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Old 01-03-2013, 12:37 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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The Debt Ceiling Approacheth

Now that the fiscal cliff has been turned into various cliffs over the entirety of 2013 (should be a fun year, gang...), we can turn our attention the the next one coming up.

In February, we face the sequester cliff, followed shortly by the debt ceiling.

For all intents and purposes, this thread will be used as a repository for both cliffs.

The debt ceiling, of course, has far graver consequences for both the country and the planet. Treasury adopted emergency funding measures about two weeks ago.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:06 PM   #61
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Jon Bernstein claims the polling I indicated earlier in the thread is not to be trusted.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...=rss_plum-line

Ignore bogus polling on debt limit
Posted by Jonathan Bernstein
on January 4, 2013 at 5:51 pm

If there’s anything politicians should be extremely wary of, it’s friendly partisan polls that suggest they’ll be in great shape if only they embrace issue positions and procedural strategies that they wanted to support anyway.

And yet that’s exactly what Republicans appear to be doing with regard to the debt limit, as Jennifer Rubin reported this morning. Dave Weigel has the details about a GOP-sponsored Winston Group poll which asked about the debt limit, and which John Boehner apparently used to rally his House Republican conference. Essentially, there are three findings: respondents strongly oppose raising the debt limit; they agree even more strongly that any debt limit increase should be tied to spending cuts; and they opposed raising the debt limit even if not doing it would mean cuts in “Medicare, Education, Defense, and other government programs.”

The problem? The poll gives virtually no information at all about public opinion about a debt limit fight — or who would be blamed if the federal government defaults.

There’s basically two pieces of information in the poll. One is that raising the debt limit or debt ceiling polls badly. We know that; it’s why, before 2011, debt limit fights were mainly about making one party have to supply the votes for it. The other is that “cut spending” polls well.

Yet both of those pieces of information are isolated from the real debt limit battle. As far as the debt ceiling is concerned, hardly anyone has any idea of what it is in the first place. More to the point, that people think “raise the debt limit” is bad tells us nothing about how they would react to an economic crash caused by government default. As for spending, it’s well known that generic calls to “cut spending” are popular, but so is increasing spending on virtually every individual program the government actually spends money on. In any actual battle, Republicans will eventually be identified with specific cuts (even if they resist supporting specific cuts, Democrats will fill in the blanks).

In other words, this kind of polling tells us absolutely nothing about how a real debt limit fight, much less a default, would play out in terms of public opinion. What we do know is that it’s hard enough for Congress (which is always unpopular) to win the spin on these kinds of fights with any president. Given that Obama is relatively popular right now while House Republicans are scraping bottom, it’s even less likely that they would win, despite what junk polling like this says about it.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:18 PM   #62
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Your quote about your boyfriend being squeezed. Just made the FIVE.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:43 PM   #63
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Ah, so in no way that we can effectively measure. "The public" and "the media" -- great amorphous villains that have no metric by which we can measure them.

The Democratic Party (myself included) complained about Bush running up the deficit after inheriting the Clinton surplus, mostly in his first term. The media covered this. Once the recession hit and Obama took the reins, Republicans complained about huge Obama deficits. The media covered this. If you disagree, please say so. That'd be pretty disingenuous, because we've both been there for both.

I don't know on what planet in which century you believe the media has been ignoring the debt, but my guess is you don't either. It's just easier to claim that bullshit and pin it on "the public" and "the media" without having to actually back that up.

The reason there's never been any stink about raising the debt ceiling is because it's a bullshit tool that accomplishes nothing (it reminds us to "have a conversation," according to you) while threatening the global economy, and single-handedly damaging America's credit.

The pro/con of that is so hilariously lopsided that nobody's dared to teeter on the brink of default until Republicans went full retard in the summer of 2011.
JFC are we talking about deficits or debt ceiling? You realize the debt ceiling was raised 8 times under Clinton right?

Maybe I'm wrong about the debt ceiling adding to the debate since I don't think even you know what it means. By accident you probably just destroyed my argument.

And when it comes to the summer of 2011, that's probably a result of some adults actually be elected in 2010.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:52 AM   #64
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Not exactly a unified front the GOP is putting up on this.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...ceiling-fight/

Republicans getting weak-kneed about debt ceiling fight
Posted by Greg Sargent
on January 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm

House Speaker John Boehner spoke at length with the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore about the coming confrontation over the debt ceiling, the sequester, and the spending cuts Republicans will try to achieve. Buried in the interview is a highly newsworthy nugget, in which Boehner implicitly admitted that the debt limit does not give Republicans the leverage they’ve suggested it does.

Indeed, it’s hard to read this exchange as anything other than a sign that Republicans may be backing off the fight over the debt ceiling:

Quote:
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.
As Moore rightly notes, Boehner “hedged.” He acknowledged that the real leverage point Republicans have is not their threat not to raise the debt ceiling; now the GOP’s leverage lies in the Dem desire to avoid the spending cuts that will kick in as part of the sequester! Of course, half of those constitute defense cuts that Republicans, more so than Dems, oppose at any cost.

It’s true that Boehner insists above that Republicans won’t back down from the demand that spending get cut by the same amount as the debt ceiling rises. But all that really means is that they will use the size of the debt ceiling hike as a metric to set the amount of their spending cut demand — not that the threat of default will be used to extract those cuts. Remember, GOP leaders well know that if they do that, the entire business community will join with Obama and Democrats to tell them to back off or take the blame for cratering the economy, leaving Republicans further isolated. So Boehner is letting it be known that Republicans don’t see the debt ceiling as their primary leverage point in the battle to come.

Boehner does this by threatening to only agree to “monthly” debt ceiling hikes. But this should be read, if anything, as a sign of weakness. It’s essentially a concession that the debt limit has to be raised; Boehner is merely threatening to drag his feet as he allows the inevitable to happen. But it’s just nonsense. The business community is not going to go for such a course of action, to put it mildly. And it risks dragging the country through monthly threats of default, a terrible thing to inflict on the American people.

Ultimately, what this highlights is the utter incoherence of the GOP position on the debt ceiling. Republican leaders know they have to raise the debt limit — they know the threat not to do this isn’t credible, and they need to signal to the business community that they don’t view this option seriously — yet they want to continue to use it as leverage to get what they want, anyway. Hence Boehner’s above dance. And Boehner isn’t the only one: On Face the Nation yesterday, when Mitch McConnell was asked directly whether Republicans would really withhold support for a debt ceiling hike if it weren’t paid for by spending cuts of equivalent size, he repeatedly refused to answer.

Boehner’s and McConnell’s equivocations will only embolden the White House and Democrats to stick with their strategy of refusing to negotiate over the debt ceiling, and treating the Republicans’ refusal to commit to raising it up front as their problem, and their problem only.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:58 AM   #65
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Originally Posted by mlyonsd View Post
JFC are we talking about deficits or debt ceiling? You realize the debt ceiling was raised 8 times under Clinton right?

Maybe I'm wrong about the debt ceiling adding to the debate since I don't think even you know what it means. By accident you probably just destroyed my argument.
Heh.

Deficits and debt are different, but they're not mutually exclusive. Talking about one is oftentimes a discussion involving the other.

And they have been discussed ad nauseum during the two most recent presidencies, in times in and out of a debt ceiling crisis.

So the need for a debt ceiling continues to escape me. You have yet to provide anything I'd consider compelling.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:59 AM   #66
petegz28 petegz28 is offline
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Mrs. Direckshun I am sure has no problems with the Repubs holding up the debt ceiling hike until the reponsible Democrats led by Harry Reid actually pass a budget, right?
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:01 AM   #67
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Mrs. Direckshun I am sure has no problems with the Repubs holding up the debt ceiling hike until the reponsible Democrats led by Harry Reid actually pass a budget, right?
Well, define budget. A continuing resolution is a budget.

You just mean a new budget, I'm guessing.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:02 AM   #68
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This is the option BRC is talking about in another thread.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/2...limit-standoff

Dem lawmakers say courts should resolve debt-limit standoff
By Alexander Bolton
01/08/13 05:00 AM ET

Democratic lawmakers are urging President Obama to force Republicans to take him to court over the controversial issue of raising the debt ceiling.

They believe the Supreme Court will have to ultimately resolve the battle over spending now raging between Republicans and the president.


But how the courts will rule is shrouded in uncertainty because little case law exists to serve as meaningful precedent, say legal scholars.

Democrats in Congress argue Obama should not feel constrained by the 1917 debt limit law, which the federal government is projected to hit in late February, because it conflicts with other laws.

“The president I think has the authority under the Constitution and under the various statutes that are passed — if nothing is done — he must do something about paying the bills,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.). “That issue may well go to the courts in our system.”

“He’s got two different statutes telling him different things and he can resolve — multiple statutes telling him different things — he can resolve that issue,” Udall added.

Udall and other Democrats say Obama has the discretion to arbitrate among conflicting laws.

Udall believes the debt limit, which was created by the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917, clashes with landmark legislation such as the Social Security Act of 1935, the Medicare Act of 1965 and various appropriations laws that direct the executive branch to spend federal funds on an array of priorities.

If Obama or Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner were to suspend payment for various government programs, they would ignore Congress’s previously expressed wishes, he argues.

Twenty-one House Democrats have signed a draft letter urging Obama to invoke section four of the 14th Amendment to raise the debt limit unilaterally if Republicans demand steep cuts to entitlement programs in return for expanding borrowing authority.

The signatories have pledged to “support your use of any authority available to you, including the 14th Amendment, to preserve America’s full faith and credit and prevent further damage to our economy.”

“If the president is faced with that degree of congressional irresponsibility, we would support his use of the 14th Amendment to pay our bills and then let the courts sort out what the legalities are,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), the lead author of the letter.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who did not sign the letter, has also endorsed Obama’s use of the 14th Amendment to resolve the debt-limit standoff.

"I've made my view very clear on that subject: I would do it in a second," Pelosi told reporters Friday. "But I'm not the president of the United States."

Republicans disagree on several points.

They argue that the federal government would not be forced to default on its debts if Congress fails raise the debt limit. They say Obama could selectively cut government programs to keep spending in check and ensure creditors are paid.

Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) suggested in an op-ed published by the Houston Chronicle that a partial government shutdown may be necessary.

“It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain,” he wrote.

Don Stewart, the spokesman for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), says Democrats are in essence asking Obama to break the law.

“That’s an interesting argument that they would ask him to ignore a law but the White House has already ruled that out,” he said.

Former President Bill Clinton was one of the first Democrats to publicly raise the possibility that Obama could get around the debt limit by invoking the 14th Amendment.

But Obama immediately rejected the possibility.

“I have talked to my lawyers,” Obama said at the height of the debt-limit standoff in the summer of 2011. “They are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.”


Jack M. Balkin, a professor of constitutional law at Yale Law School, predicted Obama would not attempt to circumvent Congress.

“The president will not increase borrowing authority without congressional approval. There will be a partial government shutdown,” he said.

Balkin said lawmakers would have little recourse to challenge Obama’s decisions under such a scenario.

“Individual members of Congress do not have standing to challenge the President in his decisions about what to prioritize during such a shutdown,” he said.

Udall and Welch are advancing slightly different arguments.

While Welch pegs his argument to the 14th Amendment, Udall says Obama would have the authority to ignore the debt limit because his office is empowered by the Constitution to enforce laws and must use discretion when laws conflict.

Michael Dorf, a professor at Cornell University Law School, said Obama could pursue several legal strategies if the issue winds up in court.

He believes the president could argue that borrowing money in excess of the debt ceiling would be less of a usurpation of Congress’s authority than unilaterally deciding which programs to cut, or taxes to raise, to keep within the limit.

“If Congress were to authorize spending that exceeds tax collection by one trillion dollars in a year, at a time when the existing federal debt is only one-half trillion dollars below its statutory ceiling, then the president could not execute all three laws as written. Faced with that impossible choice, the president risks acting unconstitutionally no matter what he might do,” Dorf and co-author Neil H. Buchanan, a law professor at George Washington University, wrote in a Columbia Law Review article.

Dorf said the 14th Amendment could also give the president a strong legal argument, even though it was originally written to prevent Southern lawmakers from repudiating war debts in the aftermath of the civil war.

The 14th Amendment states: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

But the legal relevance of the amendment to today's debate is questioned by other scholars.

Michael W. McConnell, director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center at Stanford University, said arguments based on the 14th Amendment are weak.

"Section 4 of the 14th Amendment is not about default, it's about repudiation of the debt. It was passed in the wake of the Civil War with the single purpose of ensuring that when Southern representatives were readmitted to Congress that they could not repudiate the war debt," he said. "Repudiation is not the same as default."
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:03 AM   #69
petegz28 petegz28 is offline
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Well, define budget. A continuing resolution is a budget.

You just mean a new budget, I'm guessing.
No, it isn't. I am talking about a budget. The thing the Senate is required by law to pass. The thing that has gone 1,351 days now without being passed. A continuing resolution is not a budget.

See, it's hard to put faith in you and yours when yours can't even do simple things like pass a ****ing budget. Amazing that until Harry Reid, a budget was always passed.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:14 AM   #70
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...-debt-ceiling/

This is what would happen if we breach the debt ceiling
Posted by Ezra Klein
on January 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Want to make sure your calendar is clear when we hit the debt ceiling? Then don’t schedule anything between Feb. 15 and March 1.

That, according to a new analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center, is the likely range for debt-ceiling doomsday: The day when the Treasury Department runs out of room to maneuver and we actually begin to default on obligations. Either Congress figures out the debt ceiling before that date or things get very bad, very fast.



Imagine we hit the debt ceiling Feb. 15. The BPC’s analysis suggests that federal spending over the next month will be about $450 billion. Federal revenues will be nearer to $277 billion. That means that the government will have to default on about 40 percent of its obligations.

The choices it will face quickly become stark. It can cover interest on the debt, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense spending, education, food stamps and other low-income transfers, and a handful of other programs, but doing all that will mean defaulting on everything — really, everything — else. The FBI will shut down. The people responsible for tracking down loose nukes will lose their jobs. The prisons won’t operate. The biomedical researchers won’t be funded. The court system will close its doors. The tax refunds won’t go out. The Federal Aviation Administration will go offline. The parks will close. Food safety inspections will cease.

This is the difference between a debt-ceiling shutdown and a government shutdown. As Shai Akabas, a research at the Bipartisan Policy Center, puts it, “in a government shutdown, the government is shutting down future obligations. With the debt ceiling, They’ve already obligated the money. They owe these people the payments now, and they can’t make them.”

Then, of course, there’s the financial-market chaos. Trillions of dollars in derivatives and other financial products are based on the interest rate that the federal government pays when borrowing. U.S. government debt is, after all, supposed to be the safest investment in the world, and so it’s used to “benchmark” all other sorts of debt. A spike in the Treasury rate would mean a spike in credit card rates and mortgage rates, not to mention all manner of more esoteric financial derivatives. The damage to the economy would be tremendous, and it would occur at every level, from individuals looking for a loan to buy a house to hedge funders trying to play the markets.

“Think about what we’re talking about here,” says Steve Bell, director of economic policy at the BPC. “We’re talking about the reserve currency of the world. We’re talking about the deepest and most liquid markets in the world. And we’re sitting here wondering if we’ll cover our obligations?”

All of this, amazingly, is something of a best-case scenario. It’s what happens if we breach the debt ceiling in an orderly way. But the federal government needs to make more than 100 million individual payments between Feb. 15 and March 15. Those payments are all computerized and those computer systems aren’t build to stop making half of them, or to prioritize some above others. There’s a real question as to whether the federal government could reprogram its software to seamlessly begin picking and choosing which bills to pay and which to ignore. If there’s a glitch, then it’s possible that after assuring bondholders that they’ll never miss a payment, the government will accidentally fail to pay them, causing widespread confusion about whether the guarantee remains valid, and throwing financial markets into a panic.

Nor does any of this account for public outrage over the spectacle of the U.S. government prioritizing bondholders over everyday Americans. “This could lead to some interesting headlines,” says Bell. “Imagine: ‘America pays Chinese debt instead of Social Security.’ “

Additionally, the easy ways out don’t look so easy. The White House has already said it doesn’t believe that it would be constitutional for the president to invoke the 14th Amendment and simply continue paying our debts. That doesn’t mean, warned Bell, that it won’t happen. But if it does, those payments will go out under a cloud of uncertainty. Interest rates are unlikely to remain unaffected.

The same goes for the “platinum coin” option, in which the Treasury takes advantage of a poorly worded law meant to help coin collectors and mints a trillion-dollar coin with which to pay our debts. Imagine a Japanese bond trader who hears we’re now running our government off of a trillion-dollar coin created through a loophole in the law. Is there any way that trader is going to keep lending to America at near-riskless rates? The result might be better than default, but it won’t be good.

The consequences, meanwhile, will be lasting. We will have done something we told the markets we would never, ever do. The United States will have proven itself a riskier borrower with a more broken political system than anybody thought. The BPC estimates that the last debt-ceiling fight cost us $19 billion in higher borrowing costs over the next decade, and in that case, we didn’t even breach the debt ceiling. If we go further this time, the costs will be much higher, and much longer lasting.

Ironically for those who want to use the debt ceiling as leverage to reduce the deficit, busting through the debt ceiling would make our future deficits far worse. The damage to the economy now would increase the deficit, as spending goes up and tax revenues go down when the economy flags, and the higher borrowing costs later would increase the deficit, as we’d be paying more to service our debt than the Congressional Budget Office expects.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:15 AM   #71
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Originally Posted by petegz28 View Post
No, it isn't. I am talking about a budget.
A continuing resolution is a budget, a continuation of a previous budget anyway. It sets spending against revenue.

What you want them to do is make a new budget, rather than continue the old one.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:17 AM   #72
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It comes down to this:

Despite his reelection, Obama is not King of America. Neither was Bush II nor Clinton.

America is designed to have representation for taxation discussions. Districts can send a nutty 'tea party' candidate to Washington just the same as they can send someone as mentally imbalanced as Alan Grayson to serve as their representative. These people represent citizens in their districts and require certain provisions to be met before they sign on to any deal. Obama, Biden, Boehner, Reid Pelosi and McConnell go behind closed doors to design a deal and people are surprised when elected representatives won't vote for it? shocking.

Boehner is absolutely right to quit negotiating directly with Obama. Let the House go through procedures to craft a bill that can pass that chamber then send it to the Senate. Get a bill that both chambers agree on, and Obama can't get away with voting 'present' anymore.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:35 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post

So the need for a debt ceiling continues to escape me. You have yet to provide anything I'd consider compelling.
I suppose 'because I said so' isn't going to cut it.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:40 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
Yup! This is the Establishment* line, who owns most of the corporate media to cow the freedom loving limited govt types left. Obey the chief, when the Framers wanted a weak president instead over lording it over the people's House as if we have a king.

Categorically untrue, though I do agree that the POTUS has increasingly gained powers over the years due to Congressional cessation of such powers to him.

But the weak President thing is bullshit. That was the Articles of Confederation, which were ultimately torn up and thrown away, much to your eternal regret, I know.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:53 AM   #75
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OMFG!!
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