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The Latest On The Debt Limit And Government Shutdown

Negotiations down to the wire on the debt ceiling and the government shutdown.

Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, pauses during a news conference after a House GOP meeting on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 in Washington. (AP)

Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, pauses during a news conference after a House GOP meeting on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 in Washington. (AP)

They sang Amazing Grace on Capitol Hill yesterday, but didn’t find that grace.  Today it’s going to take a hallelujah chorus to get the country out its jam.  There is so much on the line, and Congress is still so dug in.  We are now on the very brink of default, we’re told.  Real economic hell to pay if we don’t pull back.  And still, conservative Tea Partiers in the House threatened rebellion against House Speaker John Boehner when he tried to thread the needle.  Now it’s back to the Senate.  Clock ticking.  This country’s standing on the line.  Up next On Point:  Washington, down to the wire on default.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Robert Costa, Washington Editor at The National Review. (@RobertCostaNRO)

Amy Walter, National Editor of the Cook Political Report. (@AmyEWalter)

Annie Lowrey, Economic Policy reporter for the New York Times. (@AnnieLowrey)

Ryan Grim, Washington Bureau Chief for the Huffington Post.  (@RyanGrim)

From Tom’s Reading List

National Review: House Conservatives Revolt — “‘What they’ll come up with in the Senate will not get the support of most House Republicans,’ predicts a House conservative strategist. ‘And thus, after a lot of hand-wringing, it’ll be DOA. Just like with BCA in 2011, the most important question is, what can pass the House?  Everything else is subordinate to that. So, while the Senate is taking the lead right now, I expect the focus will soon shift back to the House, and back to the idea of doing a six-week extension of the debt ceiling.  While Obama and Reid won’t like it, they don’t want to go past October 17, either. The politics of the debt ceiling are different from the shutdown. And so, we feel they’ll reluctantly accept it as a stopgap measure.’”

New York Times: World Leaders Press the U.S. on Fiscal Crisis — “Leaders at World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings on Sunday pleaded, warned and cajoled: the United States must raise its debt ceiling and reopen its government or risk “massive disruption the world over,” as Christine Lagarde, the fund’s managing director, put it. The fiscal problems of the United States overshadowed the official agendas for the meetings, with representatives from dozens of countries — including two of Washington’s most important economic partners, Saudi Arabia and China — publicly expressing worries about what was happening on Capitol Hill and in the White House.”

Cook Political Report: Low Ratings for President, Congress and Consumer Confidence Make This Shutdown Different From Rest — “While a government shut-down is not new, it is the first time where we’ve seen a combination of low presidential approval, low consumer confidence and low approval ratings of Congress. With no one starting in a good position, it becomes harder to predict just how this plays out politically over the next few weeks – or even into 2014.”

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  • Mike_Card

    This is not politics. This is the kind of cultist voodoo you get when you allow nitwits like Reagan to be President and give him access to the bullhorn. You get know-nothing about anything tea-baggers who behave like petulant children and ought to have their ears boxed and sent to bed without supper.
    They aren’t interested in governance–they’re only interested in promoting their whacked-out bird-brain ideology, or promoting their own egomaniacal political aspirations.

    • pete18

      Now there’s an argument.

  • JGC

    OMG, it is not just the D.C. Madam anymore: the entire country is about to get nailed with the Full VItter. And so that explains that creepy vitterish premonition I have been having all this past week…

  • Fredlinskip

    What should be exchanged so that GOP end their deliberate crisis that is causing harm to economy both near and long term, damaging our credibility abroad, and having negative effect on employment in American because of all the unnecessary uncertainty?
    What should be the gift granted them so we are allowed to pay our accrued bills, so as to not increase our debt through the resultant rising interest rates?
    By their actions it is apparent GOP apparently doesn’t give a wit about job creation, national debt, governance, or Americans in general.
    Should we “forgive them because they know not what they do”?
    They’ve had their “day in the sun” as of late
    How embarrassing for them.

    • pete18

      The “deliberate crisis” is on the other foot. You’re falling for the administration’s hype. One can prioritize spending and avoid default:

      “[T]here is no such thing as default unless
      there is an actual evil attempt from the administration. When you have 18 percent of GDP coming in in cash, less than 2 percent going out in debt coverage—I’m stunned you all fall for it in the press. None of you
      were math majors, were you?”
      -Congressman David Schweikert

      http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/10/none-of-you-reporters-were-math-majors-were-you.php

      • Wm_James_from_Missouri

        Sure could use a hand with some math problems. :)

      • Fredlinskip

        Yeah, but Pete-
        Budget negotiations never had to take place under these circumstances.
        If that is what this self-created crisis is about , why would GOP shun budget negotiaions for over 6 months?

      • jimino

        I agree we should try to prioritize payment. And we can “give the people what they want” at the same time.

        Pay our bondholders but stop ALL federal payments to those Congressional districts who voted to send these teabaggers to DC. They don’t want government in their lives? Give ‘em what they say they want.

        • pete18

          I’m sure you could easily cut 5% of government spending in states where tea party candidates won elections. I’m also sure most tea party members would support that, because unlike their detractors they have consistent principles. Since the government chronically and habitually overspends, we could easily cut 5% spending from almost every category of government output, begin to make real inroads on our debt problem and no one would even notice.

          • keltcrusader

            Yes, those states that are Net Takers from the government coffers who don’t deserve to be propped up anymore by the Net Giver (mostly Blue) States.

    • John_in_Amherst

      “Day in the sun” is over. Time to crawl back under a rock.

  • Matt MC

    We’re seeing the cascade effect of our post-industrial world. Having satisfied all the basics of life, industry prods the masses to consume, consume, consume, but there aren’t enough material goods to fill that demand, so we train the populous to consume leisure time, new forms of entertainment, to “binge watch” their favorite series. News itself becomes one more meal for those especially picky information eaters called Americans, so we consume our own preconceptions like an infinite feedback loop machine. Simple ideas prevail, and since the news is entertainment, hatred, hotheadedness, outrage, and small-mindedness are the only things on the menu. On occasion, we wake up from our distracted haze and realize we’ve given away our rights, our freedoms, our economic security, which only makes us want to put our heads in the sand and feed ourselves more of our own lies because we’d rather do that than face the truth. Then, the worst thing possible happens, we actually elect people who believe the lies we tell ourselves, then they go out in their ignorance and find a world more complex, interconnected, and gray than the good vs. evil narrative they told themselves, and then we have our current crisis.

    • Gary Trees

      Thank you for this. This builds an excellent framework for a more constructive dialogue and I can only hope that they read this on the air. No chest thumping, no vitriol, not even really any bias; just pulling open the curtain to see the little man pulling the levers.

    • Potter

      Good, and maybe excellent rant but there are plenty of material goods, just not enough consumers that can afford to buy them because of our inequality. But too the goal of a consuming consuming consuming society is pretty vacuous as well. The missing ingredients are an informed citizenry, agreement about what we owe each other ( the commonwealth and enlightened self interest ). Unfortunately the uninformed and misguided have to feel personal pain to wake up- and we all must suffer with them.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Reckless, beyond understanding.

    I have a habit of listen to various radio and media sources to get a handle on what people are thinking and talking about. It strikes me as odd that so many people have chosen “a side” in the debt argument but aren’t actually talking about the effects that this lack of leadership is having on the American people and their prospects for the future. Example: the Right speaks of “entitlements” as being the most onerous aspect of the debt. However, the Right seems oblivious to the fact that these government programs being in, and, or approaching insolvency are a result of a burgeoning elderly populace. Taking away their benefits will only transfer the weight of the cost of their care to their children, (if they have any). The problem then will be how will their children afford them, considering that they themselves have children and economic hardships? The Left is in complete denial of the fact that people are living longer, and generally, more healthfully. This major Demographic Shift has never happened before in this country and maybe in the history of the World (less you stop to consider the villages and city states of old that were left with an elderly population after all of the young men were massacred in regional wars) ! Then you have all the issues the can be tied to housing prices. These problems are also a result of an aging populace, in large part.

  • Shag_Wevera

    It seems like the nutty right will lose this one. I just hope they lose hard enough.

    • rich4321

      Let them all rot to hell!

    • JGC

      I am hoping New Jersey voters will have the good sense today to provide a huge spread between Democrat Booker and Tea Partier Lonegan. If Senator Booker was voted in by a near double digit advantage, maybe that would bring certain Tea Lemming Republicans back from the edge of the cliff.

      A lot of the Pennsylvania House Republicans have already gotten that message.

      • TFRX

        Who is the most normal Republican not named Chris Christie on the state-wide NJ scene?

        Seriously, it’s a normal enough state. What’s up there?

  • rich4321

    If the Republicans and their Tea party friends want to commit suicide, by all mean, go for it. But don’t bring the country down.
    How is their tactic different from the suicidal bombers?

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri
  • Fiscally_Responsible

    The Republicans are simply trying to prevent our country from going over the cliff, which will happen when Obamacare bankrupts the country. Actually, the Dumbocrats already bankrupted the country with their give-a-way social programs (e.g. using your food stamp card to buy flat screen TVs at Walmart, which left wing radicals like Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer will defend as “economic justice”).

    And actually, maybe Obamacare won’t be all that bad financially since the website is inoperable, preventing people from actually being able to sign up for this fiasco!

  • LinRP

    It is now down to this abomination:

    “‘We’ve got a name for it in the House: it’s called the Senate surrender caucus,’ said Representative Tim Huelskamp, Republican of Kansas. ‘Anybody who would vote for that in the House as Republican would virtually guarantee a primary challenger.’”

    Atta boy, Rep. Huelskamp!

    It’s not about the good of the country, or even the good of the world insofar as the international financial system could come plunging down and affect everybody…..

    It’s about your job, Rep. Huelskamp. What a profile in courage you are.

    One of the things that angers me the most about this insanity is the talk about negotiating “something” to allow Repubs to “save face.” WHAT THE HELL???? “SAVING FACE” trumps preserving the good faith and credit of the US as well as the the entire economic well being of the world? Are you kidding me?

    Name a Republican who has stepped forward with courage to do WHAT’S RIGHT? Boehner has put the entire country at risk in order to kowtow to the fringe and save his speakership. None of the yokel House Repubs even understands basic economics–unless, of course, monetary policy is explained to them in the Bible.

    This dangerous, stinking turd of political gamesmanship has cowardice, avarice, ignorance, and selfishness at its core.

    • Roy-in-Boise

      Well said …

      History is being written, and the stars of the GOP will have their place.

  • NewtonWhale

    Republicans have made it virtually impossible to govern and caused a self-inflicted economic slowdown that will get worse because of drastic cuts in spending that have destroyed jobs and strangled the middle class. And it was all based on a lie:

    Obama spending binge never happened

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree.

    As would-be president Mitt Romney tells it: “I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno.”

    Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an “inferno” of spending that threatens our jobs, our businesses and our children’s future. Even Democrats seem to think it’s true.

    But it didn’t happen. Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.

    After adjusting for inflation, spending under Obama is falling at a 1.4% annual pace — the first decline in real spending since the early 1970s, when Richard Nixon was retreating from the quagmire in Vietnam.

    In per capita terms, real spending will drop by nearly 5% from $11,450 per person in 2009 to $10,900 in 2013 (measured in 2009 dollars).

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/obama-spending-binge-never-happened-2012-05-22

    • John Cedar

      You are fiscally retarded.

      • jefe68

        Well that would make you brain dead.

      • LinRP

        What is it about these FACTS that YOU would like to dispute? The alternate reality would be????

  • Yar

    What members of congress have been arrested in the last two weeks? And what for? What members should be arrested? And for what?

    • John_in_Amherst

      How about sedition? Or treason? If you have doubts, look up the definitions of those words.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    By all indications, the T party is destroying itself but by some twisted logic believes that taking the country down with it is an act of patriotism.

    How did this country get to this point where the fate of our country is in the hands of fools?

    Lack of shame, perhaps. Our corporate media have given these guys progressively longer license with what they can get away with saying in public without being challenged for being irresponsible, racist, misstating facts, lying or even not knowing a damn thing about what they are talking about.

    • northeaster17

      I think that they believe that if they take it down Jesus will return and save them from their folly and condem the rest of us. Plain nuts tell ya…Nuts

    • John Cedar

      “How did this country get to this point where the fate of our country is in the hands of fools?”
      They held elections and the fools won. You knew that.

      Or are you talking about the one small thing the Tea Party winners are holding out for, is akin to “the fate of our country in the hands of fools?”

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

        Oh contraire… The fools lost the popular vote in the presidential, senate AND house races, but held there majority in the house through gerrymandering. In fact the Democrats made gains in both houses as a result, albeit insufficient to shut down T party obstructionism.

        How is risking a global economic disaster, or causing an econmic slowdown, damage to our bond rating and higher interest rates in addition to the damage done to people, businesses and science a ‘small’ thing?

        I guess that compared to starting an elective war based upon lies and distortions, a world recession might be considered a small thing.

  • John_in_Amherst

    Teaparty madness is going beyond it’s original vendetta against President Obama. It is threatening to damage not just the credibility and international standing of the United States, it is posing an imminent direct threat to the financial well-being of every American, and not just those who have any investments in stocks or bonds. If the government defaults, we can all watch the economy tailspin, unemployment rise, the value of our investments fall, and the years we must work before retirement lengthen. This is not the hyperbolic rhetoric spouted by the teaparty nutters and echoed by FOX regarding the imagined consequences of “Obamacare” becoming law. This is reality. Every American will have the GOP to thank for another tangible reduction in our quality of life. We can only hope Americans show the GOP what they think of this at the polls. Teaparty? how about T party. T as in “taken leave of their senses”. T as in treason.

    • William

      So our international standing will improve when the world sees us borrowing/printing another 1 trillion dollars more than we take in to spend on what? No budget for 4 years improves our international standing? Are we looking like fools because people are standing up to the elites and say “enough”? or because the elites are saying “shut up, pay up and get out of our way”.

      • lobstahbisque

        Yeah, those elites! What’s an elites? Ya mean the oligarchs? Ya mean the Koch bros.?

      • John_in_Amherst

        What is your point? did you b*^ch about Bush fighting 2 wars off-budget while cutting taxes? Or when financial deregulation led to the 2008 recession? How about when the estate tax was eliminated? Or when the tax breaks that favor the rich and shower corporate wellfare upon businesses like Big Ari or the oil industry were passed? Or when the ability of Medicare to bargain for cheaper prices from pharmaceutical companies was stripped by the GOP?

        “Obamacare” is a partial step toward what the rest of the developed world does, i.e.: provide compassionate single payer coverage (independent from employers) and government leverage to bargain for lower medical bills. The people who are holding the country hostage until Obamacare is defunded are doing the work of a few fantastically wealthy right wing zealots, who, failing to win at the polls, are now trying to rewrite how we govern ourselves so that they can reap even bigger financial rewards. And the Tea party has the gall to call themselves “patriots”? They deserve prosecution, not praise.

  • Ed75

    O-care, again, is a big step toward the entrenchment of abortion in American society, since every insurance plan has to cover it, and there is an abortion kitty that every person contributes to. Whenever a country takes a step toward abortion, bad things happen, and this default … as hard as everyone tries to avoid it … might be it. And I’m very scared about the consequences.

    • Potter

      It’s non of your business what a woman and her Dr. decide any more than any other treatment that health insurance pays for. Religious notions of when life starts do not apply.

    • TFRX

      You forgot to drag God into your schtick. Not have your coffee yet?

    • anamaria23

      I think abortion should be rare, Access to birth control is a major diminisher of abortion. Making abortion illegal will not stop abortion. It will increase the numbers being ravaged by back alley practitioners.

      • Ed75

        That sounds reasonable, but time has shown that birth control doesn’t decrease abortion, but increases it. It makes it easy for people to have sex in situations where children aren’t possible, and when the birth control fails, the resort is to abortion.
        The number of back alley practitioners were tremendously exaggerated at the time of Roe, now these people have moved into the legal clinics. (They say 70-100 deaths of women a year before Roe, more than that now die in clinics.) We’re probably too far down the road to make so radical a change.

    • keltcrusader

      You know what I am scared of? People like you who use their religion to try to force others to think like you or follow its rules even if they don’t believe as you do.

      Keep your religion out of my secular government.

  • rich4321

    I wonder if China and other European contries hired debt collectors already.

  • Potter

    Isn’t it wonderful how we all sit at the edge of our seats biting our nails about whether these clueless brats living in their own bubble will cave?

    Well at least the media business is busy.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri
  • NewtonWhale

    Questions to ponder:

    When tea party protesters stole barricades from the WW II Memorial and dragged them to the White House, there were no arrests. Do you think liberal protesters would’ve been let off the hook like that if they’d done the same thing?

    And if this was supposed to be a protest by American vets, what’s up with the confederate flag?

    How dishonest do you have to be to lead a protest against the government shutdown you caused?

    • jefe68

      Did you notice that guy also had a Marine Corps flag.
      He’s a little confused, as the USMC were fighting against the CSA. What I saw were nasty small minded people.

    • Yar
      • HonestDebate1

        I think all those who say the shutdown is theater will think the arrest is noble.

        • Yar

          The acts of John Lewis are noble, but not the arrest. I expect this picture or one like it will be in the history books. Have we not learn anything from our past?

    • anamaria23

      The invasion of the Tea Party and including a US Senator, Cruz, into the Vets demonstration with their venom, vile and hatred was despicable. Ted Cruz is unworthy of the title US Senator. He has defiled the role with inciting hatred and obstructing the government. He is a thug with limited problem solving ability, He only knows extortion.

  • HonestDebate1

    The conventional wisdom seems to say Obama is a King and the House gets no say in the matter. Didn’t Obama learn anything the last time?

    • lobstahbisque

      Apparently.

    • jefe68

      There it is folks. The hubris, the inanity. Barak Obama is the President of the US. The Republicans lost now they act as if this does not matter. You want to have a mandate win the White House and the Senate.

      • Jeff

        Or simply negotiate somewhere in middle…funny how the word compromise simply left Washington after the 2008 election.

        • jefe68

          Yeah, it’s called the GOP, the party of NO.

          • Jeff

            More like the party of please come a little way towards our side. Name one major portion of the budget that the Democrats haven’t won on? Entitlement reform -> Nothing happened just like Dems wanted; Stimulus package -> $1 trillion and unemployment is still incredibly high; Frank-Dodd -> more regulations; Obamacare -> yep, it’s law and stifling businesses from making major decisions until it is enacted. Yep but that party of NO is really stopping them from doing anything; try compromising for once…the Dems are saying “we will not negotiate” spending cuts when hitting the debt limit you should ask yourself which is the real party of no!

          • jefe68

            That’s been done, spending cuts were made. This is about gutting everything, thats the agenda and if the little babies in the GOP side of the house don’t get their way, that includes you, they have temper tantrum and threaten to destroy the economy and the federal government.

            Win the Senate, win the White House. This entire thing is being dictated by 80 tea party idiots who represent about 18% of the population of the county. What you are describing is not negotiating, it’s giving in to demands.

            You support these nihilist, So I’m done here.

          • pete18

            Drink!!

          • northeaster17

            Elections have consequences. Thar’s a fact. That’s why we are still living with the results of Bush’s war of convienience in Iraq. We can’t let that sort in the power seat again

        • northeaster17

          In case you forgot the Senate Rethugs used the filibuster a record number of times during President Obama’s first term. There’s your compromise.
          Senator McConnell ” Our biggest job is to make Obama a one term president.” Yupp those were compromising days.

          • Jeff

            Odd how some Dems were calling Bush a nazi…many of Bush’s nominations were never given an up or down vote (as Dems are now shocked to find Obama’s nominees are getting the same treatment). Both sides do the same thing! Get over your political bias and you might even see the truth.

          • lobstahbisque

            Stop rewriting history.

          • Jeff

            Good retort, filled with facts figures…oh wait, nevermind.

          • lobstahbisque

            All right then, shut up.

          • TFRX

            The GOP had a record number of filibusters and anonymous holds over the most picayune things.

            They’ve made everything into a fugging crisis.

            You really gotta get out more.

          • Jeff

            Did you forget when Obama said this:

            “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. … I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

            — Then-Sen. Barack Obama, floor speech in the Senate, March 16, 2006

          • lobstahbisque

            Look. That quote has been worn out ages ago. It has no sting. It’s spam. OK big boy?

          • Jeff

            So you accuse of rewriting history and when I bring a very relevant quote, from the very person demanding a debt limit increase you claim that quote was “worn out ages ago”? You can’t have it both ways, accuse me of false history and then claim that history is irrelevant….funny how your own words come back to haunt you.

          • lobstahbisque

            I can do whatever I want. I live in a parallel bubble.

          • Jeff

            It’s called an echo chamber…but yes you do live in one.

          • TFRX

            And he didn’t shut the whole government down over it.

            Try better–if that’s not your best.

          • northeaster17

            And the Gov’t was shut down when? No similarity here at all. Extortion is extortion. No if and or buts about it.

          • nj_v2

            Hahaha! Look at you talking about “political bias.”

          • jefe68

            He’s wearing his clown outfit today and is driving small red huff.

          • Jeff

            Yep, and I’m a moderate but so many far left wing nuts on here wouldn’t take the time of day to understand that! Hilarious isn’t it?

        • anamaria23

          Yes, and it was over before it began with the meeting pre Inauguration of Repub elites vowing “unyielding opposition” to
          Obama administration policies. A vow they kept.

      • William

        Did the Democrats give up and go along with George Bush II?

        • jefe68

          They never did anything like this.
          You know what. It’s clear you support these nihilist in the tea party caucus.

        • TFRX

          They never did anything like this.
          You know what. It’s clear you support these nihilist in the tea party caucus.

          The Dems didn’t shut the whole thing down.

    • northeaster17

      The house has had way to much to say on this matter.

  • JGC

    I wonder if Buffett is feeling fearful or greedy right now…

  • northeaster17

    Let us not forget that the Republicans shut down the government over The Affordable Care Act. Some how that intent is no longer part of the conversation. Those were such simple days.
    Talk about leadership failure. Talk about screwing over your constituents.
    Wait, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, we can’t afford this country any more. So says the minority. Lets wreck it.
    I’ll never trust them again.

  • Jeff

    When one party is saying “we will not negotiate” it’s easy to see why we are still here…sure the GOP started this thing but the Dems are keeping us from moving forward.

    • John Cedar

      The GOP didn’t start this. The libtards are the ones that passed a reckless party line partisan healthcare law.
      A bill that was supposed to address healthcare costs amongs other things, but instead requires congress to shovel yet more money into Obamcare every year. Our Constitution is not set up to guarantee Obamcare will be funded every year. It is set up to err on the side of not funding it.

      • Renee Engine-Bangger

        You people tried 41 times to repeal the ACA and you failed each time. So then the strategy was extortion. That has failed too and now you just need to save face. Real bunch of “patriots” fighting the “tyranny.” Ugh.

        • jefe68

          They not patriots, well they are in their own fantasy island world, they are children who did not get their way. Spoiled brats is what we have here.

    • Renee Engine-Bangger

      Yeah, we don’t negotiate with terrorists.

      • Jeff

        Ah, ready to call them nazi’s too? It’s time for a Godwin’s law that applies to “terrorists”.

    • anamaria23

      One party said we will not negotiate by threat or extortion.
      The President said he will negotiate anything after the Congress does it’s job. To leave out this important distinction makes your argument nil.
      The Senate sent a budget to the House and were refused conference 19 times in the last six months. The final budget was down to just what the House asked for and was still rejected.
      No government should operate by extortion from one side.
      There is a legislative process that should be honered.

    • lobstahbisque

      The line in the sand is now immutable because our president got sick of being spat in the face. Instead of turning the other cheek, he grew a pair. Now you are losing: losers don’t write the history.

    • northeaster17

      Funny how you are waiting for the Democrats to bail out the Republicans from the actions of the fools now in charge. Must be frustrating.

  • Jeff

    Here you go…how soon we forget when the current president said this when he was a Senator:

    “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. … I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

    — Then-Sen. Barack Obama, floor speech in the Senate, March 16, 2006

    • lobstahbisque

      Dude, this is spam.

      • Jeff

        Accusing of spam is real spam…sorry but this is an accurate fact…I know you don’t see many of them in your own echo chamber but some people have minds of their own and might even disagree with the president…accept facts and history, please. We will all be better off you can do that.

        • lobstahbisque

          You wrote the same quote on the same page. What do you call it, Green Eggs and Ham?

          • Jeff

            What other quote?

          • lobstahbisque

            Your anger is gratifying.

    • TFRX

      He didn’t shut the whole thing down over it.

      Stop pretending you’ve made a point.

    • jefe68

      You do realize that in politics people change their minds and positions. Ronald Reagan did it, a lot. It’s called having a brain and the ability to use it to parse situations.
      Of course you tea party folks seem to lack this in spades.
      Not being able to parse a damn thing. Thinking the world is one dimensional. Again, you want to have a mandate, win a general election.

      • thequietkid10

        “You do realize that in politics people change their minds and positions.”

        LOL, of course they do, politicians change their mind all the time. Oddly enough it is usually for the benefit of there own political interest, or to avoid doing something (or do something) that they promised they would do or they won’t do to during a campaign.

        • jefe68

          That’s what is called politics.
          Being president is fraught with all sorts of problems. HW Bush lost his second term due to his now infamous “read my lips, no new taxes” line.

          Obama won his second term and the Democrats not only held on the the Senate they gained a few seats as they did in the House of Reps.

          Again, win the general election to get a mandate.

    • nj_v2

      [[ "I think that it's important to understand the vantage point of a senator versus the vantage point of a president. When you're a senator, traditionally what's happened is, this is always a lousy vote. Nobody likes to be tagged as having increased the debt limit — for the United States by a trillion dollars. As president, you start realizing, you know what, we, we can't play around with this stuff. This is the full faith and credit of the United States. And so that was just an example of a new senator making what is a political vote as opposed to doing what was important for the country. And I'm the first one to acknowledge it." ]]

      — President Obama, in a 15 April 2011 Good Morning America interview

      • pete18

        How in the world do you know that he’s not being “political” now?

  • maryrita

    In 2006 Obama engaged in the time-honored tradition of a symbolic vote, involving no threat to the country’s credit rating. Also, Obama’s objection to the skyrocketing debt had to do with the Bush administration’s launching of an unnecessary war with no attempt to pay for it. The Tea Party’s objection now has to do with providing affordable access to health insurance for millions of Americans.

  • MrStang

    The National Review in the above snippet does not mention that all Boehner has to do is bring a vote to the whole body reopen the government and to raise the debt ceiling. problem solved.

  • MrStang

    Boehner is infected with the Koch/Petersen Teapublican Zombie Virus. An injection of ‘Courage’ or ‘True Love of Country’ would inoculate him against the insidious Koch/Petersen Teapublican Zombie Virus.

  • atakemoto

    The fact that 535 people are holding hostage the fate of 313 million Americans sounds like terrorism to me.

    • Jeff

      You just violated Godwin’s Law as it applies to terrorists (instead of nazi’s) your whole argument is now null and void, thank you for trying to make a point and please try again tomorrow.

    • Mari McAvenia

      I see this image: a tiny gang of for-profit arsonists keep throwing matches on oily rags. Of course, their bosses have already bet big on having the joint burned to the ground. So, here’s a few people, standing by – let’s call them “Congress”- watching the bizarre, anarchistic behavior at a close but safe distance while doing NOTHING to stop it.

    • William

      So you trust the political elites? Just give them another trillion dollars and they will get serious about the spending cuts?

      • TFRX

        Keep JAQing it, William.

        Really, political elites don’t include Karl Rove and the Kochs and their astroturf groups? Or you don’t think they’ve got any influence in the wingnut wing of the House GOP?

  • AC

    is there no loop hole to ignore the delusional hold outs?

  • MrStang

    America can save itself from the Koch/Petersen Teapublican Zombie Virus by dumping Republicans in 2014. For the sake of the country we must erase the The Republican KochPetersen Teapublican axis of evil majorities from government. Vote them out out out in 2014.

    • TFRX

      Am I reading you right? Are you saying “there are no moderate Republicans out there any longer, because all of them run the risk of being primaried by a Tea Party wingnut”?

  • jefe68

    By the way, the damage has been done.
    This nonsense has to stop. This will all be happening again in a few months. This is madness. The tea party are living up to their name sake, it’s now the Mad Hatters tea party.

    • anamaria23

      WE simply cannot go on this way. . In the event of default, every human on earth could be effected. Let’s vote in mature people. Most of all let’s vote. Too many don’t.

      • jefe68

        That would have no effect in gerrymandered districts that are overwhelmingly supporting the tea party. This wont stop. It’s going to happen again in a few months.

      • pete18

        You realize that the US government has already defaulted twice in its history. We seem to have survived.

        • jefe68

          Yes indeed. The last one was because of the GOP. We survived the one in the 70′s, but the interest rate went up, a lot.
          You see this is how you roll. You make some comment that is misinformed and designed to support your nihilist point of view. By the way you are in an extreme minority of 18% on this.

          • pete18

            Drink!

        • hennorama

          pete18 – indeed, there have been two brief defaults on US bond obligations.

          The first was nearly 200 years ago, during the War of 1812, when Washington had been burned by British troops, and the Treasury was unable to physically move sufficient gold and silver to the bondholders’ locations.

          Not exactly analogous to the present circumstances, although some might support burning Washington, DC again.

          The second happened in 1979, when Congress delayed a debt ceiling deal until the day before Social Security checks were expected to start bouncing. Unfortunately, pushing the timing to nearly the last second overwhelmed the Treasury’s payment systems.

          Per the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Zweig, from an online article posted May 21, 2011”

          “In April and May 1979, amid computer malfunctions, heavy demand from small investors and in the wake of Congressional debate over raising the debt ceiling, the U.S. failed to make timely payments on some $122 million in Treasury bills. The Treasury characterized the problem as a delay rather than as a default. While the error affected only a fraction of 1% of the U.S. debt, short-term interest rates—then around 9%—jumped 0.6 percentage point and the U.S. was promptly sued by bondholders for breach of contract. (Investors were later paid in full, with back interest.)”

          And it was an expensive problem. According to an AP article posted Oct. 14, 2013:

          “T-bill interest ticked up 0.6 percent, a lasting bump that added about $12 billion to the cost of paying the national debt, according to a 1989 study in The Financial Review journal. It’s title: “The Day the United States Defaulted on Treasury Bills.”

          Sources:

          http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704083904576335420994526968.html?mod=WSJ_PersonalFinance_PF2

          http://bigstory.ap.org/article/us-never-defaulted-its-debt-not-so-fast

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2013/10/08/actually-the-united-states-has-defaulted-before/

  • MrNutso

    I glad Ammie is mentioning Boehner’s need to get Democratic votes to get legislation passed in the House. My conclusion from the past two weeks is that the problem is less with the Tea Party caucus than with Republican leadership and “moderate” Republicans. They need to ask themselves “is it about power or governing”. Bowing to the Tea Party gives them power at the expense of governing. Working in a bi-partisan manner with Democrats allows them to govern, but weakens their power.

  • TFRX

    Lowrey says “Republicans had a victory and forgot to declare victory”.

    I’ll remember that the next time someone says “President Obama has to give the GOP a way to save face”: They had their chance.

    Boy, if that doesn’t remind me of Aesop’s dog dropping his bone in the water because he wanted the bone that “other dog” had, while he was looking at his own reflection.

    • northeaster17

      Mission Accomplished.

    • Jeff

      All the spending proposals actually increase spending…basically eliminating any sequestration…this is not a victory as far as spending is concerned. Just because we increase spending by half of what the Democrats wanted doesn’t make spending decrease.

      • TFRX

        Yeah, as I always say when there’s trouble brewing in a bar:

        Why don’t you (Libertarians) and them (the right wing) fight?

        This is a right-wing fight which has become everyone else’s crisis for some unknown reason.

        • Mari McAvenia

          They need constant supervision by bigger, better bouncers. I wouldn’t set foot in the place until proper security is installed.

          • TFRX

            I like your metaphor up to the point where their bar fight sprawls out into the street and becomes everyonen else’s problem.

            We don’t have the option of “not setting foot” in the government, I’m afraid.

  • MrStang

    America, if the Teapublican Koch/Petersen Republican Zombies are willing to eat each other, what will they do to you? Hurricane Sandy victims, women assaulted by violence, people with pre-existing conditons seeking healthcare have all been attacked by these Republican Zombies so that the Koch Bros can dump more poison into the air and most profitable Exxon gain more tax-cuts.

  • William

    Say what you want about the TP members, they got the sequester passed and bent the growth in spending.

    • jefe68

      And they want more. Like I said, spoiled children.

  • alsordi

    To paraphrase the brilliant Gerald Celente:

    “politics is Hollywood for unattractive people”

  • JGC

    From the Borowitz Report- Rand Paul proposes just opening enough of government to hold new hearings on Benghazi: “For the two weeks of this shutdown, the American People have had no new information on Benghazi. It is time to stop the madness.”

  • MrStang

    This ‘Both Parties” crap is baaaad dangerous journalism. Even journalists are infected by the fox/Koch/Petersen Teapublican Zombie virus. They are afraid to lay the blame at the feet of these malign billionaires like Koch/Petersen trying to run the country via its zombie faux-libertarian confederacy christo-oil shock troops.

    • anamaria23

      I stopped briefly on Fox news yesterday. One of the opening concerns was that this President’s approval rating in an article about Congressional approval, was reported in the eight paragraph. George Bush’s same approval rating made headlines somewhere. As the world awaits it’s fate, Fox collects is collecting grievances against the liberal media.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Were you surprised to hear that the AP buried President Obama’s approval falling to 37% in the 8th paragraph of that story? That none of the MSM news reported it?

        The AP was once a respectable news organization.

        • anamaria23

          I read on line, not newspapers. I have seen the President’s approval rating more times that I can count and I am pretty much into liberal news.

          “None of the MSM reported it” is blatently untrue. Be real.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I should have been more clear. None of the nightly national news programs — NBC, ABC or CBS reported it. However, they did report it on the nightly news when Bush hit 37%.

          • anamaria23

            So, it is being kept a big secret?

  • MrNutso

    To, that’s what this whole crisis has been about, minority rule.

  • MrStang

    Steven, 57,000 children cut from Headstart because of the sequester is devestating.

    • StilllHere

      .

      • jefe68

        Demonizing your opposition.. oh never mind…

  • hennorama

    Caller Steve is another sadly misinformed caller comparing the US government’s operation to a business.

    Simplistic and ignorant. How unfortunate.

    • StilllHere

      Demonizing your opposition… oh nevermind…

      • jefe68

        Demonizing your opposition… oh never mind…

      • hennorama

        StilllHere — Accurate descriptions are not demonization.

        • StilllHere

          Simplistic and ignorant … ok, then right back atcha. Have a nice day.

          • hennorama

            StilllHere — Thank you for your response, and may you have a nice day as well.

  • TFRX

    “We can’t even pay for SocSec and Medicare” says caller Steve?

    Tom, you know better than this. Please repeat said facts to callers who don’t.

    Don’t continue to take your point to underinformed callers.

  • northeaster17

    To the caller. Obama did not institute Obama Care. It was voted on. Social Securtiy is fine. But that will probably be the next target of the traitors.

  • Potter

    Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, SAVES the government money……

  • MrStang

    steven, you have been infected by the Koch/Petersen teapublican austerity now virus. You don’t know that governments should run deficits.

  • hennorama

    Yeesh — yet another extremist caller. Demonizing the opposition rarely helps one reach an agreement.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      ” Demonizing the opposition rarely helps one reach an agreement.”

      Great advice.

      Have you heard Reid, Pelosi and Obama speak during the last two weeks. 24/7 demonizing. I guess they really didn’t want an agreement.

      • hennorama

        WftC — it’s all part of the clown show.

    • hellokitty0580

      Yes and no. Klansmen in suits is pretty extreme for sure. I wouldn’t have said that because it’s pretty offensive, but I do think that there are definitely some racist leanings in the Tea Party whether the Tea Partiers are even conscious of it or not. I think it’s a covert racism against President Obama. A mixed race president is shocking to a majority of people who have been used to older, white, males leading the country. A poll was recently carried out that said the majority of Americans are very wary of increasing diversity in this country (which is pretty silly considering the US has always been pretty diverse).

      That said, the House Tea Party Reps are pretty extreme and I think that the heart of what the caller was saying is true: This whole ordeal has cast out the House Tea Party for what they are- ineffective obstructionists. who are out of touch with reality. This country is changing, but they don’t know how to win their arguments within the strictures of our governing culture, ie without shutting down the government, putting people out of jobs and on edge, and damaging our international credibility.

      • hennorama

        hellokitty0580 – Thank you for your response.

        Yes, the “Klansmen in suits” comment was exactly what I responded to in my post.

        As I’ve written in the past to other members of this forum:

        “While I generally agree with the tenor of your comments…I can’t in any way condone the use of the word ‘racist,’ as no one but those you describe as “the Tea Partiers” (I prefer TEA Shindiggers, but I digress) knows what is in their heart. In addition, one can think and believe anything they wish. One’s actions can confirm one’s beliefs, as they speak much louder than words. Without evidence of action, an observer has no confirmation, and is left only with suspicion.”

        It is exceptionally difficult to be respectful and to give the benefit of the doubt to others, as is clear from the commentary here. That makes it even more worthwhile to try to do so, in my view.

        If what you write is true, that “the House Tea Party …are ineffective obstructionists. who are out of touch with reality,” that will be apparent to anyone who pays attention. That does not mean they will change immediately, of course, but as Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote, “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”

        See:
        http://www.brandeis.edu/legacyfund/bio.html

        In the end, cooler heads will prevail, and a deal will be struck. Everything else is entertaining but mostly meaningless. One suspects that the cooler heads among Republicans will declare victory and go home and then begin to plan their retribution for those who led them down this destructive path.

        Twas ever thus.

  • Yar

    No, it is not medicare and social security, it is borrowing from them to fight wars.

    • Jeff

      Medicare is due to go bankrupt in 2022 and Social Security 2034…those are facts…the wars (10 years each) cost far less than even 2 or 3 years of Medicare or Social Security.

      • Kiep99

        Not with lifelong Vet care, etc. The military costs are only part of the bill that GWB wouldn’t raise taxes to cover.

        • Jeff

          Does that help with the other two programs going bankrupt?

      • Shag_Wevera

        Those aren’t the facts. SS starts paying 79% of benefits in 2030ish. That ain’t broke, Joe.

        • Labropotes

          Hi Shag, SSI actually went cash negative for the first time in 2010, meaning that it sent out more dough in benefits than it collected in “contributions.” This is when the trust fund kicks in. But as Yar points out, that “stored” wealth has in fact been expended, and then some.

          Even Jeff’s point, with which you correctly disagree, is a very optimistic take.

          Very roughly, Medicare, Medicaid and SSI consume 67% of Federal Government revenue. Other expenses use up 95% of revenue. How is that possible? We spend 160-something percent of revenue.

          Those who think our budget problems can be solved without addressing these programs are simply wrong.

        • Jeff

          Sure, tell current recipients if they’d be willing to accept a 20% (I’ve heard closer to 30%) cut in their monthly SS checks.

  • StilllHere

    Lessons so far:
    Sequester, no big deal.
    Shutdown, what shutdown.
    Default, bring it.
    Every day is another proof that government is too big.

    And before the usual losers start whining using 3-syllable words you don’t understand the meaning of, I wrote too big, not that it shouldn’t exist. Commence a whining.

    • northeaster17

      Sequester, No big deal, Shut down, what shut down?
      But those vet’s not able to get to the memorial, that’s the real problem.
      Devolution, now that’s a three syllable word.

      • jimino

        You see, REALLY, REALLY true “conservatives” think running tourist sites are absolutely essential. governmental obligations. Paying already-funded Social Security benefits? Not so much.

        And they expect anyone to take them seriously. Seriously?

    • jefe68

      Demonizing your opposition.. oh never mind…

      • hennorama

        Hoo boy — I have a feeling that phrase is gonna haunt me.

    • tbphkm33

      Wearing your ignorance like a badge of honor. Oh well.

  • jefe68

    This tea party caller is wrong. This is not how governments are run. SS is solvent foe the next 30 years and is funded. It’s not the problem this misinformed man thinks it is. The easy fix is to raise the contribution from $103,000 to al least $2 million. That would fix the long term issues. Medicare can also be solved if we had a will to do it. But we don’t.

    He’s misguided and his comment on the US becoming Greece is kind of funny, being that defaulting on our debt is more akin to the fiscal problems of nations like Greece. Bad metaphor and in that lies the rub. That the tea party supporters do not seem to be educating themselves beyond the rhetoric of the extremist pundits filling the airwaves.

    • tbphkm33

      The Tea Baggers are hostages of their own propaganda. Incapable of stepping outside their ideological chains to evaluate the situation critically. This is what you get when you let the educational system languor, a docile population that memorized & regurgitated their way through school, without the ability to apply critical thought.

  • OnPointComments

    For what principles are Democrats willing to risk default? Democrats want to roll back the sequester because they abhor any limitation on profligate spending. Democrats want to make sure that the special Obamacare exception for the Congress stays in; first and foremost, they always look out for themselves. Democrats want to give an Obamacare break to unions; not surprising, Democrats always want to pay off the unions. Democrats prefer default to making any changes in Obamacare, even though it’s clear that after 3 years and $634 million dollars the exchanges aren’t ready; they’re unwilling to give the same waiver to individuals that President Obama illegally gave to employers.

  • MrStang

    Yes. Lets talk about the Military Industrial Complex and its budgetary effects. Lets talk about Corporate Welfare and the purchase of favorable legislation through vehicles like the American Legislative Exchange Council.

    • William

      Huge problem…the CEO of Google brags about not paying taxes….sad situation….

  • OnPointComments

    Only one party in the debt ceiling debate has said “I will not negotiate.” Only one party has stated that fundamental change of the country is the goal.

    • anamaria23

      Why do you twist the truth? The statement was ” I will not negotiate for ransom and the congress doing it’s job.
      All things are open AFTER the nation’s business is done.
      Is that you want a government run by extortion from a small minority?

  • http://freeourfreemarkets.org/ Steve Banicki

    The real problem is the long term complications. When historians discuss the decline of the United States this will be the time period they will be pointing to.

    If you were living in or overseeing an emerging country like Brazil, Mexico, Kenya or South Africa how comfortable would you be to have your nation solely rely on your affiliation with the United States for your future?

    From afar you see the U.S. having a difficult time taking care of its own business. You see a group of politicians threatening to shut down their government in order to prevent the enactment of a healthcare program that was passed according to law and a Supreme Court ruling it is constitutional. These politicians are willing to risk the credibility of their government in the eyes of the world for the sake of remaining in good standing with a splinter group called the Tea Party.

    You see a congress and senate not willing to support a president who wants to punish Syria for using a weapon of mass destruction as defined by the United States and the United Nations. You also see other leading nations of the world not willing to protect civilians from chemical weapons.

    You see the infrastructure of the largest economy of the world crumbling while there is a significant labor pool begging for work. You further notice that relative education levels of its citizenry is slipping when compared to other nations…. http://lstrn.us/1ap2Gev

  • TFRX

    The role of a public radio host is not to argue with guests.

    That being realized, where is the panel’s liberal to push back against the “common wisdom”?

    Please get a guest who doesn’t “know”, like everyone inside the Beltway, that the time to panic over SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid was yesterday.

    Please, in the interest of “determining how we got here”, remind everyone what happens when our self-professed fiscal conservatives try to “reform” these programs.

    The “daily fights” are because the GOP are in the minority. Please get a guest who’ll tell us what the history of the debt ceiling is and why it is now a crisis.

    PS Pete Peterson is still at large, and influencing people who should know better. A bit about the Deficit Hawks.

  • UmbrellaHolder

    Why doesn’t anybody talk about the fact that the healthcare law was intended to ADDRESS the deficit or that all Obama’s efforts at trying to deal with the deficit in a balanced way have been undermined by the Republicans.

    • William

      He has no budget. His own party would not vote for his last budget. How can he “address the deficit in a balanced way” without a budget? Both sides love this mess. But it’s up to the President to show some leadership and get a basic budget passed that both sides can agree on.

      • TFRX

        So it’s up to Obama to “lead” the righties who won’t even follow their own party leaders?

        That’s hilarious.

        You should go pro for some wingnut welfare and stop wasting your time doing your schtick for free: THere’s a lot of “serious thinking” going on inside the Beltway along that line.

        • William

          You have not earned your membership to the “fellow travelers club” yet, close,but not yet. Where is Obama’s leadership? Refusing to talk, calling names? That is Presidential leadership? Is this the same President that gave the speech after the Gabby Giffords shooting about toning down the hate in DC? The same guy that said he was a different political leader? Looks like you got nothing for your votes.

          • TFRX

            Keep JAQing it, William.

            It’s not a Democrat’s job to referee spats between Republicans. If they can’t get their crap together, too bad for them.

          • UmbrellaHolder

            I see, so perhaps Ted Cruz is your sort of “leader” then…?

      • anamaria23

        Senate budget to House 19 times since May. Rejected even though it was down to the level they requested.

      • thequietkid10

        Probably because nobody buys that talking point. The good news however is assuming it does help cut the deficit, and it doesn’t come at the cost of exploding premiums and/or long waits, It will be a big political victory for the left.

  • StilllHere

    We’ve heard Obama and Lew whine about how bad the sequester was going to be. It wasn’t. We’ve heard them howl about the disaster resulting from a shutdown. No biggy.

    I’m inclined to try out the default. Investors know we’re good for it. Where are they going to go? Japan who’s trying to depreciate their currency into oblivion. Europe who is teetering on recession and more bailouts. There’s not enough out there for the world’s savings. You watch, they’ll hold their bonds and buy more gladly.
    Downgrade us, who cares? It didn’t affect interest rates at all. They went down the day of the downgrade.

    Default! It’s the only way to get the Democrats to negotiate!

    • OnPointComments

      It’s a sad commentary on government that it admits it can’t prioritize its payments.

      • jefe68

        Here’s a good reason why this idea is idiotic.
        Besides it being not possible in a legal sense.

        If the Treasury decided to set aside interest payments and make other payments in arrears, we estimate it would result in a pullback in primary (i.e., noninterest) outlays of 4.2% of GDP (annualized). In both cases, the effect on quarterly growth rates (rather than levels) could be even greater.

        If this were allowed to occur, it could lead to a rapid downturn in economic activity if not reversed very quickly.

        • OnPointComments

          No one said it was a good idea in the normal course of paying bills, but if the debt ceiling had been reached and there wasn’t enough money to pay all of the bills, prioritizing payments would be an excellent idea. Treasury Secretary Lew has said that the government can’t prioritize which payments to make and which to defer in the event that the debt ceiling is reached. His statement means that if it came down to deciding whether to make debt payments, Social Security, Medicare, and active duty and retired military payments, or instead to buy a half billion dollars of art for the VA or to spend another billion or so for unneeded planes to be put in mothballs, the government can’t prioritize which get paid and which don’t.

          • jefe68

            So why do it for no reason? Why?
            What was the point? The GOP received nothing but lower poll ratings from this manufactured crisis. Have you folks learned nothing here?

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Annie lowery needs to take a look at her bias… Characterizing the Dems as unwilling to budge does disservice to the truth… There are two ways to balance a budget: decrease expenditures and increase revenues… While the Dems have offered compromise by offering spending cuts WITH tax increases… The GOP clearly states only one way: cuts:,no compromise, even on tax increases on billionaires alone.

  • MrStang

    For the Love of your Country John Boehner, bring a Continuing Resolution and debt ceiling vote to the full body of the House.

    do not fear the KochPetersen Teapublican Zombie Virus axis of evil.

  • Chris Volpe

    It is false and ridiculous to point the finger at entitlements without
    addressing all the the billions and billions of dollars the military
    just throws down the toilet. Do you realize that the pentagon is the
    only branch of government that does not submit its budget to the GAO? I
    am all for balancing the budget but reducing seniors to eating cat food
    again while Halliburton builds billion dollar fortifications in the
    mid-east that no-one ever uses is crazy!

  • JGC

    I think I am beginning to see the light. I am totally ready to compromise and reduce the debt, and I want to start by getting my hands all over Tea Partiers’ Medicare and Social Security entitlements.

  • MrStang

    The Ryan Budget is an Ayn Rand Wet Dream that “…does not work.” = Teapublican Zombie governance.

    OUT OUT OUT in 2014

    • thequietkid10

      Question…how old are you? Because your endless name calling is causing me to flashback to 7th grade.

  • http://www.openeyesvideo.com/ Glenn C. Koenig

    The message from the public is “Forget government!” Voter turn out for congressional races is terrible (we just had a primary here, to replace Ed Markey in the House). If we elected these representatives, and then give them abysmal ratings, what does that say?
    It says that the federal government is over with. People are searching for other ways to manage our affairs. You think this is heresy? Foolishness? Not on your life. Mark my words. The Federal Government is on its way out.

  • hennorama

    Federal deficits have been very persistent. Here’s some perspective from a St. Louis Federal Reserve research publication from Nov. 2012, titled “The U.S. Deficit/Debt Problem: A Longer-Run Perspective”:

    “…most of the increase in spending that generated the persistent deficit over the 38 years before the financial crisis was spending for Medicare and Medicaid, particularly Medicare. Indeed, spending for Medicaid and Medicare increased from about 18 percent of mandatory spending in 1979 to 31 percent in 2011. During the same period, Social Security payments declined from 46 percent to 36 percent of mandatory spending despite the fact that mandatory spending increased significantly as a percent of total spending. Spending for income security increased from 14.5 percent to 20 percent; however, most of this increase was a consequence of the financial crisis and subsequent recession.”

    See:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review/12/11/Thornton.pdf

    If one had to choose a single area to focus on (aside from Job #1 – jobs, jobs, and more jobs), it would be Medicare.

    Since Medicare came into existence, Federal Spending has averaged a bit under 21% (20.89%) of GDP, from 1967 thru 2012. Federal Revenues during this same period have averaged just under 18% of GDP (17.94%). So on average, we’ve had deficits amounting to about 3% of GDP for the last 45+ YEARS!

    This did not happen overnight, and is unlikely to change overnight.

    Most of the increase in deficit spending can be attributed to Medicare, and to a lesser extent Medicaid. The problems stems in large part from the fact that only Medicare Part A is nearly self-funding, but Parts B and D are only about 30% self-funded, and must get over 70% of their funding from general Federal Revenues.

    See:

    http://kff.org/medicare/fact-sheet/medicare-spending-and-financing-fact-sheet/

    For those who don’t know::

    There are four parts to Medicare:

    Medicare Part A, Hospital Insurance; (this gets virtually no Federal general revenue)

    Medicare Part B, Medical Insurance; (72% funded from Federal general revenue)

    Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage), which was formerly known as Medicare + Choice; and

    Medicare Part D, prescription drug coverage. (74% funded from Federal general revenue)

    See:
    http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/167/~/differences-between-medicare-parts-a,-b,-c-and-d

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      We can’t seem to agree on the problem. Therefore, no solution agreements are forthcoming.

      • hennorama

        WftC — the first step is to get the information out to the public. Few actually pay any direct attention to the matters highlighted in my post, which is why I put it up.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Excellent point.

          • hennorama

            WftC — thank you for your very kind words.

    • jimino

      You have hit the nail on the head regarding our current deficit. If we paid the same portion of our GDP for medical care that the rest of the developed (and better cared-for) world did there would be a surplus, not a deficit.

      • hennorama

        jimino – thank you for your response and your very kind words.

        Indeed, both our health care costs and health care outcomes, as well as life expectancy, are relatively poor.

        For comparison purposes, Germany spends about 11% of GDP and a bit over $3600/person/year on health care. The US spends about 18% of GDP and a bit over $6400/person/year. German life expectancy and health outcomes exceed those in the US.

        Source:
        http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.XPD.TOTL.ZS

        BTW, Germany’s health care is a multi-payer system.

        Employers pay a little over half the cost for accident, long-term care, and health insurance, as a % of salary. This works out to a bit under 10% of wages for most workers. Employees pay most of the rest, and government subsidizes lower paid workers’ premiums. These premiums are paid into private non-profit “sickness funds.” Each member of each “sickness fund” pays the same rate of premiums.

        Higher paid workers and a few others can opt out of the “sickness funds” and instead pay for private insurance. About 15% choose private insurance, which usually has greater benefits.

        Importantly, the sickness funds are non-profit entities. They are mandated to provide a minimum range of coverage, and can’t refuse membership or discriminate based on age or other factors.

        Health providers are paid set amounts, on a fee-for-service basis. The fees are vary by state. Same-day health care appointments are common, and wait times are low to non-existent.

    • http://www.openeyesvideo.com/ Glenn C. Koenig

      … and the reason Medicare (and Medicaid) are such a problem is that they are hooked to a “fee for service” model in the medical industry. That is, the more services that are delivered, drugs prescribed, procedures performed, the more the medical industry gets paid, regardless of the outcome. In this model, prevention reduces their (medical industry) revenues, while a sicker population increases them. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) does not really change this. That’s because of the heavy influence of the medical industry in government, through campaign contributions and lobbying efforts, along with a ‘revolving door’ of public officials entering and exiting the medical industry to take jobs in government. I think the time is right to refer to this as the “Medical Industrial Complex” in that it functions in a way quite similar to the Arms industry. In the long run they both work us over through fear. Fear of loss of military strength on the one hand, and fear of illness and death on the other.

      • hennorama

        Glenn C. Koenig – thank you for your thoughtful response.

        Not all fee-for-service systems are as bad as the one we have. In response to another poster, I wrote the following about the German system:

        [[Germany's health care is a multi-payer system.

        Employers pay a little over half the cost for accident, long-term care, and health insurance, as a % of salary. This works out to a bit under 10% of wages for most workers. Employees pay most of the rest, and government subsidizes lower paid workers' premiums. These premiums are paid into private non-profit "sickness funds." Each member of each "sickness fund" pays the same rate of premiums.

        Higher paid workers and a few others can opt out of the "sickness funds" and instead pay for private insurance. About 15% choose private insurance, which usually has greater benefits.

        Importantly, the sickness funds are non-profit entities. They are mandated to provide a minimum range of coverage, and can't refuse membership or discriminate based on age or other factors.

        Health providers are paid set amounts, on a fee-for-service basis. The fees are vary by state. Same-day health care appointments are common, and wait times are low to non-existent.]]

        The key there is that the fees-for-service are set amounts, combined with the fact that the sickness funds are non-profit entities.

    • Bruce94

      Excellent post. These figures (i.e. revenues and spending as a percent of GDP) reflect the OECD stats I’ve seen on the subject, stats that clearly show the U.S. lagging behind nearly every advanced, industrialized country that the OECD tracks in terms of revenues and spending.

      Sadly, the preposterous Tea Party/GOP convulsions around the ACA and our debt not only undermine our govt. institutions (e.g. majority rule) and economic well-being, but also distract us from the real challenges from our competitors in the global economy. While the anti-tax, anti-govt. purveyors of paranoia give us another manufactured debt crisis, we dither while our competitors gain the upper hand–competitors who are willing and able to make the investments in research, infrastructure, education and healthcare required for long-term economic growth and security.

      • hennorama

        Bruce94 – thank you for your very kind words.

        It’s simple enough to find a source to answer the question you posed, but we cannot change history. There’s plenty of blame to go around when discussing the debt, the deficit, the Great Recession, etc., but it would be helpful to at least agree that history did not begin on either Jan. 20, 2001 OR January 20, 2009.

        The past is interesting, and fun to argue about, but it can’t be changed and therefore it would be more productive to talk about the future. So … let’s stop wasting time trying to assign blame on what’s already happened, and talk about what we want to happen, and how to make that happen.

        Don’t get me wrong — passion is great and when passion fuels action, amazing things can result. My point is not about passionate argument, but rather that we should discuss the FUTURE, not the past.

        You never know, something good may come out of it.

        This may be another fool’s errand that I’m on, but I still think it’s worth a shot.

        The path forward requires cooperation and agreement, not obstruction and grandstanding. To advance, we need to first identify the pressing problems we need to work on. I’m posing this to try to spark a conversation, in an effort to come to some sort of agreement. If we can agree about what the problems are, then we can start to discuss solutions.

        What can we agree on? Let’s start with some economic factors, since the economy is our #1 concern. I’ve tried to word these as neutrally as possible to avoid argument and blame. These may seem obvious, but we need to start with the basics, IMO.

        1. Too many people are out of work.
        2. 47% of Americans not paying Federal Income Tax (FIT) is too high a percentage.
        3. Current Federal deficit is large and should be reduced.
        4. Social Security (22% of FY 2012 Federal Spending), and Medicare (about 16% of Spending) are in need of reform.
        5. Total Federal debt is large and should be reduced.

        Source “Policy Basics: Where Do Our Federal Tax Dollars Go?”:
        http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258

        Any suggestions?

        • Bruce94

          I’ve been out of pocket for most of today, so haven’t had a chance to reply until now. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. As you point out, 22% of the fed. budget paid for Social Security in 2012. Also, 21% of the fed. budget paid for Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP.

          What you’re omitting is the portion of the fed. budget going to defense and related security activities–19%.

          http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=1258

          What I was simply trying to say in my previous post was that any discussion of a balanced approach to deficit reduction should include targeted cuts in defense spending.

          Moreover, the notion that substantial cuts or reforms to Social Security are needed to bring down the debt is IMO false. There are more than a few potential options for maintaining adequate SS funding without exploding the debt; they require political will, but are relatively simple compared to the issues involving Medicare. Here are some promising proposals for shoring up SS without hurting beneficiaries: raising the cap on taxable wages; increasing the payroll tax skewing it so that higher earners pay a higher rate; developing new strategies for investing SS funds in, for example, market index funds; requiring state and local govt. employees to participate in SS.

          In addition, given that the U.S.is lagging behind nearly every nation tracked by the OECD in terms of govt. revenues and spending as a percent of GDP (i.e. nearly every advanced, industrialized country with which we compete), any discussion of a balanced or equitable approach to deficit reduction should also include tax reform and tax hikes that generate new revenues particularly from the wealthiest 2% who are currently benefiting from historically low effective tax rates.

          • hennorama

            Bruce94 – Thank you for your thoughtful and clarifying response.

            Indeed, national Defense spending must also be taken into account in any balanced approach to deficit reduction.

            As to my list of items, including “4. Social Security (22% of FY 2012 Federal Spending), and Medicare (about 16% of Spending) are in need of reform” – my concept of “reform” is similar to your general outlines.

            Social Security needs two things – as you indicated, increases to the Maximum Taxable Limit, and more younger workers. Immigration reforms can help with the latter. I’d also be open to additional means-testing for benefit eligibility, and gradual increases to the age for full eligibility, but those are more controversial items.

            Medicare is a much more difficult problem. Fortunately, costs have been rising at lower rates than previously projected. In addition, more younger workers will help.

            There’s a great report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, titled “Policy Options To Sustain Medicare For The Future” available here:

            http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/8402.pdf

            Everything has to be on the table, to ensure Medicare’s financial stability.

            Thanks again for your response.

          • Bruce94

            Thanks for the KFF citation. I’ll check it out at the first opportunity. I agree with most everything you’ve highlighted. All the options you listed including means-testing should be on the table. And your reference to immigration reform is spot on. Immigration reform is key to this effort and a valuable piece to add to reviving our economy. I was hopeful that after a comprehensive bill passed the Senate with GOP co-sponsors, it would be taken up by the House and given serious consideration. Instead it was DOA. I was really surprised and disappointed by the ugly treatment of Rubio (who identifies with the Tea Party himself) and other Senate Republicans who supported the measure. Maybe in the aftermath of this shutdown debacle, Republicans will be more receptive to immigration reform and the many benefits it would bring to our economy.

          • hennorama

            Bruce94 – you’re welcome, of course.

            Just so you know, the KFF paper is over 200 pages. They tackle the following five major areas, and discuss a variety of options in each:

            Medicare Eligibility, Beneficiary Costs, and Program Financing
            Medicare Payments to Plans and Providers
            Delivery System Reform and Care for High-Need Beneficiaries
            Medicare Program Structure
            Medicare Program Administration

            I too am disappointed about the various difficulties involved in the failure to get any significant immigration reform, but remain optimistic about the prospects for action.

            As to Republicans – it seems they need to get together and “reboot” yet again. As Louisiana Gov. Jindal said recently, Republicans need to “stop being the stupid party.” Personally, I think only further electoral losses will prompt change.

            You might also be interested in this research from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, titled “The U.S. Deficit/Debt Problem: A Longer-Run Perspective,” which I linked to in my original post. It’s only 17 pages, including notes and a bio of the author, and is filled with excellent graphs.

            See:
            http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review/12/11/Thornton.pdf

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      The solution is obvious.

      Limit spending to 18% of GDP — the natural level of revenues. Raise revenues to 19% of GDP temporarily to start paying down the debt — slowly over time.

      A balanced solution.

      • HonestDebate1

        From 2001 to 2008 spending averaged about 19.6% of GDP. From 2009 to 2012 spending jumped to just over 24% of GDP. And due to the disastrous jobs situation as a result of Obama’s policies, revenue has gone down.

        I think Henny hides these facts by disingenuously averaging from 1967 to 2012.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          History will not be kind to the Obama presidency. $7T in deficit spending squandered with little to show for it. In fact, the worst recovery since WWII. Record low job participation rates. And on and on.

          You are correct in pointing out that it isn’t just the wasted spending. The aggressive regulatory policies have tamped down economic growth dramatically. Now we are seeing market distortions due to Obamacare (29 work week, , 50 employees, etc.).

          • hennorama

            WftC — as noted just yesterday:

            The U.S. has historically operated at a deficit, averaging just under 3% (2.96 percent) of GDP from Fiscal Year 1940 through FY 2008.

            Then we had the Great Recession, which had both huge instantaneous impacts and significant lingering aftereffects. The lower Revenue and higher Spending over the last 5 years have been so large that they changed the prior 68 year average Deficit by more than 11%, from 2.96 to 3.26 percent of GDP:

            (All figures are percentages of GDP)
            PERIOD Revenue Spending Surplus/ Deficit (-)

            1940-2008 17.44 20.40 -2.96
            1940-2012 17.33 20.61 -3.29

            The Great Recession had a huge impact.

            The fiscal conundrum deal from the beginning of 2013 raises Federal Revenue to about 16.7% of GDP for FY 2013, which is still well below historical averages. Various actions, including sequestration, have reduced FY 2013 Spending to about 22.7% of GDP.

            For perspective, the following uses historical data from the OMB, and is presented by decade, in order to eliminate political discussion due to changes in Presidential administrations. All figures are percentages of GDP:

            PERIOD Revenues Spending Deficit (-)

            1940-1949 14.40 24.07 -9.67
            1950-1959 17.19 17.59 -0.40
            1960-1969 17.86 18.64 -0.78
            1970-1979 17.91 20.08 -2.17
            1980-1989 18.28 22.21 -3.93
            1990-1999 18.49 20.66 -2.17
            2001-2009 17.67 20.04 -2.37
            2010-2012 15.43 24.17 -8.73

            Note both the huge drop in Revenue as well as the increase in Spending in the final line. A separate calculation for FY 2009 to 2013 (using the most recent available estimates for FY 2013) shows this:

            Revenue 15.62
            Spending 23.78
            Deficit -8.16

            Again, note the very low Revenue figure, which is rarely discussed.

            And you need not believe me. Here’s a
            quote from the same Federal Reserve research quoted above:

            “THE U.S. DEFICIT/DEBT PROBLEM: WHEN DID IT BEGIN?

            “…a marked change in the behavior of the deficit occurred circa 1970. For the decade preceding 1970, the United States also had fairly persistent deficits, but they were relatively small—on average, 0.8 percent of GDP. In contrast, the deficit averaged 2.1 percent for the 1970s, 3.9 percent for the 1980s, 2.2 percent for the 1990s, and 3.0 percent for the 2000s. Over the entire 1970-2010 period the deficit averaged 2.8 percent of GDP.”

            The facts are the facts.

            Solutions are neither simple nor obvious, but Medicare is certainly a large part of the problem, as previously stated.

            See again:
            http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review/12/11/Thornton.pdf (page 2 of 17)

            More on Spending in a future post.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            The first thing that stuck out in the data you just posted is spending 2010-2012 (24.17%) exceeded our spending during the WWII era 1940-1949 (24.07%).

          • Ray in VT

            Considering the very dramatic drop in spending after the war, as we did not have things like Medicare and had not yet undertaken projects such as the interstate highway system or the space race, I don’t think that it is that surprising.

          • hennorama

            WftC – Thank you for your response.

            Actually, if you look only at the five year WWII era of Fiscal Years 1942 through 1946, the averages as percentages of GDP were:

            Revenue 16.48
            Spending 35.64
            Deficit -19.16

            And the three peak WWII years of 1943 to 1945 averaged

            Revenue 18.20
            Spending 43.03
            Deficit -24.83

            Yes, you read that correctly. Federal Spending averaged over 43 percent of GDP for THREE YEARS. In the transitional year between Presidents Bush II and Obama, FY 2009, Federal Spending peaked at 25.2% of GDP, and the deficit that year was 10.1%

            Slightly different, wouldn’t you agree?

            FYI, prior to 1976, the Federal fiscal year began on July 1 and ended on June 30, so the five year WWII era encompasses the calendar period of July 1, 1941 through June 30, 1946.

        • Ray in VT

          How is showing the numbers from over the life of Medicare disingenuous? Also, then, is it also not disingenuous of you that you fail to note the declines in revenue as a share of GDP during the most recent two presidential administrations when compared to those of the several previous ones?

          • HonestDebate1

            It is disingenuous because spending to GDP skyrocketed under Obama and it cannot be pinned on Medicare. Averaging 45 years distracts from the horrendous spending we are seeing under Obama. Obamacare gutting Medicare didn’t help either. You have to go back to 1945 and WWII to see a higher spending to GDP ratio. We haven’t been even close to these spending levels in my lifetime.

            And I did mention that revenue is down. The Bush years saw higher revenue.

          • Ray in VT

            GDP spending began skyrocketing under Bush at the beginning of FY 2009, which you disingenuously attempted to pin entirely on Obama.

            Medicare is certainly a part of the equation when one looks at increased spending, just as Social Security is, as well as elements of the budget like unemployment and income security programs that spike during hard economic times.

            How old are you? I assume that you must be very young, counter to other statements that you have previously made, seeing as how the early Reagan years, when spending as a share of GDP topped out at 23.5%, and with six straight years above 22%, must not have been in your lifetime.

            You also neglect to mention that Bush era revenues were lower, as a share of GDP, than under the administrations of at least the 3 previous presidents, so, relative to that, revenues were down under Bush.

      • hennorama

        WftC – Thanks again for your response.

        Please list the Revenue increases you propose, as well as the Spending reductions. Here are your targets, based on various Fiscal Years, beginning with estimates for FY 2014:

        FY RECEIPTS OUTLAYS (figures as percentages of GDP)

        2014 17.8 22.2
        2015 18.6 21.8
        2016 18.8 21.6
        2017 18.8 21.3
        2018 18.9 21.2

        GDP Estimates:

        2014 estimate $17.011 Trillion

        You need to add revenue of 1.2% of GDP ($204.13 Billion), and reduce Spending by 4.2% of GDP ($714.46 B).

        For comparison purposes, estimated National Defense Spending for FY 2014 is $626.76 B, and Transportation Spending is $94.49. If you completely eliminated those, you’d exceed your Spending reduction target by $6.79 B. Simple, right?

        Looking ahead:

        2015 GDP estimate $17.936 Trillion
        2016 GDP estimate $18.934 T
        2017 GDP estimate $19.980 T
        2018 GDP estimate $21.024 T

        Good luck!

        Source:
        http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2014/assets/hist.pdf

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          I just create the ‘envelop’ and hire other people prioritize the spending cuts. :)

          The good news is given the OMB projections we don’t have to raise much revenue. Maybe under my plan we’ll get some real economic growth and really start paying down the debt.

          • hennorama

            WftC — that was a surprisingly quick dodge.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            No hemming and hawing here.

            Zero based budgeting and no lobbyists in the room. That is the way forward.

            OK, I’m willing to compromise. A 4 year plan to get a balanced budget. 25% of the way there each year. A good leader could do it. The American people will be willing to sacrifice IF they sense fairness and see concrete results. The result being a balanced budget @18% of GDP.

            I would start with Senator Tom Coburn’s waste fraud and abuse reports.

          • hennorama

            WorriedfortheCountry — Thanks for your response.

            I thought you were serious.

            Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) is interesting, but largely unworkable for the Federal government as a whole. It would introduce even more uncertainty into the Federal budget process, and conflicts with various laws surrounding mandatory spending programs.

            (For those unfamiliar with ZBB, see a definition here: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/z/zbb.asp . There’s also a very good discussion here: http://www.gfoa.org/downloads/GFOAZeroBasedBudgeting.pdf )

            As I recall, the last Republican nominee for President said that if he was elected and his “plan” was implemented, he may have been able to balance the budget in 8 to 10 years, and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan’s said his proposals would do it in 28 years.

            What makes you think you could do it so much more quickly?

            Senator Coburn is fighting the good fight, and his annual Waste Book is interesting and often entertaining, and he is to be commended. However, even if all 100 of the highlighted items were magically eliminated, you would still need to cut Spending by another $696.46 BILLION for FY 2014 using your first suggestion, and another $160.62 BILLION using your “4 year plan to get a balanced budget… 25% of the way there each year.”

            Again for comparison purposes, the lower figure of $160.62 BILLION is a bit less than the combined total estimated spending for FY 2014 for:

            International Affairs $55.883 B
            General Science, Space, and Technology $30.157 B
            Agriculture $23.454 B
            Administration of Justice $58.737 B
            =================
            SUBTOTAL $168.231 B

            Alternatively, you could all eliminate Veterans Benefits and Services @ $148.222 B, and all Energy (code 270) Subfunctions of the Physical Resources category @ $12.680 B for a total of $160.902 B.

            See:
            http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2014/assets/hist.pdf (again)
            http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41726.pdf (Discretionary Budget Authority by Subfunction: An Overview)

            Again, good luck.

  • http://www.openeyesvideo.com/ Glenn C. Koenig

    One thing – this whole way of running government “sells newspapers” so to speak (makes for exciting radio talk shows) but doesn’t do much else.

    • fun bobby

      I guess its better than war for newspaper sales

  • Enuff_of_this

    We need across the board term limits. Every single person occupying an seat in Congress has long outlived their usefulness. Remember, the only good politican is a former politician.

  • MrStang

    The vast majority of the country must VOTE VOTE VOTE in 2014
    Eradicate the KochPetersen Republican Tea Zombie Virus in 2014.
    OUT OUT OUT 2014

  • Cindy C Barnard

    Yes, thank you! Gerrymandering should be taken up and investigated by the AG! The House isn’t realistically representing the wide majority of the people.

    Would Washington turn in his grave to hear the term “safe seat” garnered by gerrymandering.

    • AC

      what is the origin of this word ‘gerrymandering’? i’ve been looking for a loop hole myself, maybe this is it?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Look up Eldrige Gerry — MA politician.

    • OnPointComments

      Would the elimination of gerrymandered minority majority districts meet with your approval?

    • fun bobby

      are you familiar with holders work?

  • AC

    it’s really hard not to resort to name calling from skimming through some of the comments, but honestly, i would guess at least 20 to 25% tea party supporting type comments are from much older demographic and less educated. is there any sample data to correlate this guess? & i don’t even trust statistics, but simple ones like this are fairly reliable…

    • jefe68

      I think there is. But you are on to something.
      How could anyone think that defaulting on our debt, which was for money already spent ratified by Congress, is a good thing. Then in the next sentence they go off about the US becoming Greece.

      The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party indeed.

      • Labropotes

        Neither Jefe nor AC are the first or last to speculate that those who do not share their views must be stupid. It’s a comforting if unproductive thought.

        I agree that it is stupid to contemplate a disorderly adjustment to government spending. But think about how absurd it is — if it’s true which I doubt — that in order to pay the interest on our debt, we need to borrow additional money. That is the very position Greece is in. In order not to default, they need to borrow even more money from the very same creditors.

        • jimino

          Happens all the time in business. They call it a line of credit.

          On the other hand, I could live with the federal government stopping all payments to the Congressional districts who sent the tea party candidates to DC and see where that leaves our balance sheet. They all take more in public benefits than they pay in taxes anyway so it would also be fair in the true sense of that term.

          • Labropotes

            Point taken. I’m not advocating cold turkey. Businesses that have a prospect of their revenue growing to meet their expenses often rely on credit. In the case of the federal government, such growth is not possible. Now it spends 160% of revenue. It has been at that level for 5 years. Where is the much vaunted multiplier effect? Do we need to crank it up to 200%?

            To keep going like this is to devalue savings = to increase the price of physical assets = to grow the discrepancy between the 1% (who hold 40% of wealth) and the rest of us. If we are against increasing the divide between rich and poor, we should be opposed to persistent deficit spending.

        • jefe68

          It’s not about me sharing you’re views no matter who inane they may or may not be.
          What went on here with the tea party and the GOP was really stupid. If you don’t think so, well you might have changed your mind if we went over that default cliff and all your savings, IRA’s 401k’s and so on started to tank as interest rates started to rise, a lot.

          We are not Greece. We have one the largest economies on the planet and every nation that can is parking their money here because US treasury bonds are a safe investment. You mess with that and there is hell to pay. YOu don’t have to agree with that assessment. YOu can go the way that the tea party nihilist want to go. They want the who thing to collapse. I’m not sure why, maybe so they can say see government does not work. Just like Cruz and Palin did at the WW2 memorial. Twisting reality until it’s some weird Through the Looking Glass nightmare.

          So you go on and keep on taking in all that BS you’re being fed about the US becoming Greece. While you are at it, don’t you think defaulting on our debt is the same thing you are on about?

          • pete18

            Drink!

          • Labropotes

            I agree defaulted would be dumb. I think that devaluation is stealth tax, and I oppose that too. Defaulting or devaluing are our only options, and the second is the least bad.

            Tea Partiers are deluded, but so are we all. The things they believe, value, argue for are not evil or completely misguided. Once we understand what they value, we can communicate with them and maybe have a positive effect.

    • nj_v2

      I’m guessing at least some of them are paid shills.

      More of them show up on specific issues, like gun control. The generalists are here almost every day.

      • fun bobby

        and who pays them and to what end? are you being paid?

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          LOL! Who would pay to post into an echo chamber of a few hundred? They say a fool is easily parted with his money — but those with real money are rarely fools.

          • fun bobby

            that’s gotta be worth at least $1.35

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Are you offering? LOL

          • fun bobby

            I am going to have to talk to HR

          • pete18

            It’s a good theory if you have no real arguments to make.

    • ToyYoda

      What’s really ironic is the platitude that growing inequality would lead to radicalism originating with the poor classes that are tired of being judged, and isolated by others.

      But here we see it’s reverse. Radicalism is starting with the rich tea partyists who seem to be a judgemental lot that are isolating themselves through their extreme views.

      …So much for historical wisdom…

  • TFRX

    Lindsey Graham says:

    “We won’t be the last political party to overplay our hand,” he said. “It might happen one day on the Democratic side. And if it did, would Republicans, for the good of the country, kinda give a little? We really did go too far. We screwed up. But their response is making things worse, not better.”

    Hahahaha. This after how many years of TotalWarfarePolitik from the GOP?

    Mouthing some niceynice words is one thing, but any Democrat who really believes any Republican leader would be able to deliver the wingnuts they have now should it get to the point where the good thing is for “Republicans [to] kinda give a little” should quit and go follow the Conservadem parade now.

    Save that crap for the Max Baucuses, Evan Bayhs and Joe Liebermans.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    There is little discussion about the elephant in the room and that is the stunning lack of leadership coming from the oval office.

    This mess is the result of a long term leadership vacuum at the top. It could have been easily averted by the President at almost any time. Instead he pursued tactics to gain political advantage.

    The only time in the President’s tenure that he showed leadership on this issue was when he created the Bowles-Simpson commission. Unfortunately, when it was time to do the hard work of getting a deal on the results of the commission the President went AWOL. And he hasn’t been seen since on tackling the debt and deficit.

    • OnPointComments

      Who is surprised that Obama’s strategy has been politics, not leadership, all along?

      THE BRAINS BEHIND THE OBAMA SHUTDOWN STRATEGY
      http://www.humanevents.com/2013/10/16/the-brains-behind-the-obama-shutdown-strategy/

      Excerpt:
      Who talked Barack Obama into shutting down the government and pulling up the curtain on Shutdown Theater? The Hill says “Dan Pfeiffer’s fingerprints are all over the White House’s strategy of not negotiating with congressional Republicans over the government shutdown and debt ceiling.”

      The senior adviser to President Obama has been plotting the White House’s every move, and is described by some within the administration as the “relentless guardian” of Obama’s no-negotiations stance.

      “He’s been the most ferocious on that principle,” one senior administration official said. “He was quite adamant and relentless about this. And on the face of it, it’s not an easy argument to make.”

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Chicago political thug tactics. Who could have predicted it?

    • jimino

      The Bowles-Simpson plan called for raising taxes. Therefore it had no chance of Republican support.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        How do we know? SB called for tax reform. Simplification — lower rates, fewer deductions.

        Ryan said he would support that part of it as part of deal. His criticism was that it didn’t include the largest debt driver and that was government spending on health care. He had a good point.

        • jimino

          Ryan led opposition of the House Republican’s on the panel to the plan, and could not identify one revenue increase he would support, which evasion continued as the VP candidate throughout the presidential campaign. Identify the Republicans who would publicly renounce their fealty to Grover Norquist in the interests of the USA and agree to a tax increase .

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            We’ll never know because Obama didn’t try. Maybe he chickened out because of the 2010 elections?

            There were Democrats who balked at supporting SB too. Perhaps this was the making of a deal?

            Ryan was correct. Health care complicated things tremendously. If Obamacare had never passed they probably would have addressed Medicare in SB. With the Obamacare ‘vicotry’, healthcare was non-negotiable for the Dems. Where does that leave the American people?

          • jimino

            With the ability to obtain health care coverage.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Don’t get me started.
            $2.6T to cover 30M and cover pre-existing conditions with 30M more still uncovered.
            You could meet these goals for much less money and in a less invasive fashion.
            Let’s not forget the litany of broken promises that were used to get this disaster passed and the unintended consequences we are learning about daily.
            Central planning at its best on display here.

          • jimino

            I agree the ACA is not the best way to meet these goals. I believe single payer would be.

            How would you propose the goals be met? And what was the Republican plan presented as an alternative during the ACA debate in Congress? I don’t recall one.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            There are many ways to implement single payer. Some of them would be preferable to Obamacare. My two big concerns are that it would stifle health care innovations and like most government run bureaucracies it would be inefficient and result in poor care over the long run. I could imagine an excellent bureaucrat doing a fantastic job with efficiency and fairness. But, it is far more likely we get the “spend $634M on a $5M web portal that still doesn’t work after 3.5 years”.

            During the ACA debate? I believe the Dems were in ‘we won’ mode and weren’t listening to most GOP ideas — certainly not alternatives.

            There have been many GOP ideas. Many from medical Dr.s in the GOP. Most of them revolve around expanding competition, increasing transparency on medical costs and quality. Incentives for health savings accounts, etc. Regarding pre-existing conditions there were some ideas for subsidies of risk pools that could be implemented very cheaply. Most of the ideas revolve around unleashing market forces that are hindered in the current environment.

    • jimino

      Actually a lot of people are cheering Obama’s leadership in finally recognizing the existential nature of the fight the tea baggers have picked and demanding unconditional surrender. He finally understands that they really are that crazy and can not be reasoned with. And now you demand that he appease them?

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    It is sad when the NYTimes economic reporter is trumpeting
    $780B deficits as a good thing. However, she did acknowledge that these reductions are temporary because of the structural flaws in our entitlement system. The CBO projects the deficits will start rising again in 2016 — even after the sequester cuts and the Obama tax increases.

    Also, there is little reporting on the danger of having a debt the size of the entire economy. And that debt continues to increase at an alarming rate. Most people don’t understand the duration of the debt. If interest rates increase a few points we will be in deep doo-doo very quickly and real people will be hurt because there will be no hiding. No good choices.

    The sooner we deal with it the better off we will all be. You might disagree with the tactics by some ‘Tea Party’ politicians but the Tea Party is on the right side of the big issue. I for one hope they gain in strength because they are the real ‘grown ups’. And God do we need grown ups in DC.

    • tbphkm33

      I agree, large deficits over a prolonged time period does raise inherent risks. Yet, through their tactics, the Tea Baggers are placing the United States in a much worse situation. An era of diminished opportunities for the nation. An economic straight jacket.

      Through an unwillingness to work within the system, the Tea Baggers are in fact consigning the United States to a fate worse than what they claim to be working to avoid.

      • pete18

        They are “working within the system” you just don’t like what they’re doing.

    • jefe68

      And yet interest rates have been pretty low for that last 8 years. The debt and the deficit has been going down.
      The tea party are absurd malcontents.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Wow!!! The debt is not going down. We went through this with the treasury extraordinary measures nonsense.

        • jefe68

          Yawn.

  • OnPointComments

    I read an opinion that described this fiasco as a case of the stupid party vs. the evil party. It seems like an appropriate description. You can decide which one is your party.

    • Don_B1

      Actually, it is the conservative Republican Party which supports big business fully and small business when it doesn’t cost big business, versus the Tea Party, which just hates government and is in the throes of Kamikaze envy.

      This way the order of occurrence in your post and the sentence above provides the proper correspondence.

      • jefe68

        Which is funny, because they get a lot of money from the Koch brothers who are what, the 3rd wealthiest people in the nation.

    • keltcrusader

      That’s easy:
      stupid party = Republicans
      evil party = Teapubconservicans

    • Bruce94

      I saw a picture the other day of two parties to this dispute who could be characterized as stupid or evil, and admit it was hard to tell the difference. The picture was that of Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz together near the White House protesting the shutdown that both of them supported.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Typical low information analysis. They were protesting the fact that barricades were erected by the regime to keep WWII vets out of their own memorial. The regime actually went out of their way and unnecessarily spent money to block the citizens from an open air sidewalk.

        • Ray in VT

          I really liked the Freedomwatch guy. Who would have thought that a birther/Obama is a secret Muslim guy would show up and get to speak at such and event? Also, it doesn’t look like the organizers of the veterans event liked the Tea Partiers trying to co-opt their march.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Missed the guy your referring to but I did hear that some of the vets were upset that politicians showed up. I see their point.

            However, it was great seeing the vets dump the barricades at the WH fence.

          • Ray in VT

            Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch, WND contributor, and holder of the position that Obama isn’t a natural born citizen http://www.wnd.com/2012/12/how-to-stop-an-ineligible-president/, said, perhaps among other things, that President Obama should “put the Quran down” and that he “bows down to Allah.” Perhaps the sources that you read preferred not to have such a figure and his comments associated with Cruz and Palin.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            It just goes to show you that there are crazies on both sides. I can see now why the vets were upset. Perhaps they weren’t upset with Cruz and Palin but just this wacko.

            Did you see Harry Reid on the Senate floor claiming he had ‘secret’ inside information that Romney paid no income taxes?

          • Ray in VT

            No, but I did see Ted Cruz claim that Harvard Law School was full of communists who were committed to violently overthrowing the American government during his time there. I also saw Mitt Romney claim that all of the Jeep jobs were going to China.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            He might have inside information given he was there. Did you see that Professor Dershowitz said he was one of his brightest students?

  • hennorama

    One realizes it’s difficult at times to believe that politicians will actually do what they say.

    President Obama has been quite clear that he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling, and has been saying this for nearly a year.

    Republicans should not have been surprised in any way, shape or form.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Was that when he was drawing red lines in Syria or perhaps when he was telling Vlad he would be more “flexible” after the election?

      Imagine the outrage if Reagan — let alone W. — issued the same edict.

      • anamaria23

        If it weren’t for that red line and the subsequent threat to strike would Syria now be dismantling it’s supply? And, no, it was not because of Putin. The President approached Putin 3 times to help persuade the Syrians and was ignored until the threat came.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Yes, all facts. Sometimes you can bumble into a solution. But did the Syrian debacle increase the US standing? Walking softly and carrying a big stick only works if they believe you will use that stick.

          • keltcrusader

            and apparently they believed the threat due to past experience with this President

      • Don_B1

        President Reagan did just that, though not in those specific words; in a statement he called for the Congress to pass a bill raising the debt ceiling without further debate.

        From US News and World Report:

        “As the Reagan example indicates, Boehner has a point about the history – but just because he is correct, it doesn’t mean that he’s also right on the larger point.

        Take the 1987 debt ceiling law, for example. The differences are as important as the parallels, starting with the fact that it wasn’t a partisan fight. The bill Reagan signed had passed with bipartisan majorities, with GOP congressional leaders going to the White House to lobby the president to sign it. And as New York Times conservative columnist Ross Douthat pointed out this week, unlike the 2013 GOP, the 1987 Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate and were pressing a modest bill: ‘They were operating from a position of political strength, making policy demands that attracted bipartisan support.’

        That was the classic pattern of debt ceiling negotiations. ‘The kinds of concessions that got attached … were fairly marginal things that the president really wouldn’t be willing to go to the mat for,’ says Philip Wallach, a fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

        Everything started to change in 1995 when House Speaker Newt Gingrich made the startling assertion that he would not schedule a vote on raising the limit until President Bill Clinton had signed on to a GOP balanced budget plan. ‘I don’t care what the price is,” Gingrich told a bond dealers association. “I don’t care if we have no executive offices and no bonds for 60 days – not this time.’

        Clinton vetoed a debt ceiling bill which the GOP had festooned with their agenda items, and the debt ceiling fight dragged on for months as Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin engaged in the now-familiar extreme measures to stave off default. In the meantime, overreach and government shutdowns took their toll on congressional Republicans, and at the beginning of February – with default still weeks away – chastened GOP leaders wrote to Clinton promising to pass a debt ceiling law ‘in a manner acceptable to both you and the Congress.’ In the end Clinton signed an increase with a handful of extra provisions he had signed off on, including a (unconstitutional, it turned out) line item veto.

        So what has changed? ‘We’ve never seen this type of concerted effort where one party says that default is completely reasonable and has a multi-year strategy of repeatedly trying to push the country to the brink of default to extract its ransom,’ Jason Furman, the chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said Thursday. ‘It is the scale and the intensity and the degree to which it is happening.’

        The current showdown, the GOP offer to postpone it for six weeks notwithstanding, has a dangerous, new tenor, calling into question whether a debt ceiling increase will pass at all. The GOP now openly holds out the prospect of default, characterizing the idea of negotiating after raising the debt ceiling – when the immediate danger has been eased – as ‘unconditional surrender,’ as if their only leverage lies in their ability to intentionally harm the country. Consider the contradiction: Boehner says he wants to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling but simultaneously behaves as if doing either would be an accommodation for which the president should pay. Raising the debt ceiling and reopening the government can be things the GOP wants or they can be concessions for which Republicans want a price, but they can’t be both.”

        See Jonathan Chait’s response to Ross Douthat’s minimization of the issue here:

        http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/10/douthat-debt-ceiling-extortion-isnt-so-bad.html

        and note how he shows the difference between earlier “uses” of the need to raise the debt ceiling and the current hostage taking.

        But, as I pointed out to someone a week or so ago, if you have no problem with the way House Republicans are using this issue, imagine a Republican president and Senate with a Democratic Party controlled House, and where a small group of “radical” Democrats (I know, you consider all Democrats “radical”) are preventing passage of a bill raising the debt ceiling without raising the marginal income tax rate on income over $5 million to 60%, eliminating the income cap on F.I.C.A. taxes and eliminating the “special treatment” of capital gains, making it regular earned income. You would be howling like a million banshees!

      • northeaster17

        Lebanon 1983. I’d say that Reagan got off pretty easy

  • Mattyster

    Tom, will you do a show about how a country’s economy is NOT the same as a family’s budget, or a business budget? I think there is real danger to our nation when people equate the country’s budget and spending with their household budget and spending because they don’t understand the difference. Paul Krugman has done some great pieces on these topics.

    • hennorama

      Mattyster — If only the following were required reading, from L. Randall Wray, a Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, in February 2010 (in part):

      “A sovereign government bears no obvious resemblance to a household. Let us enumerate some relevant differences.

      “1. The US federal government is 221 years old, if we date its birth to the adoption of the Constitution … I don’t know any head of household with such an apparently indefinitely long lifespan. This might appear irrelevant, but it is not. When you die, your debts and assets need to be assumed and resolved. There is no “day of reckoning”, no final piper-paying date for the sovereign government. Nor do I know any household with the power to levy taxes, to give a name to — and issue — the currency we use, and to demand that those taxes are paid in the currency it issues.”

      See:
      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/02/wray-the-federal-budget-is-not-like-a-household-budget-%e2%80%93-here%e2%80%99s-why.html#vITAwyZBV9VckAI6.99

      • pete18

        This still does not change the equation that a holding of large debt relative to income over an extended period of time is bad and has the potential to bankrupt a household or a country. The power to tax is not boundless. The fact that a country may be able to hold a larger percentage of debt over a longer period of time than a household can does not make it immune to rules of sound money management or the risks of poor financial strategies. The attempt to dismiss the common sense comparisons that people make to managing a household budget by over exaggerating the distinctions between households and states is to miss the point. These are excuses used to justify endless debt.
        Money works the same way in both instances. People and countries always grow into their incomes and then claim it’s impossible to cut back. That is human nature. It is only when they are forced to cut back that they discover creative ways to manage and that the results are not half as bad as they imagined. We cannot sustain an endless increase in the country’s debt. We can easily manage 5% of cuts across the board.

        • hennorama

          pete18 – Thank you for your thoughtful response. I understand and respect your views, and don’t significantly disagree, except that you favor a one-sided approach.

          My point is that an informed public needs to understand these important concepts, and to understand the differences between how they operate their own personal finances in comparison to how the US government operates.

          The propaganda point “Every household balances its budget so why can’t the government do it” is effective because it has the RING of truth.

          That’s the best sort of propaganda — untrue but relatable to “the folks” (Bill O’Reilly’s fond yet vaguely dismissive term for the American general public).

          Not only does the US government operate differently and have different needs and aims compared to a family/household, as Professor Wray pointed out, it has an indefinite lifespan, taxing powers, power to issue the currency we use, and can require taxes be paid with said currency.

          Show me a household that can do all of that, and then we will compare them.

          Federal Deficits and Debt do matter, but they are far from catastrophic at their current levels. A few relatively minor fiscal changes will stabilize the Debt/GDP ratio, and increased employment would go a long way in terms of reducing spending in the categories most directly impacted by the Great Recession. My view is that the only way they will be reduced in any meaningful way is higher employment and economic growth.

          Repeating from the last self-inflicted silly game of chicken, the “fiscal cliff” nonsense:

          [[As my continued commentary points out, cutting spending is not only very difficult to do, it's also ineffective as a singular solution to US fiscal issues. A balanced approach of gradual revenue increases and cuts to spending is far more preferable. Given the global economic circumstances, the US economy has done relatively well. Slashing spending or widespread significant tax increases could easily upset the rather delicate balance that has allowed our economy to recover. Most importantly, slashing CURRENT Federal spending would completely reverse the slowly improving employment trends, which are key to the ongoing recovery.

          The three most important things that would help reduce our deficits and debt are jobs, jobs, and jobs. Unfortunately, rather than focusing on increasing employment, a few in Congress have been busy holding the US economy hostage over minor revenue increases and have been unable to agree on relatively minor spending cuts. This creates uncertainty and makes it quite difficult for businesses to make reasonable economic forecasts, retarding hiring. This uncertainty has also affected consumer spending behavior, as the lukewarm holiday shopping results have shown.

          We simply need more jobs, and the ENTIRE Federal government should be focused on ways to increase employment, not on this artificially created and only modestly worrisome fiscal conundrum. Reasonable and modest solutions are available, and cooler heads will eventually prevail.]]

          The above was posted in this forum on January 8, 2013, and is still true today, more than ten months later.

          Thanks again for your response.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Has the good professor heard of the Weimar Republic? I guess a household can’t self cause hyperinflation. We are in a world economy. Increasing our debt/GDP increases the risk of devaluation of the dollar. We no longer control our own destiny. We’ve been lucky so far due to the weakness of other currencies around the world.

      • Mattyster

        Thanks Hennorama. Good points. There are others as well. I’m sure there are enough for Tom to do a whole show. This comparison sounds reasonable but treating our national economy like a household budget will not make the debt or deficit go down. It will cause the opposite result from what we want.

  • tbphkm33

    Goodbye America…

    The end of an era

    The end of the American Century

    Done away with not by being replaced by something better, but through simple greed and ignorance. The confluence of economic greed and political fanaticism.

    It was a great century, a time when the masses could pull themselves up. A time where the United States was the beacon for the world; a destination for migrants and the object of others to immolate. A time when equality and opportunity for all was the upmost goal.

    Being replaced by an era that was wholly avoidable. An era of diminishing opportunities for the masses and for the United States as a nation. A time when the limitations of the American experience will become ever more evident.

    Dashed are the hopes and dreams of millions. No longer aspiring to notoriety, but struggling to achieve a comfortable life. Success measured by survivability without the stress inflicted by constant struggle.
    ———
    Good bye to the Republican Party…

    A party that has inflicted political turmoil upon the United States for thirty years as it sought relevance.

    Being replaced by a centralist conservative grouping, either taking the mantra of the old party or forming a new political grouping. None the less, inflicting more turmoil as a new conservative identity is birthed.
    ———

    For this is truly the age of transformation. The cascading effects of sequester, the government shut down and impending default has put in place forces that will transform the United States. Forces that will cut off avenues of opportunity and place the nation in much more of a straight jacket.

    The Tea Baggers will continue to spew their political propaganda and insist they have no blame for the position the nation finds itself in. We just have to wait for time to take its toll, until the grim reaper clears the crazies out of society.
    ———–
    For the young and the educated, the reality is that there is no shame is seeking fortunes elsewhere. There are great opportunities around the world; in Asia, Europe, Latin America, Australia, or Africa. The United States will still be here to visit. As many extol the courage of their ancestors to leave a war ravaged nations after World War II; so will your children and grandchildren praise your insight to seek your fortunes in more political and economically stable nations.

    • Zenplatypus

      How deeply profound. Ba-bye!

    • harverdphd

      cory thatcher: please weigh in…!

  • lobstahbisque

    May they begin…

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Survive the EBT shutdown?

      • lobstahbisque

        See? We have one taker. Sourpus!

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          I was concerned for you. I thought of you first. (I assumed you weren’t in the Louisiana Walmart loading up).

          • lobstahbisque

            Thank you.

          • JGC

            I believe I heard something about Senator Vitter dispatching his poorly paid staffers there to stock up on Depends for the office supply closet…

  • fun bobby

    has anyone else noticed the recent uptick in advertisements for health plans

    • hennorama

      fun bobby — much of this is routine, as many private employers have open enrollment periods that begin on October 1st. In addition, Medicare Open Enrollment starts October 15 and ends December 7.

      You will also see increased advertising for eyewear and dental work, as many employees have unused money in their flexible spending accounts.

      • fun bobby

        seems like more than the usual seasonal barrage. its nice to see their advertisement budgets are healthy I am sure that’s money well spent on healthcare.

        • JGC

          Advertising budget: under Obamacare, insurance companies are now restricted to spending no more than 20% of their fees on overhead, advertising, dividends, etc. The other 80% has to go to direct patient care. Before ACA, there were some health concerns that were skimming 40% or more in fees.

  • fun bobby

    are you writing from food stamp error jail right now?

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Our T party Congress rails against unproductive, inefficient government workers while they themselves as government employees have created the most unproductive congress in history and their antics have cost the US over 24 billion dollars, halted projects, impacted schedules, slowed investment, done damage to scientific studies, undermined consumer confidence, slowed investment, slowed the economy and created the very ‘uncertainty in the markets’ that they have campaigned against in recent election cycles.

    And then theirs the impact on our standing overseas where you’ll see that they are pretty much viewed as idiots all around the world and the president’s forced absence let China take lead at the Asia Pacific economic summit.

    I don’t know but with that kind of performance, Anyone I know would fired in a heart beat.

    So with that kind of track record, some voters should ask themselves if their representative is really doing anything whatsoever in their interests.

  • ExcellentNews

    President Obama is right. There are no winners from the “debt limit” show, written and produced by the billionaire oligarchy. The quality American jobs are STILL abroad. Millions of people are STILL in indentured servitude to predatory lenders. Sports and celebrities STILL dominate a mental landscape that in other nations is reserved for education and civics. And trillions in misbegotten corporate profits are STILL stashed offshore, trickling down to fund the next batch of Republican nuts.

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