Obama: He's talking about the need for compromise in politics, and how Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation outlined that the states in the Union could keep their slaves, and then he says, "Can you imagine how the Huffington Post would've reported on that?... 'Lincoln sells out slaves'. And there would be protests, we'd want a third party guy...."
posted by Houstonian at 8:56 AM on July 24, 2011


I wish someone would run for President under the platform, secret or open, that they would only seek one term. There would be no more games about the reelection or appealing to independent voters. Just get in there and Bulworth the shit out of the place.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:56 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


jake1: "So the republicans want to destroy Obama and don't mind taking the country to hell with them and Obama just wants to make massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare in order to appease this ethereal "deficit" god. I feel like a winner already."

That's just Charlie Sheen's patented Tiger Blood(R) hitting your system.
posted by symbioid at 8:57 AM on July 24, 2011


How is this time different from the previous 40 times the debt ceiling has been raised?

I believe the primary difference would be it not being raised
posted by crayz at 8:58 AM on July 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


We're making plenty of jobs. Just not here. Multinational US corporations are not our friends.

Until one realizes that both parties are working for the same employers, one hasn't even grasped the true nature of the problem.
posted by Trurl at 8:58 AM on July 24, 2011 [20 favorites]


The two party system is a relatively inexpensive, high-return investment for moneyed interests.
posted by fatllama at 8:20 AM on July 24 [3 favorites +] [!]


Is it, though? The impression I'm getting is that if there's a default a lot of people on Wall Street will lose a lot of money. That sounds like a pretty crappy investment if you ask me.
posted by Ndwright at 8:59 AM on July 24, 2011


How is this time different from the previous 40 times the debt ceiling has been raised?

S&P has said it could cut US bond rating from AAA to AA+ in 30 to 90 days .. this has never happened before. Bond markets around the world will have to recalibrate and the ripple effect is unknown (contagion).
posted by stbalbach at 8:59 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Democrats would accept a "deal" wherein the debt limit is raised, thus avoiding default. The Republicans would not. All else is just details. I therefore suggest that we start calling this "the Republican Default of 2011".
posted by Flunkie at 9:00 AM on July 24, 2011 [17 favorites]


Maybe the US bond rating was too high anyway.
posted by swift at 9:02 AM on July 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


John Cole from two years ago:
I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.
This sums it up for me. The Republican's starting proposal is to burn the country down and dance in the ashes and Obama seems to be trying to negotiate with them as if there's only a few minor little sticking points between the sides.
posted by octothorpe at 9:03 AM on July 24, 2011 [82 favorites]


I believe the primary difference would be it not being raised

No, this is the problem. Even if the debt ceiling is raised, if there is not a plan to address the massive debt, S&P will cut the bond rating, which is serious shit. So it doesn't help to just raise the debt ceiling, they have to cut spending and/or raise revenue.
posted by stbalbach at 9:03 AM on July 24, 2011


Dear lord the Tea Party is frightening. They ran as anarchists (except w/r/t gay marriage and abortion, I suppose), and that is what they still appear to be. You can't cut a deal to govern with people opposed to governing as a thing in itself.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:05 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm neither an economist nor a small business owner, however, but it seems that stimulating the demand side would do more for hiring than stimulating the supply side.

This is why the stimulus package didn't work. It should have been mostly "Okay, there's no demand for labor in the private sector, so therefore let's throw all our money into job creation by the government." It's not like there aren't plenty of things in the country that people could do if someone was willing to pay. There just isn't a ton of free-market demand for unpolluted wildlife, clean inner cities, smaller classroom sizes, expanded after-school programs, etc.

Instead, a lion's share of the stimulus package went towards tax cuts, which softened the blow of the recession but didn't solve it at all, because it didn't do anything about the low demand of labor in the free-market.

You cannot stimulate the demand for labor in this economy.

You cannot stimulate the demand for labor in this economy.

You cannot stimulate the demand for labor in this economy.

I don't know how much more this truth needs to sit out there before people actually incorporate it into decision-making, assuming that anyone on the right is not disingenuous about their desire to actually make things better.

The only way to get out of this recession is by creating jobs, and the only entity that can create jobs in this economy is the U.S. government, and the only way that the U.S. government can create jobs is if it does a whole big thing of government spending. But never mind, that needed to have happened 3 years ago. So now, you know, whatever.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:06 AM on July 24, 2011 [63 favorites]


My tinfoil hat theory is that the Republicans had wanted to craft a narrative where Obama raised the debt ceiling without Congress' consent. That narrative never really caught on, so now the Republicans feel emasculated. They pumping up the drama, with last-minute negotiations and ridiculous demands, in an attempt to steal a heroic role from all this nonsense, but that heroic role is never coming, so now they're just pumping it up and up and up.

It's like a guy at a bar who wants to get into a bar fight, so he calls out some dude for looking at him funny. The dude defuses the situation, but the guy wanted a fight, so he keeps trying to ramp up the situation in front of everyone else, but it doesn't work, so he starts threatening other people at the bar for no really good reason, but people aren't having it, so he just keep pushing people's buttons until someone's dumb enough to punch him.

No, this is the problem. Even if the debt ceiling is raised, if there is not a plan to address the massive debt, S&P will cut the bond rating, which is serious shit. So it doesn't help to just raise the debt ceiling, they have to cut spending and/or raise revenue.

Cut defense, raise taxes. The Republicans will never go for it. Democats want to sell the Hummer and get a job, Republicans want to update the Hummer's stereo system and get another credit card.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:07 AM on July 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


Every FPP for the past two years that deals with Obama features comments from people that say he's wrong to compromise.

Oh, come on. There may be a few people like that, but the vast majority are just upset because he doesn't actually compromise by any real meaning of the word. You know, as in the parties reach an agreement that accomplishes things they both want, in addition to some of the things one party wants and some of the things the other party wants.

In this particular instance, there are some teabaggers who don't care if we default, but their leadership gets it. Boehner and Cantor said months ago that they knew we were going to raise the limit. McConnell said on last week's Sunday morning talk shows that there's nobody talking about not raising the limit. They get it. They're just pretending they really want to let us default to have more leverage over Obama.

So in a negotiation where neither side wants the country to default on its debts, one side wants to slash social programs to cut the budget, and the other side wants to raise taxes on the rich, what would an ACTUAL COMPROMISE look like? Let's say, an equal mix of tax increases and budget cuts and no default. What have the past several Obama deals all had in common? MASSIVE budget cuts, involving substantial cuts to social programs, and zero tax increases. None. They're talking about raising $800 billion - $1.2 trillion through, like, tax code reform or some shit. Which is "about a trillion dollars less in revenues than the Simpson-Bowles/Gang of Six deals advocated, and about $2.6 trillion less in revenue than simply letting the Bush tax cuts expire in 2012." Which would automatically happen, unless Congress votes to extend them another time.

What the fuck kind of compromise is that? And Republicans frame it as "we get spending cuts, and Democrats get to raise the debt ceiling," as though that shared goal is something the Democrats can put in their "win" column. THIS is the kind of thing we're upset about, and I sure as shit wouldn't call it "negotiating"
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 9:08 AM on July 24, 2011 [37 favorites]


So, is this pretty much win-win for the Republicans? The debt ceiling gets raised and the narrative becomes "Obama is pillaging the future with more government spending and bigger government!" It fails, the economy tanks, and the narrative becomes "Obama let the economy tank under his watch because he didn't do enough to placate us." I'm not optimistic here.
posted by synecdoche at 9:09 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


No, this is the problem. Even if the debt ceiling is raised, if there is not a plan to address the massive debt, S&P will cut the bond rating, which is serious shit. So it doesn't help to just raise the debt ceiling, they have to cut spending and/or raise revenue.

Why would this be true? Why is August 2nd the date when the country needs to deal with our 75 year outlook on unfunded liabilities, a problem that's been growing steadily over time for years?

It needs to be dealt with in a serious way in the near future, but until the GOP decided this was the summer to throw their steering wheel out of the car and play chicken with the global economy, the conventional wisdom was the US had another 5-10 years to get its act together before its creditors started seriously pulling the rug out
posted by crayz at 9:11 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, is this pretty much win-win for the Republicans?

On the one side you had someone who wanted to cut Social Security. And on the other side...

Oh, well. At least DADT repeal got certified.
posted by Trurl at 9:12 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


We have seven hours? Is there anything anyone can do other than put up supplies of water and food? Seriously, what are people doing to prepare for this?
posted by Surfurrus at 9:12 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Houstonian: "Something I liked about the video Brandon Blatcher links to is this from Obama: He's talking about the need for compromise in politics, and how Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation outlined that the states in the Union could keep their slaves, and then he says, "Can you imagine how the Huffington Post would've reported on that?... 'Lincoln sells out slaves'. And there would be protests, we'd want a third party guy....""

And at some point, Lincoln stopped compromising and went to fucking war. Can you imagine that, Obama? You? Going to war and fighting an actual fight against an enemy instead of compromise every last inch. If Lincoln was like you, slavery would still exist.
posted by symbioid at 9:13 AM on July 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Oh, and I'd like to mention how fucking rich it is that the budget shortfall in Minnesota was 'solved' by borrowing from the future. Surely that's a wise decision! I can't believe they can get away with this utter bullshit.

This.

For all the hemming and hawing the GOP do about our debt levels, it should be pointed out again and again that after the recent Minnesota shutdown, they opted to BORROW MORE MONEY rather than tax the top 2% of people in the state. And it should be noted that the effective tax rate of the top 2% is only 9%, compared to the effective tax rate of 11% paid by almost everybody else.

So, in summary, the Minnesota GOP would rather that we take on more debt than make the millionaires pay their fair share. If this doesn't make your head fucking explode than you're just not paying attention. I haven't take taken the GOP or any of their ridiculous and unrealistic proposals seriously for years, but for the people who still find them to be reasonable.....surely this.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:14 AM on July 24, 2011 [34 favorites]


We have seven hours?

I thought they had til August 2nd? If they're anything like me they won't get serious about working on it until the evening of the 1st.
posted by Flashman at 9:17 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm gonna take a nap.
posted by cavalier at 9:18 AM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


It needs to be dealt with in a serious way

Agreed.

But anyone not suggesting an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan is not dealing with the deficit in a serious way. They're just trying to loot entitlements.
posted by Trurl at 9:19 AM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop calling Tea Party people "anarchists". It's like calling Obama a "socialist". It offends us people who are sympathetic with real actual anarchists (who actually go by that term) and real socialists (again, who actually go by that term).
posted by symbioid at 9:20 AM on July 24, 2011 [16 favorites]


We need to organize the biggest Flash Mob in history, right in front of the Capitol.
Go Arab Spring on these stupid motherfuckers.
posted by Flashman at 9:21 AM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop calling Tea Party people "anarchists".

"nihilists" works for me, what about you?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:22 AM on July 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


We believe in nothing Lebowski. Nothing!
posted by Happy Dave at 9:23 AM on July 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


pyramid termite, I've come to appreciate the term "spiteists".
posted by symbioid at 9:24 AM on July 24, 2011 [16 favorites]


I am getting sick Republican budget blocking. The GOP has been testing this tactic at state level. Minnesota and Iowa both had delays caused by GOP trying to ram through nonbudget items in the budget bill. They are using a classic "Overton window," they'll give up conservative ideological issues like defunding women's health clinics, if they can just get a budget with major caps and cuts. They're prepared to destroy government institutions that support the public interests, just to reduce government and neutralize the ability of The People to use their collective political power.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:24 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's Obama's fault because he is using his political jujitsu against an imaginary enemy: the whims of the "independent voter."

Somewhere, back at the Harvard Legal Review, or in Hyde Park at some cocktail party, back when people had jobs, Obama decided that what the Democrats needed to do was show that they were "responsible" and "serious."


Somewhere, in the bowels of the White House, Obama looked at the last election and saw that we lost. Then, he looked over at the House and saw the GOP had a majority. Then he realized we don't have the votes. Then he opened up his U.S. Constitution and the Rules of the House and saw how that majority counted. Then he looked at the Gallup exit polling and saw few liberals showed up. So he realized the left was WEAK and that he could not count on them for THE LONG HARD JOB OF GOVERNING. Apparently they were too busy engaging in activities designed to make them feel good about being leftists, like breaking into Michelle Bachman's dressing room, throwing glitter around, or having protests with giant puppets, or putting red paint on someone, rather than registering voters or calling and writing their congress person on key issues, or you know, voting in every election.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:24 AM on July 24, 2011 [34 favorites]


hey now I purposed a very solid and concrete nihilistic sex and drugs platforms.
posted by The Whelk at 9:25 AM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


The biggest news here:

1) John Boehner does not return the president's phone calls.

2) This entire debate has taken place behind closed doors between a small number of senior legislators. One senator admitted last week that his knowledge of the talks comes entirely from the New York Times and Huffington Post.
posted by schmod at 9:26 AM on July 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


or having protests with giant puppets

Heh, so very true.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:27 AM on July 24, 2011


"nihilists" works for me, what about you?

Americana cosplayers.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:27 AM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hippie punching, it's like Godwin's Law for centrist democrats!
posted by symbioid at 9:28 AM on July 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


We need to organize the biggest Flash Mob in history, right in front of the Capitol.
Go Arab Spring on these stupid motherfuckers.


In this heat? Lawd have mercy, I'll be watching from the Burger King down the street.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 9:28 AM on July 24, 2011


And at some point, Lincoln stopped compromising and went to fucking war. Can you imagine that, Obama? You? Going to war and fighting an actual fight against an enemy instead of compromise every last inch. If Lincoln was like you, slavery would still exist.

Huh. You know, 50k people died in the battle of Gettysburgh alone.

That's what you want? Oh go you.
posted by angrycat at 9:28 AM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


angrycat, my point is that Obama kept praising "compromise" but Lincoln didn't win the Civil War by compromise. My point is that sometimes, compromise doesn't work, and there comes a time to fight back.

I'm talking metaphorical. Or was your "KILL KILL KILL" literal, too?

Jesus fuck.
posted by symbioid at 9:30 AM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


"nihilists" works for me, what about you?

I prefer "shitheads," but I've run out of charity and patience.
posted by lydhre at 9:33 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


So he realized the left was WEAK and that he could not count on them for THE LONG HARD JOB OF GOVERNING

Do you just copy/paste this same comment into every political thread? It seems there's nothing wrong with this country you can't blame on liberal weakness, like some inverted self-loathing stockholm syndrome
posted by crayz at 9:33 AM on July 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


And at some point, Lincoln stopped compromising and went to fucking war. Can you imagine that, Obama? You? Going to war and fighting an actual fight against an enemy instead of compromise every last inch. If Lincoln was like you, slavery would still exist.

You fundamentally do not understand Abraham Lincoln. He personally wanted slavery abolished, but his only desire was to keep the Union. He was hammered from his left by full-on abolitionists, and yet did not free the slaves. Finally, when he saw advantage and need to deflect British and French pressure, he freed only those slaves he had no physical power to free, leaving those he could actually free in bondage. Knowing he could not uncross that line, only then did he make the abolition of slavery in the Confederate States a condition of victory.

He only did things when there was support out there for them. He did not try to foist things on people, or not listen to the electorate. Kind of like Obama.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:33 AM on July 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


The difference between hyperbole and a reference to a historical analogy is that WOW, history actually happened, so that's the difference. Have fun with your fantasy Civil War 2.0, though.
posted by angrycat at 9:33 AM on July 24, 2011


The Civil War analogy seems pretty apt, though.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:33 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


They appear to just hate the fact that someone is telling them they cannot spend as much money as they want to.

Allright, I am leaving the thread before I get too angry, but I will just say this:

midnightscout, I really really REALLY hope you were one of those rare conservatives who opposed going into the war in Iraq (and by opposed, I mean, actually was against it BEFORE it happened, instead of some kind of revisionist reimagining of your original position).

Because if you weren't -- if you didn't march against the war, send letters to your senators or congresspeople, talk about it to your friends and neighbors; if, G!d forbid, you actually supported the war like so many conservatives did back in 2003, then you:
  • Were complicit in effectively wasting over $3 trillion dollars on a war that probably never needed to have taken place
  • Have the blood of
    • Every man, woman, and child directly killed as "collateral damage" in the war
    • Every man, woman, and child that died because of a lack of adequate resources in the aftermath of the war in Iraq
    • Every American soldier who died in battle
    • Every man, woman, and child in the United States who died as a result of violence by servicepeople psychologically damaged by the war
    • Every man, woman, and child in the United States who has died due to lack of access to sufficient healtcare, or due to a lack of resources that could have been provided by federal, state, or local funding that has been cut because of a need to "tighten" budget spending
    on your hands.
So don't talk to me about a little bit of fucking SPENDING.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:33 AM on July 24, 2011 [51 favorites]


I think the silver lining to all this is that it may begin to swing even corporate support toward the Dems. For all their free-market, tax-cutting bluster, if the Republicans are seriously considering a move that would be so devastating to American business, they are becoming too erratic and ideological even for business interests.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 9:34 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The right wing is anathema to civil society.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:36 AM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


To add onto Ironmouth, Lincoln believed that slavery was evil. He said this repeatedly in the Senate election of 1858. To highlight the difference between knowing something is wrong and the difficult process of governing.

Do you just copy/paste this same comment into every political thread? It seems there's nothing wrong with this country you can't blame on liberal weakness, like some inverted self-loathing stockholm syndrome


I really hope people in the U.S. are generally more sensible than the substance of the above comment. Otherwise, we are well and truly fucked in 2012, let alone this month.
posted by angrycat at 9:37 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


That 'super congress' story is pretty terrifying. Did they get the ghost of Sinclair Lewis to come up with that one?
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:37 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there really anything to stop the formerly traditional raising of the debt ceiling with no other strings attached?

That doesn't seem in opposition to the "no new taxes" pledge the Republicans are on about, and I'd think you'd get 100% Democratic support. Is there a filibuster threat in the Senate, or is it just that the House leadership is unwilling to allow it to proceed out of committee?

Whatever the political histrionics, this remains the right thing to do and I'm not clear that there isn't a majority who haven't painted themselves in the corner on this.
posted by meinvt at 9:38 AM on July 24, 2011


I really hope people in the U.S. are generally more sensible than the substance of the above comment. Otherwise, we are well and truly fucked in 2012, let alone this month.

Because the best thing for liberals to do is talk about how weak with infighting their own side is? I guess the irony of this is lost on you?
posted by crayz at 9:39 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


How about this: tie the debt ceiling to the budget that gets passed!
posted by ifandonlyif at 9:40 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The right wing is the lifeblood of corporatism.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:40 AM on July 24, 2011


Is there really anything to stop the formerly traditional raising of the debt ceiling with no other strings attached?

Whatever one's feelings about the debt rating agencies, I don't think anyone disputes their ability to make borrowing more expensive for us. Given how much borrowing we do, that's not a minor issue.
posted by Trurl at 9:40 AM on July 24, 2011


Do you just copy/paste this same comment into every political thread? It seems there's nothing wrong with this country you can't blame on liberal weakness, like some inverted self-loathing stockholm syndrome

You refuse to listen, therefore im compelled to repeat myself. I note you refuse to engage the substance of my comment. I would love to be wrong--I would love for us to have won the 2010 elections and happily executing the wish list. Since we didn't, I merely suggest we act rationally by helping our guy. But some people think the plan is not to vote and then think we have some power we dont.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:41 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth: " (Lincoln) only did things when there was support out there for them. He did not try to foist things on people, or not listen to the electorate. Kind of like Obama."

------------

So. We try to push for support on our direction from the left, then you tell us we shouldn't push him and don't be so hard on him.

Make up your mind.

We're too noisy, loud and we don't let the man do his "responsible centrist leadership" or we're not loud enough and it's our fault for not pushing harder (and how do we do that? vote for him if he doesn't do what we want, and then we complain and it's our fault because...? or don't vote for him because he doesn't do what we want and then it's our fault because we didn't vote for him...)

Yeah. Great logic.
posted by symbioid at 9:42 AM on July 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


So, let's say that there is no deal. What do people think the budget will be?

If this is to be believed, there is enough to pay interest on the existing debt, social security, medicare, vesterans' benefits, and "the narrowest definition" of national defense (by which I presume he means the narrowest definition under CBO scoring or whatever, as opposed to "enough to defend ourselves from invasion" or the like). And nothing else.

Which would mean that if all of those are to be covered, then "No Medicaid, no FAA, no border patrol, no FBI, no embassies, no highways, no disaster relief, no SEC, no court systems, no prisons, no national parks, no CIA, no school lunches, no medical care for children, no SNAP, no flood control, no student loans, no medical research, no nothing." And no IRS, which is where the assumed money to cover at least some things is coming from.

So what's it going to be? To be clear, I'm not asking "what do you think it should be" - I'm asking "what do you think it will be".

Another question: Alternatively, I suppose we could just start printing money a la Zimbabwe. Let's assume we just start declaring enough dollars to exist so as to cover the shortfall in the federal budget. How much inflation would that cause? I imagine it (or at least a lower limit for it) could be worked out mathematically, from the amount of the shortfall, the existing money supply, and so forth.
posted by Flunkie at 9:43 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Lincoln's inability to compromise resulted into bloodiest war in American history and terrible war crimes like Andersonville, Shermans March as the sacking of Charleston. Is this what you want?
posted by humanfont at 9:43 AM on July 24, 2011


Because the best thing for liberals to do is talk about how weak with infighting their own side is? I guess the irony of this is lost on you?

If I was a sane Republican a la David Brooks, I would tell Republicans that they are destroying their party -- as Brooks did.

There is a wee wee wee difference between the statements "Obama is responsible for all because he caved" and "No, actually, that factually nonsense."
posted by angrycat at 9:43 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


angrycat: "The difference between hyperbole and a reference to a historical analogy is that WOW, history actually happened, so that's the difference. Have fun with your fantasy Civil War 2.0, though."

I'm not the asshole who mentioned Lincoln, FFS. It was fucking OBAMA who did that, I was only responding to the comparison that HE made.

Oh god, I'm not gonna respond to you or Ironmouth anymore you're just trolling me.

Bye.
posted by symbioid at 9:43 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


What a lot of us object to is not that Obama compromises, but that he does it so badly. You don't START at negotiating at your opponents starting position. On health care, for example, he said he was for single payer. But the Republicans were hot for public option. That was one of the things McCain/Palin was running on "Medicare for All!". So he starts negotiations by asking for public option, which immediately becomes a total anathema. He wanted regulations on Carbon Emissions, but the Republicans were all for Cap & Trade. "Let the Market regulate it!" So he started at Cap & Trade which the Republicans now claims is a socialist idea and totally his own. And on, and on. I don't think he has the credibility any more to get tough with the Republicans -- they are convinced he'll cave again if they just put on a little pressure.
posted by pbrim at 9:44 AM on July 24, 2011 [20 favorites]


So he realized the left was WEAK and that he could not count on them for THE LONG HARD JOB OF GOVERNING. Apparently they were too busy engaging in activities designed to make them feel good about being leftists, like breaking into Michelle Bachman's dressing room, throwing glitter around

Yeah, except raising the debt ceiling isn't an issue the electorate votes on, and Democratic Congressmen were too busy learning about Obama's deals with Boehner from Jack Lew, since they weren't actually invited to the negotiating table.

And if Obama does all his decisionmaking by polls, as you suggest, he'd notice that 71% disapprove of the GOP's handling of the debt crisis and that more people favor raising taxes than cutting the deficit only and that 60% are opposed to benefit cuts take all that into account when formulating plans that include no tax increases, include benefit cuts, and coddle Republican Congresspeople while excluding their Democratic counterparts. Or else he can look forward to even worse results in the next election, after which point he'll surely conclude "That's the problem! I must not have swung hard enough right!"
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 9:46 AM on July 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


The tone of this thread has spiraled into fark politics territory.
posted by Silverdragonanon at 9:46 AM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Is there really anything to stop the formerly traditional raising of the debt ceiling with no other strings attached?
Uh, Republicans? That's what this whole thing is about. They refuse to do it. And they control one of the means necessary to do it - the House of Representatives.
posted by Flunkie at 9:49 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here is what i propose:

Call your representatives TODAY. I dont care if they are red or blue. BUT CALL THEM.

Tell them you dont want social security or medicaire cut and that you want the debt ceiling raised until 2013 and tell them you think taxes should be raised on those making over $250,000 a year. Do it EVERY WEEK UNTIL THE 2012 election. EVERY WEEK. Everytime you have the urge to throw glitter on a homophobe, CALL YOUR CONGRESS PERSON, no matter how right-wing they are. Dont sign ANY online petitions--Call your member, write him or her letters, send E-mails. But do something that actually has an effect.

Stop bitching and start fighting!
posted by Ironmouth at 9:49 AM on July 24, 2011 [38 favorites]


Given the generally loose grip Tea Party Republicans have on their emotions and rhetoric, I'm not too comfortable with these Civil War similes. I mean, it's not hard to imagine Tea Parties cheering the bombardment of Fort Sumter. Nor, is it hard to imagine a good many of them being totally cool with openly advocating for armed revolt.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:49 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Trurl wrote: Whatever one's feelings about the debt rating agencies, I don't think anyone disputes their ability to make borrowing more expensive for us. Given how much borrowing we do, that's not a minor issue.

It's not unreasonable to think that the Chinese would double down on their Treasury purchases to keep their currency weak relative to the dollar. I think owning the debt is secondary for them; they're more interested in the immediate effect of maintaining/improving their export sales.
posted by wierdo at 9:50 AM on July 24, 2011


I would love to be wrong--I would love for us to have won the 2010 elections and happily executing the wish list. Since we didn't, I merely suggest we act rationally by helping our guy. But some people think the plan is not to vote and then think we have some power we dont.

"We lost" only one house of Congress. Traditionally the government works through compromise when there is a split between control of the executive and one or both branches of Congress. What seems different now is the GOP willingness to use their control of a single branch to take the rest of the country hostage to their raving mad demands

You seem to be saying well obviously half the country is going to act as political terrorists any time they get an ounce of power, and the only solution is to give them a 747 and beg them to let the women and children go free, and shame on us for not guarding the place better
posted by crayz at 9:52 AM on July 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


I've been having to read a lot of Ernest Becker recently, and it's been putting all this Republican and Tea Party nonsense through a weird lens.

All these appeals to the fear and disgust of "liberal weakness" are happening as the USA-as-sole-hyperpower era is ending, and as much of the blame can apparently be laid at George W. Bush's feet, and as much of the decline happened during his tenure. So much of George W. Bush's reign was devoted to traditional conservative imagery made real - he was not merely a cunning player of images like some of his cohorts or predecessors, but instead he really did believe in his God-given mission and all the rest.

When he was powerful, both the true believers and the image-playing cynics of the Republican party were all too happy to associate with him, but now that the 2000s are mostly regarded as a terrible era for American governance, the Republican electorate has been left with no productive role. What had been an untenable ideological alliance - big business corporatism combined with populist social conservatism - fractured under the stress caused by the unwelcome intrusion of reality into their narrative.

When we cannot have a respected, productive role in society, our creative energies often twist. People who had staked their entire identities on the economic, political, and military dominance of the USA are no longer being rewarded. As a result, they are now going through a very peculiar extinction burst, cycling through all their favorite moments of American history and ideology, both real and imagined, no matter as to whether this parade of fantastic images is actually helping them or helping the country. They're like Miss Havisham in her dusty dress, with her dusty cake, except without the isolation and without a daughter.

So now they have to double back on their principles (always lower taxes! always reduce benefits! always more defense!), except they can't, because to do so would destroy their group identity. Rather than negotiate this ideological transition, they have retreated into denial. They are willing to hold the entire nation hostage, because if they can deny the death of the Republican party, then they can also deny the death of the USA.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:54 AM on July 24, 2011 [31 favorites]


I really really REALLY hope you were one of those rare conservatives who opposed going into the war in Iraq (and by opposed, I mean, actually was against it BEFORE it happened, instead of some kind of revisionist reimagining of your original position).

I hate to continue this derail, but it's a bad analogy. We were sold a case for war that was predicated on lies and bad intelligence. I feel that it's unfair to blame members of the public for this, given that the lies promoted a strong case for going to war, and there were virtually no credible sources in the media voicing their opposition to it.

In hindsight, we were lied to, and the military leadership didn't actually have a fucking strategy for winning the war. However, even highly educated members of the public had no way of knowing either of these things. It's wrong to blame them for it, especially if they reversed their position once the deception became apparent.
posted by schmod at 9:54 AM on July 24, 2011


Another question: Alternatively, I suppose we could just start printing money a la Zimbabwe.

Zimvabwe's problems have little to do with currency. Zimbabwe is grappling wig crippling HiV and a dysfunctional land reform policy which has destroyed the principle source of export earnings.
posted by humanfont at 9:54 AM on July 24, 2011


Obama had a clear shot during the first 2 years of his presidency.

He had a high approval rating and both the house and the senate. His administration should have hammered home job creation and the economy during the first 2 years. That's all we should have heard about. Instead, they spent that time dicking around with that morass healthcare, which was run into the ground. You know why it was run into the ground? Pretty much everyone during that time was all, "Hmm, healthcare is nice, but my 401K was just gutted and I don't have a job." Republicans leveraged that shit to high hell and it worked splendidly. Democrats could have fought back if it was about the economy and job creation. I think if his administration would have stayed focused on the economy for those two years through the last election, the current political landscape would be quite different. He might have even been able to let the tax cuts expire because then at least it would make some sense in relation to the rest of what he was doing. But all people heard was big new program, new taxes. It was shitty message control and strategy. Republicans learned on healthcare that they could win as a minority so that only emboldened them. Now the whole process is a hopeless bog of supernatural stupidity and obstructionism.

I mean, who the fuck am I, but as an outside observer the first two years of his presidency made no sense.
posted by milarepa at 9:54 AM on July 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


Lincoln's inability to compromise resulted into bloodiest war in American history
What do you mean by this, exactly and specifically, please?

I'm no historian, but I'm pretty sure that states had seceded before Lincoln had even assumed office, and that Lincoln did not initiate hostilities against these seceded states until they actually attacked United States soldiers.
posted by Flunkie at 9:54 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


(Lincoln) only did things when there was support out there for them. He did not try to foist things on people, or not listen to the electorate. Kind of like Obama.

except that Obama is proving himself far more courageous than Lincoln, since no majority of Democrats or Republican wants to cut social security and Medicare...
posted by ennui.bz at 9:55 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The tone of this thread has spiraled into fark politics territory.

hey don't go all tone argument on us, that is for conservatives and frat boys
posted by LogicalDash at 9:55 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not unreasonable to think that the Chinese would double down on their Treasury purchases...

I wouldn't bet on that.

Of course, the Democrats could have avoided this predictable mess if they had raised the debt ceiling back in January when they still controlled both houses of Congress.

Some might argue that the failure was deliberate - to give them this "shock doctrine" opportunity for cutting entitlements. But at best, it seems like spectacular incompetenece.
posted by Trurl at 9:55 AM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I thought they had til August 2nd?

The current debate is with Congress, once they do a deal, it then has to pass the Senate, and that's a whole another round of negotiations at least another week. So if Congress can't come up with a deal by today.. markets will assume the worse.
posted by stbalbach at 9:55 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The majority doesn't want a default.

The original Tea Party wanted no taxation without representation. The current Tea Party wants no taxation and no representation.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:59 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


He did not try to foist things on people, or not listen to the electorate. Kind of like Obama.

What a joke. Obama has been not listening to the electorate through this entire crisis - the public is massively opposed to benefit cuts and in favor of tax increases, and every plan he has supported in the past few weeks has attempted to foist unpopular cuts to social programs on the nation. And the purported justification is never that it's what the people want, it's that we need to give the markets more confidence so that business, which are sitting on stockpiles of massive profits already, will deign to create more jobs.

Obama has no flaw with you - he's always either doing what the public want, which always means whatever you personally interpreted the 2010 election to mean, or he's constrained by votes, despite circumstances like the present one where the Democrats will meekly vote for whatever plan he settles on and leaders in the opposition party have telegraphed that they will vote to increase the debt ceiling and are just using obstinance as leverage to score political points (they tried to attach fucking HEALTH CARE REFORM REPEAL to a recent draft, jesus, they couldn't be more transparent). So he has votes and popular support is behind the opposite of what he's doing. What's your excuse now? Please frame it in your usual condescending tone and imply anyone who disagrees is a child who doesn't understand politics.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 9:59 AM on July 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


Trurl wrote: I wouldn't bet on that.

That's the same bunch of BS that's been peddled to us for the last several years. Seriously, what are they going to do? The importing nations in Europe aren't in any condition to be importing at the moment. Even in its present state, the US has more capacity to consume their goods.

And the whole domestic consumption thing hasn't worked out for them that well so far.
posted by wierdo at 10:00 AM on July 24, 2011


I hate to continue this derail, but it's a bad analogy. We were sold a case for war that was predicated on lies and bad intelligence. I feel that it's unfair to blame members of the public for this, given that the lies promoted a strong case for going to war, and there were virtually no credible sources in the media voicing their opposition to it.

In hindsight, we were lied to, and the military leadership didn't actually have a fucking strategy for winning the war. However, even highly educated members of the public had no way of knowing either of these things. It's wrong to blame them for it, especially if they reversed their position once the deception became apparent.


Wait, what? There are people out there who console themselves in the wee hours of the morning with thoughts like this?
posted by KokuRyu at 10:04 AM on July 24, 2011 [16 favorites]


Zimvabwe's problems have little to do with currency. Zimbabwe is grappling wig crippling HiV and a dysfunctional land reform policy which has destroyed the principle source of export earnings.
humanfont, first of all, Zimbabwe is completely incidental to my question: If we simply started declaring enough dollars to exist such that the federal government could pay its budget, what would the effect on inflation be?

Second of all, ignoring that, Zimbabwe definitely was printing excess money at an astounding rate, regardless of whether there were other factors involved in its fiscal problems.
posted by Flunkie at 10:04 AM on July 24, 2011


What a joke. Obama has been not listening to the electorate through this entire crisis - the public is massively opposed to benefit cuts and in favor of tax increases, and every plan he has supported in the past few weeks has attempted to foist unpopular cuts to social programs on the nation.

Hey! That sounds like what happened to the Public Option.

Maybe it's a pattern.
posted by notyou at 10:06 AM on July 24, 2011


The Public Option was DOA. Republicans and "moderate" Democrats would not accept it, full stop. And they were necessary to pass any legislation at all. Blaming Obama for the lack of a public option is asinine.
posted by Flunkie at 10:08 AM on July 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Deep down, the little anarchist in me is saying that a 24-hour US default is just the lesson this entire world needs. Let everyone get a taste of just how much power has been concentrated in our itty bitty District. Oddly enough, the Republicans are the ones trying to diminish that power.

the world already learnt that lesson a little while back when you guys caused the financial crisis. i don't think we we need another lesson, thanks. that's probably why the euro is still strong against the us dollar despite all the problems eu member states are currently having.
posted by canned polar bear at 10:09 AM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Call your representatives TODAY. I dont care if they are red or blue. BUT CALL THEM.

CALL NOW! operators are standing by... you will remember what happened when a Cat. 5 political shitstorm erupted over the first attempt to pass TARP: the first vote failed after everyone called in, then they tried again and passed it.

A better plan is to find out when the next local Republican or Democratic (whichever party you are a member of) party committee/caucus meeting is and find 5 friends to attend it with you, you might find you have a majority voting block. Bring a bottle of whiskey for historical realism. (though you might find that local rules discourage participation but one way or another there should be a path...)

But honestly, the politics for the 'debt ceiling crisis" were mapped out years ago... there's little the average person (IMHO) can do right now to change any of it: it's too damn late. if you want things to be different you need to plan for what happens in the next X years.
posted by ennui.bz at 10:09 AM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Seriously, what are they going to do?

they're going to stand pat with what they have - they're not going to dump their holdings, as that would be suicidal - they're not going to double up, as that would be stupid

they're going to quietly reduce their holdings in a small way that won't be disruptive and wait to see what happens

what happens will probably be them losing money
posted by pyramid termite at 10:10 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


pyramid termite wrote: they're going to stand pat with what they have - they're not going to dump their holdings, as that would be suicidal - they're not going to double up, as that would be stupid

So they're going to do what with all the dollars they keep getting in return for the stuff they send us? Or are you saying they're going to stop selling stuff to us?
posted by wierdo at 10:12 AM on July 24, 2011


ennui.bz...

It reminds me a little of the "reality based community" thing...
...And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do
posted by symbioid at 10:12 AM on July 24, 2011


we were lied to, and the military leadership didn't actually have a fucking strategy for winning the war. However, even highly educated members of the public had no way of knowing either of these things.

And yet, some of us managed to figure it out.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:14 AM on July 24, 2011 [30 favorites]


The laws enacted by Super Congress should be known as Super Laws, making any offender a Supercriminal.

I guess after that we'll need an Arch Congress.
posted by heatvision at 10:19 AM on July 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


While I'm generally not a fan of Obama and his policy of surrendering under the guise of compromising, and I'm still so furious about his proposal to slash Medicare and Social Security that I get upset even thinking about it, I'm going to have to (very reluctantly since Ironmouth et al seem to vicously hate real liberals and I don't like joining with people who hate me) join Ironmouth et al on this one.

The Republicans are clearly the bad guys here. And they have been since the beginning. The whole object of the exercise, from the Republican POV is to ruin Obama, crash the government, and generally make things so awful that in 2012 people vote Republican out of a sense that Obama can't accomplish anything. We are seeing the first real action on Norquist's plot to drown the government in the bathtub.

Problem is that, completely laying aside my animosity for Obama, I have absolutely no idea what he can do at this point. Nevermind doing something I'd be happy with, but I have no idea what he can do to avoid economic collapse even if it involves stuff I'll be furious with. He's already tried total capitulation, not just that but total capitulation combined with offering the Republicans their greatest political desire of all time (ie: killing Social Security and Medicare) with nothing but a vague promise to look into closing a few tax loopholes in exchange. And they told him to fuck off. The Republicans are completely insane on this, and I can't blame Obama even slightly for what is to come.

Even if he completely and utterly capitulates to the Republicans, which will make him look weak and not only seriously piss off the left [1] but also make him look completely ineffectual to the independents I don't think it'll save anything. And they'll probably turn even total and unconditional surrender at this point, I don't think they'd pass a debt ceiling increase unless Obama resigns. Plus, of course, it'd screw the whole country. If he doesn't do that the Republicans will smash the economy, which is also a pretty bad thing.

Possibly the 14th Amendment option, but that'll create a shitstorm that will make the hate the Republicans had for Clinton look like a polite disagreement, and give them an excuse to start an impeachment hearing.

I'm hopeful that this might serve as a wake up call to Obama, he's been operating under the delusional idea since 2008 that the Republicans were reasonable people with whom he could do business if only he'd give them enough of what they asked for. To me and the other liberals it's been obvious that the Republicans never had any intent of negotiating in good faith, but no matter what they did Obama kept acting as if they were. Maybe now he'll stop pretending they are and start fighting. It'd be nice to hope so. But even if that happens it still won't solve the problem.

But either way, I'm seeing the whole economy crunching, and it being pretty much 100% the fault of Republicans. Obama gave them their fondest dream (ie: killing the last Great Society programs) and they said they'd rather kill the economy instead of take his utterly disgusting capitulation to their long term political dreams. It's hard to see the coming economic catastrophe as anything but Republican generated.

And maybe that really was Obama's intent when he put Social Security and Medicare up on the chopping block. If so I still think it was a bad idea, cuts to those programs are now on the table forever, while prior to his Grand Bargain proposal they weren't. But in the short run it may let him pin the blame for the coming catastrophe on the Republicans. I hope so.

I'll also second Ironmouth's urging to call your reps, even if they are Republicans. It almost certainly won't change the way they vote, but you never know. I've called all three of mine (and all three are crazy Texas Republicans and thus pretty much guaranteed to vote to crater the economy). But regardless, its the right thing to do and it might actually accomplish something.

@Slap*Happy: How do you figure this isn't already Great Depression II? Yeah, Wall Street has been doing fine, but in the real world people are out of work in staggering numbers. I measure depressions by how the lives of real people are affected, not by the Dow Jones average.

[1] Who, I must point out, are shown by exit polling to have voted in 2010 in roughly the same numbers they did in 2008 and I'd appreciate it if Ironmouth et al would stop lying and claiming that the loss in 2010 was because the evil left screwed the Democrats.

What threw the 2010 elections to the Republicans was a failure of the first time voters that Obama managed to drag out back in 2008, I'll suggest part of that is simply that casual voters of that nature don't often vote in the mid-terms, and that another part is that they were disillusioned by Obama's continued insistence on surrendering everything and calling it compromise. But liberals voted in about the same numbers in 2010 as they did in 2008, so please stop blaming us.
posted by sotonohito at 10:23 AM on July 24, 2011 [22 favorites]


But honestly, the politics for the 'debt ceiling crisis" were mapped out years ago... there's little the average person (IMHO) can do right now to change any of it: it's too damn late.

This is always the story with politics. These kinds of political showdowns have happened for decades, periodically. They are a way for the parties to get the base riled up and get them all ready for the big fight against the other side of the fence.

This may not be the intention. In fact it probably isn't. But the big between-election fight over some essential thing it would be unthinkably stupid to do/not do, with one side attempting to leverage the other side into doing their bidding, is a tradition. It's happened before and it will happen again.

This doesn't make it any less dire if the debt ceiling isn't raised. Just that the term "political calculus" is telling, because it does really look like a math problem. One side is using their political power to force concessions from the other side. They figure the election is far enough off that when this is all over the public will have forgotten sufficiently about this that they'll be insulated from electoral blowback.

Well, this is what I think anyway.
posted by JHarris at 10:24 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Super Congress," composed of members of both chambers and both parties, isn't mentioned anywhere in the Constitution
Yes it is: "Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings".

If they pass a law saying that this committee exists, and that its recommendations are afforded up-or-down majority votes in both houses, that's perfectly constitutional. There's nothing in the Constitution saying that, for example, filibusters have to exist, or that Congress can't act on the recommendations of other bodies.

This is not necessarily to say it would be a good idea. But implying its unconstitutionality doesn't seem well-founded to me.
posted by Flunkie at 10:25 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


the left was WEAK LEADERLESS.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:25 AM on July 24, 2011


He's already tried total capitulation

He has not, the holdup from the D side has been his demand for revenue along with the cuts. The reason this whole thing is so flawed is that the time to sack up on that was before he fucking extended the Bush tax cuts. If he had done that, the revenue situation would be already handled and we could give the Republicans some spending cuts and even tax cuts if we wanted.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:29 AM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


we were lied to, and the military leadership didn't actually have a fucking strategy for winning the war. However, even highly educated members of the public had no way of knowing either of these things.

Highly educated members of the public do not assume the premises of the argument are true, that we must attack any state that has chemical weapons or WMD.

The war made no strategic sense. From the get-go, even if he had WMD.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:31 AM on July 24, 2011 [18 favorites]


Meanwhile.. China's property bubble is going pop.. should be an interesting week. Buy gold!
posted by stbalbach at 10:31 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I say we let the worst case scenario play itself out. The Republicans secretly want it because they think it will play in their favor, but they were never right about anything they did. In fact, they can't survive it and continue to represent investors. China will be so angry they might even confiscate all the Walmarts in the mainland, because they really are a retail extension of the communist Chinese economy in America, so they might as well own theirs with full faith and credit.
posted by Brian B. at 10:31 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Re Lincoln see: the Crittenden Compromise, VP Breckenridge Comittee of 13 Senators, the Peace Conferece of 1861
posted by humanfont at 10:31 AM on July 24, 2011


My jackass Republican representative's voice mail box is full.
posted by Flunkie at 10:34 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


He's already tried total capitulation

He has not, the holdup from the D side has been his demand for revenue along with the cuts. The reason this whole thing is so flawed is that the time to sack up on that was before he fucking extended the Bush tax cuts. If he had done that, the revenue situation would be already handled and we could give the Republicans some spending cuts and even tax cuts if we wanted.


The exact opposite. Congress refused to put it on the pre-election agenda. Obama asked for it, they said no. Obama wanted to be sure to preserve cuts for those making less than 250k. He couldn't do that without congress.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:36 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


@Flunkie: Honestly, if it'd get rid of the filibuster I might support the plan regardless of of it's other flaws. Right this second I'm about halfway convinced that ending the filibuster is the single most crucial political goal that exists. Possibly even more important than the debt ceiling and avoiding a total and utter collapse of the economy. Economies can recover, but the presence of the filibuster seems as if it will soon lay the foundation for a civil war.

@furiousxgeorge: He tried utter capitulation with a fig leaf. The revenue increases were in the form of a nebulous promise to close a few loopholes at some future date. So, yes, while I agree that allowing an extension of the Bush tax cuts was a bad idea [1], but regardless of that, the point is that Obama already tried total capitulation with only he tiniest of fig leaves. And they declined.

Think about that. Obama offered them, without even their asking for it, the ultimate Republican fantasy: a breakdown of the idea that Social Security was sacrosanct and the opportunity to eventually kill the program entirely by whittling away at it. And they turned him down.

It's clear at this point that there is absolutely nothing Obama can do to dissuade the Republicans from their plan to crater the US economy.

[1] Especially since that two year extension was matched by only a one year extension in unemployment benefits, that wasn't a good deal for us, and also especially since it put the next fight over the extensions taking place just before the 2012 elections when the Republicans can make the most political hay from the issue
posted by sotonohito at 10:37 AM on July 24, 2011


So they're going to do what with all the dollars they keep getting in return for the stuff they send us?

they can buy european, japanese or other bonds; invest in various foreign or domestic enterprises - all sorts of things - maybe even buy our real estate when it gets cheap enough

they don't seem convinced that u s bonds are that great a deal for them anymore and are diversifying
posted by pyramid termite at 10:37 AM on July 24, 2011


they're going to stand pat with what they have - they're not going to dump their holdings, as that would be suicidal - they're not going to double up, as that would be stupid

I'm about 6 hours we'll find out. I hope you are right.
posted by humanfont at 10:39 AM on July 24, 2011


Ironmouth et al seem to vicously hate real liberals

I think this is a very uncharitable reading of Ironmouth's position. He (in this thread and elsewhere on Metafilter) consistently expresses frustration with liberals who fail or refuse to understand political realities, and consistently proceeds to get hammered by liberals who are reflexively offended by it. Obama's presidency hasn't been all that a lot of people hoped for; the blame for some of that may fall on him personally, but he also simply hasn't had the political capital to accomplish what he and his constituents hoped. The utter disdain and contempt that people have for him are bizarre, in my opinion, and a result mainly of inflated and unrealistic expectations.

I'm hopeful that this might serve as a wake up call to Obama, he's been operating under the delusional idea since 2008 that the Republicans were reasonable people with whom he could do business if only he'd give them enough of what they asked for.

Likewise, this seems a very uncharitable reading of Obama's political savvy. The chances are almost nil that people commenting on an internet forum are more cognizant of the inner workings of inter-party relations in Washington than Obama is. The man is an extremely intelligent, educated individual who is being advised by dozens of people who are similarly if not better qualified on these matters. To say he has been "delusional" about what he can and can't accomplish politically is unbelievably naive; he knows everything you know and more about the political realities. You can take issue with the efficacy of his calculated decision to portray himself as the reasonable compromiser in the room; however, there can be little doubt this was a calculated decision, informed by the advice of many extremely smart people after an extremely searching examination of his options.

The guy doesn't have a majority in Congress. He can only sign the bills that they will pass.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 10:40 AM on July 24, 2011 [25 favorites]


Anybody good to follow on twitter about this? And what exactly is happening at this moment? Obama is with the Congressional leaders, or is everybody with their respective caucuses?
posted by angrycat at 10:41 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The exact opposite. Congress refused to put it on the pre-election agenda. Obama asked for it, they said no. Obama wanted to be sure to preserve cuts for those making less than 250k. He couldn't do that without congress.

He didn't need to, let them all expire and if the Republicans really won't support a new bill for under 250k they get the blame. We are hours away from a financial collapse because of this, the consequences for standing firm to the end on this issue now are significantly greater than they were before.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:41 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


My jackass Republican representative's voice mail box is full

Im glad to hear you're out there. Try the website to email them. Thanks!
posted by Ironmouth at 10:42 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


For all their free-market, tax-cutting bluster, if the Republicans are seriously considering a move that would be so devastating to American business, they are becoming too erratic and ideological even for business interests.

I am beginning to suspect that beneath it all, there is a serious divide in the 'business interests', with Obama getting more support from Wall Street than the R's want any D to have, 'Main Street' (small business) resenting Wall Street and not savvy enough to see that hurting Wall Street this way will hurt them too and International Business ("No Street") having some quiet way to rise above or even profit from the chaos. I suspect the Koch Brothers and Rupert Murdoch will emerge from this crisis even more rich and powerful, not to mention China Inc. (which ceased to be a Communist country long ago and is now just another multinational corporation - with nukes).

As for the Tea Partiers, there is no existing term to describe their policies which are, effectively, Fascism On the Cheap. Walmartism?
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:43 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Crittenden Compromise as an example of Lincoln's inability to compromise. That's fantastic.

Ignoring that it was proposed and rejected before Lincoln took office, under its terms, not only would the Constitution itself be amended to enshrine slavery even further than it had been, but it would in fact be amended to say that future amendments to cut back on slavery could not be made.

Some compromise.
posted by Flunkie at 10:43 AM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am wondering if most 'real liberals' are under thirty.

'Cause I moderated in 2002-3, when it was like, oh that's what batshit insane looks like. And I happened to be 32-33. And I was like, 'Jesus the stuff I hated Clinton for pales in comparison.'
posted by angrycat at 10:43 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not the Onion: Boehner began a conference meeting Friday morning by deadpanning that Republicans, the White House and Democrats had reached a deal, according to a lawmaker in the room. The response from his conference was nervous silence before Boehner eased the tension by letting them know he was only joking.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:44 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


pyramid termite wrote: they can buy european, japanese or other bonds; invest in various foreign or domestic enterprises - all sorts of things - maybe even buy our real estate when it gets cheap enough

they don't seem convinced that u s bonds are that great a deal for them anymore and are diversifyin


Um, we give them dollars. You can't buy a Euro-denominated bond in dollars unless someone else wants dollars. If nobody wants dollars, which seems likely in the event of a default, what are they to do? Keep it in cash? I guess they could buy real estate, but that won't stimulate export demand or keep their currency low relative to the dollar. Besides, that just ties them to future streams of dollars even less reliable than the Treasuries were in the first place.
posted by wierdo at 10:45 AM on July 24, 2011


Honestly, if it'd get rid of the filibuster I might support the plan regardless of of it's other flaws.
Doesn't really seem like it would end it to me, though. I mean, obviously in the strict "sixty votes in the Senate" sense, it would, but instead it would give the ability to stop legislation from going through the "super congress" to six members of the minority party, no matter how far in the minority they are.
posted by Flunkie at 10:46 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]




My jackass Republican representative's voice mail box is full
For anyone in this same situation: I eventually wound up getting through to voice mail in his local office, rather than his (full) Washington office.
posted by Flunkie at 10:47 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


And at some point, Lincoln stopped compromising and went to fucking war. Can you imagine that, Obama? You? Going to war and fighting an actual fight against an enemy instead of compromise every last inch. If Lincoln was like you, slavery would still exist.

Probably worth pointing out that Obama has actually gone to war already.
posted by empath at 10:49 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]




The guy doesn't have a majority in Congress. He can only sign the bills that they will pass.

Exactly! I want the things you want! But we dont have the votes. And we dont do the things to help ourselves that we could do. And we dont help ourselves by stabbing our own guy in the back. Its stupid.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:52 AM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


The US can't really default, btw. We'll just print money if it comes down to it. Which will cause inflation, but whatever.
posted by empath at 10:52 AM on July 24, 2011


Well, I've left voice mail for both my senators and my representative, urging them to stay strong and not compromise all their values away. (My senators are Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and my representative is Jay Inslee, so they at least start off on the right side of the issue.) And I told them that me and my household, which includes our local Democratic PCO, are getting fed up with the Dems' willingness to capitulate and that I'm getting increasingly tired of funneling my time and my dollars towards an organization that won't fight for me.

Let's see if that makes any difference. I mean, obviously just my message won't, but I'm just one person.
posted by KathrynT at 10:53 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


@dixiecupdrinking: I'd rather not derail into a discussion of why the left is more than somewhat disappointed with Obama.

But I think there's one important thing that must be remembered: I'm not a politician. Neither are the voters on the left who are disappointed. You can argue, and I'll agree even, that as politician Obama's job is to compromise, even if that compromise is well below what many of his supporters think is tolerable. The job of politicians is to compromise, it's what the Republicans seem to have completely forgotten.

But we on the left aren't politicians. We're voters, citizens, activists. Our job is not to compromise, but to do everything we can to advance our political position. Including being sharply critical of politicians nominally on our side when they don't do what we want.

Where Ironmouth et al seems to go wrong is in assuming that since politicians are supposed to compromise, then so too must we citizens, voters, and activists embrace compromise as a positive good and not complain, gripe, and otherwise express dissatisfaction when our policies are tossed aside.

Obama's job is not merely to compromise, but to try and make the optimum possible compromises, giving away as little from our position as he can while getting the other guys to give up more. The job of us on the left is to do whatever we can to urge Obama to make better compromises for us. That, by definition, includes criticizing his job performance and those compromises he's made.

Division of labor. Remember FDR's famous quote about "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."? Well, how are we supposed to make Obama do it without complaint?

Complaining about Obama is not stabbing him in the back.
posted by sotonohito at 10:53 AM on July 24, 2011 [30 favorites]


Michael Hudson, economist and author of Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire is interviewed on Democracy Now , saying ... 'Wall Street received secret loans from the government (in addition to 'bail outs') ... and they know the game is over.' The present crisis is a diversion for the wealthy to now just get what they can - as much as they can - before everything collapses.

The big loosers are the people who think there will be any social security, medicare or social programs (let alone public property and or institutions/agencies) after the dust clears. Look at Greece, selling off their public beachfront land.

If the discussions online are any indication of public "tone," there will be little sympathy for the soon-to-be-elderly (those arrogant boomers). Soylent green, anyone?
posted by Surfurrus at 10:55 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]




Paul Krugman: What Obama Was Willing to Give Away
posted by homunculus at 10:57 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The US can't really default, btw. We'll just print money if it comes down to it. Which will cause inflation, but whatever.

Dear empath: What will happen to me is that I will not be able to pay my rent. This is because I am dependent on my SSD check to pay my rent and have no savings. Please do keep me in mind if we do default, because I promise I'll be thinking of you.

HuffPo paints it as GOP forcing Dems into short-term agreement (filed 12:30 today)
posted by angrycat at 10:57 AM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


HuffPo link.
posted by angrycat at 10:59 AM on July 24, 2011


the time to sack up on that was before extending the Bush tax cuts

By doing nothing and simply allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, we would generate the $4 trillion that was proposed as cuts to entitlements and other things.

At this very moment, Social Security is being looted to pay for tax cuts for millionaires. Class war doesn't get much starker than that.

Are you sure which side people are on?
posted by Trurl at 10:59 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Where Ironmouth et al seems to go wrong is in assuming that since politicians are supposed to compromise, then so too must we citizens, voters, and activists embrace compromise as a positive good and not complain, gripe, and otherwise express dissatisfaction when our policies are tossed aside.

That's blaming Obama for the fact that there are a lot more old conservatives that voted in 2010 than young liberals. That's on the voters. Not voting hurts us heavily. More people self-ID as dems, more GOPers step out and take responsibility to vote. Stupid!
posted by Ironmouth at 10:59 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I first heard about Super Congress I thought I was reading the Onion.
posted by madcaptenor at 11:00 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Republicans are clearly the bad guys here. And they have been since the beginning. The whole object of the exercise, from the Republican POV is to ruin Obama, crash the government, and generally make things so awful that in 2012 people vote Republican out of a sense that Obama can't accomplish anything. We are seeing the first real action on Norquist's plot to drown the government in the bathtub.

except that Grover isn't driving the bus here: Anti-Tax Crusader Speaks Out Against Default "Experiment"

As I said before, this "crisis" is being pushed, ultimately, by Obama. Yes, the Republicans are acting like howler monkeys, yelling and hurling shit. But, in the end ___THEY WILL VOTE FOR A DEBT-CEILING INCREASE____ (because Wall Street will tell them too.)

What's driving them right now is the perception that they can score points now that Obama seems to think he can run against BOTH parties in 2012.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:00 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's stop saying that the President doesn't have the votes. He does.
- All Democrats would vote to raise the debt ceiling
- A few freshmen Tea Party Republicans would not, out of True Believerism
- The rest of the Republicans pretending they won't raise the debt ceiling to get leverage in these negotiations.

McConnell admitted it two weeks ago on the Sunday Morning programs: "Nobody is talking about not raising the debt ceiling. I haven’t heard that discuss by anybody. ... We’re talking about using this request that the president made of us to raise the debt ceiling as an opportunity to do something really significant for the country about spending and about debt. And that, of course, would also be good for the economy."

i.e. "we're saying we won't raise the debt ceiling, but really we will and we're just pretending that we won't so that we'll have Obama by the balls"
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 11:00 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Exactly! I want the things you want! But we dont have the votes.

We didn't need any to get the revenue, which is the Democratic demand that is holding everything up. We gave up on that demand before because they held two hostages. Now they hold ten.

They do in fact have Obama by the balls.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:01 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


empath: "...Probably worth pointing out that Obama has actually gone to war already."

I didn't want to muddy issues, here. I was speaking specifically about the Republicans. I had almost mentioned Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya (and god knows where else), and tried tying it into the budget *cough*trillions spent on war*cough*... But avoided it to focus on the political front (which apparently, some people misread as me advocating a literal war, even *after* I had disavowed such a stance).

But yeah. Heaven forbid we should cut money from the military in a way that actually matters. *sigh*
posted by symbioid at 11:03 AM on July 24, 2011


angrycat, I believe that empath is claiming that your check will go out, as the federal government will simply print money to make up for the budgetary shortfall.

I don't necessarily agree that that will happen, but in any case, I do think that SSD will be unlikely to be affected, at least in the short term, because it is paid for by a dedicated actual income stream.
posted by Flunkie at 11:04 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a big-D Democrat, and I consider myself a big-L Liberal. Obama is certainly more conservative than I'd prefer, but his biggest impediment in pushing a more progressive-friendly agenda, IMO, hasn't been the liberal left or the conservative right. It's been too many blue dog Democratic senators.(or quislings, if you prefer)

PS- I'm a lifelong Virginian, so I know a blue dog when I see one.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:05 AM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Our nation’s staggering $14.3 trillion debt, mainly from spending under President Obama, is holding us hostage from a strong and prosperous recovery. As we continue to debate the President’s failed..."

This little quote is from the Republican Party home page.

I have come to know ending war is harder than starting a war. My local economy is an all war, all the time economy. Even with Obama still waging wars he didn't start, he is unpopular in Utah. Oh dang! Endgame is the game these days, because the Job Creators just need to die Job Creators, then they have won the game. The Job Creators are all propped up by Need To Believers who want the world to end, so they are at last, right about something. So between these two powerful camps, we the people are in deep...

If you stand against these artificially created end times, then you are in league with the devil! Boehner is going home to cry into his martini, and crash our way of life, over ideology. He was fine with Bush crashing our economy.

Harry Truman had that "The Buck Stops Here" plaque on his desk. Obama should raise the debt limit with out anyone's permission, and summarily get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Libya, and spend our money on the American People, not multinational corporations, chasing the oil and mineral tail to our demise.

We need to get back to basics in this country, make our own food, clothing, shelter, electronics and everything else. Let us start treating the US as our oyster, rather than the world.
posted by Oyéah at 11:06 AM on July 24, 2011


I've heard talk, not news/official sources, that the software that handles this kind of thing is pretty old and does not even know how to handle paying some of the bills but not some of the others. Anyone know about this stuff?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:06 AM on July 24, 2011


When I first scanned over this FPP, I only saw the phrase "John Boehner collapsed," and thought Xmas had come early.
posted by LMGM at 11:07 AM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


If nobody wants dollars, which seems likely in the event of a default, what are they to do?

what is anyone to do? - i might remind you that euros aren't guaranteed to be all that great a thing to have these days either

you seem to think that their options are all or nothing - i see them as hedging their bets without taking drastic measures and without losing too much of their capital in the process

people may not want dollars at the current exchange rate, but they will want them at some price - and it's better to lose a small percentage in hard times than to lose everything
posted by pyramid termite at 11:09 AM on July 24, 2011


Those who say we have the votes, do you have a whip count? Because i don't know if we do or not. Gonna need to see names of for and againsts.

And if you cant come up with that list, that's the difference between having the actual responsibility to do the thing and being the dude on the internet who isnt spending today in a nail-biting negotiation with the fate of 318,000,000 hanging in the balance.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:11 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


But we on the left aren't politicians. We're voters, citizens, activists. Our job is not to compromise, but to do everything we can to advance our political position. Including being sharply critical of politicians nominally on our side when they don't do what we want.

That's fine, but it still doesn't mean that they're going to do everything you want, nor does it make it reasonable to expect they will, nor does it mean that people describing the political realities are doing so because they "hate" you. Further, you're welcome to criticize Obama, but I object to the rhetoric directed at him from the left that seems to come from one of two places: (1) personal feelings of betrayal, and (2) the idea that anyone else would have been able to accomplish more. I think (1) is silly and (2) is just wrong.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 11:12 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


We didn't need any to get the revenue, which is the Democratic demand that is holding everything up
Oh, baloney. Yes, Obama is refusing to cut spending without also raising revenues, but Republicans are refusing to raise the debt ceiling without cutting spending. And that's the actual immediate problem: the debt ceiling. Neither spending nor revenues are short term problems.

If the "deal" was "raise the debt ceiling, no strings attached", Democrats would take it in a heartbeat. Republicans, on the other hand, would not, and in fact there's a vocal and sizable portion of Republicans who do not want to raise the debt ceiling no matter what strings are attached. That's the issue.
posted by Flunkie at 11:12 AM on July 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


angrycat wrote: Dear empath: What will happen to me is that I will not be able to pay my rent. This is because I am dependent on my SSD check to pay my rent and have no savings. Please do keep me in mind if we do default, because I promise I'll be thinking of you.

It's a matter of willingness, not ability. The government could have no deficit tomorrow if it decided to use all of the tools at its disposal for raising money, whether it be created money, or money sucked out of the economy. The same thing goes for debt, for that matter. Many people's thinking is still based on a gold-backed dollar.
posted by wierdo at 11:13 AM on July 24, 2011


If the "deal" was "raise the debt ceiling, no strings attached", Democrats would take it in a heartbeat. Republicans, on the other hand, would not, and in fact there's a vocal and sizable portion of Republicans who do not want to raise the debt ceiling no matter what strings are attached. That's the issue.

Amen. We dont have to do any of this.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:14 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's a matter of willingness, not ability. The government could have no deficit tomorrow if it decided to use all of the tools at its disposal for raising money, whether it be created money, or money sucked out of the economy. The same thing goes for debt, for that matter. Many people's thinking is still based on a gold-backed dollar.

And what? Create Weimar-style inflation?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:16 AM on July 24, 2011


*cue rage-induced projectile vomiting*
posted by sinnesloeschen at 11:17 AM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Very interesting times. Keeping on the sunny side, I think we should all be happy that we are witnessing history! Future generations will sing great songs about this age around the campfire!
posted by fuq at 11:18 AM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


sigh

My representative is apparently going to be busy with something else this week...
posted by dragstroke at 11:18 AM on July 24, 2011


Oh, baloney. Yes, Obama is refusing to cut spending without also raising revenues, but Republicans are refusing to raise the debt ceiling without cutting spending. And that's the actual immediate problem: the debt ceiling. Neither spending nor revenues are short term problems.

That was not posted in context of exclusively blaming the Democrats beyond noting they are in this position because of previous strategic blunders.

Obama recognizes the Bush tax cuts on the rich have to go as well as I do, it's both a short and long term problem that our revenue is lagging. He also supports some spending cuts as long as they aren't benefit cuts, he only offered the crazy benefit cuts in context of getting the revenue.

Both sides share the blame for using this situation to try and get something they consider crucial. If the Republicans will only raise the ceiling in with a spending cuts only deal, then Obama has to capitulate as usual of course. Bringing up revenue was a strategic blunder that wasted time, why didn't Ironmouth do a whip count for him?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:19 AM on July 24, 2011


*this situation referring to needing to wheel and deal to get the revenue, not the crisis itself.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:20 AM on July 24, 2011


For everyone who says Obama is not a good negotiator, wait to see the result. He has said recently that he wants the big deal but that he would accept just an increase in the budget ceiling. His original position was that he wanted an increase in the budget ceiling. He has also managed to shine a bright light on the fact that the Republicans are planting their flag on protecting the interests of the most wealthy above the economy itself. This may fly within the party but independents are not on their side, and poll after poll shows that the vast majority of all voters favors increasing taxes, particularly on the top incomes.

Refusing to raise the budget ceiling on the basis that taxes should never increase is not tenable as far as accounting and politics, and not at all when the other issue they raise is the debt itself. Like they think we're that stupid. It's a matter of time before reality makes them back off, probably at the last minute. In the meantime the Republicans are destroying their remaining political credibility in the name of a pure ideology that favors the interests of the wealthy. They don't even try to hide it anymore.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:21 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hm. I'm presuming the 11th Amendment would preclude any civil effort to hold the Congress of the United States jointly liable for the several trillion dollars of wealth they're going to cause to be destroyed this week?
posted by Vetinari at 11:21 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


This may fly within the party but independents are not on their side, and poll after poll shows that the vast majority of all voters favors increasing taxes, particularly on the top incomes.

So what? Do a whip count. Republicans will still be able to fillibuster no matter what the public says.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:22 AM on July 24, 2011


Ironmouth wrote: And what? Create Weimar-style inflation?

I'm looking at excess reserves, and I'm looking at inflation. I'm seeing unprecedented amounts of the former, and a complete lack of the latter. We don't have the shortage of resources necessary to spur significant inflation. We, in fact, have far too many idle resources, which is keeping inflation in check.
posted by wierdo at 11:23 AM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


We've already pumped about 2.5 trillion into the economy via QE1 and QE2, and we might even have another round of quantitative easing. If you haven't noticed, we are not actually at threat of massive inflation even with such massive injections of (short term) cash.

I'm not going to argue whether such an injection was wise or not, I don't know enough about it, but to make a claim that printing money to deal with the issue would result in hyperinflation is... well... hyperbolic. Maybe it will, maybe it won't, but why would printing money like this be any more inflationary than getting some sort of pre-auth from congress? I'm not being snarky, I'm legitimately curious.
posted by symbioid at 11:23 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Both sides share the blame for using this situation to try and get something they consider crucial. If the Republicans will only raise the ceiling in with a spending cuts only deal, then Obama has to capitulate as usual of course. Bringing up revenue was a strategic blunder that wasted time, why didn't Ironmouth do a whip count for him?

Really? Except the Dems would take a clean bill right now, no questions asked. What are you for? Im confused. You're for the benefit cuts to save us from the GOP?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:24 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


And if you cant come up with that list, that's the difference between having the actual responsibility to do the thing and being the dude on the internet who isnt spending today in a nail-biting negotiation with the fate of 318,000,000 hanging in the balance.

I'm just saying, the negotiation shouldn't be that nail-biting when the people that you're negotiating with have repeatedly said in public and to the media that they will raise the debt ceiling. But whatever, since I'm not privy to whatever whip counts the Republicans are running internally, as neither are you or anyone else in this thread, I can't meet your stupid demands for the debate.

But if you want to talk about actual responsibility, great. Some of us wish that the people in the negotiations would realize they owe an actual responsibility to future generations, and safeguard proven, efficient programs like Social Security from opportunistic plunder to score some political point that will be negated by the end of the next election cycle. You know, responsibility for something more than one's own re-election chances.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 11:24 AM on July 24, 2011


So what? Do a whip count. Republicans will still be able to fillibuster no matter what the public says.

Yes, but somehow I think the interests which have the most money, power and influence will win out over an obstructionist freshman House.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:25 AM on July 24, 2011


Really? Except the Dems would take a clean bill right now, no questions asked.

Do a whip count, the Republicans won't. Get out of your fantasy world, crazy liberal, we are negotiating spending cuts not the debt ceiling because the Republicans say so and there is no way to avoid it. WHERE ARE THE VOTES IRONMOUTH?

Seriously though: S&P said that, even if Congress raises the debt limit in time to avert a default, it might lower the U.S. sovereign rating to AA+ with a negative outlook if it isn’t accompanied by a “credible solution” on the debt level.

A clean bill is not an option.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:27 AM on July 24, 2011


And if you cant come up with that list, that's the difference between having the actual responsibility to do the thing and being the dude on the internet who isnt spending today in a nail-biting negotiation with the fate of 318,000,000 hanging in the balance.

I'm just saying, the negotiation shouldn't be that nail-biting when the people that you're negotiating with have repeatedly said in public and to the media that they will raise the debt ceiling. But whatever, since I'm not privy to whatever whip counts the Republicans are running internally, as neither are you or anyone else in this thread, I can't meet your stupid demands for the debate.


The question is do those leaders have enough votes. Im only saying that you'd better be god-damned 100% sure you're right. This isnt a game of Risk with you and your buddies. This is the 100% REAL DEAL. People are just assuming Boehner can deliver his caucus. Im not so sure and i think we are being dumb just assuming it.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:28 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was googling around, and found this PDF from 2008 about the history of the debt ceiling, and this paragraph from the conclusion seems to pretty much say (directly and indirectly) everything I'd like to point out about the debt ceiling and the national debt:
In early 2001, the 10-year budget forecasts projected large and growing surpluses, indicating rapid reduction in debt held by the public. Some experts expressed concern about consequences of retiring all federal debt held by the public. Most long-term forecasts computed at that time, however, showed large deficits emerging once the baby boomers began to retire. Short-term forecasts projected continuous growth in debt held by government accounts, largely due to the difference between Social Security tax revenues and benefit payments. The combination of falling levels of publicly held debt and rising levels of debt held by government accounts moderated the expected growth of total debt. The moderate growth in total debt those projections had forecast was expected to postpone the need to increase the debt limit until late into the decade, when accumulating debt in government accounts would overtake reductions in debt held by the public.

New budget projections released in early 2002 smashed expectations of large, persistent surpluses, and hopes for reductions in debt held by the public collapsed. The return to large federal deficits accelerated the growth of total debt. Increases in the debt limit would be necessary much sooner than previously expected.
What happened in the meantime? Wars were declared, and Bush sent out his first round of "thank you for voting for me" retroactive bribes tax refund checks to everyone who was middle class or better (ignoring again the most needy).

I wonder sometimes how much better shape we'd be in if, instead of declaring the budget surpluses "the taxpayers' money" and issuing checks, Bush had declared the budget surpluses "the Nation's money" and used it to pay down the debt we had at that time.

Have we EVER applied national income to actually paying off the debt? Or is it all about the current fiscal year and never a look backward? Even these current talks are all about the NOW and never about actually raising enough revenue to pay off what we owe.
posted by hippybear at 11:29 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, crap. forgot the link. "this PDF from 2008"
posted by hippybear at 11:31 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


and poll after poll shows that the vast majority of all voters favors increasing taxes, particularly on the top incomes.

So what? Do a whip count.

Yes, but somehow I think the interests which have the most money, power and influence will win out over an obstructionist freshman House.


Those interests don't want their taxes raised.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:32 AM on July 24, 2011


To be fair, there is one Republican out there who has been constructive in this debate. Unfortunately, he's not elected to office.

Bruce Bartlett *still* considers himself a Reagan Republican. He served as a domestic advisor to Reagan and in the Treasury Department for Bush, Sr. He just feels that the current crop of Republicans have completely lost the path, and have moved away from any semblance of reality.

He was asked to speak before the Democratic Steering Committee of the US House of Representatives recently, outlining the desire amongst many "serious" conservatives to default, all of the likely risks of defaulting, and the alternatives available to the country, should Republicans force default.

It was very sobering. It was also hopeful, however, in that it it pointed out that there was a strong Constitutional argument that could be made which will allow the President to act unilaterally to raise the debt ceiling.

It has also been shaping the debate, in that Bartlett concluded his presentation with a quote by Reagan that has been making the circles lately, used by people such as Speaker Pelosi.

"This country now possesses the strongest credit in the world. The full consequences of a default – or even the serious prospect of default – by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and on the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result."
- Ronald Reagan, 1983
posted by markkraft at 11:32 AM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yes, but somehow I think the interests which have the most money, power and influence will win out over an obstructionist freshman House.

Don't be so sure. Those monied interests have beaten their heads bloody against that wall of freshmen House members, and not made a damned dent. Those freshmen are true ideologues and they know with full certainty that this is their moment. Make no mistake...They will crash the US Government if they have to (perhaps, even, because they can.)
posted by Thorzdad at 11:33 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some experts expressed concern about consequences of retiring all federal debt held by the public.

Bill Clinton, why have you forsaken us!
posted by KokuRyu at 11:34 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boehner doesn't have to deliver his entire caucus. He's Speaker of the House, where you need 218 votes to pass something. Democrats have 192. Boehner only has to deliver 26 of his 240 members for a deal to pass. I don't have a whip count but I refuse to believe that you can't find 26 Republicans who are pro-business enough that they won't let the nation default.

McConnell has said he hasn't heard anybody talking about not passing an increase. I linked it above.

Burden of proof is on the person making an outrageous claim, and you're the one implying Boehner won't be able to get ~10% of his caucus to vote for a debt ceiling increase, so why don't YOU produce the fucking whip count now.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 11:35 AM on July 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Those interests don't want their taxes raised.

Consider that the fallback position is the debt ceiling gets raised with no changes to the budget. Both sides save face but the debt ceiling gets raised all the same.

China just publicly announced they do not believe there is any other option than raising the debt ceiling. I just don't think the Tea Party carries more weight.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:38 AM on July 24, 2011


Holy crap!
GOPTweets4u Susie Komar
With a debt ceiling deal, dodging a bullet. Without a deal, hysterics and anarchy. @whitehouse ...remember what happened to Mubarek #obama.

posted by angrycat at 11:39 AM on July 24, 2011


I just don't think the Tea Party carries more weight.

Or owns more US Treasurys, to be clear.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:40 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, well. At least DADT repeal got certified.

What? Jane Hamsher told me Obama hated the gays!
posted by octobersurprise at 11:40 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I refuse to believe that you can't find 26 Republicans who are pro-business enough that they won't let the nation default.
Then one -- or preferably 26 -- of them should stand up and say so.
posted by Flunkie at 11:42 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, with gold at $1600 the ounce, Ft. Knox is filled with 147.2 million troy ounces of the stuff, collecting dust, watched over by paid guards, while the FAA furloughs 4000 workers. That's something north of $235 billion at market value sitting in the middle of an Army base that continues to prepare our military to fight large tank battles with a Soviet Union that no longer exists, while the FAA lays off some people whose jobs it was to collect $200 million a year in user fees from commercial and general aviation.

But that's government asset management for you, and just 2 examples out of hundreds I could post.

The fewer assets we give this government, or any conceivable successor, to manage, the better off we, the American people, are bound to be.
posted by paulsc at 11:42 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Geithner uses airplane crash analogy

Also, Tokyo markets open at 8 EST, so there's that.
posted by angrycat at 11:42 AM on July 24, 2011


GOPTweets4u Susie Komar
With a debt ceiling deal, dodging a bullet. Without a deal, hysterics and anarchy. @whitehouse ...remember what happened to Mubarek #obama.


I'm pretty sure there's a rule that says you can safely ignore anything called "X4u" for all X.
posted by Vetinari at 11:46 AM on July 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


If you ask Boehner to deliver 26 votes you are asking him to end his political career. He should, if it comes down to that, but if it was Obama in that situation some would be making excuses.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:46 AM on July 24, 2011


As per the NYT, Boehner's short-term plan is paired with one trillion in cuts. So the crazies would get a big somethin for a short-term increase.

And what I've read a short-term increase would have its economic costs, as it highlights the increasing banana-republic state of our country.
posted by angrycat at 11:47 AM on July 24, 2011


Remember how we were talking about a $2 trillion plan before Obama went for the big kahuna? Good times.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:48 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vetinari: "GOPTweets4u Susie Komar
With a debt ceiling deal, dodging a bullet. Without a deal, hysterics and anarchy. @whitehouse ...remember what happened to Mubarek #obama.


I'm pretty sure there's a rule that says you can safely ignore anything called "X4u" for all X.
"

OHHHHHHHHHH Is that why I haven't been able to get any responses on those personals ads?
posted by symbioid at 11:50 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fewer assets we give this government, or any conceivable successor, to manage, the better off we, the American people, are bound to be.

Having no gold reserves is not considered to be a financially sound position for any country with an economy like the US. Our gold reserves are not enough to plug the holes in the budget and is not as large as it used to be. The total held today is less than 1/4 what it was during WWII.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:50 AM on July 24, 2011


And what? Create Weimar-style inflation?

I'm not sure there's a significant difference, economically, between printing money and borrowing money.

Dear empath: What will happen to me is that I will not be able to pay my rent. This is because I am dependent on my SSD check to pay my rent and have no savings. Please do keep me in mind if we do default, because I promise I'll be thinking of you.

Did you miss the part where I said the US can print money to pay its bills?
posted by empath at 11:50 AM on July 24, 2011


Wow, people on twitter are referring to Obama as 'The Kenyan.' When did that become a Thing?
posted by angrycat at 11:52 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, with gold at $1600 the ounce, Ft. Knox is filled with 147.2 million troy ounces of the stuff, collecting dust, watched over by paid guards, while the FAA furloughs 4000 workers. That's something north of $235 billion at market value
Congratulations, you have postponed default until September.

Assuming that you can sell ten million pounds of gold at once without driving its price down. Which is ten times the amount that the IMF allows its members to sell over the course of an entire year.

And now we no longer have that gold.

But, you can name "hundreds" of examples. What's next? How much do you think Mount Rushmore would fetch for us?
posted by Flunkie at 11:52 AM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Then one -- or preferably 26 -- of them should stand up and say so.

It's not unheard of.

The current congressional Republicans are so pro-finance that they rail openly, at length, against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We're not 3 years past a crisis that left tons of people with empty IRAs and upside-down mortgages, and furious about TARP and the bailouts, and these guys are vocally, publicly anti-consumer protection against banks. And these are the guys who are supposed to not care if there's a default with devastating consequences to the financial sector? Because some people in the Tea Party, a political group whose constituent support has waned so rapidly that their rallies attract mere dozens of people these days, think it would be better?
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 11:53 AM on July 24, 2011


angrycat: "Wow, people on twitter are referring to Obama as 'The Kenyan.' When did that become a Thing?"

Since the first territorial primate with a rock started stamping its feet at the other territorial primate with a rock.
posted by symbioid at 11:53 AM on July 24, 2011


krinklyfig wrote: Having no gold reserves is not considered to be a financially sound position for any country with an economy like the US.

Serious question: Why does it matter if the US Government holds gold?
posted by wierdo at 11:53 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Burden of proof is on the person making an outrageous claim, and you're the one implying Boehner won't be able to get ~10% of his caucus to vote for a debt ceiling increase, so why don't YOU produce the fucking whip count now.

So the entire political class and all the reporters and talking heads have it wrong and you have it right. My only point is we do not know and that those, such as yourself, who claim certainty on this need to back that up. Where has Boehner said he will raise the debt ceiling no matter what? Nowhere. He's described the McConnell plan as "interesting." That's about it. You've got morons like Louie Gohmert out there saying insane things out there--it wont affect anything, etc. You can believe what you want based on assumptions. Obama's gotta work with realities. If you aint got the facts to back it up, I cannot help you.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:54 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It would make it harder to return to the gold standard?
posted by HLD at 11:54 AM on July 24, 2011


"This country now possesses the strongest credit in the world. The full consequences of a default – or even the serious prospect of default – by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and on the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result."

Reagan said DEFAULT WAS AWESOME

\m/ (*-*) \m/
posted by fullerine at 11:55 AM on July 24, 2011 [29 favorites]


people on twitter ...

There are people on twitter? Wow, when did that become a thing?
posted by Surfurrus at 11:55 AM on July 24, 2011


LOLSOHARD @fullerine
posted by symbioid at 11:56 AM on July 24, 2011


Did you miss the part where I said the US can print money to pay its bills?

Weimar Germany called. They want their idea back.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:57 AM on July 24, 2011


Serious question: Why does it matter if the US Government holds gold?

It is a hedge against inflation, which in the worst case scenario runs up quickly. It's really just insurance. There is little chance they would sell a significant amount unless we ended up at the worst case.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:57 AM on July 24, 2011


I hope the republicans due default it will give me the opportunity to move into the neighbourhoods of these job creators as the massive deleveraging event rolls up their already week mortgage companies.

Free Housing FTW!!!
posted by Rubbstone at 11:58 AM on July 24, 2011


"Yes, but somehow I think the interests which have the most money, power and influence will win out over an obstructionist freshman House.

Those interests don't want their taxes raised."


Only some of them. However, they are the ones who are most ideologically to the right and most active in shaping the debate. They do contribute a significant portion of the money that the Republicans typically raise, however.

It should be remembered that President Obama has been raising a *ton* of corporate cash lately -- more than all the Republican candidates combined -- with much of it from Wall Street interests.

If you take a look at the donors that are most strongly backing the Republicans here, most of them are on the Libertarian end of the party. Unfortunately, that's a pretty loopy, dogmatic end lately.
posted by markkraft at 11:59 AM on July 24, 2011


"Having no gold reserves is not considered to be a financially sound position for any country with an economy like the US."

China, one of our biggest net creditors, with a population 5x our own, has gold reserves about 1/8 our own, by weight. Better still, their gold reserve, as a percentage of their total forex reserve is a measly 1.7% whereas our gold reserves represent a whopping 74% of our total forex reserves.

I'm thinking China has hella more progressive national asset management than we do.
posted by paulsc at 11:59 AM on July 24, 2011


Weimar Germany called. They want their idea back.

The Weimar Republic didn't have fractional reserve banking but literally printed money to pay off government workers, and had major political issues due to blockades of exports and repayments due to the Versailles Treaty. Japan didn't become the Weimar Republic, even though they had to finance a lot more debt.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:02 PM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, so we should only sell off seven-eighths of our gold reserves, instead of all of it? That's a week sooner till we reach default. I don't think Mount Rushmore is going to cover that week.
posted by Flunkie at 12:02 PM on July 24, 2011


The FAA doesn't have statutory authority to operate at the moment. The FAA shutdown has nothing to do with the debt ceiling. Other than as another example of congress failing to pass legislation necessary for the continued sound operation of government.
posted by humanfont at 12:03 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm thinking China has hella more progressive national asset management than we do.

Dumping the gold at Ft. Knox seems like someone's axe to grind and not really viable as a solution to the problem at hand.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:04 PM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm thinking China has hella more progressive national asset management than we do.

No, China simply has the ability to hold Treasuries as foreign reserves, which the US doesn't. The Renmimbi's not convertible, so the US can't return the favor.
posted by Vetinari at 12:04 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


"... And now we no longer have that gold. ..."

posted by Flunkie at 2:52 PM on July 24

So, um, could we fire it's former guards and inventory clerks, and use those savings to hire back some of those FAA guys to collect that aviation revenue? 'Cause I'm thinking that the first thing you try to do on a sinking ship is try manning some bilge pumps...
posted by paulsc at 12:05 PM on July 24, 2011


Yeah, ignore the absurd short-term nature of your grand plan, paulsc.
posted by Flunkie at 12:06 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"... Dumping the gold at Ft. Knox seems like someone's axe to grind and not really viable as a solution to the problem at hand."
posted by krinklyfig at 3:04 PM on July 24

Like any real world example, stacked next to the nearly unimaginable abstraction that is the U.S. National debt, the Ft. Know example is mainly a rhetorical device. But count on MeFi regulars to take it up as a serious proposal to save the nation.

You guys slay me.
posted by paulsc at 12:08 PM on July 24, 2011


And in any case, it sure seems like the first thing Republicans do an a working ship that needs some maintenance is blow a hole in the hull and yell EMERGENCY!
posted by Flunkie at 12:08 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, um, could we fire it's former guards and inventory clerks, and use those savings to hire back some of those FAA guys to collect that aviation revenue? 'Cause I'm thinking that the first thing you try to do on a sinking ship is try manning some bilge pumps...

We're not on a sinking ship. Stop listening to politicians or anyone else who makes this claim. We're financing our debt, and our economy is growing. This is really not the time to freak out about the debt, and the only reason it's become an issue is because fear is a powerful tool, but not because there's anything worth all this sturm und drang.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:08 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, if you have "a serious proposal to save the nation", feel free to mention it.
posted by Flunkie at 12:09 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


You guys slay me.

What are you on about? Are you having a conversation in good faith or just trying to troll me?
posted by krinklyfig at 12:09 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


(And that is why America's fake default is waaaaaaaaaaaaay scarier than Greece's real default. At this point the damage from Greek government bonds is concentrated in a few European banks, which have basically zero chance of failing from a Greek bond write-down in isolation. But nobody knows exactly what happens when the debt everyone holds because there is no better guarantee isn't safe anymore. The US defaults, banks might fail in countries you haven't even heard of.)
posted by Vetinari at 12:10 PM on July 24, 2011


So the entire political class and all the reporters and talking heads have it wrong and you have it right.

Uhm, probably? The entire political class is wrong about things with alarming regularity.

My only point is we do not know and that those, such as yourself, who claim certainty on this need to back that up.

Yeah, I get it. This is just where we differ. If a dude came up to me and pointed a gun at my face and said "This is a watergun, and it's empty. But give me all your money or I'll shoot!" I would tend not to give him my money. Others would prefer to cut a deal where you give him all the money in their wallets, go to an ATM and take more out, and call it a day because hey, you can never be too certain about these things.

Similarly, I believe that going into a negotiation with leaders that have announced that they will vote to raise the debt ceiling and want to use these negotiations to extract political concessions from the Democrats, then believing them when they say they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling unless the Democrats make concessions, and then coming back with a counteroffer that puts MORE concessions on the table than the Republicans originally asked for, is not the shrewdest negotiation strategy.

No, I'm not 100% certain. But default would have devastating consequences on the economy, disproportionately felt by the banks and hugely invested corporations that Republicans suck off incessantly. Polls show that the majority would place blame for the default on the Republicans, not Obama. Crazy Tea Party representatives make up a small fraction of the Republican caucus, and their popular support has diminished precipitously since 2008. Even Grover Norquist, alleged source of the "let the nation default so we don't have to raise taxes" meme, says we shouldn't let the nation default. Default is against every single interest the Republicans have, in terms of financial support, popular support, and perceived political points. And their leaders have said they won't let it happen. That's certain enough for me, and it's sure as shit certain enough to tkae a stronger negotiating stance.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 12:10 PM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


We're not on a sinking ship

Yeah, t's a country!
posted by fuq at 12:10 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I refuse to believe that you can't find 26 Republicans who are pro-business enough that they won't let the nation default."

Unless, of course, they were a party that rigidly held on to dozens of other dogmatic, faith-based beliefs that have been shown not to work at all in actual reality... and unless they are likely to lose either money or votes as a result of being moderate and sensible on the debt ceiling issue...

(Doomed!!!)
posted by markkraft at 12:11 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


My alternative solution involves the arrival of Dr. Who.
posted by angrycat at 12:13 PM on July 24, 2011 [17 favorites]


It's Never Lurgi: "I'm neither an economist nor a small business owner, however, but it seems that stimulating the demand side would do more for hiring than stimulating the supply side."

Which is why, of course, supply side economics is a pile of horseshit. Has been since GHW Bush called it "Voodoo Economics".
posted by notsnot at 12:14 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


What are you on about? Are you having a conversation in good faith or just trying to troll me?

I think paulsc's point was that while this high-decibel debate on the "debt-ceiling" is going on, the fucking FAA has partially shutdown because no one in congress bothered to pass legislation authorizing it to continue.

but it's the same meta-problem: the "debt-ceiling" crisis is a manufactured problem and we are an incredulous audience.

now, it's possible the republicans will cross the 4th wall and actually trigger a default. but it will be because of their own avant-guarde theatrical ideas, not in response to anything real.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:14 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is Ft. Knox where Obama keeps all his Danegeld?
posted by fullerine at 12:15 PM on July 24, 2011


Ironmouth wrote: Weimar Germany called. They want their idea back

I think it's cute when you repeat yourself without addressing earlier refutations of the claim.
posted by wierdo at 12:17 PM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I get it. This is just where we differ. If a dude came up to me and pointed a gun at my face and said "This is a watergun, and it's empty. But give me all your money or I'll shoot!" I would tend not to give him my money. Others would prefer to cut a deal where you give him all the money in their wallets, go to an ATM and take more out, and call it a day because hey, you can never be too certain about these things.

Except this gun is real and on a timer to go off in your face and you're relying on a drunk to make sure it doesnt. A watergun can't hurt you. A real gun can. Calling a real live loaded gun pointed at your face doesnt turn it into a watergun. If the US does not raise the debt ceiling, we aren't going to get spritzed with water.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:21 PM on July 24, 2011


Ironmouth wrote: Weimar Germany called. They want their idea back
I think it's cute when you repeat yourself without addressing earlier refutations of the claim.
I've asked this before, but didn't notice a response from anybody, so I'm going to try again:

How much would it affect inflation? I imagine that it, or at least a lower bound of it, could be calculated mathematically from the known budget shortfall, the amount of existing money, and so forth.

The budget shortfall is something like $125 billion a month. If we were just to start adding that amount, month after month (and, presumably, adjust it for inflation as inflation increases), what would the effect on inflation be?
posted by Flunkie at 12:21 PM on July 24, 2011


The Weimar Republic didn't have fractional reserve banking but literally printed money to pay off government workers, and had major political issues due to blockades of exports and repayments due to the Versailles Treaty. Japan didn't become the Weimar Republic, even though they had to finance a lot more debt.

But how does fractional reserve banking prevent inflation if we keep printing money? I mean really, they'll be no effect on the value of the dollar if we start printing money we neither borrowed nor obtained through taxation? Dont you think the GOP would have already done this if it was consequence free? So the dollar wouldn't plunge in value relative to other currencies and everything wouldn't cost more? The stuff from Wal-Mart made in China wouldn't cost more due to a devaluation?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:28 PM on July 24, 2011


Thank you for focusing on the part of my comment relevant to the matter in discussion.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 12:29 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Well, if you have "a serious proposal to save the nation", feel free to mention it."
posted by Flunkie at 3:09 PM on July 24

How about we agree to raise the debt ceiling enough to keep our credit, and in lockstep, agree to spend $20 trillion less in the next 15 years, (starting in FY 2012, with about half a trillion in savings over FY 2011), than we would have, had we spent at the FY 2011's budget level in each of those years, while keeping the same tax rates we have today throughout that 15 year period, and sending any resulting surpluses, or increases in tax revenues we might get in that time due to growth, to our creditors, to pay off our debt at the earliest possible date?

It's a lot of pain, but with a foreseeable horizon to make it bearable. And if by 2015, we've taken a trillion dollars a year of borrowing pressure off the world's lenders, the resulting downward pressure on interest rates ought to keep even Wall Street busy looking for places to put the money, other than Treasuries. That money might even create a real job or two, right on Main Street.
posted by paulsc at 12:30 PM on July 24, 2011


then coming back with a counteroffer that puts MORE concessions on the table than the Republicans originally asked for, is not the shrewdest negotiation strategy.

Well, he put tax increases in there, which he knew the Republicans couldn't accept no matter what they were. But the public can accept them and indeed welcomes them, particularly closing loopholes and asking the top bracket to put in their share. Since this is unacceptable to the Republicans, whatever else he put in there wouldn't be taken anyway. He ends up looking like the side most willing to make a deal in good faith and for the benefit of the country over his own political interests, even though he gave up nothing, because there was never going to be a deal like that.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:30 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


As a household of those mythical "job creators" bringing in over $250K/year, my husband and I are both all, raise our damn taxes, you morons. Because either way, we'll be paying - if it isn't taxes, it's our parents' bills when their Social Security checks either stop coming or stop covering what they have been covering because of inflation.

And, sweartagawd, if Obama fucking blinks on this ... man, I wish I had something good here. I am just full of white-hot rage at all of these posturing jackasses. The fucking idiots lead by Boehner do NOT speak for us, no matter how much they claim to do so. Income doesn't define our politics - but I don't know if that's because we're odd, or because we're sane. Or both.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 12:31 PM on July 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


He ends up looking like the side most willing to make a deal in good faith and for the benefit of the country over his own political interests, even though he gave up nothing, because there was never going to be a deal like that.

But what's the benefit of looking good if you don't actually pass a deal? If it was a throwaway he knew they wouldn't take anyway he just wasted a ton of negotiating time for...what?

He thought he gave them enough for them to swallow the tax increases, he was wrong but this kind of stuff is somewhat unpredictable which is why it is silly to rely on imaginary whip counts.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:34 PM on July 24, 2011


According to the AP (via NYT) , "Boehner hoped to outline at least a framework of a deal by 4 p.m. EDT that could get through a divided Congress and avert panic before Asian financial markets opened hours later."
posted by mauvest at 12:34 PM on July 24, 2011


But how does fractional reserve banking prevent inflation if we keep printing money? I mean really, they'll be no effect on the value of the dollar if we start printing money we neither borrowed nor obtained through taxation?

It would be about the same effect as borrowing that much money and paying interest, from what I understand, but instead of bankers making piles of money from t-bills, they'll be eating shit. Everyone else will be fine, though. Especially all the consumers in debt.
posted by empath at 12:34 PM on July 24, 2011


Thank you for focusing on the part of my comment relevant to the matter in discussion.

I'm pointing out that your bad analogy shows the weakness in your argument. It is a real gun. Obama has to deal with the possibility it will really go off. You say you can't be 100% sure. Well, given the magnitude of what will happen if it does happen, what do you do? Act like it has no effect? A bad move. 1 in 100 is too high here.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:34 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mean really, they'll be no effect on the value of the dollar if we start printing money we neither borrowed nor obtained through taxation?

Also, where do you think money comes from? The government prints it.
posted by empath at 12:35 PM on July 24, 2011


And at some point, Lincoln stopped compromising and went to fucking war ...

Uh, pretty sure he did that before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, bro. So your vitriol seems a bit misplaced if not just misinformed.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:36 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


But how does fractional reserve banking prevent inflation if we keep printing money? I mean really, they'll be no effect on the value of the dollar if we start printing money we neither borrowed nor obtained through taxation?

It would be about the same effect as borrowing that much money and paying interest, from what I understand, but instead of bankers making piles of money from t-bills, they'll be eating shit. Everyone else will be fine, though. Especially all the consumers in debt.


Upon what do you base this rosy forecast? You seriously posit no effect on exchange rates?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:36 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


How much would it affect inflation?

Okay. The math here is total garbage, but if you assume a linear relationship between money supply increase and money value decrease (i.e., flat demand...an actual economist can tell me why this is wrong), then the 3.6% annualized increase in M2 over 2 years to 9.1 trillion, linked to an average annualized inflation rate of 1.5%, a creation of 1.5 trillion dollars out of thin air (a 16% increase in money supply) would be expected to contribute about 8% to the annual inflation rate.

Or, in other words, quite a lot.
posted by Vetinari at 12:38 PM on July 24, 2011


Nicholas Kristof: Republicans, Zealots and Our Security
posted by homunculus at 12:38 PM on July 24, 2011


From the WSJ liveblog
post 3:36 EST

White House chief of staff Bill Daley said the U.S. government's creditworthiness has already been damaged by the prolonged debate over how to raise the debt ceiling, with the Obama administration girding for volatility in global financial markets as soon as Sunday evening.

"You've got markets around the world ready to react," Mr. Daley said Sunday morning on NBC's "Meet the Press." "It's time to get some certainty into the system."

Mr. Daley, also speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation," predicted "a few stressful days coming up, and stressful for the markets of the world and the American people."

Treasury Department officials have said the U.S. must have a deal in place by Aug. 2 to raise the debt ceiling or the country could begin defaulting on its obligations. Numerous proposals to raise the debt ceiling in the past few months have fallen apart or been blocked.

Administration officials would like to make significant progress toward a deal by Sunday evening to ensure that Asian markets open calmly.

For the most part, stock and bond markets have mostly ignored the debt-ceiling talks as typical Washington posturing. But that began to change last week when investors began worrying that the White House and Republicans might not reach a deal, with markets fluctuating markedly on several days.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on "Fox News Sunday" it was difficult to predict how markets would react on Monday but that "the longer the politicians take," the more investors will "wonder whether this place can work again."

"At some point, they'll get more worried," he said of investors.


posted by angrycat at 12:39 PM on July 24, 2011


Ironmouth wrote: I mean really, they'll be no effect on the value of the dollar if we start printing money we neither borrowed nor obtained through taxation?

Why has there been no effect on the value of the dollar from all of the money the Fed has printed? I suspect that in a healthy economy, printing money would indeed be inflationary. In what we have now, we seem to be able to shove as much money as we want in the barrel and it won't make a lick of difference.

As I mentioned before, in Germany there was a lack of available productive capacity to sop up the excess currency. We don't have that issue at the moment.


paulsc wrote: And if by 2015, we've taken a trillion dollars a year of borrowing pressure off the world's lenders, the resulting downward pressure on interest rates ought to keep even Wall Street busy looking for places to put the money, other than Treasuries.

Why would they be looking to invest in a deflationary environment? If we were to start paying off debt today, we'd almost certainly move from near-zero inflation into full on deflation as the value of each remaining dollar grew.
posted by wierdo at 12:39 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyone else will be fine, though. Especially all the consumers in debt.

Most people who have 401(k) accounts own US Treasury bonds. So do several countries in large reserves.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:40 PM on July 24, 2011


Vetinari wrote: Or, in other words, quite a lot.

It could be offset by demand destruction (moar taxes, which would reduce the need for money printing) if we didn't have the obstinate Republicans in the way.
posted by wierdo at 12:40 PM on July 24, 2011


krinklyfig wrote: Most people who have 401(k) accounts own US Treasury bonds. So do several countries in large reserves.

Which is why you continue to pay existing bonds.

(sorry for the fast and furious posting!)
posted by wierdo at 12:41 PM on July 24, 2011


I mean really, they'll be no effect on the value of the dollar if we start printing money we neither borrowed nor obtained through taxation?

Also, where do you think money comes from? The government prints it.


Most money creation occurs without printing. You are acting as if inflation does not exist. Econ 101 says that if you dump money into the economy like you propose, the value of existing money goes down. People exchange for dollars based on a rate indicating how much they think they will buy.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:41 PM on July 24, 2011


China loves oil. Can't get enough of it. Maybe we could sell off Alaska to China to pay our debts, like the Russian Czar did to the US in the late 1800s. With a proviso that the Chinese have to take Sarah Palin, I think this would solve several problems at once.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:42 PM on July 24, 2011 [24 favorites]


Which is why you continue to pay existing bonds.

Except the market will go short US bonds if there is any real question about the debt ceiling being raised. There will be massive dumping.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:43 PM on July 24, 2011


Okay, here's my proposal: Zombie LBJ
posted by angrycat at 12:44 PM on July 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


It could be offset by demand destruction (moar taxes, which would reduce the need for money printing) if we didn't have the obstinate Republicans in the way.
It could also be offset by demand destruction if we found a genie lamp.
posted by Flunkie at 12:44 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know, he'd drape his rotting arm over one of these House idiots, and said idiot would both recoil from the smell of his rotting flesh and his tremendous ability to git R done.
posted by angrycat at 12:45 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why has there been no effect on the value of the dollar from all of the money the Fed has printed? I suspect that in a healthy economy, printing money would indeed be inflationary. In what we have now, we seem to be able to shove as much money as we want in the barrel and it won't make a lick of difference.


What? Uh they just don't print money without trying to make sure that it will not make a difference in how much a dollar buys. You do know the government shreds old bills, right? They don't just keep bulking up the money supply for no reason.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:46 PM on July 24, 2011


but instead of bankers making piles of money from t-bills, they'll be eating shit. Everyone else will be fine, though. Especially all the consumers in debt.

Well, all the consumers in debt who don't have any of their household operating budget in a bank. I'm as much for hitting bankers in the face with a brick as the next guy, but if you try to punish bankers by dicking with the money, you're only screwing the customers. And I don't know about you, but my mattress is kind of thin, and I sleep like crap if there's bars of gold wedged into it, not to mention you have to hire good, trustworthy goons to guard the bed, so I keep my money in... a bank.
posted by Vetinari at 12:46 PM on July 24, 2011


The Public Option was DOA. Republicans and "moderate" Democrats would not accept it, full stop. And they were necessary to pass any legislation at all. Blaming Obama for the lack of a public option is asinine.

Not the point. The PO was a winning position among the voters, same as hiking taxes are now. And yet no politician -- Obama included -- found a way to deliver it. It was good policy, and it was good politics.

The pattern revealed is that the political leadership is not as sensitive to the will of the voters as Ironmouth suggested. Why not?
posted by notyou at 12:47 PM on July 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


Econ 101 says that if you dump money into the economy like you propose, the value of existing money goes down. People exchange for dollars based on a rate indicating how much they think they will buy.

As long as the debt can be financed, it's not a problem, and there may not be an environment for inflation. For instance Japan. It's not always Zimbabwe. The money supply is not all concentrated in the hands of consumers. QE2 did not result in an increase in M2.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:47 PM on July 24, 2011


krinklyfig wrote: Except the market will go short US bonds if there is any real question about the debt ceiling being raised. There will be massive dumping.

Well, a smart Congress would change the rules on pension funds and the like allowing them to hold Treasuries regardless of their credit rating, such that anyone holding to maturity wouldn't be effected. (although taking all those Treasuries out of circulation might lead to deflation) Clearly, we don't have a smart Congress, given that the obvious solution is to raise the fucking debt ceiling.

Problem is, too many people don't get it and think that we can just stop spending money on things and not raise the debt ceiling.
posted by wierdo at 12:48 PM on July 24, 2011


krinklyfig wrote: Most people who have 401(k) accounts own US Treasury bonds. So do several countries in large reserves.

Which is why you continue to pay existing bonds.

(sorry for the fast and furious posting!)


With what money do you pay existing bonds? We are out of it.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:48 PM on July 24, 2011


I'm pointing out that your bad analogy shows the weakness in your argument. It is a real gun. Obama has to deal with the possibility it will really go off. You say you can't be 100% sure. Well, given the magnitude of what will happen if it does happen, what do you do? Act like it has no effect? A bad move. 1 in 100 is too high here.

My point is that the chance should affect your fucking NEGOTIATION STANCE, Ironmouth. How are you seriously not getting this? I'm saying, if there's a 1 in 100 chance of a default, that's low enough that you should not be offering Republicans MORE concessions than they're asking for, or extracting less revenue than we'd get by letting the Bush tax cuts expire next year. Or do you really think that a 1 in 100 chance is worth that fucking bullshit?
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 12:49 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, a smart Congress would change the rules on pension funds and the like allowing them to hold Treasuries regardless of their credit rating, such that anyone holding to maturity wouldn't be effected.

Maybe, but the market would still go short. In other words, interest rates would go up.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:51 PM on July 24, 2011


Most money creation occurs without printing. You are acting as if inflation does not exist. Econ 101 says that if you dump money into the economy like you propose, the value of existing money goes down.

It does. But it's not as if that's the only thing that happens, because you're also not paying interest on new debt which has to be paid for in taxes. So the value of money goes down, so what? People get higher salaries, prices on everything go up, and a lot of people get out of debt cheaply.
posted by empath at 12:51 PM on July 24, 2011


It could be offset by demand destruction (moar taxes, which would reduce the need for money printing) if we didn't have the obstinate Republicans in the way.

uh.. wait (mental math, carry the ∏...) if you create more money, you need more demand to offset that, not less. The only ways I know of to create demand for the dollar are 1. export more stuff so people need dollars to settle the current account (not happening) or 2. make everything else foreign investors can buy crash faster than the dollar... I don't know, like unleashing genetically engineered weasels on the world that eat copper, gold, and Swiss francs.

That's my proposal. Gold-eating weasels (herded of course by zombie LBJ).
posted by Vetinari at 12:51 PM on July 24, 2011


Ironmouth, I actually do believe you've been making some pretty solid and substantial points throughout the thread, and I don't want this to be seen as some sort of fray-joining jumping or piling on of you. But I do want to address two of your points.

On the default specific issue of "Obama's gotta work with realities" here, while a healthy dose of realistic expectations is preferable in these sorts of situations*, and while I'm pretty sure this is like entering the Sistine Chapel and murdering a child in a pentagram of gay people, I think we (intelligent folk/allies trying to avoid horrible economic apocalypse or whatever) need to look at Karl Rove. Vile can also be genius.

---"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities"---

Obama holds enormous power just by virtue of his position as head of the biggest empire in the world and the keystone of global order. He has a monopoly on what that power does. He has proven to be admirably terrified of the imperial executive that has been created and one of the greatest legacies of his presidency will be that he was handed enormous power and took repeated actions to give it back. He has worked with congress, in good faith, and shown enormous deference to that separation of powers idea of the constitution. Civil Liberties (which is no small issue but is irrelevant right now) and some aspects of war powers aside, he has been restoring restraint to the executive branch. But I'm comfortable arguing that this is the exact wrong time to weaken yourself on principle. There is clearly too much at stake. Obama needs to pull a Catholic, plain and simple. Do the thing you not supposed to and don't like and get absolved for it later.

He has the power to irreparably and immediately change the political reality and scrape the operative political calculus simply by acting. Talk is necessary but also not action. He has gotten very far on intelligence and charisma. But this time, he needs to choose Power. He needs to use Power. He is the President of the United States of America. He is the goddamn Caesar of the American Empire. Words that he says can destroy tens of millions of dollars in seconds. He has tried negotiating. Not to drag back to the Civil War analogy, but Lincoln, FDR and even Reagan all showed that it is entirely possible to a Tyrant, a Hypocrite, a consummate Statesman and (be perceived as) a great President simultaneously. Polling shows that he has the clay to shape this new reality and as soon as he takes action - whatever that is - the markets will see confidence, the voters will see a leader and the chattering class will be unable to talk away what just happened.

On the larger issue of a 'weak' or voterless Left, especially young liberals not voting: The expectation of votes just because the other person sucks has always proved to be a horrible and Democratic stategy. An adriot strategist would see that if getting kids out to vote would win you an election (as you said it would, and could have in 2010), then you need to gin up something to get them to vote for. MAYBE Public Option was dead on arrival, MAYBE the wars are entrenched, MAYBE gay marriage would make people mad, MAYBE student loan reform isn't high on people's priorities list. But all those maybe's imply a fight. Obama has shown a knack for negotiating and compromise - keys to governing - but not fighting, the key to winning. Young people, we want something to vote FOR, not just against. We're silly, idealistic, caring folk who want hope and are willing to fight for it. Even if we lost the public option debate, we still would have fought, and voted. Even if gay marriage failed, we still would have fought and voted. We need to be asked to fight, and then vote as a weapon, not asked to follow a hard to see leader and then vote as a theoretical defensive measure. If the Dems would stop taking their base for granted and would start coveting them, they'd win a hell of a lot more.

*Livelihoods, world order, and economic solvency hanging in the balance sorts of situations
posted by Chipmazing at 12:52 PM on July 24, 2011 [23 favorites]


Spudlovr Spud Lovr
Can we get 1 million emails to Boehner? I think we can! speaker.gov/Contact/ #fuckyouwashington #fuckyougop #effinggop #fuckwashington

posted by angrycat at 12:53 PM on July 24, 2011


Joining the military looks better and better.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:55 PM on July 24, 2011


Vetinari wrote: if you create more money, you need more demand to offset that, not less

Reducing demand for things necessarily reduces their price.
posted by wierdo at 12:55 PM on July 24, 2011


(to be clear, I don't think printing money is the best solution, and it's still essentially a default (since we'd basically be shafting everyone holding debt), but it wouldn't be the end of the world.

I think the best solution would be to tax the shit out of the rich, but I have a feeling that's not going to happen. But printing money is generally better for people on the lower end than cutting spending on social programs would be, since a bunch of money floating around makes it a lot easier for everyone to get out of debt. It's almost by definition progressive because it devalues dollars, and the more dollars you have, the more you're hurt by it, and the more in debt you are, the more you're helped by it.
posted by empath at 12:56 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry for the slight derail, but this seems like it might be a good place to ask: Anybody have any recommendations for good basic fundamental overviews -- book or web or whatever -- on macroeconomics? If it matters, the level of required math is not an issue.
posted by Flunkie at 12:56 PM on July 24, 2011


Joining the military looks better and better.

Be all you can be, when the coup d'état comes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:57 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


speaker.gov/Contact/

I don't know if "RAISE THE DEBT CEILING YOU FUCKTARD!" was a very convincing e-mail, but I had fun composing it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:58 PM on July 24, 2011 [16 favorites]


According to the WSJ liveblog, Boehner arrived at the U.S. Capitol about 10 minutes ago.
posted by mauvest at 12:59 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anybody have any recommendations for good basic fundamental overviews --book or web or whatever --on macroeconomics?

It's pretty damned fundamental, and half of it focuses on micro, but the other half is macro, and everyone seems to think Economics for Dummies is s really good intro.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:01 PM on July 24, 2011


Imagine a million people emailing Zombie Raygun's call to stay solvent over to Boehner. His head would explode from the cognitive dissonance.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:01 PM on July 24, 2011


The past few hundred comments, are they worth reading, or are they just largely uninformed wank? I don't want to waste my time here if I should be looking elsewhere for facts and reality.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:02 PM on July 24, 2011


Oooooh. Thanks adamdschneider, but long ago I resolved to never purchase a "for Dummies" book, just on principle. Any alternatives? "Economics for the Uneducated", perhaps? I'd be down with that.
posted by Flunkie at 1:03 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Polling shows that he has the clay to shape this new reality and as soon as he takes action - whatever that is - the markets will see confidence, the voters will see a leader and the chattering class will be unable to talk away what just happened."

Yes, but first the public -- and the markets -- must see a serious risk, in order to make that determination... and the other party has been saying that the risk is overplayed.

Chances are that the POTUS will act unilaterally and go with the Constitutional argument to raise the debt ceiling, only if he can reasonably show that there is a serious risk of economic failure by not acting.

In other words, the Asian markets might have to take a dump first.
posted by markkraft at 1:04 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


But default would have devastating consequences on the economy, disproportionately felt by the banks and hugely invested corporations that Republicans suck off incessantly.

I think the key problem is that you seem to assume that the Republicans are deeper in hock to the banks than the Democrats are. In truth this is not so; Wall Street has been very careful over the last few years to do their best at buying both parties.

Actually, I think that Wall Street in large part sees the Democrats as "their" party, strangely enough, while it's really the big slave-labor industries (agribusiness, meatpacking, non-union manufacturing, anything made in or outsourced to China) that prop up the Republicans, along with lots of help from small businesses. Go to any small or medium-size town and sit in at a Chamber of Commerce or Rotarians meeting and you'll find some of the most orthodox conservatives you'll ever meet. That's the backbone of Tea Party / conservative power in the U.S., not Wall Street. So they are not really biting the hand that feeds quite as obviously as it might seem -- because the real hand isn't, in general, that savvy on economic matters.

The New England / New York "Roosevelt Republicans" have, as far as I can tell, mostly jumped ship and now form the conservative wing of the Democrats. So it's not totally surprising that the 'party of Wall Street' moniker deserves to change, as well.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:04 PM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Five fresh fish, everything was riveting until you showed up.
posted by angrycat at 1:05 PM on July 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Again, from the WSJ, timestamped 4:04pm:

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) are still talking after all. The two men have spoken on the phone twice since congressional leaders gathered at the White House Saturday morning, a congressional official said.

Messrs. Obama and Boehner spoke Saturday night and briefly on Sunday about the budget deal congressional leaders have been discussing, the official said.

Negotiations shifted to Capitol Hill after talks between Messrs. Boehner and Obama broke down Friday night. "As he said he would, the speaker has kept the lines of communication open with the bipartisan, bicameral leadership in Congress and the White House," Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner said.

An administration official would not confirm the phone calls, but said there are "a range of ongoing conversations at a range of levels" between the White House and Congress.

posted by mauvest at 1:05 PM on July 24, 2011


He has the power to irreparably and immediately change the political reality and scrape the operative political calculus simply by acting. Talk is necessary but also not action. He has gotten very far on intelligence and charisma. But this time, he needs to choose Power. He needs to use Power. He is the President of the United States of America. He is the goddamn Caesar of the American Empire.

I don't know what to say about this.
posted by Trurl at 1:06 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


People get higher salaries, prices on everything go up, and a lot of people get out of debt cheaply.

Except for no. Often what happens in a devaluation is prices of goods involved in foreign trade (i.e., most things) go up, and salaries stay the same: the devaluation button is a way to rebalance the economy by decreasing everyone's standard of living without having to actually cut their pay.
posted by Vetinari at 1:07 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) are still talking after all. Messrs. Boehner and Obama agreed that they needed more "time just for the two of us, you know, to reconnect."
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:10 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vetinari wrote: Except for no. Often what happens in a devaluation is prices of goods involved in foreign trade (i.e., most things) go up, and salaries stay the same: the devaluation button is a way to rebalance the economy by decreasing everyone's standard of living without having to actually cut their pay.

Sure, but the manufacturing economies aren't very interested in letting our currency devalue relative to theirs. I guess Swiss watches will get more expensive...
posted by wierdo at 1:11 PM on July 24, 2011


Often what happens in a devaluation is prices of goods involved in foreign trade (i.e., most things) go up, and salaries stay the same: the devaluation button is a way to rebalance the economy by decreasing everyone's standard of living without having to actually cut their pay.

Prices on foreign goods go up, which increases demands for exports, and products produced internally, which creates manufacturing jobs, etc.. .
posted by empath at 1:11 PM on July 24, 2011


He has the power to irreparably and immediately change the political reality and scrape the operative political calculus simply by acting. Talk is necessary but also not action. He has gotten very far on intelligence and charisma. But this time, he needs to choose Power. He needs to use Power. He is the President of the United States of America. He is the goddamn Caesar of the American Empire.

I don't know what to say about this.


Well, if one is going to ignore the whole separation of powers thing, you might as well go full-bore moral realism and call for an imperial coup. Not endorsing this, of course, but it makes explicit the logic underpinning a bunch of this Obama-should-be-capable-of-accomplishing-legislative objective x-despite-the (quite insane, that is to say: destructively obstructionist)-opposition party-controlling-the-House stuff that always crops up in threads about the Obama presidency.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:20 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The logic underpinning the "Obama should be able to..." is that a president should use his power to win the negotiations and get the votes. What a total load of horseshit to say that is the same as wanting a coup.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:23 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


4:23pm (EDT) update from WSJ:

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) just emerged to announce to assembled reporters that Mr. Boehner is in his office preparing for his 4:30 p.m. conference call with GOP House members.

The spokesman said reporters had been asking him whether everyone from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to Elvis Presley was huddling inside Mr. Boehner's office with him. But in fact, the spokesman said, the House speaker is simply preparing for the call.

He didn't specifically deny that Elvis was in Mr. Boehner's office, though. Given the apparent state of the talks, maybe lawmakers could use his help.
posted by mauvest at 1:24 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Prices on foreign goods go up, which increases demands for exports, and products produced internally, which creates manufacturing jobs, etc.

well, yes, everything's dynamic, which is why armchair economists, like actual economists, are generally terrible at predictions. point being, "devaluation fixes the consumer debt problem" is not the most unequivocally true statement in this thread. dollar weakness to my knowledge has not yet generated a restart of America's industrial export economy, as far as I've seen, but I admit I haven't researched thorougly.

(Switzerland does indicate the converse of this: Swiss watches will get expensive because Swiss everything is getting expensive: the Franc, already overvalued, is soaring on instability in the dollar and euro. The strong currency is generating worry of a general economic downturn driven by a collapse of manufacturing exports and tourism.)
posted by Vetinari at 1:24 PM on July 24, 2011


Truri, I say that it sucks and its scary. Someone with that much power could invade nations, torture innocents and put themselves and their co-conspirators above legal reproach. They could even us it for class stratification and profit. And while I'd prefer a President who undid that already-done damage, I'm grateful to have one who is at the very least and I do mean very making a number of positive steps in rolling it back. But, in this particular instance, I can know that this is not the right time for those steps. It is precisely the wrong time. I can know that I hate violence yet acknowledge that there are times fighting is necessary.
posted by Chipmazing at 1:24 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) are still talking after all. Messrs. Boehner and Obama agreed that they needed more "time just for the two of us, you know, to reconnect."

"I've been left at the altar."
posted by Trurl at 1:25 PM on July 24, 2011


In fact, taking the opposite position that we just have to give in to whatever the controllers of one house of congress demands when they take hostages is far closer to an undemocratic ideal.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:25 PM on July 24, 2011


[NB: "humor" was WSJ's, not mine]
posted by mauvest at 1:26 PM on July 24, 2011


Someone with that much power could invade nations, torture innocents and put themselves and their co-conspirators above legal reproach.

We wouldn't want that.
posted by Trurl at 1:27 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a total load of horseshit to say that is the same as wanting a coup.

Yeah, I did not phrase my point clearly at all. My bad, furiousxgeorge. I will try to reformulate what I was trying to say.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:28 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I forgive you.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:29 PM on July 24, 2011


Beer summit?
posted by joe lisboa at 1:29 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm having a DAB at the moment, and refusing to believe Dortmunder is a distinct style from Pilsner.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:31 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am waiting for the Nikkei to tank in light of the debt ceiling issue and then stocking up on Sapporo.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:34 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Beer hall putsch!
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:38 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Nikkei is open, right?
posted by codacorolla at 1:41 PM on July 24, 2011


8:00 PM EST, I think?
posted by joe lisboa at 1:41 PM on July 24, 2011


It's currently approaching 6:00 AM Tokyo time. The Tokyo Stock Exchange opens at 9:00 AM Tokyo time.
posted by Flunkie at 1:43 PM on July 24, 2011


Boehner is a hard-on.
posted by Splunge at 1:43 PM on July 24, 2011


From another forum: Foreign Exchange Markets open at 4:00 PM EST, in five minutes. Asian markets open at 7:00 PM in three hours.

Anyone who knows about this stuff want to take a look at the exchange markets for us?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:43 PM on July 24, 2011


furiousxgeorge wrote: Anyone who knows about this stuff want to take a look at the exchange markets for us?

I don't know shit about forex, but I'm watching a live feed and it seems that the drop in the dollar relative to other currencies was less than 1% at open and the dollar has been rising since.
posted by wierdo at 1:48 PM on July 24, 2011


Oh, I should give a link.
posted by wierdo at 1:48 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's currently approaching 6:00 AM Tokyo time. The Tokyo Stock Exchange opens at 9:00 AM Tokyo time

It's like watching 9/11 in slow motion at this point. You know the planes are going to hit the financial center, but there's nothing you can do about it.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:49 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now a "source familiar with the talks" says Pelosi and Reid will meet with Obama at the White House at 6pm.
posted by mauvest at 1:50 PM on July 24, 2011


Time to consider the Constitutional Option.

From the Bruce Bartlett statement before the US House of Representatives:

(Debt default) will create not only an economic crisis, but a constitutional one. That is because of a little-known section of the 14th Amendment, which says, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

The leading authority on the Public Debt Clause is Prof. Michael Abramowicz of the George Washington University law school. In a 1997 law review article, he discussed the history and interpretation of it at length. Abramowicz‟s conclusion is that any government action “making uncertain whether or not a debt will be honored is unconstitutional.”


Yes, the President / the Treasury Dept. can act alone to raise the debt ceiling. If things start to look bad, they certainly should do so.
posted by markkraft at 1:51 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


mauvest wrote: Now a "source familiar with the talks" says Pelosi and Reid will meet with Obama at the White House at 6pm

The cynic in me says that Obama will be convincing Pelosi and Reid to take the boning that Boehner is about to give them.
posted by wierdo at 1:52 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Twoleftfeet, there must be a better and more accurate analogy.
posted by datawrangler at 1:53 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


We wouldn't want that.

51% is such a slim 'we' that is scares me to the very core.

joe lisboa, I really don't think its on the same moral level as an actual coup at all, if pursued correctly. I think any straightforward reading of Section 4 allows the constitutionally uncontroversial but politically MARXIST-TYRANT! action of making the public debt of the United States unquestionable. It was just this sort of anticipated political usage of default that led to that provision. The players are different but the Constitution is the rules of the game. Just because no one has tried this Flee-Fly-Flicker outside of Student Congress simulations, doesn't mean its not allowed. Now, if Obama based this action on the Posner/Vermeule arguement that "Presidents can just do shit, you know, cuz they're Presidents jeez", then that would be morally coup-y and bad tyrannical.

And I'm not legally allowed to join the beer summit :(. Can we make it a lethal weapons summit or a porn summit instead?
posted by Chipmazing at 1:53 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Time to consider the Constitutional Option.

The Republicans ought to like this option, as they could then craft the narrative that Obama made an "unprecedented" executive power grab in order to raise the debt, even though a Republican deal was "on the table."
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:56 PM on July 24, 2011


I think the people who claim that the ceiling will be raised no matter what are being far too optimistic.

Yes, the various Republican leaders have at times in the recent past said things that seemed to imply they'd raise the debt ceiling and avoid the crisis. But that means squat. They lie, and worse they sometimes say things that they'd like to be true but aren't. I think none of the Republican leadership has really absorbed the total ideological dedication of the newly elected Tea Party Republicans.

I'm fairly sure that when Boehner and his fellows started this mess they did truly intend it to be nothing but the standard Washington Kabuki. They'd bluster, Obama would give them more than I think he really has to, and in the end the debt ceiling would be raised.

But the Tea Party true believers never thought of this as kabuki, they see it as a golden opportunity to really do something big, something dramatic, to make a statement, to do what they were elected to and make change. All the crazy rhetoric that Boehner etc were spewing, crap they never believed but did merely as kabuki posturing, set the stage for the Tea Party to see this as the apocalyptic battle against the Evil Kenyan, the battle they could win and Take Their Country Back!

I think Boehner has painted himself into a corner. He can't twist the Tea Party Republicans arms and make them vote for a debt ceiling increase. Which means he'll either have to go with a majority Democratic bill (political suicide) or pretend he was with the Tea Party all along and let the economy crater.

I'm not betting on Boehner having the moral courage to end his political career just to save the economy. In fact, I'm betting against it. Right now I don't know if the Tea Party will take even a "clean" (from their POV) debt ceiling increase that is 100% spending cuts and not even the faintest wiff of tax increases ever.

I'm increasingly convinced that the Tea Party is going to insist that the debt ceiling stay in place and we simply cut anything that can't be paid for with existing revenue.

Right now, I'm fairly sure there won't be a deal, the debt ceiling will stay in place, and then I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen. But I do know that it won't be Obama's fault. I'll blame the man for a lot, but not for this.
posted by sotonohito at 1:57 PM on July 24, 2011 [17 favorites]


But the Tea Party true believers never thought of this as kabuki,

THIS.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:00 PM on July 24, 2011


So apparently Reid's plan is no revenue increases and 2.5 trillion in spending cuts with a 2.5 trillion debt ceiling increase. Consider the forex market gods pleased.
posted by wierdo at 2:07 PM on July 24, 2011


(Crappy twitter) link
posted by wierdo at 2:08 PM on July 24, 2011


no revenue increases

Fucking hell.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:08 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Twoleftfeet, there must be a better and more accurate analogy.

Yeah, you're right. Using 9/11 as a metaphor is uncouth.

I'm going to with Chernobyl at 1:23.40 on April 26, 1986.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:09 PM on July 24, 2011


i'm beginning to wonder if the real republican plan is to try to force obama into going the 14th amendment route so they can claim he's some kind of tyrant
posted by pyramid termite at 2:09 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Via Krugman: "Someday people will look back and wonder, What were they thinking? Why, in the midst of a stalled recovery, with the economy fragile and job creation slowing to a trickle, did the nation’s leaders decide that the thing to do—in order to raise the debt limit, normally a routine matter—was to spend less money, making job creation all the more difficult? Many experts on the economy believe that the President has it backward: that focusing on growth and jobs is more urgent in the near term than cutting the deficit, even if such expenditures require borrowing. But that would go against Obama’s new self-portrait as a fiscally responsible centrist."
posted by homunculus at 2:13 PM on July 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


So the plan is total capitulation?
posted by vibrotronica at 2:15 PM on July 24, 2011


So apparently Reid's plan is no revenue increases and 2.5 trillion in spending cuts with a 2.5 trillion debt ceiling increase.

If this is true it represents a total capitulation to Republican demands.

Total.
posted by Avenger at 2:16 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


If there is one thing I have learned from the crisis, it is this:

John Boehner has the prettiest blue eyes.
posted by empath at 2:19 PM on July 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Actually, you know what? A cut in social programs along with a massive debt ceiling increase (inflation) could actually be interpreted as a tax increase on the poorest Americans.

I'm sorry but if this is true then Obama and the dems have totally and utterly gone off the reservation. There is literally no point in voting for them anymore.
posted by Avenger at 2:19 PM on July 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


I've never had much confidence in Reid's ability to stand firm on anything. It makes me wonder how the last two years would have gone if he were more in the mold of Pelosi.

Also re: zombie LBJ -- dude had greater-than-two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress, plus a liberal Supreme Court, plus a much less toxic media environment. He was an effective president, but he hardly shouldered the burden alone.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:24 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Republicans are pretty good at this, aren't they?
posted by ryanrs at 2:24 PM on July 24, 2011


Well, I think you have to understand that rich people are rich because they're doing the right kind of things, the kind of things that Nature and God feel good about. A lot of poor people are poor because they're really not good people. It's God's Great Plan, and it will all even out in Heaven, many years from now.

Unless the Anti-Heaven Bill goes through in 2017. It has been gaining support.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:26 PM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Later tonight Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will begin briefing Senate Democrats on a plan that would raise the debt ceiling through the start of 2013, cut $2.4 trillion in spending and include no new taxes. It is designed to be a deal that Republicans would have a hard time turning down, but the cuts will include things Republicans don't like either because they aren't "real" (interest savings, future war savings, etc) or they come out of the defense budget.

If there were deep cuts to the defense budget, then I'd be ok with that. But, there's no way in hell that would happen, is there. It'd be something like $5 billion. Over 10 years.
posted by stavrogin at 2:26 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry but if this is true then Obama and the dems have totally and utterly gone off the reservation. There is literally no point in voting for them anymore.

I remember feeling that way about Al Gore in 2000. Boy was I wrong.
posted by dig_duggler at 2:26 PM on July 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


Republicans are pretty good at this, aren't they?
No. Hence the annoyance with the Dems
posted by fullerine at 2:26 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


July 24:So apparently Reid's plan is no revenue increases and 2.5 trillion in spending cuts with a 2.5 trillion debt ceiling increase. Consider the forex market gods pleased.
-
July 6: Mr. Obama, who is to meet at the White House with the bipartisan leadership of Congress in an effort to work out an agreement to raise the federal debt limit, wants to move well beyond the $2 trillion in savings sought in earlier negotiations and seek perhaps twice as much over the next decade, Democratic officials briefed on the negotiations said Wednesday.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:27 PM on July 24, 2011


The reason some of us are confident that the ceiling will be increased is that there are extremely powerful forces concerned with making it happen. It might be political suicide for Boehner to allow enough Republicans to go along with a purely Democratic plan to let it pass, tossing the Tea Party under the bus. But it will also be political suicide for him to be the cause of debt default.

What the last two weeks have been about has been making sure Boehner and the Republicans are seen as the cause agents if that happens. And Obama has pretty much won that round brilliantly. "Is there anything you guys would agree to?" indeed.

If the US defaults some extremely wealthy and powerful people will be very, very pissed at the Congressmen they thought they had bought fair and square. You can bet phones have been ringing for at least a week with stern warnings being passed on.

The teabaggers don't care though, and Boehner doesn't have them on a leash. That leaves the sane Republicans in a very bad and rapidly shrinking box. I don't believe for an instant they'd commit political seppuku to save the country, but to satisfy their corporate masters? That's likely another story.
posted by localroger at 2:29 PM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Update:

Word from House Speaker John Boehner’s call with House Republicans is that he’ll have details Monday -– not today -- of a new proposal to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling, reflecting the principles of the "Cut, Cap and Balance" plan the House passed last week.

Boehner also assured his members that there are no secret talks going on with the White House, according to participants on the call. Boehner told those on the call that a "grand deal" isn't possible with President Barack Obama.

posted by mauvest at 2:31 PM on July 24, 2011


I would love to see Obama and Boehner's respective BATNAs.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:31 PM on July 24, 2011


I would love to see Obama and Boehner's respective BATNAs.
I don't know about Obama's and Boehner's, but the Tea Party Caucus's is "glorious return of Jesus now that we have proven our worth".
posted by Flunkie at 2:32 PM on July 24, 2011


Boehner not putting forward anything until Monday is perhaps because he has nothing to put forward now? Anything that happens with the markets tonight and tomorrow morning is going to be at the GOP's door, esp. as Reid put forward his proposal that is w/o revenue increases.
posted by angrycat at 2:38 PM on July 24, 2011


Why has there been no effect on the value of the dollar from all of the money the Fed has printed?

Someone hasn't been paying attention to exchange rates.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:42 PM on July 24, 2011


From ABC:
Later tonight Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will begin briefing Senate Democrats on a plan that would raise the debt ceiling through the start of 2013, cut $2.4 trillion in spending and include no new taxes. It is designed to be a deal that Republicans would have a hard time turning down, but the cuts will include things Republicans don't like either because they aren't "real" (interest savings, future war savings, etc) or they come out of the defense budget.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:42 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cuts to the defense budget are also not real - as they can always be given back in supplemental war spending.
posted by Trurl at 2:45 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is a big failure for the Speaker. He was the one who walked out. He was the one who said, Congress writes the laws. He is the one who said he would have a plan today. Now he has nothing to show for it, but request for more time.
posted by humanfont at 2:47 PM on July 24, 2011


Later tonight Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will begin briefing Senate Democrats on a plan that would raise the debt ceiling through the start of 2013, cut $2.4 trillion in spending and include no new taxes. It is designed to be a deal that Republicans would have a hard time turning down, but the cuts will include things Republicans don't like either because they aren't "real" (interest savings, future war savings, etc) or they come out of the defense budget.

It seems like the real problem here is that the Republicans are dogmatically opposed to any cut in defense spending, so not only is that verboten, but any legitimate saving which would flow as a result of those cuts would also be verboten. Pulling out of Bush 43's adventures, as well as eliminating the more wasteful Big Expensive Toy Divisions of the military-industrial complex, would not only save money in the short term, but also in the long term.

Put the military to work rebuilding our nation's infrastructure. If Republicans complain that this is socialism, say "just pretend we're building these roads in the Middle East."

Cuts to the defense budget are also not real - as they can always be given back in supplemental war spending.

Reminds me of this famous joke:

PATIENT: Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I do this!
DOCTOR: So don't do that!
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:51 PM on July 24, 2011


I'm beginning to wonder if the real republican plan is to try to force Obama into going the 14th amendment route so they can claim he's some kind of tyrant

I'm sure the non-tea-party leadership is probably praying hard that Obama, in fact, does go this route, so they don't have to actually sign their names to anything.

However, I really don't think Obama has the balls to do it. But, if he should do it, I don't think his people are competent enough to form a winnable counter to the tyrant/dictator charge, which is almost certainly already teed-up and ready to from every think-tank and Fox News talking head, just in case.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:52 PM on July 24, 2011


I have this intense desire to do things to the House Republicans like rub their nose in their own poop.
posted by angrycat at 2:54 PM on July 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Put the military to work rebuilding our nation's infrastructure.

Do not do this.
posted by dave78981 at 3:02 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Time to consider the Constitutional Option.

Employing that Option would require something like courage of conviction, or a backbone, neither of which Obama possesses to any significant degree. In the end, he'll work something out so that Republicans get almost everything they wanted.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:02 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have this intense desire to do things to the House Republicans like rub their nose in their own poop.

Me, too. I've complained mightily these last few years that I'd like to see Obama get his back up a little more. Show some good old righteous indignation.

He just doesn't work that way, though. And while I don't think Democrats have played their hand as well as they could have, we have made some progress.

I really think Obama is playing long ball here; his intention is to come out of this looking like the only adult in the room. Part of me says that's cynical and sucks because it sells everybody out more than it needs to, but the rest of me says it's genius if it gets independents back into the fold. I think he has a better than even chance of pulling it off.

I hate the constant emphasis on reelection, but the truth is a second-term president can be much more adamant and effective than a first-term president.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:05 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The 30 minute press conference on Friday had a pretty healthy amount of indignation. I recommend watching it if you haven't yet.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:08 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Republican controlled house wants to dictate terms for raising the debt ceiling. With around 60 members adamant against raising the debt ceiling under any circumstance.

The Speaker wants (has?) to make this a Republicans ONLY vote or chances are he won't be Speaker next time around.

As someone said earlier there are 192 Democrats in Congress, this shouldn't be a hard deal.

What's making it hard are those 60 or so Tea Baggers who "won't take yes for an answer."

The Senate Minority Leader blinked last week with his proposal. Obama offers more and larger deal's with caveats of revenue increases to scuttle the whole deal on purpose making the House look unreasonable.

We're looking at a power struggle plain and simple in the majority party of the House.
posted by Max Power at 3:10 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


"If we were to start paying off debt today, we'd almost certainly move from near-zero inflation into full on deflation as the value of each remaining dollar grew."
posted by wierdo at 3:39 PM on July 24

Eh, variable interest on the rollover component (principal we can't pay back at term, and have to roll over into new debt via new monthly and quarterly Treasury auctions) pretty much annihilates that thesis, when your debt starting point is, today, 14.3 trillion, and nobody's current plan, including mine, stops additional net borrowing until we've hit at least 18 or 19 trillion, sometime in 2015 or 2016. It's just too radical a change to accomplish to this economy, statutorily, or practically, to force spending down so far, or even to raise taxes enough combined with deep, deep spending cuts, to get to actual debt reduction in the next fiscal year. In other words, the most conservative fiscal plans being talked about now for the U.S. government, have it digging the hole deeper by another 2 to 4 trillion dollars, over the next 18 months to 2 years, before anybody can think about net payback of debt. It's effin' pitiful to call something like that "The Grand Plan," in my estimation, but such is American political hyperbole.

Just this August, over and above the $125+ billion of net new borrowing we have to do to keep spending like drunken sailors, we have to roll over another $500 billion worth of old debt to new, so that our actual total borrowing needs for August are about $650 billion, once you factor in interest.

At any time in the next 20 years or so, we're about 1 or 2 failed Treasury auctions away from actual default, regardless of what the technical debt ceiling authorization is. And one day in the future, I for one can easily imagine that the auction crowd which has historically bought Treasury bonds on promises of security wises up, and takes its money elsewhere, and the U.S. Treasury is left to beg for time to an empty auction room.
posted by paulsc at 3:12 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Treasury acutions will never fail. Either the yield will rise, or the Fed will simply buy the bonds as they did in the last two rounds of quantative easing.
posted by humanfont at 3:22 PM on July 24, 2011


There are many things I can easily imagine, but none of them are worth destroying the economy over.
posted by vibrotronica at 3:23 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Didn't we do all this just four months ago? Ahh yes, Will there be a government shutdown?

I'll just say the same thing I said back then.

It won't get shutdown. Republicans and Democrats will reach a last minute deal. They both will go home to their base and boast about the epic fight they won for their cause. The media has an Apocalyptic Battle that could just spell the end of the world, or at least some damn good ratings bumps.

This state of perpetual emergency is starting to get kind of old. It's like Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine has turned into the political equivalent of Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces. Except instead of screenwriters in LA with the killer script they're working on, it's our shared future.
posted by formless at 3:31 PM on July 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


"Treasury acutions will never fail. Either the yield will rise, or the Fed will simply buy the bonds as they did in the last two rounds of quantative easing."
posted by humanfont at 6:22 PM on July 24

So the Federal Reserve is going to buy Treasury bonds with.....what? Federal Reserve notes that Ben's Backroom Boys print in convenient $10,000 and $100,000 denominations, especially for the purpose? Because that way, lie monsters and hyperinflation.

And that yield thing? I can buy houses in my city that 5 years ago sold at $399,000 for under $100,000 today, but I'm not. How come? Too much risk of further value loss. At some point, broad economic fears mean even rational people, in quantities great enough to finance great nations, simply ignore yield curves, and go where they think their money might be safe, even if that "safe" place is no better than under their mattress.
posted by paulsc at 3:32 PM on July 24, 2011


Did you miss the part where the republicans said they were willing to raise it temporarily, but Obama said that was unacceptable?

No. Did you miss the part where Republicans started the pissing match by demanding concessions instead of just signing the fucking thing? Coulda, shoulda, woulda - the Republicans have overplayed their hand.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:32 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Alright, who pissed in the Glooper?
posted by mikelieman at 3:34 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


WSJ blog, 6:21

The dollar fell broadly as Asian markets opened Monday and the apparent impasse in U.S. debt talks weighed on the greenback.

Fears are rising that Congress will fail to meet a White House-imposed deadline of Aug. 2 to raise the debt ceiling, leading the U.S. to default on its debt shortly after that deadline. Even if a deal gets done, market participants are skittish that a long-term deficit-reduction plan might not be enough for the U.S. to avoid a ratings downgrade.

The dollar fell to Y78.15 from about Y78.52 late Friday. The dollar also dropped against the Swiss franc, falling to CHF0.8120 from about CHF0.8182 on Friday.

The euro was back above $1.44 to $1.4415 from about $1.4360 on Friday.


It has begun, whatever damage this will cause, we're starting to see it.
posted by angrycat at 3:36 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


paulsc wrote: Federal Reserve notes that Ben's Backroom Boys print in convenient $10,000 and $100,000 denominations, especially for the purpose? Because that way, lie monsters and hyperinflation.

Been there, done that, where's the beef?
posted by wierdo at 3:41 PM on July 24, 2011


Iceberg? What iceberg?

This ship is unsinkable!
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:42 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Guy on CNN: "I think we have crafted a long-term agreement..."

Me: "About damn time."

Guy on CNN: "...that can be good for the game of football..."

Me: ಠ_ಠ
posted by Rhaomi at 3:43 PM on July 24, 2011 [27 favorites]


Katjusa Roquette: "I have been of the opinion that the longer the Republicans hold out, the more justification and indeed moral duty President Obama has for 1. Invoking the 14th Amendment, 2, Taking all compromise with the Republicans OFF the table.
It would be a good lesson to them to just negotiate in good faith.
I really do think the Republicans need a spanking and sent to their room.
But not before changing their dapers!
"

Not an American, no direct stake in this, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, et cetera, but I think you're right. The Republicans are going to use the debt ceiling as a club, again and again, until they get everything they want. If Obama ever wants to govern as his own man, he has to stop them now by breaking their will. Therefore, they must be made to put up or shut up. Either they force a default, or they give in (or the President does something like what you're suggesting), which will reveal their threat to be meaningless and render the debt ceiling invalid as a tactic for future extortion. Anything else will just make things worse further down the road, not just for Obama but also for any future President who faces stubborn opposition.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:43 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not an American, no direct stake in this, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, et cetera, but I think you're right. The Republicans are going to use the debt ceiling as a club, again and again, until they get everything they want. If Obama ever wants to govern as his own man, he has to stop them now by breaking their will. Therefore, they must be made to put up or shut up.

That's exactly what he's doing when he says "no short term fix." He's questioning their honesty and commitment right to their face. You don't get to throw bombs and then shift to an easy "back-down" position without getting called out.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:48 PM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


[comment removed - if I have to tell you one more time in 2011 to not call people dipshits, I will give you a week off. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 3:55 PM on July 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


"Been there, done that, where's the beef?"
posted by wierdo at 6:41 PM on July 24

Around Thanksgiving, I expect "the beef" to be coarsely ground and right to the left of the frozen turkey in my grocer's meat section, and marked down to the low, low post-crash price of a hundreth a krugerrand a pound, for the interest of anybody with ready money...

I'm trying to see the proverbial glass as half full.
posted by paulsc at 3:56 PM on July 24, 2011


WSJ, 6:54 post EST

No debt deal means good times for gold bugs. Gold prices are up sharply in early trading in Asia amid broader worries about risk as the debt-ceiling debate grinds on in the U.S.

Gold for August delivery is up nearly 1% at $1,616.60 an ounce.

posted by angrycat at 3:56 PM on July 24, 2011


That's a good point, Benny Andajetz. But it amazes me just how much Obama is willing to compromise up to that limit. If a hostile foreign power was somehow in a position to threaten the US economy I've no doubt that Obama's response would be swift and aggressive. No negotiating with terrorists, and so on. But when it's Republicans doing the threatening he's willing to compromise again and again, until ordinary people are confused into thinking that the negotiations were reasonable and necessary in the first place.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:01 PM on July 24, 2011


Is it just me or is anyone else nauseous thinking about this stuff? This is going to keep me awake tonight.
posted by desjardins at 4:03 PM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


If a hostile foreign power was somehow in a position to threaten the US economy I've no doubt that Obama's response would be swift and aggressive. No negotiating with terrorists, and so on. But when it's Republicans doing the threatening he's willing to compromise again and again

I actually have no problems with a president who treats citizens of his own country who aren't of his party with greater leniency than he would a foreign enemy.
posted by hippybear at 4:06 PM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


On the bright side: as the US dollar collapses and foreign creditors begin to demand payment in real, physical goods, jobs in the mining and logging sector will boom.

Everybody party like it's 1929!
posted by Avenger at 4:07 PM on July 24, 2011


I'm surprised at how short-sighted the moneyed class seems to be.
posted by clockzero at 4:11 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


If a hostile foreign power was somehow in a position to threaten the US economy I've no doubt that Obama's response would be swift and aggressive. No negotiating with terrorists, and so on. But when it's Republicans doing the threatening he's willing to compromise again and again

You mean the elected representatives of American citizens? That's called democracy. The alternative is despotism.
posted by empath at 4:15 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It isn't the moneyed class forcing this showdown, it is the Tea Party fanatics. There may be a little overlap but, really, the rich guy interests are not liking this at all.

Now, they've been exploiting these fanatics for some time and now it has bit them in the ass. When you sow the wind you reap the whirlwind.
posted by Justinian at 4:16 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised at how short-sighted the moneyed class seems to be.

Bobby tried to warn us...
And the politicians throwing stones
Singing Ashes Ashes All Fall Down...
posted by mikelieman at 4:16 PM on July 24, 2011


"I actually have no problems with a president who treats citizens of his own country who aren't of his party with greater leniency than he would a foreign enemy."

But the effect is the same, ultimately. In both cases Obama would be surrendering his initiative to someone else. I know your system has a greater distribution of powers, but the President should still have some free agency to lead.

It's so strange. When there was a Republican president he had the effective power of a tyrant. Bush could set the agenda and carry out policy with ease, up to the point where it looked like too much power was being centralized in the executive. Now there's a Democratic president and it's the Congress and Senate who seem to have all the power, and the executive is less relevant.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:17 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, a short-term raising of the debt ceiling means we'll have to go through all this again before the 2012 election, or do it during election season which would make it the Huge Campaign Issue...

A Republican-inspired agreement which is in two stages and has a large raising of the ceiling now and has revenue increases decided later will likely never see the second part of that coming to pass, so the Democrats will never agree with it.

A Democrat-inspired agreement which contains revenue increases now will never be agreed to by the Hell No Caucus in the House.

Obama will likely veto any short-term increase because he doesn't want to have to deal with this again during this term.

Is there any way out of this impasse?
posted by hippybear at 4:19 PM on July 24, 2011


Why are they bitching about the debt ceiling when they just passed the very budget that is spending this money in the first place?
posted by synaesthetichaze at 4:22 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's so strange. When there was a Republican president he had the effective power of a tyrant. Bush could set the agenda and carry out policy with ease, up to the point where it looked like too much power was being centralized in the executive. Now there's a Democratic president and it's the Congress and Senate who seem to have all the power, and the executive is less relevant.

Well, that's largely because the Democrats aren't willing to play the same game of hardball as the Republicans. The Rs, even as a minority party, have been willing to do all kinds of technical leveraging which isn't technically against the rules but which fly in the face of fair play in order to push their agenda, or at least keep the Ds from exercising theirs. When the Ds were in power, they weren't willing to force the issue on important things and kept allowing the Rs to put up roadblocks in the context of the rules of each house, especially the Senate. But when the Ds are the minority, they aren't willing to put down anonymous blocks on appointments or pushing the issue of the filibuster all in the name of making a point.

It's that old saw about how people who play by the rules get the short end of the stick. Ethics always weaken the ethical when faced with the unethical.
posted by hippybear at 4:24 PM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Because they think it will gain them political advantage, synaesthetichaze.

Or at least that's why they started. At this point, I think they're continuing doing it because they can't find a way out that will sate the bloodlust of the Tea Party.
posted by Flunkie at 4:24 PM on July 24, 2011


Why are they bitching about the debt ceiling when they just passed the very budget that is spending this money in the first place?

Because they are political opportunists, making something out of nothing.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:26 PM on July 24, 2011


'...If Obama ever wants to govern as his own man, he has to stop them now by breaking their will. ..."
posted by Kevin Street at 6:43 PM on July 24

Our President is never our king, and the first President that tries to "break the will" of Congress in any real sense, is likely to be impeached pronto, by that same Congress. Moreover, I think Obama is a decent guy, and remembers himself as a former constitutional law professor, and will not, even in a fit of personal pique, resort to naked wankery. He's just utterly ineffective as a national political leader, for not having had much time or personal influence in national office, prior to becoming President, and having failed to assemble a staff that could effectively herd the cats in a divided House/Senate situation.

He's not unlike Jimmy Carter - a decent guy, doing all he can to keep from being run out of the canoe by a fierce rabbit.
posted by paulsc at 4:26 PM on July 24, 2011


Can anyone explain why the "Super Congress" isn't the stupidest idea any human being ever had? I honestly thought that was from the Onion at first. Is there any chance of this undemocratic nightmare actually happening? I mean, I get that it is probably (nominally) constitutional, but ... just ugh. If that's really our best solution to this problem, we are well and truly fucked.
posted by dialetheia at 4:30 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can anyone explain why the "Super Congress" isn't the stupidest idea any human being ever had?

Because six months ago Rick Perry suggested having Texas secede from the Union to not have to pay for health care.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:32 PM on July 24, 2011 [19 favorites]


He's just utterly ineffective as a national political leader, for not having had much time or personal influence in national office, prior to becoming President, and having failed to assemble a staff that could effectively herd the cats in a divided House/Senate situation.

Says the man who thinks selling all the gold in Fort Knox is a good way to erase the national debt. Tell me another one paul, you do this thing so well.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:36 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Says the man who thinks selling all the gold in Fort Knox is a good way to erase the national debt.

Doesn't he also recommend putting the dollar back on the gold standard?

How can you sell all the gold in Ft Knox and still put the dollar back on the gold standard?

Oh, right. Paul really wants to see the Federal Reserve dismantled entirely and for the US to have no national currency. I keep forgetting that.
posted by hippybear at 4:41 PM on July 24, 2011


hippybear, more likely heavy in gold and talking his book. ;)
posted by wierdo at 4:46 PM on July 24, 2011


I don't like the direction this is going to head. I think we face the possibility of significant spontanius political unrest in the next 7 days. Remember when that crazy Russian guy oredicted the break uo of the US, oerhaos he was right.
posted by humanfont at 4:51 PM on July 24, 2011


I think we face the possibility of significant spontanius political unrest in the next 7 days.

I'm not sure the US populace is awake and aware enough to take to the streets and have any sort of effective political unrest in the next 7 days or the next 7 months.

Remember when that crazy Russian guy [p]redicted the break u[p] of the US

In Soviet Russia, US breaks up you!

(Wait, that didn't quite work. My apologies to Yakov Smirnoff.)
posted by hippybear at 4:54 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


If what you really want to see is the destruction of the US government as we know it today, then making the US default is delightful; making the US default and blaming Obama's ineffectuality (instead of Republican intransigence) is pure sex. And Jimmy Carter was scared of a rabbit!

Gotta hand it to the Teabaggers, though. They might accomplish the kind of destruction Al Qaeda only dreamed of.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:54 PM on July 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


I have a theory: this heat wave is being caused by all the friction generated by our forefathers spinning endlessly in their graves.

Addendum: I propose we put some giant magnets near them and solve our future energy needs.
posted by narwhal bacon at 4:55 PM on July 24, 2011 [17 favorites]


FWIW I just bought some Chinese food with USD, no problem.
posted by ryanrs at 4:56 PM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


So...less than three minutes until the Nikkei opens. Here goes nothing, I suppose.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:57 PM on July 24, 2011


"Super Congress" is my new favorite thing.

It's a name worthy of the concept.
posted by Trurl at 4:59 PM on July 24, 2011


Gentlemen, it has been a pleasure playing with you tonight.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:59 PM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]



Oh, and I'd like to mention how fucking rich it is that the budget shortfall in Minnesota was 'solved' by borrowing from the future. Surely that's a wise decision! I can't believe they can get away with this utter bullshit.


This gambit, which came from Republicans in the Legislature, is basically the same thing Pawlenty did several times while he was governor in order to "balance the budget". Locally, there was a lot of remarking that "gee, this sounds like something Pawlenty would have done"--instead of solving the problem, kick the can down the street and leave the problem for whoever's in charge next year. So yet again, we get shifty accounting tricks that give the appearance of a "balanced budget" so that Republican politicians can claim that they obeyed their "no new taxes" pledges.
posted by gimonca at 5:01 PM on July 24, 2011


Am I reading this right? Already a half a percentage drop on the Nikkei?

http://e.nikkei.com/e/app/fr/market/nikkeiindex.aspx
posted by Imperfect at 5:05 PM on July 24, 2011


I think we face the possibility of significant spontanius political unrest in the next 7 days.

i don't - people are going to have to see this affect their lives negatively first, and i don't see that happening in the next week - the consequences of this mess are going to take some time to be felt
posted by pyramid termite at 5:06 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Am I reading this right? Already a half a percentage drop on the Nikkei?

Yes you are. The markets are generally trading slightly lower in Asia; there is no global panic. And for all of you prognosticating doom and gloom, S&P futures have been trading in the overnight session for the past 3 hours. They're down 0.8%, and have been quite stable for most of the trading session.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 5:11 PM on July 24, 2011


angrycat: "I have this intense desire to do things to the House Republicans like rub their nose in their own poop."

Hey! We agree on something ;)
posted by symbioid at 5:18 PM on July 24, 2011


From the WSJ liveblog:
In a conference call Sunday with Republican House members, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) sharply criticized President Barack Obama for opposing a short-term debt increase, one that must be renewed next year instead of lasting through the end of 2012.

"The president's position of forcing us to give him a debt limit increase through the election is purely political and indefensible," Mr. Cantor said, according to someone familiar with the call. "He cannot sustain or defend putting politics above the country's instance in this situation."

Many Republicans have been arguing recently that Mr. Obama is simply trying to avoid having the debt limit issue come up again in the thick of his re-election campaign.

But people familiar with the bipartisan talks led by Vice President Joseph Biden said that in those talks, Mr. Cantor repeatedly stressed that he himself would not support a short-term debt-ceiling increase.

And Mr. Cantor also told reporters last month that he opposed a short-term increase. "I have said all along, as you know, that it is my preference that we do this thing one time, again, based on the notion that we have to make some tough decision," he said at the time. "Putting off tough decisions is not what people want in this town."
WHARGARBL.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:20 PM on July 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


To add a bit more color - half a percentage point move for the Nikkei is nothing. I trade Asian markets professionally* and this sort of move doesn't even begin to raise eyebrows. For perspective, the Nikkei was up 1.3% on Friday and I don't recall anyone throwing a ticker-tape parade.

*I don't mean I'm a day-trader, or a trader who occasionally looks at Asia. I'm Head of Asian Trading for a multi-billion dollar financial institution.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 5:21 PM on July 24, 2011 [24 favorites]


Oh, and that should have been 2 hours, not 3. Looked at the wrong clock. Apologies.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 5:24 PM on July 24, 2011


In my vague, hand-wavey defense, it was down half a percentage within seconds of opening (at least according to the site I linked to). It hasn't moved much since, but a half-percentage point in about fifteen seconds, when there's been 500 posts predicting doom and gloom, AND you know jack about securities trading... that's a teensy bit worrying.
posted by Imperfect at 5:24 PM on July 24, 2011


Everything glitches a little at the opening.
posted by ryanrs at 5:26 PM on July 24, 2011


Markets don't have to open at the same price where they closed the previous day. In fact, they very rarely do. It's not a "glitch" - it's just how they work. Market prices are set by buyers and sellers. Why would anyone necessarily want to buy it at the same price as they did on Friday given all the news?

Also, you may not be aware of this, but Tokyo index futures continue to trade in Chicago after Japan has gone to sleep, so the "closing price" has a lot less meaning than it used to in the days before 24-hour trading.

Not trying to give you the smack-down or anything; trust me, a 0.5% move on the open is well within typical trading in Japan. Japanese markets have a tendency to make a sharp move on the open, and then drift for most of the day.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 5:31 PM on July 24, 2011


We've reached the witching hour? Do I have time to make popcorn?

Are we watching? Where? Will there be sound effects? Explosions?
posted by Surfurrus at 5:33 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Like I said, I think we'll reach a last-minute deal. Longer term I'm not optimistic, but that's for a future thread.

But this talk of Super Congresses reminds me that Bruce Sterling is a genius. I recently re-read Distraction and it feels like he foresaw our economic situation over a decade ago. In the book a super-congress like structure composed of "Emergency Committees" has taken over the legislative process. Congress is still useless, just useless in a new way.
posted by formless at 5:36 PM on July 24, 2011


This underwhelming market reaction will give the Republicans and their Tea Party subset courage to stand firm on all their outrageous demands. If the economy collapses slowly instead of suddenly, it's so much easier to blame Obama and the Democrats for everything on the campaign trail. And bringing back from the dead the 'short-term' increase? Cantor is a genius. An evil genius.

And everyone assumes that the markets were not reacting to the whole mess because they assumed it'd all be resolved? Maybe the Market Makers don't care or even look forward to the US Government imploding. When the dollar falls, every other investment looks better in comparison. When the Treasury Rate rises, investors make more money off all interest-bearing investments tied to it. When US Treasury bonds are downgraded, they become cheaper, and not REALLY any more risky (I fear that, if push really comes to shove, Obama will pay the investors first, even before Social Security). When there are less US Treasury securities to invest in, investment dollars go looking for other places to go. Yes, it'll be disastrous for parts of the economy, but much of Wall Street won't necessarily be in those parts.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:43 PM on July 24, 2011


Meanwhile, in AskMe...
posted by box at 5:46 PM on July 24, 2011


The tinfoil hat wearing part of me strongly suspects that the Tea Party **wants** to bring down the government and have massive unrest etc. The references to Mubarak on Twitter, etc, are indicators that at least some of the rank and file Teabaggers think such a thing would be fantastic.
posted by sotonohito at 5:54 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The dollar isn't going to collapse. The stock market isn't going to go Black. None of that is going to happen. The powers behind both parties, Wall Street, simply are not going to let either party cause them to lose 25 to 40 percent value in their holdings. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Let me tell you what will happen. IN a few more days, the grand Kabuki political theater that we are seeing will come to an end - probably closer to Friday than not. Obama will cut Social Security and Medicare benefits to the elderly as well as some other poorly served and most needy sectors of our society like he was planning to do all along and 50% of the country will breathe a sigh of collective relief that it wasn't their 401K or pension that went into the toilet this time. Oh an NO increased revenues on the wealthy - none.

That's exactly what's going to happen and the only reason it's been prolonged so long is so that Obama can have a plausible excuse that he was just forced to put the hurt on the old people because of the mean old Republicans. That's what is going to happen because that's pretty much what happened several times already vis a vis health care and not extending the tax cuts on the wealthy.

Nothing's going to crash except your long term economic prospects. Oh... and you mom won't be able to pay for her meds any more . That too.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 5:54 PM on July 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


The dollar isn't going to collapse. The stock market isn't going to go Black. None of that is going to happen. The powers behind both parties, Wall Street, simply are not going to let either party cause them to lose 25 to 40 percent value in their holdings. Not. Going. To. Happen.

You overestimate their power. These kind of declines have occurred as recently as two years ago.
posted by humanfont at 5:59 PM on July 24, 2011


The tinfoil hat wearing part of me strongly suspects that the Tea Party **wants** to bring down the government and have massive unrest etc.

Well, some people are hoping for an "Obama Depression."
posted by homunculus at 6:00 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


MSNBC and CNN seem to have taken the weekend off. Is there any channel covering this?
posted by futz at 6:03 PM on July 24, 2011


Anybody have any recommendations for good basic fundamental overviews -- book or web or whatever -- on macroeconomics? If it matters, the level of required math is not an issue.
posted by Flunkie at 2:56 PM on July 24


You might find the Open Yale courses on economics helpful. I haven't listened to any of them, but their English courses are good. I mean, it's Yale.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:14 PM on July 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Nothing's going to crash except your long term economic prospects.

except, of course, if our long term economic prospects aren't good, the elites' aren't going to be good either - the "default", by itself, isn't enough to tank the economy, but it won't help, and we already have a lot of negatives to deal with

eventually, a crash - or a slow, sickening slide will happen unless something is turned around

a great deal of confidence has already been lost in the last couple of years and even if they do come up with a last minute deal, more confidence has been lost

eventually, wall street will lose if things continue as they are
posted by pyramid termite at 6:15 PM on July 24, 2011


trust me, a 0.5% move on the open is well within typical trading in Japan'

Who better to recognize kabuki?
posted by Trurl at 6:16 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"hippybear, more likely heavy in gold and talking his book. ;)"
posted by wierdo at 7:46 PM on July 24

I think you guys have me deeply confused with Mutant.

In which case, I'm flattered, but, um, I suspect that he is not.
posted by paulsc at 6:17 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there any channel covering this?

Bloomberg is way better than both CNN and MSNBC and is covering Asian markets as we speak.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:17 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate CNN. I'll look for Bloomberg. I have been flipping through all of the (400+) channels and I cannot find any coverage at all.
posted by futz at 6:23 PM on July 24, 2011


What's to cover? They are deciding our fate behind closed doors and will tell us when they're done.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:27 PM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Al Jazeera was covering it earlier but they seemed to get tired of the lack of any actual news and moved to their normal schedule. I'm surprised the other networks don't have their usual bevy of experts going on about complete nonsense. AJE has a pretty low tolerance for that sort of thing in my experience, but that's certainly not the case for the others.
posted by feloniousmonk at 6:27 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


There will be plenty of time to freak out in teh coming weak. Try note to use it all up tonight.
posted by humanfont at 6:29 PM on July 24, 2011


There will be plenty of time to freak out in teh coming weak.

Haha!
posted by dirigibleman at 6:32 PM on July 24, 2011


All the major Asian markets are now open, and there's no crash or panic. In fact, most of the guys I've spoken to in Hong Kong are more focused on the train crash than on the US debt ceiling talks. Sorry, but no fireworks tonight.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 6:36 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jonathan Chait on an all-cuts deal
posted by Flunkie at 6:37 PM on July 24, 2011


Hey, you're the bigtime trader, Guernsey. Entertain us! Crash the markets! We would do it for you.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:38 PM on July 24, 2011


teh weak indeed.
posted by futz at 6:39 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not so much worried about the markets crashing as interest rates going through the roof and credit becoming basically impossible to get. You know that small mountain of credit card debt you've had to build up over the last 9 months between jobs, or because your wages haven't been keeping pace with increasing health insurance costs and/or the cost of living increase?

Yeah, that's going to look like a hell of a lot bigger problem when your credit card balances start carrying double or triple the interest rates you're used to. Because that's one of the first places most people are going to be hit. So I hope any of those of you "kind-of-secretly-hoping" for a default, or who think this is all about US debt, or whatever, don't have any outstanding debt. Because if you do, the chances you'll be able to work your way out from under it are going to be next to nil once there's a US default.

Just my fucking luck, since over the last year or so, for the first time in my own little family's history, we've had to nearly max out our credit cards due to unplanned emergency expenses. Unless we get a sudden windfall, a US debt default is almost certain to put us under in the coming year.

And like I said originally on the occasion: fuck you for letting the midterm elections go down the way they did, whoever you were.
So, America inches toward its debt limit, and bond rates start going up. The interest rates on our car loans, our mortgage loans, our student loans, and our credit cards, to name a few, are tied to bond rates. So if bond rates increase, the interest rates on our personal debt also goes up.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:39 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Reid and McConnell are twins, I think.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:42 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, you're the bigtime trader, Guernsey. Entertain us! Crash the markets! We would do it for you.

Margin Call! Margin Call!
posted by Flashman at 6:45 PM on July 24, 2011


I think you guys have me deeply confused with Mutant.

I think you, paulsc, have my use of Paul in my comment confused with referring to you, when I was actually referring to Ron Paul. If I'd intended to refer to a MeFite, I would have used his or her screen name with no shortening and with appropriate capitalization. Since I did neither of those things, it is safe to assume that I'm talking about a political figure whose last name is Paul. There are two. Take your pick -- my comments apply to both of them equally.
posted by hippybear at 6:46 PM on July 24, 2011


(But boy do I wish Mutant would show up in this tread. Man knows his stuff.)
posted by digitalprimate at 6:50 PM on July 24, 2011


saulgoodman : I believe that credit card rate hikes on existing credit are prohibited under last February's credit reform legislation.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 6:52 PM on July 24, 2011


"we've had to nearly max out our credit cards due to unplanned emergency expenses"

... you might want to watch this and do something about your situation, before they jack up the rates.
posted by markkraft at 6:55 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, you're the bigtime trader, Guernsey. Entertain us! Crash the markets! We would do it for you.

That's impossible. It would take a thousand ships with more firepower than I...
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 6:57 PM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


INVEST IN TINNED FOOD TODAY!
posted by clavdivs at 6:57 PM on July 24, 2011


Anybody have any recommendations for good basic fundamental overviews -- book or web or whatever -- on macroeconomics? If it matters, the level of required math is not an issue.
posted by Flunkie at 2:56 PM on July 24


I've been interested in the same subject myself lately. As joannemerriam mentioned there are a lot of university lectures out there for free listening. Personally I've been listening to J. Bradford Delong's Economics 1 from last fall.

Delong had worked in the Treasury during the Clinton administration and is a prolific blogger, and he has a funny delivery and can be at times self-deprecating when he mentions wrong predictions he had made as an economist.

Khan Academy also has a bunch of short (10 minutes) videos on finance and macroeconomics.
posted by bobo123 at 6:59 PM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have a very bad feeling about this.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:00 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, you're the bigtime trader, Guernsey. Entertain us! Crash the markets! We would do it for you.

  "What did you say, a while back, about not being able to stop Old Hot and Simple without stopping everybody else too? Could you stop everybody else?"
  "Permission requested to correct error. I could not stop everyone. If I tried to use violence, the war computers at commonwealth Defense would destroy me before I even started programming my own actions."
  "You're partly a war computer."
  "Admittedly," said the unwearied, unhurried voice of the computer, "but the Commonwealth made me safe before they let your forefathers have me."
  "What can you do?"
  "Rod McBan the hundred and fortieth told me to tell no one, ever."
  "I override. Overridden."
  "It's not enough to do that. Your great^8 grandfather has a warning to which you must listen."
   "Go ahead," said Rod.
   There was a silence, and Rod thought that the machine was searching through ancient archives for a drama-cube. He stood on the peristyle of the Palace of the Governor of Night and tried to see the Norstrilian clouds crawling across the sky near overhead; it felt like that kind of night. But it was very dark away from the illuminated temple porch and he could see nothing.
  "Do you still command?" asked the computer.
   "I didn't hear any warning," said Rod.
   "He spieked it from a memory cube."
   "Did you hier it?"
   "I was not coded to it. It was human-to-human, McBan family only."
   "Then," said Rod, "I override it."
   "Overridden," said the computer.
   "What can I do to stop everybody?"
   "You can bankrupt Norstrilia temporarily, buy Old Earth itself, and then negotiate on human terms for anything you want."
posted by curious nu at 7:01 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]




Poet_Lariat wrote: saulgoodman : I believe that credit card rate hikes on existing credit are prohibited under last February's credit reform legislation.

Not on variable rate balances. They can't increase the spread over the index, but when the index goes up, the rate on previous balances does, too.

Now, if you have a balance or card with a fixed rate, you're golden.
posted by wierdo at 7:02 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anybody have any recommendations for good basic fundamental overviews -- book or web or whatever -- on macroeconomics? If it matters, the level of required math is not an issue.
posted by Flunkie at 2:56 PM on July 24


I like "Economics for Everyone" by Jim Stanford.
posted by eviemath at 7:05 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ha, The Eagles...

And when you're looking for your freedom
(Nobody seems to care)
And you can't find the door
(Can't find it anywhere)
When there's nothing to believe in
Still you're coming back, you're running back,
your come'n back for more

So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time

Take it to the limit
Take it to the limit
Take it to the limit one more time

posted by wallstreet1929 at 7:06 PM on July 24, 2011


Most non-very rich people aren't even offered fixed interest rate credit cards, so sadly, no, Poet_lariat, I'm still screwed, but thanks for trying to offer me some solace.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:16 PM on July 24, 2011


As Mitch Benn sang for the Brits last fall, We're All In This Together
posted by Surfurrus at 7:21 PM on July 24, 2011


Via one of the links up thread...
As long as bond buyers feel confident that America will always be willing and able to repay them, they tolerate low interest rates. Zero risk, small reward. But if the world starts to get nervous about America's ability to repay, the markets will demand a higher interest rate on our bonds before they're willing to buy them -- and because the nation relies on borrowing for cash flow even during good times, if Uncle Sam can't find buyers for those bonds at low rates, it will have to offer higher ones.
See... This it the kind of shit that bothers me. It's like... "I trust you, I won't charge interest, because you have a lot of money and I know you're good for it, so I won't demand a lot of money in interest..."

But then it's...

"Well, I don't think you can pay it back, so if I don't think you can pay x back, I'm gonna demand you pay me even MORE than when I thought you could, and then I'll take it..."

IF YOU DON'T TRUST THEM TO PAY IT WHY ARE YOU WANTING THEM TO PAY MORE???

It's just like high interest rates on poor people or people w/no proven credit (which to a degree, yes, I get, but ... ugh).

Louis CK does a bit about this.

Anyways, sorry, it just annoys the piss out of me. But I guess it's the old "Golden Rule" (well, with a fiat currency, what is that?) He who has the gold makes the rules.
posted by symbioid at 7:31 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


From tomorrow's WSJ:

A senior State Department official said China has repeatedly expressed concern over the possibility the U.S. would default on its debt.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in China Monday and is scheduled to meet with top Chinese government official Dai Bingguo as talks drag on in Washington over whether to raise the federal debt ceiling.

The senior state department official said China has expressed its views about the debt situation several times in official "demarches," diplomatic language for a formal expression of views. "They've basically made clear they've made substantial investment in the U.S. and they expect, not hope, that the U.S. will abide by its various financial and international commitments," the State Department official said.

China holds $3.2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves. Analysts estimate China keeps around 60% of that in U.S. dollar-denominated investments.

posted by mauvest at 7:38 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


symbioid: I completely hear what you're saying. It's a classic example of exactly how our system is rigged against the most needy. "Oh, you have money, well, here's some more for free." "Oh, you don't have money, well since you're asking to have some, here are egregious terms under which you can borrow it and pay it back." It's exactly the opposite of how it seems it should be, but then my worldview is based on the impossible hippie concepts of Love and Sharing.
posted by hippybear at 7:40 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


"... eventually, a crash - or a slow, sickening slide will happen unless something is turned around ..."
posted by pyramid termite at 9:15 PM on July 24

It might be both, played out over the next 4 to 5 years.

As a whole, the world is not ready, yet, to admit, that perhaps $14.3 trillion of the world's wealth, lent in good faith to the U.S. government, has bought worthless paper, or even doubtful paper. The world, as a whole, and down to the individual Japanese salaryman, who bought some Treasuries on advice of his retirement account advisor, and down to the British, German, and Asian banks that hold Eurodollars, and down to the Middle East sheikdoms who hope to be paid for oil pumped tomorrow, are not ready to believe, in a big way, that The Jig Is Up.

Me neither, and truly, I hope to hell that it is not.

But if it really turns out that the U.S. goes into default, even for a short period, even for political reasons, it's divide by zero time, for the developed world's financial system. The world as whole, or even the world taken one sad salaryman at a time, can't lay off $14.3 trillion on short notice, can't pretend for a little longer that Uncle Sam is wearing clothes, can't pretend that money and convertible instruments, as we've known them, mean much. But it will be the work of the Lord to try to convince every one that either the music is still playing, or that there are plenty of chairs.

I think everyone with any heart hopes that some fig leaf of financial fiction can still drop, and that the "book" can carry on, marked as it is, and no one be the worse for politics and posturing. And that distributed heart, that human hope for tomorrow, of most of the developed world, is holding up, trade by trade, the world's markets, just now. And will, I think, unless and until hope is extinguished by time and events, or until the deep pocket shorts show up.

If cataclysm doesn't overwhelm us in the next couple of weeks, I do think this debacle is going to be the death of a thousand cuts for Treasuries, as we've known them. You can't generate this much bad press, and there not be any long term blowback. It'll be the rollover auctions where the stress is first evident, in my estimation, but over a few months, the world's change of esteem for U.S. Treasury securities is going to become pretty clear. I just wish a lot more U.S. debt was long, but unfortunately, the average maturity of U.S. debt, as of February of 2011, is around 59 months, as Geithner has been trying hard to push long since late 2009 - but that's still not a lot of time for the world to revalue a significant percentage mark down of $14.3 trillion, or even the near term portion of that, amounting to something like $7.2 trillion. Or even, if it doesn't have to take such hits, to forget that it might have had to do so.

That maturity is going to come back towards tomorrow, Real Quick. And rates will go up. And if the U.S. doesn't shut down it's borrowing still, the world will just quietly quit lending on anything less than usurious terms and watch as, auction by auction, our unfundable coupon dates bury us. Better we cut to the bone, ourselves, now.
posted by paulsc at 7:40 PM on July 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Anyways, sorry, it just annoys the piss out of me. But I guess it's the old "Golden Rule" (well, with a fiat currency, what is that?) He who has the gold makes the rules.

No, see, according to all the genius libertarian/anarchists out there, those kinds of free-market-based limits on personal freedom and economic opportunity don't actually count as "rules": the only things that count as rules or impositions on personal freedom are government regulations--even the ones that create broader economic opportunity and social mobility.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:41 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Better we cut to the bone, ourselves, now.

Okay, maybe it's a little bigger than we wanted it to be, but let's drown it in the bathtub now. A Tea Partier's wet dream. Those of us in the real world know it's not a matter of cutting to the bone, because we're already there; it's cutting off arms and legs.

There would be no threat to America's credit rating if the Republican Party didn't make it their main legislative goal for 2011. Ruin the economy and blame Obama for it. And certain Mefites cannot contain their glee.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:55 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


So paulsc, since you've got the treasury market so well figured out, you're going to make a killing, yes?
posted by ryanrs at 7:57 PM on July 24, 2011


If the U.S. defaults, the Chinese will be eyeballing Taiwan as collateral for future loans.
posted by Avenger at 7:58 PM on July 24, 2011


I dunno, I really liked Blazecock Pileon's idea to sell Alaska.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:16 PM on July 24, 2011


If the economy collapses slowly instead of suddenly

Or, as Mike Campbell went bankrupt in The Sun Also Rises, "gradually and then suddenly."
posted by octobersurprise at 8:18 PM on July 24, 2011


IF YOU DON'T TRUST THEM TO PAY IT WHY ARE YOU WANTING THEM TO PAY MORE???

Say you have a pool of 100 borrowers with a 1% chance of default, each borrowing $100 for one year. At the end of the year, you should expect to get 100*99 or $9900 out of the $10,000 you loaned in total. If you charge 2% interest, you would get back 99*$102 or $10098, which means you've made a profit.

If the same pool of borrowers wants to borrow an additional $100 next year, but you now suspect that 2% of them will default, you need to charger higher interest to be guaranteed a profit. Their option is to not borrow the money at the higher rates, of course.
posted by empath at 8:19 PM on July 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


IF YOU DON'T TRUST THEM TO PAY IT WHY ARE YOU WANTING THEM TO PAY MORE???

It's a question of risk. In order to get loans you have to offer something to the people giving you money. If the people giving you money are sure they will get it back, then you can get almost anyone to loan you money, because there's very little risk. But if there's doubt about whether or not you can pay them back, you're going to have to pay people more to front you money, because there is a greater risk that they won't get the money back, so there has to be a greater incentive for them to give you money than just getting their money back again.

The risk-free rate, incidentally, is based on the return on US Treasury bills, which are assumed to be as close to riskless investments as can be found. I have no idea what would replace them if the default actually happens. I haven't seen anyone even speculate about what could.

I say this as someone who couldn't get a loan to buy a can of soda because the risk on even that transaction would be bad.
posted by winna at 8:19 PM on July 24, 2011


But if there's doubt about whether or not you can pay them back, you're going to have to pay people more to front you money, because there is a greater risk that they won't get the money back, so there has to be a greater incentive for them to give you money than just getting their money back again.

But if people don't believe you'll be able to pay back a $100 loan at 1% interest for a total of $101 dollars, why should they believe that you'd be able to pay back a $100 loan at 30% interest, for a total of $130?

If you don't have $101, you're not likely to have $130.
posted by hippybear at 8:25 PM on July 24, 2011


If they really don't believe you're going to pay them back, they don't loan to you. But if the risk is greater than zero, then the incentive needs to be greater than zero, too.

Empath's answer is really good - it shows how in the aggregate it works.
posted by winna at 8:29 PM on July 24, 2011


Jesus, dial it back.

Anyway, the interest vs risk thing works fine in the aggregate, but in the case oh US Treasuries there IS no aggregate. There is a pool of one. Surely that must affect calculations.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:36 PM on July 24, 2011


Jesus, dial it back.

I pictured an old Carrie Underwood in the distant future having to do a commercial jingle about star-69 on a smart contact lens phone.
posted by cashman at 8:41 PM on July 24, 2011


Anyway, the interest vs risk thing works fine in the aggregate, but in the case oh US Treasuries there IS no aggregate. There is a pool of one. Surely that must affect calculations.

Well, it works if you believe in the 'many-worlds' interpretation of quantum economics.
posted by empath at 8:46 PM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


So if we never observe our debt, we can't be in default?

Suddenly everything politicians do makes sense.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:50 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


In any case, the US is just one of many potential debtors that one can buy bonds from, and they issue new debt constantly. It would be really bad if the US defaulted, but many people would still have made a profit loaning money to the US, even after a default, if they accounted for risk properly.
posted by empath at 8:50 PM on July 24, 2011


[Comment removed, if you're telling people "fuck you" it is long past time to step away.]
posted by cortex at 8:54 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like "Economics for Everyone" by Jim Stanford.

Jim Stanford is a leftist hack.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:54 PM on July 24, 2011


Jim Stanford is a leftist hack.

This bumps the recommendation higher on my "To Read" list.
posted by odinsdream at 9:07 PM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Empath's answer is really good - it shows how in the aggregate it works.

It shows how, in the aggregate, it works out to the advantage of the creditors--not necessarily the debtors. In fact, it mostly doesn't work out to the advantage of the debtors, except in the sense that if they really need it, they might be able to get access to some capital. But, in the exchange, they'll end up paying a greater percentage of any income they might manage to earn otherwise in servicing their debt, so there's really only an up-side to borrowing at high interest rates if you happen to be borrowing for some economic opportunity that will earn you more income over the long term, or help you increase your personal income in some other indirect way. Just maintaining income isn't enough, since currency deflation will get you there.

When it comes to consumer credit, in practice, there's really no real up-side to the risk management strategies of capital holders (other than continued survival in the many cases in which consumer credit is needed to cover emergency non-discretionary expenses, because whatever the consumer spent that high-interest bearing, borrowed capital on has probably already depreciated in market value to well below the principle on their debt obligation).

It works out well for everyone, if you only look at it from the side of capital (and unless you account for potential economic consequences further down the line). That's why they call it capitalism, I guess.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:09 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Any default on U.S. treasuries would be a 'rolling default', meaning you ultimately retain the principle but you lose some coupons (interest), and any expiring bonds might be reissued instead of repaid. We'd also rolling default on social security bonds first, reducing social security benefits, while paying higher interest rates on regular treasuries. Btw, Warren Buffet felt that Standard & Poor might downgrade U.S. treasury ratings even if only social security bonds got hit.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:10 PM on July 24, 2011


"... there's no real up-side to the risk management strategies of creditors..."
posted by saulgoodman at 9:10 PM on July 24, 2011


It shows how, in the aggregate, it works out to the advantage of the creditors--not necessarily the debtors.

Duh? It's almost never a good idea to go into debt unless you have some way to invest it to make even more money than you are paying in interest. Credit cards are basically slow economic suicide unless you're paying them off immediately.
posted by empath at 9:13 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


It works fine for debtors so long as poor risks borrow very little, ala micro credit, saulgoodman. It sucks when you're trying to run a whole country like that, paying American medical expenses on your credit card, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:15 PM on July 24, 2011


You know what's really freaking annoying? How both Obama and Boehner constantly used "The American People" as a euphemism for "Me and my party". The American People want this, the American People want that. Gimme a break.

I'm neither a D nor an R (not required in my state, I can -- like the majority of folks here -- be a nonpartisan), but I'm disgusted with both parties. What The American People *want* is for their congressmen, representatives and president to debate the issues but then find a place in the middle we can all live with -- for now. Who said we have to get everything we want in one big bite? Get some of it now, and go back and debate it again later if necessary.

The problem seems to be that we've quit listening to each other and are creating sound bites, not dialogue. It's happening throughout our country -- it's not just the politicians, it's all of us, too. We're losing the ability to solve problems, folks -- and we're digging our hole deeper and deeper as we move to the ends of the D and R spectrum.

The place to start changing it is with each of us -- *I* need to be willing to really listen and ask questions when I disagree with another person's position, and to be honest and civil in my response. I need to be willing to change my mind if their reasoning makes sense, and to be willing to agree to disagree without becoming nasty or disrespectful if we can't find common ground. They should do the same for me.

While I'm not a D or an R, I *am* a business owner and job creator, and I don't think the entitlement expectations we've created in this country are healthy for anyone.
posted by northernlightgardener at 9:20 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh, I definitely don't want to meet in the middle, but in certain cases I can recognize it has to be that way.

My anger comes from watching the government fail at the basic duties of governing. Areas that have nothing to do with negotiation.

If you have spent, raise the debt ceiling to cover it. Get the nominations for judges and federal positions handled in a timely manner. Be competent when you wage war or handle a natural disaster. Keep the fucking FAA running.

We have seen far too many failures in these areas. I know a lot of that is "Bush was an idiot" but we should not have been able to get to the point where he was able to fuck up as much as he did.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:26 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you have spent, raise the debt ceiling to cover it.
I would go beyond that: There seems to be no good reason for the debt ceiling in the first place. If you legislate spending, either legislate income and/or money creation to cover it, or else the borrowing is implied in the legislation.

I believe that other countries get along just fine without this silly two-step process. The debt limit seems like nothing more than an excuse for political football.
posted by Flunkie at 9:30 PM on July 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


and I don't think the entitlement expectations we've created in this country are healthy for anyone.

And I have a father in law battling lung cancer right now who begs to disagree.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:40 PM on July 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


Also, you are not a job creator: You're customers are. Or are you honestly going to claim you go around hiring people when the demand doesn't make a good business case for it?
posted by saulgoodman at 9:43 PM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


saulgoodman: "Also, you are not a job creator: You're customers are. Or are you honestly going to claim you go around hiring people when the demand doesn't make a good business case for it?"

Relevant blog entry I saw just a few minutes ago.
posted by symbioid at 9:48 PM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


heh It's like the Afghan's have their own Onion!
According to reliable sources, negotiations are underway which would have Mullah Muhammad Omar loan President Barack Obama enough money so that the United States does not default on its financial obligations. During the secret debt relief talks Mullah Omar reportedly lectured President Obama on: “How to wage war and still make a profit.”

The Taliban have no debt and do not need any debt limit increases as they are flush with millions in opium revenues and “acquired” U.S./NATO aid funds. The massive diversion of Afghan aid funds to the Taliban is detailed in the Kabul Press’ April 17, 2011, investigative report: “Petraeus Fired Admiral Who Tried To Stop Taliban Funding.”
posted by symbioid at 10:02 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Please do not lecture me about "finding a place in the middle" when the political climate has been steadily sliding rightward for decades. The idea that the two parties represent some unchanging Platonic polarities and the best place to govern from is between them is a disease. The two party system fosters this illusion, but countries with multiparty systems know better.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:11 PM on July 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


It's been fun, America.

Someone make sure to turn off the light before you go (not like we can afford the electric bill anways).
posted by bardic at 10:16 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Keep in mind that capitalism as we know it is an extremely recent development in human history, and the calculus behind it is like trying to paint a hyperactive puppy as a still life.

The math behind international economics is not the same as the math behind individual borrowing. When I borrow from the bank, they're shit-out-of-luck if I fully default on that loan. But when the U.S. borrows from China, we use that money to buy Chinese goods. That makes things a hell of a lot more complicated, and while we can all agree that deficit spending is problematic it's very likely to be better for both us and the "bank" to keep the machine oiled.

They don't want us to default, not so much because it means we won't repay our debts, but because the consequences of default will force us to stop being their customers. I'm not well-versed in economics so correct me if I'm wildly misrepresenting these numbers:
  • China's total GDP is about $5.9T in 2010. (wikipedia)
  • U.S. debt to China is about $1.1T as of December 2010, 26% of our total debt. (treasury.gov)
  • Net Chinese income from exports to U.S. in 2010 (subtracting imports) is about $273B. (US-China Business Council)
  • Total interest due on U.S. debt, 2010 is about $413B. (treasurydirect.gov)
  • 26% of our 2010 interest is $107B. (math*)
If I'm understanding it correctly (and there's a good chance I'm not), this means that China will have gotten a 23% return on our debt just this year even if we fully default on the loan itself. If our credit is solid and we can be counted on to repay the entire debt, then that repayment would be 19% of the entire Chinese annual GDP.

Even if I'm totally wrong about the relationship between those numbers, my point remains the same: global economics are all part of a complex and self-perpetuating fiction. I don't mean that in a bad way; for example, all the world religions except one (or zero) are fictions, but that doesn't mean their effects and implications aren't real, nor that they're provably unsustainable. The importance of nobility was a fiction. The incorruptability of communism was a fiction. MetaFilter is a fiction. All of civilization as we know it is a rich tapestry of shared fiction, intended to break the prisoner's dilemma and the tragedy of the commons.

But fictions are fragile. Major religions value long-term stability except on trivial matters (that's why many major religions are clinging to medieval values). It doesn't take much to shatter a shared fiction.

Undermining the Full Faith and Credit of the United States is exactly the sort of action that may shatter the fiction of global economics. Everyone, everywhere, should be on board with any compromise that keeps that fiction going unless they've completely abandoned reason in favor of cynicism or ideology. The nuanced problems can be addressed in time as long as we don't allow the walls to crash down around us right now.

Obama has put a lot of stuff on the table; things that are "third rail" issues for progressive voters. He (and/or his advisors) understand that the greater good for America, the greater good for the world is to do what it takes to keep the machine running even if that means fucking over his own reelection chances.

The republicans on the other hand... are cold dipshits. Their intransigence has done severe damage to international trust in the U.S. and thus to the global economy, damage that we may not feel until it's too late, and long after we'll be able to directly connect it to these dipshits that caused it. They are appeasing a base that has abandoned good-faith debate and political compromise in favor of an ideology that has been fed to them by the wealthy interests that will benefit from it the most.

Say what you will about both parties being bought-and-paid-for. Your naïveté is playing right into their hands, because every time a liberal succumbs to apathy a tea partier gets his wings.


* Yes, this is a much more complicated equation. I welcome any elaboration about how much of our 2010 interest payments were actually associated with our Chinese debt.
posted by Riki tiki at 10:28 PM on July 24, 2011 [30 favorites]


Obama has put a lot of stuff on the table; things that are "third rail" issues for progressive voters. He (and/or his advisors) understand that the greater good for America, the greater good for the world is to do what it takes to keep the machine running even if that means fucking over his own reelection chances.

Well, the thing is, he put those things on the table to try and get revenue increases. The Republicans were talking in the $2 trillion range we are back to now before Obama went for the bigger deal.

If you are purely motivated by keeping the machine running, you don't do it by complicating the matter like that.

In the end I think both sides know they are getting some form of deal done and are just wrangling over the details.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:34 PM on July 24, 2011


man, I chose a really good year to take a postdoc in canada...
posted by kaibutsu at 10:56 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.
posted by mazola at 11:05 PM on July 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


Same here, kaibutsu... same here.
posted by wowbobwow at 11:09 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Same here, mazola... same here.
posted by Chipmazing at 11:51 PM on July 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


I think I need a thing to do this year. I've always been enamored of trains and rucksacks.
posted by meinvt at 12:01 AM on July 25, 2011


I think I need a thing to do this year. I've always been enamored of trains and rucksacks.

I'm prepared for August 2nd. I have cardboard and sharpies on hand so I can go panhandle down at the exit ramp on I-84. Dibs on the 122nd Ave exit.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:13 AM on July 25, 2011


I'll go ahead and state the obvious: the GOP has completely abdicated any notion that they govern in order to help the nation or its people. They are there purely to try and make Obama look bad.

And I've got problems with Obama, but my god, when has the House of Representatives even legislated wholly from a philosophy of "How do we make this guy look bad, even if it means blowing up the US economy and literally wasting billions of US tax dollars?" (since we'll be paying even higher interest rates on our existing debts).

Really, it needs to be said because we've normalized so much fuckwitted craziness from the Republicans that I catch myself at times saying out loud "Gee, Boehner and Cantor would rather the US fail if it means they get Obama's approval numbers to go down by a few points."

I mean, that should be a shocking-as-fuck revelation but no, I just kind of mutter it and go back to work.

At least Rome had some cool orgies before it died. We just have TV pundits reminding us how "it's both parties' faults."

Fuck me.
posted by bardic at 12:47 AM on July 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


For all their free-market, tax-cutting bluster, if the Republicans are seriously considering a move that would be so devastating to American business, they are becoming too erratic and ideological even for business interests.

In case the thread hasn't already had a Godwin moment, let me point out that Hitler became Chancellor despite falling votes in sucessive elections because key millitary and industrial/business interests were sure he'd be a useful, easily-managed puppet. I would not assume that "business interests" are automatically going to say, "too nuts". "Business interests" have backed all sorts of horrid and crazy bullshit if it helps the bottom line.

I'm not sure there's a significant difference, economically, between printing money and borrowing money.

Sure there is. Printing money fucks you. Borrowing money fucks people you don't care about, like grandchildren.

China loves oil. Can't get enough of it. Maybe we could sell off Alaska to China to pay our debts, like the Russian Czar did to the US in the late 1800s. With a proviso that the Chinese have to take Sarah Palin, I think this would solve several problems at once.

It's funny you should say that, because I've heard from people involved in the commodities business are shit-scared that China essentially has a proposal to start swapping debt for commodities (subsidy-generated grain mountains and the like) with the US. They're scared because this will completely root the economies of countries like Australia and New Zealand, although I suppose it could have some entertaining effects on the US landscape if they're effectively sent to the poorhouse.

If this is true it represents a total capitulation to Republican demands.

If it's true, never you mind your pretty little head, Papa Ironmouth will be along to explain why impoverishing the poor is, like running Gitmo, something liberals should vote for, often and hard.

I think you guys have me deeply confused with Mutant.

Man, where is Mutant when we need him to explain this shit.

(humanfront arguing for slavery. Stay classy!)
posted by rodgerd at 12:52 AM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are you Americans worried about the fact that the rest of the world is surely looking at all of this and thinking, "shit we really need to update that post-USA plan we had kicking around."

I mean defaulting on debts, even if it doesn't really mean the apocalypse, it can't be a good thing can it?
posted by fullerine at 2:33 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


(humanfront arguing for slavery. Stay classy!)

That's a disgusting accusation. I've made no such argument.
posted by humanfont at 4:06 AM on July 25, 2011


WSJ liveblog, posted 7:36 AM

Concerns over the impact of Greece’s latest financial-rescue deal and the glacial pace of negotiations to raise the U.S. debt ceiling unnerved investors Monday, giving the Swiss franc and Japanese yen a boost.

The dollar hit an all-time low against the Swiss currency at 0.8021 franc, while the buck dropped to another post-intervention low of ¥78.06, as traders flocked toward traditional safe havens. Gold prices climbed to a fresh record high of $1,623.49 a troy ounce, while European equities fell from the open, led down by financial stocks.

“It’s quite a choppy start to the week and this is set to continue with plenty of big data events on the horizon,” said Ian Stannard, senior currency strategist at Morgan Stanley.

The euro traded recently at $1.4378, compared with $1.4358 late Friday in New York. The dollar was at ¥78.21 recently, from ¥78.55, while the euro was at ¥112.45 from ¥112.98. Meanwhile, the pound slipped to $1.6277 from $1.6300. The ICE Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was at 74.087 compared with 74.242 late Friday.

posted by angrycat at 4:48 AM on July 25, 2011


At least Rome had some cool orgies before it died. We just have TV pundits reminding us how "it's both parties' faults."

Fuck me.

Wouldn't that post be better directed to Projects or IRL?
posted by humanfont at 5:17 AM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


“It’s quite a choppy start to the week and this is set to continue with plenty of big data events on the horizon,”

Looks fairly normal to me. The dollar is weak, the yen is strong. Oil is down a bit, gold is up a bit. US stock futures are down enough to make for a not unusual bad day in the market. Treasuries look a bit weak today compared to other big sovereign debt, but nothing too exciting.

It's really amazing how many people I am seeing making note of the fact that the markets didn't crash yet. Was fairly silly to expect them to do so exactly at this moment. For all the noise about it, I expect people with money are still fairly confident that the US will not default. Even if there is no deal by August 2, I wouldn't really expect things to blow up exactly then. My guess is that deadline will have been set fairly conservatively, and they'll be able to come up with some more clever accounting tricks to keep things going for some brief period of time beyond that while the legislators take another week to work things out.

It seems unlikely, but if there is some kind of big move I'll be a bit hesitant to blame it entirely on this. Unless there actually is a default, it'll be more of a catalyst than a cause.

As for the interest rate on US debt, well I don't know much about the bond market but since they hit the debt limit a while back, issuance has been limited to replacing maturing debt. I've heard that this is somewhat significant, but don't really know. It may be supporting prices for now. Thus rates could start going up when they approve the debt limit increase. If so, people will probably interpret this as the market not being pleased with whatever "trillion dollars over ten years" resolutions were made or not made, whether or not that has anything to do with it.
posted by sfenders at 5:27 AM on July 25, 2011


Yeah, not a trader or anything, but we've heard from a couple who are, and they apparently agree with me that these market moves don't seem statistically significant. The chatterers have to assign meaning, though, a la Taleb, so they are doing so.
posted by adamdschneider at 5:39 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


What were they thinking?
This all fits with another development in the Obama White House. According to another close observer, David Plouffe, the manager of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, who officially joined the White House staff in January 2011, has taken over. “Everything is about the reelect,” this observer says—”where the President goes, what he does.”

Plouffe’s advice to the President defines not just Obama’s policies but also his behavior. Plouffe tells the President, according to this observer, that the target group wants him to seem the most reasonable man in the room. Plouffe is the conceptualizer, and Bill Daley, the chief of staff who shares Plouffe’s political outlook, makes things happen; Gene Sperling, the director of economic policy, and Tom Donilon, the national security adviser, are smart men but they come out of politics rather than academia or deep experience in their respective fields. Once Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, departs later this summer, all of the President’s original economic advisers will be gone. Partly this is because the President’s emphasis on budget cutting didn’t leave them very much to do. One White House émigré told me, “It’s not a place that welcomes ideas.”

Because of the extent to which the President had allowed the Republicans to set the terms of the debate, the attitude of numerous congressional Democrats toward him became increasingly sour, even disrespectful. After Obama introduced popular entitlement programs into the budget fight, a Democratic senator described the attitude of a number of his colleagues as:

Resigned disgust at the White House: there they go again. “Mr. Halfway” keeps getting maneuvered around as Republicans move the goalposts on him.

According to a report in The Hill newspaper in late June, the tough-minded, experienced, and blunt Democratic Representative Henry Waxman of California told Obama in a White House meeting that he’d asked several Republicans about their meeting with him the day before, and, “To a person, they said the President’s going to cave.” Then the congressman said to the President of the United States, “And if you’re going to cave, tell us right now.” The President was reported to have been displeased, and responded, “I’m the President of the United States; my words carry weight.”
Fuck
posted by crayz at 5:47 AM on July 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


I must have Debt Ceiling Fatigue, because it's getting to the point where I almost sympathize with the Disgruntled Burger Shack Employee Party. I had really hoped that the start of the dark age could wait until after I was dead, but I'm getting a little sick of waiting for the other shoe to drop.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:05 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's talk a little more about whose fault it is within the context of the US legislature (you know--the body that's constitutionally mandated to be the sole authority for budget making), since, you know, they're the only ones with actual, specific political authority in this process until it gets to the signing stage. Reid and other Dems deserve a hell of a lot more blame than the symbolic totem-head of the party, if we're going to look at whatever blame lies on the Dem side (Obama's greatest weakness is his trust in the process). But even with the incredibly misinformation rich US media, it's almost impossible for me to imagine how anyone with half a brain could fail to recognize the blame lies overwhelmingly at the feet of a Republican House that's brazenly and obviously intent on playing chicken with the future of the entire world economy. At any rate, someone owes me a beer.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:52 AM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


U.S. debt to China is about $1.1T as of December 2010, 26% of our total debt. (treasury.gov)

No, China doesn't hold 26% of total debt.

China holds 26% of (US debt held by foreigners).

Total US debt is actually $14.3 trillion, so China holds 7.7% of US debt.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:58 AM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Huh. Now the House Dems are rejecting Reid's idea, as per NPR
posted by angrycat at 7:03 AM on July 25, 2011


Obama said he would release the tick tock. Any news on this?
posted by futz at 7:48 AM on July 25, 2011


Maybe this is all some three-dimensional chess shit on Obama's behalf to appear like the most reasonable guy in the room and get a Dem landslide in 2012, taking Congress, and then giving us a New New Deal so liberal that it makes FDR look like John Boehner. Right guys? Right?
posted by entropicamericana at 8:08 AM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm so sick of the doom and gloom in this whole fucking unbelievable shit storm of fear and disinformation.

This is really one of those "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself moments." Anything short of an artificial crisis via default and the attendant and necessary shock (as in Shock Doctrine), the GOTP requires to force it's extreme anti-working/middle class swill so it can put forth and pass its oligarchic and corporatist ALEC driven, Randian inspired horseshit without losing populist support, is a loss for them. Period.

They're in the process of an historical over-reaching here, because they're so desperate and out of touch and terrified of the irrelevance they see just over the horizon for themselves as a party so they feel they need for this repellent behavior. Honestly, has any party, in any other time short of before the Civil war and in the early ages of the Cold war so terrorized it's own people unnecessarily? This is an incredible harassment of a people that are supposed to not only own the government, but BE the government, but more importantly not supposed to ever ever be in FEAR and oppressed and held hostage by it's government.

The GOTP is done. There's really not much left at this point, but for this sad drama to play itself out.

Let them, dare to make the country default. There's not enough collection agencies to deal with the amount of money that will go unpaid, and not enough fire departments to put out the burning banks and not enough paid mercenaries to protect the TEa Party CLowns and the GOldman Sachs parasites and let the credit rating agencies try and ruin people's ratings because of this and watch how quickly they're made redundant and put out of business.

A depression, any kind of depression is going to be at the foot of the Breivik breeding racist, small-minded desperate and incredibly stupid assclown neo-monarchist tri-corner wearing fuckers who think they're a "revolution," when in fact they're proto-fascist shock troops brownshirts for the American fascism known as American Exceptionalism.

They're not winning this. As I said, anything less than a default is a loss for them, because the Reichstag-like crisis they need to grab power won't happen. And if it does, the GOTP will have unleashed forces and backlash if the country goes into the Tea Party Depression that it will be sorry it ever, ever thought it could get away with this shit.
posted by Skygazer at 8:10 AM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The "tick tock"?

Please, nobody explain what this actually is ('cause it's probably something banal). Let's all just imagine what it might be.

When Obama finally releases the tick tock, time shakes off its shackles and we careen madly ahead.
posted by notyou at 8:11 AM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


COME ON, OB1QUIXOTE, LET'S BURN IT DOWN!
posted by ivey at 8:12 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oooh Reid's plan is sneaky. Gives them 2.7 in cuts for 2.7 in debt ceiling raises. 'Cept the bulk of the 2.7 comes from Iraq and Afghanistan drawdown, and still has Bush tax cuts ending in 2012. Allowing GOP to take full brunt for the Ryan vote earlier.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:22 AM on July 25, 2011


Maybe Bo has now grown into a ferocious hound; you see, poor Bo has been in the basement of the WH, trained to attack anything that smells of the House.

Bo's new name? 'Tick-tock.'
posted by angrycat at 8:23 AM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tick tock is the term used for the timeline (meeting minutes) of the negotiations, a blow by blow of what happened. He said he would release it to refute Boehner's description of the events and why he walked out.
posted by futz at 8:25 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dammit, futz. I asked nicely.
posted by notyou at 8:28 AM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Please, no one post a New York Review of Books analysis of all this that was published on the 19th, probably written days before that .That's about a year ago, in practical terms, although it doesn't hurt to reiterate how insane this whole debate has been. I'm expecting a 14th Amendment or emergency maneuver (as suggested by super-wonk law prof Eric Posner and Harvard Law's Adrian Vermeule) from the White House at this point, however, and am surprised that it hasn't been brought up in this ridiculously long thread.
posted by raysmj at 8:31 AM on July 25, 2011


I'm expecting a 14th Amendment or emergency maneuver...from the White House at this point, however, and am surprised that it hasn't been brought up in this ridiculously long thread.

It has. Several times.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:36 AM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tick Tock is journalist jargon for a minute-by-minute breakdown of a story.
posted by empath at 8:39 AM on July 25, 2011


REPENT BOEHNER! Said the Tick Tock man
posted by The Whelk at 8:42 AM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Tick-Tock man was an important figure in I think Ozma of Oz. So, make of that what you will.
posted by angrycat at 8:45 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please, nobody wave a magic wand and transport me to a place where Tories don't exist and Manchester Utd have collapsed into a smoking hole of debt.
posted by fullerine at 8:46 AM on July 25, 2011


Tick Tock is journalist jargon for a minute-by-minute breakdown of a story.

And here I thought Ke$ha might finally be on hand to explain.
posted by mynameisluka at 8:52 AM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I searched for 14th Amendment yesterday, nothing came up. Now, I see it's in there three or four times, but once to blow off someone else's opinion. It certainly hasn't been seriously discussed at all, and Posner and Co.'s rather prominent opinion hasn't been discussed at all.
posted by raysmj at 8:53 AM on July 25, 2011


The Tick-Tock man was an important figure in I think Ozma of Oz. So, make of that what you will.

Nuts to that, this is actually an elaborate stealth hype for an eighth Dark Tower book, in which Stephen King self-inserts himself as an author who self-inserts himself into congressional proceedings at the last minute to save a line-item provision for CDC funding in order to prevent a looming alternate-timeline outbreak of Captain Trips.
posted by cortex at 8:55 AM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Have the markets plummeted yet?
posted by mrgrimm at 8:56 AM on July 25, 2011


Not particularly -- US markets down about 0.40% today -- not at all a remarkable move.
posted by Perplexity at 8:57 AM on July 25, 2011


Some of you should really get into sports or something. Listening to the hype about this stuff is going to give you a heart attack or lead you to invest thousands of dollars in MREs, gold coins, and toilet paper for your bunker.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:02 AM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Nah, my bunker has a bidet.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:05 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's not going to be a huge change in stock prices no matter what happens. Markets price in uncertainty and doubt.
posted by empath at 9:19 AM on July 25, 2011


There's not going to be a huge change in stock prices no matter what happens. Markets price in uncertainty and doubt.

Comedy gold
posted by crayz at 9:26 AM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you think the impact of a US debt default is just hype, TYRR, you're either too wealthy to, or sadly mistaken. If the US defaults on its debt, we really are all kinds of screwed, even if the trading markets don't seem to care right now.

This is seriously historic shit. It's not hype. Why is it that a certain significant chunk of the US population increasingly seems to think that nothing that ever happens during their lifetimes is actually historically momentous or significant?

Is it because, every few days, the US national press hypes some insignificant small town local news or celebrity scandal story to the level of national crisis every few days? Has the US media's drumbeat of doom-and-gloom sensationalism completely short-circuited our ability to collectively gauge the actual relevance and importance of major historical developments? I'm starting to think the intransigent US broadcast media are directly and indirectly responsible for a lot of our current problems.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:26 AM on July 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


That empath, he's not a real Dr. Economist

I have a Masters Degree !

-- in Economics!
posted by angrycat at 9:27 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"too wealthy to care" -- typing skills not much use today, apparently.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:27 AM on July 25, 2011


This is seriously historic shit. It's not hype.

It might end up being historic. Or it might be like every other debt ceiling negotiation, the others you don't even remember. Check back in a few weeks to see which one.
posted by smackfu at 9:31 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]




Nah, my bunker has a bidet.

True dat.
posted by mazola at 9:34 AM on July 25, 2011


Have the markets plummeted yet?

Meh, sitting at down 0.3% as of 12:30 Eastern. Only other signs bouncing around are that the US Dollar is hitting multi-year lows against some currencies, notably the Swiss Franc and Japanese Yen. Gold is at a new high, hit around $1623/oz and is hovering around $1615.

The Volatility Index (VIX) is up significantly from last week to around 19, but that's not really saying much. 19 indicates that the stock market is active. To give some comparisons on the VIX, it was around 40-50 in the worst of the dot-com bubble and hit the 80's during the clusterfuck of 2008-09. In quiet times the VIX hovers between 10-15.

Wait for Moody's or S&P to drop the rating to see "action."
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:41 AM on July 25, 2011


rodgerd wrote: Sure there is. Printing money fucks you. Borrowing money fucks people you don't care about, like grandchildren.

Pithy repetitions of the conventional wisdom aren't particularly helpful.
posted by wierdo at 9:46 AM on July 25, 2011


This is seriously historic shit. It's not hype.

The US doesn't have any endemic economic problems that would cause it to not be able to meet it's debt obligations. We're not Greece. This is just political bullshit.
posted by empath at 9:49 AM on July 25, 2011


The US doesn't have any endemic economic problems that would cause it to not be able to meet it's debt obligations. We're not Greece. This is just political bullshit.

You seem to have missed the point that the "political bullshit" is the endemic fucking problem in America. If America had a functioning, rational political system, this thread wouldn't exist. And yet, here we are
posted by crayz at 9:58 AM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]




The US doesn't have any endemic economic problems that would cause it to not be able to meet it's debt obligations. We're not Greece. This is just political bullshit.

Look at what happened in California.
posted by humanfont at 10:15 AM on July 25, 2011


Something is very very wrong when I agree with the IMF. *sigh*
posted by symbioid at 10:17 AM on July 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


It might end up being historic.

Well, I said a US debt default would be historic, didn't I? It's also pretty unprecedented for the debt ceiling to be used in this way, as an instrument of extortion, since raising it has always been more or less treated as a routine bookkeeping matter until the "any means necessary" legislative philosophy of the nihilistic set in the legislature took hold.

The US doesn't have any endemic economic problems that would cause it to not be able to meet it's debt obligations. We're not Greece. This is just political bullshit.

If we don't raise the debt ceiling, we will be in the hole as of right now: we've only got about 40% of the cash available to meet our current budget obligations. If we don't raise the debt ceiling, bills that are due now can't be paid because we won't be allowed, legally, to borrow the money to pay for them. Do you not understand what the debt ceiling is? It's not raising the borrowing we can do in the future, it's allowing us to borrow what we've already committed to borrowing for previously adopted spending.

We won't have any money (and won't be allowed to perform the previously budgeted borrowing) to pay something like roughly half the bills that come due in August if the ceiling isn't raised. It's not just a long term confidence issue. It's an immediate, we start not paying about half the federal government's bills because we don't have enough cash in our account problem. Here's an explainer from the treasury (.PDF).

And as has been noted: "Technically the military should not get paid" in the event of a failure to raise the debt ceiling. That's only the tip of the iceburg.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:18 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


If we don't raise the debt ceiling, bills that are due now can't be paid because we won't be allowed, legally, to borrow the money to pay for them. Do you not understand what the debt ceiling is?

There's 0 chance that the federal government will fail to pay it's obligations. None. It will not happen.
posted by empath at 10:21 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the debt ceiling isn't raised, you're absolutely wrong. Right now, we have less than half the money on hand (even with the Treasury using creative accounting tricks to redirect money) to pay what we currently owe in the month of August.

If the debt ceiling isn't raised, we can't actually realize any of the debt that was assumed by the previous congress' budget. Legally, we can't fill the operational revenue gap with the debt we've already budgeted.

You're in denial.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:26 AM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, maybe they'll do it illegally. It's not like the law is always the best bulwark against government action.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:27 AM on July 25, 2011


Couldn't the US Treasury just write a check, backdate it, put it in the mail, and hope that it reaches creditors after the debt ceiling deadlock has been resolved?
posted by KokuRyu at 10:28 AM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Also, from what I've been reading, the major concern isn't exactly the default on the debts, but rather our credit rating dropping because of how difficult it is to do something that should be a routine part of government, and that drop triggering a contagion effect in the world markets.

Is that hype, or is there a realistic possibility that could happen?
posted by codacorolla at 10:29 AM on July 25, 2011


And don't think we can just print our way out of the problem: if we printed that much cash that quickly to meet our obligations, we'd see the US dollar become worthless overnight.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:29 AM on July 25, 2011


If it comes down to it (I don't think it will), the executive branch will just use the 14th amendment option and congress will do fuck-all about it. I'm sure some hard core conservatives will talk impeachment, but it won't go anywhere.
posted by empath at 10:35 AM on July 25, 2011


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on US politicians to act urgently to raise the country's debt ceiling.

Somehow I don't think the Tea Partiers are going to be moved by Lagarde's exhortations.
posted by homunculus at 10:37 AM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


empath: "If it comes down to it (I don't think it will), the executive branch will just use the 14th amendment option and congress will do fuck-all about it. I'm sure some hard core conservatives will talk impeachment, but it won't go anywhere."

This would probably be the best possible outcome, since it effectively takes the hostage away from the republicans permanently. The credit agencies would no longer need to worry about the threat of default being used as political football.
posted by mullingitover at 10:39 AM on July 25, 2011


I hope you're right empath, but that scenario, too, would involve some "historical shit."
posted by saulgoodman at 10:40 AM on July 25, 2011


If the Republicans had any sense at all, which they don't, they would make "anything but the 14th Amendment!" the new "don't throw me in the briar patch!" Painting Obama as a power-hungry emperor would fold nicely into their branding, while also averting both a financial disaster and a face-losing deal where the Republicans have to agree to raise taxes.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:43 AM on July 25, 2011


If we don't raise the debt ceiling, bills that are due now can't be paid because we won't be allowed, legally, to borrow the money to pay for them. Do you not understand what the debt ceiling is?

There's 0 chance that the federal government will fail to pay it's obligations. None. It will not happen.


That's simply not true. You cannot say that. I pray to Jesus you are right, but we do not know that for certain.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:50 AM on July 25, 2011


Sticherbeast: "Painting Obama as a power-hungry emperor would fold nicely into their branding"

I don't know if that's going to work. Polling indicates that they're on the hook for this 'crisis' in the eyes of the populace. I don't think it's power madness to attempt to save the entire world economy from meltdown. Personally, I would still consider Obama to be just and prudent if he arrested the entire republican caucus and put them in Guantanamo. They're certainly a greater threat to the country and our way of life than anyone currently lodged there.

Regardless of the outcome, the republicans have permanently lost all claim to being 'the party of fiscal responsibility.'
posted by mullingitover at 10:52 AM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


The fix is in. The markets are trending down a very little bit a quarter of a percent or so - if there was a serious chance of default, they'd be in panic mode. The indices would have tanked, hard. The big movers on wall street know something we don't.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:54 AM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't know if that's going to work. Polling indicates that they're on the hook for this 'crisis' in the eyes of the populace. I don't think it's power madness to attempt to save the entire world economy from meltdown.

Once upon a time, the country supported a national health care system, but then right-wing spin doctors were able to push the country against so-called Obamacare. Sad but true. Should Obama make an executive power grab on constitutional grounds, people will be able to reconcile in their heads the narrative that "everything worked out" with the narrative that Obama chose to act without Congress' consent.

The big movers on wall street know something we don't.

But that's impossible, we're people on the internet.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:55 AM on July 25, 2011


mullingitover: "Regardless of the outcome, the republicans have permanently lost all claim to being 'the party of fiscal responsibility.'"

Voters have a short memory. As long as the Republicans keep using that slogan, people will believe it.
posted by narwhal bacon at 11:00 AM on July 25, 2011


The big movers on wall street know something we don't.

The "big movers" on wall street these days are electronic trading algorithms, so I wouldn't put much stock in their behavior until it starts getting erratic.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:12 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "big movers" on wall street these days are electronic trading algorithms, so I wouldn't put much stock in their behavior until it starts getting erratic.

I'm curious how many of the algorithms even have "US Debt AAA to AA+" coded in.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:19 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Voters have a short memory. As long as the Republicans keep using that slogan, people will believe it.

People who vote Republican against their best interests are not the problem. The real problem is low voter turnout - mobilizing folks who don't normally vote was how Obama won the presidency.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:28 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "big movers" on wall street these days are electronic trading algorithms, so I wouldn't put much stock in their behavior until it starts getting erratic.

They are also spending money on "high class" prostitutes. Or they were until their hangout was busted.

A high-end prostitution ring catering to Wall Street clients who often would spend over $10,000 for a night bingeing on sex and cocaine has been busted and 17 people indicted, authorities said on Wednesday.
posted by futz at 11:31 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


@northernlightgardener: DailyKos allows for dissenting opinion without getting banned by an administrator. RedState bans dissenting users. Free Republic bans dissenting users. At least online, the right refuses to debate or allow diverging opinions and retreats into safe havens. It doesn't seem as if the right wants to enter into debates in the online realm; why are they more likely to enter into debates offline?
posted by DetriusXii at 11:37 AM on July 25, 2011


DetriusXii: "At least online, the right refuses to debate or allow diverging opinions and retreats into safe havens."

Well, obviously. This goes along with fascism's preoccupation with purity.
posted by mullingitover at 11:40 AM on July 25, 2011


Even if there is no deal & August 2 comes and goes without causing total economic apocalypse, this process has already caused tons of damage. Part of what gets politicians elected (especially ones like Obama and Clinton and Reagan and Kennedy) is their ability to inspire some sort of optimism and hope in the people. "Market sentiment" and general attitude does have a real effect on financial systems and recessions and political institutions. Is there any optimism at all right now on either side? Two wars (plus Libya), a mortgage crisis and economic meltdown we haven't recovered from yet, an inoperable Congress, combined with maybe the worst drought of all time combine to give the feeling that not only do voters not feel much optimism about the future, neither do the politicians.
posted by mattbucher at 11:41 AM on July 25, 2011


Earlier I wrote: "...we have less than half the money on hand"

That's actually not quite accurate. We have about 60% of the money on hand (so we're short to the tune of about 40%). It's not really a significant difference, but I apologize for slightly overstating the gap.

posted by saulgoodman at 11:46 AM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


DailyKos allows for dissenting opinion without getting banned by an administrator.

Not entirely true.
posted by empath at 11:50 AM on July 25, 2011


The offices of anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist were briefly evacuated on Monday after a bomb scare.
"The bomb scare comes just days after Norquist was in the news after he told the Washington Post that allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire wouldn’t be a violation of his no-tax pledge, which was signed by many Republican lawmakers."
I'll bet it was Eric Cantor. That's a man who can only be pushed so far. Or maybe it was Trump. Anyone cold enough to precipitate a financial crisis just to damage a President could put a hit on Grover like a stone killer.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:53 AM on July 25, 2011




Not entirely true.

Can you elaborate? As it stands, your comment is fairly unenlightening.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:55 AM on July 25, 2011


Aside from comments getting troll rated into oblivion by other posters, he's banned people for pushing 'voter fraud' stories on the site. I don't keep up with DKos much, but they have banned people and continue to ban people from expressing dissenting opinions.
posted by empath at 11:59 AM on July 25, 2011


Dear America,

Everything OK down there? We hear a lot of screaming. Do you want to talk about it?
Hey, while I'm down here, need any more oil?

Warmth and concern,
Canada.
posted by Theta States at 11:59 AM on July 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


America's Cold Civil War, Ctd
posted by homunculus at 12:04 PM on July 25, 2011


Dear Canada
Thanks for your kind note of concern. Sorry to hear about that Harper situation. Hope it clears up on its own.

USA
posted by humanfont at 12:05 PM on July 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


Some numbers I've heard bandied around is that the daily revenue after August 2 is about 9-10 times the amount of interest due on the debt, which means that the US wouldn't default on its debt in the technical sense. The Bipartisan Policy Center (I have no idea about their reputation) seems to confirm this (although I am really illiterate about economics).

The conservatives I've seen use this as an argument for the debt ceiling being a hype don't seem to have any further thoughts of the implications it would have on the economy when the US isn't able to pay its other obligations, though.
posted by Bukvoed at 12:05 PM on July 25, 2011


Some numbers I've heard bandied around is that the daily revenue after August 2 is about 9-10 times the amount of interest due on the debt, which means that the US wouldn't default on its debt in the technical sense.

The debt isn't just t-bills. The government owes a lot of money to contractors and vendors, etc, also.
posted by empath at 12:08 PM on July 25, 2011


Dear Canada
Thanks for your kind note of concern. Sorry to hear about that Harper situation. Hope it clears up on its own.

USA


PS: Send us some socialized medicine and a big order of poutine.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:10 PM on July 25, 2011 [17 favorites]


A high-end prostitution ring catering to Wall Street clients ...

Bruno added that many of the clients could possibly be forced to pay fines of up to $250 in addition to attending a one-night multiple hour educational program for "Johns,"


TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS?? MULTIPLE HOURS?? the horror
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:11 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Go ahead and write a diary on DailyKos supporting the tea party and than get back to us. You could also try writing a comment supporting them and see how long before you are hide rated.

The purpose of DailyKos is explicitly partisan. There is nothing wrong with that from either side.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:11 PM on July 25, 2011


*then post one asking for an edit window.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:12 PM on July 25, 2011


The more I hear about the Reid plan, the more I like it. No cuts to entitlements, no revenue increases. The Republicans in the House look even more insane if they don't go for it; Boehner ends up looking incompetent in his leadership of the house for not getting the 'grand bargain'' and entitlements are spared so the left is somewhat satisfied.
posted by angrycat at 12:13 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


"The US doesn't have any endemic economic problems that would cause it to not be able to meet it's debt obligations. We're not Greece. This is just political bullshit.

Look at what happened in California."


That, too, is just political bullshit.

The problem California faces is essentially the same as what we see in the Federal government. The GOP is all about cutting taxes, predominantly on the rich, without any serious concern for the deficit. Taxes are far too low on the rich.

(And I say this as someone who has a significant amount socked away, and who stands to lose money if the right kind of taxes are implemented.)
posted by markkraft at 12:16 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The purpose of DailyKos is explicitly partisan. There is nothing wrong with that from either side.

I'm 100% in favor of people who are ideologically aligned having a place to hash out strategy and the details of their agenda without having to constantly re-hash foundational arguments. If you're going to have a meaningful political conversation, some axiomatic beliefs just have to be taken for granted.

If you want 100% unmoderated comments where conservatives and liberals argue with each other, look no further than comments section of any newspaper. And it's a cesspool.

One place, btw, where I've been consistently impressed by the discussions between liberals and conservatives has been the Corner at the National Review. It's generally intelligent, polite and respectful. I don't know how much it's moderated, though.

I also like the way Andrew Sullivan handles it, which is he just has interns read all the email and he posts the best of the best (which i guess is the old-school letters to the editor style). He can sometimes have intelligent conversations go on between both sides for weeks and weeks that way.
posted by empath at 12:17 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dear Canada:

Scratch that. No poutine.

My arteries
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:22 PM on July 25, 2011




Dear Canada:
Scratch that. No poutine.
My arteries

Well someone has to eat all this smoked-meat poutine...



Dear Canada
Thanks for your kind note of concern. Sorry to hear about that Harper situation. Hope it clears up on its own.
USA

Please send ointment.
posted by Theta States at 12:36 PM on July 25, 2011


TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS?? MULTIPLE HOURS?? the horror

When you're an "electronic trading algorithm", multiple hours is a long time.
posted by sfenders at 12:43 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why is it acceptable to everyone in Washington that the ratings agencies have so much power in this situation? I mean, it seems to me like S&P is saying, "hey America, that's a nice credit rating you have there! It'd be a real shame if something were to happen to it, like say, just for example, if you didn't cut 'entitlements' like we want you to...."

How is that not outright coercion by Wall Street? I mean, even if they're right about Social Security in the long run, that sure seems like an awful lot of power over the US government for a private, totally undemocratic institution to have.
posted by dialetheia at 12:43 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Debt Ceiling: In Points & Pictures Links and pictures presented with minimal commentary.

From the FRED paper entitled "The Federal Debt: What's the Source of the Increase in Spending?":
posted by dejah420 at 12:44 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The more I hear about the Reid plan, the more I like it. No cuts to entitlements, no revenue increases.

Yes, and the meat of the cuts are mystical accounting tricks, like ending the wars, cutting fraud and waste, etc, not actual cuts to actual programs. So at the end of the day, the Dems may not get revenue raisers but they give up pretty much nothing of substance and the debt limit increase gets passed anyway. Works for me.
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:54 PM on July 25, 2011


Why is it acceptable to everyone in Washington that the ratings agencies have so much power in this situation? I mean, it seems to me like S&P is saying, "hey America, that's a nice credit rating you have there! It'd be a real shame if something were to happen to it, like say, just for example, if you didn't cut 'entitlements' like we want you to...."

How is that not outright coercion by Wall Street? I mean, even if they're right about Social Security in the long run, that sure seems like an awful lot of power over the US government for a private, totally undemocratic institution to have.


I cannot speak for the US, but the political acceptability of rating agencies' power has been seriously questioned in the EU. Some of this is posturing, more is outright exasperation, but there is a core of truth that the crisis of 2008 exposed their flaws yet not lessened their power in the continuing sovereign debt crisis.
posted by Jehan at 12:57 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


dialetheia: "Why is it acceptable to everyone in Washington that the ratings agencies have so much power in this situation?"

Washington has all the power. The ratings agencies are merely observing the potential risks in purchasing debt from the United States, and reporting their findings. Yes, they're flawed. However that doesn't mean they're wrong if they report that US debt is no longer a 100% sure thing thanks to the current threats to default on the debt (for example, 60 House republicans have pledged to vote 'no' on a debt limit increase no matter what).
posted by mullingitover at 1:01 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]




I know it seems really surreal, but with the exception of the hedge fund traders, a majority of institutional trading is now apparently automated. As a programmer myself, that thought terrifies me.

According to Simon, on the traditional side, Tabb found 80 percent of traditional institutional asset managers were using some sort of algorithm because “it is cheap and efficient”.

So those traders frequenting that Wall Street prostitution ring mentioned up-thread? Just choke on this: Not only do some of these traders have 100,000 a pop in disposable income on hand to blow on cocaine and, well, just blow, the most complicated parts of their jobs have been automated for them by the "code monkeys" working all night in the basement, so those guys are really living large.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:07 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why is it acceptable to everyone in Washington that the ratings agencies have so much power in this situation?

It goes beyond Washington and out to every state and municipality. Most of them have rules in their investments, pensions, retirement programs, etc. that they must invest in only AAA bonds and nothing lower. If the rating dips, there will be a shitstorm of all of those "investors" yanking their money out of treasuries because they are required to. The threat of a credit rating drop is more freaky than just the "default" portion of this game.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:07 PM on July 25, 2011


That is the stupidest thing I've read all day.

At least until Obama offers to resign from office as a compromise.

(Kidding! Mostly.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:08 PM on July 25, 2011


Cantor was just on TV. What kind of rhetorical wordjitsu was that crap?

"We're not getting everything we want, and you're not getting anything you want. So neither side is getting everything they want! See? Compromise!!"
posted by Rhaomi at 1:10 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cantor looks like someone wearing a rubber mask of thier own face.
posted by The Whelk at 1:12 PM on July 25, 2011 [16 favorites]


Not only do some of these traders have 100,000 a pop in disposable income on hand to blow on cocaine and, well, just blow, the most complicated parts of their jobs have been automated for them by the "code monkeys" working all night in the basement, so those guys are really living large.

My life went so, so wrong when I unknowingly failed to follow whatever path leads to a job like this.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:15 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I work with a bunch of Republicans and I cannot wait for my impending retirement because I find it, on a daily basis, increasingly difficult to maintain the veneer of civility atop my cauldron of rage, at their behavior these past 11 years. Has any of them done ANYTHING but try to bring down Obama, and, on a longer term basis, the country?

These people are idiots, and very mean ones.
posted by Danf at 1:16 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


The ratings agencies are merely observing the potential risks in purchasing debt from the United States, and reporting their findings.

OK, I know how the ratings agencies are supposed to work and why their opinion is important, but my question is why they get to have such systemic power and why no one in Washington seems to be threatened by that or sees any need to regulate them. As far as I've been able to tell, there is almost no regulation of these agencies, and they made tons of terrible mistakes in the economic crisis. Why should anyone trust them to be impartial observers?

This article sort of answered my question - I guess Obama is already frustrated with S&P. Stuff like this is what I mean though, they're dictating economic policy from a position of power: "In October 2010, S&P said it wanted to see a meaningful deal to rein in long-term deficits within three to five years" ... with an implied "or else."
posted by dialetheia at 1:18 PM on July 25, 2011


In theory, investors should select what ratings agencies they'll listen to from among multiple independent ratings agencies based on different continents. Washington should have no power to compel journalists to praise their economic policies.

In practice, there is an enormous problem with ratings agencies under rating the riskiness of many investment vehicles, and manipulating the ratings is big business, witness the housing bubble.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:25 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Rep. King Says Obama Will Be Impeached If Government Defaults

My left arm just went numb.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:29 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rep. King Says Obama Will Be Impeached If Government Defaults

and who's going to convict him? a senate with 53 members who vote with the democrats?

HAHAHAHAHA!
posted by pyramid termite at 1:38 PM on July 25, 2011




THIS SHIT JUST GOT REAL
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:41 PM on July 25, 2011


Yeah! They're going to wait for a better plan! Serious business.
posted by Theta States at 1:43 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]




This is becoming more and more like a college football commentary. Not that that's a bad thing...
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:45 PM on July 25, 2011


Idea: pay off 25 Republicans to switch parties, then raise debt ceiling, raise taxes, increase spending and pass a resolution telling the Teabaggers to go eat a bag of dicks.

/dream
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:48 PM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm glad the President's going to hit the TV airwaves tonight.

I hope he takes off the gloves. Knowing him he'll still be giving the GOTP ample room and respect to get their house in order, but maybe not. Maybe he'll just finally go into DEFCON 1 and present Boehner's and Cantor's heads on pikes.

One can hope.
posted by Skygazer at 1:48 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Another idea. . .

Throw the POTUS election, putting all resources into re-taking the House. And then let the Dem-controlled congress start rolling and endless line of wheelbarrows of crap up Pennsylvania Ave. to President Bachmann and she how she handles it. . .

Um, on second thought. . .
posted by Danf at 1:50 PM on July 25, 2011


If there was ever a time to take to the bully pulpit, it's now.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:50 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe he'll just finally go into DEFCON 1 and present Boehner's and Cantor's heads on pikes.

Ooo! Can we quarter them and send the parts around the country?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:50 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is becoming more and more like a college football commentary. Not that that's a bad thing...

"And today we bring you the long awaited match-up between Darwin and Faber Colleges ..."
posted by pyramid termite at 1:51 PM on July 25, 2011


My hope is to see Obama reimagine that scene from The Cook, His Wife, The Thief, and his Lover where that guy is forced to eat dog shit.

Eat it Boehner! Eat that shit!
posted by angrycat at 1:53 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's my crazy, paranoid, based-on-nothing theory: a bunch of smarty-pants hedge-fund managers have figured out how to actively fade (e.g. bet against) rather than simply hedge against the U.S. economy. Not a little bit here or there, but George Soros kind of numbers. This has always been theoretically possible but the novelty now is that this generation of money-guys has been bredto have absolutely no morals. Their intent is to clean out everybody's 401k, basically run the table of Wall Street. They made their bet, and they've found a way to pull enough strings on Capital Hill (hello, Eric Cantor!) to basically drive the whole thing off a cliff. It would be a great idea for an airport novel, but instead it's happening. Please someone tell me why this couldn't possibly be the real story?
posted by newdaddy at 1:58 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


DailyKos allows for dissenting opinion without getting banned by an administrator.

I have disproven this. Repeatedly.
posted by Trurl at 2:00 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm furiousxxgeorge there for a reason.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:04 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


raysmj, I think upwards of 7 posters in this thread have discussed the 14th Amendment possibility. Also, Posner and Vermuele can be as prominent as they want to be, but their Op-Ed and general argument is, in a charitable view, specious and baseless. The more moderate and accurate direct readings of Article 4 would allow action and, if the courts took it on, probably create a legal avenue around this mess.
posted by Chipmazing at 2:09 PM on July 25, 2011


newdaddy: "Here's my crazy, paranoid, based-on-nothing theory: a bunch of smarty-pants hedge-fund managers have figured out how to actively fade (e.g. bet against) rather than simply hedge against the U.S. economy"

Oh, that's not tricky at all. There are a number of funds you can buy into that increase in value in multiples of how much the stock market falls. The trick is getting the economy to crash for you without a torches-and-pitchforks mob finding out about it.
posted by mullingitover at 2:10 PM on July 25, 2011


The thing with the 14th is that Obama and his lawyers both think it is unconstitutional. He has overridden his legal advisers before, but I don't think he would do it when he agrees with them and consciously do something he considers illegal.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:12 PM on July 25, 2011


Maybe Obama just said he thinks it's unconstitutional.
posted by newdaddy at 2:14 PM on July 25, 2011


Oh, that's not tricky at all. There are a number of funds you can buy into that increase in value in multiples of how much the stock market falls. The trick is getting the economy to crash for you without a torches-and-pitchforks mob finding out about it.

Eric Cantor is shorting treasury bonds, isn't he? I dearly hope this leads to torches and pitchforks for him.
posted by stavrogin at 2:14 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, that's not tricky at all. There are a number of funds you can buy into that increase in value in multiples of how much the stock market falls. The trick is getting the economy to crash for you without a torches-and-pitchforks mob finding out about it.

The repercusions for the people and companies that bet against the market the last time was giant bags of money.
posted by Theta States at 2:14 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The thing with the 14th is that Obama and his lawyers both think it is unconstitutional. He has overridden his legal advisers before, but I don't think he would do it when he agrees with them and consciously do something he considers illegal.

That does put a different spin on things.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:15 PM on July 25, 2011


I have disproven this. Repeatedly.

we know, we know
posted by pyramid termite at 2:18 PM on July 25, 2011


stavrogin: "Eric Cantor is shorting treasury bonds, isn't he? I dearly hope this leads to torches and pitchforks for him."

Wow. I'm surprised this isn't front page news. Conflict of interest much?
posted by mullingitover at 2:20 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dumb Canadian here: What is this "14th Amendment option"? I looked it up on Wikipedia, but it didn't say anything about kicking Republicans in the junk so I don't know why everyone's so excited about it.
posted by Zozo at 2:21 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing with the 14th is that Obama and his lawyers both think it is unconstitutional.
I've seen him quoted as saying "I have talked to my lawyers; they are not persuaded that that is a winning argument." I have not seen him quoted as saying that he or his lawyers think it's unconstitutional.

Granted, maybe that's what he meant by "not persuaded that that is a winning argument", but if you know of somewhere where he was actually explicit that he and his lawyers both think it is unconstitutional -- or even merely that he is not persuaded that it's a winning argument -- could you please point it out? Thanks.
posted by Flunkie at 2:21 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Cut, Cap, Balance Coalition, the group of conservative groups pushing for a balanced budget amendment as part of a debt limit deal, says Boehner’s latest proposal for cutting spending in return for raising the borrowing limit “falls short” of its principles. The CCB group particularly doesn’t like the idea of a new congressional commission to ferret out spending cuts. The CCB concludes that those who have signed its pledge oppose the new Boehner plan “and hold out for a better plan.” The CCB group’s website counts 12 senators and 39 House members as pledge signers.

Seriously, they went into this without an endgame. They had no idea what they were doing. None. They have no unity in their own caucus. None. Boehner cannot deliver his caucus. He cannot pick up his share of governance. The GOP refuses to govern.

This is got to be the most important speech the President will ever give.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:22 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


What is this "14th Amendment option"?

Wiki: Section 4 confirmed the legitimacy of all United States public debt appropriated by the Congress. It also confirmed that neither the United States nor any state would pay for the loss of slaves or debts that had been incurred by the Confederacy. For example, several English and French banks had lent money to the South during the war.[48] In Perry v. United States (1935), the Supreme Court ruled that under Section 4 voiding a United States government bond "went beyond the congressional power."[49]

Essentially the idea is that it would be unconstitutional not to pay our debts.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:23 PM on July 25, 2011


And the "option" would be for Obama to point to the 14th Amendment and say "we're paying them, go piss up a rope"?
posted by Zozo at 2:24 PM on July 25, 2011


Flunkie, I think that should be read as "Not a winning legal argument."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:25 PM on July 25, 2011




So which would get the chattering class more in an uproar? A trillion dollar coin or ignoring the debt limit and blaming it on the 14th?
posted by wierdo at 2:27 PM on July 25, 2011


What is this "14th Amendment option"?

The 14th Amendment, Section 4 states:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

The option is that the President can simply declare that we will pay the debts no-matter-what by having the Treasury pay them. This is against the debt limit laws in place. The question is whether this would be against the law or against the Constitution. There is an obvious risk of impeachment and the "who knows wtf they'll say" risk with sending it to the Supreme Court for the constitutional questions. The Supreme Court could say the debt limit laws are unconstitutional, they could say Obama broke the law. Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to what they would do.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:28 PM on July 25, 2011


Obama should go on TV tonight and say that the very first thing that the U.S. stops paying for is agricultural subsidies. All of them.

Then ask every Republican candidate in the Iowa Straw Poll if they think that's awesome.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:28 PM on July 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


Ohhhhhh how I long for GOP humiliation. I am a bad person, I guess. But I want them to wear dunce caps, get spanked, whatever, as long as they are shamed for the rest of their God-given lives.
posted by angrycat at 2:28 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Flunkie, I think that should be read as "Not a winning legal argument."
I am aware that what he said is compatible with or perhaps even likely to be indicative of what you claimed that he said, but I am asking whether or not you know that he said what you claimed that he said.
posted by Flunkie at 2:29 PM on July 25, 2011


And the "option" would be for Obama to point to the 14th Amendment and say "we're paying them, go piss up a rope"?

As I understand it, yeah. The idea was to make sure the Union paid their debts after the civil war. If anyone with legal knowledge wants to elaborate that would be helpful.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:29 PM on July 25, 2011


And the "option" would be for Obama to point to the 14th Amendment and say "we're paying them, go piss up a rope"?

Good question. How might this actually play out? Would he just issue an Executive Order authorizing the additional encumbrance of debt? Even members of his own party in congress have a pretty strong track record of not respecting his Executive Orders (like the one to close Gitmo, for instance), but the Executive Order is really the only directive making tool the POTUS has isn't it? So I wonder how that would all play out.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:29 PM on July 25, 2011


Seriously, they went into this without an endgame. They had no idea what they were doing. None. They have no unity in their own caucus. None. Boehner cannot deliver his caucus. He cannot pick up his share of governance. The GOP refuses to govern.

On this we agree.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:30 PM on July 25, 2011


The GOP doesn't have the emotional capacity to accept a bargain that they don't see as a humiliation for Obama.


This is because the gentleman is not white. This is why all of the insistence up thread that there's zero chance that the debt ceiling will not be raised is simply not the case. There exists a chance it won't happen.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:31 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nationalize everything.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:31 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


@saulgoodman The treasury department is under the executive branch, in theory he could just order them to issue some bonds, no?
posted by sotonohito at 2:32 PM on July 25, 2011


The problem with selling new Treasury bonds under the 14th Amendment theory is that any buyers of the bonds would know their dubious legal status. I'd demand a pretty hefty discount if I were asked to buy a bond sold by the US Treasury without US Congressional approval. That discount, of course, translates to a much higher interest rate. It's just not a workable solution.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:33 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


in theory he could just order them to issue some bonds, no?

maybe so. I honestly don't know. anyone know for sure?
posted by saulgoodman at 2:34 PM on July 25, 2011


Rep. King Says Obama Will Be Impeached If Government Defaults

I know some people here have come to the conclusion that caaling these guys crazy isn't nice to crazy people so I'll just say this: Steve King is a raving Looney Tune.

If he increased his IQ he'd be a plant.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:34 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


ach. BV makes a depressing point.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:34 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would like to send the GOP reps on a congressional delegation trip to, say, Somalia, where they can research what it looks like when their anti-governance philosophy carries the day. And Michelle Bachmann can help them cast out witches!
posted by wowbobwow at 2:34 PM on July 25, 2011


Ironmouth: Seriously, they went into this without an endgame.

And full of hubris and believing their own narrative, that they were going to bully and razzle dazzle Obama, Biden and his WH into submission by pulling so much BS they were going to somehow just make Obama, throw up his hands and say "Uncle...uncle....please GOTP stop messing with my head...I'm gettin' dizzy...you win..."

And now it's blowing up in their faces, and they're boxed in. And like any cornered rat, they're now officially fucking scary crazy. And on one side they've got the over-rated and overbloated Tea Party and on the other side they have Wall Street, their masters telling them they CANNOT default and enough is enough...


This speech tonight by Obama is crucial.
posted by Skygazer at 2:38 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sweet, they finally got a deal done. I wasn't looking forward to the potential years of suffering if this issue didn't get resolved.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:39 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Where's the 'not favorite' button?
posted by wierdo at 2:41 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sweet, they finally got a deal done. I wasn't looking forward to the potential years of suffering if this issue didn't get resolved.

Obama has got to call in DeMaurice Smith.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:42 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]




Rep. King Says Obama Will Be Impeached If Government Defaults


That wouldn't get anybody off the hook though, regardless of how you vote.
Taking it further though, what if American workers were to declare non-confidence in their entire damn system government?

On some level I realize that you'd still have massive, crippling debt no matter what your government looked like, but at least you could replace it with a government capable of having the necessary conversations.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:43 PM on July 25, 2011


On some level I realize that you'd still have massive, crippling debt no matter what your government looked like, but at least you could replace it with a government capable of having the necessary conversations.

You know, it was always coming to this moment. I never thought that, but it was.

I went to law school in the early 2000. My close buddy there was a Republican. He was very sure of his beliefs.

My how have times have changed. He called me today furious about how mendacious the GOP is--having left the party years back. These people will be destroyed by this.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:46 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stagger Lee wrote: On some level I realize that you'd still have massive, crippling debt no matter what your government looked like, but at least you could replace it with a government capable of having the necessary conversations.

The hilarious part is that it's not actually massive, crippling debt. We have the budget balanced in 3-5 years if our politicians were not bought and paid for.
posted by wierdo at 2:47 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Taking it further though, what if American workers were to declare non-confidence in their entire damn system government?

Funny you should mention that, because I've come to the conclusion that the only thing that can arrest the freefall corporate kleptocracy that this country has become is a serious, lengthy general strike.

I honestly can't think of any other way.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:48 PM on July 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


We could have, even.
posted by wierdo at 2:48 PM on July 25, 2011


The problem with selling new Treasury bonds under the 14th Amendment theory is that any buyers of the bonds would know their dubious legal status.

what dubious legal status? - leaving aside the question of standing and what plaintiff might have it, can you imagine a supreme court would be willing to call a group of bonds illegitimate and void? - and what would that cause in the financial world?

no, i believe they would refuse the case, basically telling congress, "look, it's your laws he may have broken and impeachment is your constitutional remedy"
posted by pyramid termite at 2:48 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rep. King Says Obama Will Be Impeached If Government Defaults

I know some people here have come to the conclusion that caaling these guys crazy isn't nice to crazy people so I'll just say this: Steve King is a raving Looney Tune.

If he increased his IQ he'd be a plant.


if he increased his IQ he would be paint.

stop insulting plants.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:49 PM on July 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


The problem with selling new Treasury bonds under the 14th Amendment theory is that any buyers of the bonds would know their dubious legal status.

what dubious legal status? - leaving aside the question of standing and what plaintiff might have it, can you imagine a supreme court would be willing to call a group of bonds illegitimate and void? - and what would that cause in the financial world?

no, i believe they would refuse the case, basically telling congress, "look, it's your laws he may have broken and impeachment is your constitutional remedy"


That chance would exist. And as a result, the interest rate on the bonds would be higher. Its what people are willing to pay.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:50 PM on July 25, 2011


You know, I take back my request for shaming. Seeing the GOP fall apart like this is all the satisfaction I need:

#

* 5:40 pm
* Key Republicans Oppose Plan by GOP Leaders
* by Corey Boles
* Add a Comment

Two key leaders among conservative Republican lawmakers said they would oppose a proposal from GOP leadership to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling, casting doubt whether the plan will attract enough support in the House.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), the leader of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said he would oppose the proposal that would reduce federal deficits by at least $3 trillion over the next decade and raise the borrowing limit in two stages over the next 17 months.

"The credit rating agencies have been clear that no matter what happens with the debt limit, the U.S. will lose its AAA credit rating unless we produce a credible plan to reduce the debt by trillions of dollars," Mr. Jordan said.

He said the plan put forward by House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) failed to accomplish that.

The Republican Study Committee has 178 members, which accounts for the majority of the 240 Republicans in the House.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), who is seen by many as the most prominent tea-party backed lawmaker in Congress, also said he would oppose both the House GOP plan as well as a rival proposal put forward by Senate Democratic leaders on Monday.

Mr. DeMint said both plans "punt the hard decisions" that needed to be made to tackle federal budget deficits.

"I will work to oppose both of these downgrade deals and continue to fight for Cut, Cap & Balance," he said.

He was referring to an earlier House Republican plan that would have implemented deeper up front cuts, capped future spending and required a constitutional amendment stating the federal government must balance its budget.

Earlier Monday, at least one freshman GOP lawmaker, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R., Kan) said he couldn't support Mr. Boehner's new plan to raise the debt limit in a two-step process.

Mr. Huelskamp complained the plan would tie some $1.8 trillion in spending reductions to the recommendations of a bipartisan deficit committee.

"America does not need Deficit Commission Version 18.0," he said in a statement. "We were promised trillions of dollars in spending cuts after tackling the 2011 continuing resolution, yet we are still waiting. If past is prologue, after 17 deficit reduction commissions since 1982, then we can anticipate these newly promised cuts will be unlikely to materialize."

posted by angrycat at 2:50 PM on July 25, 2011


Taking it further though, what if American workers were to declare non-confidence in their entire damn system government?

Funny you should mention that, because I've come to the conclusion that the only thing that can arrest the freefall corporate kleptocracy that this country has become is a serious, lengthy general strike.

I honestly can't think of any other way.


Our votes put those people there. We have nobody to blame but ourselves.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:51 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


if he increased his IQ he would be paint.

if he increased his IQ and you played him back his speeches, he'd be pained
posted by pyramid termite at 2:53 PM on July 25, 2011


Our votes put those people there. We have nobody to blame but ourselves.

I didn't vote for "those people" and I doubt you did, either. We can't control what our fellow citizens vote for, but I'll be damned if I take responsibility for their mistakes.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:54 PM on July 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


does it count as a general strike if we're all unemployed?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:54 PM on July 25, 2011 [13 favorites]




Our votes put those people there. We have nobody to blame but ourselves.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:51 PM on July 25 [+] [!]



I wouldn't hold individual Americans responsible.
... because I sure don't want to take responsibility for Steven Harper or any other Canadian politician.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:54 PM on July 25, 2011


Our votes put those people there. We have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Oh, I know how we got here. I'm not seeing a good way out, though.

(And none of my votes put any willfully ignorant assholes in office, thank you.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:56 PM on July 25, 2011


Benny Andajetz: "Funny you should mention that, because I've come to the conclusion that the only thing that can arrest the freefall corporate kleptocracy that this country has become is a serious, lengthy general strike."

Will. Never. Happen. The voters are mostly homeowners, and people with mortgages to pay are highly averse to going on strike.
posted by mullingitover at 2:57 PM on July 25, 2011


"The credit rating agencies have been clear that no matter what happens with the debt limit, the U.S. will lose its AAA credit rating unless we produce a credible plan to reduce the debt by trillions of dollars," Mr. Jordan said.

Is this true? Why now? What materially has changed?
posted by adamdschneider at 2:57 PM on July 25, 2011


does it count as a general strike if we're all unemployed?

No, that just means we haven't appeased the job creators enough yet. Too much uncertainty about regulation with that pesky thirteenth amendment still around.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:57 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]



does it count as a general strike if we're all unemployed?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:54 PM on July 25 [+] [!]


The trade unions will say no. The IWW will say yes.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:57 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's only a strike if they need you.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:58 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


pyramid termite: "does it count as a general strike if we're all unemployed?"

It's a moot point, serfs aren't allowed to strike.
posted by mullingitover at 2:59 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


is that what they mean by a serf-ass economy?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:01 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unlike other unions of the day, the I.W.W. organized on a class basis, welcoming all working people — including immigrants, minorities, women, and the unemployed. When children found organizing necessary for their own protection — for example, in schools during a strike by their parents — contingents of "Junior Wobblies" were formed.

American labor history is a lot more radical and effective than it gets credit for. It hasn't been very long either.

Confidence has taken a big hit, and labor history is being ignored and trampled, but I wouldn't write it off. And you don't need jobs or labor unions to pressure your government, you just have to change your tactics.


It's a moot point, serfs aren't allowed to strike.
posted by mullingitover at 2:59 PM on July 25 [+] [!]


Well, they sort of do, but it usually involves torches, pitchforks and a monarch on the chopping block when they're done.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:08 PM on July 25, 2011


The voters are mostly homeowners, and people with mortgages to pay are highly averse to going on strike

So the strikes that have occurred throughout history (as well as recently) in England, France , Spain and Greece were all populated by renters? OK, good to know.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 3:09 PM on July 25, 2011


If you want to know the right wing talking points just come down to this bar and listen to the half blind eighty year old racist who just announces this political opinions out loud, to the ether, while drinking long sugary drinks.

Obama is " a tyrant" who wants to be " king" and dangerously left wing.
posted by The Whelk at 3:09 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The voters are mostly homeowners, and people with mortgages to pay are highly averse to going on strike

I guess you've never had a union job, then?
posted by empath at 3:10 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nothing like a good left-wing king. -_-
posted by adamdschneider at 3:12 PM on July 25, 2011


does it count as a general strike if we're all unemployed?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:54 PM on July 25 [+] [!]

The trade unions will say no. The IWW will say yes.


They have like, three locals. I had to research that as part of my practice the other day. I'm not kidding, three locals.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:13 PM on July 25, 2011


empath: "I guess you've never had a union job, then?"

As a matter of fact, I have. SEIU. I don't believe a strike was ever on the table at any point in our contract negotiations, which would make sense given that we were caregivers for people with developmental disabilities.
posted by mullingitover at 3:14 PM on July 25, 2011


Also he " never did anything " and " can't speak properly "
posted by The Whelk at 3:18 PM on July 25, 2011


There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution. -- John Adams, 2nd POTUS
posted by narwhal bacon at 3:20 PM on July 25, 2011 [10 favorites]




They have like, three locals. I had to research that as part of my practice the other day. I'm not kidding, three locals.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:13 PM on July 25 [+] [!]

They were almost destroyed in the 50s, so it's remarkable that they are running around organizing work places and actually being effective today. That they do it with the membership numbers they do speaks well of their tactics.

...if you want to criticize their ideas, criticize their ideas, not their membership numbers. There is a lot to be said for organizing industrially rather than through trade unions, and if you want to talk general strike, they'll have a lot more good to say about it than any other organization in North America that I can think of off hand.

The American economic and political scene of the early 20th century is worth looking at. It looks an awful lot like your future as well as your past.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:20 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Al Sharpton on MSNBC is actually really fun. He hit all the right talking points with a tea party Rep just now in an interview without sounding like an angry asshole. Sorry Cenk.

Totally paraphrased:

TP Rep: The last time we balanced the budget was under Clinton and we didn't do it with tax increases...

Al: Right, but once it was balanced Bush cut the taxes and started wars and it wasn't balanced anymore.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:20 PM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]




Well, we are trying to get Back To Black, ink-wise.
posted by Trurl at 3:40 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Is this true? Why now? What materially has changed?"
posted by adamdschneider at 5:57 PM on July 25

U.S. National debt is the last legal Ponzi scheme, and has been for about 20 years, with some minor respite in the surplus of the late Clinton years. Basically, we keep borrowing and borrowing for net new spending, raising our debt. But, now, we borrow much more money, just to "roll over" old debt, as it becomes due (because the bonds that originally financed it mature, and we have to pay back their principal, plus accrued interest), than we actually do to finance additional new deficit spending; we're essentially paying off old investors in Treasuries, with proceeds we get from selling new issues of Treasuries. In August, we hope we'll be able to borrow about $125 billion for net new spending, to cover government's current expenses in excess of tax revenues it will collect. That'll be about 42 cents of every dollar spent by the U.S. government in August, if we get to borrow all that, and spend it, along with the revenue we collect.

But also in August, we have to "roll over" something like $500 billion of the $14.3 trillion of existing national debt, by selling new bonds at future maturities, to pay off the $500 billion in bonds that come due this August. See how Bernie Madoff that is? What will the folks holding the other $13.8 trillion of existing debt think, if we default on paying back the currently due $500 billion? Answer: They'll think the paper they're holding may be worthless, too. They'll suddenly be willing to take 90 cents on the face value dollar for it, or maybe 80, or 70 cents, or even less. And they won't even think of buying any more U.S. Treasuries, at any price, for a long, long time, if ever. And that way, lies worldwide asset contraction, big problems in the world economy, and unknowable grief. The first world of finance really wouldn't know what to do if faced with another immediate $1 trillion or more evaporation of wealth (and that's exactly what would happen, within a few days, if a U.S. default was just marked by the markets as a 10% premium hit- 90 cents on the face dollar value of issued U.S. bonds, which would be a pretty charitable view of the matter by our bond holders, who might continue to hope against hope for a few more days after default, that, somehow, they would still get paid); hell, the world financial system can barely cope with cashing a few bad checks in Greek.

And the further bad news is that we face similar roll over hurdles every month going forward, and that these will grow worse, even if there is a "successful" adoption of either the Boehner plan, the Reid plan, or something in the $4 trillion dollar spending cut range of several plans from last week. Until we get past just cutting the deficit, to actually reducing the debt, the pressure on our Ponzi scheme continues, and even grows as worldwide investors force us up against a maturity wall.

Unlike Bernie Madoff, the world can't send the sovereign U.S. government to jail for fraud, if it let's its own Ponzi scheme fall down. But it can make sure that our national debt financed spending party comes to a screeching, painful halt, and doesn't restart.
posted by paulsc at 3:51 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Al Sharpton on MSNBC is actually really fun. He hit all the right talking points with a tea party Rep just now in an interview without sounding like an angry asshole. Sorry Cenk.

Totally paraphrased:

TP Rep: The last time we balanced the budget was under Clinton and we didn't do it with tax increases...

Al: Right, but once it was balanced Bush cut the taxes and started wars and it wasn't balanced anymore.


Actually a tax increase balanced that budget.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:53 PM on July 25, 2011


Oh, that Amy Winehouse tweeter, he's so adorable, he even has a cowboy hat.
posted by symbioid at 3:55 PM on July 25, 2011


U.S. National debt is the last legal Ponzi scheme,

Ridiculous.

Governments since the beginning of time have used deficit financing. Its not a "Ponzi" scheme because they can pay off the debt.

There isn't a country in the world that doesn't use deficit financing. In fact, except for the Clinton years, we haven't had a balanced budget since 1933, yet we have dominated that period of time.

This is the kind of bunk the GOP uses to support the rentier class.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:56 PM on July 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


U.S. National debt is the last legal Ponzi scheme,

Just have to raise taxes on the top 2% of earners. It will work just as it did under Clinton.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:58 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


U.S. National debt is the last legal Ponzi scheme...

Ridiculous.

Its not a "Ponzi" scheme because they can pay off the debt.


We can pay off the debt? Seems to me like we are way beyond the realm of realistically being able to pay off the debt and well into the amorphous world of "how long can we make the numbers work to keep this illusion up".
posted by lazaruslong at 4:01 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Its not a "Ponzi" scheme because they can pay off the debt. "

posted by Ironmouth at 6:56 PM on July 25

You're right that it's not a Ponzi scheme, technically, because unlike private parties, a sovereign government has the presumed ability to pay off debt by taxation. But if the size of a soveriegn's debt is so large that it outstrips its ability to tax, have we reached a "too big to fail" scenario? And if we knowingly, as a country, continue to operate on unsustainable levels of debt financing, isn't that some kind of moral turpitude akin to a Ponzi scheme?

"Just have to raise taxes on the top 2% of earners. It will work just as it did under Clinton."
posted by Ironmouth at 6:58 PM on July 25

Take a real close look at that maturity wall link I posted, and be a bit bearish. Assume things like a downgrade from AAA to AA+, etc. Come back with some math.
posted by paulsc at 4:03 PM on July 25, 2011





"Its not a "Ponzi" scheme because they can pay off the debt. "

posted by Ironmouth at 6:56 PM on July 25

You're right that it's not a Ponzi scheme, technically, because unlike private parties, a sovereign government has the presumed ability to pay off debt by taxation. But if the size of a soveriegn's debt is so large that it outstrips its ability to tax, have we reached a "too big to fail" scenario? And if we knowingly, as a country, continue to operate on unsustainable levels of debt financing, isn't that some kind of moral turpitude akin to a Ponzi scheme?

"Just have to raise taxes on the top 2% of earners. It will work just as it did under Clinton."
posted by Ironmouth at 6:58 PM on July 25

Take a real close look at that maturity wall link I posted, and be a bit bearish. Assume things like a downgrade from AAA to AA+, etc. Come back with some math.


Dude, that website is for gold scarers, and doom and gloomers. Weren't you all about Fort Knox in the last thread?

This is Glenn Beck stuff.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:09 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"... This is Glenn Beck stuff. "
posted by Ironmouth at 7:09 PM on July 25

Never ask a liberal lawyer for math.
posted by paulsc at 4:15 PM on July 25, 2011


We were running a surplus just 10 years ago. All we have to do is cut defense spending and raises taxes on the wealthiest earners. This isn't rocket science, and it's just a matter of political will.
posted by empath at 4:17 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


A better chart saying the same thing.
posted by gjc at 4:19 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


One can't escape a feeling that "maturity wall" is someone's new concept this week; once you cut away the undirected ad hominems and empty soapboxing there's not much left.

Isn't learning fun! There's so much to know!
posted by hoople at 4:21 PM on July 25, 2011


"We can pay off the debt? Seems to me like we are way beyond the realm of realistically being able to pay off the debt and well into the amorphous world of "how long can we make the numbers work to keep this illusion up"."

Not at all. Here's a plan that would eliminate your deficit in ten years and create a surplus, without taking apart the New Deal. Paying off the debt can be done in a sane manner, and it must be done eventually, but all this current squabbling seems to be more about ideology than the real facts and possibilities.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:22 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Never ask a liberal lawyer for math.

Because the conservative math worked out so well, as illustrated under the eight years of Bush. I'll take the liberal math from another liberal lawyer - Clinton - any day. Seriously, I remember the moronic arguments the Republicans were making during the 2000 campaign telling us how bad those Clinton surpluses were, and how it'll all be fixed with some tax-cut magic. I've seen enough conservative math to have me puke for the rest of my life.
posted by VikingSword at 4:22 PM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Kevin: Thanks! I like being disabused of ignorance. 13 trillion seems an impossible figure to a layperson like me.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:30 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


God Pat Toomey is such a waste of carbon:

Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) has picked up six other Republican senators, and six GOP House members, to support his proposal for a law spelling out how the Treasury should rank payments to federal creditors, contractors and others in the event that Aug. 2 comes and goes without a debt ceiling deal. Among those signing on to the Toomey plan who are expected to attend the Toomey press conference are Sens. David Vitter (R., La.), Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah), Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.), Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio). On the House side, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R., S.C.), Rep. Scott Garrett (R., N.J.), Rep. David Schweikert (R., Ariz.), Rep. Steve Southerland (R., Fla.), and Rep. Louis Gohmert (R., Texas) have signed up.
posted by angrycat at 4:39 PM on July 25, 2011


Here's a plan that would eliminate your deficit in ten years and create a surplus, without taking apart the New Deal.

Ah, the "People's Budget" from the House Democratic "Progressive Caucus." Rep. Paul Ryan's budget has received a good chunk of criticism (some of it quite deserved) for its rosy assumptions. Well, Reuters blogged about the assumptions behind the "People's Budget" and it wasn't a pretty picture.

For example:
the analysis doesn’t argue that the $2.3 trillion of cuts in defense spending are a reduction in public investment that reduces economic growth. In essence, the EPI analysis implies that, at the margin, nondefense spending is all investment but that defense spending is all consumption. Both sides of this proposition might be closer to the truth than not, but if some nondefense spending is consumption and some defense spending is investment, the EPI calculus on the growth effects of the People’s Budget can be quickly undermined.
There's a lot more.

The company that did the analysis quoted in the Reuters blog, Macroeconomic Advisors, was called a "highly respected forecasting firm" by the New York Times Economix blog.
posted by BobbyVan at 4:53 PM on July 25, 2011


"Here's a plan that would eliminate your deficit in ten years and create a surplus, without taking apart the New Deal."
posted by Kevin Street at 7:22 PM on July 25

From your link:
"Our Budget Eliminates the Deficit and Raises a $31 Billion Surplus In Ten Years"
[emphasis added]

Deficit ≠ Debt

That plan doesn't directly address the national debt, it actually builds more debt in the early years, while slowly coming down to a balanced budget, and in the final years generates a slight surplus. From the EPI Working Paper analysis:
"The
People’s Budget is projected to bring debt as a share of GDP in 2021 to 64.1%, compared with
debt at 67.5% of GDP under the House Republican Budget and 87.4% of GDP under the
president’s budget."
Part of that quote is built on a bit of slight of hand, in that their charts are labeled "Debt Held by the Public as a Share of GDP". First, only about 1/2 of the U.S. national debt, is held "by the public" meaning individual investors, pension funds, etc. for about $7.2 trillion. Second, their assumptions are built on growing GDP, and level debt, so that the trend line in the out years is negative, even though nothing much has really been done about actually retiring debt.

If you're going to pay off $14.3 trillion in debt (which includes that portion of the debt held by other nations in forex reserves) in 10 years, keep servicing the interest while you do it, and operate a minimal Federal government, you're going to have to not only gut the New Deal, but raise taxes punitively, on every person and corporation. Nobody really talks about paying off the U.S. debt in anything like a 10 year horizon, because doing so is such a draconian target, it isn't politically discussed. Nor need it be.

Personally, I'd be happy (hell, I'd be ecstatic) with a 20 year horizon to get half the debt gone. Doing that, you'd create some breathing room for growth of the U.S. economy and government services to support it as needed, simply on interest expense savings. Moreover, you'd materially demonstrate to the world that the U.S. government was managing its finances responsibly.
posted by paulsc at 4:55 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Never ask a liberal lawyer for math.

Nice try, but all lines must be expressed as y=mx+b.
posted by humanfont at 4:59 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Nice try, but all lines must be expressed as y=mx+b."
posted by humanfont at 7:59 PM on July 25

Nice try, yourself, humanfont. After all, if we can't inject a little levity in discussions like this, we're no better than our Congresscritters, are we?
posted by paulsc at 5:02 PM on July 25, 2011


angrycat: "God Pat Toomey Ron Johnson is such a waste of carbon:

Sens. David Vitter (R., La.), Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah), Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.), Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio). On the House side, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R., S.C.), Rep. Scott Garrett (R., N.J.), Rep. David Schweikert (R., Ariz.), Rep. Steve Southerland (R., Fla.), and Rep. Louis Gohmert (R., Texas) have signed up.
"

GODDAMN YOU HOME STATE. I miss Russ :(
posted by symbioid at 5:11 PM on July 25, 2011


A couple Something Awful posters claiming experience with government software say picking and choosing what we spend may not even be technically possible.

Anyone know if there is any veracity to that?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:15 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


*What we pay.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:15 PM on July 25, 2011


I dunno if MacroFugue has been linked here already, but they are doing some economic analysis that seems bipartisan and accurate. (I am not an economist, so I could be wrong.)
posted by dejah420 at 5:16 PM on July 25, 2011


Anyone know if there is any veracity to that?

i don't know, but i suppose that our accounts payable, such as social security, payroll, god knows what else, is fully automated by computer systems

just how would one turn that all off? - wouldn't it require an executive order? - and would it even be possible?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:19 PM on July 25, 2011


I feel like we are all trapped in a Twilight Zone episode.
posted by futz at 5:21 PM on July 25, 2011


Our votes put those people there. We have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Are we really sure about that yet, though? As monomaniacal and controlling as these right-wing hardliners in congress are, would you really be surprised if they manipulated election outcomes? Lord knows, they all seem to take it as Absolute Gospel that JFK's election was fixed, so they could easily rationalize it to themselves as "just the way the game is played," the way they do with every other underhanded tactic they use. It's pretty well known Norquist, for one, greatly admires Mao as a tactician; Mao was all about revolution through subterfuge and deception.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:22 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


It would not surprise me in the slightest if there were serious software issues with selective payment. Federal software projects produce applications which barely work to their intended purpose as it is, are typically implemented by bottom of the barrel consultants out of body shops, and if it wasn't spelled out clearly in the initial requirements, it wasn't contemplated in the design.
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:22 PM on July 25, 2011


A couple Something Awful posters claiming experience with government software say picking and choosing what we spend may not even be technically possible.

Anyone know if there is any veracity to that?


Slate has an article on this

It seems like there is a single checking account. After august 2 it will be empty and checks will bounce. It will be difficult to figure out what gets paid and what doesn't.
posted by humanfont at 5:28 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd hope Federal level accounting software would be better than what we get at the state level--Florida's system is on the brink of collapse it's so obsolete, and the last major effort to replace it (which I got to witness as an analyst in the early days of my IT career) was a multimillion dollar clusterfuck that ultimately delivered nothing and led to all sorts of law suits.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:29 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hasn't been mentioned here yet, but Speaker Boehner will speak after the President tonight. All networks will carry both speeches.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:33 PM on July 25, 2011


Senate Dems release this: Fact Sheet: 100% of Spending Cuts in Reid Debt Reduction Plan Were Supported by GOP

I'm waiting to see what the POTUS does. I can't say I'm waiting with any anticipation that it will make my progressive heart beat any faster, and part of me really hopes he takes the GOP out behind the rose garden and gives them a good spanking...but I think what we're going to hear is that the Prez is going to destroy the New Deal to appease the Teahadists.

What astounds me about the people who support this "Hell No" party, at least the ones that I know...is that they are damn near economically disadvantaged. These are not the Mark Cubans of the world, these are the folks who won't get their meds if Medicare dies, who will have to take in their aging parents if SS dies, who are 2, maybe 3 paychecks away from losing it all...yet these are the folks screaming for the blood of the union members, who are demanding that the rich keep their deductions for private jets, they want to destroy public education and parks and streets; they want to kill the very safety net that keeps them from being invisible and in a box down by the river.

I don't understand it. I really don't. I don't know how cognitive dissonance allows for it. This is what happens when graduates of Beck University are allowed to pretend to be fully functional, literate members of society.

I do know that this brinksmanship is a lot more dangerous than the Teahadists believe. I believe that most of these freshmen congresspeople have zero concept of economics in a broad sense. I do not think any of them understand even the slightest bit about how markets work, about how ratings work, about how debt structure works...hell, I'm not sure most of them understand that the debt ceiling is to allow us to pay off bills that have already incurred, and is not a promise of future spending.

If POTUS doesn't take charge, and tell the country that the Republicans are acting like spoiled children, and he's going to send them to their rooms while the grown ups clean up the mess they made, then we are all deeply and long term...screwed.
posted by dejah420 at 5:34 PM on July 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


He is going to be talking in favor of the Reid plan, which even as an Obama basher so far sounds just fine to me.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:37 PM on July 25, 2011


Does anyone know if/where Boehner's speech will be streaming live online? I know Obama's will be here (thanks, ofthestrait).
posted by argonauta at 5:38 PM on July 25, 2011


We can pay off the debt? Seems to me like we are way beyond the realm of realistically being able to pay off the debt and well into the amorphous world of "how long can we make the numbers work to keep this illusion up".

We print a bill that says it's worth 1 trillion dollars. Repeat 15 times and demand change. That is the brilliance of fiat currency. In the old days we would have invaded some nation and taken slaves, and sold the captured land off to pay the debts. This system is way better. Your savings and 401k would be obliterated, but your home would be worth billions. Your 401k and savings are going to be obliterated by the made up bullshit debt crisis anyway. I say we just tack the extra zeros onto the currency and move along.

As an alternative return tax rates on the wealthy to the 70% rates we had under Reagan. Pay off the debt slowly using revenues generated by our 14.5 trillion dollar economy.
posted by humanfont at 5:38 PM on July 25, 2011


It'll almost certainly be available on CSPAN, probably the other major news outlets too.
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:39 PM on July 25, 2011


I want Obama to do good things, even though I know better than to automatically expect good things. I hope he paints a convincing picture of the Republicans as squalling children.

He should constantly reference higher taxes on the wealthy as "Reagan-level taxes." That would be an awesome meme to spread.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:40 PM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


If POTUS doesn't take charge, and tell the country that the Republicans are acting like spoiled children, and he's going to send them to their rooms while the grown ups clean up the mess they made, then we are all deeply and long term...screwed.

no

he needs to put a concrete proposal before the american people in his speech - (and that is NOT to say that he's not put one before members of congress, but he's speaking to us now) - whether that proposal is one of those mentioned before, or a threat to go the 14th route, or to just have the treasury deposit the cash is up to him

but he needs to put one out there and put congress in the position of denying him - standing up there and saying, well, those turkeys need to come up with something real quick is not going to cut it
posted by pyramid termite at 5:40 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obama should just say that he asked for congress to act, he offered compromises, and now failing the actions fo congress he has no choice but to immediately furlow all government workers, and stop work all projects in order to preserve cash in hopes that congress can reach a deal before we start bouncing checks. He should tell seniors that starting Friday all social security payments will be stopped and absent authority to borrow money medicare will be unable to pay for treatment.
posted by humanfont at 5:43 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know if/where Boehner's speech will be streaming live online? I know Obama's will be here (thanks, ofthestrait).

Typically the major news sites (CNN, MSNBC, FOX) will stream this type of event live on their sites.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:44 PM on July 25, 2011


That's my point pyramid termite, although perhaps I was too hyperbolic to be clear.
posted by dejah420 at 5:45 PM on July 25, 2011


"... I'm not sure most of them understand that the debt ceiling is to allow us to pay off bills that have already incurred, and is not a promise of future spending. ..."
posted by dejah420 at 8:34 PM on July 25

Eh, the really nasty reality of the matter isn't even that good. Under any "plan" under current consideration, the bump up we'll get for the debt ceiling will be barely enough to keep net projected new deficit spending going through the end of 2012, plus scheduled rollover and interest payments going through the same date. We "pay off" nothing, from past spending. The national debt grows a little, under the most favorable revenue projections, and under higher interest rates stemming from a credit downgrade, or more modest revenue growth, the debt grows more than a little. The "spending cuts" offered under some of these plans don't actually accrue for 10 years.
posted by paulsc at 5:49 PM on July 25, 2011


humanfont, i'll admit i hadn't considered that he might threaten to just shut the whole government down

i don't think he will - i think the consequences of that would be severe and unpredictable
posted by pyramid termite at 5:51 PM on July 25, 2011


Never ask a liberal lawyer for math.

After watching catching up on 3 seasons of Breaking Bad last week.... I read that so wrong ...
posted by Poet_Lariat at 5:56 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Deficit ≠ Debt"

Yeah, that's true. Sorry about that, I was wrong about the debt. But at least it's a plan that points the US government in the right direction. Even if takes a century to pay everything off, the creditors will be happy enough if the debt gets nibbled down a little each year. And it can be done without reverting to a 19th century level of public services.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:57 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well lets see what the big guy has to say about it all ... live here. He has never failed to dissappoint me thus far so I'm not holding out any great hopes.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 5:59 PM on July 25, 2011


Hopeful cap: on
Flip-flops of disappointment: as firmly fastened to my feet as flip-flops can be
Live streaming: begun.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:00 PM on July 25, 2011


Dang, I really want to watch this, but my internet connection isn't strong enough. (But I am able to update this thread, so if anybody is sticking around and watching the speech, I'd love to know what's going on)
posted by iamkimiam at 6:01 PM on July 25, 2011


er, beginning shortly....
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:01 PM on July 25, 2011


"there are good reasons that we've run up the debt but it still sucks and will screw us."
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:04 PM on July 25, 2011


some red meat... "the democratic approach is balanced and the republican is not"
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:04 PM on July 25, 2011


all these "quotes" are my summaries, by the way.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:05 PM on July 25, 2011


Somebody needs to tell the President to stop hitting the table the mic is on.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:05 PM on July 25, 2011


I kinda like it.
posted by Skygazer at 6:06 PM on July 25, 2011


He seems to be forcing the issue about revenues from the wealthy... promising...
posted by Poet_Lariat at 6:06 PM on July 25, 2011


This is exactly what the President should be saying and repeating from now on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:07 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Transcript:

"The Republicans are assholes. Thank you. God Bless America. Goodnight."
posted by odinsdream at 6:07 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


actually that's a dumb way to liveblog: from now on i'll only put actual quotes in quotes.

"Keep in mind that under a balanced approach the average american household that makes under 150,000 would see no tax increase."
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:08 PM on July 25, 2011


REAGAN
posted by cortex at 6:08 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Brilliant quote from Ronald Reagan there!
posted by triggerfinger at 6:08 PM on July 25, 2011


"Deathhugs for everyone!"
posted by stavrogin at 6:08 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ha, Republicans, Ronald Reagan is on my side!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:08 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Quoting Reagan as gotcha moment.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:08 PM on July 25, 2011


Ha! Quoted Saint Ronald.
posted by dejah420 at 6:08 PM on July 25, 2011


That's $250,000, tivalasvegas.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:08 PM on July 25, 2011


....He's quoting Regan to prove his argument.... lol ... bonus points
posted by Poet_Lariat at 6:08 PM on July 25, 2011


250,000.
posted by Skygazer at 6:09 PM on July 25, 2011


REAGAN DID IT EIGHTEEN TIMES
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:09 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ha! Dogwhistle to the right!
posted by iamkimiam at 6:09 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"In the past, raising the debt ceiling was routine... Reagan did it 18 times... Dubya did it 7 times...."
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:09 PM on July 25, 2011


He's laying it on nice and thick and putting the blame where it belongs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:10 PM on July 25, 2011


I keep thinking he's going to call the Republican's "knuckleheads." that would rock.
posted by Skygazer at 6:10 PM on July 25, 2011



"In the past, raising the debt ceiling was routine... Reagan did it 18 times... Dubya did it 7 times...."


QFT. PLEASE KEEP REPEATING THIS.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:11 PM on July 25, 2011


Discussing why Boehner's 6-month extension is stupid. Kicking-the-can analogy: INVOKED.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:11 PM on July 25, 2011


Should be interesting to see what Boner's response is.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:12 PM on July 25, 2011


"....based on what we've seen in the past six weeks we know what to expect 6 month from now....this is no way to run a country..."
posted by Poet_Lariat at 6:12 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"We can't allow the American people to become collateral damage..."
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:12 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Joe Biden says this is Obama at his most articulate, and good looking.
posted by humanfont at 6:12 PM on July 25, 2011


"We can't allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington's war."
posted by Skygazer at 6:12 PM on July 25, 2011


"Republican leaders and I have found common ground before, and I believe"... blah blah blah.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:13 PM on July 25, 2011


Wow, "this is a dangerous game..."
posted by dejah420 at 6:13 PM on July 25, 2011


What does 'entitlement' refer to here?

(I can view the stream now...sitting outside on the pavement with laptop perfectly positioned for optimal signal, woot!)
posted by iamkimiam at 6:13 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Excellent.
posted by Skygazer at 6:14 PM on July 25, 2011


"they didn't vote for a dysfunctional govt"

well...
posted by stavrogin at 6:14 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sadly it still seems like Obama's playing the "Republicans will surely listen to reason" game.
posted by odinsdream at 6:14 PM on July 25, 2011


CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSMEN
posted by triggerfinger at 6:14 PM on July 25, 2011


CALL UP CONGRESSMAN, indeed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:14 PM on July 25, 2011


"American people may have voted for a divided government, but they didn't vote for a dysfunctional government." He then makes a direct appeal to people to call their reps.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:14 PM on July 25, 2011


He's asking us to phone our Congresscritter...wtf??? ...that's all he's got?... weak if he does nothing else.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 6:14 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


C
posted by Ironmouth at 6:15 PM on July 25, 2011


Sadly it still seems like Obama's playing the "Republicans will surely listen to reason" game.

No, he's playing the "I"m the adult in the room" game and doing a damn good job of it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:15 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


...and then he ripped a phonebook in half.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:16 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


EVERYONE CALL AND E-MAIL YOUR HOUSE REP.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:16 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good god, do I love Obama.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:16 PM on July 25, 2011


I'm struck by the understated nature of this speech as opposed to Campaign Obama or Inauguration Obama or even Cairo Obama; this is a man who has been ground down by the idiocy of his opposition, still hoping for but not assuming the goodwill of his opponents.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:17 PM on July 25, 2011


Yes, I am sure my Congressweasel will listen to reason.
posted by entropicamericana at 6:17 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the entire world is watching it's kind of crass to say your country is so much greater than the rest of them. :P

Pretty good speech, I can't see it convincing the Tea Party reps though.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:17 PM on July 25, 2011


No, he's playing the "I"m the adult in the room" game and doing a damn good job of it.

I agree, but it's not much help when the rest of the people in the room are throwing feces and smashing their heads together.
posted by odinsdream at 6:17 PM on July 25, 2011


"Please call your knucklehead Republican representatives and ask them to do the right thing."

No, not really....
posted by Skygazer at 6:17 PM on July 25, 2011


Yes, I am sure my Congressweasel will listen to reason.
They sure won't if it's not spoken to them.
posted by Flunkie at 6:18 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, that was milquetoast.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 6:18 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


REAGAN DID IT EIGHTEEN TIMES

A six month extension of the debt must have sounded pretty good to Ronald Reagan...
posted by BobbyVan at 6:18 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did he say bring pitchforks and torches to the National Mall at 1030pm? Can you bring those on the Metro?
posted by humanfont at 6:18 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well that's 15 ...15 minutes of basically "it's on you, call your congressman" ... which has worked so well for us all before. As I thought... disappointing.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 6:18 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh no, I feel a crying jag coming....
posted by Skygazer at 6:19 PM on July 25, 2011


But wait...our call to action is to call our elected officials? That firebrand of a setup led to that? Am I alone in being disappointed?
posted by dejah420 at 6:19 PM on July 25, 2011


Pretty good speech, I can't see it convincing the Tea Party reps though.

He's not reaching for them, he's reaching for the people who tell Congresscritters what to do.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:19 PM on July 25, 2011


every other business? I got new for you John, government isn't a business.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:19 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is Boehner drunk? Slurred speech.
posted by humanfont at 6:19 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I serve as Speaker of the whole House."

yeah, well, I serve as speaker of the Waffle House, buddy...
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:19 PM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Anyone want to place bets on how long until Boehner starts crying?
posted by entropicamericana at 6:19 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boehner's digging in deeper.
posted by Flunkie at 6:19 PM on July 25, 2011


Boehner going all out partisan attack, amazing contrast.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:20 PM on July 25, 2011


Boehner: "The US cannot default on its debt limit."
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:20 PM on July 25, 2011


Hey, the Republican is on and doing his thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:20 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boehner, on the other hand, makes me want to kick my tv.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:20 PM on July 25, 2011


He's asking us to phone our Congresscritter...wtf??? ...that's all he's got?... weak if he does nothing else.

That has been the way it has been since day 1. The President cannot order the Republicans to do anything. ONLY WE CAN DO THAT.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:20 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would not buy a used car from this man.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:21 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


He should have told people to break shop window and set cars on fire. That's how representative democracy works, folks. Talking to your democratic representatives is practically fascism.
posted by cortex at 6:21 PM on July 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


This was super interesting. I don't know how else to put it, other than it was really about the words. His delivery was taken off the table in a sense. The words though, they shine. What he said won't read any other way.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:21 PM on July 25, 2011


Asshole!!! HE"S THE ONE WHO COULDN"T TAKE YES FOR AN ANSWER!!! GRRRRR!!!
posted by Skygazer at 6:21 PM on July 25, 2011


I'm... sorry... I can't do the Boehner response. It's all I can do right now to remind myself that I believe firmly in the redemptive value of non-violent protest.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:21 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can somebody please link to Boehner's response?
posted by iamkimiam at 6:22 PM on July 25, 2011


lies, lies, lies, lies
posted by pyramid termite at 6:22 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"That he has created"? GFY
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:22 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


His delivery was taken off the table in a sense. The words though, they shine. What he said won't read any other way.

Hmm? Can you explain that?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:22 PM on July 25, 2011


Ironmouth: Does my Republican Congressman get his election frunding from people like me or businesses like the mortgage industry, the oil industry and the banking industry. Why should he listen to me? He never has before.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 6:23 PM on July 25, 2011


Boehner looking less orange than usual. And is he reminding anyone else of Sheldon on BBT? Says Obama wants a blank check. Sounding quite the evil hostage taker.
posted by dejah420 at 6:23 PM on July 25, 2011


Boehner's folding? Huh?
posted by Ironmouth at 6:23 PM on July 25, 2011


He should have told people to break shop window and set cars on fire. That's how representative democracy works, folks. Talking to your democratic representatives is practically fascism.

I know you're kidding, but that's not far off from what several people have suggested in this thread in complete seriousness.
posted by empath at 6:23 PM on July 25, 2011


if you dare
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:23 PM on July 25, 2011


Here, iamkimiam
posted by Flunkie at 6:23 PM on July 25, 2011


But it's over now.
posted by Flunkie at 6:23 PM on July 25, 2011


Shorter Boehner: America go fuck yourself.
posted by humanfont at 6:23 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you're spending more money than you take in, you have to spend less.

-John Boehner, who has apparently never heard of asking for a pay raise.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:24 PM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


sorry, it's over. you didn't miss much beside a sudden and painful raising of your blood pressure.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:24 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


But it's over now.

And it really must not have been love.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:24 PM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm watching Fox news, where Shep Smith is anchoring and he's poking holes in Boehner's response. He pointed out the bipartisan compromise that was passed in the House only had 5 Democrats voting for it. Wow.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:25 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


This commenter on C-SPAN2 is ... just ... wow.
posted by ivey at 6:26 PM on July 25, 2011


obama asked for compromise - boehner demanded complance with his program

we're screwed - i don't believe there is any way out of this impasse save utter and complete capitulation to the republicans

and i don't think we should
posted by pyramid termite at 6:26 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not everybody's watching C-SPAN2. What do you mean?
posted by Flunkie at 6:27 PM on July 25, 2011


Obama: Can't we all just get along?

Boehner: Fuck you.

Nobody's ever figured out how to deal with a bully. Obama's maybe particularly bad at it. How many people on AskMe have written about horrible bosses, blackmailing exes, etc., and the best advice is go to law enforcement or just leave. Obama can't do either.

Republicans now calling for impeachment of Obama. For what? The Republicans have created a sick system in government. I don't know what can be done.
posted by notswedish at 6:28 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just sent to my Congressperson, Jim Cooper (D - TN):

I am disgusted with the continuing argument about the debt ceiling. Is resisting raising taxes on the top 2% really worth playing chicken with the global economy? The Republican party appears to me to be acting, frankly, insanely. Please continue to contribute to solutions to this issue without screwing over the bottom 98% of the country. Thank you.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:28 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Talking to your democratic representatives is practically fascism.

Cortex, if you think our democracy is representative of anything but big business I think you may be living in a fantasy world. What Obama could have done is come down harder on the Republicans - much harder. He could have also stated his intention to use his executive power to use the 14th Amendment option if order to keep the U.S. going (and let the courts battle it out later on ) if the Republicans won't be reasonable - that would have been a significant game changer. He could have used the words "economic terrorism" He had the limelight - he had his 15 minutes and even though he is the President he only gets so many of those. I think he squandered this one.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 6:29 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mean that it seems that in the past much of what Obama has said in the past has been critiqued on grounds of delivery and other not-easily-quantifiable facets of oral speech. This speech was much more subdued in a sense (I think somebody upthread used the word 'milquetoast'). Flourished delivery is great and all, but it often gets picked apart to the point of obscuring or distracting from the message. This speech was so carefully worded and seemingly intentionally dialed back on the delivery...as if most of the interpretive load is in the literal content (wording) of the message. Put another way, my feeling is that the print version (and pull quotes) will read very much the same as the spoken...with minimal unpacking of hidden meaning or paralinguistic cues/messaging. I don't know though...I just heard it and that's my first impression.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:29 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, where is the Tea Party response?
posted by triggerfinger at 6:30 PM on July 25, 2011


Not everybody's watching C-SPAN2

Understatement!
posted by chrchr at 6:30 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Flunkie it was just a guy rambling about how they should take everyone in Washington out to the place where they watch nuclear tests and make them sit down and have dinner together, so he won't lose his defibrillator.
posted by ivey at 6:31 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nobody's ever figured out how to deal with a bully.

Boehner isn't being a bully, he's just a weak Speaker that can't deliver his own caucus for a compromise vote. Negotiating with him is a waste of time.
posted by empath at 6:31 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think he squandered this one.

in the effort to appear reasonable and sane - and he does - he's failed to follow teddy roosevelt's advice

he spoke softly - but where's the big stick?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:32 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


my feeling is that the print version (and pull quotes) will read very much the same as the spoken

Yes, agreed. It reads quite plainly and directly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:32 PM on July 25, 2011


I was going to send some emails but both my Senators' (1R and 1D) web pages are rendering as blank white space in Firefox 5.0. Did they default already happen and they didn't pay their internet bill or something?
posted by marxchivist at 6:32 PM on July 25, 2011


Wait, where is the Tea Party response?

"just keep putting the water and the tea bags in, guys - we'll have that bathtup filled up in no time"
posted by pyramid termite at 6:33 PM on July 25, 2011


Where did my shit go. I was just watching the speaker of the house and it seems I've lost it. I'm going to bed and I hope it turns up in the morning.

obody's ever figured out how to deal with a bully. Obama's maybe particularly bad at it

The American people are going to be in a frenzy after this. Try to get through to the confessional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and see.

http://www.house.gov/contact/
posted by humanfont at 6:33 PM on July 25, 2011


marxchivist, you don't need their web pages, just go here: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
posted by joannemerriam at 6:34 PM on July 25, 2011


Boehner just threw down the gauntlet: Agree to all of our demands or face national bankruptcy.

Obama will either cave in or we are going to default in a week. Those are the only options, now.
posted by Avenger at 6:34 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The website of the Speaker of the House is throwing a server too busy response code.
posted by humanfont at 6:35 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I could say, without it being a monumental betrayal of the sharecropper's great-granddaughter in Mississippi, the young gay men in the hills of Tennessee, the Mexican family in South Texas divided by mere paperwork, the man in Alaska who loves the land and hates the planned oil pipelines, I would say it:

Let them go, and let us not stop them leaving the Union dedicated to the proposition that a government for the people shall not perish.

But I can't.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:35 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Will. Never. Happen. The voters are mostly homeowners, and people with mortgages to pay are highly averse to going on strike.

I'll go on general strike in a heart beat if all my neighbors join me.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:35 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obama will either cave in or we are going to default in a week. Those are the only options, now.

I'm betting Republicans will blink, based on public response and polls favoring Obama.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:38 PM on July 25, 2011


Called my Rep. The DC mailbox was full but I left a message at the district office. Don't think this is gonna help here though, this is about ideology not responding to public pressure.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:39 PM on July 25, 2011


Obama will either cave in or we are going to default in a week.

Those outcomes are not equally probable.
posted by Trurl at 6:42 PM on July 25, 2011


The main Congressional phone isn't even picking up. They must be swamped.
posted by Flunkie at 6:42 PM on July 25, 2011


I'm betting Republicans will blink

maybe some will - but i think there's a hardcore of true believers who are going to do "the right thing" and don't give a damn if they get re-elected or not

i wish some of our leaders were like that
posted by pyramid termite at 6:42 PM on July 25, 2011


I emailed my rep (also Jim Cooper, TN 5th rocking this thread). I would email my repub senators as well but the senate website appears to be overwhelmed.
posted by ghharr at 6:43 PM on July 25, 2011


You can find your Representative here.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:43 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those outcomes are not equally probable.

that's what worries me - i think capitulation would set a terrible precedent and would probably make our government unworkable

which is probably what the tea partiers want
posted by pyramid termite at 6:43 PM on July 25, 2011


What's the best way to determine which Congresspeople are the swing votes here?

Those of us who live in DC (or, you know, Guam) have no one to call, but if there are representatives on whom more pressure will make the most difference, I'd be happy to be a virtual carpetbagger.
posted by argonauta at 6:44 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


guys guys im done im going to go eat burgers until i die
posted by The Whelk at 6:45 PM on July 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


drunken corner bistro meetup with bacons.
posted by elizardbits at 6:46 PM on July 25, 2011


guys guys im done im going to go eat burgers until i die

go to mcdonalds - it'll be a lot quicker
posted by pyramid termite at 6:46 PM on July 25, 2011


guys guys im done im going to go eat burgers until i die

If you were a Republican you'd fill up on burgers until you were almost dead and then walk out without paying the bill.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 6:47 PM on July 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


From Boehner's speech

You see, there is no stalemate in Congress. The House has passed a bill to raise the debt limit with bipartisan support. And this week, while the Senate is struggling to pass a bill filled with phony accounting and Washington gimmicks, we will pass another bill – one that was developed with the support of the bipartisan leadership of the U.S. Senate.

Well, I wanted to rub the GOP House's noses in poop. And reading the above felt like getting a wet sloppy face-full of feces in my eyes.

So, well, fuck all this. Where's that possibly habitable planet again?
posted by angrycat at 6:47 PM on July 25, 2011


I'll go on general strike in a heart beat if all my neighbors join me.

Me, too.

As for the speeches:

Obama was, uhm, underwhelming. He was calm, he was factual, he was educational, but he was also too subtle, I think. He took the time to address the nation on prime time, and he should have taken it to congress with more urgency and gravitas, I think.

Boehner was just a bald-faced liar. Bipartisan support for cut,cap and balance? Give me a fucking break. The Democrats couldn't take yes for an answer? Obama has spent us into a hole?

I'm banking on the less-informed public seeing that Boehner and the Tea Party are ignorant, posturing liars more than I am on them really grokking what Obama was saying. In other words, I think Boehner made a better case for the Democrats than Obama did.

We'll see, I guess.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:48 PM on July 25, 2011


I will gladly raise your debt limit Tuesday for a hamburger today.
posted by Trurl at 6:48 PM on July 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm betting Republicans will blink, based on public response and polls favoring Obama

I agree with this. It's been my opinion for months that we won't default. I think there are a few ideological tea party nutcases in Congress who think we should, but I think John Boehner knows better - but he'll never admit it. He's just going to continue on with this political theater to please the fringe base until the very last moment, when he'll miraculously come to a last minute agreement so as not to tip the country toward disaster. That's what pisses me off SO much about Boehner. I think he's smarter than that but he'd rather toe the nutcase fringe line of the the GOP to further his political career than do what he knows is best for America.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:51 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, well, fuck all this. Where's that possibly habitable planet again?

Gliese 581d

As long as they're cool with gay sex and martinis I'm down.
posted by Avenger at 6:51 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


We'll see, I guess.

Obama just pointed a bunch of angry voters at Congress, whom they traditionally hate more than President at the best of times.

Boehner acted like a jackass and got called out on Fox News for his lies.

I'm betting on Congress folding, but possibly not until after the default, they're that thick.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:52 PM on July 25, 2011


If you live in DC perhaps you should make your way to the Hill and stand outside with a large number of your fellow residents and ask congress politely to consider your point of view. To keep the mosquitos at bay, I recommend carrying one of those citronella torches. Also since you may be standing for a while bring a pitch fork, as you can stick it into the ground and use it as a leaning stick. I'd come but I seem to have lost my shit somewhere, have you seen it? I'm hoping it will turn up in the morning. Also I've been drinking heavily so you should probably ignore my advice from this point out.
posted by humanfont at 6:52 PM on July 25, 2011 [16 favorites]


He could have also stated his intention to use his executive power to use the 14th Amendment option if order to keep the U.S. going (and let the courts battle it out later on ) if the Republicans won't be reasonable - that would have been a significant game changer.

How so? Given that that option is still available what "game" would it "change" to threaten it? Will it frighten intransigent Republicans into conceding?
posted by octobersurprise at 6:53 PM on July 25, 2011


So, well, fuck all this. Where's that possibly habitable planet again?

Gliese 581d

As long as they're cool with gay sex and martinis I'm down.


Only vodka martinis, there is no juniper there.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:53 PM on July 25, 2011


Obama was calm assured and Boehner looked like he just went through the weekend from hell.

I still feel like there's something we don't know here. I hope there is, and I hope it explains why Obama sounded so confident and cool.

He's hard to read obviously, but fuck if I don't think he's got an ace in here somewhere, whereas I feel like Boehner is fighting for his political future.
posted by Skygazer at 6:55 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Any of the networks reporting "instant poll" type things? Focus groups and such?
posted by Flunkie at 6:55 PM on July 25, 2011


Here's my compromise: the debt limit gets raised and we let the red states vote to secede. They get the debt incurred under Republican presidents, we get the debt incurred under Democratic presidents.
posted by ifandonlyif at 6:55 PM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


He could have also stated his intention to use his executive power to use the 14th Amendment option if order to keep the U.S. going...

He can still do that and come out looking like the adult in the room (Oh hey, I found this other way to fix the problem). No need to tip his hand at this point.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:56 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boehner's folding? Huh?

There was a brief moment where he started shaking. It looked like a brief, accidental internal recognition that he was talking, live, to the entire world. Or a nic fit.
posted by gjc at 6:56 PM on July 25, 2011


Okay, so what the hell? I've tried every phone number I could think of...all mailboxes full, even in the District Offices. Started to turn (in desperation) to the Facebook pages of the Reps I wanted to weigh in with. When I clicked over to Boehner's page, I get this message from Facebook:

Turn off secure browsing?
We can't display this content while you're viewing Facebook over a secure connection (https).
Would you like to temporarily switch to a regular connection (http) to use this app?
You will have a secure connection upon your next login.


So what the hell is that all about? I can't read his page without giving up my secure connection, what???
posted by jeanmari at 6:56 PM on July 25, 2011


And Obama wins: congress doesn't even want to hear what you are saying.
posted by gjc at 6:57 PM on July 25, 2011


https is for commies
posted by Flunkie at 6:58 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Only vodka martinis, there is no juniper there.

Well, forget it, then.
posted by LMGM at 6:58 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obama needed to say what is actually happening: that Republicans are holding the country hostage. We're talking a depression that will make the Great Depression look like a mere economic slowdown if the U.S. government defaults. 20-30% drop in GDP, 30-50% unemployment, no credit for anything without usurious interest rates...

...this is no different than a terrorist with his finger on the trigger of a nuke in New York. It's literally the ticking time bomb solution that all the Republicans used to argue for torture a few years back. I mean, if they were told in 2005 that in 2011, a group of terrorists had the ability to destroy the U.S. economy and kill millions (surely the end result of a U.S. default, worldwide), and had threatened to detonate their 'bomb' within a week if their extreme demands were not met, they would have fallen over themselves to advocate torture.

Another thing:

Obama's blah compromise speech has left the casual observe with no idea of the urgency of the situation. They might have thought, "hmm, Obama seems reasonable, we should probably do what he says, but, meh, it doesn't seem that important," and then "wow Boehner is pissed, Obama must be a real jerk to piss him off that much." That's why Boehner won. Obama dropped the ball and backed himself into a corner. Now if a deal doesn't get done, it looks like he's failed at being the moderate compromiser.

I mean, what's it going to take to push Obama over the edge and realize that the people he's been trying to cooperate with for the last 2.5 years have been mercilessly whaling on him this whole time?
posted by notswedish at 6:58 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


dot.commies
posted by pyramid termite at 6:58 PM on July 25, 2011


I think the "invoking the 14th" thing loses it's effectiveness the minute he threatens to use it. He'll be boxed into it, and impeached, and the GOTP is off the hook to the Freshman TP-ers' and they're off the hook to their insane constituents.

Why the hell would he want to do that now?
posted by Skygazer at 6:59 PM on July 25, 2011


no sign of panic in the asian markets - seems to be a rather mundane day for them
posted by pyramid termite at 7:03 PM on July 25, 2011


The Whelk: "guys guys im done im going to go eat burgers until i die"

Shouldn't you be ignoring politics and honeymooning right now? Go!
posted by notsnot at 7:04 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Obama's blah compromise speech has left the casual observe with no idea of the urgency of the situation.

Watching local news here, the reports seem to be displaying Obama as being Presidential, with a good plan. Several have noted Obama's mention of Reagan. Boehner's two stage plan seems confusing and not much is being said about it. When asked who won, the local commentators are saying it was Obama, hands down.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:04 PM on July 25, 2011


Michael Bloomberg needs to shut the fuck up about how all incumbents are at fault for this mess. Fucking rich wrinkled guy. I hate everybody.
posted by angrycat at 7:06 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cortex, I wanted to expand pn my feelings as to why our democracy is no longer representative of the people at large - why the worst congresspeople don't really care what the people think, OK.

This is how I see it: in a nutshell, roughly 25 to 30 percent of the voting populace are frankly idiots. No, I don't mean that figuratively I mean that literally. Idiots. They're the one's who believe Obama is a secret Muslim. They're the ones who believe that liberals are socialists. They're the ones who hold up the "You Morans!" signs. They're the ones who believe in Beck and Limbaugh. Complete idiots . Low IQ types and/or emotional basket cases. And thise idiots are the ones who more often than not decide our elections because they vote as a block. A very powerful (but idiotic) voting block.

Why do you think we always see those horrible awful idiotic negative political adverts each and every voting season. Why? Because they work . They appeal to the idiots and they almost inevitably work. The idiots do not send in money for Congressional elections by and large. All they have is their enormous voting potential. All a Congressperson has to do is get enough money fro big business to make enough attack ads and radio spots to get he idiot vote and you're in like Flynn. The idiots are going to vote for you if you take away their health care. The idiots are going to vote for you if you take away their social security. The idiots are going to vote for you if you implement a mandatory 50 hour work week at 25% less wages. They're idiots.

Non-idiots often see both sides of an issue. We split out vote among the candidates. Surely you have noticed that so many of our most important elections these last 30 years have come down to a difference of just a few percent. The majority split their vote. They're not so easily swayed. The idiots vote for who Rush Limbaugh tells then to vote for. All you need is enough money to scare enough idiots into voting for you.

SO i don't believe the most problematic Congresspeople care a bit about what the 70% of the population think. They KNOW that they only need more money from more big business to scare up the idiot vote. They know that and they don;t care about you calling. Because they know that people like you will always split your vote , will always see both sides, unlike the idiots.

So that's why I think Obama should have been stringer in that speech. Stronger and harsher. He should have put the fear of god into that 70% of rational thinkers out there . He needed to polarize people . He didn't do that because he was too reasonable. Too mild. He wasted an opportunity.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 7:06 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think the "invoking the 14th" thing loses it's effectiveness the minute he threatens to use it. He'll be boxed into it, and impeached, and the GOTP is off the hook to the Freshman TP-ers' and they're off the hook to their insane constituents.

Impeachment also loses its effectiveness once its use is threatened.

Cuz if they think 19 Democratic Senators will vote to convict, they need to re-think.
posted by Trurl at 7:06 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's why Boehner won. Obama dropped the ball and backed himself into a corner. Now if a deal doesn't get done, it looks like he's failed at being the moderate compromiser.

I disagree. It's clear now which party is bent on touching Medicare and Social Security and going at those programs like ham fisted butchers.

Obama, clearly came across as the reasonable protector of those things looking for a smarter and more reasonable way ahead, that doesn't put cutting the deficit fully on the back of the Middle-class and poor and elderly.

If I depended on SS or Medicare, I know who I'd be voting for in 2012. There's a reason those programs are considered "third rails" of politics.
posted by Skygazer at 7:06 PM on July 25, 2011


Yes, I am sure my Congressweasel will listen to reason.

Its this attitude that has got us in this mess. If they are swamped by calls, they will move their position. They aren't gonna suddenly vote for Obamacare, but they will hold their nose and vote for this.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:07 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


If there is no raise to the debt limit, the White House will have to start printing money. Obama & Geithner will have to live up to the 14th Amendment and to the debt limit law, both at the same time. The only way to do that is with a shiny new billion dollar coin.
posted by ifandonlyif at 7:08 PM on July 25, 2011


pyramid termite: "I think he squandered this one.

in the effort to appear reasonable and sane - and he does - he's failed to follow teddy roosevelt's advice

he spoke softly - but where's the big stick?
"

I could crack a joke on that one... but... it's too easy.
posted by symbioid at 7:09 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lisa: You're about to launch a terrible evil on the world. You've got to destroy this plant.
Homer: I know, honey, but what can I do as an individual. I wouldn't know where to begin.
Lisa: Just burn that plant right now and end this madness.
Homer: I wish I could make a difference, Lisa, but I'm just one man.
Lisa: [growls]
Homer: I agree, but how?
posted by feloniousmonk at 7:11 PM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Heh; my -R rep's DC office voice mail is full as is the voice mail at his local office; his webpage won't load.

Not bad, for milquetoast.
posted by faineant at 7:12 PM on July 25, 2011


Boehner's website is still slammed.


(That was kind of a genius move. Boehner already look like he's walking a fine line into a complete bender, and total blabbering psychosis, and a couple of million emails and phone calls is just the thing to make him shove his wingtips up some Freshman Rep. TeaBagger ASS AND GET THIS SHIT DONE!)
posted by Skygazer at 7:15 PM on July 25, 2011


The only way to do that is with a shiny new billion dollar coin.

Suggested design
posted by Trurl at 7:17 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Marco Rubio's site is down, too; I already wrote Southerland or whatever the hell our idiot Rep's name is.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:18 PM on July 25, 2011


Economiggedon
posted by angrycat at 7:20 PM on July 25, 2011


Ah, I have written and deleted a dozen potential comments that aspired to be thoughtful or insightful, but all I really want to say is that I want tthe top ten NFL kickers to have a chance to punt Boehner's orange junk into orbit. That statement doesn't really help anybody, though.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:21 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh man. I forgot about time zones and was looking forward to watching Obama's speech in about an hour and a half. Can someone post a link to it when it's made available somewhere? (Unless I see them live, for some reason I can never find the speeches. I fail at Google.)
posted by meese at 7:23 PM on July 25, 2011


Skygazer: "and the GOTP is off the hook "

Is there a reason you keep using GOTP instead of GOP? Is this shorthand for something I'm not aware of? "Grand Ol' Tea Party"?
posted by symbioid at 7:23 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Daniel Webster's house page is down. And he doesn't have a facebook page that has been changed to reflect that he is in office. In person protest at the office tomorrow? Any Orlando Mefites?
posted by Chipmazing at 7:24 PM on July 25, 2011


meese, cspan.org is a good place to check for things like this.
posted by Flunkie at 7:24 PM on July 25, 2011


Gasp! I actually found it on my own for once!

You can find both Obama's and Boehner's speeches here.
posted by meese at 7:30 PM on July 25, 2011


Tried to call Toomey to criticize his spending prioritization idea and ask if he had even researched the technical feasibility of it. PA and DC office mailboxes are full. I kind of feel like if Obama was gonna ask for calls he should have done it during they day so at least we could frazzle some staffers.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:30 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth, serious question: when was the last time massive civil action resulted in meaningful change in voting habits in congress?
posted by odinsdream at 7:30 PM on July 25, 2011


Calls don't normally matter all that much, but the President usually isn't asking for them in a primetime speech.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:32 PM on July 25, 2011


you don't need their web pages, just go here: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
posted by joannemerriam


All the reps pages are throwing errors, but this one seems to still be chugging along.
posted by dejah420 at 7:33 PM on July 25, 2011


when was the last time massive civil action resulted in meaningful change in voting habits in congress

Te last I can recall was the Vietnam war protests. I was very young then but I think they resulted more in changing who became elected rather then how existing congressmen voted.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 7:33 PM on July 25, 2011


Speaking of burgers, I had breakfast this morning at Colonel Mustard's Phat Burgers, over in Jacksonville Beach, FL. Besides gut busting burgers, they make terrific 5 egg breakfast omelets, and tender, giant pancakes, and they're cheap eats, to boot. $5.95 for a 5 egg omelet with cheese, mushroom, onions, and peppers, and toast.

The breakfast crowd when I arrived at 7:25 a.m. this morning were 6 white guys from late 20s to early 60s in age, 2 young black guys, a white middle aged woman, and black woman in her 20s. The TVs were tuned to CNN as usual, and the folks were watching, and some talking back to the talking heads on the TVs discussing the debt ceiling problems, when I walked in, and none of what I heard was complimentary to anybody in Washington. Also, it was really clear that nobody in that non-random, self-selected, breakfast seeking slice of Americana understood much about the mechanics of any "deal" being discussed by the talking heads. It was also clear that nobody there understood much about finance, or especially government finance.

Everybody there was deeply suspicious of everything they were hearing, and of Washington, entirely. The consensus seemed to be that, since everybody there was living closer to the edge than they had been in years, that the 6 figure salary folks in Washington ought to earn their damn money, and Do The Right Thing. And furthermore, that the Right Thing for Government, in a time when they mostly can't get bank loans, are paying higher rates on their credit cards, and have worries about their income and jobs, is for Big Government to cut back as much they have had to cut back, in their own lives.

I threw out a few facts, as the TV talking heads raised topics, but mostly I just sat back and listened to some folks try to understand and figure out what was going to happen to them and their families in the coming days. And I realized, these people aren't going to call anybody in Washington, aren't going to email anybody, and that they think, deep down, that whatever Washington comes up with, is going to cost them, sooner or later.

The process, flawed and imperfect and partisan as it has always been, has left an America with an ever more limited attention span, way behind. The complexity of Federal government is deeply resented by a lot of average folks, even if they wouldn't call themselves Tea Party supporters. They think it ought to all be a lot simpler, and a lot cheaper, and if they're going to ever Speak Truth to Power themselves, that's about what they're going to say. "Suck it up, and deal, like we have to," is what they'd say, if they thought it would do much good.

I'm doubting, deeply, after watching tonight's love fest, if Obama really gets any of that. He used the words "debt" and "deficit" pretty loosely, and confusingly, and he made no effort to cover the details of Reid's plan, or to try to do any real education of the American public, in basic terms, of other alternatives. He really went partisan, and not in a helpful way, even to the point of deathhugging Boehner. It wasn't helpful, I think, to any of the folks with whom I had breakfast, and it provoked an expected response from Boehner.

This Ain't The Way, Washington.
posted by paulsc at 7:34 PM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Toomey's contact page will open if you keep reloading it. It will close up real quick though, so best have your message pre-fabbed. I spent too much time trying to be clever and non-FBI invoking in telling him I hate him with the heat of ten thousand suns.
posted by angrycat at 7:34 PM on July 25, 2011


Wow, CNN.com's "coverage" of this is a travesty. It's basically a feed of a whitelist of Twitter users. For some reason, seeing this has flipped my opinion of Twitter from ambivalence to a sort of Stewart-on-Crossfire "stop hurting America" position.
posted by feloniousmonk at 7:37 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


feloniousmonk : CNN stopped being a real news organization sometime in the mid 90's.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 7:40 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't worry Paul, when the Republicans crash the economy for no reason, your ignorant masses will have something to say.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:40 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


$5.95 for a 5 egg omelet with cheese, mushroom, onions, and peppers, and toast.

You really shouldn't be eating that much. That it costs so little just makes it worse. It's like, I dunno, talking about spending the night with a whore for 50 bux or something.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 7:41 PM on July 25, 2011


Ironmouth, serious question: when was the last time massive civil action resulted in meaningful change in voting habits in congress?
Not long ago at all:

We have reached a point where raising the debt ceiling -- which is a noncontroversial and routine measure that has always had strong bipartisan support extending back who knows how long -- is something that Congressional Republicans cannot figure out a way to do. Despite the fact that they know not doing it could have drastic consequences for the country, despite the fact that many of them personally have done it many times in the past as a matter of course, and despite the fact that their supposed corporate overlords have been telling them to do it.

Why are they unable to find a way to do this thing that you know most of them think is both reasonable and necessary? Because of the civil action of the Tea Party.
posted by Flunkie at 7:43 PM on July 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


It's like, I dunno, talking about spending the night with a whore for 50 bux or something.

Don't go to AskMe for help though.

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:43 PM on July 25, 2011


As of tomorrow's open, all my (IRA and pension plan) positions are entirely liquidated. Thanks GOP! What a great job you've done for all us middle-class people!

(For me, the watershed was the thousands of FAA they laid off without a moment's consideration. Can't wait til the money for air traffic controllers runs out min-August.)
posted by newdaddy at 7:45 PM on July 25, 2011


paulsc: " he made no effort to cover the details of Reid's plan, or to try to do any real education of the American public"

Actually, before I started to read this thread I thought to myself "Is he going to pull a Ross Perot? Will he pull out some basic charts and try to communicate the issue? Maybe he should haul Ross back in (not that I have any particular love for the man)"

But yeah - we need to fucking EDUCATE people, not just assume they know this shit.

Break out the colorful graphs and charts, explain what default means, explain debt vs deficit, explain the expenditures, explain HOW IT AFFECTS EACH AND EVERY AMERICAN. (and if in my all caps "screaming" I offend some of the more delicate sensibilities (as I'm assuming some of my previous comments seemed to do - unless I'm misreading some somments) I apologize. I had some good Wee Heavy Ale, and am slightly buzzed, so nyeah).

Um, but yeah. Why is there not more of this. Less talking head bullshit partisan bickering on talking heads shows and more primetime "look, here's the deal" and if Boehner wants his time w/graphs and shit, fine, whatevs. Not that I think he should have time considering they have a 24 hour propaganda channel, but when it comes to something like this? Fine. Post some numbers and shit.

Hell, interview some economists that can break it down. Something, anything to make the electorate not quite as stupid as I continue to gather that they seem to be.
posted by symbioid at 7:46 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth, serious question: when was the last time massive civil action resulted in meaningful change in voting habits in congress?

I think that Mayor Nagin's plea for people to call Congress during the Katrina crisis changed the administration's handling of it.

Regarding the speeches, I think Boehner came out ahead. The Speaker's delivery seemed much stronger to me- I don't think I've ever seen Obama fumble that much during a prepared speech. And I expect that his call for people to contact their Congressperson will backfire- the GOP base is more into that sort of thing and more emotionally engaged in this fight. That, along with the fact that the House members in greatest danger of losing their seats next year- the GOP freshmen- are also the group that truly seems to care the least about that prospect. The less wingnutty members of the GOP caucus are also the ones with the more secure positions, I expect.
posted by gsteff at 7:47 PM on July 25, 2011


he made no effort to cover the details of Reid's plan

$2.7 trillion in spending cuts when we're already on the verge of a double-dip recession, not a penny of new revenue, and a "Super Congress" to make sure you have as little chance as possible to stop future cuts to Social Security and Medicare - which are now permanently "in play". And that's the best case scenario. The Overton Window has been moved so far that it's no longer in the same house.

This whole episode is a triumph of historic proportions for the Republican Party.
posted by Trurl at 7:47 PM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


the watershed was the thousands of FAA they laid off without a moment's consideration.

The only way to protect America is to get rid of unions, and the only way to ensure that there are no unions - including secret unions - is to make sure there are no workers.

Total, 100% unemployment - the only sure guard against Marxism.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:48 PM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


"You really shouldn't be eating that much. That it costs so little just makes it worse. It's like, I dunno, talking about spending the night with a whore for 50 bux or something."
posted by TheTingTangTong at 10:41 PM on July 25

Eh, when I have breakfast there, I pretty much don't have to eat again for the rest of the day. And I learned a long time ago that the best $50 whores all live in D.C., so I'm just a big fan of amateur lovers, now, down here in the Sunshine State.
posted by paulsc at 7:48 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what is beautiful right now? The unified RAGE of this thread. Fuck yeah! Let's find some nonviolent way to to kick this evil shit in the motherfuckin' balls
posted by angrycat at 7:48 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


$2.7 trillion in spending cuts when we're already on the verge of a double-dip recession,

Dude, so much of that is coming from 'savings' resulting from out ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's kind of nifty, don't you think?
posted by angrycat at 7:51 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]




Angrycat's pizza budget caused the deficit.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:51 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Joey Michaels: "the watershed was the thousands of FAA they laid off without a moment's consideration.

The only way to protect America is to get rid of unions, and the only way to ensure that there are no unions - including secret unions - is to make sure there are no workers.

Total, 100% unemployment - the only sure guard against Marxism.
"

Yes! If there are now workers, they can't heed the clarion call to unite! Genius, my friend, pure fucking genius.
posted by symbioid at 7:52 PM on July 25, 2011


People are rightly angry with the Democrats' attitude toward the deleterious effects of governmental overspending. Remember when Joe Biden said, "Deficits don't matter."? *That's* what people are upset about.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:52 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's find some nonviolent way to to kick this evil shit in the motherfuckin' balls

I saved her, Billy. I saved her using VIOLENCE. And that's not a bad thing, Billy!
posted by curious nu at 7:54 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why is there not more of this. Less talking head bullshit partisan bickering on talking heads shows and more primetime "look, here's the deal" and if Boehner wants his time w/graphs and shit, fine, whatevs. Not that I think he should have time considering they have a 24 hour propaganda channel, but when it comes to something like this? Fine. Post some numbers and shit.

I wish there were some venue for political leaders to debate major issues like this, where the participants are forced to actually respond to each others' points. The presidential debates, though certainly flawed in many ways, often seem like the only time every four years that Americans get a glimpse of the way the framers intended for our political system to function.
posted by gsteff at 7:55 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]




They think it ought to all be a lot simpler, and a lot cheaper, and if they're going to ever Speak Truth to Power themselves, that's about what they're going to say. "Suck it up, and deal, like we have to," is what they'd say, if they thought it would do much good.

Well, Paul, tell your rubes that life is always simpler and so much cheaper once they burn everything down. Certainly, the GOP will make their lives simpler and cheaper, just like their guy Rick Scott down in Florida.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:01 PM on July 25, 2011


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates:Remember when Joe Biden said, "Deficits don't matter."? *That's* what people are upset about.

Are you serious? ??
Because I remember that as being a Cheney quote from 2002 "Reagan proved deficits don't matter,"

So were you joking or what was that about?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:02 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cheney said that? He must have been quoting Biden. Or some other Democrat.

Because Republicans have always cared about fiscal responsibility.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:05 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Republicans have always been at war with Eastasia.
posted by ifandonlyif at 8:07 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Um...do I need to recalibrate my sarcasm meter?
posted by Go Banana at 8:07 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remember when Joe Biden shot that guy in the face?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:08 PM on July 25, 2011 [18 favorites]


No, Go Banana. You don't need to calibrate your "sarcasm filter".
posted by Zozo at 8:09 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's a joke son, don't you get it?
posted by saulgoodman at 8:10 PM on July 25, 2011


And then the guy apologized to Biden!
posted by ifandonlyif at 8:10 PM on July 25, 2011


"Well, Paul, tell your rubes that life is always simpler and so much cheaper once they burn everything down. ..."
posted by octobersurprise at 11:01 PM on July 25

That's a pretty cheap, partisan shot, octobersurprise. The people I ate breakfast with weren't "rubes" by any but perhaps your definition, and those that had jobs were on their way to work after breakfast, while those that didn't seemed to wish that they were, too. They pay taxes, they worry about the future, and about how it will affect their families, and like the majority of Americans today, they get most of their news from TV. They don't burn anything but barbeque charcoal on the weekends, and the occasional cigarette.

And although they live in Florida, that doesn't make them Republicans, or Scott voters, or even stupid.
posted by paulsc at 8:11 PM on July 25, 2011


They weren't rubes, they were just all morons who didn't understand finance or government or any of the deals on the table you see...
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:15 PM on July 25, 2011


Anyone who's confused about whether raising the debt ceiling is a good idea is a rube.
posted by odinsdream at 8:18 PM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death my right to have an uniformed opinion on it.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:19 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what is beautiful right now? The unified RAGE of this thread. Fuck yeah! Let's find some nonviolent way to to kick this evil shit in the motherfuckin' balls

Call your congressman. That's how it gets done. HuffPo reporting a lot of congressional websites are down due to us and other doing the same thing. Keep at it.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:20 PM on July 25, 2011


"They weren't rubes, they were just all morons who didn't understand finance or government or any of the deals on the table you see..."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:15 PM on July 25

Morons? I dare say 2/3 of college graduates of America's universities would be hard pressed to explain deficit finance in any detail, off the top of their heads.

"... I will defend to the death my right to have an uniformed opinion on it."
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:19 PM on July 25

Which uniform? After today, I'm putting my Jaguar teal jersey back on!
posted by paulsc at 8:24 PM on July 25, 2011


Morons? I dare say 2/3 of college graduates of America's universities would be hard pressed to explain deficit finance in any detail, off the top of their heads.

See, we all agree on that. The part of the story that makes you sound pretentious is the part where you set yourself up as smarter than the rest of them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:34 PM on July 25, 2011


Ironmouth: "Call your congressman. That's how it gets done."

Meh, I was protesting in the goddamned street in 2003 and that accomplished exactly nothing. I doubt the terrible ordeal of having an intern delete my voicemail is going to accomplish much at this point. I'm going with newdaddy's plan.
posted by mullingitover at 8:39 PM on July 25, 2011


"... The part of the story that makes you sound pretentious is the part where you set yourself up as smarter than the rest of them."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:34 PM on July 25

Eh, I shared a few facts that nobody else in that place seemed to have, and I think my few comments were understood and generally received as the informational interjections I intended. It didn't seem to stop anybody else there from making their points, or questioning those of the talking heads, or of Obama's or Boehner's comments in replays of last Friday nights' drama.

But if you think I'm pretentious in my comments here, I guess you're entitled to your opinion; I don't read what I've written that way.
posted by paulsc at 8:53 PM on July 25, 2011


Nancy Pelosi welcomes our new GOP overlords: It is clear we must enter an era of austerity.
posted by Trurl at 8:55 PM on July 25, 2011


Sorry, as an American my short attention span and limited capacity for complexity have left me bored with this conversation.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:56 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Trurl: "Nancy Pelosi welcomes our new GOP overlords: It is clear we must enter an era of austerity."

Zombie Herbert Hoover nods in approval.
posted by mullingitover at 8:57 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Letterman "Jeeze, Obama, this guy, I be he now wishes he was born in Kenya"
posted by Ironmouth at 9:07 PM on July 25, 2011


Ironmouth: "Call your congressman. That's how it gets done."

Meh, I was protesting in the goddamned street in 2003 and that accomplished exactly nothing. I doubt the terrible ordeal of having an intern delete my voicemail is going to accomplish much at this point. I'm going with newdaddy's plan.


The intern counts the damn voicemails before deleting them. It really works. Marching in the street? Rarely.

This is the problem--getting into protesting makes us feel good, so we do it because it provides emotional feedback. Actually making an impact is a lot more like calling customer service. But it does get the job done.

Stop running from our duty as citizens. The rest is just self-indulgence. At bare minimum, please make that call or draft that email before busting into Michele Bachman's dressing room and "glittering" the whole place.

If it didn't count, there wouldn't be an entire industry called "astroturfing" designed to fake the effects.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:12 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


lol, leave the glitter thing alone. It's a pretty unique and striking bit of protest, and that glitter is hard to get off. It leaves them thinking about it for days.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:14 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Sorry, as an American my short attention span and limited capacity for complexity have left me bored with this conversation."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:56 PM on July 25

Apparently not, so why not take the strained snark to MeMail, where it can really glitter?
posted by paulsc at 9:15 PM on July 25, 2011


furiousxgeorge: "lol, leave the glitter thing alone. It's a pretty unique and striking bit of protest, and that glitter is hard to get off. It leaves them thinking about it for days."

Raver scabies.
posted by mullingitover at 9:15 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I would apologize for the snark but it might be considered deathhugging.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:18 PM on July 25, 2011


If Nancy Pelosi is starting to talk about a "new era of austerity" then it's basically all over.

Call up your parents and grandparents and tell them to stock up on cat food.
posted by Avenger at 9:18 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


"... If it didn't count, there wouldn't be an entire industry called "astroturfing" designed to fake the effects."
posted by Ironmouth at 12:12 AM on July 26

Uh, I'd like to point out the inherent fallacy(ies) of this statement, but

Oh, forget it. The rest of you take it for the myriad sad, conflicting truths it contains, if you will.

I love this country, but damn, Ironmouth, you've just about made me want to turn in my voter registration, in one sentence.
posted by paulsc at 9:23 PM on July 25, 2011


The intern counts the damn voicemails before deleting them. It really works. Marching in the street? Rarely.

Tell that to the people in Egypt last spring. Tell it to the Spanish Progressives before that or to the English Labor Party or to the millions of Union members who changed this country's policy on labor in the early 1900's. Tell it to all the Greeks who were tired of all the bankers misspending falling on their shoulders to correct.

Here is some helpful insight. By and large, with very few exception, your congressperson never, ever hears what you say on his voice mail. Never. All your impassioned words get listened to by an underpaid staffer who marks "for" or "against" on a little checklist and then all your words get deleted. You might as well cal in , say "against" and hand up right then . Same effect. A couple days later your congressman gets a little report from the underpaid staffer saying how many people called in and what the stats were. It works exactly the same for all your emails that you write. Meh. Goes your Congressman - time for another meet and greet at my favorite lobbyists' town house. Gotta go.

That's how it works Ironmouth and I would be very surprised if you did not know this already.

If it didn't count, there wouldn't be an entire industry called "astroturfing" designed to fake the effects.

Astroturfing has nothing to do with people giving voicemails or emails to Congress. What the hell. Astroturfing, or propaganda as it used to be called. is designed to generate false feelings of social buy-in so stupid people will feel less stupid about making stupid decisions because they feel everyone else is doing it already.

If it didn't count, there wouldn't be an entire industry called "astroturfing" designed to fake the effects.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 9:25 PM on July 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


The GOP is evil, and I wish them the worst.
posted by axismundi at 9:26 PM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


"I would apologize for the snark but it might be considered deathhugging."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:18 AM on July 26

Nah, you're not my enemy, not I yours. No reason to ever let you close enough to deathhug. Obama and Boehner, OTOH, seem like the scorpion trying to get the frog to swim them both across the River Styx.
posted by paulsc at 9:36 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ya know, I wish that Zombie Eisenhower would come back to shake a little sense into those pretenders. How could a party have fallen from this, to what they've become...shallow parodies.

(Not that I'm giving the Dems a free ride, mind you. They've got some splaining to do.)
posted by dejah420 at 9:41 PM on July 25, 2011


Brandon Blatcher wrote: I'm watching Fox news, where Shep Smith is anchoring and he's poking holes in Boehner's response. He pointed out the bipartisan compromise that was passed in the House only had 5 Democrats voting for it. Wow

Even Murdoch and Ailes don't actually want to see another global financial crisis.
posted by wierdo at 9:49 PM on July 25, 2011


"How could a party have fallen from this, to what they've become..."
posted by dejah420 at 12:41 AM on July 26

I'm not sure you should take Eisenhower's farewell to the nation as a purely Republican manifesto, any more than you might take Washington's Farewell, as a partisan political statement. Both were the advice of great leaders, and former generals of our country in its most trying times, and were meant as much as, for want of better words, spiritual consolation in future trials, as particular advice to a nation they loved above all else.

And please, let's not dig up Jefferson, or turn John Adams in his grave, or seek Monroe's or Hamilton's worthy opinions, either. Good men, once they've retired, deserve some peace and distant respect.
posted by paulsc at 9:56 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Astroturfing has nothing to do with people giving voicemails or emails to Congress. What the hell. Astroturfing, or propaganda as it used to be called. is designed to generate false feelings of social buy-in so stupid people will feel less stupid about making stupid decisions because they feel everyone else is doing it already.

I must have been hallucinating those 2 months I worked for an astroturfing shop then. Because that's all we did.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:10 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I must have been hallucinating those 2 months I worked for an astroturfing shop then. Because that's all we did.

If you admit to spending months trying to lie to people (the very definition of astroturfing) then how do we know you are not doing that right now?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:32 PM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]




I must have been hallucinating those 2 months I worked for an astroturfing shop then. Because that's all we did.

If you admit to spending months trying to lie to people (the very definition of astroturfing) then how do we know you are not doing that right now?


Pardon me, but are you accusing me of lying?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:58 PM on July 25, 2011


What cause did you astroturf for?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:00 AM on July 26, 2011


Don't you read Ironmouth's posts? The police union. :P
posted by Talez at 12:01 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


What cause did you astroturf for?

Some background. I had an unpaid internship between my first and second year. I temped in the side. My temp job was supposed to be answering phones for a structured bankruptcy/merger between a German company and a US company. The packaged settlement terms which the judge signed off on included 24/7 phone coverage for info lines for customers, employees and others regarding the deal. We were given a script. (My German was pretty good back then). So we trained for a few days and the big day came, 25 people and a supervisor in a big room. We were all so nervous.

Nobody called. At all. We heard tell another shift got a call once, but we were majorly overstaffed and we were making 18 an hour to watch movies.

Soon they cut hours. They asked if anyone wanted to work on other projects, I said ok. Turns out it was the biggest astroturf firm in the world. All GOP. I needed the money, so I did it. We were doing weird things, offering free estimates to bar owners who might have to add fans to deal with anti-smoking laws in New Jersey. It was all the tobacco companies there. Some how it was juicing the effort to stop the law, which failed. Then there was some weird deal where we would call voters on some national regulation thing or tax thing the Chamber of Commerce wanted stopped. So we called a list of numbers, which predictably led to conservatives, who we would agree to let us write a letter under their signature which we would email to them and they would email to their House reps.

Finally there was some weird thing "grass tops" where we were contacting big movers and shakers to get them to join some Bill Gates charity. Everyone wanted to do that, the rest was as bad as telemarketing. But the product was sold to Congress, not to the citizen--it was like pulling teeth--nobody wanted to do it. Apparently a low rate was common. They wanted the letters to seem like they were in the constituent's voice.

Living in this town you get to see how it works and the right kind of thoughtful constituent contact is really the gold standard.

I've been arguing for many years here for a different type of political activism--boring, not indulgent of people's desires to have an "identity" and instead, respectful and midwest style. This makes the politicians run for cover.

That's why I say suits, ties and dresses with no signs when we march. Sober probity of opposition is huge, just huge.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:24 AM on July 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


Given your expertise on the subject, what should I tell Mike Fitzpatrick on this issue?

Paraphrased, the message I left tonight was along the lines of: "Hello. I am an independent voter from Doylestown. I strongly urge you to consider a balanced approach to handling the debt ceiling. I watched two speakers tonight and only one made a convincing case that they were focusing on compromise and the best interests of the country, and that was President Obama. Speaker Boehner seemed more concerned with ideology and less with doing the duty of governing. Also, I demand you make "Pinkie Pie" the state horse."

Is there anything wrong with that approach?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:05 AM on July 26, 2011


paulsc your Jacksonville breakfast story is not credible. It sounds like some made up bullshit anecdote. It does little to convince us of your case. You are not the smartest person here. You've demonstrated no qualifications or expertise. Your arguments are poorly constructed and were easily refuted. Perhaps you should try listening for a while.
posted by humanfont at 2:12 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just wrote my Congress people. It's a little childish and full of personalized guilt, but I think it get's my point across for his staffers to mark me on a particular side of the issue:

The budget deadline is on my birthday. Do the right thing and raise the debt ceiling. Tax the people who make more than 250K a year like the majority of the populous wants. If they want to be called 'job-creaters' then they need to create some actual jobs which they have not yet. I am an oncology nurse. I work hard to do the right thing every day. You should too. Don't default on my mother's social security and my patients' medicare that they use to pay for their cancer treatment on my freaking birthday. DO THE RIGHT THING. RAISE IT.
posted by dog food sugar at 3:36 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


he spoke softly - but where's the big stick?
Times have changed, it's not one big stick but millions of little ones.
posted by fullerine at 4:00 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge, I think your approach needs to be about 20% cooler.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:20 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Astroturfing is a form of advocacy often in support of a political or corporate agenda designed to give the appearance of a "grassroots" movement. The goal of such campaigns is to disguise the effortsof a political and/or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some political entity—a politician, political group, product, service or event. The term is a derivation of AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass.

Ironmouth, that does indeed sound like what you did for that job, and yes I would call it a form of lying, but that definition does not fit what Obama asked us to do last night. So.
posted by adamdschneider at 5:29 AM on July 26, 2011


I'm not always a David Brooks fan, but today's column in the New York Times is pretty spot on.
First, it was always going to be difficult to round up the necessary Congressional votes. Republicans didn’t want the tax increases. Democrats didn’t want the entitlement cuts.

Second, the White House negotiating process was inadequate. Neither the president nor the House speaker ever wrote down and released their negotiating positions. Everything was mysterious, shifting and slippery. One day the president was agreeing to an $800 billion revenue increase; the next day he was asking for $400 billion more. Spending cuts that seemed to be part of the package suddenly seemed hollow. Negotiating partners disappeared.

...

Obama’s Friday appearance had a gigantic unintended consequence. It brought members of Congress together. They decided to take control. The White House is now on the sidelines. Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders are negotiating directly with one another.

...

Furthermore, the negotiating process has changed. On Monday, both Boehner and Reid produced proposals. The main points were written down and available for all to see. Each side not only represented its own views, it sent signals about where future agreements could be found.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:52 AM on July 26, 2011


But BobbyVan, isn't it Congress's job? I mean, the President shouldn't technically be involved in these negotiations, if I understand the duty of Congress regarding the national debt and deficit structure. I believe the POTUS got involved because of the R/D deadlock, but I'm not sure what good he's done...since from my (way left) perspective, he's given the R way more than he should have, and from the other side (R), he's not willing to give enough to make them not poke poor people with sticks.

I'm just saying, while I don't think POTUS has been terribly effective at doing Congress's job, it should be forefront noticed that it IS Congress's job. (As I understand it. )
posted by dejah420 at 6:04 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it pretty much is Congress' job. Unfortunately, the House is extremely polarized now. House Republicans have signed pledges saying they won't increase taxes; House Democrats have signed pledges saying they won't cut entitlement growth. As Brooks noted, it was always going to be tough to bridge that divide.

Furthermore, once the President started talking about specific tax loopholes, threatening to veto short term extensions, and (obviously) demanding that Congressional leaders meet him at the WH to negotiate, he made himself part of the process.
posted by BobbyVan at 6:21 AM on July 26, 2011


But BobbyVan, isn't it Congress's job? I mean, the President shouldn't technically be involved in these negotiations, if I understand the duty of Congress regarding the national debt and deficit structure.

Unless Congress has a veto-proof majority, he has a place in the negotiations. Congress needs to know what he'll not veto.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:37 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking about how this will play out and wondering: what would panic the markets enough so even the GOP House will take this seriously? With the 2008 collapse, it was the collapse of Bear Sterns, wasn't it? What comparable event would cause even the stupidest GOP House member to take notice?
posted by angrycat at 6:47 AM on July 26, 2011


That's a pretty cheap, partisan shot, octobersurprise.

Pardon, me, paulsc, I'm hogging your act. The cheap, partisan shots are your métier. I hope you'll forgive me. However, that doesn't change the fact that if your breakfast companions think that, saying, or voting for anyone who says, "Suck it up, and deal, like we have to" will make their lives "simpler" and "cheaper," then they are, in fact, rubes.

House Republicans have signed pledges saying they won't increase taxes. House Democrats have signed pledges saying they won't cut entitlement growth.

Why, it's a shame House Republicans don't want to cut taxes. Given the opportunity, House Republicans have repeatedly refused to cut the payroll tax. No, this whole charade has always been about one thing and one thing only, cutting entitlements. The only thing that would satisfy most of the House Republicans is Obama's resignation and the wholesale elimination of the ACA, Medicare, Social Security, the EPA, and any other federal agency that doesn't exist to serve God or Mammon.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:52 AM on July 26, 2011


Obama is using a little political theater here. (Turnabout's fair play, right?)

His goal this whole time has been to look like the sane person in the argument. Like I said at the start of this thread, the Republicans started this ball rolling by demanding concessions to get their signatures. Also, as has also been pointed out, the Republicans made that brilliant move without actually having an end game worked out.

The Republicans have accused Obama of moving the goalposts during these "negotiations", and I think there's probably some truth to that - because goading them into looking irrational and fomenting infighting between themselves is part of the public relations battle here.

Lawrence O'Donnell has pointed out many times that Obama has the luxury here of being critical without actually offering up his own plan. It's a more cynical approach than I would probably take, but I think it will work.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:54 AM on July 26, 2011


What Ironmouth did for a summer job is definitely astroturfing, and the point of it is to *fake* the results of genuine citizen engagement on an issue. I don't think even the best astroturfers can afford to send so many messages it overloads the servers of half of Congress, so I guess Obama's speech had the intended effect.

Poet_Lariat, that kind of call or letter is boring but the campaigns I've been part of have had lots of success with it. I just call, politely tell the admin assistant that I'd like to leave a message for the MP, they ask on what issue, I say something like "I'd just like to let MP Whatsisface know that I fully support/oppose Action X on Issue Y for reason Z". Then they ask for my address (to check if my vote counts with this MP) and if I want a personal reply. Its not exciting and doesn't express my individuality, but it only takes 5 minutes and is more effective than street protests.
posted by harriet vane at 6:58 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Harriet - I don't doubt your experience - who knows possibly you are right. Let me tell you a bit of my own experience regarding Congressional call-ins vis-a-vis Obama . About two summers ago I joined Organizing For America (formerly Obama for America), a Democratic Party extension, to campaign for Health Reform. We were told that the biggest thing we could possibly do was to get people to call their Congressperson and tell them that they wanted to pass health care. We were told that we were likely to get a public option that way. So we went door to door, organized calling parties inside our houses, set up tables at public events. Hundreds of us spending thousands of person-hours and getting huge numbers of people to call Congress.

What I did not know until six months later was that the fix was already in months before we started our campaign. What I didn't know and what every high level Democratic Party principal already knew was that Obama had already cut a deal with the pharmaceutical companies on exactly what health care "reforms" were going to be passed. I didn't know that until the next Winter. All the calling, all the work it was just bullshit. Meaningless. Kabuki theater politics for a purpose that I still do not understand. Everything had already been decided long before we started our pathetic little campaign. And the Democratic Party knew all about it .

So that is why I do not believe that Congressional call in campaigns work in our day and age. Such things should be one of the the cornerstones of our Democracy but they have devolved to little more than one of Ironstone's paid propaganda gigs that he describes himself doing. Only I didn't get paid and I naively actually believed that I had a chance to change something.

So yes, I believe that organized mass protest is the only chance now that the average American has to lead a decent life in the future.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 7:13 AM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Debt Ceiling Cat.
posted by schmod at 7:35 AM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Boehner's page is still 404'ed. Awesome.
posted by rollbiz at 7:37 AM on July 26, 2011


Try this one, rollbiz.
posted by GrammarMoses at 7:42 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Given your expertise on the subject, what should I tell Mike Fitzpatrick on this issue?

Paraphrased, the message I left tonight was along the lines of: "Hello. I am an independent voter from Doylestown. I strongly urge you to consider a balanced approach to handling the debt ceiling. I watched two speakers tonight and only one made a convincing case that they were focusing on compromise and the best interests of the country, and that was President Obama. Speaker Boehner seemed more concerned with ideology and less with doing the duty of governing. Also, I demand you make "Pinkie Pie" the state horse."

Is there anything wrong with that approach?


I'd cut out the part about the horse. The rest is great. That's exactly what is good. Bonus for being a senior who has voted Republican since Hoover.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:07 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I believe that organized mass protest is the only chance now that the average American has to lead a decent life in the future.

Left or right, why is it that the same people who believe that the American political system is irreparably broken always believe that some kind of "mass protest" can put it back together? If politics is nothing but lies, sellouts, and kabuki theater, then why should anyone expect that the political organization of any third force or mass protest will be any different? Except in the case of coup d'états, mass protests are only useful insofar as they ultimately persuade elected politicians to legislate. If, for whatever reason, legislators won't legislate, then mass protests are pointless, except as a revolutionary threat, a threat that must be made by organizations themselves subject to all the power relations and human fuckery endemic to everyday politics. Whenever mass protests are the only chance for a decent life, then it's practically a guarantee that decent lives aren't in the offing.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:12 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I did not know until six months later was that the fix was already in months before we started our campaign. What I didn't know and what every high level Democratic Party principal already knew was that Obama had already cut a deal with the pharmaceutical companies on exactly what health care "reforms" were going to be passed. I didn't know that until the next Winter. All the calling, all the work it was just bullshit. Meaningless. Kabuki theater politics for a purpose that I still do not understand. Everything had already been decided long before we started our pathetic little campaign. And the Democratic Party knew all about it .

The fix was not in. Those calls made a tremendous difference in setting the table for Congress and letting them know that the issue was important to Americans. I'm good buddies with staffers and former staffers in many offices. That kind of calling is the bread and butter that Congress works with. Now I'm sorry that you were upset about the results of the bill, (although I think it was the best we were going to get in terms of votes). Whether or not your calls helped healthcare pass is a different question than whether you liked the individual bill that passed. But the fact is that it makes a difference. And the fact is that that bill passed Congress.

Look at what the other side did during the Health Care debate:

From Dick Morris' page on the health care issue:
House Republicans are predicting that Pelosi will bring health care to a vote in a few days. This is our LAST CHANCE to stop it.

We need funds desperately and immediately to run ads through the districts of swing Democratic congressmen. As soon as you donate, money will go directly on the air where it will do the most good.


Already, our ads are having an effect and have induced several congressmen who previously voted yes to announce that they are undecided. It is vital that we keep pouring on the pressure.

This is our last chance to stop total destruction of the health care system for our families.

GO HERE to donate.

GO HERE to see a sample ads.

Ever since the election of Scott Brown, Obama has lulled us into a false state of security by playing dead on health care. Now, he is hoping to make it law next week.

Frankly, donations have been disappointing and only a small fraction of what they were earlier in the year.

Please GO HERE to donate…even if you have donated already. Our health care is on the line!

THANK YOU!!!

PHONE NUMBERS FOR SWING VOTE CONGRESSMEN:

PLEASE CALL! DC OFFICE LOCAL OFFICE
Harry Mitchell (202) 225-2190 (480) 946-2411
Gabrielle Giffords(202) 225-2542 (520) 881-3588
Ann Kirkpatrick (202) 225-2315 (928) 226-6914
Jerry McNerney (202) 225-1947 925-833-0643
John Salazar 202-225-4761 970-245-7107
Jim Hines (202) 225-5541 (866) 453-0028
Alan Grayson (202) 225-2176 (407) 841-1757
Bill Foster (202) 225-2976 630-406-1145
Baron Hill 202 225 5315 812 288 3999
Mark Schauer (202) 225-6276 (517) 780-9075
Gary Peters (202) 225-5802 (248) 273-4227
Dina Titus (202) 225-3252 702-256-DINA (3462)
Carol Shea-Porter (202) 225-5456 (603) 743-4813
Tim Bishop (202) 225-3826 (631) 696-6500
John Hall (202) 225-5441 (845) 225-3641 x49371
Bill Owens (202) 225-4611 (315) 782-3150
Mike Arcuri (202)225-3665 (315)793-8146
Dan Maffei (202) 225-3701 (315) 423-5657
Earl Pomneroy (202) 225-2611 (701) 224-0355
Steven Driehaus (202) 225-2216 (513) 684-2723
Mary Jo Kilroy (202) 225-2015 (614) 294-2196
Zach Space (202) 225-6265 (330) 364-4300
Kathy Dahlkemper (202) 225-5406 (814) 456-2038
Patrick Murphy (202) 225-4276 (215) 826-1963
Christopher Carney (202) 225-3731 (570) 585-9988
Paul Kanjorski (202) 225-6511 (570) 825-2200
John Spratt (202) 225-5501 (803)327-1114
Tom Perriello (202) 225-4711 (276) 656-2291
Alan Mollohan (202) 225-4172 (304) 623-4422
Nick Rahall (202) 225-3452 (304) 252-5000
Steve Kagen (202) 225-5665 (920) 437-1954
Our enemies use contacting congress like a club. This is exactly how 13% of the electorate is leveraging all of this power. If we would only do it ourselves instead of being so damn cynical every time, we'd stop them in a heart beat. Again, the problem is us.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:16 AM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Left or right, why is it that the same people who believe that the American political system is irreparably broken always believe that some kind of "mass protest" can put it back together?

First, mass protest only becomes a serious option when most or all of the avenues are blocked or broken.

Second, a mass protest or general strike is the last civil way to say, "We don't care what you douchebags think, you are not the bosses - you are the employees. It's past time to get serious around here. Start showing us some respect or we'll shut the whole fucking place down."

Could such an approach work today? Probably not. A few more years like the last few years, and I'm not so sure the answer will still be no.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:21 AM on July 26, 2011


Mass protests only work when you threaten the normal functioning of society and the economy. The average fully permitted Saturday march on the mall is going to accomplish nothing but making people feel better about themselves.
posted by empath at 8:23 AM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Left or right, why is it that the same people who believe that the American political system is irreparably broken always believe that some kind of "mass protest" can put it back together?

Because of this and this and this

Because history has shown that when we are in times similar to that of now, the only real measure the working class ever had that was actually effective was taking it to the streets in one form or another.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:24 AM on July 26, 2011


I believe that organized mass protest is the only chance now that the average American has to lead a decent life in the future.

That has worked exactly twice. The first time, it was to provoke the police into using firehoses and truncheons on blacks and their supporters.

The second time was the Viet Nam war.

It isn't going to work here. There is no huge obvious injustice that we aren't getting a say in. We are getting a say in the issue of the debt ceiling. We need to have that say. Because when we can all vote and call our Congressional representatives, protesting on top of that tells them nothing. Its like that scene in a Few Good Men:

"I strenuously object?" Is that how it works? Hm? "Objection." "Overruled." "Oh, no, no, no. No, I STRENUOUSLY object." "Oh. Well, if you strenuously object then I should take some time to reconsider."

They know some of us are pissed. They just need to know how many. Protesting makes you feel good, gets that anger out, but it doesn't move the ball forward and get the debt ceiling raised. That's done by giving them the numbers.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:25 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The fix was not in.

You are fooling yourself.
The facts speak for themselves
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:26 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Left or right, why is it that the same people who believe that the American political system is irreparably broken always believe that some kind of "mass protest" can put it back together?

Because of this and this and this

Because history has shown that when we are in times similar to that of now, the only real measure the working class ever had that was actually effective was taking it to the streets in one form or another.


The Wisconsin protests did not stop that bill. We LOST.

We need a bill here and that requires us to call our congressional representatives now.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:28 AM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Because of this and this and this

Because history has shown that when we are in times similar to that of now, the only real measure the working class ever had that was actually effective was taking it to the streets in one form or another.


Those are all strikes, not just mass protests. There's a substantial difference between the two. One threatens the flow of business, the other is a parade.

That has worked exactly twice. The first time, it was to provoke the police into using firehoses and truncheons on blacks and their supporters.

The second time was the Viet Nam war.


Yeah, this. I'm not even entirely convinced that the second one had all that much to do with the end of the Vietnam War.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:29 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fix was not in.

You are fooling yourself.
The facts speak for themselves


You confuse not liking part of the bill with getting the bill passed. That bill passed. You may wish it was different, but it passed because of efforts like yours.

Would you prefer a debt default? You do realize it will mean deaths. Real people will die quickly and the country will be plunged into a double-dip recession in weeks. Is this your best hope?

If we default there will be incredibly worse cuts because the cost of borrowing and maintaining the federal debt will skyrocket.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:31 AM on July 26, 2011


We are getting a say in the issue of the debt ceiling.

Whoopee.

Call me when we have a say in right-to-work issues, or labor rights, or getting all the benefits we've already paid for. Call me when proven Wall Street crooks go to jail. Call me when banks can't rewrite credit card contracts in the middle of your contract. Call me when corporations aren't people. Call me when legislators can't say we need to cut entitlements but no way we're raising taxes on the rich. Call me when Democrats get a backbone.

We may have a say, but it obviously doesn't count for much.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:32 AM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Could such an approach work today? Probably not. A few more years like the last few years, and I'm not so sure the answer will still be no.

I can't argue with that.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:33 AM on July 26, 2011


That has worked exactly twice. The first time, it was to provoke the police into using firehoses and truncheons on blacks and their supporters

That's more bullshit and propaganda Ironmouth. The facts are that the American labor movement has a long history of successful protests that span 150 years and have provided us with such things as the 40 hour work week and prohibitions against child labor amongst a ultitude of concessions to the middle class. Sating that these things are not effective is one hundred percent unadulterated bullshit.

We need only look the this very year where seventy thousand took to the streets in Wisconsin and took over the capitol building there to protest heinous economic and social policies at the State level. The result: recall elections for the politicians who enacted those policies are underway now. So saying that such mass protests are ineffective is not only bullshit , it is surprisingly bad bullshit and one that can be easily disproved.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:35 AM on July 26, 2011


Don't you guys understand? You there, in that highly gerrymandered congressional district! It's your fault! You keep voting sending them back to Washington!
posted by entropicamericana at 8:36 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


We are getting a say in the issue of the debt ceiling.

Whoopee.

Call me when we have a say in right-to-work issues, or labor rights, or getting all the benefits we've already paid for. Call me when proven Wall Street crooks go to jail. Call me when banks can't rewrite credit card contracts in the middle of your contract. Call me when corporations aren't people. Call me when legislators can't say we need to cut entitlements but no way we're raising taxes on the rich. Call me when Democrats get a backbone.

We may have a say, but it obviously doesn't count for much


Why aren't you calling your congressional rep on those issues? Plus, there are other Americans who disagree with us on those issues. They may be crazy but they have phones.

We need to use ours. Daily.

Maybe I'm a little wistful because I don't even get a congressman. I can't even call anyone. I have no senators, and my "rep" has zero voting power. I look at all of you out there and it infuriates me that you do not use the power that is in your hands, the power that is denied me. Why can't we play the game to win like they do? Why must we always be wiped out by cynicism? Why must we always decide to quit when any bill does not suit us as a single individual? Why can't we accept we live with a lot of people, that we aren't all going to get what we individually want because people disagree with us and so the best move is to take the best we can get and keep fighting? That's what they've done. We are right but we don't fight.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:37 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Wisconsin protests did not stop that bill. We LOST.

You know, unlike the right-wing astroturfing campaign you told us earlier that you participated in, repeating bullshit in forums such as these does not work. The result is that recall elections are underway right now. Once those are done, the laws will be changed. It's a process and you know that. Much of the Walker legislation has been blocked before the courts and the electorate is about to change the Wisconsin legislature from a Republican to a Democratic majority.

None of that happened because people called Walker's office and complained. It happened because seventy thousand took to the streets and organized themselves in mass solidarity. Speaking of solidarity - it worked in Poland too. But you knew all that already,right?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:41 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I contacted my rep, but he was probably going to vote the way I wanted anyway.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:41 AM on July 26, 2011


We need only look the this very year where seventy thousand took to the streets in Wisconsin and took over the capitol building there to protest heinous economic and social policies at the State level.

They took to stop that bill. And they failed. The bill passed. It is law. And you know why? Because a decent percentage of those 70,000 DIDN'T SHOW UP TO VOTE ON ELECTION DAY. If we don't vote, we can't win.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:42 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Wisconsin protests did not stop that bill. We LOST.

I was just making this point last night. I was at some of those protests, back in March when there were still tens of thousands attending. Walker and the Republican legislators DO NOT CARE if we freeze our asses off or occupy the capitol. They have no regard at all for the people in the streets, because most of the protesters didn't vote for them and won't in the future. The only thing the protests accomplished - IMO - is to create a sense of urgency and momentum amongst the protesters in order to get the recalls started. That was definitely useful, but I think most people thought that "well, we'll occupy the capitol for a few weeks and then they'll see the light." It didn't matter, the bills they wanted were still passed.

I agree 100% with nonviolent resistance, but nothing was actually impacted. There were no strikes, no shutdowns, no blocking of access for any consistent period of time (some blocking of traffic in Madison for parts of a day, so what). People need to get angry enough to shut shit DOWN, not just make signs, and we don't have the critical mass for that yet. People haven't lost enough yet. I wonder how much we're going to have to lose (in civil liberties and living standards) before we get to that point.

Remember that people were willing to DIE during the civil rights struggles and Vietnam protests. There were lynchings and shootings and firehoses, and you knew if you went to a mass protest/action you had a nonzero chance of ending up arrested, injured or dead. I don't see anyone here willing to put their livelihoods on the line, much less their lives. I would be surprised if more than 20 people have been arrested for protesting in Wisconsin since this all started in February.
posted by desjardins at 8:42 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I called my congresswoman.

Eleanor Holmes Norton simply responded to my concerns by saying "Well, why do you think I've been posting drink recipes to my website?"

Sigh.
posted by schmod at 8:45 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ironmouth:

I'm 50 years old, and I take my civic duty very seriously. I have not missed a single vote - local, state, or federal - since the day I could vote.

I have a congressman who is a conservative fucktard. I answer every poll he sends. I write him probably once or twice a month. And I still get the tone deaf fuck-you canned responses.

This is not the same system it was when I was 18. These are not the same kind of representatives. To pretend that everything is going to be fine if we are just better citizens.

I can't buy it anymore, sorry.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:47 AM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ironmouth, while I admire your perseverance, I respectfully disagree with your belief that elected officials respond to the electorate who write, call, etc.. But I also don't agree with those who believe that taking to the streets is the only way to get change.

We need a political trim tab. Something new and different* that can really shift the balance of power in Washington.

People should be researching political/legal tools. Personally, I'm watching Colbert's Super Pac - definitely some possibility there.

*Once I was part of a group that launched a campaign to recall the whole city council (Honolulu) - no one had heard of recall back then. Of course we didn't win, but it resulted in an angry and informed public -- seven of the council members were voted out the next year.
posted by Surfurrus at 8:50 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Doesn't anyone read Alinsky anymore?
posted by Surfurrus at 8:51 AM on July 26, 2011


Symbioid: Is there a reason you keep using GOTP instead of GOP? Is this shorthand for something I'm not aware of? "Grand Ol' Tea Party"?

It's a personal thing I guess, and in a nutshell, I truly believe the Republican Party has morphed into something entirely more malignant and dangerous than even Republican's as recent as Reagan or Goldwater (Goldwater for fucks sake...believed that the GOP had become too inundated with fundamentalists Christians before he passed away in the 90s) would have a difficult time recognizing as their party.

It's flirtation with extremism and parasitic swallowing up of the Tea Party is going to end up like a scene out of ALIENS. They needed the enthusiasm, even if it was founded mostly on the fear and paranoia of racism, and they needed the re-branding from the disastrous sullying with incompetence and failure and whole-hearted embrace of crony capitalism that defined the Rove/Bush/Cheney/Fox News aughts.

I think after 911, the GOP saw itself as unbeatable, and on the verge of a golden era of total domination of American culture and politics, and it really seemed like the nation was on the cusp of a dominionist theocracy, but their misreadings and over-reach did them in, but I think they got a taste for it, and that taste hasn't gone away and they still feel they can pull that off with the right formula of misinformation, fear and artificial marginalization of the Left as unAmerican. They want that so bad you feel the waves of lust for power even now.

Somehow they think they can turn their backs and wash their hands of their malfeasance and criminality (phony war, derivatives economic death), if they can just wait out the short attention span of the American voter. And they might be right if they're not continually confronted on their horseshit.

Anyhow, so much for the nutshell explaination but, they made a deal with appropriating the Tea Party and quickly morphing it and bleaching it into just another GOP subset, but what they really did was embrace proto-fascism in the guise of this despicable nascent ideal of American Exceptionalism, and now the host is being corrupted by the parasite and it is changing the GOP in profound ways, and making it something unrecognizable and unwieldy and profoundly ungovernable and dysfunctional, because it's founded on stupidity, ignorance, base empty patriotic disinformation and revisionism and an inability to compromise or adapt or be anything but an obstruction that is so arrogant and hateful and inflexible.

And I want the GOP to fully own it's embrace of it. Because the power struggle within the GOTP is well underway between the old-school legacy conservatives and the ignorant, racist Tea Baggers.

I want them to own it and if I can help with cementing that timebomb called the TP deep into the bunker of the GOP, by calling them the GOTP every chance I get, I figure it's the least I can do.

Make no mistake, the GOTP is in a moribund state, that has alienated every growing demographic in the nation with it's hateful sexism, racism, anti-educationalism, anti-immigrant policies pronounced as the true American gospel.

I just hope it's sooner rather than later and the GOTP's lies are understood by regular American's.

Boehner is clearly between a rock and a hard place. Dealing with that 100 or so stubborn Freshman Tp-er Reps, in the house who won't budge and don't understand the art of the deal or a long range strategy, and I think there's a good chance that Boehner, if he doesn't get a grip on that group is going to be perceived as a lame-duck speaker and Cantor is going to call the shots, and Cantor would be even more difficult to deal with and intransigent and over-reaching than Boehner.

If I was in the DNC, I would be readying a relentless campaign to show the TP-ers' for the truly dangerous and ignorant collection of extremists working against their own interests, that they are. I would have them lampooned and called out on their horseshit and ignorance every chance I could get.

(Wow. What a "nutshell," eh?)
posted by Skygazer at 8:53 AM on July 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


I was at some of those protests, back in March when there were still tens of thousands attending. Walker and the Republican legislators DO NOT CARE if we freeze our asses off or occupy the capitol.

To a large extent you are right. But one of the the biggest benefits to mass protest is the social experience that it gives to those participating. You get impressed with the undeniable fact that you are not alone here. You connect with the people near by. You sign up to be part of organizations. You get a socially connected experience that making a phone call can never ever give you. Ever. That sort of social consciousness raising is a huge part of such protests - and a necessary part of social change.

I saw a post - perhaps it was in this thread - about someone who said that they would definitely do a mass strike if they knew that their neighbors were going along with it as well. When you just phone it in you are never really sure of that - but when you are standing outside in the cold freezing your ass off with seventy thousand others you have very little doubts that you are alone in this. that is why mass protests work. They create social connecting and solidarity on a real visceral basis - something that twitter or a phone call can never do.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:53 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Eliot Spitzer at Slate has a good summary of the administration's failure at the negotiating table here.
posted by notswedish at 8:54 AM on July 26, 2011


Ironmouth:

I'm 50 years old, and I take my civic duty very seriously. I have not missed a single vote - local, state, or federal - since the day I could vote.

I have a congressman who is a conservative fucktard. I answer every poll he sends. I write him probably once or twice a month. And I still get the tone deaf fuck-you canned responses.

This is not the same system it was when I was 18. These are not the same kind of representatives. To pretend that everything is going to be fine if we are just better citizens.

I can't buy it anymore, sorry.


He will. The one thing this is not is easy. I am giving you the hard way. And it is worse. But there is no reason not to try. Keep doing what you are doing.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:55 AM on July 26, 2011


Symbioid: Why do you call them the GOTP?


I want the GOTP to own the Bagger movement, in all it's ruinious assclown tri-corner hatted buffoonery.

posted by Skygazer at 8:56 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


And, yeah, you're in a democracy of 300 million. There are half a million people or more in each Congressional district. All the calls and letters to congresspeople since Obama's speech are just a drop in the bucket to them, especially considering that:

a) few people will actually switch their party allegiance over this issue, or not vote as they always do

b) most congressional seats are safely held by one party or the other.

If you're a swing voter in a swing district and can get 10-20 thousand other swing voters from your district to all bombard your rep with calls and mail, then it might have some effect far down the road (certainly not on this issue, the Republican party is whipped too cohesively right now), but even that is a small chance.
posted by notswedish at 8:57 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


So saying that such mass protests are ineffective is not only bullshit , it is surprisingly bad bullshit and one that can be easily disproved.

FWIW, I don't believe that mass protests are always ineffective. I think they're rarely effective and when they are effective they're only effective when accompanied by calling, voting, etc. I do think an attitude of "Only mass protests can save us now" is akin to paulsc's rubes believing that everything will be simpler if only they get the government off their backs.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:59 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


To a large extent you are right. But one of the the biggest benefits to mass protest is the social experience that it gives to those participating. You get impressed with the undeniable fact that you are not alone here. You connect with the people near by. You sign up to be part of organizations. You get a socially connected experience that making a phone call can never ever give you. Ever. That sort of social consciousness raising is a huge part of such protests - and a necessary part of social change.

But the problem is when the purpose of not feeling alone overcomes the purpose of winning. When our need for identification interferes with getting the job done. That's why I made the point about the glitter. People also think--gee, I would be upset if someone came in my personal room and messed with my stuff. I would feel violated. So we lose some points where we could win instead.

We need to ask ourselves--is this helping?

I also have crazy ideas for mass protests. Suits and dresses--Sunday best. Makes it harder to dismiss them as nuts.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:00 AM on July 26, 2011


And, yeah, you're in a democracy of 300 million. There are half a million people or more in each Congressional district. All the calls and letters to congresspeople since Obama's speech are just a drop in the bucket to them, especially considering that:

a) few people will actually switch their party allegiance over this issue, or not vote as they always do

b) most congressional seats are safely held by one party or the other.

If you're a swing voter in a swing district and can get 10-20 thousand other swing voters from your district to all bombard your rep with calls and mail, then it might have some effect far down the road (certainly not on this issue, the Republican party is whipped too cohesively right now), but even that is a small chance.


Remember, when you call, you're a swing voter. Perhaps you voted for McCain and always say you voted for the Rep. Even if you didn't.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:02 AM on July 26, 2011


I saw a post - perhaps it was in this thread - about someone who said that they would definitely do a mass strike if they knew that their neighbors were going along with it as well.

Yes, that assurance is essential, because if not enough people do it, they just lose their jobs. There was a lot of talk about general strikes during the heyday of the Wisconsin protests, but no one was willing to pull the trigger (figuratively speaking). No one trusted enough people to do it to make a difference. It's mass economic suicide - most of us don't have jobs that are essential enough to the functioning of society. I'm personally not up for declaring bankruptcy right now, because if I walked off the job my boss would just say "don't let the door hit your ass on your way out." If everyone at my place of employment did the same, most of our jobs would probably just move overseas/to Mexico.
posted by desjardins at 9:02 AM on July 26, 2011


For once, I agree with Ironmouth. Look at the civil rights marchers in the 60s: their Sunday best. Your giant paper mache puppets and stiltwalkers aren't impressing the soccer moms and NASCAR dads.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:04 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your giant paper mache puppets and stiltwalkers aren't impressing the soccer moms and NASCAR dads.

Perhaps because that's not the target audience. Perhaps the target audience is the youth of the country where the future of the country really lies and who's minds have not already been frozen by the prospect of that second car or of paying off the mortgage someday?

Say what you will about that puppet thing but it impressed itself on your mind didn't it? In your case perhaps not in a positive manner but in other cases perhaps it was perceived differently. The puppet thing is a meme - apparently one that works in the sense of it being remembered and transmitted down the line. An the whole idea of "wearing your "Sunday Best " to a protest? Seriously???? When you go out on a protest you don;t need your freaking Sunday best - you need a gasmask because if the opposition isn't throwing gas then you probably really haven't got their attention.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 9:13 AM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


That has worked exactly twice.

Your ignoring the entire labor movement of the 20s, when striking coal miners managed to win safety concessions and improved labor standards, among other things.

Sure, if you only look back to the 60s or so, mass protest hasn't been effective. And I'd even agree, that just random marches and the like aren't especially effective.

But when a large mass of people surround and shutdown a strategic distribution center, or otherwise disrupt commerce, and the keep doing it day after day, eventually the bosses start seeing enough of an impact on their bottom line that they start demanding policy changes. That's how mass protest works--when it's strategic and has specific tactical goals that can be realized through sustained effort.

Even the founders knew that mass protest and strike were one of the most important tools of any true Democracy--that's why they specifically enshrined the right to assembly and petition for redress of grievances in the bill of rights. The sad thing is, people like you not getting how critical populist tools are and have always been to the proper functioning of any system that's a democracy in more than just name, seeing these fundamental tools of the democratic process inaccurately as "disruptions of order" or antithetical to the proper functioning of a democracy are basically undermining our systems functioning as a true democracy.

While it may be true that mob rule alone isn't democracy, any system that doesn't incorporate popular protest and direct action as a fundamental component of the process is a democracy in name only.

In many European countries the right of workers to strike is enshrined in law: as a result their unions have more power. If you believe in the labor movement and claim to represent the interests of unions, how can you reject the one political tool on which union power is based? You've been cowed. You're attitude toward populist action is basically the same as that of any company goon or management collaborator.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:16 AM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


damn. gotta stop posting when passionate. passion begets typos.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:18 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cool, target the demographic that doesn't vote. Killer idea. I wonder the left has been in decline in the last half of the 20th century?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:23 AM on July 26, 2011


Saul, would hate to pick another fight, but when you use the phrase "direct action," you don't mean it as a euphemism for violence or destruction of property, do you?

I certainly agree that strikes and popular protests are part of the whole democratic quilt... but "direct action" means different things to different people, and circumventing our constitutional institutions in certain "direct" ways can be antithetical to democracy in a republic.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:23 AM on July 26, 2011


circumventing our constitutional institutions in certain "direct" ways can be antithetical to democracy in a republic.

I know what you mean, Bobby.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:28 AM on July 26, 2011


I mean peaceful, but potentially disruptive public assembly for redress of specific grievances, whether those grievances are with public or private entities. Destruction of property is already illegal. That goes without saying. In particular, no public office or property should ever be off limits to the public--even and especially if that means disruptions to political processes.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:30 AM on July 26, 2011


Cool, target the demographic that doesn't vote. Killer idea

Yeah, it was Obama's idea in 2008
posted by crayz at 9:30 AM on July 26, 2011


Strikes work. Shutdowns work. Glitter parades do not.

I'm not sure I agree with Ironmouth re: Sunday best. There is too much personal history there with gay/AIDS activism and assimilation. However, the Wisconsin protesters were repeatedly called hippies and slobs and thugs even though almost all of the ones I saw were dressed "normally" for Wisconsin (sweatshirt, jeans, parka). And the vast majority of them were 30-60 years old, not the college-age crowd that usually attends mass protests. And they were almost all on-point. If I had seen one guy with a "Legalize Weed" sign I would have given the guy a stern lecture; if I'd seen an entire group with an unrelated cause I would have had an aneurysm.
posted by desjardins at 9:31 AM on July 26, 2011


Yeah, it was Obama's idea in 2008

I missed Obama's stiltwalk and giant Uncle Sam puppet, is that on YouTube somewhere? Was he wearing a Free Mumia t-shirt or a suit?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:34 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean peaceful, but potentially disruptive public assembly for redress of specific grievances, whether those grievances are with public or private entities. Destruction of property is already illegal. That goes without saying. In particular, no public office or property should ever be off limits to the public--even and especially if that means disruptions to political processes.

I'm basically OK with that. Important to note that disrupting certain political processes could run afoul of the law, so it's also OK to arrest those protesters, peaceful though they may be. (And isn't it kind of the point of some of these protests to get arrested, thereby drawing additional attention to the claimed injustices?)

Also worth noting that the so-called "Brooks Brothers riot" fits pretty neatly into your definition.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:37 AM on July 26, 2011


no public office or property should ever be off limits to the public

meaning, in terms of public access; not destruction, but that hopefully is obvious.

posted by saulgoodman at 9:37 AM on July 26, 2011


For a little perspective here - these aren't new issues and problems here. The same shit has been occurring for 250 years now.

"The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations."
— Thomas Jefferson
posted by Poet_Lariat at 9:51 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm really skeptical of that Jefferson quote-- what's the source?
posted by empath at 9:56 AM on July 26, 2011


It looks like that exact quote was never written by Jefferson
posted by banal evil at 10:00 AM on July 26, 2011


I'm really skeptical of that Jefferson quote-- what's the source?

I think it is markedly indicative of the times in which we live that the very words of our founding fathers are looked upon with suspicion and disbelief.

Just google the quote , empath. It take you less than a minute to do this yourself and will answer your concern sufficiently.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:01 AM on July 26, 2011


Yeah, I did. He didn't say it.

Made up quotes by founding fathers are the stock and trade of tea-party activists. I don't believe any of them without attribution to a specific source.
posted by empath at 10:03 AM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


"I never said that!"

-Thomas Jefferson
posted by absalom at 10:03 AM on July 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'd cut out the part about the horse. The rest is great. That's exactly what is good.

I guess, that is more an issue for my state rep, but given her Amish rock farming background Pinkie Pie is the right choice for state horse of PA.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:03 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, they're generally cheap appeals to authority by people who don't know how to craft an actual argument.
posted by empath at 10:04 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The result is that recall elections are underway right now. Once those are done, the laws will be changed.

70,000 people in the streets didn't cause recall elections. People going door to door and collecting the necessary signatures caused recall elections. People actually going out and voting will determine the outcome of those recall elections.

How is this trend so difficult to understand? Solidarity parades and puppets and sit-ins don't do a goddamn thing. Working the political machine is hard work, but it's almost invariably the only work that actually matters.
posted by rollbiz at 10:06 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


For a little perspective here - these aren't new issues and problems here. The same shit has been occurring for 250 years now.

"The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations."
— Thomas Jefferson


The fact that you "quoted" Jefferson, who is misquoted rampantly, and didn't even bother to check if the quote was real, seems like kind of a microcosm of your interactions in this thread.
posted by rollbiz at 10:08 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I suppose he also didn't say:

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." Thomas Jefferson, 1812

or

"If the American people ever allow private banks
to control the issue of their money,
first by inflation and then by deflation,
the banks and corporations that will
grow up around them (around the banks),
will deprive the people of their property
until their children will wake up homeless
on the continent their fathers conquered."

or

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered...I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies... The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."

Long live the new flesh?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:09 AM on July 26, 2011


Actually, I'm going to elaborate on why that quote read as phony to me.

The founding fathers didn't make prophecies, they made arguments. I'm fond of quoting Jefferson on copyright reform because he made a good, logical argument as to why copyright should be limited, not because I think people should simply agree with him because he's Jefferson. The founding fathers weren't 'The Founding Fathers' when they were doing the founding. They were radicals standing up against an empire who had to convince people of the rightness of their ideas through logic and reason. They didn't expect people to take their ideas seriously because of who they were, but because of the truth of the ideas themselves.

Any quote from a founding father which takes the form of a biblical pronouncement -- which simply says "This is how it is." is almost always phony.
posted by empath at 10:12 AM on July 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


Do you even know the context of the Jefferson quotes? Or is it enough for you that he's criticizing "moneyed corporations" and "private banks"?

See also this.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:13 AM on July 26, 2011


#1. Maybe

#2. No.

#3. No.

You should actually google these things yourself, if you're going to be throwing around aspersions about others not doing the same.
posted by absalom at 10:13 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


He also didn't say the latter two, no.

You might want to do two seconds of googling to confirm before you stick your foot in your mouth again.
posted by empath at 10:15 AM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ouch.
posted by rollbiz at 10:16 AM on July 26, 2011


He also didn't say the latter two, no.

LOL, priceless.
posted by Theta States at 10:16 AM on July 26, 2011


My apologies if the first quote that I gave is in dispute - obviously it is and quite possible it is, though popularly re-quoted, incorrect.. But as the other quotes I gave are not, they clearly show that Jefferson was very much against lending institutions and large corporations having such large control of our government.

I suppose that the bulk of us have not forgotten that our country was founded primarily as a reaction to increased control of the populace and the laws and taxes imposed upon them by large corporate interests. Of course , today Jefferson would probably be branded a terrorist I imagine.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:18 AM on July 26, 2011


Did you miss the part where three of the four quotes were literally not even spoken or written by Jefferson?
posted by rollbiz at 10:20 AM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


wow
posted by Flunkie at 10:20 AM on July 26, 2011


I think the larger point here is that quoting a famous person isn't an argument, it's just magical thinking. You might as well quote the bible to make your case.
posted by empath at 10:20 AM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sheesh--those fake quotes don't even sound authentic, P_L. The sad thing is, there are actual, real quotes on the subject you could dig up, but one has to be careful about these things. Now people might walk away with the impression that Jefferson never really harbored doubts about the banking industry, as Snopes acknowledges of course he did.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:21 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's let the Tea Partiers have a monopoly on twisting people's words and making shit up. Not saying you did that intentionally, Poet_Lariat, but it's detrimental to the work that needs to be done.
posted by desjardins at 10:23 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whoever said it, they were right.

I don't mind letting Tommy Boy get the credit.
posted by Trurl at 10:23 AM on July 26, 2011


Beyond even the accuracy and sourcing of any quotes, and as empath mentioned, an argument based solely on quotations is far less substantive than an argument written in your own words and with your own thoughts.
posted by elizardbits at 10:24 AM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


But as the other quotes I gave are not, they clearly show that Jefferson was very much against lending institutions and large corporations having such large control of our government.

There's no doubt that Jefferson was against central banking. He also relied on slave labor for his income and didn't have much need for a reliable banking system to support himself, unlike the northerners and city people who took the other side of the issue.
posted by empath at 10:24 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been." -- Thomas Jefferson
posted by mazola at 10:29 AM on July 26, 2011 [20 favorites]


How is this trend so difficult to understand? Solidarity parades and puppets and sit-ins don't do a goddamn thing. Working the political machine is hard work, but it's almost invariably the only work that actually matters.

You might want to read up on The Gilded Age and American Labor Movement history from 1900-1930 or so. Also see the Civil Rights Movement.

If you think that just "working the political machine" ever got us true and substantial change, then we just disagree. A lot of fellow citizens died in the streets to get us a lot of the things that we take for granted and have been pissing away for the last 40 years.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:29 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


"The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations."
— Thomas Jefferson


Sure, and Washington, forsaw that an obstructionist and intransegient element in the Congress could stop it from fully governing and Samuel Adams despised the Two party approach.

They were far-seeing people to be certain, but the level of pure incivility, lies, distortions, and obstruction we're seeing right now from a GOP controlled by nationalist extremists is rare.

I can only think of perhaps a couple of other times, and that's in the run up to the Civil War, after the Great Crash in '29 and at the beginning and hardening of the Cold War in the 50s during the HUAC and Joe McCarthy era of paranoia.

I don't think the oligarchy has ever been as powerful as it is now. Look at the concentration of wealth over the last 30 years. Look at the rise of lobbyists and corporatist powers as wielded by the banks and the oil co.s, and Wall Street and the Military complex.

I wish this was just business as usual, but the country has never come this close to defaulting for purely political gain or to attempt to undo and unsully a black president, another huge landmark.
posted by Skygazer at 10:35 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


The problem with mass protests in a democracy is that they only work when you take the lid off of a repressed society like Egypt today or the US in the 1960s.

The mass marches in the 1960s weren't effective because there were huge numbers of people in the streets, but because there were huge numbers of black people and white people marching together, something which never would have been allowed to happen previously. It made the problems of the status quo impossible to ignore any longer, and it demonstrated the powerlessness of the regime to stop it.

The same goes for mass demonstrations in the middle east today. They don't have a right to assemble, and if they're assembling in the face of official government oppression and violence, it almost forces a collapse of the government.

In the US, people are allowed and even encouraged to demonstrate where-ever and however they want, as long as they get a permit in advance.

In order for mass action to be genuinely meaningful in the US, it would have to happen against the wishes of the government and in the face of active government oppression. That's just not going to happen -- first, because the government knows that mass demonstrations aren't generally dangerous and won't act to oppress them, and second, that conditions aren't bad enough for people to engage in actually dangerous mass activity -- sabotage, vandalism, picket lines, looting.

Conditions in the US would have to be so bad that average citizens would be willing to lay their lives and livelihoods on the line to make a change. And they simply aren't that bad in the US right now.

Wake me up when someone sets themselves on fire to get the debt ceiling raised. Then I'll take another look at mass action in the US.
posted by empath at 10:38 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


You might want to read up on The Gilded Age and American Labor Movement history from 1900-1930 or so. Also see the Civil Rights Movement.

I have, and I should've qualified my statement. I can't think of a single example of when they've worked in my lifetime (30 years).
posted by rollbiz at 10:39 AM on July 26, 2011


unsully is obviously supposed to be sully.
posted by Skygazer at 10:40 AM on July 26, 2011


elizardbits:Beyond even the accuracy and sourcing of any quotes, and as empath mentioned, an argument based solely on quotations is far less substantive than an argument written in your own words and with your own thoughts.

Nonsense. Claiming that quoting established authority (in this case the founding fathers) is without substance is a trap that is foisted upon us by the same kind of people (not saying this about you personally btw) who would call people who try to hoist the banners of "elitism" or "intellectualism" upon those who would defer to established and well known fact. My words are only the words of some schmuck on the internet of which there are millions but Jefferson's opinions or Sam Adams or Franklin's or Eisenhower's for that matter are far more substantive.

It is a fallacy to say that quoting established , well known authority on a matter is a bad thing to do. We either recall what our history is or we become doomed by it (to paraphrase another well known authority). And by the way that Jefferson quote that some are saying I have misquoted - well I am apparently not alone in my mistake that he said this as the Encyclopedia Britannica believes it as well.

But whetehr Jefferson said the exact words from the quote or not, what should clearly not be in dispute is the fact that many of our founding fathers had a clear distrust against bankers and corporations - a distrust that helped found the very basis upon which this Democracy was based. We were not created as a Capitalist country. We were created as a Democratic country , a Representative democracy but a democracy nonetheless. Capitalism, bankers and corporation are not only unnecessary to our democracy, we were very much founded as a reaction against the excesses of such institutions.

And now we live in an era whereby the very words upon which we were founded fall into suspicion and disrepute.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:44 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I think it is markedly indicative of the times in which we live that the very words of our founding fathers are looked upon with suspicion and disbelief."

- Abraham Lincoln
posted by Flunkie at 10:48 AM on July 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


A lot of fellow citizens died in the streets to get us a lot of the things that we take for granted and have been pissing away for the last 40 years.

If mass protests and demonstrations become the only effective means for change, how would you prevent opponents from using the same tactics too? Remember that the KKK had a renaissance in the 1920s.
posted by FJT at 10:49 AM on July 26, 2011


"I don't always make up quotes, but when I do, I prefer the Founding Fathers"

-Wayne Gretzky
posted by rollbiz at 10:51 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


"When I make up quotes, I prefer Google."

- Abraham Lincoln
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:52 AM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


We were created as a Democratic country , a Representative democracy but a democracy nonetheless. Capitalism, bankers and corporation are not only unnecessary to our democracy, we were very much founded as a reaction against the excesses of such institutions.

Oh bullshit, the US wasn't even close to a democracy when it was founded, representative or otherwise. I don't know the exact percentage of adults that had the right to vote, but I bet it was less than 25%.
posted by empath at 10:53 AM on July 26, 2011


I think you all mean: "Do or do not. There is no try." --Dumbledore
posted by mrgoat at 10:54 AM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


"When the shitballs start flying, you've got to get a shitbat, Adams!" -- Thomas Jefferson
posted by symbioid at 10:54 AM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


"We either recall our famous quotations, or we become doomed by them."

- Carlos Santana
posted by BobbyVan at 10:55 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh bullshit, the US wasn't even close to a democracy when it was founded

Some kinds of bullshit don't even deserve a legitimate response.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:55 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The American penchant for treating the words of 18th century plutocrats as sacred scripture puzzles me.

Better ideas in political philosophy have been formulated by better men more recently.
posted by banal evil at 10:57 AM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Some kinds of bullshit don't even deserve a legitimate response.

Being called out on 50% to 75% of what you just lazily passed off as Jefferson quotes apparently also doesn't deserve a legitimate response.
posted by rollbiz at 10:57 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


10-16% had the right to vote at the founding.
posted by empath at 10:57 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


how would you prevent opponents from using the same tactics too

FJT: simply put, you don't. it's a democracy for everybody. but since the folks on one side don't own any commercial interests to disrupt, it's hard to see how you're going to be able to strike on them. what are all the mcdonald's managers going to form a ring around your neighborhood to keep you from getting to their shop? or the politicians? how would that work?

there's a pretty clear difference between assembling for a redress of grievances and forming a lynch mob to harass a private citizen. If you're targeting a private individual or private individuals for harassment, that's different.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:58 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm of the opinion that the things that worked in the past do no longer because the political cancer has evolved in such a way to render those methods useless.
posted by narwhal bacon at 10:58 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you agree with the founding fathers that it's a terrible idea to allow non-property owners and women to vote?
The same reasoning, which will induce you to admit all men, who have no property, to vote, with those who have, for those laws, which affect the person will prove that you ought to admit women and children: for generally speaking, women and children, have as good judgment, and as independent minds as those men who are wholly destitute of property: these last being to all intents and purposes as much dependent upon others, who will please to feed, clothe, and employ them, as women are upon their husbands, or children on their parents…

Society can be governed only by general rules. Government cannot accommodate itself to every particular case, as it happens, nor to the circumstances of particular persons. It must establish general, comprehensive regulations for cases and persons. The only question is, which general rule, will accommodate most cases and most persons.

Depend upon it, sir, it is dangerous to open so fruitful a source of controversy and altercation, as would be opened by attempting to alter the qualifications of voters. There will be no end of it. New claims will arise. Women will demand a vote. Lads from 12 to 21 will think their rights not enough attended to, and every man, who has not a farthing, will demand an equal voice with any other in all acts of state. It tends to confound and destroy all distinctions, and prostrate all ranks, to one common level.
-- John Adams
posted by empath at 11:00 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The American penchant for treating the words of 18th century plutocrats as sacred scripture puzzles me.

Well the thing with the Founding Fathers is, they weren't even a monolithic group. Jefferson and Hamilton had huge disagreements on the role of banking in the United States and ultimately visions on what the US was. It's unfortunate that people usually end up shoving Jefferson around, when there was a lot of Founding Fathers to quote.
posted by FJT at 11:02 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


(btw, you can tell that's a genuine quote because he actually is making an argument)
posted by empath at 11:02 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


My words are only the words of some schmuck on the internet of which there are millions but Jefferson's opinions or Sam Adams or Franklin's or Eisenhower's for that matter are far more substantive.

Wow, this is something on which we will clearly not see eye to eye! I personally have trouble with the premise that the (potentially inaccurate) words of dead white men (many of whom had little problem accepting slavery and the extermination of the Native Americans and the oppression of women and many other things that I know both you and I and most others here are not at all okay with) should hold more weight than the well-reasoned words of our contemporaries, all of whom are really indeed just random people on the internet.

As desjardins noted above (and yes, I am aware of the irony inherent in my quoting other comments in this post to make my point), a big problem in the US currently is the rightwing conservative nutters pulling completely fabricated "quotes" out of their collective asses, and presenting them as inarguable gospel in favour of their oppressive opinion of the day. Such incidences of fuckwittery in essence behoove us to put even more thought into using our own words when we hope to influence the thoughts and beliefs of others.
posted by elizardbits at 11:02 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, empath, at least one Tea Party leader wants to restrict voting to property owners. *sigh* I hope Lariat doesn't take that approach, but the fact that there are some in modern American society who believe that this is even a question that should be brought up is quite disturbing. The fact that they have some influence is even more disturbing.
posted by symbioid at 11:04 AM on July 26, 2011


If mass protests and demonstrations become the only effective means for change, how would you prevent opponents from using the same tactics too? Remember that the KKK had a renaissance in the 1920s.

First, mass protests are the last option.

Second, the KKK bombing union sympathizers is most definitely not the same tactics. Assembling in public is a constitutional (and human) right, committing physical violence against other citizens is illegal.

Third, you need a big enough base to support a general strike. If hatred was a big enough shared value, then I don't know how you would stop a group from using the same tactics. I think fairness is a much more widely-shared American value, though.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:05 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


because the political cancer has evolved in such a way to render those methods useless

Did you know that's one of the main ideas anti-union bosses tried to get people to buy into since pretty much the beginning? Because when that idea sticks, the effect is achieved. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. That's why so much of the early union lore focused on affirming and reminding people that there is enormous power in unified mass political movements.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:07 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


dead white men

I actually meant "dead privileged old men" but my ~feelings got a hold of me. Sry.
posted by elizardbits at 11:07 AM on July 26, 2011


FJT: " It's unfortunate that people usually end up shoving Jefferson around, when there was a lot of Founding Fathers to quote."

It's even more unfortunate when they are quoting Jefferson without even understanding his whole philosophy and the parts that sound quite socialist are neatly left out of the equation.

And yeah, not a monolithic group by any means. Jefferson and Paine are my two favorites because they said some things that would drive the modern Right-wing completely apoplectic.
posted by symbioid at 11:07 AM on July 26, 2011


the Encyclopedia Britannica believes it as well

I'm not sure which of your quotes you are referring to, but the article you linked does not contain the four letters "corp" at all, FYI.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:07 AM on July 26, 2011


"I was a founding father and all I got was this lousy Atlanta suburb." -- Button Gwinnett
posted by octobersurprise at 11:14 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Poet_Lariat wrote: So saying that such mass protests are ineffective is not only bullshit , it is surprisingly bad bullshit and one that can be easily disproved.

Actually, the protests have turned out to not have done a whit to stop Walker's parade of bullshit. It definitely made for good TV and exciting times on MeFi, though!
posted by wierdo at 11:17 AM on July 26, 2011


Hey, Button Gwinnet* was also featured in Fallout 3. That's got to count for something.

*: Or, at least, a robot who believes he is Button Gwinnet
posted by Flunkie at 11:20 AM on July 26, 2011


Let's wait to see how those recall election go, wierdo.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:22 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


*s
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:22 AM on July 26, 2011


Let's wait to see how those recall election go, wierdo.

Those were organized by collecting petitions, using the regular democratic process.
posted by empath at 11:23 AM on July 26, 2011


Those were organized by collecting petitions, using the regular democratic process.

Yeah, it's not like the large and extended protests (and the responses they engendered from Walker and his cronies) had any effect at all. Neither did the Democratic senators buying time by leaving the state.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:26 AM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Those were organized by collecting petitions, using the regular democratic process.

Petitions circulated by people who met at the protests, signed by people who saw the ubiquitous news stories about the protests. Yes, obviously, most of the hundred thousand (or whatever) people who attended protests went home and didn't do anything else, and also obviously, it would be better if everyone remained engaged and active and contacted their representatives and whatnot. But please don't pretend that the protests were completely meaningless. There's value in inspiration and in getting the word out about what was going on and how many people cared.
posted by Vibrissa at 11:30 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's not to say that they had no effect, but that protesting alone did not cause the recalls and could not cause the recalls. If no one did the work to get the petitions out and get them signed, submitted, and certified, no recall. If people don't actually GOTV and GOAV in larger numbers than the crony's supporters, no successful recall.
posted by rollbiz at 11:31 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Protesting alone never accomplishes anything, there is always some democratic/legal process involved. The point of protesting is to get your voice heard and make an impact, and they certainly did.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:42 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Without the protests, the legislature in Wisconsin wouldn't have felt the pressure that made them break their own open meeting laws, and the law wouldn't have been overturned. As part of a broader political strategy, forcing a tactical delay in implementing a law can be just what's needed to achieve a particular outcome.

There are often mandated deadlines for various political processes. Consequences sometimes follow statutorily if a certain political action isn't taken within a specified time-frame. If there's a tactical advantage to be gained in making a deadline slip by occupying a state house, then that can have a direct beneficial political impact.

Mass direct actions definitely can be used to achieve specific political aims in various ways. The fact that there aren't any popular movements organized and strategic-thinking enough in the US to exploit that kind of power doesn't change the facts of that reality at all.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:42 AM on July 26, 2011


What I'm describing, btw, is not "protest." It's direct action, and its not symbolic.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:44 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


... I look at all of you out there and it infuriates me that you do not use the power that is in your hands, the power that is denied me. Why can't we play the game to win like they do? ...

I'd sincerely like you to back this claim up with some facts. Where is the evidence that liberals don't call in the same volume as other groups? I certainly do, as well as attending protests and marches. I understand you might think the proof is in the failure of liberal policies to be enacted, but that's not sufficient in this case since it presupposes that the calling is effective in the first place.

So, please, provide some information about this supposed lack of liberal calling and writing.
posted by odinsdream at 11:54 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


what should clearly not be in dispute is the fact that many of our founding fathers had a clear distrust against bankers and corporations

As for corporations, they weren't seen as anything other than the extension of the crown that granted their charter in those times (see mercantilism). The state and her corporate merchants worked together for gold and power in competition with other empires. Even Adam Smith dismissed corporations in The Wealth of Nations (1776) saying that they would be overtaken by private entrepreneurs who would be more likely to manage their own business better than a corporate manager looking after somebody else's wealth.

Anyhow, that's why other people are so quick to shoot down your quotations, because they are written towards the problems of today and not the debate of their time.
posted by peeedro at 11:55 AM on July 26, 2011


I like this at TPM:
It's been said many times. But it's never enough: the conventions of journalistic 'objectivity', as currently defined, frequently make journalists violate their biggest duty, which is honesty with readers. The top headline running now on CNN reads: "They're all talking, but no one is compromising, at least publicly. Democratic and GOP leaders appear unwilling to bend on proposals to raise the debt ceiling."

By any reasonable measure, this is simply false, even painfully so. It might be right to say they are not agreeing, that's demonstrable. But I don't think any observer -- one who has actually watched the specifics of the debate -- honestly believes that neither side is compromising. Indeed, even the firebreathers on the Republican side aren't suggesting this. Their argument is that the nature of the 'crisis' is so great that there can be no compromise on their basic demands. That is what it means when they say they will not support any new taxes as part of a global deal.

The current offer from Sen. Reid (D-NV), even if doesn't quite add up to the $2.7 trillion because of its assumptions about future spending on wars, is more dramatic and Republican-leaning than what Speaker Boehner was demanding a few months ago and has zero revenues, which has been the primary demand of Republicans from the beginning.

It is not partisan or spin to say that the Democrats have repeatedly offered compromises. The real driver of the debate is that the fact that Republican majority in the House can't agree to win. Even Fred Thompson is urging Republicans to declare victory and get out. But that's the point. Their leaders cannot control their caucuses. The real problem at the moment isn't that neither side's caucus can accept the other side's 'plan'. The real issue is that Speaker Boehner doesn't have the votes in his caucus for his own 'plan'.

That tells you almost everything you need to know about what's happening and where we're going. And journalism should be about communicating these highly salient facts to people who come to news organizations seeking to understand what's happening in the world they're living in.

A week or so back I was talking to a guy who's a big time investor. The sort of person who has more money than you or I could ever imagine -- and knows all the market side of this stuff -- but doesn't have an intimate feel for Washington. And this person basically asked: What's the story? What's actually happening here? Is this theater? Are they actually going to do this? Run us off this cliff?

I hemmed and I hawed because I'd been thinking about the question myself for so long and I wasn't sure I had any good answer. And what I finally came up with was this. Yes, at some level it's a game of chicken. Something we can all understand pretty intuitively in human nature and game theory terms. But to really get what's really going on you've got to understand one key point: one of the two cars doesn't have a driver in it. Which changes everything.
(emphasesis mine)
posted by Theta States at 11:55 AM on July 26, 2011 [14 favorites]


*emphasis
posted by Theta States at 11:58 AM on July 26, 2011


Without the protests, the legislature in Wisconsin wouldn't have felt the pressure that made them break their own open meeting laws, and the law wouldn't have been overturned

It wasn't overturned. Well, it was, and then it wasn't.
posted by desjardins at 12:02 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


screwed up the html there - "was, and then it" is one link, and "wasn't" is another link.
posted by desjardins at 12:04 PM on July 26, 2011


WSJ:

The leader of a large group of House conservatives said Tuesday he was "confident" there weren't enough GOP lawmakers to pass a plan by Republican House Speaker John Boehner to increase the debt ceiling and reduce the deficit.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), who said the Boehner plan didn't cut spending enough, heads a group that includes 178 of the 240 Republican House lawmakers.
Mr. Jordan, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said there weren't 218 House Republicans who would vote for the plan Mr. Boehner released Monday. Mr. Jordan's announcement injects more uncertainty about the endgame of the debt-ceiling drama, as Congress remained deadlocked a week before the government

posted by futz at 12:07 PM on July 26, 2011


Called my local reps office again, this is Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick. The staffer says Fitzpatrick is in favor of a balanced approach and would support some revenue measures. I asked him about the Reid plan and he said Fitzpatrick opposes it, I asked him "Why?" and he literally said he doesn't know, he said to call the DC office and ask.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:16 PM on July 26, 2011


The Republicans have become the guy from Four Lions who wants to bomb the mosques for the sake of the revolution.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:19 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]






The DC office claims Fitzpatrick is not opposed to the Reid plan, but that they don't have enough information about it so they have "concerns" and can't support it yet. When asked for details the staffer straight up lied to me about the war funding issue. We agreed they are an illusion because we are getting those savings no matter what, but she refused to admit the Ryan plan had touted those same numbers as savings. The respect I had for Fitzpatrick from my conversation with the local office quickly evaporated. She would not back down from that lie or allow the conversation to move on to another subject.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:35 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The DC office claims Fitzpatrick is not opposed to the Reid plan, but that they don't have enough information about it so they have "concerns" and can't support it yet. When asked for details the staffer straight up lied to me about the war funding issue. We agreed they are an illusion because we are getting those savings no matter what, but she refused to admit the Ryan plan had touted those same numbers as savings. The respect I had for Fitzpatrick from my conversation with the local office quickly evaporated. She would not back down from that lie or allow the conversation to move on to another subject.

Well done. This is about making it difficult for them.

Been reading the stories today and what has struck me for a while is the sheer GOP despiration. You only see irrational behavior like this when people are cornered and out of options. The GOP is gonna get blamed for this, the polling is clear. Pour it on.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:46 PM on July 26, 2011




Well done. This is about making it difficult for them.

This was a legislative aid by the way, the DC phone monkey was as clueless about why the Reid plan could be bad as the local office guy was so he passed me on to her. The bottom line is there is no rational reason for a Republican to oppose the Reid plan and that quickly becomes clear when you press them on it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:51 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


What about people who live in liberal districts? Are we supposed to just sit on our hands, since trying to contact reps in other areas won't even get us past the switchboard? What are we supposed to do about this?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 12:52 PM on July 26, 2011


Pretend you're from somewhere else. Look up a fake address, they sometimes ask for response purposes.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:53 PM on July 26, 2011


If you need any more astroturf advice we have an expert on hand. :P
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:54 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


OverlappingElvis, let your Congressperson know you support them. You can help to balance their conservative constituents who are no doubt calling them to complain.
posted by joannemerriam at 12:55 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


While the rest of the country focuses on the looming deadline to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, House Republicans are taking advantage of the distraction to repeal environmental regulations and pass the most severe environmental budget cuts in 35 years.

I actually have doubts about how functional our democracy is/can remain, because I don't think I have a single thought in common with these people. How can we compromise when there is no common ground?
posted by adamdschneider at 12:57 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]



With Default Seven Days Away, House GOP Fixates On Repealing Environmental Regulations


I got a real bad feeling about this drop.
posted by cashman at 1:04 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]




REPUBLICANS ASK: WHAT CAN A BURNT REICHSTAG DO FOR YOU?
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:22 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


What about people who live in liberal districts? Are we supposed to just sit on our hands, since trying to contact reps in other areas won't even get us past the switchboard? What are we supposed to do about this?

Call them too. Let them know that you expect them to fight to raise the debt ceiling under the best circumstances possible.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:25 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


president obama is trying to keep the country from splitting - boehner is trying to keep his party from spitting
posted by pyramid termite at 1:26 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


splitting, i mean - I"M the one who's trying to keep myself from spitting
posted by pyramid termite at 1:27 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


"lay down sally and rest you in my arms; don't you think you want someone to talk to?"

- thomas jefferson

i know for a fact he said this - it's got an argument
posted by pyramid termite at 1:31 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The DC office claims Fitzpatrick is not opposed to the Reid plan, but that they don't have enough information about it so they have "concerns" and can't support it yet. When asked for details the staffer straight up lied to me about the war funding issue. We agreed they are an illusion because we are getting those savings no matter what, but she refused to admit the Ryan plan had touted those same numbers as savings. The respect I had for Fitzpatrick from my conversation with the local office quickly evaporated. She would not back down from that lie or allow the conversation to move on to another subject.


I'd also share their response with any news outlets in the area. Make them defend the position they are taking. Its all about the pressure.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:31 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


"What about people who live in liberal districts? Are we supposed to just sit on our hands, since trying to contact reps in other areas won't even get us past the switchboard? What are we supposed to do about this?"

Yeah, call them. That way they know you support them, so they're less likely to change their minds when crunch time comes.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:31 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


It wasn't overturned. Well, it was, and then it wasn't.

Yes, it was overturned. The legislature passed it again, but they were delayed and several important lawsuits were prepared in the meantime. If even only a short-term tactical victory is part of a continuing strategy with follow-up actions designed to exploit the delay, you start to see how direct action can lead to real, meaningful political outcomes, the way the Montgomery bus boycotts did. Think about it this way: it's like doing in the real-world what Republicans do every day using Robert's Rules of Order. That's how direct action can actually be used to achieve specific political goals. But that stuff's not for the squeamish, and we'd need to get better organized first.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:33 PM on July 26, 2011


If even only a short-term tactical victory is part of a continuing strategy with follow-up actions designed to exploit the delay, you start to see how direct action can lead to real, meaningful political outcomes, the way the Montgomery bus boycotts did.

Here's the problem. the Montgomery Bus Boycotts were about disenfranchised blacks using the only thing they had. This is about people who didn't exercise a vote they had and now getting pissed off about the results. People aren't going to take you seriously then. You have the votes not to put the GOP in power. But nobody showed up. And they let them win. Now they are pissed. What did they expect was going to happen?

Direct action works when it is obvious that the users of that power don't have any other alternative.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:39 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


But it can work. That's all I'm saying. And I'm not sure the electoral process in the US can be trusted anymore.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:55 PM on July 26, 2011


Sorry, I meant call your representative in the Liberal district and let him (or his intern) know your views. The support will be helpful.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:03 PM on July 26, 2011


My rep, John Dingell, has been called, and left a message to do what he must to prevent default.

Please call your rep today.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 2:08 PM on July 26, 2011


This is about people who didn't exercise a vote they had and now getting pissed off about the results.

/facepalm
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:13 PM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


I am seeing press re: Boehner's plan, but not a lot about Reid's, in the last 12 hrs or so. Wonder why that is.
posted by angrycat at 2:30 PM on July 26, 2011


And I'm not sure the electoral process in the US can be trusted anymore.

Its the only process we've got and we better stop acting like it doesn't exist. Unless you propose a dictatorship. Listen, they got the votes last time--that doesn't mean the system can't be trusted. It means they outvoted us. Not the same thing.

We have to win with what we have. No whining, no give us another voting system because we can't win with this one.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:45 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Boehner plan could mutate into the Reid plan through the magic of Senate jujitsu. Here's an interesting blog post from Greg Sargent at the Washington Post. (Via Jonathan Chait at The New Republic.)
Here’s the game plan, as seen by Senate Dem aides: The next move is to sit tight and wait for the House to vote on Boehner's proposal. The idea is that with mounting conservative opposition, it could very well be defeated. If the Boehner plan goes down in the House, that would represent a serious blow to Boehner’s leadership, weakening his hand in negotiations.

“The Senate will wait to act until we see if Speaker Boehner is able to pass a bill in the House,” a senior Senate Democratic aide says. “At the moment that’s an open question.”

It’s unclear as of yet where most Tea Partyers will come down on the Boehner proposal, but House conservatives are privately expressing serious reservation about the plan, arguing that it doesn’t cut spending enough, and the Republican Study Committee is dismissing Boehner’s plan as not “a real solution.” Dems hope that if conservatives do sink Boehner’s plan, it will reveal clearly that Boehner does need Democratic votes to get anything passed.

At that point, the Senate would then pass Harry Reid’s proposal, and then kick it over to the House, which would increase pressure on Boehner to try to get it passed, since he was unable to pass his own plan.

The second alternative possibility being gamed out by Senate Dems would take place if the Boehner plan does manage to sneak through the House. Aides say Dems would then vote it down in the Senate. And here’s where it gets even more interesting.

Senate Dem aides say they would then use Boehner’s bill — which passed the House but died in the Senate — to expedidate their own proposal. Here’s how. They would use the “shell” of the Boehner bill as a vehicle to pass Harry Reid’s proposal, because for various procedural reasons House messages get expedited consideration. Senate Dems would vote to “amend” Boehner’s bill by replacing it completely with Reid’s proposal — which the Senate could then pass more quickly than they otherwise could.

After that, Reid’s proposal — having passed the Senate — would then get kicked back to the House. Having proved that Boehner’s plan can’t pass the Senate, Democrats would in effect be giving House Republicans a choice: Either pass the Reid proposal, or take the blame for default and the economic calamity that ensues.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:53 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Clever. I like.
posted by angrycat at 2:55 PM on July 26, 2011


"Politics are a reflection of demographics and culture, not the other way around. Getting mad at political leaders is missing the mark. This is the country and these are the times in which we live," he said to himself, softly crying, as he typed his thoughts on Metafilter. (An exclusive excerpt from my upcoming book, "Getting Ready for the Geriatricocalypse: A Boomer's Baby's Lament.")
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:58 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Its the only process we've got and we better stop acting like it doesn't exist.

two words - constitutional convention - yes, it's dangerous - but so is the dysfunction that is becoming business as usual in washington
posted by pyramid termite at 3:11 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]




pyramid termite - you think we could come up with a new constitution in a climate where we can barely pass any bills that have a huge effect on our economy like raising the limit?
posted by symbioid at 3:14 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am seeing press re: Boehner's plan, but not a lot about Reid's, in the last 12 hrs or so.

Reid's plan is central to the most popular op-ed on NYT.com right now.

two words - constitutional convention

KINGSMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!

(sorry, i'm asoiaf-out these days...)
posted by mrgrimm at 3:23 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


it's not WE who can't pass any bills - it's our congresspeople - and perhaps a concerted call for a convention might wake them up

but the real point of my comment was to point out that there are elements of our process that haven't been tried - and if this goes on, we may not have much choice but to gamble on them
posted by pyramid termite at 3:24 PM on July 26, 2011


We must pay the iron price for our Walmart crap from China, ready the invasion force.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:29 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


two words - constitutional convention - yes, it's dangerous - but so is the dysfunction that is becoming business as usual in washington

No joke, I swear I heard NPR mention that some teaparty idiots are refusing to raise the debt ceiling without a constitutional amendment. Shit's unbelievable.
posted by odinsdream at 3:30 PM on July 26, 2011


Odinsdream, that is a core of the "Cut, Cap and Balance" plan that Boehner promoted on national TV last night. the Balance piece is a requirement for both parts of congress to pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution before the second "half" of the debt ceiling raise takes effect, all in early 2012 in the run-up to the next national elections.
posted by meinvt at 3:39 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, empath, at least one Tea Party leader wants to restrict voting to property owners.

Reading through the comments, I was going to make a joke that at least they haven't started arguing for restricting the franchise to landholders yet, but... there you go I suppose.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 3:41 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


That NYT editorial me depressed and furious. It refers to Reid's plan as 'awful' and then sez it's our last best hope, I guess. Fuck me.
posted by angrycat at 3:47 PM on July 26, 2011


In Canada, we've had general strikes to protest government. Seems like a reasonable first step toward forcing a new election from scratch. Hint: insist on paper ballots for accountability.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:59 PM on July 26, 2011


Ha ha the CBO sez the Boehner plan is not what it purports to be; it must be made more evil or something I guess. From the WSJ live blog:

House Republicans scrambled to review their options after the Congressional Budget Office concluded their bill to raise the debt ceiling would reduce the deficit by less than GOP leaders had thought it would.

According to a person familiar with the situation, leadership staff concluded they may have to either lower the amount they would increase the debt ceiling or find more deficit reduction measures as a way to shore up votes for the legislation.

The CBO said the Republican bill, set for consideration as early as Wednesday, would reduce federal deficits by $850 billion over the next decade, lower than the $1.2 trillion that GOP leaders had said the bill would do.

House Republicans had pledged that the deficit reduction measures would match or exceed the increase in the debt ceiling.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) acknowledged that changes could have to be made to the bill. "We promised that we will cut spending more than we increase the debt limit – with no tax hikes – and we will keep that promise," said Michael Steel, the spokesman. "As we speak, Congressional staff are looking at options to re-write the legislation to meet our pledge."

The current legislation would initially raise the $14.29 debt ceiling by around $1 trillion, enough to support federal borrowing through February or March. Democrats want a debt ceiling increase that covers borrowing needs until 2012 and after the next round of elections.

Already, Republican leaders were pushing hard to get the 217 votes they need to pass the bill.

So far 13 Republicans have publicly stated they will oppose the legislation. The party can only afford to lose 23 votes if they aren't able to pick up any Democratic votes.

posted by angrycat at 4:11 PM on July 26, 2011


At this point, I think the Democrats should put together a decent plan, but not publicize it, and instead just give it to the Republicans to announce to the American people. Let them name it the "Boehner-McConnell-Tea Party Patriotizing Patriotism Patriots Act to Save America and Crush the Red Menace of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama Trilateral Commission".
posted by Flunkie at 4:21 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:33 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just sent emails to my Rep and Senators (all republicans here in Texas). I used furiousxgeorge's it (miuns the horse) as a template as well as mentioning that I am OK withmy taxes going up.

It really didn't take long. Those of you insisting on taking direct action and holding protests can totally do both.
posted by Uncle Ira at 4:43 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


it == bit
posted by Uncle Ira at 4:44 PM on July 26, 2011


I doubt your taxes should go up. You already pay more than fair. Your millionaire Senator should pay more, as should other wealthy folk. They underpay compared to you.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:04 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "big movers" on wall street these days are electronic trading algorithms, so I wouldn't put much stock in their behavior until it starts getting erratic.

How algorithms shape our world
posted by homunculus at 5:08 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The CBO said the Republican bill, set for consideration as early as Wednesday, would reduce federal deficits by $850 billion over the next decade, lower than the $1.2 trillion that GOP leaders had said the bill would do.

doesn't anyone know that math was regularly taught in russia during the communist era?

you could google it
posted by pyramid termite at 5:11 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know nothing John Boehner.
posted by futz at 5:14 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The "big movers" on wall street these days are electronic trading algorithms, so I wouldn't put much stock in their behavior until it starts getting erratic.

This is a misleading statement. Algorithms aren't reading the newspapers and neither did they listen to the Obama and Boehner speeches last night. Algorithms don't have opinions on whether the Boehner or Reid plans will win out. Humans still do that sort of thing. Humans also program the algorithms, and humans selectively deploy the algorithms based on their own strategies (for the most part... some technical arbitrage algos can run pretty much on autopilot.)

I guarantee you that human beings executing big fixed income and forex trades are keeping a pretty close eye on their algorithms and the debt situation in the US. So if you disagree with the market, blame the traders and analysts, not the computers.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:20 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know nothing John Boehner.

Oh, if only we could send him to the wall.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:28 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


So when do we start worrying?

Because I'm not seeing this resolving smoothly.
posted by Lord_Pall at 5:31 PM on July 26, 2011


Oh, if only we could send him to the wall.

He and his ilk are already wight-like.

They feel no pain and will continue to fight regardless of injury. Though they can be stopped by total dismemberment, their limbs will continue to move if detached from their bodies.

Sounds apt to me.
posted by futz at 5:35 PM on July 26, 2011


Don't make this another thread about wight privilege.
posted by BeerFilter at 5:45 PM on July 26, 2011 [17 favorites]


sir, you need to examine your invisible hackback if you wish to survive
posted by pyramid termite at 5:49 PM on July 26, 2011


I feel a twinge of pity for Boehner of Orange. He didn’t volunteer for being corralled with the lunatics. He just wants to smoke, drink, and do business on the golf course.

You know, the way politics used to be.

Events have overtaken him, and he’s fumbling to catch up.
posted by Trurl at 5:56 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't make this another thread about wight privilege.

Don't worry, I know the difference between wight and wrong.
posted by futz at 6:01 PM on July 26, 2011


Just sent emails to my Rep and Senators (all republicans here in Texas). I used furiousxgeorge's it (miuns the horse)

Well duh, it's an Applejack state you would be insane to suggest Pinkie Pie.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:04 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Anyone who quotes me ought to be viewed with suspicion."

-Thomas Jefferson


"Anyone who quotes me ought to be suspicious."

- Yogi Berra
posted by gjc at 6:14 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


So apparently Erick Ericksson from Red State is running the country down there?
In the past 48 hours I have had call after call after call from members of the United States Congress. They’ve read what I’ve written. They agree. But they feel the hour is short and the end is nigh. So some are calling looking for alternatives. Some are calling looking for energy. Many are calling looking for absolution. And so I address them and put it here so you can see my advice. I can give no absolution for what you may be about to do. I can offer no alternatives. ... And now, at the moment of crisis you are worried and second guessing yourself and looking for alternatives, ways out, and most of all a clear conscience. Cut, Cap, and Balance is the only plan that can save our credit rating and our financial integrity. I can offer you nothing else, nor should you waver from fighting for it alone. You should, however tired you may be of hearing me say it, hold the line.
posted by jokeefe at 6:18 PM on July 26, 2011


pyramid termite: "it's not WE who can't pass any bills - it's our congresspeople - and perhaps a concerted call for a convention might wake them up"

A constitutional convention, in the contemporary political climate, would be the death of America as we know it. The pitfalls are so profound it doesn't bear contemplating, and the idea should never be brought to the table, not even as a threat.

In 1776 the US was a colonial backwater, led by principled statesmen and political philosophers, and more or less united by a common cause. And crafting a constitution was still contentious and difficult. Compare to now, when America is the political and economic nerve center of the world, when so many politicians are bought or craven, where the landscape is dominated by powerful business interests and an irresponsible media.

If you put forward, in this environment, the opportunity to rewrite the instrument governing the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world, can you imagine the enormous pressures that would be brought to bear on the process? Imagine gerrymandering states themselves, by tinkering with how Congress or the electoral college operates. Imagine corporations (or foreign interests) paying off delegates to advocate not favorable laws that can be repealed, but favorable constitutional articles that become the DNA of the government itself. Imagine fundamentalists pushing to enshrine their theocracy in law, at long last.

Giving the interest groups poisoning and abusing the system as it stands the chance to poison and abuse the process of creating a whole new system isn't just dangerous, it's almost suicidal. Our government has a patina of corruption, but this opens the door for corruption to become its foundation. The careful arrangement of checks and balances that has stood largely unchanged since the 18th century still provides a modicum of restraint and regularity to Washington. It can certainly be improved in theory, but I can't imagine anything better coming out of an actual modern-day convention.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:27 PM on July 26, 2011 [21 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: " She would not back down from that lie or allow the conversation to move on to another subject."

Sounds like she and Ed Miliband would get along swell, they seem to have some similar tactics.
posted by symbioid at 6:35 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


As per the WSJ, the House is going to vote on Boehner's plan Thursday, not tomorrow as originally thought. They need to try to make it more evil since the CBO has given it a 'not as evil as it could be' grade.
posted by angrycat at 6:37 PM on July 26, 2011


Awesome, so if the vote fails, there's basically no time for a plan B unless they pass something no one's read. This is going to end well for everyone involved for sure, just like it did with the Alien and Sedition--er PATRIOT Act.
posted by feloniousmonk at 6:56 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


A constitutional convention, in the contemporary political climate, would be the death of America as we know it.

I'm getting to be more and more okay with this idea. We're not a unified country and I think we just need to let the south do their own thing without dragging the rest of us into their insanity.
posted by empath at 6:59 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm sure the Boehner plan, and the Reid plan, and the "cut, cap, and brisance" plan are all very amusing for politicians, but where's the "let's just raise the debt ceiling for now, and debate all these other measures properly and one at a time when there's time to do so" plan?
posted by sfenders at 6:59 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


sfenders, the Republicans have made budget cuts equal to the amount of the debt ceiling increase a condition of raising the debt ceiling. That's what all of this is about.
posted by chrchr at 7:02 PM on July 26, 2011


sfenders: "I'm sure the Boehner plan, and the Reid plan, and the "cut, cap, and brisance" plan are all very amusing for politicians, but where's the "let's just raise the debt ceiling for now, and debate all these other measures properly and one at a time when there's time to do so" plan?"

Blame the Tea Party.
posted by symbioid at 7:06 PM on July 26, 2011


I have this bad feeling, based on nothing, that the markets are not freaking out because Wall Street is all, 'they can't be THAT crazy." And then in a few days the markets will be all, 'omg fuck me they are that fucking crazy' and then there will be chickens and goats running wild through the streets.
posted by angrycat at 7:07 PM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


sfenders: where's the "let's just raise the debt ceiling for now, and debate all these other measures properly and one at a time when there's time to do so" plan?

I sent it to my Representative this morning:
This is not a game and you are a madman for treating it like one. There is time yet to reduce the deficit and pay down the debt, using a balanced approach including both spending cuts and tax increases as any sane person can see is required.

What there is not time for is grandstanding on the floor of the House over the debt ceiling. Forget Moody's and S&P for the moment and think about my mother, your constituent, who absolutely needs her Social Security check on August 3rd.

Georgia expects you to introduce the following resolution _this morning_:
Resolved, That subsection (b) of section 3101 of title
31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the
dollar limitation contained in such subsection and
inserting in lieu thereof $16,700,000,000,000.
Failure to do so will indicate that you don't care at all about your constituents or the real issues but would rather score political points at the American people's expense. Not all of us are dumb enough to fail to see the difference.

I await your introduction of this resolution.

Instead of doing as instructed, he had a hearing on his Fair Tax resolution. We are not amused.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:13 PM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


I took the dog fishing for a few hours today, and came back to find another 204 comments here, in which dead Presidents are further quoted, misquoted, and taken out of context, and in which a prominent member of the MeFi Legal Guild advises well wishers of the American nation to lie to Congressional staffers regarding their domicile and personal voting histories in order to support partisan politics they like, and sabotage those they don't, among other entertainments. Good times.

Any way, the weather here was cloudy, so not great fishing today, but it gave me time for idle speculation, and I realized that in his last several speeches on the debt ceiling, Obama has said he can afford to pay more taxes, and that based on his feeling flush, he suspects many other Americans should happily pay more to the government, too. It got me to thinking that, this is coming from a guy whose campaign has collected $86 million so far towards 2012 election expenses, against a hoped for target of $1 billion, for a job that pays $400,000 a year, and who probably is readily in touch with more millionaires and billionaires than most of us will ever meet. Maybe he's really on to something here, I thought.

Maybe he's trying to obliquely propose a new Tax Me! initiative, in which passionate liberals and the well-to-do join forces to take personal responsibility for federal debt and deficit financing. It's not a crazy idea, as so far this year, people have given as gifts, nearly $2 billion to the U.S. Treasury, for just that purpose, on top of FY 2010 gifts of nearly $3 billion, without much front page cajoling. And he may have inadvertently hit on the best way out of this impasse!

If all those who deeply believe in the spending and borrowing policies of the American government, and all their richest friends, really stepped it up, got out those checkbooks, opened those safety deposit boxes, got in contact with their trust fund managers, REIT managers, stock brokers, bond fund managers, and hedge fund managers, and got the money flowing where it is most needed, they could probably give their way out of this impasse, without waiting for Congress to do anything. Every dollar sent voluntarily to the U.S. Treasury, is a dollar Boehner won't have to cut! And every $280,000 or so raised in such a manner, buys another American job at government economic stimulus rates.

The really great things about this approach are that it requires no compromise on the part of anyone, can't be blocked by any political faction, and that the mechanisms to handle it, on the part of the Government are all ready in place and functioning. All that's needed is the will and energy of motivated liberals, and the river of voluntary money from Obama's wealthy friends. This whole debate could be successfully retired by Friday, without another Congressional vote, purely on a cash basis, if the USPS can bear the burden to Washington!

If Obama can get this going, it could quickly become such an economic force, as to permanently change American politics. Imagine a Congress annually assembled to try to dispose of the flood of money gifts from a generous and involved American people, inundating them in rivers of corruption free donated money that penurious taxation policies never produced! Everyone will want to be a happy, popular Congressperson, funding Mars shots, and disease research, and a National Playground Cleaning Corps! And the rich donors will have a new status club, in which they can directly buy status, according to the size of their government certified donations.

Here's hoping Obama gets to write his check near the front, when the headlines for initiating this brilliant program will still be fresh. Because once Buffet, Gates and Allen et al hear of it, happy days are here again, and he's liable to be pushed out of the headlines, by those with much deeper pockets! And if this gets going, we really ought to gratefully reserve pride of place to him, in acknowledgement for an inspired bit of creative leadership.

I can just imagine the tastefully designed, full page vanity ad in the WSJ, come Monday, now.
posted by paulsc at 7:16 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm getting to be more and more okay with this idea. We're not a unified country and I think we just need to let the south do their own thing without dragging the rest of us into their insanity.

I don't know how many fucking times I need to remind people on Metafilter that "the south" meme is fucking bullshit. You have plenty of idiots all over the fucking country, and plenty of reasonable, liberal people also all over the country, including the south.
posted by odinsdream at 7:17 PM on July 26, 2011 [16 favorites]


Awesome, so if the vote fails, there's basically no time for a plan B unless they pass something no one's read. This is going to end well for everyone involved for sure, just like it did with the Alien and Sedition--er PATRIOT Act.

That might not have been completely unintentional.
posted by Trurl at 7:18 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have this bad feeling, based on nothing, that the markets are not freaking out because Wall Street is all, 'they can't be THAT crazy." And then in a few days the markets will be all, 'omg fuck me they are that fucking crazy' and then there will be chickens and goats running wild through the streets.

I e-mailed our financial adviser a few days ago asking him questions about investment plan modifications in the case of a default. His response was very short: "They should get some short term solution done."

Contingency planning just isn't being considered at all.
posted by odinsdream at 7:21 PM on July 26, 2011


God this isn't another WWI, 'oh, the fighting will be over in a week or two,' moment, is it?
posted by angrycat at 7:26 PM on July 26, 2011


Everyone who talks shit about the south always forgets places like Arizona and Alaska. This is *our* problem.

(for values of "our" that include Americans)
posted by absalom at 7:31 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I strongly suspect that we are headed for a shutdown. Boehner seems unlikely to pass anything much less something that will survive the Senate. I guess there is still a remote possibility of complete Democratic capitulation but it seems unlikely.

Forcing a shutdown is a loser for the Republicans but honestly short of a complete capitulation on the part of the Dems nothing is going to be a win for their side. Furthermore it's completely clear that voting for anything other than the bullshit cap cut balance baloney is unlikely to win Republican votes.The threat of being primaried on the right is honestly more concerning for many of the Republicans than losing the 2012 elections and becoming a minority party.

In the past you'd maybe hope that there were enough centrist Republicans that would hold their nose and vote with the democratic minority to get something done no matter how unpalatable but in this case all those structures in place to insure complete control of the Republican caucus is going to tie their hands. Furthermore anyone that would be tempted to compromise in the best interests of the country has probably been purged from the house in the last decade. Otherwise you could have long term incumbents being willing to step up and take the hit for their caucus in order to allow the tea party freshmen to remain ideological pure (and thus re-electable).
posted by vuron at 7:44 PM on July 26, 2011


I'm getting to be more and more okay with this idea. We're not a unified country and I think we just need to let the south do their own thing without dragging the rest of us into their insanity.

Oh boy! I'll finally get my very own Runaway Scrape!
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:44 PM on July 26, 2011


Sounds like she and Ed Miliband would get along swell, they seem to have some similar tactics.

Wow, that video leaves me speechless. Almost makes me want to take back my comment above regarding algorithms.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:44 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


In 1776 the US was a colonial backwater, led by principled statesmen and political philosophers, and more or less united by a common cause. And crafting a constitution was still contentious and difficult.

I hear it was a lot easier in 1787.
posted by Jehan at 7:45 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


paulsc at 7:16 PM on July 26:

Any way, the weather here was cloudy, so not great fishing today, but it gave me time for idle speculation, and I realized that in his last several speeches on the debt ceiling, Obama has said he can afford to pay more taxes, and that based on his feeling flush, he suspects many other Americans should happily pay more to the government, too.

More tiresome drivel from you, paulsc? No, he didn't say he felt flush - he said he thinks people at his income level should give up the Bush tax breaks. He thought that the richest Americans, who hold a disproportionate amount of wealth in this country should share in the sacrifice. He didn't propose that the average middle-class Americans should have their taxes raised - he actually proposed that payroll taxes for those citizens should be cut back. He proposed, that taxes should be raised on the wealthiest Americans, because not only are the needs dire, and we need to stop deficits that started with such gusto under Republican presidents, but because taxes for the wealthiest are historically at quite some low, again, at least partially thanks to Republican presidents who wished to "starve the beast of government". If these wealthy Americans used to pay dramatically greater taxes once upon a time, then these days, when they have accumulated wealth to an astonishing gap between the richest and poorest in this country, they can well afford to give up the Bush tax cuts - especially that they accumulated great wealth during a time when wages for average Americans were stagnating.

But what's the point of a bit of reality obtruding upon your "musings".
posted by VikingSword at 7:48 PM on July 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


Look, the south is fine. I don't understand it, but it's fine. Let's just take all the House GOP and anybody in the Senate in support of them, and then take the Tea Party, and give them Guam.
posted by angrycat at 7:48 PM on July 26, 2011


paulsc, sure that would be awesome and all, but wouldn't you expect the Republicans to turn around and use such charity as evidence for there being no need to increase taxes on the uber wealthy, in fact they could further reduce taxes, given the largesse of the ultra rich, and reduce services as well, for surely some well meaning patrician flush with cash will ensure that the poor are fed and sheltered, and the sick are treated. Cause that is pretty much what they would do.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 7:50 PM on July 26, 2011


paulsc, sure that would be awesome and all, but wouldn't you expect the Republicans to turn around and use such charity as evidence for there being no need to increase taxes on the uber wealthy, in fact they could further reduce taxes, given the largesse of the ultra rich, and reduce services as well, for surely some well meaning patrician flush with cash will ensure that the poor are fed and sheltered, and the sick are treated. Cause that is pretty much what they would do.

And what would be wrong with that fanciful scenario?
posted by BobbyVan at 7:55 PM on July 26, 2011


BobbyVan, perhaps my wording was not clear - I didn't mean that magical benefactors would fall from the sky and save everyone from their economic woes, but rather that the Republicans would likely claim that they would.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 8:01 PM on July 26, 2011


"... Cause that is pretty much what they would do."
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 10:50 PM on July 26

If Obama could pull off Tax Me! in a big way, I'm thinking the rest of Washington would be so taken aback, and be so hip deep in cash, that even tight fisted, frowny faced Republicans would have to scramble for ways to spend all the money, or risk being drowned in the following fiscal year's river of donated cash. They couldn't break ground on enough new hospitals, put in enough new public housing, or fund enough college scholarships, fast enough, if Tax Me! really works!

The U.S. tax code, as a whole, could become irrelevant and out of date, through sheer disuse.
posted by paulsc at 8:01 PM on July 26, 2011


Everyone who talks shit about the south always forgets places like Arizona and Alaska. This is *our* problem.
If the states that seceded in the 19th Century seceded again tomorrow, and the rest of us just let them go, Democrats would control the House of Representatives and have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. And the debt ceiling would be raised immediately, without idiotic strings attached. This is true regardless of "places like Arizona and Alaska".

I am sympathetic to the facts that there are many reasonable southerners and many unreasonable non-southerners, and I believe that the "fuck the south let 'em go" idea is both simplistic and to be avoided. But I think there's a significant gap between "there are reasonable southerners and unreasonable non-southerners" on the one hand and "we would still be having this problem even if we didn't have the south" on the other.
posted by Flunkie at 8:03 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


If we didn't have the South then the politicians we did have would still be aligned into two opposing camps and each side would still make up idiotic issues to yell at each other over in the hopes of getting themselves elected instead of their rivals.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:05 PM on July 26, 2011


Gotcha. On re-read I see what you meant.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:07 PM on July 26, 2011


If we didn't have the South then the politicians we did have would still be aligned into two opposing camps and each side would still make up idiotic issues to yell at each other over in the hopes of getting themselves elected instead of their rivals.
That may be so. Do you think that whether or not the debt ceiling should be raised would be one of those issues?
posted by Flunkie at 8:08 PM on July 26, 2011


Why not? Leverage is leverage.
posted by smackfu at 8:24 PM on July 26, 2011


"... But what's the point of a bit of reality obtruding upon your "musings"."
posted by VikingSword at 10:48 PM on July 26

"Reality," my dear VikingSword, is what has led us to this bit of distasteful political head butting, what has this great nation and its creditors on pins and needless needles tonight, waiting for either new or synthesized ideas to present themselves for adoption, and is what many Americans seem to be fed up with, entirely. Thus "musings" over a bit of wet line might suggest another way, that's already working in the "real" world, if only in a relatively small (if cash streams in the billions of dollars are ever, in any "reality" small), almost prototypical form.

Sorry if I whizzed in your bait bucket.
posted by paulsc at 8:24 PM on July 26, 2011


It's a cesspool, Scott, not a bait bucket.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:33 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Interesting snipped from a Washington Post report:
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the party’s vote counter, began his talk by showing a clip from the movie, “The Town”, trying to forge a sense of unity among the independent-minded caucus.
I'm pretty sure it was just the initial exchange between Affleck and Renner's characters that McCarthy showed, and not the subsequent beatdown...
posted by BobbyVan at 8:35 PM on July 26, 2011


..snippet..
posted by BobbyVan at 8:35 PM on July 26, 2011


Continuing from the report BobbyVan quoted:
After showing the clip, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), one of the most outspoken critics of leadership among the 87 freshmen, stood up to speak, according to GOP aides.

“I’m ready to drive the car,” West replied
ugh
posted by Flunkie at 8:42 PM on July 26, 2011


Why am I getting Toonces flashbacks?
posted by maudlin at 8:44 PM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


I’m ready to drive the car
posted by mazola at 8:47 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


angrycat: "Look, the south is fine. I don't understand it, but it's fine. Let's just take all the House GOP and anybody in the Senate in support of them, and the