DC's Bad Kabuki & the Next Chapter of Trouble – UPDATES

Clearly, what we are getting out of Washington is not leadership, not from anyone. It is spitefulfulness; it is deceit; it is hyperbole unto madness and maneuvering and masterful manipulation, but it’s not leadership.

What it is, is pure Kabuki theater, but less honest.

Or maybe it’s not Kabuki, at all; maybe it’s just a carnival with freakshow, burlesque and a magic act, all brought forward to engage our attention in misdirection. “Look right this way, folks, (no, not there or there, there or there! and for God’s sake don’t look there!) at three solid weeks of political theater, for free! We got yer comedy! Yer melodrama! Yer broken hearts and yer hero entering, stage left! We call it The Comeback Kid!”

A while back I wrote about the painless coup:

Believing that the rest of us, now disillusioned, are no longer clinging to romantic ideals of honor, or truth or nobility, these always-restless First Children, devoted to deconstruction, believe they are about to take down the presidency, the churches, the “old” government and even the “old” media. They expect to put into place something “brand new.” But believe me when I tell you what they are building is older than dirt. And up from it. Which is why they will need their fortresses. Castro lives in one, too.

They’ve been practicing all of this, by the way, perfecting the Art of the Painless Coup so thoroughly that most ordinary folks do not even realize what has occurred.

And misdirection is all a part of it:

. . .on the world stage there stride some masters of the sleight-of-hand and the misdirection – you can recognize them because they are all of a mind, and of a piece, and they are all working different parts of the same trick.

Of course, if you can’t recognize a trick, you can’t prevail against it. And I think the dumb old GOP has no gift for spotting tricks. They and their conflicted, earnest little bills are Charlie Brown, forever giving Lucy the football and trusting that she’ll hold it in place. And lately, taking a beating from the cute little red haired girl with the teapot, too.

Personally, I think the last three weeks of hysteria and hype have been a combination of misdirection and manipulation, aided by a press that obediently hyperventilates on command. None of what we’re seeing in Washington had to happen this way, and it should not have happened this way unless some players — the most skilled players — wanted it to.

And why would they want it to? I suppose so the president who keeps complaining that he’d prefer to bypass congress, routinely considers it and has proven that he will, given half a chance, can get that chance. And thereby “save the nation.”

Of course he’ll bypass the congress; he has indicated his preference to simply rule, rather than lead, from the very start. “I won.”

Ed Morrissey disagrees: Would a man who lacks the intestinal fortitude to publish his own written plan of a debt-ceiling compromise take those risks? Not a chance.

The GOP has been played like a fiddle, and divided, too. Next comes the conquering. And then, of course, the photo of the victors, including Nancy With the Laughing Face, who will giggle to the press that she anticipates re-parading her clown gavel.

I really, really hope I’m wrong. But from the start I’ve been thinking that this nonsense is not going to end well.

Tonight I re-read this old piece from Peggy Noonan, which was actually the inspiration for my piece linked above. This is what she wrote:

A few weeks ago I was reading Christopher Lawford’s lovely, candid and affectionate remembrance of growing up in a particular time and place with a particular family, the Kennedys, circa roughly 1950-2000. It’s called “Symptoms of Withdrawal.” At the end he quotes his Uncle Teddy. Christopher, Ted Kennedy and a few family members had gathered one night and were having a drink in Mr. Lawford’s mother’s apartment in Manhattan. Teddy was expansive. If he hadn’t gone into politics he would have been an opera singer, he told them, and visited small Italian villages and had pasta every day for lunch. “Singing at la Scala in front of three thousand people throwing flowers at you. Then going out for dinner and having more pasta.” Everyone was laughing. Then, writes Mr. Lawford, Teddy “took a long, slow gulp of his vodka and tonic, thought for a moment, and changed tack. ‘I’m glad I’m not going to be around when you guys are my age.’ I asked him why, and he said, ‘Because when you guys are my age, the whole thing is going to fall apart.’ ”

Mr. Lawford continued, “The statement hung there, suspended in the realm of ‘maybe we shouldn’t go there.’ Nobody wanted to touch it. After a few moments of heavy silence, my uncle moved on.”

Lawford thought his uncle might be referring to their family–that it might “fall apart.” But reading, one gets the strong impression Teddy Kennedy was not talking about his family but about . . . the whole ball of wax, the impossible nature of everything, the realities so daunting it seems the very system is off the tracks.

And–forgive me–I thought: If even Teddy knows . . .
[...]

Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us. I refer specifically to the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere. I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they’re living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they’re going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley’s off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.

I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, “I got mine, you get yours.”

I think the “next chapter of trouble” is here.

UPDATED (thanks, Frank):

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America ’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America ’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”
– Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

UPDATE II: Boehner’s latest plan is online. What is this, the fourth or fifth GOP plan made public. And still zero coming from Reid or Obama?

Related:
There is an Art to Good Politics

Let’s get this party started!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • James

    (Todd said – “The Dems are too conservative for me.”)

    Well greetings comrade.

    Hello to you and your fellow proletarians.

  • Joseph Marshall

    I must say that I think that the Republicans, and particularly the obstinate ones, have made themselves into fools. If they don’t stop playing Chicken and we do go into default, they will get it hung around their necks both this November and next.

    It will go like the government shut-down in the Clinton Administration. Every last district of the US House has some government contractor in it who won’t get paid, some will have dozens of them. There will be all sorts of subsidiary businesses in the same district that will have to retrench quickly, and many of them won’t survive. They all employ the people who vote in the district.

    I hope the SS checks for August have been cut, since I get one, but if they aren’t, that means every last district will be filled with ordinary people left holding the bag. And everybody will get a good lesson in why the Federal Government is there, what it does for them, and why it is in their best interests for it to continue to do so.

    If you are one of those who wishes to massively reduce the size of the government, this is the last lesson you want your own constituents to learn. What with all of their grandstanding, throwing tea bags, and frothing at the mouth, it is perfectly clear that they chose to create this crisis artificially, and push it to the limit. If we go into default, you will see Republican leaning Independents [who make the real difference in our elections] reject them in droves.

    But I suppose they can all console themselves with the usual mambo that the news media took it all away from them. At least I hope they do. Finally learning effective political tactics is the last thing I want to see them accomplish.

    And the Speaker has simply proven time and again that his own party’s discipline is out of control.

  • Barbara Peters

    How much did the Iraq and Afghanistan war add to the deficit? How much did Mr. Bush’s tax cuts add to the deficit? How much did Mr. Bush’s Medicare Part D add to the deficit? How much did the Wall Street Bailout in October/November 2008 (at the end of Mr. Bush’s term) add to the deficit? Make no mistake about it – if there was no bailout and no stimulus we would be in an even worse economic disaster than this little depression. We have a huge job deficit in this country. The problem is that our jobs have gone overseas. We need innovation and investment in this country – instead we are getting economic turmoil from political leaders. What a failure of a generation – two more quagmires even though we lived the tragedy of Vietnam, another Great Depression and a fiscal civil war.

  • Joseph Marshall

    By the way, I had something very extraordinary happen to me today, something absolutely unprecedented, at least for Democrats. I got the first call from people organizing the Re-elect Obama campaign.

    When you consider that this is a full fifteen months away from the 2012 elections, it becomes perfectly clear that they have not forgotten the fact that they beat John McCain with far better organization on the ground. I also saw a couple of weeks back that they have already raised a record amount of money for so far away from the election, almost all of it from small donors.

    Now as someone on a SS disability who owns no car, and not very much else, I won’t have much more to contribute to campaign than my vote, but I’ll certainly be cheering on all the new groups of people that will be out there canvassing: teachers, policemen, firemen & EMT workers. among others.

  • don singleton

    “How much did the Iraq and Afghanistan war add to the deficit?”

    With or without the cost of the Twin Towers and the damage to the Pentagon? And the cost was the same whether it had been on budget or off.

    “How much did Mr. Bush’s tax cuts add to the deficit?”

    Zero. It was not the governmen’s money that we gave back. It was the people’s money that we did not take. But we should have cut spending.

    “How much did Mr. Bush’s Medicare Part D add to the deficit?”

    Less than expected when it was passed. Do you favor repealing it? I would not object, and I am eligible for it, but I do not take advantage of it.

    “How much did the Wall Street Bailout in October/November 2008 (at the end of Mr. Bush’s term) add to the deficit?”

    A heck of a lot less than what Obama spent, and I opposed Bush spending it.

    “Make no mistake about it – if there was no bailout and no stimulus we would be in an even worse economic disaster than this little depression.:”

    So it was bad when Bush did it, but good when Obama did it? I disagree. Both were bad.

    “We have a huge job deficit in this country. The problem is that our jobs have gone overseas.”

    A lot have because our high corporate taxes and regulations make it economically smarter to move things overseas.

    Half of the jobs created under Obama have been created in Texas. I look forward to significant improvements when President Perry is sworn in

  • Barbara Peters

    Texas has an oil industry like Alaska.

  • James

    (Barbara Peters wrote – “How much did the Iraq and Afghanistan war add to the deficit?”)

    You didn’t actually read my post at (45) did you Barb.

    Here it is again:

    From the The Washington Examiner (Aug 23 2010)

    Little-known fact: Obama’s failed stimulus program cost more than the Iraq war

    “The meme is simple: The economy is in a shambles because of Bush’s economic policies and his war in Iraq. As American Thinker’s Randall Hoven points out, that’s the message being peddled by lefties as diverse as former Clinton political strategist James Carville, economist Joseph Stiglitz, and The Nation’s Washington editor, Christopher Hayes.

    The key point in the mantra is an alleged $3 trillion cost for the war. Well, it was expensive to be sure, in both blood and treasure, but, as Hoven notes, the CBO puts the total cost at $709 billion. To put that figure in the proper context of overall spending since the war began in 2003, Hoven provides this handy CBO chart showing the portion of the annual deficit attributable to the conflict:

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/little-known-fact-obama039s-failed-stimulus-program-cost-more-iraq-war

    But there is much more to be said of this data and Hoven does an admirable job of summarizing the highlights of such an analysis:

    * Obama’s stimulus, passed in his first month in office, will cost more than the entire Iraq War — more than $100 billion (15%) more.

    * Just the first two years of Obama’s stimulus cost more than the entire cost of the Iraq War under President Bush, or six years of that war.

    * Iraq War spending accounted for just 3.2% of all federal spending while it lasted.

    * Iraq War spending was not even one quarter of what we spent on Medicare in the same time frame.

    * Iraq War spending was not even 15% of the total deficit spending in that time frame. The cumulative deficit, 2003-2010, would have been four-point-something trillion dollars with or without the Iraq War.

    * The Iraq War accounts for less than 8% of the federal debt held by the public at the end of 2010 ($9.031 trillion).

    * During Bush’s Iraq years, 2003-2008, the federal government spent more on education that it did on the Iraq War. (State and local governments spent about ten times more.)

    Just some handy facts to recall during coming weeks as Obama and his congressional Democratic buddies get more desperate to put the blame for their spending policies on Bush and the war in Iraq.”

  • Barbara Peters

    IrI didn’t say the Bush bailout was bad. I think he acted to save the country and the world from economic bailout. I think he did what he had to do even though he took heat from his party for it. Remember that when the House did not pass the bailout the stockmarket fell something like 700 points. I think at this point we have to come together to solve our problems whoever is President. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

  • justamouse

    Pffft. I don’t care who did what, when, how, or why. They’re ALL acting like hooligans.

    I’m tired of all of them. I don’t want to see ANY of their faces on TV anymore.

  • don singleton

    I didn’t say the Bush bailout was bad.

    You are right. You didn’t. I did.

    I think he acted to save the country and the world from economic bailout.

    No he did it because Obama asked him to, and he hoped that if he did what Obama wanted and helped in the transition, Obama would go easy on his legacy. Boy was he wrong there.

    No company should be “Too big to fail” That is why we have bankruptcy courts.

  • don singleton

    Texas has an oil industry like Alaska.

    As do many other states. And all have been blocked from drilling, and so we are now importing even more oil from people that hate us, rather than producing our own energy, and being able to export it to countries that like us.

    Texas also is a Right to Work state, has no individual income tax or corporate income tax (and yet has plenty of revenue to balance its budget) and Texas has fewer regulations that discourage business.

  • James

    (Barbara Peters said – “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”)

    Absolutely wrong.

    The Founding Fathers inentionally designed our form of government to be divided.

    It’s called Checks and Balances.

  • Barbara Peters

    Checks and balances does not mean a dysfunctional government divided against itself – it means no one branch has absolute control. Each branch checks and balances the other. Anyway, I do not know where we all will be next week. As for me, tonight and the next few days I will be praying for God to enlighten the hearts and minds of all our political leaders of whatever political party so that they may govern with wisdom and ultimately do what is best for the people of this great country. May God Bless America and may He save us from ourselves.

  • James

    (Barb said – “Checks and balances does not mean a dysfunctional government divided against itself – it means no one branch has absolute control. Each branch checks and balances the other.”)

    Uhm Barb? The fact that no one branch has complete control DOES imply and DOES necessitate division.

    What you interpret as “dysfunctional” is actually designed “sausage-making”.

  • Joseph Marshall

    No company should be “Too big to fail” That is why we have bankruptcy courts.

    You are a fool. It was not just “a company”. It was the entire banking system. It would have included wherever your check gets deposited, too. Don’t think for a minute that it wouldn’t. NO bank could have held up if enough of the dominoes had fallen.

    And undoubtedly, had your bank gone belly up, you would have been among those to come crying to Uncle Sugar to “bail” you out with Federal Deposit Insurance.

    There are days when I almost wish it had happened. There are two full generations now who need to re-learn how absolutely dependent our prosperity is on the “full faith and credit” of the Federal Government and its management of our economic life.

    But maybe they’ll get the picture this August.

  • don singleton

    Barbara I will be praying for God …. do what is best for the people of this great country

    I will be praying to Him as well, but not for something as trivial as allowing us to waste another 2T that our children and grandchildren will have to pay for.

    My prayers are for him to support Israel, and not to give up on America despite what Genesis 12:3 says.

    And I am looking forward to 1 Thess 4:17

  • don singleton

    Joseph it was not the entire banking systems. It was a few big institutions that were dealing with derivatives with bad loans bundled with good loans assuming we would cover them

    And a few people should have gone to jail

  • James

    (Joseph wrote – “You are a fool. It was not just “a company”. It was the entire banking system. It would have included wherever your check gets deposited, too. Don’t think for a minute that it wouldn’t. NO bank could have held up if enough of the dominoes had fallen.”)

    Joseph, you really shouldn’t call someone a fool when your entire premise is based on foolish logic and void of factual analysis:

    Time (March 30 2011)

    Former TARP Official On TARP: A Big Fat Failure, Mostly

    In general, Barofsky says the fund did a very good job of bailing out the big banks and recreating the massive money machine that is Wall Street. And in the meantime giving the bailout the bad name and reputation it mostly deserves. That mission was accomplished. But Barofsky makes the point that bailing out the banks wasn’t TARP’s only stated goal, and it shouldn’t have been the most important one, at least when it was passed by Congress. On every other count TARP was one big flub. He calls one TARP funded program a “colossal failure.” He might as well have called the whole problem that.

    1) TARP did not get credit flowing back into the economy. Barofsky says the Treasury Department had the ability to compel the banks that received TARP money to boost lending. To funnel some of those billions that the government gave the banks back into the economy in the form of loans. In fact, Barofsky says that when the Treasury Department shifted TARP from buying the troubled mortgages to just handing over money it did so with the express promise that the banks would boost lending. But banks didn’t do that. And the Treasury never really did anything to make sure they did.

    In fact, a recent study found that one of the main reasons the economic recovery has been so slow is because start-ups have not been able to get the loans they need to start-up and create jobs.

    2) TARP has not ended the foreclosure crisis. Barofsky says the Treasury Department stalled before announcing a program that officials said would help 4 million borrowers who were facing foreclosure. But the program was weak and underfunded. So far the Treasury Department’s key Home Affordable Modification Program has helped fewer than 600,000 borrowers. Another 800,000 borrowers have entered the program, only to have their temporary modifications canceled. Foreclosures continue to mount across the country.

    3) TARP was supposed to end Too-Big-To-Fail. Barofsky says Congress approved the bailout fund with the idea they were only willing to do it if they never had to do it again. In other words, we’ll give you a bailout as long as you put in place the necessary reforms so that we won’t have to bailout the mega banks again. Yet, Barofsky says TARP has not only done nothing to solve the problem of Too-Big-To-Fail, it probably has made it worse by enabling the mega banks to stay mega. In fact, Barofsky says the big banks are now 20% larger than they were before the crisis.

    —————————-

    In other words- the short term bailout merely kicked the can down the road for a future failure that will be “too big to save”.

  • http://www.xavierz.blogspot.com Xavier

    It’s not clear where Miss Peters got the idea that the plan being developed by Sen. Reid “has no tax increases.” On the contrary, his plan insists on the elimination of the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, not only for those $200,000 a year Obama billionaires but for all taxpayers. That means markedly higher tax bills for most people. In addition, Sen. Reid’s proposal plans to subject millions of additional taxpayers to the rapaciousness of the Alternative Minimum Tax, and to escalate the death tax.

  • Barbara Peters

    REVISED REID AND HOUSE DEBT LIMIT PROPOSALSOVERVIEW* Senator Reid’s revised amendment provides a long-term solution to the default crisis thatwould avoid a downgrade of our credit rating and an economic catastrophe.* The Reid Amendment is a compromise that addresses GOP priorities:1) Its debt limit increase is matched dollar-for-dollar by spending cuts.2) Its spending cuts have been approved by the Republicans.3) It includes no additional revenues.4) It includes the McConnell plan to allow Congress to reject debt increases.* The Reid Amendment does not harm Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.* By contrast, the extreme House plan is a short-term fix that threatens our credit rating and our economy, and guarantees a default crisis.REID AMENDMENTSummary* Statutory caps on security and non-security discretionary spending.* Savings from winding down the wars* Other spending savings from the Biden Group* Joint committee on deficit reduction with fast track vote on recommendations* McConnell scheme to tie debt increases to fast tracked resolutions of disapproval.* $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction matches $2.4 trillion increase in debt limitDiscretionary SpendingThe Reid Amendment establishes statutory caps on discretionary spending that wouldapply for ten years. These caps would operate similarly to caps established with bipartisansupport in the 1990s, and that proved effective in controlling spending. If Congress exceedsthe caps, across-the-board cuts would enforce the limits.Over the ten-year period covering Fiscal Years 2012 through 2021, total discretionary budget authority would be $11.3 trillion, representing savings of $1.2 trillion. Thecorresponding outlay savings are $1 trillion.

  • Joseph Marshall

    Banking is a very simple business. Don gives me a dollar on deposit. I lend that dollar to James at interest until he can make the money to pay me back. On my books its carried in two places and, in effect, becomes two dollars. If Don is still content to let me keep his dollar until James pays me back, I get to keep the interest. What will persuade Don to do this? I offer him interest that is some % of the interest I will receive from James.

    Suppose Don needs his money before James is ready to pay me? Then I’m up a creek. I can’t pay Don back and my little deposit bank collapses. How can I get out of this? I will have to borrow a dollar from our Hostess also at interest that is less than James’ and more than Don’s.

    All this is based on trust. Don has to trust me. Elizabeth has to trust me. And I have to trust James. Any of these three break down and we’re all in trouble.

    Banks borrow from other banks who borrow from bigger banks who borrow from the Fed as the “lender of last resort”. Everybody has to trust everybody else because there is no way that anybody will have enough cash on hand to cover all their deposits. Short of an audit, there is also no direct way to know at any given time how solvent any of the borrowing banks truly are.

    The moment that small bank 1 shows signs of trouble, then bigger bank 2 will refuse to lend and may even call in the outstanding loans. If megabank 3 gets wind of what big bank 2 is doing, their trust is undermined and they may not continue to lend and may even call in their loans to big bank 2. If enough of this happens in too short a time, you have a Bank Panic where no one trusts anyone else enough to lend and is trying to call in as much debt as possible.

    If the Panic is big enough, all three of the banks involved may collapse, because there simply is not enough cash on hand between them to meet everybody’s obligations all at once. This is why we have the Fed as the lender of last resort. But the Fed also has no way of knowing how much “toxic” debt in aggregate they are supporting.

    And this is exactly where we stood when the “bail-out” was being mooted in Congress. Trust had eroded to the cliff edge of Panic, nobody was willing to lend to anybody else and was trying to call in as much as possible even with the Fed behind it all.

    Whatever else may have happened after, there was nothing but action by the Federal Government to prevent everybody from going over the cliff by restoring enough trust to get the interbank lending going again.

    We didn’t go over that cliff. I think that’s success enough.

    And it all depends on the solvency of the Federal Government.

    See why we currently have a problem, Houston?

  • Barbara Peters
  • http://www.xavierz.blogspot.com Xavier

    Miss Peters offers an odd summary at #70 and seems to think that the point marked 3) is dispositive. It is not. “No additional revenues” means Sen. Reid is claiming that there are none IN ADDITION TO those to be raised by the elimination of the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 for all Americans, the expansion of the category of those subjected to the Alternative Minimum Tax, and the escalation of the death tax. That is what his provisions on adhering to the CBO baseline (in default of his blank refusal to pass a budget for the last two years) MEAN. Reading his text is more conducive to understanding his proposal than is relying on his self-serving summations.

  • James

    (Joseph said – “We didn’t go over that cliff. I think that’s success enough. And it all depends on the solvency of the Federal Government. See why we currently have a problem, Houston?”)

    Joseph? What part of this did you NOT understand?

    “3) TARP was supposed to end Too-Big-To-Fail. Barofsky says Congress approved the bailout fund with the idea they were only willing to do it if they never had to do it again. In other words, we’ll give you a bailout as long as you put in place the necessary reforms so that we won’t have to bailout the mega banks again. Yet, Barofsky says TARP has not only done nothing to solve the problem of Too-Big-To-Fail, it probably has made it worse by enabling the mega banks to stay mega. In fact, Barofsky says the big banks are now 20% larger than they were before the crisis.”

    —————————-

    In other words- the short term bailout merely kicked the can down the road for a future failure that will be “too big to save”.

  • James

    (Barbara Peters wrote – REVISED REID AND HOUSE DEBT LIMIT PROPOSALSOVERVIEW* Senator Reid’s revised amendment provides a long-term solution to the default crisis thatwould avoid a downgrade of our credit rating and an economic catastrophe.*)

    Gee Barb, you didn’t mention this little jewel:

    The Hill (07/29/11)

    The biggest change is that Reid would give the president almost unilateral power to raise the debt limit, borrowing an idea introduced by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

    Reid would have President Obama request a $2.4 trillion debt-limit increase in two installments of $1.2 trillion each. The requests would be subject to congressional resolutions of disapproval, but these would do little to restrict the president…

    According to a Senate Democratic aide, Reid also increased the total level of spending cuts from $2.2 trillion to $2.4 trillion, in part by using the January baseline — a budget maneuver House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) used on a previous version of his debt-limit plan. The January budget baseline does not count cuts Congress implemented in legislation passed this spring to avert a government shutdown.

    http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/174483-reid-alters-debt-plan-to-attract-gop-support

    ———————-

    But of course THESE ARE NOT CUTS, only REDUCTIONS IN THE RATE OF GROWTH.

  • Mike

    The Republicans “mistake” is to have to negotiate with fools and knaves. It is hard not to look foolish when doing this. I think they are doing the good government thing the best they know how. Unfortunately, they (and we too) don’t have a good government to work with. FWIW the Republicans are showing an unusual amount of courage and honor, which is never foolish, no matter what it looks like. Eventually, people will notice.

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    I suspect Mr Marshall has the measure of it. The president is already well-organized, and the GOP is setting itself up for a big fall. And I mean the opposite of a cheery autumn election day.

    Dyed-in-the-wool Republicans can commiserate on sites like this and elsewhere all they wish. Mr Obama could have the whole of Al Qaida dead with heads on stakes in front of the White House and a zero percent abortion rate, and they would still call him names. Extremists have isolated themselves from the debate.

    “Well greetings comrade.

    Hello to you and your fellow proletarians.”

    Cute. But I’m afraid dictatorships are also too conservative for me. Too much like feudalism and mob rule. I believe in the fullest possible participatory democracy in all possible places.

  • don singleton

    Barbara The Reid Amendment …. spending cuts have been approved by the Republicans

    Have not looked at it in detail, but knowing Reid I suspect there are very few, if any, current year cuts, and most of them are in out years that they know they will never make. The Republicans have been fooled by that twice before. Regan and Bush 41 allowed tax increases in return for spending cuts, but they were spending cuts in out years that were never made, because one congress cannot force a future congress to do anything. This is why Republicans are not willing to raise taxes, and why they want current year tax cuts.

    extreme House plan is a short-term fix that threatens our credit rating and our economy, and guarantees a default crisis

    I’m just guessing, but it sounds like you don’t like the House plan, even though it has current year cuts which is what the credit agencies are looking for, not smoke and mirror future year cuts they know will never happen. And the crisis they guarantee is not a default crisis, it is damage to Obama’s reelection prospects the Dems fear.

    If Congress exceeds the caps, across-the-board cuts would enforce the limits.

    Assuming the future Congress does not waive the caps, which has been done before. Dems need to come up with new tricks we have not seen before.

    Joseph But the Fed also has no way of knowing how much “toxic” debt in aggregate they are supporting.

    But once they opened up the debt and discovered the sources of the toxic debt, where bad loans were bundled in with good loans to hide them the bundlers should have been prosecuted for fraud, and the banks that made loans to people they knew would never pay them back should be the ones to have to deal with the people they lent the money to

    I don’t object to the Fed being the lender of last resort. I object to the failure to prosecute the guilty.

    People need jobs. Just think how many lawyers and Judges would be needed to prosecute the guilty, and all of the people that would be needed to build more court houses and prisons

    Todd Mr Obama could have the whole of Al Qaida dead with heads on stakes in front of the White House and a zero percent abortion rate, and they would still call him names.

    I appreciate him continuing the Bush policies to go after Al Qaeda, but I don’t appreciate him throwing Israel under the bus, and supporting the “mostly secular” Muslim Brotherhood who are now calling for Sharia law in Egypt, and I have not seen any efforts to even reduce the abortion rate. He even supports funding for Planned Parenthood (what about the racism and eugenics of founder Margaret Sanger)

  • Barbara Peters

    They need to come together and negotiate a deal around the Reid plan and the McConnell idea that was floated last week. The Boehner plan is not realistic – it only raises the ceiling for 6 months and conditions the second increase on passage of a balanced budget amendment bill by both houses – I believe that requires a 2/3 vote. That is just too much uncertainty for this very week economy. Yesterday’s GDP report showed essentially no growth in the economy. In fact I believe there was no growth in the private sector and the only growth in the economy came as a result of the stiumuls and government spending. Also, I heard that Ford – that did not take a government bailout – is investing billions of dollars in building a plant — in India. That will create jobs in India – not in this country. We need to work together now to turn this ship around.

  • Joseph Marshall

    Joseph? What part of this did you NOT understand?

    James, the size of the banks had little or nothing to do with scope of the crisis. It was a matter of banking practices. Bankers have to evaluate how much debt they will carry and are in the business of making money by lending it, not in the business of causing themselves to collapse. We’re not talking about wild stock speculation here, as in the dot.com or the junk bond crisis. We’re talking about the failure of a whole class of seasoned professionals to read the change in the most stable market in America, real estate.

    It seems silly for me to have to say this, but when they make money, they get bigger. They call this Capitalism.

    Banks have traditionally lent far more liberally at lower rates where there was collateral, like cars or homes, that could be seized and resold.

    Real property was one of the most solid and consistently profitable parts of a banker’s business. Always had been. Even the greatest central banker in history, Alan Greenspan, firmly believed that the troubles in the housing market were a mere matter of overextension in selected localities. And he was one of the first and most strident voices to warn about the dot.com bubble of 2000.

    It was not just a matter of big banks being in trouble. Every bank was in trouble because housing was overvalued everywhere. The standard of how much, as good business practice, you could lend against real estate collateral had been stable since at least the 1930′s.

    It wasn’t stable now, but nobody knew it, Not even the head of the Federal Reserve.

    The biggest banks are the upstream lenders to everybody so they can make money, lots of money, by lending a lot to many different banks at far more favorable terms than those banks can offer buyers. In a normal market, the mere fact that their lending is diversified across so many banks is sufficient protection.

    But if every banker in the country misreads the market and overextends, the upstream lenders are in big trouble.

    This is precisely what happened,

    Now I don’t know what kind of excuses Congress was given for the relief, but, in fact, the reason you support the largest lenders is that none of the small fry will stand if the big ones go down. You don’t fix this by making the upstream lenders smaller. Every bank has to have a regular source of credit to manage their cash flow, and the source of the credit has to make money on the loans. No one in their right mind would expect that the banks who got help would downsize their total assets.

    Of course, a growing percentage of Congress is no longer in their right mind. That is a good deal of the problem. They see one thing and one thing only: a President they hate and want to depose, and they will do anything to do it, whether it’s bad for the country or not. They have been captured on videotape saying this time and time again.

    There is a certain office holder with Presidential aspirations, whom I won’t name, who has been naive enough to say openly that she does not understand what the debt ceiling issue is all about, It has never crossed her mind that as a responsible office holder, charged, in part, with “promoting the general welfare” she ought to be proactive in learning what it is all about.

    She apparently thinks, as President, she’ll get on the job training. Otherwise, turning Barack Obama out of office is sufficient.

    Now once again, everybody is acting as if the “relief” offered consisted of the Secretary of the Treasury handing out wrapped bundles of $100 bills,

    They were loans to be paid back on favorable enough terms that the bank could reduce their debt exposure and continue operating profitably. And the banking industry is doing what any responsible banker would do, reducing their debt exposure, by, among other things paying off those loans as soon as possible, and tightening the standards about how much they will lend to whom on what terms.

    If you’re careful about this as a banker, you make money. And if you are big, you make more money in aggregate than if you are small. If you make enough money, your business gets bigger.

    This is, as I said, what they call Capitalism. Once upon a time we had a Republican Party that understood it. Now we have one that only understands that they don’t like whatever they don’t like. And not much else.

  • James

    (Joseph said – “James, the size of the banks had little or nothing to do with scope of the crisis. It was a matter of banking practices.”)

    Tell me Joseph, do you assume to know more than the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program?

    Once again Joseph, what part of Barofsky’s professional and experienced analysis do you NOT understand in this summary:

    “3) TARP was supposed to end Too-Big-To-Fail. Barofsky says Congress approved the bailout fund with the idea they were only willing to do it if they never had to do it again. In other words, we’ll give you a bailout as long as you put in place the necessary reforms so that we won’t have to bailout the mega banks again. Yet, Barofsky says TARP has not only done nothing to solve the problem of Too-Big-To-Fail, it probably has made it worse by enabling the mega banks to stay mega. In fact, Barofsky says the big banks are now 20% larger than they were before the crisis.”

    —————————-

    This is not difficult to understand: The necessary reforms were never put into place. And now the very same dysfunctional institutions are even bigger with no indications that this disaster will be avoided in the future.

    Or do you assume to possess more expertise and personal experience with TARP than the actual Special Inspector General himself? If so, I would love to know what it is.

  • James

    Oh and Joseph, your diatribe didn’t address the GOVERNMENT’S ongoing reckless fraudulent incompetence with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or Ginnie Mae, the GOVERNMENT-SPONSORED ENTITIES AT THE ROOTING OF THE HOUSING BUBBLE.

    Did you know that the federal bailout of these GOVERNMENT SPONSORED MONEY-PITS will be (far and away) the singular most expensive government rescue of the entire financial financial crisis?

    Did you know that Joseph?

    The Government’s own incompetent institutions were not only at the heart of the problem, but they’ve also been the most costly.

    Ain’t Big Gubmint grand Joseph?

    The true cost of Fannie/Freddie bailout was more than twice what the Obama administration claimed:

    CNSNews.com (June 6 2011) – The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the real cost of the federal government guaranteeing the business of failed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is $317 billion — not the $130 billion normally claimed by the Obama administration.

    In a report delivered to the House Budget Committee on June 2, the CBO said a “fair value” accounting of guaranteeing the two defunct mortgage companies – known as Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) – was more than twice as high as the Office of Management and Budget had accounted for.

    “Specifically, CBO treats the mortgages guaranteed each year by the two GSEs as new guarantee obligations of the federal government,” the CBO report said. “For those guarantees, CBO’s projections of budget outlays equal the estimated federal subsidies inherent in the commitments at the time they are made.”

    “In contrast, the Administration’s Office of Management and Budget continues to treat Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as nongovernmental entities for budgetary purposes, and thus outside the budget,” the report stated. “It records as outlays the amount of the net cash payments provided by the Treasury to the GSEs.”

    The total of those cash payments is $130 billion, and is normally reported as the cost of the bailout of the GSEs to date. However, the CBO said that merely counting the cash payments, and not the cost of federal subsidies granted to the GSEs, obscures their real costs.

    Essentially, the CBO is accounting for the cost of the federal government guaranteeing the loans bought and securitized by the GSEs.
    —————–

    From HotAir.com – “The CBO has a problem with the Office of Management and Budget’s calculation on the cost of the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailouts, and it’s no small calculation error. OMB has calculated the costs of the bailout at $130 billion, a number repeated on occasion by the Obama administration. By the CBO’s calculation, the cost of the bailouts reaches $317 billion, more than twice the White House estimate.

    In other words, the difference between the two estimates seems to be the status of the GSEs themselves. Had the federal government divested Fannie and Freddie by now, we would not be in the position of guaranteeing their ongoing loans. As CNS news notes, though, the federal government continues to issue explicit guarantees on Fannie and Freddie, allowing them to borrow at a lower rate. The CBO counts those obligations as part of the risk and potential cost assumed by the bailouts, along with the more recent mortgage guarantees issued by the two GSEs.”

    The calculation is then rather simple. The GSEs have a fair-value deficit between assets and liabilities that total to $187 billion. Combined with the $130 billion in cash infusions given by the federal government to Fannie and Freddie, the taxpayer is on the hook now for $317 billion. The CBO predicts that the liability will increase each year by slightly more than $4 billion over the next ten years as well.

    Taxpayers might have to eat it all in the near term in order to shed the liabilities. If Congress gets around to ending the government guarantees for Fannie and Freddie, it will almost certainly have to resolve the deficit. That is why the CBO calculation is so important, and likely why Congress and the White House avoided addressing the issue in 2009 and 2010.”

  • don singleton

    Barbara The Boehner plan is not realistic – it only raises the ceiling for 6 months

    And the reason for that is that we can’t get more real cuts now, and he wants to solve things for now, and give us time to find more real current cuts. If Nancy is so worried about the discussions taking place at Christmas time I suspect he might be willing to make the 6 months 8 months (gets it closer to the election)

    and conditions the second increase on passage of a balanced budget amendment bill by both houses – I believe that requires a 2/3 vote.

    You are right. Provide some other sweetener and they might be willing to condition it on a good debate and a recorded vote in both houses

    Ford – that did not take a government bailout – is investing billions of dollars in building a plant — in India.

    Where as others are sending jobs to China. Is that any better? Reduce corporate taxes (we are now the highest in the world, having past Japan) and regulations and maybe some jobs would stay here

    Joseph It was a matter of banking practices.

    And Congressional (Dodd/Frank/etc) interference in those practices, encouraging loans to people unable to pay them back

    Bankers have to evaluate how much debt they will carry and are in the business of making money by lending it, not in the business of causing themselves to collapse.

    Unless they are pressured to do something they would not normally do, under the assurance that Big Government would see that they made money anyway

    but nobody knew it

    I knew it, and a lot of others knew what Dodd Frank and company was doing to inflate the hosing bubble. What I don’t know yet is what mischief they inserted in the new Financial Regulation bill, but if it is half as bad as Obama Care I hope President Perry presses for it’s repeal at the same time as the repeal of Obama Care

    Now we have one that only understands that they don’t like whatever they don’t like. And not much else.

    But at least they understand that part (we are Taxed Enough Already, and that we need to stop spending more than we can afford) very well, and they are not going to be swayed away from it with under the table dealings, and once we get a CEO that understands how to run a large state and create a lot of jobs, we can teach the others how Capitalism works

  • James

    (Todd said – “Dyed-in-the-wool Republicans can commiserate on sites like this and elsewhere all they wish. Mr Obama could have the whole of Al Qaida dead with heads on stakes in front of the White House and a zero percent abortion rate, and they would still call him names. Extremists have isolated themselves from the debate.”)

    See? That statement tells me everything I need to know about your extremist idolized worship of the political-hack cult-of-personality in The White House.

    I hate to shatter your fantasy, but Barry doesn’t personally capture or kill the terrorists; our brave men and women in the military and intel agencies do. The best Barry can do is get out of the way.

    (Todd said – “Cute. But I’m afraid dictatorships are also too conservative for me. Too much like feudalism and mob rule. I believe in the fullest possible participatory democracy in all possible places.”)

    Oh you don’t like dictators. I see. Then you must have been frothing at the mouth when Barry illegally bypassed Congress to start two more wars huh?

    Or when he simply bypassed Congress and contracted the capture and torture of terror suspects out to foreign governments through extraordinary rendition; You must have been livid about that I’m sure.

    And if the government continues to grow and (by obvious necessity of that growth) mandates and controls more and more of our private lives- then how is that NOT resembling a dictatorship even more and more?

    You want all the trappings of the Nanny State- without realizing that those trappings are (in and of themselves) their own dictatorial mandate by their very control and regulatory mandates.

    You’re either lacking critical-thinking skills that render you oblivious to your contradictions- or you’re still in your twenties. But I repeat myself……

  • James

    (Todd said – “I suspect Mr Marshall has the measure of it. The president is already well-organized…”)

    Most extremist organizations and their leaders are well organized. The dispersment and assimilation of their propagand requires it.

  • James

    Unbelievable.

    Democrats Enforce Flibuster Against Their Own Debt Bill

    WashingtonTimes (July 30 2011) Senate Republicans want a 60-vote threshold for a debt-limit bill to pass the chamber, but it’s actually Democrats who are enforcing the filibuster on their own legislation, insisting on delaying a vote until 1 a.m. Sunday morning.

    Republicans offered to let the vote happen Friday night, just minutes after the chamber voted to halt a House Republican bill. All sides expect Democrats’ bill will fail too, and the GOP said senators might as well kill both at the same time so that negotiations could move on to a compromise.

    —————————

    Now let’s have no more of you Liberals lecturing the rest of us while your Democrat Party sets arbitrary dooms-day dates, plays politics in the Senate, and engages in crisis-mode sound-bites, all in a cynical Machiavellian attempt to scare granny into believing those Big Evil Corporate Republicans really want to force her into eating cat-food as they pocket the savings for their corporate fat-cat jets.

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    James,

    It’s always a curiosity to me when internet commentators can’t stick to the issue of the thread, which I can assure you is not me or my political views.

    Last time I read it, Ms Scalia posted on government as Kabuki theatre.

    I’ll absent myself from further discussion on this thread, seeing as you’ve decided to make this personal. I can only assume you have nothing original to discuss on politics, and leave it at that. Good day to you, sir.

  • James

    (Todd said- “I’ll absent myself from further discussion on this thread, seeing as you’ve decided to make this personal.”)

    I apologize if I’ve offended you Todd, but point of fact:

    You initially made this personal when you referred to “Teacrazy friends” of the GOP, and “Dyed-in-the-wool Republicans” as “Extremists”.

    (Todd said – “Dyed-in-the-wool Republicans can commiserate on sites like this and elsewhere all they wish. Mr Obama could have the whole of Al Qaida dead with heads on stakes in front of the White House and a zero percent abortion rate, and they would still call him names. Extremists have isolated themselves from the debate.”)

    And of course, the basic issue and point of posting on this thread IS (in fact) our personal political and religious views- is it not?

    Again, I am sorry if I offended you Todd. Perhaps we can exchange views again on some future thread when our convictions are guided by more hospitable circumstances.

    Take care.

  • friscoeddie

    They are voting in the Senate on Reid’s bill as I type and The editor here in her UPDATE says there is no such thing as a Reid bill or even a plan. The editor must beleive in magic writing, that a Senate bill can be written and introduced to vote on in hours. what is next for you to post?

  • Joseph Marshall

    Well, frankly, James and Don, it is possible that Fannie and Freddie went beyond the bounds of solid business practices in the lending business, and if they did it is, of course, reprehensible. I do sometimes wonder, however, if the degree of outrage over their loans has as much to do with the credit unworthiness of the borrowers as it has to do with other more personal and social considerations about who the borrowers were.

    In either case, F&F were relying, just like everyone else, on the stable value of the collateral, and the only real question beyond that is did they make too many loans that would have failed even with stable collateral. The mere fact that they are quasi-federal entities is beside the point.

    If the evidence supports this conclusion, then you have a point. If it doesn’t, you don’t.

    Now I don’t know just what “regulations and reforms” you are talking about that would force big banks to become smaller. Way, way back in the anti-trust days at the beginning of the 20th Century the Supreme Court articulated the legal principle that the mere fact that a business is big is not sufficient reason for it to be broken up by Federal law. It must also be acting “in restraint of trade” through dominance of its market. There is no evidence I’ve heard of that megabanks are doing this. Do you know of any?

    The Federal government can regulate what banks do, but it cannot regulate how big they get doing it. The size of these banks are increasing because they are doing profitable banking business, by making loans to trustworthy borrowers, particularly smaller banks. If there has been overwhelming dominance of the money markets by any of them, or even by all of them together, I’ve not heard of it. And I would be willing to bet that most, if not all of them, have already paid back the loans.

    Have you heard differently?

    The problem is not that they were “too big to fail”, but that any serious economic improvement requires them as upstream lenders. Remove them from the equasion and the amount of lending smaller banks can do safely [such as to the small businesses that our tax system SO UNFAIRLY burdens] will diminish massively. After all, a little new and unproven LLC is a far greater risk, even yet, than someone who possesses a foreclosable house or a reposessible car.

    Business runs on borrowed money, whether it is stocks, bonds, or bank loans. The job of the Federal Government is to see that they can do so with predictable and manageable risk. No one else can do this job. Before 1933, when no one else did do this job, bank collapses were the rule rather than the exception, and a lot of very ordinary depositors like you, Don, and me were routinely beggared as a result.

    Would you like to return to running our economy that way?

  • James

    (friscoeddie said – “They are voting in the Senate on Reid’s bill as I type and The editor here in her UPDATE says there is no such thing as a Reid bill or even a plan. The editor must beleive in magic writing, that a Senate bill can be written and introduced to vote on in hours. what is next for you to post?’)

    Uhm eddie? Reid just “unveiled” his so-called new debt ceiling bill LAST NIGHT. And it uhm….. strongly resembles a plan first suggested by his rival, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    So no- Harry never had a plan. When he was forced to, he just rehashed McConnell’s plan with some tweeks.

  • friscoeddie

    Posters here say the Dems are scaring granny on the de-fault but the Cons want more votes on default all the way to the 2012 election.. why? so the Dems can keep scaring granny? Are the Cons like scaring granny?

  • friscoeddie

    James… If the Reid bill is not Reid’s but McConnell’s why as I watch are the GOP house reps voting it down?.. Talking points, James, have ceased being reality . Turn on the C-Span and watch reality. I think Granny will not receive SS. The GOP has already suggested we pay the Chinese Gov. and investors their interest first. We won’t though… let these interest payments stop and only the holders of bonds, treasuries will suffer. Granny has no treasuries..

  • Greta

    When Christ went into the desert, he confronted Satan who wanted to compromise like the democrats. All Christ had to do was to bow down and worship Satan, big government. The media today would be bashing Christ for not compromising with Satan so that the world we life in could be a wonderful place as long as you did not worry about what happens later, after death.

    Until the Democratic Party stops supporting abortion and the ongoing holocaust of our babies to the slaughter pens, we should not be surprised by their lies and distortions around minor matters like this debt ceiling. Satan wants nothing more than your soul and that is what the Democrats want of America, its soul.

    To those trying to debate with democrats here or anywhere, keep in mind that you are sitting across from someone who supports the holocaust going on as we speak. They have bought into the visibile world as the only world we have to consider and not the invisible world spoken of so often by St Paul. Satan is wise and tied into the main street media who also only concern themselves with this visible world. They talk about caring for the poor, but only so far as how they can use them for power. Lets face it, the programs they set up to care for the elderly, Social Security and medicare are both giant lies, giant ponzi schemes that if tried in business would land you next to Bernie Madoff. The programs for the poor started by LBJ and before him FDR have done nothing to solve poverty and have damaged the family unit beyond all recognition. If anyone who is paying attention looks at the problems of debt, you can quickly see that these programs and other so called “entitlements” are the issue that has to be solved and can only be done with exposure of the ponzi scheme for what it is, a fraud and failure. The intent of those who support these programs is good, but the administration by the federal government is a joke and the plans have no basis of reality. The government giving you something and then saying it is an “entitlement” gives you an indication of the extent that this party will go to for power. If anyone tries to fix the mess, they can bash them as not caring for grandma and have done so for generations. You have to remember that the leadership of FDR and the democratic party that started the “entitlements” knew at the time that African Americans were being lynched with the full approval of the party in many key states. FDR knew of the lynching and yet allowed it to continue so as to not hurt his political chances to keep power in his own party.

    The history of the democratic party is worse than the history of any other evil party going back to slavery and up to today with abortion. Not sure when the country is going to finally say no more. We get our rights or entitlements from God, not from the government and we will not side with a party that has been associated with every major evil since our founding. So stop trying to argue with fools who are part of this evil party. They will lie and distort facts for they have learned from their master.

    If this is harsh, sorry, truth often is harsh. You cannot compromise with evil.

  • friscoeddie

    James your Reid McConnell bill just failed.. Boehner brought it up needing 2/3 majority to pass .. giving it a snowball’s chance in Hell. Default is closer and closer but maybe you believe Bachmann and the TP who says it ‘nothing’

  • don singleton

    it is possible that Fannie and Freddie went beyond the bounds of solid business practices in the lending business

    it is more that just possible, as far as I am concerned it is a certainty. Why else would banks and mortgage companies totally ignore the credit worthiness and ability to repay of the the people they were loaning money to

    and if they did it is, of course, reprehensible. I do sometimes wonder, however, if the degree of outrage over their loans has as much to do with the credit unworthiness of the borrowers as it has to do with other more personal and social considerations about who the borrowers were.

    If you took out a loan, and signed a mortgage you could not possibly afford to pay, you were committing fraud, and the bank or mortgage company that let you get by with it did not do their job. Whoever approved the loan should have been fired, and whoever bundled that toxic loan with a bunch of good loans and sold the bundle to another bank also committed fraud.

  • friscoeddie

    Greta.. enough already.

  • don singleton

    The Federal government can regulate what banks do, but it cannot regulate how big they get doing it.

    I don’t care what size the bank is. Actually I care a little, because I think my bank was easier to do business with when it was than when it was eaten by a bigger fish, which was eaten by a still bigger fish, which was then eaten by Bank of America, but I would not expect the government to control that.

    But whether it remained the small Security bank, or the giant BofA, if they loaned money to someone that could not possibly pay their loan, the officer that made the loan should be fired. He should not be able to hide what he did, and fool some other bank into buying his toxic loan, and then get a promotion for doing it

    a lot of very ordinary depositors like you, Don, and me were routinely beggared as a result

    I like having the FDIC insure my deposits, but if my bank fails and the government has to pay me, I expect them to see who should go to jail for causing the bank failure

  • James

    ( friscoeddie said – “James… If the Reid bill is not Reid’s but McConnell’s why as I watch are the GOP house reps voting it down?..

    Because Reid has made this a convoluted circus eddie:

    From HotAir.com

    Reid wants a vote on his bill and is “filling the amendment tree” to make sure the GOP doesn’t try to add anything to it.

    The vote’s set for 2:15 p.m. ET or shortly thereafter. With the outcome assured, why bother going through the motions and formally administering the coup de grace? Simple: Reid’s going to call a cloture vote on something at around 1 a.m. ET tonight (he has to do so for procedural reasons in order to beat the clock on Tuesday), and if he can’t hammer out a deal with McConnell before then, he might be tempted to call Senate Republicans’ bluff by offering his own bill as it currently stands and daring them to filibuster it. Boehner wants to discourage that by killing that bill now and forcing him, at the very least, to present something tonight that’s more favorable to Republicans.

    Per the last link, an intriguing hint that Senate Dems might cave at the last second:

    Reid, a canny legislative infighter, appears to be leaving himself a safety valve, however: The Democratic leader has set an evening Senate vote that essentially would leave Boehner’s bill on parliamentary life support — leaving Senate leaders the option of revive it at the last minute if no other deal to raise the debt ceiling is reached.

    I assume that means they might strip out the BBA and pass the rest of Boehner’s bill as is, and then hope that Boehner can get a few Democrats to join him next time in passing that through the House. Meanwhile, what happens if Reid’s bill fails tonight? Well, then things get messy: “Even if a bipartisan accord is reached when the Senate is in the cloture process, Reid would need unanimous consent to swap in any compromise measure, an unlikely scenario given the passions in the fight.” I.e. DeMint or Rand Paul could block any new compromise bill before Tuesday on their own, which means it’s now or never. No wonder veteran lawmakers are starting to think they won’t make the deadline. We’ll know more soon: Reid’s called a presser for 3 p.m. ET, no doubt to whine about the House shooting his own bill down.

    It’s going to be a long day, so here’s your thread. Stand by for updates, and if you missed Ed’s post this morning about Reid’s new and “improved” bill, read that for essential background. In fact, it’s even less improved than you think: According to CBO, the total savings in the new bill are the same as the savings in the previous version. Exit question: Would DeMint or Paul really hold out on their own and make Treasury hit the ceiling if a bipartisan deal’s been brokered? I’m guessing they’d force Reid to grant them some sort of vote, maybe on a balanced-budget amendment, as their price for relenting.

    Update: Another exit question for you. How long will it be today before we hear the first whispers about a two- or three-day debt-ceiling hike in order to keep negotiations going? If Reid’s deadline for passing something really is 1 a.m., he’d better have a bill to that effect ready to go.

    Update: Via John McCormack, Senate Republicans have sent a letter to Reid urging him not to waste his time with the current bill. But there’s a hitch:

    43 GOP senators sign bill saying they oppose Reid bill. Brown, Collins, Snowe, Murkowski didn’t sign it.

    Last I heard, Joe Manchin is still a no so Reid is stuck at 56. Anyone think Manchin will hold out, though, if Reid can get to 59 with Republicans?

    Update: That’s that. Reid’s bill burns in the House, 173/246 — with 11 Democrats voting no. Not sure who they are yet; probably liberals who were unhappy with his cuts-only approach, but we’ll see when the roll comes out. A curious detail: Two Republicans initially voted yes before changing their votes. Stand by while we wait to find out who they are.

  • Greta

    friscoeddie. no, it is never time to stop battling evil no matter how much the left would like to see God removed from the world. You had your shot with removing God in the USSR. Valiant effort, but failed. The founders put religion before free press and free speech in the first amendment on rights for that exact reason. They expected the religious base of Americans to fight evil each and every day and wanted to make sure government could not stop them by any laws restricting those rights.

    Obviously this struck a nerve…


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X