Reading Schumer (and McConnell)

Featured image Last Thursday evening Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rounded up the Republican support necessary to raise the debt limit until December. Senator McConnell’s assistance did not earn any gratitude from Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Schumer took to the Senate floor to excoriate Senate Republicans for creating a “risky drama.” What had been avoided, Schumer said, was “a first-ever, Republican-manufactured default on the national debt.” “Republicans played a dangerous and »

The “Government Shutdown” Fraud

Featured image The press is starting to beat the usual drums about the horror of a possible “government shutdown” Friday night if Congress can’t pass a budget or a stopgap spending bill. This does seems slightly unusual in that Republicans control both Congress and the executive branch, so what is there to fight about, unlike previous showdowns that pitted a Republican Congress against a Democratic president. I guess the Senate needs some »

Ryan wins GOP Speaker nomination, the sell-out commences

Featured image The Republican House conference held its Speaker election this afternoon and resoundingly selected Paul Ryan for the job. According to this report, Ryan received 200 votes to 43 for Daniel Webster. Marsha Blackman and Kevin McCarthy each received one vote. In other news, the Speaker-to-be has endorsed the awful budget deal that John Boehner secretly negotiated (along with Mitch McConnell) with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. The deal passed the »

GOP: Say No To Another Bad Spending Deal

Featured image There are so many things wrong with the spending deal that John Boehner announced last night. Let us itemize a few of them. First, the Left is openly crowing about the fact that the deal is a huge victory for their side. The New York Times headlines: “Obama Wins on Budget Deal as John Boehner Cleans Out the Barn.” How much more do you need to know? The sequester was »

A budget deal Republicans should reject

Featured image In recent days, as John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and Harry Reid negotiated a budget deal behind closed doors, the prospect for mischief has been acute. Today this latest “gang” presented its handiwork to members of Congress. It is, indeed, mischievous. According to this report, the deal would increase federal spending by $80 billion over two years. The spending increase would be shared evenly between domestic and military spending, »


Featured image President Obama was triumphant yesterday, following the collapse of the Republican House’s ill-advised attempt to use the threat of a shutdown to block Obamacare. From the Democrats’ perspective, being threatened with a shutdown is like being threatened with a second helping of dessert. So the result was predictable. So what are we left with? A burgeoning debt, and no effort on the horizon to get it under control. Obama’s “victory” »

“We must increase our debt limit so that we can pay our bills.”

Featured image As Tyler Durden notes, this is the “most disturbing sentence uttered during the debt ceiling debate/government shut down.” America is now going on $17 trillion in debt, a level of insolvency that would already be regarded as catastrophic if the Fed were not keeping interest rates close to zero. The federal deficit declined in FY 2013, which ended on September 30. Final numbers are not yet available, but it is »

How bad is this?

Featured image Section 1002 of the Senate bill that was enacted last night is entitled the Debt Default Prevention Act of 2013. The text of the Senate bill is posted here; section 1002 begins on page 24. Section 1002 is one of those incomprehensibly formulated provisions full of cross-rerences. It is not exactly straightforward. Moreover, the legislative summary of the Senate bill — posted here — does not include a summary of »

The Fiscal Deal: A Post-Mortem

Featured image The terms of the Senate “compromise” have been unveiled, and they obviously don’t give the Republicans much. The deal funds the federal government through January 15, and raises the debt limit through February 7. I am not sure what this latter term means; is Treasury authorized to borrow whatever it takes, but only until February 7? Or have they estimated an additional amount that is calculated to last until then? »

“None of You [Reporters] Were Math Majors, Were You?”

Featured image Default hysteria continues in Washington, in defiance of the most basic facts of arithmetic. Some Republicans have even been taken in, but one who is having none of it is Congressman David Schweikert of Arizona, the former treasurer of Maricopa County: “You and I can find ways the game-playing has been done,” said Arizona Rep. David Schweikert, the former treasurer of Maricopa County. “You don’t get to have those debates »

Republicans look to stop bleeding; Dems look to attack sequester

Featured image The Senate reportedly is close to a deal that would reopen the government until January 15, 2014 and raise the debt ceiling until February 14. Under this deal, there would be bicameral budget negotiations through December 15 of this year to try to reach a broad bargain. On the Obamacare front, HHS Secretary Sebelius would have to certify that individuals receiving Obamacare subsidies meet the income levels required by law. »

The AP Misreports the Debt Ceiling

Featured image I wrote here that no matter what happens with the debt limit, the federal government will not default on its debt obligations. I also noted here that Moody’s–which certainly ought to know–agrees that there is zero chance of default on Treasury bonds. In recent days, many more commentators have made the same point. The government is legally obligated to recognize its debt obligations, and the existing $17 trillion debt can »

House Republicans contemplating short-term debt extension

Featured image The House Republican leadership reportedly is seriously considering passing its own six-week extension of borrowing, unless a Senate compromise emerges in the next day or two. A senior House Republican aide told Politico that “there will be a time fairly soon, I think, where the only option to get something done before the deadline is originating legislation in the House.” The legislation contemplated by House leadership reportedly would not be »

Democrats have the whip hand and use it

Featured image Earlier this weekend, a compromise proposal by Sen. Collins to end, or at least postpone, the fiscal showdown failed to gain traction due to lack of support from Democrats. Collins is the quintessential “moderate Republican,” the alleged disappearance of whom from the Senate causes such hand-wringing in MSM circles. Collins’ proposal would have extended government funding for six months and boosted the debt ceiling through the end of January. By »

What Now For House Republicans?

Featured image House Republicans are meeting with the White House tonight to try to resolve the current standoff over the partial government shutdown and the debt limit. Republicans are bargaining from a position of severe weakness, due to their misguided decision to try to condition a continuing resolution to fund the first part of FY 2014 on (first) a defunding of Obamacare, and (second) a one-year delay in Obamacare’s implementation. This was »

Are House Republicans On the Verge of a Major Strategic Error?

Featured image The House Republicans’ strategy with respect to the current fiscal impasse has been wrong-headed from the beginning, in my view. Refusing to pass a continuing resolution unless Obamacare was delayed for a year resulted, predictably, in a partial government shutdown with no end in sight. On the other hand, John Boehner and the House Republicans did not, initially, try to use the debt limit–a much stronger issue–to get concessions from »

Moody’s Confirms: US Won’t Default

Featured image I missed this when it came out on Monday, but if you missed it too, it is worth noting: Moody’s has confirmed that, exactly as I wrote here, the federal government will not default on its debt obligations if Congress does not increase the statutory debt limit. Steven Hess, Moody’s principal U.S. sovereign credit analyst, said: We believe the government would continue to pay interest and principal on its debt »