Debt Ceiling Kabuki, Deficit, and Burning Tap Water in Ohio

Let’s be honest for a moment in the midst of the absurd Kabuki Theater of the GOP threatening to shut down the government, withhold Granny’s Social Security check, destroy America’s credit rating, and crash the world economy by not raising the debt limit.

Let’s just be blunt, factual, and look at this through the lens of reality, not ideology, myth, and the drama queens of Congress and the deficit hawks.

* Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize one single penny in additional public spending. Congress has already committed to spending the money in question. No new spending is contemplated by or covered by raising the debt ceiling. It is just an arbitrary barrier Congress imposed, an accounting fiction.

* Congress cannot “decide whether or not” they are going to raise the debt ceiling, anymore than I can “decide” not to pay the credit card bills I have incurred each month. The Constitution and 14th amendment are crystal clear:

Section. 4. 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.

Seriously, what part of that sentence is not clear?

The suggestion that the US Treasury just mint a one trillion dollar platinum commemorative coin, deposit it, and extend the debt limit, was floated very seriously by a number of people over the past few weeks, primarily to illustrate just how absurd the GOP position on raising the debt limit has become. Sadly, it appears the coin will not be minted. Obama representatives insisted instead the GOP deal with the crisis.

In a blow to the movement’s supporters, the U.S. Treasury announced Saturday that it would not mint a $1 trillion platinum coin in order to ensure the nation’s creditworthiness should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling.

”Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit,” said Treasury spokesman Anthony Coley in a statement obtained by TPM.

The White House has also previously ruled out invoking the 14th Amendment to bypass Congress and raise the debt ceiling unilaterally.

“There is no backup plan,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney earlier this week. “The only option is for Congress to do its job.”

(White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, emphasis added…)

There are only two options to deal with the debt limit: Congress can pay its bills or it can fail to act and put the nation into default. When Congressional Republicans played politics with this issue last time, putting us at the edge of default, it was a blow to our economic recovery, causing our nation’s credit rating to be downgraded. The President and the American people won’t tolerate Congressional Republicans holding the American economy hostage again simply so they can force disastrous cuts to Medicare and other programs the middle class depend on while protecting the wealthy. Congress needs to do its job.

U.S. Treasury: $1 Trillion Platinum Coin Is Not An Option

I am also angered, disheartened, in fact disgusted to read today in the New York Times, Misguided Social Security ‘Reform’, that President Obama is still apparently contemplating cuts to Social Security benefits. As the Times points out, this is just absurd, especially the attempt to portray the chained CPI to be used to calculate future cost of living increases as not being a cut.

When the average monthly Social Security check is only $1,200.00, $135 billion in cumulative cuts in benefits over the next decade is a lot of money. It is not even enough to pay premiums and expenses for medical care for one retired couple, much less pay for extravagant stuff like housing and food.

And of course, once more the cost of paying of the debt is being piled on the backs of the poor and middle class, while the super wealthy continue to receive their massive tax cuts, and massive subsidies for the oil industry and the rest of the corporate oligarchy are left in place. When 400 individuals in America own as much wealth as the entire lower 50% of the population, over 150 million people, only a fool would not admit that our times are totally out of joint, and income inequality has reached unsustainable levels in this nation.

I will just repeat from an earlier post I wrote on this issue, How To Improve Social Security and Medicare?

Social Security and Medicare are both insurance programs. Those who would turn Social Security into a general fund supported program or privatize it want to do so only to kill it because philosophically they oppose such government programs, no matter how good, no matter how much they help the people.

Its opponents are interested in privatizing it in order to increase corporate profits, and ultimately to do what they have done to the rest of the Treasury, raid it for the super rich.

Also, the age of Medicare eligibility must NOT be raised, in fact, 65 should mean full eligibility, if not 64. Those living longer are those wealthy enough to afford good medical care. The average worker, especially those whose lives have been spent in manual laborer, are the ones whose life spans have not increased.

But here, again, the corporate oligarchy and the 1% want wage slaves and serfs they can exploit until they drop dead, again, for one motive: profit to line their already overflowing coffers.

The chart that should accompany every discussion of cutting Social Security, from the New York Times.

Source: The Chart That Should Accompany All Discussions of the Debt Ceiling

That article references a previous article, How the Deficit Got This Big

AmericaBlog reports on an Ohio family that discovered that since fracking started in their neighborhood, the methane levels in their tap water jumped from 9 to 22, twice safe limits, and in fact, their tap water sort of tends to catch fire and burn now! Ohio family’s tap water catches on fire after natural gas drilling.

For me, the money quote from the article was symptomatic of the militantly ignorant and blind populace of America, which explains why anyone still votes GOP, or why the 27 per cent rule has been postulated: “We’re wondering if this is all just coincidental,” said Jason”.

It’s sort of like the national debt and deficit. It must be just coincidental that both reached such staggering levels, how could two wars off the books, the lowest taxes on the super rich in a century, TARP, then the housing, mortgage and banking industries run into bankruptcy by the criminal masters of the universe, how could any of that have ANYTHING to do with the debt and deficit? I wonder if it is just coincidental?

What is most stunning is the simple fact that the GOP NEVER had a problem voting to raise the debt ceiling when Bush was president, and running the deficit and the national debt up to their highest point in history.

Source: GOP pretends past debt ceiling no votes equal current hostage-taking


Author: Ron