With a full government shut down pending in two days, many of us are still trying to wrap our heads around the debt limit. In ten sentences, Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum explains what it means, and what happens if it isn’t raised:
For most of the past year, the Republican Party has been threatening to refuse to raise the federal debt limit unless Democrats give in to a broad and varying set of demands. To understand just how reckless this brinksmanship is, you have to understand just what the debt limit is and what it means to breach it. So here’s an explanation in 10 short sentences:
1. On May 19, total US debt reached $16.7 trillion, the maximum currently allowed by law.
2. The Treasury Department has been playing various games since then to continue paying all our bills while still technically remaining under the debt limit, but within a few days they’ll run out of tricks and the government will no longer be allowed to spend more money than it takes in.
3. These Treasury tricks are very much not business as usual, and the fact that we’ve been reduced to these kinds of shell games means that normal governance is already dangerously crippled.
4. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that in FY 2014 (which runs from October 2013 through September 2014), total federal income will be $3,042 billion and total spending will be $3,602 billion, a difference of $560 billion.
5. This is the amount of debt we need to issue to pay for everything in the budget, which means that if the debt limit isn’t raised, we need to immediately cut spending by $560 billion, or $46 billion per month.
6. That’s roughly the equivalent of wiping out the entire Defense Department; or wiping out two-thirds of Social Security; or wiping out all of Medicaid + all unemployment insurance + all food assistance + all veterans’ benefits.
7. What’s worse, because the government’s computers are programmed to simply pay bills in the order they’re received, it’s not clear if the Treasury can specify which bills get paid and which don’t.
8. This raises the additional risk that interest on treasury bonds might not get paid—something that would put US debt in default and could be disastrous in a global economy that depends on US bonds being rock solid.
9. So those are our choices if Congress fails to raise the debt limit: Either we suddenly stop paying for critical programs that people depend on, or we default on US treasury bonds—or both.
10. The former would immiserate millions of people and probably produce a second Great Recession, while the latter would likely devastate the global economy.
Not much of a choice, is it? That’s why it’s time for Republicans to stop playing games with the financial equivalent of nuclear weapons and agree to raise the debt limit.
Are you as tired of this as I am? Are you sick of our spineless Speaker allowing 49 petulant and seditious congressional members of the GOP to hold this country hostage? Then tell him so: http://www.speaker.gov/
- The Debt Ceiling Explained in 10 Short Sentences (motherjones.com)
- Key dates on debt limit as Thursday deadline nears (kansascity.com)
- Dual crises: Shutdown, debt limit could merge (bigstory.ap.org)
A tip of the tin foil hat to People Against Gun Violence for sharing.
- Baghdad Battery (notestoponder.wordpress.com)
It’s been a little over a week now since the election, and the GOP seems to be sticking to some very confounding reasoning as to why they lost. It wasn’t because of their out of touch platform, it was because Obama got too many votes. Wait, what? That’s like the Kansas City Chiefs blaming their Monday night loss on Pittsburgh for scoring too many points. This is the message delivered: Whether it be Romney trying to cover his ass to his campaign contributors (or investment handlers as I like to think of them), or Paul Ryan bemoaning that Obama had too much support in urban areas.
That’s the Republican reasoning: Blame Obama for getting votes that they were sure would be coming to them. It had nothing to do with the fact that the GOP managed to alienate half the country. The election was lost because President Obama was irresponsibly appealing to a larger demographic of voters. Yet again, the GOP has found a way to blame our president for their utter failure. Talk about a gift – the Republican Party as it is in the present day, going down in flames, was gift enough for me. The Republicans can blame Obama and his “gifts” all they want, but truth is that the majority of us loathe their gifts to the perversely wealthy, big oil, and hedge fund managers.
One would think that the GOP would learn their lesson. Extreme conservatism is no more appealing then extreme liberalism. Yet, that’s the cold dish that they insist on serving. What happened to the moderates? What happened to cooperation? Apparently these are ideologies of the past. It’s not enough to enable corporate welfare, the GOP will not be happy until extremism rules our country in much the same fashion that extremists rule Iran. This is the party of Reagan no longer, this is the party of rich white ayatollahs who want to impose their will on the rest of us.
I was hoping this would change after the election. I was hoping the GOP would begin to make a sorely needed move toward the center. I guess I was wrong. Maybe they will get the memo, in time for the 2014 house and senate elections. I’m not holding my breath though.
- GOP Extremism Will Doom Its Future Prospects (patheos.com)
Um Secede perhaps? How serious are we to take these people? Self deportation is an option you know. Unless you can’t spell passport. Or Mexico. Or Canada, etc,etc. Hell, they couldn’t even spell cat if we spotted them the c and the a.
Tammy Duckworth has my utmost admiration and respect. It doesn’t matter what party she belongs to. She is a fabulous role model for all of us. We should all aspire to have her courage and resolve: Maybe our country wouldn’t be so fucked up if we did.
My first impulse after writing the title to this post, was to leave it blank. As Romney’s running mate, Ryan contributed little to nothing to his campaign. At first glance, one would think he was a non-factor. However, after some further examination, I think he was a huge factor, a ginormous negative effect on a campaign that had a razor thin margin for error.
At the very least, a VP candidate is expected deliver his home region. Ryan couldn’t even deliver his home state. While he did manage to hold on to his congressional seat in Wisconsin (talk about hedging your bet), his Midwestern background meant little there. Romney lost Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio: All states that Ryan should have appealed to. What he and Romney got instead was an Obama sweep. Indiana came through for team Romney, but I can’t even remember the last time Indiana went blue in a Presidential election.
As the campaign trudged forward this year, Ryan’s presence grew smaller by the day. Sure, he did stop and wash some already clean pots and pans at a St. Vincent De Paul, and he did take some time to get schooled by Joe Biden on national TV, oh yeah, there was also the children of rape is God’s gift ( or some disgusting view point of the like) comment, and the ridiculous photo shoot with the dumbbells (which one was the dumbbells?), and the – you know? Never mind. The GOP, pretty much tried to hide him, rather than let him promote Romney.
He was making a fool out of himself and Romney from the outset, and Willard sure as hell didn’t need any help with that.
Willard my man, you should have went with Christie as your running mate: you have my heart felt gratitude for picking Ryan instead.
Wow, what an emotional roller coaster of a night it was. I’m still having trouble gathering my thoughts. With so many “swing” states so hotly contested last night, both my partner and I collectively held our breaths for hours. It wasn’t until the west brought Obama close that I started to mildly relax: It wasn’t until Ohio was called shortly after 11, that I could even think about going to bed. I even got up in the middle of the night to double check the results. It was that kind of night for my partner and I.
However in the midst of all the fretting and fussing, the teeth gnashing, the hand wringing, the nail biting, I noticed, as did many of you, that we the people were delivering a succinct message: The hate has to stop, that extremism is not appropriate, that intolerance is not to be tolerated. Take a look at what transpired last night, then try to tell me I’m wrong:
Amidst the conservative anti-feminist movement, 19 female senators were elected, which is the most ever. There were some very notable, hard fought campaigns:
- In Missouri, Claire McCaskill shut that whole thing down by trouncing Todd Akin.
- In Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin beat career politician Tommy Thompson, and became this country’s first openly gay Senator.
- In Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren beat corporate favorite Scott Brown.
In a lot of congressional and senate races, progressives won out over big money, including:
The Tea Party was also on the ropes:
-Allen West lost his congressional seat in Florida.
-Michele Bachman nearly lost hers.
- In heavily Republican Indiana, Joe Donnelly beat right wing nut Richard Mourdock.
Marriage equality received a big boost. Maine, Maryland, and Washington all voted to legalize same sex marriage, while an anti-marriage equality amendment in Minnesota was voted down. Overall, this election has been a boon for not only women, but also for LGBT Americans.
In the west both Washington and Colorado voted to legalize Marijuana, giving new meaning to Rocky Mountain high. It’s about time that people start realizing that Marijuana is a good thing, and not the falsely accused gateway drug that alcohol and tobacco fat cats make it out to be.
But what about Obama? What kind of mandate did his election deliver last night? Although the electoral vote was a landslide (303 to 206, with Florida still undecided), he won the popular vote by less than 3 million. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. I saw a lot of red states for Willard last night. Fortunately, they weren’t heavily populated states. So what happened?
For starters, I think social issues played a bigger role than what the GOP was planning on. The Republican party has lost touch with the country in this aspect. They alienated half of this country with patriarchal, elitist hate rhetoric, and most of us are just tired of it. They went after the rich white Christian vote, and motivated millions of people in most every densely populated area to come out and wait hours in line… to vote against them. This election was more about fighting class warfare and conservative extremism than following Obama’s plan. Picking an old rich white guy to represent the GOP to deliver their message of extreme christian values and austerity was a huge mistake, and in the long run, it has and will cost the Republicans dearly.
In my opinion, our country is heading in the right direction (for now) both socially and economically. However we have a long way to go. Unemployment is still way too high, the cost of living is still outpacing wage growth. DOMA must be repealed, while marriage equality must be nationally recognized. There is more work to be done to level the playing field for Women, LGBT Americans, African Americans, Latinos, immigrants, both the poor and the middle class, and the elderly. Obama and the Democrats can get us there, and a lot of people cried out last night that this is what they want. He must listen to that message, he must act on our demands. In turn, the GOP must listen to our message as well, and react in kind. We expect and demand that the parties work together. It could be a pipe dream, but I don’t believe that in Obama’s America, that the dream is unrealistic.
To wrap it up, I want to say how proud I am of everyone who stood in line for hours to vote, however you voted. It means that each and every one of us understands how important it is to this country to do our civil duty, and cast our ballots. I also want to give mad props to the volunteers who manned the precincts: it was a long night for all of you, and you did your country proud.
Like most of us, I’m exhausted, yet I’m exhilarated at the prospects. Today, I’m proud to be called an American.
What a refreshing change.
One more thing: Donald Trump, you are an insufferable prick. Take your hate rhetoric spewing, paranoid delusional baggy white ass, and crawl under some gilded rock somewhere. You’re bad for this country, you’re bad for America. You’re bad for humanity. Shut the fuck up, just saying.
I hope everyone does their civic duty today, and gets out to vote. It’s your right to make your voice heard, don’t let anyone take that away from you!
I’m not going to waste any more words today about who I support: You already know who, and you probably have your mind made up as well. Hopefully, you’re armed with plenty of information and prepared to vote with your conscience, as well as some good old fashioned critical thinking.
I strongly agree with Tony Wright: In my opinion, voting for Willard Romney for his “fiscal conservatism” makes one complicit with the extremist GOP beliefs that it’s morally acceptable to deny rights to LGBT Americans. A vote for Romney means that you agree that woman should be kept in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. It means that patriarchy is fine by you, and that woman have no business deciding what’s right for their bodies. A vote for Willard says that you have no respect for minorities, the poor, or the elderly.
Voting for Romney tells me that you want theocracy, that freedom of religion is only available to Christians. A vote for Romney screams to me that one nation under Koch is your core value. A vote for Romney says to me that you like trickle down economics, which only serves to flood Caymen Island bank accounts. The trickle down to the rest of us is actually corporate fat cats pissing on our heads.
Teachers and police and firefighters are parasites, sucking the life out of our country’s bottom line. A vote for the GOP means that bullying is perfectly acceptable, as long as it’s you that’s not getting bullied.
Personally, when I vote, morality means more to me than money. When I vote tomorrow, I know that I will be able to look myself in the mirror, and be happy with the choices I made at the polls- will you be able to say the same thing?
Which is it? Money or Morality? You can’t have both with Mitt Romney: chances are that unless you are a rich white man, who’s straight and Christian, the GOP isn’t helping you with either.
I love Game of Thrones, and I love this meme. So much so that I want to throw whipped cream and cherry on top of it, and roll around naked in it for hours