debt ceiling

Winners and losers

At The People's Cube, via The Looking Spoon:

There has been a lot of talk about Reagan on both sides lately. Even Obama is positioning himself as a true disciple of Reagan, teaching conservatives how they must compromise. So here's a reminder of Reagan's position on compromising core principles. 

Murphy's Law in action


Obama’s Plea to Flood Congress With Calls Backfires

in One Member’s Office

Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) said his office is fielding significantly more phone calls today following President Obama’s prime-time plea [Monday] night. But many constituents are relaying the opposite message from what Obama asked them to deliver on the debt-limit debate...

[....] Earlier today Heritage Action asked its supporters to call Congress in opposition of Speaker John Boehner’s new plan. The White House is also facing a flood of phone calls, led in part by the American Action Network.

Lankford, a freshman lawmaker who represents Oklahoma’s 5th District, spoke at Heritage today for The Bloggers Briefing. He echoed the call of many conservatives, saying he didn’t come to Washington to strike a deal, but rather find a solution to the debt crisis.

“The frustration is there’s a whole group of people focused on Aug. 2,” Lankford said. “And quite frankly, Aug. 2 doesn’t solve it either way. Aug. 2 comes and goes and we move from $14.3 trillion in debt to a potential $17 trillion worth of debt. … That’s not solving the problem.”

And I'll bet Lankford's office isn't the only one where this is happening.

Hope he didn't have to lie on his back on a scaffold... produce this work of art:

Since we've featured several Michael Ramirez cartoons (which actually originate at Investors Business Daily) on One of Nine, this comment by Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air caught my eye:

Perhaps Ramirez will complete the analogy by recasting Michelangelo’s other magnificent Sistine Chapel work, The Last Judgment, to show the consequences of the bankruptcy of America.

Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history.  Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here.  And don’t forget to check out the entire site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.


Gird your loins, peeps, when the phone rings today


On Monday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will use robocalls in 60 districts held by Republicans as part of the DCCC's "We Don't Quit" campaign. 

Of the 60 districts the DCCC will be running robocalls, five are in New York and two of them are right here in central New York: The 24th and 25th Congressional Districts held by Rep. Richard Hanna and Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, respectively...

Here is a sample script of the call, from Iowa's 4th Congressional district:

"Hi, this is Travis calling on behalf of the DCCC. Congressman Tom Latham and Speaker Boehner would rather our economy default just to protect tax breaks for Big Oil companies and billionaire jet-owners. Republicans quit negotiating with President Obama on raising the debt ceiling.

"This is serious. Latham's billionaire buddies will be ok. But we will pay the price if government can't pay its bills. Our Social Security and Medicare benefits are at risk. Interest rates would spike for our credit cards, car loans, and mortgages. Our 401(k) retirement accounts would drop. And, gas and food prices would skyrocket.

"Enough is enough. Call Congressman Tom Latham at (641) 357-5225 and tell him not to gamble our future to protect tax breaks for Big Oil and billionaires...."

You get the picture. Don't wait for "Travis" to call you.  Richard's contact information is here—click on "Contact me" in the menu at the top of the page. Call him and tell him to hold the line.

What goes around comes around

From the USA Today News blog, here in the Tuscon Citizen...

[Michael] Arcuri was one of 233 Democrats who voted last year to increase the debt ceiling by $1.9 trillion.
“I knew I would have to pay the price on Election Day,” he said. Indeed, six months later, Arcuri lost to Republican Richard Hanna, following weeks of attack ads citing his debt-limit vote. “Arcuri promised to cut wasteful spending, but voted for $14trillion in debt,” said one Hanna ad.
That vote was the 78th time Congress raised the debt ceiling since 1960, usually in routine, party-line votes.
Hanna, who ran against Arcuri twice and beat him the second time, acknowledges that raising the debt limit “will eventually be necessary.” But he said the mistake made by previous Congresses was to raise the debt limit without meaningful spending reforms.
“This nation has never defaulted on a nickel and it never should,” he said in a statement. “This is a unique opportunity and leverage the moment to achieve historic, long-term deficit reduction.”
The reason the current freshman class was sent to Congress was to put an end to the the turning of the debt limit crank.  Turn that crank again, and there will  be another price to pay.
The tide is turning.  No more debt.

Time to fire up the old hypocrisy meter again

From Chrissy the Hyphenated:

2011_07 13 Obama the Despicable

Not to be outdone for sheer, unmitigated hypocrisy, Mitch McConnell (at Reuters, via Michelle Malkin):

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell proposed a "backup plan" on Tuesday that would allow a divided U.S. Congress to raise the U.S. debt ceiling with just the votes of Democrats.

The complicated legislative maneuver would avert an imminent default and let Republicans wash their hands of the politically toxic issue.

As outlined by McConnell, President Barack Obama would formally request an increase in the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, which Congress would reject through a "resolution of disapproval."

Obama would then veto that resolution and send it back to Congress. If Congress failed to muster the two-thirds vote needed to override a veto, the debt ceiling would effectively be lifted by the amount Obama had requested.

Obama and congressional leaders have failed so far to come up with a budget deal that could pass both the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Or maybe it's just McConnell as Charlie Brown:


Richard Hanna and the debt ceiling

Richard Hanna (R-NY24) hosted a community meeting in Norwich Thursday, June 30th:

This was pretty much the same thing Hanna told constituents from Tompkins and Cortland Counties who met with him on June 20th in his Auburn office, so he scores brownie points for consistency.

But I'm driven mad by the frequently-expressed (and related) notions that 1) there's only one way to skin a cat and 2) it's always a zero-sum game.  Where do people get the idea that if the debt ceiling isn't raised that the immediate and unavoidable consequence will be default on our debts?  If you were cut off by lenders (banks and credit card companies, say) from easy access to any more cash, would your first response be to stop repaying what you owed?  Good Lord, I hope not.  But if so, then we as a free nation are finished anyway because our moral compass will have gone completely haywire.

The debt ceiling argument is similar to the one we often hear locally, that if spending cuts need to be made at the state or local level, then the first things to go would be cops, firefighters, and teachers.  The first things?  You mean there's nothing else to cut?  Preposterous.

But, of course, these points may be moot, according to the senior senator from New York, Chuck U. Schumer:

On a conference call with reporters Friday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) acknowledged that President Obama may not need Congressional authorization to avoid a default on the national debt. But he noted, too, that the Constitutional debate on this question isn't ripe enough yet for Obama to take an end run around Congress, even if Republicans refuse to increase the national borrowing limit.

I asked Schumer, a lawyer, whether, in his view, the administration had the power to continue issuing new debt even if Congress fails to raise the debt limit. He acknowledged that the question's been discussed, but said the White House probably shouldn't go there just yet....


Steve Hayward at PowerLine on this very issue (and I'm including a longish excerpt here for the benefit of those of us who are not attorneys):

...With signs that Republicans are not going to roll over for half-measures, liberals are floating a trial balloon that the debt ceiling vote may be unnecessary because the ceiling itself is unconstitutional.  The New Republic is all over this story line, with at least three separate pieces over the last few days outlining the case.  See here, and here, and here, for starters.

There are several interesting wrinkles to this theme.  First, it rests on a novel interpretation of the clause of the 14th Amendment that reads, “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.”  Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, among others, says this passage implies that the U.S. cannot default on its sovereign debt obligations.  Perhaps this is true of existing debt obligations, but does this mean the Treasury can take on new debt obligations without being “authorized by law,” as the text of the Amendment reads?

Second, can the Executive branch declare on this question alone?  Maybe, but this will be the very kind of claim that normally sends liberals howling at the moon (see: Schlesinger, Arthur:The Imperial Presidency) when a Republican president tries something like it.

Lastly, the largest hypocrisy of this idea is the notion that no one will have standing to bring a lawsuit against the President if he indeed decides to ignore the debt ceiling.  The law professors who argue that Congress would lack standing to sue, and that no individual citizen could sue, because both lack a claim “direct harm,” may be narrowly correct.  And I’m sure the Supreme Court would also hate this case.  But I note that liberals are usually in favor of the most expansive view of standing, so that victim/claimants can get their day in court.  Few things get liberals more upset than when the Supreme Court tosses out a suit for lack of standing.  And the idea of “cumulative harm” at the heart of the expansive standing rules for environmental lawsuits would seem to apply just as well here: if the U.S. Treasury ignores the debt ceiling and goes on debasing the currency and eroding the economic future of the nation, it will harm’s every citizens financial future.
Bottom line: the liberals arguing that Obama can ignore the debt ceiling are practicing result-oriented jurisprudence again.  I know, not exactly a news flash.  But still. . .

But to get back to Mr. Hanna...I guess he wants to be in the "not all the Republicans" camp:

"Frankly, the Republicans here, not all the Republicans, but the extreme right of the Republican party are acting like ideological terrorists. They're literally willing to blow up our economy and the future of our nation to score a few political points. And I think this is the point where the President has to say 'look, we don't negotiate with ideological terrorists,'" MSNBC guest Sally Kohn said on the "Last Word."

Kohn was speaking about the fight over solving the debt crisis.

And over in the other house,

Conservative firebrand Sen. Jim DeMint has a message to fellow Republicans in Congress: If you support increasing the debt ceiling without first passing a balanced budget amendment and massive across-the-board spending cuts, you're gone -- destined to be swept out of Congress by a wave of voter anger...

Mr. Hanna said in my hearing that he doesn't care about getting re-elected. Of course, we've also gotten an e-mail from his office asking for a re-election campaign contribution.  Go figure. Well, I suppose we'll see.  In the meantime, Hanna's contact information can be found here.

Breaking the Code

Rep. Richard Hanna (NY-24) was interviewed on YNN regarding the federal debt ceiling.

"This kind of gamesmanship is never helpful. Everybody who understands what the nature of the debt limit is, understands that it has to go up and that, hopefully, the majority of people in Congress will recognize that and vote for it."


For some reason, listening to this clip led me to type "debt ceiling gamesmanship" into  Looking over the results, what struck me is that the "gamesmanship" talking point was almost completely exclusive to leftist sites, or quotes from leftist politicians.  It's code for "let's not talk about this," or just "shut up." 

I'm not sure why Hanna has taken to this vocabulary.  Maybe he picks it up at the many shared functions with Chuck U. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, or maybe he is himself just uncomfortable with the topic of finance.

But whatever the reason, he needs to understand that wishing the debt problem away or delaying the day of reckoning isn't going to help anything.  We need to cut spending by trillions (with a "T") and end the concept of entitlement.  

Don't raise the debt ceiling and stop debasing the currency by "buying" our own bonds.

The only gamesmanship on display is the politicians trying to panic the public into closing their eyes while their savings are being taken from them.

Dancing on the ceiling

From Dryden's own Chrissy the Hyphenated:

2011_05 08 GALLUP - Raising the federal debt ceiling

At Gallup, the heading for the table in the graphic above is "Americans' Feelings About Raising the Federal Debt Ceiling." Did someone mention "feeling" and "ceiling" in the same breath? Could it be—could it be—Lionel Richie?

Oh, what a feeling 
When we're dancing on the ceiling...  

Hey--it's Friday night.  Cut me some slack.


Subscribe to debt ceiling