Due to an ongoing health crisis in the family, blogging will be 'on and off' as time and circumstances permit for the foreseeable future. I also beg your indulgence if I am slow in responding to emails. New posts will appear below this notice.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

OK; it's not funny anymore

The clowns running our country seem to be under the illusion that just because the stock market hasn't crashed, yet, or the credit rating agencies haven't stripped us of our AAA credit rating, yet, that it's OK to continue their insane games with our country's debt in the name of partisan political ideology.  Both parties are to blame, though at the moment I would say that the GOP bears the lion's share of responsibility with their pledge to drive us off a cliff before they will consent to raise a dime in taxes.

My gut is telling me that they have about run out of time, and they may not realize it.  There is no reason on Earth why S&P or Moody needs to wait to August 2nd to announce that Washington is in the grips of a pack of ideological knaves hell bent on destroying the United States.  Worse I think Wall Street is slowly coming to terms with the reality that this not just another round of Washington political brinksmanship.  There are at least 100 Republic members of Congress who have made it abundantly clear that they don't care what happens.  They will under no circumstances vote to raise the debt limit. Unless something credible appears in the next 24 hrs or so Monday could be a really really bad day.

All of which reminds me of the old saying that there are three types of people in the world.  Those who learn by reading, those who learn by observing and those who only learn by peeing on the electric fence.

28 comments:

Alice C. Linsley said...

Could it be that our President shares some of the blame? He could have dealt with this when he controlled the Congress.

Anonymous said...

He could have dealt with this when he controlled the Congress.


The debt ceiling?

Face it. What's going on is a struggle between a tyrannical majority and an oppressed minority.

M. Jordan Lichens said...

What oppressed minority? Everyone who isn't part of the ruling class?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Stabilizing the debt ceiling has never been a priority for Mr. Obama. That's why he didn't deal with the impending crisis and now he wants to blame the fiscally conservative for the problem.

It isn't about class struggle and wealth redistribution, though his socialist proclivities lead him to think this way. His top priority is to get re-elected.

Stephen said...

Honestly, John, why are you so taken in by the rhetoric? So it's ok to keep trying to tax us, which serves primarily to keep the bureacracy in place? You may recall that over 60 cents of every dollar for non-military expenditures is spent on the channels to distribute that money. To say nothing of the moral corruption intrinsic any wealth transfer, which doesn't seem to bother you at all.

Stephen said...

John,
Check this out. Worth a visit.
http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=18917

Anonymous said...

Not another penny in taxes..

I will have to live on less and the government will not..

The world will not end and the USA will still be here.

I blame both political parties with a heavier burden on the Democrats.

DetJAR

gdelassu said...

Could it be that our President shares some of the blame? He could have dealt with this when he controlled the Congress.

An interesting point, that. After all, it has been clear for many years now that the Republicans are certifiably insane. Why did the president wait until they controlled one house of Congress? Why, knowing that the American right is largely composed of know-nothings who would think it a lark to tank the American economy, did he not insist on a debt ceiling increase back when they were negotiating the extension of the Bush tax-cuts (i.e., back when the WH still had some real bargaining leverage)?

I think that it is very fair, viewed in that light, to say that much of the blame rests with the President. Lunatics are lunatics, after all, and if one will try to engage with them as if they were sane or responsible, then one has only oneself to blame for the mess that ensues.

Of course, the logical corollary that follows from that is that it is something approaching a lack of patriotism for any sane person to vote Republican in the next election.

Anonymous said...

gdelassu-

Unfortunately, some of the lunacy is apparent on this thread, ( see remarks on Obama's socialism, taxes, wealth transfer, etc;etc;).

Alice C. Linsley said...

Sorry, gdelassu. Your convoluted logic is impossible to follow.

Anonymous said...

Seems quite easy to follow: he's saying the Republicans are irrational idealogues with a loose grip on reality. Had the president moved prior to the inmates getting partial control of the asylum, we'd all be better off. Did that unpack it for you? M

M. Jordan Lichens said...

Oh, yes, I forgot that the DNC is going to bring about the Kingdom of God. Look, the GOP is awful and a bit crazy, but if you ask me the whole system is insane. To quote GK Chesterton, "The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected."

Also, if we can please stop from talking down to people and using ad hominum attacks, that would be grand. Or if you must attack a person, try not to do it in such a cowardly way like an anonymous troll.

Anonymous said...

Which ad hominem attacks are you referring to?

M. Jordan Lichens said...

Probably mine as much as anything else. Whoops on my part.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

The USG takes in all the money it needs to fight its unjust wars and continue its immoral transfer payments. Thie 'debt ceiling. crisis' is a complete sham.

Visibilium said...

What's so awful about not wanting taxes to rise, especially for the minority who actually pay income taxes?

Anonymous said...

Visibilium-

You're so funny.

gdelassu said...

The USG takes in all the money it needs to fight its unjust wars and continue its immoral transfer payments. Thie 'debt ceiling. crisis' is a complete sham.

Let us stipulate that the Government takes in all the money it needs to pay its bills over the course of the year. That is not the same thing as to say that the debt ceiling fight is a "sham." What matters is not how much money the Government takes in yearly, but how much cash it has on hand on Aug 2. As you can see in this chart, there will not be enough money in the Government's checking acct on Aug 3 to pay bills due then. This is a big deal.

What's so awful about not wanting taxes to rise, especially for the minority who actually pay income taxes?

Speaking as part of that minority, I have to say that I would rather see the amount of money I have to pay in taxes go up a little than to see the amount I have to pay in interest on my outstanding debts go up a lot. I also really do not relish the prospect of my son's school failing to open in the fall, or my neighbors fail to get their social security checks, or any of the other things implicated in a default, quite regardless of the tax consequences necessary to avoid such outcomes.

I am intrigued by your zeroing in on income taxes, however. Not that this has any likelihood at all of being part of the solution, but do you mean to imply that you would not mind a tax hike if it came in the form of a VAT or a carbon tax, or some other sort of consumption instead of income tax? If it is really the case that the Right could be won over to consumption tax increases, then my fellow Lefties should stop fretting over the Bush tax cuts and join hands with their fellows on the Right to get a carbon tax.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

gdlessau - If the US has no cash to pay its bills and service existing debt, then the crisis is not political brinkmanship, the crisis is insolvency. Going further into debt will not solve that crisis, just as the new credit for the schlep desperately rolling over his card balances does not solve his crisis.

You need to face the facts: net tax payors will not pay higher marginal rates just because you tell them to, and net tax consumers will not vote themselves less benefits just because we can't afford them.

In short, Americans must whittle down public expenditures to an amount that can be covered by current tax receipts, or the Gods Of The Copybook Headings will whittle them down for us.

There are at least two wars, a number of overseas military bases, every penny of foreign aid, and at least four Cabinet-level Departments that could go tomorrow. Until I hear proposals along these lines, I can rightly regard this "crisis" as kabuki theater.

gdelassu said...

If the US has no cash to pay its bills and service existing debt, then the crisis is not political brinkmanship, the crisis is insolvency.

Hm, I would say that both political brinksmanship and insolvency are crises here. The former in the very immediate term, the latter in the (slightly) longer term.

You seem to think that because long-term solvency is a "real" crisis, the immediate gridlock is merely a "sham" crisis, but I do not see how your conclusion follows from your premise. Both problems can be of crisis proportions, and it seems fairly clear to me that they both are crises, albeit on slightly different time horizons.

You need to face the facts: net tax payors will not pay higher marginal rates just because you tell them to...

You will please forgive me if I indulge a slight pet-peeve of mine, but I dislike it when people style loaded assertions as "facts." Simply as historical truth, those same tax payers did, even if only grudgingly, pay higher marginal rates a little over a decade ago. You will, therefore, have to forgive me if I am not quite ready to credit the "fact" that they would not pay Clinton-era rates again were such rates restored.

Meanwhile, I am not sure why you leap immediately to the question of marginal rates. If more revenues are needed, there are at least two ways that they could be raised without touching marginal rates: (1) purge the internal revenue code of various deductions; or (2) enact consumption, rather than income, taxes.

Out of mere curiosity, how do you feel about consumption taxes? Would you be more willing to see new taxes if they were consumption taxes instead of income taxes, or are you sour on taxes tout court?

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Federal tax receipts since 2001 have been higher than they were in every year of Clinton's presidency with the exception of 2003. The problem is not and has never been that not enough taxes are collected. The problem is that no amount of public outlays are ever enough for people handing the tab to somebody else. Eventually, you run out of other people's money.

Consumption vs. income tax is not worth debating. You are never going to collect more than around 20% of GDP regardless of the form of tax. Above that, and people just stop paying taxes. The rich move offshore or take a year off and declare no income. The middle and lower classes work under the table or file spurious disability claims. Enact a high consumption tax, and people start buying and selling out of the trunks of their cars.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that no amount of public outlays are ever enough for people handing the tab to somebody else.

You mean paying for unnecessary wars?

Visibilium said...

Anon, not really. Wars--necessary and unnecessary--are a little different because of negative externalities accruing to the outlay recipients.

Gdel, I don't favor a consumption tax for the same reasons as A-G outlined.

Anonymous said...

negative externalities accruing to the outlay recipients.

Very funny. You mean they might get killed?

I don't think Halliburton, Blackwater and a host of other companies profiting from war are suffering any negative externalities. In fact, they're benefiting from positive externalities.

It's true their employees might suffer from negative externalities but, then, that's why they're employees and not owners.

Such pap....think a little harder.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

"You mean paying for unnecessary wars?"

Absolutely. But I think you'll be disappointed to find out the extent to which the welfare state and the warfare state require each other.

Anonymous said...

But I think you'll be disappointed to find out the extent to which the welfare state and the warfare state require each other.


Only if you confuse corporate welfare with "the general welfare" of the country.

Visibilium said...

Such pap....think a little harder.

The cap on earnings growth for warfare is much lower than on welfare owing to the negative externalities. That's one reason why the synergy between the Welfare and Warfare States is necessary, as A-G mentioned.

That the owners of military vendors make money is a commmonplace, not an insight. Didn't your Mom teach you that insight accounts for the difference between wit and snark?

Anonymous said...

Didn't your Mom teach you to define terms when you make an argument?

Exactly what do You mean by "welfare"?

What do you mean by "warfare"?

Your statements lack insight. They're just repetitions of someone else's.


It's very sad to see someone styling himself "Orthodox" who has no inkling of what Orthodoxy really means. I think you're Orthodox only in the Romantic sense, ( the incense, the bells, the chants, the robes-all so very cool and non-"Western").


On your argument- why are other countries/economies seemingly prosperous enough to have reasonably well off populations with less income inequality, better health outcomes, better education and less military industrial complexes than the U.S?

I suppose your response will be that they're less free, or less "Christian", or more under the sway of evil socialism, or evil secularism, or atheistic or more materialist, ( despite the U.S. consuming more than they do per capita). Pick one or make up another one.