Tag Archive: US Treasury

Jan 23 2013

FAIL! There Will Be Austerity Kabuki Every 3 Months

There seems to be a lot of celebrating without actually understanding much of what has happened as of late. One reason is that it looks like House Republicans will agree to raise the debt ceiling but only for 3 months until the budget gimmick of all Congressmen supposedly either passing a budget or denying their own pay as if that will ever happen. There will be infighting on whether there should be heavy or light deficit terrorism terrorizing the unemployed as usual, but now we can expect these dysfunctional austerity celebrating battles to go on and on.  And as I pointed out when I predicted all of this 3 years ago, when this is the debate in Washington DC we have already lost.

We’ve Already Lost So Cancel Any Perceivable Celebration

This budget gimmick fight is already on top of what the last debt ceiling fight created with the negotiations coming up over the self induced sequester on the basis that 4 trillion bipartisan austerity is awesome. That is the problem for all debates and all fake “progressive” political rhetoric in DC we heard at the Inauguration even though it was a great speech.

The plans to kick this austerity shit can down the road continually every few months is not a victory; it’s also not even a clean debt ceiling raise because it’s not even going to be for a fiscal year. It also means the White House was really posturing as I said they were when they claimed they wouldn’t negotiate on the debt ceiling; this shows that all this so called new-found post reelection “strength for progress” is a myth. That also means that all the hyp being bandied about, about the low-balled 60 billion to merely 9 billion Sandy relief bill passing weeks late and 51 billion dollars short breaking the Hastert rule did not have the significance of the spin behind it at all. It’s simple: John Boehner was looking out for his own ass as speaker(shocking!). That’s it.

The idiotic bipartisan sequester created by the last grand self induced standoff over the last debt ceiling fight will come to a head on March 1. I don’t expect a lot of defense cuts despite the posturing and fully expect more cuts to SS and Medicare to be floated and bargained with within multiple negotiations that show nothing but contempt for the public. Yves Smith goes into the real reasons why a Republican grand standoff on the debt ceiling looks like it won’t happen despite the coming miniature ones every few months that will happen where plenty of deal making and deficit terrorism will take place.

All Good Democrats Applaud Republicans Rearranging Battle Lines in Austerity Phony War

It’s not quite that simple.

First, if you widen the frame, the budget jockeying is largely kabuki: which team is going to score more points that appeal (or more accurately, can hopefully be spun to appeal) to their base? The reality is that both parties are fully committed to imposing austerity. The only question is whether we get Dem Lite or Republican Hi Test. But rest assured, neither version will be good for ordinary Americans.

Second, the Republicans have not dropped the deficit ceiling cudgel, but they seem to recognize that it is a mutual assured destruction weapon, and therefore not as useful as they once thought. They seem to still be coming to grips with the negotiating implications. As the New York Times reports, the Republicans are willing to extend the deficit ceiling for three months, but that increase was conditioned on having the Democrats approve a budget (during the Obama administration, no budget has been approved; the government has carried on because Congress has passed spending resolutions). Notice that while Obama has said that he would not discuss deficit cuts under a debt ceiling sword of Damocles. But if he accepts this deal (which includes a gimmick, of having Congresscritters go unpaid if they can’t agree on a budget on the normal timetable), he will still be doing that. So why is this a victory of sorts?

The more important part of the New York Times story on the Republican climbdown is that Dave Camp, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, disabused his fellow party members of the idea that the government could limp through hitting the debt ceiling by using tax proceeds to pay only debt obligations, Social Security, the military, and other critical needs. So the Republicans can’t refuse to raise the debt ceiling and not do serious damage, pronto. And everyone would blame them for their intransigence. So unless they want to play Major Kong, they will probably continue to play ball with the Democrats on debt ceiling increases while trying to save face about it.

Jan 16 2013

The White House Rejects Solutions to the Mess it Made. We Will Pay for it With Austerity

That’s right. It’s now undeniably pathetic or immoral assuming this is what they want and it probably is. The Trillion Dollar Coin and a 14th amendment challenge have now been rejected. What do we have instead? Insulting fake pseudo macho posturing from the President about what he will or will not negotiate on as if there has ever been anything this POTUS won’t negotiate on. It’s already happening as we speak.

Besides, he just got done with negotiating away his “iron clad” promise to raise income taxes on the rich above $250,000. But this time we are supposed to believe the same fairy tale? Or maybe when I say negotiate when I really mean “negotiate.” Yeah, this is actually what he and John Boehner wanted as in to show us “extremists” who care about people instead of idiotic deficit terrorism on the backs of the poor a thing or two.

Conspiracy of Two

“I’m the President of the United States,” Obama told Boehner [in 2011]. “You’re the Speaker of the House. We’re the two most responsible leaders right now.” And so they began to talk about the truly epic possibility of using the threat, the genuine danger of default, to freeze out their respective extremists and make the kind of historic deal that no one really thought possible anymore – bigger than when Reagan and Tip O’Neill overhauled the tax code in 1986 or when Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich passed welfare reform a decade later. It would include deeper cuts in spending, the elimination of all kinds of tax loopholes and lower income tax rates for all. “Come on, you and I,” Boehner admitted telling Obama. “Let’s lock arms, and we’ll jump out of the boat together.”

It’s too late to spin tales of the intrepid politician that stands up to Congress. You know, as Stephen Colbert says regarding journalists, fiction. Debt ceilings were never negotiated until this POTUS put his full faith in crediting John Boehner for NOT using the debt ceiling as a hostage as part of the Obama/Bush tax cut deal in 2010. Oops. I predicted this. Others deluded themselves thinking this mess happening right now extended from back then was somehow an abstract form of 11th dimensional chess again and again. When will they learn?