The Debt Ceiling Thingie, Tax Cuts and Far Right Libertarian Demigods


Which is more important, taking a stand and standing there, or doing what is best for the country?

Yea, I think it’s doing the right thing for the country.

We have very few real statesmen who will put what they think is the best for the nation before their own political careers.  The only ones I can name off the top of my head are Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Joe Lieberman, James Inhofe, and Tom Coburn.

The problem with being a statesman is when a person chooses to serve the country rather than their own ambition.  I appreciate a principled stand, but when those principles blind someone to actual reality, and cause someone not to behave in a decent manner, then forget it.

Grover Norquist is after Senator Tom Coburn because he is trying to do what is right for the country, even if it hurts him in the process.  Norquist is behaving like a spoiled child, aka a tea party brat.

“…”Which pledge is most important… the pledge to uphold your oath to the Constitution of the United States or a pledge from a special interest group who claims to speak for all American conservatives when, in fact, they really don’t? The fact is we have enormous urgent problems in front of us that have to be addressed and have to be addressed in a way that will get 60 votes in the Senate… and something that the president will sign… Where’s the compromise that will save our country?” – Senator Tom Coburn….”

Tom Coburn has the right idea.  He is more interested in doing what is right than his career.  I call that one word:  Statesman.

“…”Where’s the compromise that will save our country? This isn’t about politics that is normal.”…”

The real problem is Grover Norquist and his demagoguery.  David Frum wrote:

“…Norquist takes the view that any action that increases the revenue column of the federal government must be deemed a tax increase – and that such increases are only permissible if they are offset by an equivalent cut to the spending column.

The trouble is that a lot of federal spending – especially the spending done by Republicans – takes the form of tax remission.

The federal government offers a tax credit of up to $9,500 for the purchase of plug-in electric cars. How exactly is that different from writing a check to every plug-in buyer? Yet canceling this program would count as a tax increase under Grover Norquist’s test.

Adopt a child and you can qualify for a tax credit of up to $13,100. You can even get credit for the cost of meals and lodging while traveling in a foreign country to receive the child. You can say a lot of things about this measure. But is it a “tax cut”? Hardly.

Enrolled in college or university? You can deduct up to $4,000 of qualified tuition expenses.

Over 65? Or disabled? Adjusted gross taxable income of less than $17,500? Tax credit for you.

And so on. The point is not that these tax expenditures are all necessarily ill-advised. (It’s genuinely more expensive to be disabled, and public money to help the disabled cope with the costs imposed on them by nature or accident seems a reasonable response by a civilized society.) The point is: they are expenditures, disguised as tax cuts….”

Market Watch

From the Politico:  It is obvious Norquist is more interested in his own agenda than truly helping the country.  That’s typical for a libertarian.

The Politico

Sure, the IMF is biased.  There is much that is not taken into account with this assessment.  From what The Pink Flamingo hears, China is not in all that good shape.

Would you default on your mortgage or your credit card payments?

If the answer is no, why on earth would you advocate the Feds doing the same thing?

It is insane, illogical, and terribly damaging to our country.

Every not paid a credit card?

The Pink Flamingo refused to pay several credit cards a few years ago, simply because of the compounded late fees.  I was out of town for about a month, and did not have access to my cards or a computer. Imagine my shock when I was traveling cross country, and went to use a card I’d paid, to be told I could not use it.

I’d paid it off to have while traveling.

Unfortunately my payment – paid in full, which was mailed in plenty of time, arrived late.  I was hit with a $35 late fee, which I refused to pay.  Before long I owed nearly $700, none of which I’d charge.  I did not pay it.

There was a second card, a Providian.  The same thing happened.  I’d paid the card down to about $400, with a $2500 limit.  Due to my travel, etc. the card was cut off.  I paid what I owed.  The late fees and service charges began to mount up to the point where I let it go.

Imagine my surprise, 7 years later, when a deputy from the Lincoln County’s Sheriff’s department knocked on my door with a summons.  I called my attorney the next day, after researching the four credit agencies that had batted the bill around for all those years.  They wanted $3500, or would do the usual take what they wanted out of my house thing.

It cost nearly $2100 to fight them, but I won.   Of course they destroyed my credit rating.  By that time I no longer cared, I was so angry.  I learned a lot about credit agencies, predatory collection agencies, and how insane they are.  Fortunately, I had an attorney who had been waiting for years to have a client who would give him carte blanch to go at it.

Is there a moral to this story?

Of course there is.

It’s one thing for  The Pink Flamingo to refuse to pay a credit card, and the tea parties, and the far right talking heads to advocate defaulting on our debt ceiling.   It is a disaster.

The Daily Beast

“...Conservative strategists are warning that the GOP should not push the debt ceiling debate too close to the breaking point.

“If there is a vote on raising the debt ceiling and it fails, there will be a significant market reaction,” said Tony Fratto, a former Treasury and White House official in the Bush administration. “Investors already believe that Congress doesn’t understand the financial markets. A failure to raise the debt ceiling will confirm this to them.”

If the markets get spooked, U.S. treasury bond yields will spike, driving up interest rates and increasing the price of borrowing money for everyone from the federal government to municipalities to consumers, Fratto warned. The cascading effects on the economy would be severe and long-lasting.

The negative market reaction would “come quickly,” Fratto said. “I think you can virtually guarantee that, and I hear it from everyone that I talk to in the markets, here and abroad.” He added, “I’m uncomfortable about the number of [Congress] members who don’t seem to understand that.”…”

Andrew McCarthy

“…There is no more money. The $395 billion can’t cover the nearly $700 billion for the Pentagon, and it certainly can’t be further stretched to cover another $115 billion or so for homeland security, $82 billion for HHS, $77 billion for Education, $42 billion for HUD, $21 billion for DOJ, $22 billion for agriculture, $14 billion for Treasury, $13 billion each for the Labor and Transportation Departments, $12 billion for Interior, $10 billion for EPA, and on and on and on (see here for relevant OMB tables — discretionary spending is table S-11). And all of that doesn’t count the prohibitive costs of Obamacare down the road.

The people running this government are never going to deal with this untenable situation unless and until it becomes untenable for them. The only way that will happen is if Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling and forces the administration to prioritize payment of those obligations that must be paid to maintain our full faith and credit — for as Kevin and Veronique point out, this already perilous situation could be blown sky high if the interest rate we must pay to borrow spikes. Only when there is no way around it will we get serious consideration of what government should and should not do, and what kind of welfare state the public is willing to pay for.

If we put it off, if we expand the credit card of a bankrupt Washington whose credit card needs to be cut to pieces right now, not only will our dire straits get worse. We won’t get to deal with them — we will be at the mercy of how they deal with us when the music finally stops…”

If you think this is going to benefit the GOP, and that Obama will be sure to lose, forget it.  Larry Sabato is crunching numbers.  This is going to be a disaster for the GOP.

Larry Sabato's Center for