Democrats & Liberals Archives

Remember the Children?

I’m working as a full-time technician now. As somebody who was hired on at the peak of the Bush Economy, I unfortunately didn’t have long before the economy declined and collapsed. There was even a point, a year or two ago, where I faced the prospect of unemployment, on account of the long term effects of the meltdown. Now, I’m finally full time! And the Debt Ceiling is approaching, fast.

If I could sum it up in a few words, I'd put it like this: don't wreck it for us.

Don't wreck a recovery that's gradually getting more people employed, and like me, back to full-time employment.

Don't wreck our nation's economy a second time, only this time crippling the ability of the government to intervene at all.

Don't wreck an unbroken record of trustworthiness going back to the time of the Framers.

America pays its creditors, pays those who work for it, pays those it has promised entitlements and benefits, pays whenever its laws call it to. You can trust America.

If we do cross that critical line, it won't be because we don't have the money in our economy to pay our debts on time. It won't be because our debt servicing expenses are out of control. It won't be because our currency has failed, or otherwise become worthless by some means. It will be entirely because one party wanted to impose it's agenda on the other, and this was the most monstrous threat they could come up with.

It doesn't matter that you think Obama should give in or not. There are some threats that just shouldn't be made. People who call themselves conservatives should not endanger the full faith and credit this planet's citizens have in our nation. People who call themselves Americans should not be this eager to break our nation's economy.

I want the chance to live the American dream, to be a productive citizens, to move on from this slow period in my life. I will not forgive those who are willing, for the sake of mere politics, to destroy such chances, merely to get things their way.

And more to the point, when I was growing up, there were two competing visions for where America was going: up, and down. Some believed that this country was heading downwards, and there was all this doom and gloom about it. Others believe this country is on its way to better things. People like me want to fight for a more glorious future. That's what our patriotism is about. Whether it's torture we don't want our nation's good name associated with, or this pernicious need to force America into one crisis after another, we are sick of watching our country bleed, our economy stall.

What is the endgame for all this political nastiness? What is all this warfare for, in the end? Do you expect to be left alone to recreate the country as you see fit when the job of destroying the other side is done?

Will it ever be done? I don't want to have to wait for your side to win, in order to see things function. Fortunately, if people are up to employing them, the Constitution provides us with the tools necessary to resolve differences. We can have our debates, and function, and yes, some people won't get the results they fantasized about, and that will be okay, because the most lefty of the leftists won't get it either, not without convincing enough people to do it.

We cannot hope to function if we will only function when the other side decides to agree with us. And the legacy the GOP's leaving for future generations, just so it can get what it want's politically, shouldn't be one of exploding costs for debts, diminished trust in America's ability to come through on its finances, or anything like that. What the Tea Party is doing might be sincerely meant to save the country from its debt, but in effect, they are swerving into a tree to avoid hitting the deer in the road. They will inflict the very debt crisis they're warning about in order to end the debt crisis they're warning about.

Stop taking chances with our country's future. Stop taking these kinds of appalling risks.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at October 13, 2013 3:43 PM
Comments
Comment #372413

Daugherty writes: “I want the chance to live the American dream, to be a productive citizens, to move on from this slow period in my life. I will not forgive those who are willing, for the sake of mere politics, to destroy such chances, merely to get things their way.”

So do black Americans.

” If we put ourselves into the shoes of racists who seek to sabotage black upward mobility, we couldn’t develop a more effective agenda than that followed by civil rights organizations, black politicians, academics, liberals and the news media. Let’s look at it.

First, weaken the black family, but don’t blame it on individual choices. You have to preach that today’s weak black family is a legacy of slavery, Jim Crow and racism. The truth is that black female-headed households were just 18 percent of households in 1950, as opposed to about 68 percent today. In fact, from 1890 to 1940, the black marriage rate was slightly higher than that of whites. Even during slavery, when marriage was forbidden for blacks, most black children lived in biological two-parent families. In New York City, in 1925, 85 percent of black households were two-parent households. A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia shows that three-quarters of black families were two-parent households.

During the 1960s, devastating nonsense emerged, exemplified by a Johns Hopkins University sociology professor who argued, “It has yet to be shown that the absence of a father was directly responsible for any of the supposed deficiencies of broken homes.” The real issue, he went on to say, “is not the lack of male presence but the lack of male income.” That suggests marriage and fatherhood can be replaced by a welfare check.

The poverty rate among blacks is 36 percent. Most black poverty is found in female-headed households. The poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits since 1994 and is about 8 percent today. The black illegitimacy rate is 75 percent, and in some cities, it’s 90 percent. But if that’s a legacy of slavery, it must have skipped several generations, because in the 1940s, unwed births hovered around 14 percent.

http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/articles/13/BlackSelfSabotage.htm

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 13, 2013 4:35 PM
Comment #372418

Congratulations Stephen! I’m really glad for you. I’ve also found employment recently; my new position is a paid internship, but I’ve been told that I’ll have a good chance of being converted into a full-time employee next January if I’m able to demonstrate my worth to the company.

The problem with your argument here is that the conservatives have completely deluded themselves in either one of two ways. Either they believe Obama is weak and will cave to the GOP’s demands in order to prevent catastrophe. Or they truly do not appreciate the government’s role in propping up the economy. Even though the government has been shutdown for near two weeks, conservatives seem more concerned with finding ad-hoc solutions to keep the most visible governmental operations functioning while the rest of our government remains unfunded.

Ted Yoho even recently stated that he believed a failure to raise the debt ceiling would increase the US’s credit worthiness. This is symptomatic of a colossal misunderstanding of the USA’s debt problems. Although it is true that a high debt-to-gdp ratio is not sustainable in the long term, we aren’t anywhere near the point where the threat is large enough to warrant such radical actions. Conservatives can say that $17T is a scary big number, but they cannot truthfully claim that the scary big number means a whit to today’s bond markets. Interest rates remain incredibly low because lenders are eager to let the US borrow their money. So the theatrics conducted by the Tea Party gang are completely ridiculous.

Posted by: Warren Porter at October 13, 2013 5:32 PM
Comment #372420

Because there are lenders willing to loan the US money, is that a reason to increase our debt? What if no lenders were available unless a budget balance was reached, as has happened to some countries, then what?

What Warren calls “theatrics” has substantive meaning to conservatives and many moderates. I could just as easily call the actions by senate leaders and obama “theatrics” in their all or nothing political posturing. And, so far, they are getting nothing.

Warren believes there is a point when the “debt-to-gdp ratio is not sustainable”, but that we have not yet reached that point. He writes that we “aren’t anywhere near the point”. Does Warren know where that point is? Please share it with the group. What debt level, as a percent of GDP, will ring his warning bells?

He also believes that when that point is reached…radical actions are warranted.

So I guess the argument now becomes one of timing…when will radical actions become necessary and no longer deniable by anyone or any party.

Is it rational to wait until such a point is glaringly obvious or can we use our past history of debt growth and grey matter to decide that debt must be reigned in now…before we run out of options? Is that not the same argument that the MMGW crowd usesIs that not the same argument that the MMGW crowd uses

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 13, 2013 6:07 PM
Comment #372421
Because there are lenders willing to loan the US money, is that a reason to increase our debt?

No, however it means drastic measures to reduce debt are superfluous. The decision whether or not to borrow more money should be based upon other factors.

I could just as easily call the actions by senate leaders and obama “theatrics” in their all or nothing political posturing. And, so far, they are getting nothing.

Are Obama and the Senate refusing to pass a CR or raise the debt limit until the GOP grants a policy concession? I don’t think so.

Does Warren know where that point is? Please share it with the group. What debt level, as a percent of GDP, will ring his warning bells?
When interest rates rise, then we can talk.
He also believes that when that point is reached…radical actions are warranted.

So I guess the argument now becomes one of timing…when will radical actions become necessary and no longer deniable by anyone or any party.

Or maybe we can avoid having to take drastic action by reducing our deficit slowly, but steadily as Obama has done.

Posted by: Warren Porter at October 13, 2013 6:22 PM
Comment #372423

Or maybe we can avoid having to take drastic action by reducing our deficit slowly, but steadily as Obama has done.
Posted by: Warren Porter at October 13, 2013 6:22 PM

Are obama and the dems working to sustain the sequester? Are they asking for more cuts in spending?

News to me.

I asked; “What debt level, as a percent of GDP, will ring his warning bells?”

He answered; “When interest rates rise, then we can talk.”

When the horses have left the barn, we can close the door. Great plan. Great strategy.

Has Warren been watching home mortgage rates? Just how much an increase in interest rates is necessary Warren?

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 13, 2013 6:31 PM
Comment #372424

With all due respect, Stephen and Warren, these last few months of political bickering have nearly nothing to do with the abysmal job situation and overall poor economy.

The later two things have been part and parcel of numerous ‘other’ forces since December of 2008! Nearly every American has been negatively affected by this nascent recovery — this writer included.

I hear your worry in your words. But, let’s be honest here. Obama took us to a whole new level with his inability to lead us out of despair, unlike Reagan in 1983 - 84.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at October 13, 2013 6:42 PM
Comment #372427

SD provides us all with the definition of Hyperbolic:

“If I could sum it up in a few words, I’d put it like this: don’t wreck it for us.

Don’t wreck a recovery that’s gradually getting more people employed, and like me, back to full-time employment.

Don’t wreck our nation’s economy a second time, only this time crippling the ability of the government to intervene at all.

Don’t wreck an unbroken record of trustworthiness going back to the time of the Framers.”

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at October 13, 2013 7:01 PM
Comment #372429

According to SD:

“Don’t wreck an unbroken record of trustworthiness going back to the time of the Framers.

America pays its creditors, pays those who work for it, pays those it has promised entitlements and benefits, pays whenever its laws call it to. You can trust America.”

Tell that to the veterans who have been waiting for 2 or 3 years for their claims to be heard.

Tell that to the 30 spouses of the Americans killed in Afghanistan over the last couple of weeks and had to get the promised death benefits from the Fisher House.

Posted by: tdobson at October 13, 2013 7:30 PM
Comment #372435

Royal Flush-
I don’t see what your claims about blacks and the American dream have to do with what I was talking about, which quite simply was the fact that a default would only serve to make things worse.

But if we’re talking about what happened with blacks over time, I don’t think it’s particular helpful for African Americans to get hit with another financial crisis. The last one, according to the evidence, disproportionately hit them.

As for reasons to increase the debt? Look, it’s not so much like we’ve got a decision between doing it, and not doing it. In order to instantly stop accruing debt, we’d have to cut out a few hundred billion dollars in GDP all at once, either by sucking it into the Treasury’s coffers through taxes, or by cutting spending that suddenly.

Economies don’t take that kind of sharp turn well.

So, our best bet is to slowly decrease the deficit over time, and then run a surplus for a couple of decades to pay it down. But without the cooperation of the economy, that’s not going to work.

There’s another concern: with the way that Wall Street and Washington have refused to act on securing the nation’s finances from the problems of derivative based over-leveraging, and the amount of chicanery and high debt still present in the economy, I’m not sure we won’t get a secondary collapsing effect from the fact that our nation’s economy hasn’t fully separated itself from a dependence on that kind of speculative bubbling.

But my short and simple way of saying this would be we don’t need this kind of a shock to our system.

The Debt limit needs to be raised, because it’s no more an ideal barrier to put the brakes on debt increases than a brick wall is an ideal barrier to put the brakes on your speeding. (Would this also be a good place to discuss the limits of the wisdom of using metaphors to relate political points ;-) )

Kevin L. Lagola-
Despair? That’s never been what Obama sold himself on. Hope and change, remember?

As for hyperbole? I don’t think it’s hyperbole to treat default as a no-go, to fear its consequences. I think the last time the Republican minimized the trouble in the economy, it didn’t turn out so well for them. “Nothing will go wrong if we default” is days away from becoming the new “The Fundamentals of the Economy are sound.”

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 13, 2013 9:04 PM
Comment #372437

tdobson-
First one: Look, if you design a system to save money, there are different ways of saving money. If you want the VA to work faster, it needs the money to pay the claims, and a culture geared more towards granting those benefits, than denying them. Also, have you kept tabs on the consequences of the sequester on all this?

Second one: This is the one that kind of raises significant doubts for me as for your angle, because quite simply, whatever death benefits were not being paid, they were not being paid because the Continuing resolution was hung up. The GOP considered it more important to go for another fruitless shot at the ACA than to maintain government funding.

Democrats were not angling to trip over their own feet, nor had they promised constituents a shutdown without fully considering the consequences. We argued against it, as a matter of fact.

Third thing: my basic point would be this: all those things? If you think a shutdown is bad for veteran’s benefits, what do you think will happen when the government literally runs out of money.?

I really don’t want to have this country have to learn the lesson about not messing with this part of its finances through trial and error. I’d rather we heed the warning of other people’s sovereign debt crises, and just stay the hell out of trouble.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 13, 2013 9:14 PM
Comment #372443

SD,
First you claim that we pay all our bills and obligations and now you give excuses why we don’t.

The VA has gotten ALL the money it has asked for, for the last several years, so money isn’t the problem. It also wasn’t affected by the sequester, so that excuse doesn’t work.The backlog of unsetteled claims hit a record high of almost 600,000. It was enough that the weight of the paperwork in one office was threatening to collapse the floor. It took years of inept service to reach that level.

On my second “angle”, there was legislation passed and signed by the President early during the shutdown to fund the military and we were told it would cover the death benefits. Eric Holder’s office decided it didn’t apply, simply to make the shutdown more painful to the American people.

The excuses don’t work. We DON’T have a stellar record of paying our bills and obligations.

Posted by: tdobso at October 14, 2013 3:34 AM
Comment #372446

tdobson-
Only if I accept a different definition of bills and obligations going into the argument, and let you splice in chains of causality that are irrelevant.

If you were to say, “We need to vote more money for taking care of vets, and redesign the system towards granting more benefits”, you would not get an argument from me. You might get an argument from those who want a cut in spending no matter how it’s done, but I don’t number among those people anyway.

As far as the shutdown goes, the Republicans in Washington decided now was a nice time to have a confrontation, and to risk default. I never supported that. A Clean CR would take care of that, and only political pressure from the Far Right has prevented that.

Fact is, you’re talking with the wrong people, when it comes to putting an end to this. You cannot vote down a clean CR, as the House Republicans did, and expect to escape blame.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 14, 2013 11:00 AM
Comment #372450

Ideology seeks to destroy balance in pursuit of perfection of only one side of an equation. When one’s ideology deems taxes as bad, non-whites as less than good, and science as just another religion, the effort will be to destroy the balance that made this nation one of the greatest. When ideology deems that government is the answer to every social ill, debt will grow to unsustainable levels destroying the balance that made this nation one of the greatest. George Washington was wise and prophetic in warning posterity of the dangers of political parties. Blinding self-centered extremists would eventually acquire sufficient power to destroy sensible and balanced governance focused solely on the integrity of the nation and its preservation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 14, 2013 12:49 PM
Comment #372457

I think the government should stop lying to the public.

When it says “spending cuts” it is refering to a reduction of the increase in spending. It’s not the same thing. The spending cut retoric is simply a lie.

When the government says we will default if the debt ceiling isn’t raised it is a lie. There is plenty of money to pay the interest on the debt.

When the parks department puts up barracades to forbid access to open-air monuments because of the shutdown it is a lie. More money is spent putting up the barracades than is spent allowing people to visit these monuments.

When private business is closed because of this shutdown it is a lie. When fishing in the ocean is forbiden it is a lie. When observation points are closed it is a lie.

When will the government stop treating the public like stupid, ignorant children. This entire episode is insulting and unneccessary.

don’t wreck it for us.

Isn’t that a paraphrase of Harry Reid’s comment to the Mayor of Washington D.C.? The mayor wants to use DC’s own money to keep things going and Harry Reid, in front of everybody, tells him to be quiet and don’t screw it up. What arrogance! Did he think the media wouldn’t report that? I’m suprised he didn’t chastize the reporters asking him what he meant using that phrase “don’t screw it up”, just as he did when he was stupid enough to say “Why would we do that?”

Does he really think the American people are stupid enough to not see thru these statements?

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 14, 2013 2:22 PM
Comment #372458

Power cortupts.
Money is also power, and destroy nations when allowed to influence government too much.
It may now be impossible to remove the abuse of wealth that influences and controls government.

Posted by: d002 at October 14, 2013 2:28 PM
Comment #372460

I know people here don’t think things can change, but they can if we restore the constitution and give it meaning again. The most fundimental changes to our constitution that allowed the federal government it’s unchecked influence were the 16th and the 17th amendments. If these two amendments were repealed the foundation of our government as it was intended would be restored. In that, the individual liberty would replace the federal government authority, alternate funding mechanisms would be found/restored, and state governments would be more responsive to it’s citizens needs while keeping the federal government to it’s constitutionally limited duties.

All we have to do is believe it is possible.

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 14, 2013 3:24 PM
Comment #372462

Daugherty writes; “…what do you think will happen when the government literally runs out of money.?

I really don’t want to have this country have to learn the lesson about not messing with this part of its finances through trial and error. I’d rather we heed the warning of other people’s sovereign debt crises, and just stay the hell out of trouble.
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 13, 2013 9:14 PM

Are you truly expecting all existing federal government revenue to cease…and “literally” run out of money? Please explain.

Is not increasing our national debt actually “messing” with our finances and considered “trial and error”? Please explain.

Daugherty wrote; “heed the warning of other people’s sovereign debt crises, and just stay the hell out of trouble.”

Is increasing our national debt as often as some people bathe really a way to avoid a sovereign debt crises? Ask a few countries who did just that.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 14, 2013 5:02 PM
Comment #372463

Weary Willie-
If I loan you money, and I see you scrambling to pay me back, or paying other bills instead of paying me back, which case shows you to be more reliable over time as a debtor?

Neither. Only when you can pay me back, yet pay your bills, can I see you as a reliable investment.

And what if you are meant to be the gold standard for reliability? What if everybody else’s reliability is judged by yours? Well, then, becoming unreliable might have follow-on affects for all those other people.

And what if the rate that I charge you interest is the floor beneath which other people’s rates don’t drop? Suddenly, you’re costing other people a lot of money!

I think it’s fairly simple to explain why any default is a bad idea. When you start having to choose who pays, that brings conflict. When people get conflicted about whether or not they pay you, or anybody else, that undermines confidence in those people.

Don’t screw that up! We’ve maintained an image as a reliable investment for decades, and to prove a point about being too much in debt, you’re just about to make everything about being in debt much more difficult. And why?

Because a certain political faction has fundamentally misunderstood how the nation’s finances work. They look at debt ceiling, and they think, “the purpose of this is to keep the federal government from going further into debt!”

But that’s not the case at all. It’s a blanket authorization for financing what Congress has already agreed to. Yeah, that Congress that has the Tea Party in it.

Yes, the debt is a long term problem. But it doesn’t get better if we become unable, by law, to raise the money to pay our creditors, our beneficiaries, our contractors, and our public servants alike.

Don’t wreck it for us.

As for that last part?
No, believing something is possible doesn’t make it possible. There was a reason that the 16th Amendment and the 17th were ratified. They were the product of people’s actual experience with taxes as they were in the early 20th century, and their actual experience with Senators elected by state legislature. Something which modern proponents of reversion have no living experience with.

The most important thing I think people should understand in politics is that while you can hype a belief up to the point where people make policy out of it, you can’t use hype to make the policy actually work. Reality reimposes itself eventually.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 14, 2013 5:25 PM
Comment #372464

SD,

You first claimed tht the US always paid its debts and obligations and I gave 2 examples where you are wrong. You then tried to give excuses, which still did not discredit my examples. I explained why your excuses are invalid and I get your latest response. “Only if I accept a different definition of bills and obligations going into the argument, and let you splice in chains of causality that are irrelevant.

If you were to say, “We need to vote more money for taking care of vets, and redesign the system towards granting more benefits”, you would not get an argument from me. You might get an argument from those who want a cut in spending no matter how it’s done, but I don’t number among those people anyway.

As far as the shutdown goes, the Republicans in Washington decided now was a nice time to have a confrontation, and to risk default. I never supported that. A Clean CR would take care of that, and only political pressure from the Far Right has prevented that.

Fact is, you’re talking with the wrong people, when it comes to putting an end to this. You cannot vote down a clean CR, as the House Republicans did, and expect to escape blame.”

Will you please explaine in plain english how your response shows how the US always pays it’s bills?

Posted by: tdobson at October 14, 2013 5:30 PM
Comment #372465

Stephen, If you constantly have to borrow more to pay back what you have borrowed only shows you to be a crappy investment. It’s when you can pay your bills without borrowing more that shows you are a good steward of your finances.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at October 14, 2013 5:32 PM
Comment #372466

Royal Flush,
The size of the debt has nothing to do with paying for what has already been spent. The ability to pay is currently well within our means, without having to take any unusual actions whatsoever. That is why we are able to lend money to other governments at such a low rate. Our debt and creditworthiness is the best in the world. Our currency is the currency of last resort. Our T-Bills are where everyone in the world goes when they seek safety.

23.

There is a number you can use to help grasp the nature of the threat being leveled at the United States of America. If the House GOP brings about a default, the amount of interest on the first payment is 23 times as big as the amount lost when Lehman Brothers failed in 2008, precipitating that economic crisis.

23.

That is how much worse this will be. There would not be much point in merely servicing the bond interest, while cutting 40 - 45% of government spending. Foreign investors are not dummies. They know Americans would not stand for seeing them paid interest while Americans did without Social Security checks and many critical agencies. A default would involve reneging on contracts, which is illegal. The only question would be, which ones?

Before that is allowed to happen, I think an agreement will be reached. If the House GOP insists on destroying the economy, I think Obama will use some sort of emergency powers and invoke the 14th amendment, which says ‘the debt shall not be questioned.’

By the way, the estimates are that the Republican shut down of the government and the uncertainties caused by the debt ceiling negotiations will cost 900,000. I think that is excessively pessimistic. It will hurt. The Republicans have furloughed 800,000 people, so there will be repercussions, just not as bad as some are now suggesting.

Posted by: phx8 at October 14, 2013 5:36 PM
Comment #372467

Just to clarify, that was 900,000 jobs lost due to the shutdown and debt ceiling threats.

Posted by: phx8 at October 14, 2013 5:38 PM
Comment #372474

Daugherty wrote; “Only when you can pay me back, yet pay your bills, can I see you as a reliable investment.”

OH, YES…the same person phoned Bank of America and demanded an increase in his credit limit so he could afford to make just interest only payments on his credit card. He was declined. If the US were an individual what do you suppose his credit score would be. Keep in mind that the score is greatly affected by the percentage of debt incurred to credit available for use.

He writes; “…you can’t use hype to make the policy actually work. Reality reimposes itself eventually.”

I think he is beginning to understand that all the hype to increase the debt limit doesn’t make the policy actually work. The reality he speaks of (national insolvency) is approaching ever faster.

phx8 writes; “The size of the debt has nothing to do with paying for what has already been spent.”

What has already been spent is already gone…isn’t it? Surely you are not saying that money merely appropriated to be spent can not be reduced; or eliminated. Whatever spending congress enacts with legislation, it can dissolve the same way.

phx8 writes; “There would not be much point in merely servicing the bond interest, while cutting 40 - 45% of government spending.”

Do I understand this to mean that 40-45% of government spending is borrowed money? Please explain.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 14, 2013 6:36 PM
Comment #372480

tdobson-
You’re confusing different questions, in an effort to contradict my statement.

In plain English, the Congress has Okayed a whole bunch of spending. In fact, for all intents and purposes, it’s ORDERED that spending. The Executive branch must do it.

The problem here is that Congress has asked for more spending than we expect to bring in by way of taxes. Whether you’re a fan of the Tea Party or not, this A)Remains true, and B) will remain true for years to come. You can’t stop that much spending on a dime.

So, we will be doing more debt financing.

However, Congress, at least in this country, and according to current policy, must authorize that further financing.

It hasn’t. Rather than this being a bureaucratic snarling of a promised benefit, this is a fundamental failure of the federal government to get it’s finances in order so cold hard cash can go to those who need it, rather than IOUs.

Put simply, because of the games Congress is playing, we are in danger of issuing those IOUs for the first time in American history. Whoever we give that IOU to, whoever we stiff, or tell that we’ll pay later, it undermines trust overall.

Rich KAPitan-
The problem with your model is that it’s dependent on seeing the Federal Government’s budgeting process as independent in and of itself, rather than part of the overall economy. It’s not that we can’t pay our bills, it’s just that because of the way we’ve structure our taxes and our policy, we’re kind of refusing to.

Now there are good reasons to deficit spend. One is not to add fuel to the fire of your economic problems by taking away a big chunk of economic activity. Another is unexpected disasters or necessary wars. Yes, it’s preferable we don’t deficit spend, but when you get Bush’s idiotic fiscal policy of tax-cutting while waging two wars and creating a new, un-offset Medicare benefit, and add one of the biggest recessions in modern economic history, that’s what’s going to happen.

The question is how do we wind down both the economic problem and the fiscal one.

Royal Flush-
The United States, being a nation with taxing power can set its own income. Of course it’s somewhat more complicated than that, but there’s little question that we can pay our debts at this point. In fact, we’ve actually been borrowing at below eventual cost.

You’re really not looking beyond just, supposedly, automatically halting the growth of the debt. But that’s not what’s going to happen. If that’s what you’re hoping for, that’s most decidedly not what’s going to happen.

What’s going to happen is that after a few days of crisis, we will likely vote in an increase, and start paying people back, start paying the money. But the damage to the reputation will be done, and with the Tea Party Congress still in place, people will consider our political problem a persistent risk.

Premiums will go up on our debt, the economic problems… it just won’t be pretty. What you imagine to be a clean stop will likely just end up a snarled wreck.

You’re trying to oversimplify a system that runs mostly on feedbacks, as if its one that works like a control panel. The easiest way to say this is that there is no button there that says “stop the increase of the debt”

There are things we can do to decrease the deficit, including improving the economy, keeping our borrowing costs low through dependable handling of our debt and our monetary system, and finally eventual austerity as the economic pressures permit it, and all of those things are complicated by an attempt to stop our debt increases by running them into a brick wall.

It’s like if somebody suddenly cancels your credit card while you’re still dependent on it. That won’t improve your finances, that’ll throw them into chaos. Trouble here is, you’ve been hyped into believing that this credit card problem is immediate, and ironically, that’s going to lead you to attempt to cut up your credit card right now, without having arranged the rest of your finances so you can live with out it, AND pay your debts.

This is amateur hour fiscal policy, and it’s time we stop it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 14, 2013 7:39 PM
Comment #372481

If you want lower spending, cut the budget; or, to use the credit card analogy, stop putting charges on the credit card. Refusing to pay the charges is a different thing, equivalent to the debt ceiling.

If action is not taken very soon, a financial panic will be set off regardless of what was being considered. No one in the world of finance will want to be in front of this oncoming train.

A deal is being negotiated in the Senate even as we speak.

If the Republican House decides to destroy our economy, here are some estimates of my own, gleaned from a variety of sources. It is guesswork on everyone’s part, but it gives some idea of what would be involved:

DJIA would quickly lose @ 50%, down to @ 7000.

The ratings agencies would downgrade US debt. (This may happen anyway). Interest rates would immediately rise by about one fifth, or 20% higher than current rates.

Housing and construction would come to a standstill.
Hundreds of thousands of jobs would be lost. Unemployment would rapidly top 10%, and probably go much higher.

Increased borrowing costs and a plummeting economy would force the Federal Reserve to pump large amounts of money into a sinking economic system. The debt would skyrocket. $24 trillion in national debt by Christmas is just an educated guess.

GDP would immediately drop to - 4%, and continue dropping. I estimate - 9% GDP. One of the Masters of the Universe, one of the financial houses guessed -16% GDP. In any case, the Great Recession would look like a walk in the park.

Everyone of us would get a quick education in what a real, full-scale economic Depression looks like.

Like I said earlier, I do not think it would happen. But these numbers give people an idea of just how monstrous, reckless, and irresponsible the House Republicans are being, as well as some Senators.


Posted by: phx8 at October 14, 2013 7:43 PM
Comment #372482

This is amateur hour fiscal policy, and it’s time we stop it.
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 14, 2013 7:39 PM

It’s been amateur hour fiscal policy for decades. You obviously don’t understand credit or how to protect it and even increase it.

The government of the United States has misused its credit card and both parties share the blame. Credit abuse, like alcohol abuse is solved by cutting up the card, or stopping drinking, until the credit or alcohol is no longer abused.

Gradual withdrawal of credit card abuse is just not possible within the political climate pervading this country. Both parties spend wildly to stay in office.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 14, 2013 7:53 PM
Comment #372483
They know Americans would not stand for seeing them paid interest while Americans did without Social Security checks and many critical agencies.

We’re saying if we don’t raise the debt ceiling people won’t get their SS checks in the mail, yet some are saying SS is solvent and there isn’t anything to worry about.

Which is it, folks? Are we being lied to when they say the social security is in trouble because of the debt ceiling not being raised, or are we being lied to when we are told social security is solvent?

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 14, 2013 8:00 PM
Comment #372484

Stephen, You know as well as I do if we ran our finances the way the government does we would both be in jail.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at October 14, 2013 8:05 PM
Comment #372485

SD,

I’m not confusing any questions… In fact, I’m not even talking abot a question. You said in your original post
“Don’t wreck an unbroken record of trustworthiness going back to the time of the Framers.

America pays its creditors, pays those who work for it, pays those it has promised entitlements and benefits, pays whenever its laws call it to. You can trust America.”

I said and gave examples that the government isn’t always that trustworthy. Where is the question I’m confusing?

You gave excuses: “First one: Look, if you design a system to save money, there are different ways of saving money. If you want the VA to work faster, it needs the money to pay the claims, and a culture geared more towards granting those benefits, than denying them. Also, have you kept tabs on the consequences of the sequester on all this?

Second one: This is the one that kind of raises significant doubts for me as for your angle, because quite simply, whatever death benefits were not being paid, they were not being paid because the Continuing resolution was hung up. The GOP considered it more important to go for another fruitless shot at the ACA than to maintain government funding.”

I called you out on the excuses and your response didn’t relate to anything we were talking about:

“Only if I accept a different definition of bills and obligations going into the argument, and let you splice in chains of causality that are irrelevant.

If you were to say, “We need to vote more money for taking care of vets, and redesign the system towards granting more benefits”, you would not get an argument from me. You might get an argument from those who want a cut in spending no matter how it’s done, but I don’t number among those people anyway.

As far as the shutdown goes, the Republicans in Washington decided now was a nice time to have a confrontation, and to risk default. I never supported that. A Clean CR would take care of that, and only political pressure from the Far Right has prevented that.

Fact is, you’re talking with the wrong people, when it comes to putting an end to this. You cannot vote down a clean CR, as the House Republicans did, and expect to escape blame.”

Now you claim I’m confusing the questions. Tell me what questions I’m confusing.

I think rather than admit that you were wrong on a point, you are trying to confuse the issue. I think you do that every time you are shown to be wrong.

Posted by: tdobson at October 14, 2013 8:19 PM
Comment #372507

Regarding the debt ceiling; these Democrats were against raising the debt ceiling before they were for raising it:

“We can’t just give a blank check over and over and over again” Nancy Pelosi 11/17/2004

“The request sounds like a drunk going to an AA meeting, saying, just give me one more drink” Charlie Rangel 11/18/2004

“Most America know that raising the debt is the last thing we should be doing” Harry Reid 3/16/2006

“America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” Barack Hussein Obama 3/16/2006

The left are hypocrites.

Posted by: DSP2195 at October 14, 2013 8:44 PM
Comment #372759

Royal Flush-
We can treat the finances of a family tightening its belt, if we look at it all by itself, as inconsequential. A whole bunch of families doing it together is a recession. Austerity from the Federal government forcing millions of families to tighten their belt in a time when people can’t afford it is a self-inflicted recession.

The Federal government failing to pay millions of Americans, whether contractors, beneficiaries, or investors, is a self-inflicted shock to the financial system. It’s not just as simple as one organization changing its budget, not when tens of millions of household and tens of thousands of corporate and investment bank budgets depend on what the federal budget does.

You might see it as tough love or cold turkey, but let me promise you something: those who deal out that kind of pain to the economy rarely get seen as correcting something. They’re most often seen as the people who screwed things up.

You can moralize about national credit cards, but we’re not dealing with the fate of just four or five people here.

Weary Willie-
The long term health of a system operating as normal is a different matter than the consequence of the sudden disappearance of a major, necessary source of immediate financing.

Put another way, businesses often have lines of credit, which they pay off with the money they get in. Why do they do things that way? Because the money doesn’t always come in evenly.

Similarly, the Federal government can’t send money to the banks paying people’s social security checks, or compensating Medicare Beneficiaries with thin air. If the taxes don’t cover everything, they got to get the money somewhere.

Social Security is solvent so long as you don’t mess around with the system that keeps the cashflow constant and reliable. And that is precisely what the Debt Ceiling failure would disrupt.

Rich KAPitan-
I have a car loan and a student loan I’m paying back. My parents have a mortgage. You probably finance something, and if not, your children or your spouse does. If you’re saying nobody else takes out debt to improve their lives, then you’re wrong.

You can make broad moralistic statements, but the truth is, we need a system that works, not merely something that satisfies a disjointed collection of rhetoric-based political beliefs that aren’t even self-consistent.

I want something that works.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 15, 2013 12:37 PM
Comment #372760

Stephen, The point is taking out debt to pay debt is idiotic, stupid, dumb and totally moronic. If you take out more than you can pay your an idiot or a financial dunce.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at October 15, 2013 12:57 PM
Comment #372763

SD et al
The next comment I see like this gets unpublished entirely. Personal attacks are not permitted. This is your first and only warning.
Stephen Daugherty, Contributing Editor

You are absolutely ignorant of finances, economics and other like subjects.

You understand money and its uses as per Marx, Engels, Chairman Mao and others of the same kind. Your writings prove that. You have documented the same.
Your understanding of how the minds of our founding fathers worked is distorted. You write things just to show your brilliance, which is quite dim.

Any suggestions I would propose is treated as you would treat dung. Those propositions would be safe and sound and with principle. You would not debate them, just as you have never debated anybody on this site. A debate is not just stating some lengthy essay with a minimum of 2000 word count.

You declare statements I have made on this site as anything you cared to say was wrong. The facts I have presented in the past have been well documented. But factual truth seems to get in your way and when you stumble over those factual truths you do as you do with political stances; accuse the others of what you are guilty of.

You have no understanding of the Constitution concerning debt payments.

Now concerning Obama care. The computer “glitches” (ha-ha), such a bunch of hogwash. We were lied to about being able to sign up for this dictatorial edict. We were lied to in a variety of ways from Herr Obama down. People all around are being told they can’t keep their present policy and are being cancelled or have to cough up 2, 3, or 4 times the past rate. People who we are paying up to $50 an hour to gather information and they don’t have to get background checks done. Scandals have already begun and will continue at an alarming rate. Those are only a couple of items and there are abundantly more reasons to not have government insurance, a monopoly.

Now I have to get some work done and prepare for the Blackhawks game tonite.

That isn’t even 500 words, so I can say a whole lot more and make a ton more sense. Oh, well not all can be Mensa material.

Posted by: tom humes at October 15, 2013 1:44 PM
Comment #372765

Daugherty wrote; “You can moralize about national credit cards, but we’re not dealing with the fate of just four or five people here.”

I don’t believe calling for fiscal sanity is moralizing. It is logical and factual that one can not borrow and increase debt forever and expect to remain solvent.

And you’re correct, we are not dealing with the fate of just a few…we’re talking about the fate of those living today and the millions yet to be born.

In a sense…”credit” is instant gratification. Credit used wisely, to purchase a home or durable goods or an emergency is a useful tool. Credit used to satisfy a whim or impulse is not wise unless one has the resources to pay that bill when it comes due on their credit card.

We do not have the resources to pay our debts as they come due. We want the gratification of spending today without regard for the bill coming due tomorrow. And so, we don’t have balanced budgets, or any budget at all, and a horrendous debt of $17 Trillion and growing fast.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 15, 2013 2:38 PM
Comment #372767

Rich KAPitan-
The Founding Fathers racked up a lot of debt waging the Revolutionary war, and wrote the debt financing mechanisms into the Constitution. There are good and bad varieties of debt financing, and if properly managed and structured, they can be beneficial.

Royal Flush-
I don’t believe the Republicans are as alone as they think they are in regards to wanting to deal with the debt. They’ve convinced themselves that only their methods can or will resolve this.

I don’t believe that it is either politically or economically helpful to ignore the economy in favor of the deficit, in no small part because the second is dependent on the first. Fail to fix the economy, and all your means and your ability to resolve the fiscal mess is hamstrung.

We do have the resources to pay our debts as they come due, and in fact have been quietly doing so in the background as these battles have gone on. Treasury bonds are not all sold in one batch, nor do they all come due at once.

If we exercise calm, and keep improving the economy, that reduces the yearly deficit. Reducing that yearly deficit is key, because if the economy craters, that deficit will increase, and debt will increase with it.

And no, failing to raise the debt ceiling won’t mean that we won’t owe more, it just means we’re going to be deadbeats on the debts we already took out. The debt will increase with interest, and the remaining parts will cost us more to maintain.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 15, 2013 3:02 PM
Comment #372769

If we “have the resources to pay our debts as they come due…”

Why do we need to increase our debt limit?

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 15, 2013 3:15 PM
Comment #372771

Royal Flush-
Think of it as a calendar. During this month, the Congress has authorized this and that to be done, to be paid for mainly by taxes, but also by selling treasury bonds. Part of what we pay for is our debt servicing, paying back previously issued bonds, paying back with interest.

But it’s not happening all at once. First, not all Treasury Bonds are issued with the same maturation period. Some people hand us the money for a year, some for thirty years (those longer term ones pay more) Second, the bonds financing the government are bought at different times over the course of the last few years.

We don’t really pay all that much at once, compared to the cost of the debt overall. But we need to keep that rolling, rather than drop the ball and stiff somebody. We need to be dependable on more than one level.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 15, 2013 3:32 PM
Comment #372773

Royal Flush,
The debt ceiling gives Congressional permission to use resources to pay. To use a credit card analogy, a person may have a lot of money in the bank, and they may make charges on their credit card rather than pay cash, but if they refuse to pay their credit card bill, that is kind of default.

Posted by: phx8 at October 15, 2013 3:40 PM
Comment #372775
The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse — that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British Constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.

James Madison - Federalist # 58

It seems to me that the House is doing just what the writers of the Constitution wanted them to do, it’s a shame that so few people are educated in how our government is supposed to work these days that they can’t understand that.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 15, 2013 4:28 PM
Comment #372776

Many thanks for the Madison quote Rhinehold. I sometimes forget my American history and this was an appropriate refresher.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 15, 2013 4:32 PM
Comment #372777

To use a credit card analogy, a person may have a lot of money in the bank, and they may make charges on their credit card rather than pay cash, but if they refuse to pay their credit card bill, that is kind of default.
Posted by: phx8 at October 15, 2013 3:40 PM

Did you try to retract this post and failed?

1. We don’t have a lot of money in the bank
2. We must use credit as we don’t have the cash

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 15, 2013 4:37 PM
Comment #372778

“The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government.”

Perhaps the liberals should have thought about that some instead of forcing the bill through before the people could have a vote on it.

To bad the Republicans will cave.

Posted by: kctim at October 15, 2013 4:44 PM
Comment #372779

You’re welcome, Royal.

FYI, I went on my first actual vacation in about 10 years last week. Taking my wife who is recovering from chemo along with my parents, we had planned to drive and see several national monuments, including Gettysburg. Of course, we picked the wrong week as we were unable to see many of these places, not because of the nonsense going on in Washington but specifically because the Obama administration wanted to be petulant and cause pain that didn’t need to exist in order to win a political fight.

It’s a shame, but I am not upset about that, these issues are more important than whether or not I got to see a piece of land…

Luckily, we were able to see many other things, like the Natural Bridge and several museums, because they were PRIVATELY run. Which just leads to my argument that all of these parks and monuments should be operated privately. They would be better taken care of and wouldn’t be the subject to petty political disagreements. But the politicians wouldn’t be able to use our own lands against us in order to keep us in line, would they? So I doubt it will ever happen. :/

I also found out that the Natural Bridge (something a huge fan of Jefferson like myself felt very inspired by, he bought it for a SONG!) is actually up for sale. I am considering putting together a consortium of groups together to raise the money to purchase it… As it should be, not owned by the government to then allow us to see it only if we are good boys and girls.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 15, 2013 4:45 PM
Comment #372780

It seems that some folks don’t understand the difference between “cash” and “credit” or “resources”.

I personally have around $150k available to me on my credit cards. It is a resource I can turn into cash. If I turn the entire $150k into cash, I have no credit or resources remaining.

In fact, if I used all my credit, chances are the holders of my debt would be very, very worried.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 15, 2013 4:46 PM
Comment #372782

Rhinehold, sorry to read that your wife required chemo. I will keep her in my daily prayer list.

I lived in Virginia for six years before moving to Texas. What a great state, jam packed full of American history. No American should ever be denied access to our National Heritage sites due to government squabbles.

I am reminded of Colonial Williamsburg which I have visited four times, even once since I moved to Texas. It remains privately owned and must stay that way.

“Colonial Williamsburg is a living-history museum and private foundation representing the historic district of the city of Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. The 301-acre (122 ha) Historic Area includes buildings dating from 1699 to 1780 which made colonial Virginia’s capital, as well as Colonial Revival and more recent reconstructions.

Early in the 20th century, the restoration and re-creation of Colonial Williamsburg, one of the largest such projects in the nation, was championed by W. A. R. Goodwin and the patriarch of the Rockefeller family, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., along with his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, to celebrate the patriots and the early history of the United States. Today it is a major tourist attraction for the Williamsburg area, and is part of the Historic Triangle of Virginia area, which includes Jamestown and Yorktown, linked by the Colonial Parkway. The site has been used for conferences by world leaders and heads of state, including U.S. Presidents. In 1983, the United States hosted the first World Economic Conference at Colonial Williamsburg. The Historic area is located immediately east of The College of William & Mary.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonial_Williamsburg

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 15, 2013 4:55 PM
Comment #372783

If it helps clarify, the US has enormous resources and enormous amounts of cash and an enormous amount of credit. But refusing to pay a bill still results in a default, regardless of cash, resources, credit, or what have you.

The next downgrade by the ratings agencies is probably already coming. Let’s just hope the current situation is resolved before a financial panic gets going, because if panic sets in, the decline will happen very fast.

Posted by: phx8 at October 15, 2013 4:57 PM
Comment #372784

Stephen, not to worry. I suggest you take your que from the stock market.

WW, correct, truth has been bent into a pretzel. Corpocratic gov’t thru scare tactics and kicking the can further down the road are symptomatic of the necessity to continue to drag down the developing nations to a point where all can play in the Globalist NWO.

The world is awash in $$. Big banks around the world are stuffed to max. The World Bank, a US pet project, has pumped $56B in loans to China since the US restored dip relations in 79. Over that time period China was awarded 21.8% of WB international contracts, second being Italy at 10%. China awarded 52.1 of WB contracts in Africa.

The IMF has marching orders of ‘pedal to the metal’ with globalising the global economy. What does that mean to the ‘man on the street’? Another couple of decades of gov’t by scare tactics, IMO. Suggest you relax and enjoy the ride, SD, unless you just like the partisan bickering and so on - - -

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at October 15, 2013 4:59 PM
Comment #372795

Stephen, so do you think running up a debt of 17 trillion is good? You guys thought Bush’s doubling of the debt was a travesty but you give Obama a pass? Talk about hypocricy!!!!!!!

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at October 15, 2013 6:10 PM
Comment #372806

Rhinehold-
Federalist #62

Another advantage accruing from this ingredient in the constitution of the Senate is, the additional impediment it must prove against improper acts of legislation. No law or resolution can now be passed without the concurrence, first, of a majority of the People, and, then, of a majority of the States. It must be acknowledged that this complicated check on legislation may, in some instances, be injurious as well as beneficial; and that the peculiar defence which it involves in favor of the smaller States, would be more rational, if any interests common to them, and distinct from those of the other States, would otherwise be exposed to peculiar danger. But as the larger States will always be able, by their power over the supplies, to defeat unreasonable exertions of this prerogative of the lesser States, and as the faculty and excess of law-making seem to be the diseases to which our Governments are most liable, it is not impossible that this part of the Constitution may be more convenient in practice, than it appears to many in contemplation.

IV. The number of Senators, and the duration of their appointment, come next to be considered. In order to form an accurate judgment on both of these points, it will be proper to inquire into the purposes which are to be answered by a Senate; and in order to ascertain these, it will be necessary to review the inconveniences which a republic must suffer from the want of such an institution.

First. It is a misfortune incident to republican Government, though in a less degree than to other Governments, that those who administer it may forget their obligations to their constituents, and prove unfaithful to their important trust. In this point of view, a Senate, as a second branch of the Legislative Assembly, distinct from, and dividing the power with, a first, must be in all cases a salutary check on the Government. It doubles the security to the People, by requiring the concurrence of two distinct bodies in schemes of usurpation or perfidy, where the ambition or corruption of one would otherwise be sufficient. This is a precaution founded on such clear principles, and now so well understood in the United States, that it would be more than superfluous to enlarge on it. I will barely remark, that as the improbability of sinister combinations will be in proportion to the dissimilarity in the genius of the two bodies, it must be politic to distinguish them from each other by every circumstance which will consist with a due harmony in all proper measures, and with the genuine principles of republican Government.

Secondly. The necessity of a Senate is not less indicated by the propensity of all single and numerous assemblies, to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions. Examples on this subject might be cited without number; and from proceedings within the United States, as well as from the history of other nations. But a position that will not be contradicted, need not be proved. All that need be remarked, is, that a body which is to correct this infirmity, ought itself to be free from it, and consequently ought to be less numerous. It ought, moreover, to possess great firmness, and consequently ought to hold its authority by a tenure of considerable duration.

The Senate is doing it’s job, too! The Framers never meant for the House to have pre-emptory power over everything. There are limits, and unfortunately, advocates of repeal are not paying attention to those limits.

As for the National Parks?

I’m really not certain that the President has the legal authority to keep those places open in the absence of the staff to maintain and protect it. I’m puzzled by this expectation that these parks and landmarks remain open. I mean, what did people think a government shutdown actually mean? It’s not spite. It’s consequence. You write the law a certain way, or fail to do so, this is what happens.

Royal Flush-
As far as resources go, we don’t need a terribly large amount of resources to keep up with our current obligations. It’s premature to act as if it we’re already at the point of a fiscal crisis. We just need to get the economy back up to speed, and then apply austerity in a fashion that keeps America’s economic interests stable.

Rich KAPitan-
1) No. If we had done things my way at the beginning of this decade, we wouldn’t be in this position. I’m a common sense-oriented fiscal conservative. In normal times, when we’re not in an economic funk, I believe we need to keep our revenues and outlays closely matched. If I had had my druthers, we’d be paying off the debt.

2)But the Bush Administration happened. Worse yet, the Fiscal screwups occurred, and then we had a financial disaster that pretty much knocked us back a decade, growth-wise. The Bush Administration’s decade wasn’t splendid on the jobs front to begin with, but it ended with a huge surge of unemployment and deflationary collapse.

3)And the trouble with that is, it makes unwinding the whole mess a big ordeal. Raise taxes back to what they were, and it could hurt the economy. The Wars couldn’t be stopped on a dime, so the expense of that dragged on. Then you add all the measures we had to take in order to prevent further collapse, and you’ve got a real you-know-what sandwich of a fiscal situation.

Policy isn’t like a video game, with instant results and the ability to go back to an earlier saved point and redeem mistakes. The consequences of Bush Fiscal policy carried forward.

I’m not a hypocrite. Calling me one doesn’t change the facts. I believe firmly that one has to recognized and account for economic effects when you deal with fiscal matters. It’s sort of like paddling a boat: the momentum you built going in your first direction doesn’t go away, and you can’t arbitrarily ignore the currents or even the winds and the waves. To get in the direction you want to go, you have to deal with both the consequences of actions taken earlier, and forces that are not necessarily in your control.

I believe in real fiscal conservatism: the careful, observant handling of our nation’s finances. What Republicans do nowadays seems to me to be a reactionary, misguided parody of it, yielding neither the promised primary results, or the alleged secondary results. I’m not giving Obama a pass. His approach, his budgeting, his focus on the economy has done more good for the deficit than Republican austerity has.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 15, 2013 6:53 PM
Comment #372817

Stephen, Done things YOURWAY??????????? Your a fiscal conservative yet you give Obama A PASS. I used the term Hypocrite in general terms meaning those who thought Bush’s doubling of the debt a travesty in 8 years but give Obama’s debt problems in 4 years a pass, but if you fit in that category sorry. Yes fiscal screw-ups occurred under both Bush’s and Obama’s administration. Obama promised change yet gave us more of the same O same O BULLS**T. As far as your last paragraph I’d include Democrats in the mix also.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at October 15, 2013 8:09 PM
Comment #372829
The Senate is doing it’s job, too! The Framers never meant for the House to have pre-emptory power over everything. There are limits, and unfortunately, advocates of repeal are not paying attention to those limits.

Interestingly I never said they weren’t. I also never laid any blame at the Senate in anything I wrote, I made it clear that this is a process and should continue to play out, both sides are going to have to give and take on this one.

Both sides have been pretty rigid and not willing to compromise. However, your stance is that the House should roll over.

The people voted in a Republican House for a reason, to act as a check and balance against the Senate and administration. Your answer is to eliminate that check so that the agenda of the Democrats can go unchecked.

I’m really not certain that the President has the legal authority to keep those places open in the absence of the staff to maintain and protect it.

Again, interesting since that is exactly what Clinton did when the last shutdowns occurred in the 1990s.

I’m puzzled by this expectation that these parks and landmarks remain open.

It’s not just that the parks and monuments are closed, it is that they are closing open air parks, etc. Let me explain.

There are many open air parks in the country that are controlled by the federal government. They are places where people can drive through, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and require no one there to oversee. An example is the Chickamauga Battlefield that I visited last week. This area is just a public road with a couple of pull-offs so that people can take pictures and read plaques. Signs were put up telling people that they could not slow down and look at these areas, the pulloffs were barracaded off. Why? They require no additional ongoing funding to leave un-barricaded, they require no people to allow others through a gate, etc. They are on a public road that remained open. The only reason to put up those barricades was to cause pain for political purposes.

Some people decided to go to those parks and mow the lawns, take care of them on their own. For their offer of assistance they were either threatened with, or actually issued citations to appear in court and face up to 60 months in prison. When one was turned away with his lawnmower, the park police said ‘if you want to get the parks back open, call congress and tell them to do what the president wants’. So, the parks are being manned by park security to ensure that these gate jumpers and voluteers who are only trying to help are being harassed, so the idea that they can’t be open because of park security is laughable. In fact, the shutdown page that was put up for these parks says:

With more than 20,000 National Park Service employees furloughed, the staff that remain on duty are focused on protecting park resources and human life and safety and cannot provide the visitor services
that you have come to expect from us for nearly 100 years.

There are NO VISITOR SERVICES provided for these open air parks. Why not allow the parks to open and just not have the visitor services available? Allow my wife, who may not live long enough to get back to that park and see it, the opportunity to just walk through the park? We weren’t interested in tours or other services, just wanted to see the parks. There is no logical response to that other than the administration is wanting us to feel the pain of their failures to resolve this issue months ago.

Further, the House has passed a CR early on to fund the parks and keep them open. The Democrats, and specifically the President, has said that it will not sign such a CR because they feel it would lessen their position. They need to keep the public in pain in order to win their fight.

I mean, what did people think a government shutdown actually mean?

Partial shutdown. 17% of the government is shutdown, Stephen. It’s already a pick and choose situation, so the notion that ‘they have no alternatives’ is laughable.

It’s not spite. It’s consequence.

No, it’s both. The administration is purposefully making sure that the public feels the pain for political purposes, just as they did with the sequester, blocking all efforts by agencies to save money and do other things to keep the pain that the people would feel to a minimum. This is not the first time this administration has done this, Stephen.

You write the law a certain way, or fail to do so, this is what happens.

Only because they choose for it to be. There are ways around the problem, including using volunteerism to keep them open, but the administration has rejected any and all options, other than complete capitulation, to do so. I was heartened to see that they offered to allow the states to fund them and keep them open, why not have it that way all of the time? The states are the ones who are reaping the benefits of the tourism dollars for these parks, why are they not footing the majority of the bills for them in the first place?

The reality is that this is exactly why these national parks and monuments should be maintained and services by private organizations, as I have always said. The same for many other services, such as healthcare. If the government is going to play politics with our national lands, retirements, charity, etc, it is inevitable that they are going to use our health as a political football as well. Actually, they already have been.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 16, 2013 9:44 AM
Comment #372833

Rich KAPitan-
Beyond the stimulus, there’s not much Obama’s actually done to make the deficit worse, and he’s been very careful about that. He gets a pass because most of the policies that increased the deficit didn’t start with him, and his policies since then have almost cut the deficit in half.

Rhinehold-
The imperative, no, the duty to maintain government operations and full faith and credit does not belong to the Democrats alone. For this reason, If Democrats held their ground, as they’ve done, the Republicans were always going to be under pressure to capitulate, because most Americans beyond the Tea Party were not going to reward them for increasing dysfunction.

The President, having already gone through this once, learned a valuable lesson: allowing them to negotiate concessions under threat of the default before incentivized their reuse of the tactic. So, he’s letting the Republicans tear themselves apart trying to figure that out, letting them weaken themselves.

I think you, and others like you, got the wrong idea about this. Truth is, anybody who’s left behind is probably going without a paycheck to do so, and they’re having to do the work of many more people. There are other, very necessary, lifesaving programs and services that are not being given out, because Congress hasn’t exercised its power of the purse to permit them to be funded.

Yes, it’s sad that your wife may not live long enough to see these things. It’s also potentially sad that after years of struggling to become a self-sufficient adult, I might lose my job to the failure of some twits in Washington to accept no for an answer from the Senate.

The parts of the budget that require this CR are defined by law. Obama can’t pick and choose them, as Congress already has. I know it angers you that these services aren’t available to you. But you’re blaming the wrong person for it.

As for privatizing the national parks?

I think back to what Teddy Roosevelt said about the Grand Canyon when he dedicated it:

I have come here to see the Grand Canyon of Arizona, because in that canyon Arizona has a natural wonder, which, so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. (Applause.) I shall not attempt to describe it, because I cannot. I could not choose words that would convey or that could convey to any outsider what that canyon is. I want you to ask you to do one thing in connection with it in your own interest and in the interest of the country—to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. (Applause.) I was delighted to learn of the wisdom of the Santa Fe railroad people in deciding not to build their hotel on the brink of the canyon. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. Man cannot improve on it; not a bit. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children and your children’s children and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American, if he can travel at all, should see.

I watched a documentary on the foundation of the National Parks system, and it bears stating: the formation was a result of the experience of our forebears, not some deception by the forces of big government.

In times past, people took these natural wonders, and basically remade them surrounding them with tawdry tourist traps, developing the sites, marring what nature had created over the ages. People had experience with this happening. You go to those national parks, want to go to them, quite frankly, because they are what they are. They haven’t been so thoroughly remade by the hand of man that they’ve lost that wild character.

There are some things history will tell you are for the best to leave in place. Not everything has to be remade in the image of private enterprise. Not everything has to be privatized.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 16, 2013 12:24 PM
Comment #372835
The parts of the budget that require this CR are defined by law. Obama can’t pick and choose them, as Congress already has. I know it angers you that these services aren’t available to you. But you’re blaming the wrong person for it.

Actually, you are entirely wrong here. The House has already, multiple times, offered up and passed CRs to keep most of the government working, they were rejected by Harry Reid and the Senate without a vote. Harry Reid wants one CR, not multiple CRs, even though that is how this government has been functioning for years, through individual CRs for different parts of the government.

I am very well aware of who is at fault here, apparently you are the one who is mistaken.

The Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate can’t negotiate to get anything done. Fine, but when the situation arises that non-essential parts of the government need to be shut down, instead of doing that, this president has gone out of his way to MAKE SURE that the shutdown hurt more than it needed to. That’s just a fact that cannot be disputed, Stephen. We’re talking about a piece of land that has security on it (essential function). There is no reason to stop people from seeing it just because you sent the tour guides and visitor center assistants home. There is no reason to shut off the small pull-off areas of public roads. Those don’t cost any money, it was done simply to win a political battle.

As for privatizing the national parks, what the hell are you smoking? No one is talking about destroying or harming the parks in any way. Only that they are operated and run by private organizations (no one said anything about the likes of Walmart or Sears) who are not affected by politics. Think Sierra Club or the Nature Conservancy.

BTW, I saw a national wonder called the National Bridge last week. It, like the Grand Canyon, is just something you have to see, pictures will never do it justice. And unlike the Grand Canyon, I was allowed to see it because it was PRIVATELY OWNED. It was first privatized by Thomas Jefferson before the revolutionary war when he bought it from King George. It isn’t destroyed, it isn’t surrounded by tawdy tourist traps, etc. And it is not subject to the whims of the federal government and politics.

I was also allowed to see Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN. Guess what, privately owned and a beautiful cliff where you can see *7* states. It is surrounded by one of the most amazing rock garden creations, owned and put together by the guy who invented miniature golf.

I was however NOT allowed to pull off to the side of a public road and spend 5 minutes gazing at a statue in a field at the Chickamauga Battlefield or I could have been put in jail for 6 months. I was not allowed to walk through a park on Lookout Mountain dedicated to the battle of Chattanooga for no other reason that President Obama wants to win a political battle in Washington.

Your scare tactics are ignorant and full of fear.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 16, 2013 1:53 PM
Comment #372836

Another example, the Amber Alert online system was shut down because of the shutdown, but the first lady’s website dedicated to child obesity remained up and the administration allowed for government employee union reps to return to work…

After an outcry, the site was turned back online.

How did they do that, if this was all law that they were following and unable to do anything about it? I’m confused here, Stephen, please help me out and explain it to me…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 16, 2013 2:24 PM
Comment #372837

Stephen, There’s not much of anything Obama has done to make anything better. By now he owns the deficit and his playing dictator isn’t making it better!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at October 16, 2013 2:50 PM
Comment #372990

Rhinehold-
This multiple CR thing is not how the government typically functions. Typical function means a budget. The fact that you think otherwise shows us how much deviancy has been defined down by the Tea Party Congress.

I think the whole talk about partial shutdowns is political hogwash, because effectively what Conservatives and libertarians are wanting out of that is for the President to let Congress just take hostages of what won’t reflect badly on them. Do we look that gullible?

As for privatizing the parks, once you let it become a private concern, then the profit motive takes precedence, doesn’t it? Yeah, just sell off this portion to the Uranium miners, sell off these forests to these other fellows for clear cutting. Set up tacky little shops selling souvenirs cut from the rocks themselves!

Yes, I remember Natural Bridge, primarily for its gift shop, which sold a whole bunch of rocks.

I am not of the belief that business is utterly evil, or anything like that. But I think that it’s not inherently good, or kept inherently good by anything. It needs to be governed, like any other human enterprise.

Folks will do stupid things, like push over million year old rock formations, if they aren’t governed about how they interact with these wonders. They’ll make tourist traps out of national wonders. And you know, they did privately administrate things in the past. What they found out was that things went little better than they did when it wasn’t a national park.

We need a disinterested steward, more or less, not somebody with a motive to keep it to one group of people or another, or exploit it in some way.

Rich KAPitan-
Add another exclamation point, I might agree.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 20, 2013 9:44 AM
Comment #373024
This multiple CR thing is not how the government typically functions. Typical function means a budget. The fact that you think otherwise shows us how much deviancy has been defined down by the Tea Party Congress.

BS, the CR thing started when Congress controlled both houses of government, if your party is THAT influential that they can’t get a budget passed, perhaps you should be looking to them instead of outside forces trying to stop you?

You were able to get a lot of things passed, but not a budget… perhaps it is because you never once wanted to negotiate? Kind of like now?

As for privatizing the parks, once you let it become a private concern, then the profit motive takes precedence, doesn’t it?

How do you figure? All lands owned in the US are subjected to zoning laws, you don’t think the US government could still keep uranium miners out of those lands once they are being run by private organizations? I didn’t say anything about selling them, but I would like to see that happen to help pay off the national debt. But we don’t have to be stupid about it, we can still keep laws on the books to protect them even if they are being run or owned by private organizations.

And if we were to sell Yellowstone, or passed the operation of Yellowstone, to the Sierra Club, do you think they are going to work hard to get uranium miners into them to strip mine them?

Aren’t you now acting just like the Republicans you like to denigrate who play ‘the sky is falling’ with their pet issues?

What they found out was that things went little better than they did when it wasn’t a national park.

BS, how were they better? You are making the assertion, give me details. Being the subject of political maneuverings? Being managed by the whims of congressional power plays instead of proper stewards of the lands who dedicate their lives to such endeavors?

We need a disinterested steward, more or less, not somebody with a motive to keep it to one group of people or another, or exploit it in some way.

I agree COMPLETELY. Do you really think that politicians are those disinterested stewards? I think the past few weeks should open your eyes to that if you think so.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 21, 2013 11:10 PM
Comment #373025

BTW, if you don’t like gift shops, DON’T GO INTO THEM. Many people like those things. My wife is an avid rock collector and was very happy to get some rocks at Rock City to add to her collection.

That’s the real issue I have, the use of power of the government to tell people they can’t do something that YOU don’t want them to do. You have no qualms about such things, do you? Of course not, it’s the heart of the progressive ideal.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 21, 2013 11:14 PM
Comment #373052

Rhinehold-
We’ve passed at least one budget, and would have passed another if it weren’t for the timely intervention of a Republican Filibuster. And you know why they did that? So that in 2011, they could have a Government Shutdown threat to extort demands out of Democrats.

If we want to look at things logically, then there are certain facts that do not allow certain conclusions. When Democrats had a clear run at it, they passed a budget, because they don’t do this “chinese water torture” crap with our nation’s fiscal matters, trying to extract concessions from those who control the Senate and White House. Republicans do, and have done.

As for negotiation, you know I actually supported the negotiations the President embarked on, saw the point of them. I am, at heart, an bruised, older version of a Clinton idealist, who saw negotiation as par for the course.

But that’s negotiation, where both sides make concession, not extortion, where one side threatens to bankrupt the country if it doesn’t get its way, and you basically have to do the exact opposite of everything you want to do in order to comply. I don’t like the idea of being forced to do stupid things like apply fiscal tightening to a weak economy in exchange for one side not blowing up the country’s economy for decades to come.

If you think this crap with the Debt Ceiling is negotiation, we will have to disagree. I think it goes beyond the proper bounds of Congressional behavior. And you know what? Many Americans agree. The Republicans have taken a savage beating in the polls. It may in fact lose them Congress, which would be a relief, and a good object lesson to boot.

As for the National Parks? Selling it off to pay the national debt?

I got a little story for you. I play this first-person-shooter game, and recently they’ve begun selling new levels and new paint-jobs for the weapons. Some even come with a feature that lets you count the kills.

That kind of cheery stuff aside, there are some weapons that are very expensive on the Marketplace, and it was my good luck to get one, a Golden Desert Eagle pistol with that kill-counting feature. The price on the game’s marketplace was over a hundred dollars at the time. I got it simply by opening up one of the cases that get dropped to you, with a $2.49 key.

I thought of all the things I could buy if I sold it.

And then I decide I would never sell it. Why? Rarity, for one thing. They’re not many of them to find or buy. For another thing, the cost of getting it again, versus the cost of having received it by good fortune made it clear that if I was counting on chance to favor me like that again too soon, I was kidding myself.

Plus, damn it, I liked the design! I’d actually been looking for just this version of the gun in question, though the kill tracking feature hadn’t actually been on my radar screen, given the price premium that demanded.

Value is not merely a question of speculative return. It’s a matter of what you want. What I want are publically available areas of protected wilderness which developers and miners and other despoilers of nature as it is and as it was just won’t get their hands on.

To me, it’s foolish to sell off, for short term gain, the things that you will most likely regret losing, the legacies you can’t replace except at great cost. The National Parks are certainly more valuable than the right to have your gun render a certain way in a game, and much rarer. More to the point, if they fall into private hands and get exploited, there are many ways in which that exploitation can leave a permanent mark.

So, no, I don’t want to take that chance. I don’t want to have to hope and pray that the Sierra Club or whatever private owner gets it both take care of it, and if they’re great at doing that, never sell it or lose it to somebody else. I want them nice, safe, right where they are, with the public that enjoys them able to enjoy them for as long as this nation lasts.

You know, those rocks have to come from somewhere, and if they come from within the park… well, there’s something that millions of years created and we tore down.

I’m not very interested in having us throw away things just because folks elevate the profit motive on some kind of pedestal. There are important things beyond money, or exploiting things for short term, short sighted benefits. There are things that if we destroy, we have not the competence to create again, and I would rather respect that fact in humility, than be like those idiots who recently toppled a million year old formation in a national park, who can’t put the rock back where it was.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2013 5:15 PM
Comment #373061
What I want are publically available areas of protected wilderness which developers and miners and other despoilers of nature as it is and as it was just won’t get their hands on.

There is ZERO way that they could, as I have already explained. If you want to continue your ignorant chicken little rant, then go ahead. But don’t pretend that you are anything better than the Republicans who use fear and manipulation to convince their followers that they have to vote for them or the evil commies will come take their guns…

It all gets so old. I read from some on facebook about this arms treaty that is going to outlaw guns in the US if we sign it. The rub? It *CAN’T*. No treaty signed by this government can violate the rule of law in the US, especially the constitution. So, they are chicken littling it, wasting their times and getting scared about something that CANNOT HAPPEN.

The same applies here. The US government can keep restrictions on those lands no matter who owns them and if it wants can just take them back. As a result, I doubt you would get much for them, and selling them is probably not going to be worth it in the end, but the idea of selling them just scares the bejeesus out of people because they aren’t using their brains. At least let them be managed and run by groups like the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy, that can be pulled too if they aren’t doing their job. But it gets the day to day stuff out of the hands of the politicians who are not equipped and don’t have the time and don’t have the knowledge to operate them properly.

Let those lands be the best that they can be, let the people who know how to preserve and manage things preserve and manage them.

Or be no better than the Republicans you denigrate. That’s your call.

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Comment #375124

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