President Barack Obama and his…colleagues…in the Senate keep threatening national default if those Evil, Anarchist, Terrorist Jihadi Republicans don’t promptly shape up and pass a budget, raise the debt ceiling, and otherwise give him a blank check. One of his more recent threats is this:
…if Republicans aren’t willing to set aside their partisan concerns in order to do what’s right for the country, we stand a good chance of defaulting.
Let’s look at some numbers:
I’m prompted by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s testimony before the Senate Finance Committee Thursday.
The Wall Street Journal paraphrased him, in part, with this:
Given current spending and tax levels, the government would probably have to cut spending by at least 30%—or $100 billion—a month if the borrowing limit wasn’t increased.
Supposedly, they’re under way. Or not, depending on the credibility of major players: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, UT), Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and President Barack Obama.
In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, Lew had a number of things to say. Some might call them threats:
[H]e will be unable to guarantee payments to any group—whether Social Security recipients or US bondholders—unless Congress approves an increase in the federal debt limit.
…about the Democrat-manufactured debt ceiling impasse:
A Fox News national poll asks voters to imagine being a lawmaker and having to cast an up-or-down vote on raising the debt ceiling: 37% would vote in favor of it, while 58% would vote against it.
That includes majorities of Republicans (78%), Independents (57%), and Tea Partiers (88%, and which includes a considerable overlap with Republicans). It’s only the Democrats who are willing to borrow and borrow and borrow with debt moving on in its rapid pace (57% of them).
President Barack Obama often publicly chants his mantra of “[I] will not negotiate over the terms of debt limit legislation…[I am] willing to discuss a range of issues once the government is reopened and the Treasury able to borrow freely again.”
Given Obama’s credibility, though, on what basis can he be trusted to negotiate in good faith when there’s no pressure on him? More, recall that in the last debt ceiling fiasco just a couple of years ago, Obama personally (and cynically, say I) blew up one deal very near to completion with a deliberately late demand for $1 trillion in higher taxes.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) continuing his meme of refusing to negotiate, says
We not only have a shutdown, but we have the full faith and credit of our nation before us in a week or ten days[.]
Never mind that this could have been settled much earlier in the year, but for Democrats’ and President Barack Obama’s intransigence:
Reid and other Democrats blocked numerous attempts…to approve House-passed bills reopening portions of the government.
And there’s that whole “Presidential” series of “veto threats against GOP spending bills” thing. The “GOP” part is the kicker.
One of President Barack Obama’s reasons for refusing to negotiate his demand to raise the debt ceiling centers on his premise that the debt ceiling is about existing debt obligations, not future ones. He’s right, in a limited way. What he chooses to elide in that, though, is that existing debt exists because of past spending exceeding past revenues: see, for instance, his Stimulus Bill in 2009; his trillion-dollar deficit budget offerings in each year of his administration; the Democrat-run Senate’s refusal even to consider a budget until this year, with that budget offer containing billions of dollars in deficit; and the government’s continued spending in excess of revenue, even in the absence of a budget.
As part of the effort to fund the government, and this time, by the way to prevent default on our national debt, the House last week passed a CR that included an amendment that guaranteed that interest and principle on our national debt instruments would be paid first out of all the revenues coming in to the Federal government—an amount that exceeds the value of those payments by a factor of around 10.
When the CR got to the Senate,
[Senate Majority Leader Harry, D, NV] Reid moved to strip it out, and his motion passed the Senate 54 to 44 [a straight party line vote].
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew had this to say in a Tuesday speech to the Economic Club. The President
will not accept measures that would tie a debt-limit increase to defunding or delaying the Affordable Care Act. There are not and will not be negotiations about the debt limit.
There it is in so many words. President Barack Obama insists on blowing up our economy and trashing what’s left of our national credit rating because his ego will not let him negotiate—anything—on the debt ceiling.
Obama’s shutdown. Obama’s trash. He’s even setting up for his shutdown.
The German poet Matthias Claudius commented some years ago,
Say not all that you know, but know all that you say.
Spiegel Online International thinks that’s good advice in a particular circumstance today:
That would be a good lesson for those politicians who are handling the euro crisis. Absolute honesty, which many are now demanding of the German government after its most recent comments on Greece, is simply not wise.
SOI justifies their position this way: