Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt

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When Republicans picked themselves up off the mat following November’s electoral surprises it became pretty clear that the GOP, like Mitt Romney, were caught flat-footed without a game-plan—they were that sure that they’d win the White House plus a super-majority in Congress.  Through the magic of gerrymandering, the GOP managed to retain its majority in the House and comforted themselves with the odd notion that their House majority represented a voter mandate for split government [really]. 

By January, 2013, a time when Republicans expected to be gleefully carrying out Romney’s Day One Agenda—repealing Obamacare, cutting taxes, passing the Ryan budget and otherwise hacking and slashing their way to glory—Republican leadership were, instead, scrabbling for small points of leverage to continue their program of creating drag on the recovery and discrediting President Obama.

Since Democrats had shored up their majority in the Senate, it looked like it would be up to the House to score any Republican goals and the “big games” would be the fiscal cliff, the sequester and the debt ceiling.  As the party was still on life-support and might have over-estimated any leverage they actually had, the first two came and went with little ado.  Next up is the debt ceiling and, lo and behold, this week both Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have started rumbling about that.

McConnell issued this somewhat theatrical line below, on Tuesday:

. . . the only time President Barack Obama gets “serious” is when Republicans use the debt ceiling to drag him “kicking and screaming” into negotiations.

Knowing how much damage this sort of mindset did in the past, McConnell attempted to head off criticism, this time, with this:

. . . debt battles are the way to achieve significant shifts in the government’s finances. That has generated—as it has going back to the 1950s—major changes.  The notion that it is somehow irresponsible to have a discussion about the debt when you’re asked to raise the debt ceiling is completely wrong.

McConnell has arrived at this sense of duty about raising the debt quite recently, though, as his voting record will show that he had no such qualms passing seven debt ceiling raises in eight years—doubling the debt—to bankroll Bush & Co’s escapades.

John Boehner, for his part, is reviving the Boehner Rule—a simple rule for a simple-minded policy—requiring a dollar of budget cuts for every dollar the debt ceiling is raised.

Now, in regard to the “Boehner Rule” there is an existing sea of ink on what a particularly butt-headed, damaging policy notion this thing is from the last time Republicans dragged us through the debt ceiling swamp.  Bipartisan economists, analysts and anyone else with half a brain wrote reams about how damaging Boehner’s Rule would be to the economy.  It would crash the economy and it’s not even mathematically feasible.  Paul Ryan’s budget doesn’t even follow the Boehner Rule, for gawd’s sake.  It’s that stupid.

And, it’s probably a head fake.  Back in January, Boehner sat down with the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore to discuss the GOPs take on these various fiscal gambits and here’s what he said, at that time:

I ask Mr. Boehner if he will take the debt-ceiling talks to the brink — risking a government shutdown and debt downgrade from the credit agencies — given that it didn’t work in 2011 and President Obama has said he won’t bargain on the matter.

The debt bill is “one point of leverage,” Mr. Boehner says, but he also hedges, noting that it is “not the ultimate leverage.” He says that Republicans won’t back down from the so-called Boehner rule: that every dollar of raising the debt ceiling will require one dollar of spending cuts over the next 10 years. Rather than forcing a deal, the insistence may result in a series of monthly debt-ceiling increases.

The Republicans’ stronger card, Mr. Boehner believes, will be the automatic spending sequester trigger that trims all discretionary programs — defense and domestic. It now appears that the president made a severe political miscalculation when he came up with the sequester idea in 2011.

Well, we all know how that turned out . . .

Then, just this week, John Boehner admitted that there really is no immediate debt crisis.  Which, to my mind, would be the perfect jumping off place to raise the debt ceiling with a clean bill.

The Republican leadership is pretty incoherent on just about any topic, right now, and especially on budget.  John Boehner and Mitch McConnell both know the debt ceiling must be raised.  They both know that a threat not to do that is not credible and that is why neither of them will answer the direct question “do you plan to hold the debt ceiling hostage,” at this time.  Both refuse to answer that question because they know they won’t but they still crave that little frisson of power politics that they get from pretending they will/can.

Unfortunately, Democrats and just about everyone else reads these bombastic threats and innuendoes as weak.  Because that’s what they are . . .

 

Posted by Bette Noir on 03/21/13 at 01:59 PM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsNutters

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Then, just this week, John Boehner admitted that there really is no immediate debt crisis.  Which, to my mind, would be the perfect jumping off place to raise the debt ceiling with a clean bill.

With interest rates so low, it would make sense for the government to borrow more money in order to jump-start the economy with badly needed infrastructure projects.

it would make sense

Brother, sense left the party in 2011, and had been heading for the door since 2008.

You know, it takes some education in abnormal psychology to understand these guys.  Their whole point, what gets them out of bed in the morning (other than the money to be raised from donors) is the need to be in there, at all times, going hard with the crazy-making. 

Crazy-making has many advantages in the modern world; (1) it makes for lots of breathless TV stories, (2) it does a fine job of distracting people from where the real action is, and most importantly, (3) it ensures absolute entrophy, which counts as a political win for these bastards.  All sound and fury, signifying the death of democracy, costing their corporate overlords nothing.

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