It is somewhat funny in an admittedly dark way that the argument over the federal budget has gotten to be as much about who to blame as the actual fiscal issues at stake. The reason the blame game has to be documented is that Republican have amassed an astounding record of denial and turning the narrative on its head even when caught on tape. August 2 is set to be the deadline for raising the debt ceiling and putting all the noise aside conservatives do plan to shoot the hostage. The wonderful consequences to look forward to include defaulting on bonds, have the nation’s credit rating dropped a notch with an ensuing increase in the national debt, Social Security checks not being issued, perhaps the rank and file military not getting paid and the economy sinking into the Great Recession 2.0. Forget what the wing-nut blogs and net sites say. Republicans are the root cause and there is plenty of evidence showing they know and acknowledge they are at fault.
* Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – “Our problem is, we made a big deal about this for three months,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina.
“How many Republicans have been on TV saying, ‘I am not going to raise the debt limit,’ ” said Mr. Graham, including himself in the mix of those who did so. “We have no one to blame but ourselves.”
* John McCain(R-AZ) – ‘Arizona Sen. John McCain, in an interview with the GOP-friendly National Review, notes that the purists are pushing the GOP over the cliff:
Yet as poorly as Obama has handled the negotiations, anger with the president, McCain says, may be clouding the party’s judgment at a time when its political fortunes are improving. “If I were Boehner and Cantor, I’d get one of our highly respected Republican pollsters to come over and brief them,” he says. “Right now, we’re not winning the battle.”
Fifteen years ago, President Clinton blamed Republicans for the 1995 government shutdown and won reelection. In similar fashion, McCain argues that a debt default would give President Obama “total victory” in 2012, “just like it was total victory for Clinton when Dole and Gingrich had to cave in 1995.”
“I appreciate the zeal and fervor of my colleagues; I want us to get an agreement,” McCain says, but with the financial markets uneasy and Obama intent on raising taxes, it is time for Republicans to continue the debate on a fresh front.”
* Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) – ‘ Some Republicans are starting to have buyer’s remorse over their party’s insistence that a vote to raise the debt limit be tied to a long-term deficit reduction package.
“Maybe the debt ceiling was the wrong place to pick a fight, as it related to trying to get our country’s house in order,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Thursday. “Maybe that was the wrong place to do it.” ‘ ( Note that of two days ago it was made even more impossible to make a compromise because Eric Cantor(R-Va) must have a balanced budget amendment. Such an amendment would have to be ratified by the states, would take years and has no real chance of passing. Cantor is not the brightest Representative in the history of Congress, but he know the political calculus of such an amendment. Thus such attempts to shoehorn in the amendment are nothing but clearly malicious attempts to sabotage any deal on the debt ceiling. It was Cantor who ran to reporters after a negotiating session and claimed Obama angrily walked out of talks. Obama got up to leave and said he would see everyone the next day after Cantor has interrupted the meeting like a petulant brat three times.)
Corker also said – “I won’t mention their names, to impugn them in any way,” the Tennessee Republican added, referring to his dinner company. But all agreed that “most Senators in this body are nothing but two-bit pawns … as a political fight is under way, basically, to lay out the groundwork, if you will, for 2012 elections.” We, the reality based community, knew that Boehner, McConnell, Cantor and Company were all doing their sick stage production of a right-wing Midsummer’s Night Dream for the edification of the teanatics. Corker just supplied confirmation of what we already knew.
John Boehner(R-OH) may have had a moment of clarity here and there, but like his base he was never negotiating in good faith. The idea, the goal, was to cause havoc to the nation’s economy and hopefully embarrassment to Democrats and President Obama, The Debt Debate’s Real Doomsday Scenario
Now I knew that the Republicans, far from being cowed into making a deal by the prospect of default, would be emboldened to resisting one by the prospect of calamity to the debt-primed economic system they despise. They have not only managed to turn a fairly routine matter — what has been a mere formality, in the raising of the debt ceiling — into a full-fledged crisis; they have seen in crisis the answer to their pent-up prayers. Simply by holding fast to “priniciple,” they get to shrink government by a third, enact a spending freeze, and humiliate a hated president to boot. They get the world they want, literally without having to pay for it.
Economic turmoil? The Republicans want economic turmoil, because, as my friend says, “Once August 3 comes along and people see that bodies aren’t piling up in the streets, the gig is up for the Democrats. They’ve always operated by fear — ‘Oh, my God, if you don’t go along with us, everybody’s going to die.’ Well, we’re not going to go along with them. And nobody’s going to die. There will eventually be some kind of deal, but there’s not going be a deal with tax increases, and by that time it will be too late anyway. The beast is going to be starving.”
Ah, but that’s vision for you: Some men see the economic peril that is and say “Why?”; others dream of the economic peril that never was and say “Why not?” Indeed, after spending an entire day talking to Democrats and Republicans about the debt ceiling, I’d become convinced that they were never going to come to any kind of agreement because they were in fact talking about different things: They both agreed that the patient was sick, but the Democrats diagnosed diabetes, and the Republicans diagnosed cancer. The Democrats were saying that as long as the patient stayed on insulin — i.e., as long as the patient could issue new debt — he wouldn’t lose his toes, go blind, and succumb to impotence; the Republicans were saying that if they didn’t get in there and start cutting right away, he would die. The Democrats were “conservative,” saying that if the patient started eating better and exercising a little bit he’d eventually come around; the Republicans were intent on using the patient’s illness as an occasion for a little experimentation, an opportunity to prove that if they preemptively excised his toes, eyes, and penis he’d get along just fine, and might even be motivated to get off his ass and get a freaking job….
One of the major aspects of the debt ceiling and managing the economy in general is the conscienceless of the Republican party. If calling conservatives conscienceless seems hyperbolic I suggest a visit to a right-wing blog (Hot Air, RedState, Gateway Pundit, Conservatives4Palin). Or a right-wing web site like The Heritage Foundation and one of the articles where they allow comments. The desire by conservatives for massive structural failure of the economy is palpable. The Right sees this an opportunity to sweep away everything – paper money, the Treasury Department, the Federal Deposit Insurance corporation, public education, environmental protection, food inspection, civil rights legislation and start over again with a clean slate. While many of the writers and their commenters think they will be immune from the consequences of such unprecedented turmoil, many of the conservative trolls predict there will be tremendous suffering and think it just paybacks for our alleged decadent liberal ways.
Last year some pollster’s asked the tea dipsticks what they would cut to balance the deficit. Most said they would not cut entitlements like Medicare and Social Security. Military spending and entitlements make up about 65% of the budget yet tea nuts would not make cuts to either. They’re like petulant children, they want what they want and could care less about the details. Find a way to give them everything without paying for it. Talk about a true welfare mindset. So it is no surprise that when asked to prioritize what the government should pay for out of the funds it has, should they get their way and the debt ceiling talks collapse, GOP Demand Obama Protect Seniors From Default, Won’t Name What To Cut Instead
“We’re just calling on the president to assume the role of CEO and prioritize accordingly,” Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) said at a press conference on the issue. Participants repeatedly accused Obama of trying to “scare seniors” by suggesting Social Security payments might be suspended in the wake of a default crisis.
One reporter shouted a question as to whether things like, say, keeping criminals in federal prisons or securing the border might also be added to the list.
“They’re all priorities,” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX). “As our colleagues here have said, we need to keep our promises and the money is there to do that.”
But where will the immediate 44% cut in overall spending needed to avoid default come from instead? Michele Bachmann, who has gone so far as to demand the debt ceiling never be raised, dodged questions on the issue Wednesday by simply repeating her assertion that Social Security and troop pay be left sacrosanct.
Asked by TPM about what areas might need to be cut offset their proposed guarantees, Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY) offered a similar response, repeating that Social Security, Medicare, military pay, and veterans’ benefits should all be off limits. Pressed to name any savings — furloughing federal employees, shutting down various agencies — that might be preferable, she said her focus was only on calling out Obama’s threats.
“We’re not targeting any of those things,” she said. “We’re not scheming on the House side to somehow have a menu of things that are going to happen when the inevitable denouement occurs.”
Republicans know everything. They’re experts on the economy. Experts on war. Experts on education. They’re the A-Team on steroids. Suddenly asked for their expert opinion on the specifics of what they think should be prioritizes and why those things over others, they are suddenly and conveniently clueless. The premise doesn’t even make sense. Make sure the evil gov’mint sends out these checks, but not those. The only thing they seemed to have planned for is they would take the hostage, the ransom would be paid, end of story. That is about the same level of planning they did for the occupation of Iraq and gee that turned out just swell.
Found a an easy to read chart of what used to be a very mundane act: GUESS WHO RAISED DEBT CEILING MOST OFTEN?
1. NUMBER OF TIMES UNDER REAGAN: 18 times or Once every 5 months: 1981, 1981, 1981, 1982, 1982, 1983, 1983, 1984, 1984, 1984, 1985, 1985, 1986, 1986, 1987, 1987, 1987, 1987
2. NUMBER OF TIMES RAISED UNDER BUSH: 7 times or Once every 13 months: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2008.
3. UNDER OBAMA: 2 Times or Once every 15 months: 2009 and 2010.
4. NUMBER OF TIMES UNDER CLINTON: 4 Times or Once every 24 months: 1993, 1993, 1996 and 1997.
5. NUMBER OF TIMES PAUL RYAN’S BUDGET WILL RAISE THE DEBT CEILING: 8 times. (The average debt ceiling increase is 800-billion. Ryan’s budget increases the debt by $6-trillion)
6. NUMBER OF TIMES THE “PROGRESSIVE” BUDGET WILL RAISE DEBT CEILING: 0 times. The Progressive Budget actually balances the budget in 3 years, and creates surplus by 2021. It does this while saving Social Security and Medicare.
The sane and reasonable Progressive Budget is not even on the table.
This might also come in handy: The 8 Possible Plans that have been run up the crazy pole, A Debt Ceiling Cheat Sheet. Odd how holier than thou sincere Republicans who claim this is all the fault of Democrats keep moving the goal posts.
Not that I’ll be winning any Nobel prizes in economics, but Paul Krugman and I are on the same page in noting that President Obama’s budget proposals are to the Right and he points a to this public opinion analysis by Nate Silver that shows the leadership of the Republican party is way off base, G.O.P.’s No-Tax Stance Is Outside Political Mainstream
Few Americans, however, take the view that spending cuts alone should be made in a deal, with no tax increases at all. In fact, only 26 percent of the Republican voters surveyed in Gallup’s poll took that position, along with 20 percent of voters overall.
In other news:
Wing-nut conservatives are still trying to blame the Great Recession on Freddie Mac and Fannie May, but ultimately they blame poor people. You see everyone who works on Wall St is a saint, they are a veritable army of the Noble Princes of Capitalism who would never give the USA one giant shaft and then be bailed out by tax payers. Wallison: Still Wrong About Genesis of Housing Crisis
Fox News has certainly racked up its fair share of embarrassing mistakes. (Egypt, FYI, is not next to Iran.) But given how often the network brings up the 9/11 attacks, the already gaffe-prone Fox News host Eric Bolling whipped up a doozy. Last night on Fox’s new show The Five, the new hosts rehashed President George W. Bush’s justification for the Iraq War. When co-host Bob Beckel asked why the weapons of mass destruction Bush claimed Iraq possessed were never found, Mediaite caught Bolling’s novel response: “Whether they did or didn’t, America was certainly safe between 2000 and 2008. I don’t remember any terrorist attacks on American soil during that period of time.”
How difficult is it to remember 9-11-01. It is also little consolation that there were terrorist attacks in Spain, Bali, Iraq, Afghanistan, Great Britain and Pakistan etc. on Bush’s watch. Republicans and their daddy keeps us safe even when he doesn’t complex.