Tag Archives: debt ceiling

Compromise = good government

All right, folks, we are witnessing in real time the impact that good government can bring us.

One aspect of good government — in a representative democracy — is that compromise is essential. So, with that we have an agreement in principle to fend off the threat of our nation defaulting on payments to which it is obligated.

It came down to two men, President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, haggling, needling, cajoling and compromising to reach this agreement.

“Everybody won’t like what is the end of the agreement … on both sides,” McCarthy said Saturday morning. “But … at the end of the day I think people should see what that product is before people vote on it.”

McCarthy is going to make the details of the agreement available to House members for 72 hours before casting a vote slated for Wednesday.

Progressives are unhappy. So are conservatives. These are the hardliners on both ends who refuse to accept compromise as an essential element of good government.

I haven’t seen the details of the bill, so I won’t comment on the finished product. My focus with this post is on the method that Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy used to reach this point.

Defaulting on our debt obligations is a non-starter. Both men said so. They proceeded from that point. Default would have produced a catastrophe.

The deal that Biden and McCarthy have reached is good for the next two years. It takes this whole issue off the campaign table for 2024. It is an agreement that in a more perfect world should have been reached without the drama that led to this point.

In the end, good government has won the day.


Good government works?

The deal to increase the federal debt ceiling that appears to be in the works between President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is likely to be a triumph of center-left and right principles of good government.

Those principles will have won out over the extremists on both ends of the political spectrum. The far lefties don’t want any cuts in any discretionary domestic spending, while the far righties want to gut everything in sight.

Just to be clear, I will continue to place the bulk of the blame on this nonsense on the far right, the MAGA cult, those who refuse to govern via compromise. They are wedded to this notion of getting and keeping attention and ignoring the compromise that is essential to governing in a representative democracy.

President Biden brings decades of experience as a good-government Democrat to the table. He has given a little here and there and, to his credit, Speaker McCarthy appears also to have budged a bit from the precipice that the MAGA cult forced on him when he was elected the Man of the House at the start of the year.

If the MAGA types reject whatever debt ceiling deal emerges from Biden and McCarthy’s time together, they will be on the record as opposing the principles of good government that should be the rule rather than the exception.

Indeed, that we are having this discussion at all is a symptom of the perversion that has infected the process. This simply is a product of a Democratic president dealing with a Republican House majority that is dominated — strange as it looks — by a minority cabal of kooks who want simply to be heard and who don’t give a damn about being constructive partners in building a government that works for all Americans.



Mr. Speaker, for whom do you work?

Kevin McCarthy clearly needs a lesson on public service, because the House speaker is listening to the wrong “bosses” as he digs in against efforts to raise the national debt ceiling.

Mr. House Speaker, you work for the people of south-central California, who sent you to Congress to do their bidding, not the bidding of the MAGA crowd that is pulling your strings.

McCarthy appears to be resisting President Biden’s effort to reach common ground because the MAGA cabal that comprises the vocal minority within the GOP House caucus is demanding it of him.

What will happen, then, if the nation defaults? If it fails to pay its debts by the June 1 drop-dead date established by the Treasury Department?

A lot of folks in McCarthy’s home district are going to go without Social Security or military benefit checks, they will watch their mortgage interest rates skyrocket, they will lose their jobs.

Do you think that will piss a lot of ’em off?

The House once had a Republican leader named Eric Cantor of Virginia who listened too closely to the GOP leadership and didn’t listen enough to those who sent him to Congress. Cantor ended up getting booted out of Congress when the GOP primary voters cast their ballots for someone else. Cantor was deemed out of touch with the home folks.

Mr. Speaker, you had better pay attention to who is going to feel the harm of a national default on our debt.


GOP goes phony on budget concern

Congressional Republicans’ phony concern over federal government standing would be laughable if the consequences of their stubbornness in lifting the debt ceiling weren’t so catastrophic.

Let us remember this fact. When Donald Trump sought to raise the national debt ceiling during his term as POTUS, Republicans went along with their Democratic colleagues. No questions asked. Not a single concern raised about spending, the national debt, the annual budget deficit … all of which grew during Trump’s time in office.

Trump lost the 2020 election to a Democrat. Now the MAGA crowd in Congress who controls the agenda in the House of Representatives has become all worked up over spending. Now they want to cut spending dramatically before lifting that debt ceiling.

To his credit, President Biden isn’t swallowing all the bait whole, although he appears willing to give up some of the high ground he has staked in this standoff with the GOP caucus.

The president has proposed a budget that reduces the budget deficit, bites into the national debt and meets many of the GOP’s demands for “fiscal responsibility.” He also wants to force the mega-rich to pay more in taxes. Is Joe Biden seeking to make billionaires less than rich? Hardly. They will continue to be richer than God.

All of this posturing, though, appears to be for show. The MAGA crowd is not interested in governing. It is interested instead in making a spectacle of themselves and of the Constitution they took an oath to “defend and protect.”

Thus, we see House GOP leadership marching to the cadence the MAGA cabal is calling.

I will hold on to my sincere belief that there will not be a default on our national debt. The consequence of any of this is just too dire to fathom.


Debt ceiling: set to lift?

Is it too early to proclaim that the politicians in charge of setting federal budget policy have come to their senses?

Man, I hope it’s true what I believe I heard President Biden say about talks to lift the debt ceiling.

The president said the men with whom he has been negotiating — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer — all agree on one thing.

The United States cannot, and will not, default on the debt it owes. There you have it. Republicans and Democrats can agree on something!

That’s what Biden said. I believe he spoke in good faith.

Therefore, I will take that as a commitment to reaching a compromise in this battle that shouldn’t even be occurring.

I won’t bother to heap praise on whoever deserves credit for a potential compromise. However, I need to point out that Joe Biden spent 36 years in the Senate and eight years as vice president working both sides of the aisle in search of common ground on all manner of issues and policies.

He knows how to navigate his way.

The debt ceiling cannot go unattended. Doing so would mean we default on our obligations — in direct violation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Moreover, default spells economic catastrophe.

If I were an elected politician, I would truly hate for such a cataclysm to occur on my watch … you know?

Thus, we well might be closer to a deal that Republicans are suggesting, with their yammering about Joe Biden heading off to an overseas conference. Hey, he’s coming back sooner than planned to work things out.


Debt-ceiling fight enters critical phase

Congress and the White House are fighting over an issue that doesn’t deserve this level of political bloodshed.

I refer to the debt ceiling. Congress should increase it as it has done always since the beginning of the Republic. But no-o-o-o! The Republican caucus in Congress, led by the MAGA cultists among its members, are seeking to make some sort of idiotic statement about the need to cut spending before increasing the ceiling.

How can I state this more clearly: If the nation defaults on its debts, the economy is going to crash; we will lose millions of jobs; interest rates will skyrocket; the world will feel the pain this nation will inflict on itself.

Do congressional MAGA cultists really believe this is sound fiscal policy? It is nothing of the sort!

I say all this as a way to suggest that I believe President Biden and the congressional leadership are going to find a solution before the June 1 deadline believed to be when the ceiling must be lifted.

If they do, and I believe it will happen, we are surely going to be treated with all kinds of back-slapping, high-fiving and self-congratulations from our political leaders over the courage they showed in ending this crisis.

It’s all crap!

I am afraid that the end will last only until the next debt-ceiling crisis arrives.


Constitution lays it out there

Section 4 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, speaks with crystal clarity about how our government must treat the debt it owes.

Here is what it says: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

Wow, man. “Shall not be questioned,” the amendment states.

You know what this means? It means that the Republican dodge in demanding spending cuts before approving an increase in the debt ceiling is, um, an unconstitutional tactic.

President Biden is in the middle of talks with congressional leaders of both parties. He met with them in the Oval Office the other day. They’re planning another meeting on Friday. He said he is “considering” invoking the 14th Amendment if he and the GOP cannot reach an agreement on the debt ceiling.

I am not a constitutional scholar, but I certainly know a declarative statement when I see one.

Section 4 of the 14the Amendment is as declarative statement as anything I can find in the Constitution.

Joe Biden is as fluent in constitutional language as any man who’s ever held the office of president. Mr. President, you need to remind your congressional colleagues of what the nation’s governing document tells them.


They must avoid debacle

The debt-ceiling debacle that might befall the nation is an event that no sane politician anywhere should want to occur.

Republicans for the first time in the nation’s history are threatening to withhold the votes to raise the debt ceiling because they want cuts in spending to which they have contributed along with their Democratic colleagues.

Now that a Democrat is in the White House, though, Republicans are insisting on massive spending cuts to offset what historically — since the beginning of the republic — has been a pro forma vote to increase the debt ceiling. Where was the GOP outrage over spending when Republicans were in the White House?

Failure to do so would put the nation in default for the first time ever. The consequence of that? Well, every economist on Earth says the nation would spiral into economic catastrophe.

Millions of jobs would be lost; interest rates would skyrocket, making home- and auto-buying impossible; the stock market would collapse; retirement accounts would vaporize; and — this is where it really hits home for me — Social Security payments would be suspended.

I am on a fixed income. I rely on my Social Security income to pay my own bills. What’s more, if my retirement account goes poof!, then I won’t have that money on which could pay those bills.

How can I say this clearly? Do not allow any of this happen, GOP members of Congress! You will pay dearly for it at the next election.

That ain’t a threat. It’s a lead-pipe promise!


Word of warning: Don’t default, GOP

The men and women serving in Congress as Republicans seem to have lost their collective minds.

They are threatening to allow the United States — for the first time in its history — to default on its debt obligations. They want to negotiate big spending cuts to, um, reduce the national debt before allowing the debt ceiling to be lifted.

If Congress and the president fail to reach an agreement, well, catastrophe looms. President Biden says he won’t negotiate over the debt ceiling, because it’s an action the government has taken since the founding of the republic.

If we default on our debts, all hell is going to bust loose. All hell, I’m telling ya!

I don’t know about you, but I do not want to see my retirement portfolio flushed away. Yet that is what well could happen if we default on our debts.

I hasten to add that when Republicans served as president, the GOP was OK with raising the ceiling. No problem, man. They locked arms with their Democratic colleagues.

I also want to point out that the latest GOP pol to occupy the White House ran the debt up at a greater pace than any other administration in history. Where was the Republican outrage over that? I know the answer: There was none!

Congressional Republicans need to quit playing games and threatening to bring calamity to hundreds of millions of Americans’ financial well-being.

Time is running out. Raise the damn debt ceiling!


Who’s playing politics?

How in this good ol’ world can Republicans say with a straight face that Democrats are guilty of “playing politics” when the GOP has turned the politics-playing game into an art form.

Consider the upcoming fight over the debt ceiling.

A Republican president ran up 20% of the total national debt during his single term in office. Congressional Republicans were silent when Donald Trump managed that feat. The debt happens to be on the books already as money is already spent. Meanwhile, the U.S. Constitution calls for the “full faith and credit” to be free of the political games now being played.

Now that we have a Democrat in the White House, congressional Republicans want to hold the national debt as a weapon to use against Democrats. What the hell?

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met today to discuss this debt ceiling matter. McCarthy came out of that meeting and suggested the two men made progress in settling their disagreements.

I get that we need to control government spending. I’m fine with that as a matter of principle. However, the debt ceiling must be lifted to allow this nation to maintain its full faith and credit. Bringing the debt ceiling crashing down would bring financial ruin. That is the truth. How about raising the debt ceiling, which is always done, and then talk about looking for greater fiscal responsibility?

Refusing to raise the debt ceiling arguably is the most brazen act of political gamesmanship imaginable. Thus, when the GOP accuses Democrats of playing politics, they are projecting their own sin on their opponents.

It is beyond shameful.