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Friday Talking Points [176] -- More Tea, Anyone?

[ Posted Friday, August 5th, 2011 – 16:34 PDT ]

With the conclusion of the debt ceiling "crisis," the media pivoted swiftly to their standard larger questions (to them, at any rate) about any political event these days: "Who won? Who lost?"

Sigh. Well, in this one, we all lost. America lost. As the public got a close look at the innards of the political gastro-legislative tract, mostly they recoiled in horror. It's been said of Republicans that they get elected to Washington with the slogan "government doesn't work," and then they go about proving the truth of that statement with all their might. The past few weeks are a perfect example of this.

Finding "winners" in this mess is tough. Strangely enough, President Obama seemed to escape with the least political damage. The most fervent of his base said he surrendered and gave away the store, and the most fervent of his opposition is never going to give him credit for anything. But somehow Obama did manage a few scraps of victory in the power struggle. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are safe from cuts... for the next few months, at any rate. Obama will be able to extend the debt limit on his own (Congress is going to have a Kabuki vote each time, which will be meaningless) all the way through the 2012 elections, which was his "line in the sand" negotiating position. Neither was a sure thing, but these are mere scraps of victory, indeed. More intangibly, Obama's positioning as "the adult in the room" worked to a large extent, but that was fairly easy to do, considering how the other side was behaving.

The real winner, though, was the Tea Party. Even if some of them seem not to have gotten the memo. While some on the Left fulminated against the eventual deal, it was nothing compared to what some of the Tea Partiers were saying about it. "We only got 98 percent of what we asked for -- this is simply unacceptable!" seemed to sum up the hardest-core Tea Partiers' position.

But whether they acknowledge it or not, the biggest news during the entire "crisis" was the end of the factional struggle within the Republican Party. Up until this point, the Tea Partiers and the Republican establishment types were in a power struggle of their own, over the control and direction of the Republican Party. The Tea Partiers have now won this battle, in a rout. I can even precisely pinpoint when the establishment Republicans lost -- when John Boehner walked away from the "grand bargain" he had been negotiating with President Obama. The problem wasn't what Boehner said it was ("Obama moved the goalposts!"), the problem was that no matter what big agreement he had struck with Obama, Boehner simply could not get enough votes for it in his House. Imagine if Boehner and Obama had struck a deal which raised $800 billion in revenue (as they reportedly were close to achieving). How many House Republicans do you think would have voted for it? When Boehner was told this in no uncertain terms by the rest of the House Republicans, then he was left in a quandary -- if he did strike a deal with the president, then his weakness would be on public display as he desperately attempted to pass it in his own House. Boehner chose an easier way out -- and walked away from the talks. He then bent over backwards trying to write a bill which had every single Tea Party demand contained within it -- and it still took him three long days to round up enough votes for it. The upshot was that the Tea Party took control of the Republican Party.

Nobody is ever going to underestimate the Tea Party again. That's my guess, as a lasting effect of the debt ceiling fight. Love them or hate them, they have shown their power and flexed their political muscle. John Boehner's never going to underestimate them again -- he's going to do their bidding from this point on, or else he may be challenged for Speaker of the House by someone who will. Barack Obama is certainly not going to underestimate the Tea Partiers, either. He now knows exactly how extremist they can be -- all other political consequences pale in comparison to the fact that the Tea Partiers were willing to gamble not just with the American economy, but with the entire world's. Agree with them or disagree with them, nobody's ever going to give the Tea Partiers the brush-off again -- at least not for a long time to come.

The debt ceiling "crisis" isn't going to be the last of these fights, either. All sorts of manufactured "crises" will occur, for the rest of this year and on into next. There are budget battles galore ahead, and that's without even counting the second round of deficit-cutting laid out by the deal just struck. In every single one of these, the Tea Party (and the rest of the Republican Party) is not ever going to vote for one thin dime in taxes. Ever. This will become obvious in September, as the federal gasoline tax comes up for what is normally an uneventful renewal. I doubt it'll be uneventful this time around, to put it mildly.

This week marks the beginning of the generous monthlong summer vacation Congress takes every single year. At some point, between fundraisers and corporate junkets to faraway shores, they'll have to head back to their home districts. Which means, as we all know, town hall meetings. The talking points this week are devoted to what Democrats should say in these meetings, and how they should be directly attacking the Tea Party's ideology. Because, at this point, it is one and the same as the Republican Party's ideology. The Tea Party is now running the Republican show, so don't underestimate them -- take them on directly!

But first, our weekly awards.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

This one is easy.

The Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week was none other than Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who made her first floor appearance in the House of Representatives since being shot in the head by a deranged gunman.

This was the only inspiring and uplifting event in the entire month of debt ceiling debate in Congress. Gabby Giffords got an incredibly rare spontaneous standing ovation from the entire House, when everyone realized she was on the floor. Republicans and Democrats applauded and cheered wildly to see their colleague's return. Giffords showed up for the vote both because she thought it was an important one, and to mark her incredible recovery in a moving way.

Nobody else even came close, this week. Gabrielle Giffords wins the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week, hands down.

[Congratulate Representative Gabrielle Giffords on her House contact page, and send her good wishes on her continuing recovery.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

David Wu resigned his House seat this week, but we already gave him the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award last week, so we'll just mention it and move on.

There was a meeting between unnamed "Democrats" and Vice President Joe Biden this week, in which the word "terrorists" was applied to the Tea Partiers (or perhaps Republicans in general, the whole thing's a bit foggy). Biden has stated that he himself didn't use the term, but that he heard it from other Democrats.

Whatever the truth of the matter is, we're going to award a special MDDOTW "in absentia" award to any Democratic officeholders who actually used the term -- even behind closed doors.

David Letterman, when the story broke, called it "a real slap in the face... to terrorists." But being a late-night comedian is different than being a politician. We are supposed to have higher standards for the latter.

Calling someone a terrorist in a political discussion has -- for roughly the past ten years -- been completely unacceptable in the political world. It was absolutely unacceptable back in 2004 for George W. Bush's Secretary of Education to call the leading teachers' union a "terrorist organization," and it is still just as unacceptable today. It is the equivalent of calling someone a Nazi, in about 1950.

There are certain lines you just don't cross, and this is one of them. For Republicans or Democrats -- it makes no difference. Call the madman who shot Gabrielle Giffords a terrorist, or call the madman who shot dozens of innocent children in Norway a terrorist. But don't call your political opponents terrorists, because it is simply not appropriate. Ever.

But our real MDDOTW this week goes to none other than Harry Reid, for passing the House's version of the F.A.A. funding bill. Now, you can argue that Harry was between a rock and a hard place on this one -- the House had already left town for their five-week vacation, so if Harry didn't pass the exact same bill the House had previously passed then the government shutdown which caused 70,000 people to be thrown out of work would have continued. Harry had a choice. He could have passed the House bill, which is only a six-week extension, or he could have tried to pass a "clean" bill (which likely wouldn't have survived a filibuster), or he could have just thrown up his hands and gone on his own monthlong vacation. So you can say that he took the best of several bad choices.

You can say that, but I won't. Reid caved. He never should have set himself up in this position in the first place, but without 60 votes in his pocket he couldn't have passed a "clean" bill even if he had tried. But there was one thing he could have done, and that would be to deny the Senate their vacation time. Reid has, in the past, shown he knows how to use this tactic -- masterfully, in some instances. Reid should have announced that the Senate would stay in session until they passed a clean F.A.A. bill, without the poison-pill amendments the House had stuck in. They would vote on it daily, until a clean bill passed. If Republicans kept voting it down, then Reid could have scheduled other work for the Senate to do for the remainder of each day. If the Republicans finally allowed the bill to pass, then Reid (with Obama backing him up) could have told the House to get their butts back to Washington and pass the bill.

Reid chose, instead, to postpone this fight until September. But now the Senate is on record passing the poison pills. Which makes the fight that much harder, next time around. While I do understand Reid wanting to get those 70,000 people back to work, this sort of brinksmanship is going to be the "new norm" in Congress, from this point on. Reid throwing in the towel on this bill could set a very bad precedent. Because of this, Harry Reid wins his record twenty-second Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award, to enjoy while he's on vacation all month long.

[Contact Senator Harry Reid on his Senate contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 176 (8/5/11)

Many on the Left have all but dismissed the Tea Party, ever since they first appeared on the scene. Because the movement is nebulous and hard to define, Lefties made the attempt to define the Tea Party as some flavor of insanity, or ignorance. Tea Partiers were called all sorts of things -- racist, stupid, crazy, or just plain rubes (and that's just scratching the surface). All of these were one form of dismissal or another.

But, as I said before, I don't think anyone's going to underestimate the Tea Party for a long time to come, now. The writing was on the wall for all to see in last November's election. Now it is impossible to ignore. The Tea Party are just not going to "play nice" in the Washington-as-usual game. They are not going to compromise -- ever. They are going to go for the most extreme position possible, and they show no indication of backing down. In other words, they are a formidable political enemy. And Democrats better start treating them as such, instead of brushing them off as a bunch of misguided crazy people.

Instead of personal attacks, or instead of attempting to define the entire movement as nothing more than the fringe, Democrats need to start taking on the Tea Party on the ideological front more often. Don't attack the Tea Partiers, in other words -- attack their ideology. Attack their politics.

As I also said, this "crisis" certainly isn't going to be the last one in the next year and a half. This is going to happen over and over again. Democrats would do well to channel the public's anger over the Washington brinksmanship towards the Tea Party's rigid, unbending, uncompromising ideology.

Today, we're going to attempt to do just that. But if I've forgotten anything, feel free to suggest your own talking points in the comments, as always.

 

1
   Wagging the dog

The first thing to do is to point out the fact that the Tea Party is now firmly in charge of the Republican Party. Make this point as often as possible, to cement the idea in the public's mind.

"I see that the Tea Party tail is now wagging the Republican Party dog. There was a power struggle for control of the GOP, but it's now over, and the Tea Party won. It's obvious that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell can't even sneeze without the Tea Party's permission. The Republican leadership is now getting their marching orders from the Tea Party radicals. From now on, political reporters shouldn't even bother asking Boehner or McConnell what the Republican Party position is going to be on any issue -- because it's easier just to go get it directly from the Tea Partiers in the House."

 

2
   Extremists

Use variations of the word "extreme" in every sentence you speak about the Tea Party. This one polls well with the public, since very few people approve of extremism in any form.

"The Republican Party has now been taken over by their most extreme wing -- the Tea Party. Tea Partiers are nothing short of radical extremists, which means that the Republican Party is now the Extremist Party. Ask the Tea Partiers their stance on just about any issue, and their response is similar in one respect -- they'll take the most extreme position they can, and they'll refuse to compromise one inch from their extremism. They simply don't care if the government shuts down, or if America goes into default, or if they throw tens of thousands of Americans out of work by their extremism. It's all part of the political game to them. I'll say it again -- the Republican Party is now the Extremist Party."

 

3
   Don't call it "populism," please

The media has fallen into this sloppy habit, and it really needs to be smacked down at every opportunity.

"I'm sorry, did you just call the Tea Party 'populist'? That is just not true. Go look at a history book if you don't believe me. American populism is, at its heart, fervently against Wall Street robber barons and big banks. Populism means fighting against the big money folks. Has the Tea Party ever said anything disparaging against Wall Street? Not that I'm aware of. Being anti-Washington or anti-government doesn't make you a populist. The real populists in America today are the ones out there fighting corporate dominance over American government. The ones pointing out that hedge fund managers should pay the same income tax as the rest of us. But those people aren't Tea Partiers, so please don't conflate the two. Please don't call the Tea Party populists, since you're only showing your own ignorance by doing so."

 

4
   The kitchen table

This is another bad analogy from not only the press, but also by people who really should know better. But if the battlefield presents itself, Democrats should fight back on it.

"Your analogy of the federal budget somehow being like a family's kitchen table finances is a bad one, but since you brought it up, let's run with it for a moment. Take your 'family' budget, of a family that's in debt. The breadwinner of the family is only making twelve bucks an hour, and they're somehow scraping by while going further into debt. Now, who in their right mind would tell that breadwinner to go to his employer and demand that he start making minimum wage? It is absolute lunacy to suggest telling this person to demand lower wages. And yet, that is the extremist position of the Tea Party, and of the Republicans they hold in thrall. They want this family budget to become even more dire by reducing the money this family takes in. Maybe they can't do basic math, I don't know. But most families can, and most families would never reduce their income to solve their debt problem. They'd be looking for more income, not less."

 

5
   The American people

This is an ongoing battle with the media, and with the Republicans. Point it out often.

"Every time I hear some Republican politician use the phrase 'the American people' -- as in 'this is what the American people want,' or 'the American people support us in this' -- I am amazed that journalists don't call them on it. Because there actually is a way to find out what the American people think, and it is known as a public opinion poll. The Republicans say 'the American people want us to fix the deficit,' and I keep waiting for someone in the media to say 'well, actually, that's wrong because what the American people want you to do is fix the jobs problem.' The Republicans say 'the American people want us to lower taxes,' and yet nobody in the media responds with 'actually, seven in ten Americans consistently say they're for taxing the wealthy more.' Republicans say 'the Tea Party speaks for the American people' and the media somehow don't challenge this with 'actually, the Tea Party's position was seen as extremism by the American people, and most of the public wanted to see a balanced deficit approach which raised taxes as well as cut the deficit.' It's as if the media collectively has never even heard of the existence of public opinion polls. Why doesn't the media point out -- every time some politician throws around the phrase 'the American people' -- what the actual, measured support is on the issue? It's a mystery to me, personally."

 

6
   Class warfare

This is another of those labels that the Right loves to attack the Left with. Whenever the hint of a scintilla of a suggestion arises that perhaps billionaires could contribute a tiny, wee, microscopic bit more to our society, you can expect the Republicans to respond with one particular term. So turn it around!

"Class warfare? Did you really use that old chestnut? You think it's class warfare to ask people making millions or billions per year to give up a tax break or two? You really equate that with some sort of nightmare of mobs with pitchforks and torches? In fact, what has been going on since about the 1980s is indeed class warfare -- except it's only being waged by one side. The wealthiest among us have made out like bandits the last few decades, and they have done so at the direct expense of the American middle class. So if class warfare is being waged here, it's being waged in exactly the opposite direction as you claim. When the little guys start to fight back a little bit, that's only because of the last three decades of class warfare -- which they have been steadily losing."

 

7
   Tax the rich

Whether this makes Democrats shake in their boots or not, the next election's ideological battlelines have been drawn. And Democrats -- led by President Obama -- are taking the side of raising taxes. This is going to be interesting, because Democrats have been scared of being called "tax-and-spend Democrats" for at least twenty years now. But if you're going to fight this fight, you might as well call it what it is so everyone understands your position.

"Democrats should make their campaign slogan next year a simple one: Tax The Rich. That's it in a nutshell: Tax The Rich. This is the position of almost three-fourths of the American people. It is the position of a majority of Republican voters. It is the position of almost as many Independents as Democratic voters. It is, in fact, the most mainstream political position in American today. And it can be summed up in three little words. Tax. The. Rich."

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: Democrats For Progress
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

100 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [176] -- More Tea, Anyone?”

  1. [1] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    The establishment, it seems, has slipped on the old fallacy "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." The US slipped on it in Afghanistan standing against the Russian occupation by proxy, enabling the Taliban and emboldening militant Islamists; the US was forced into chancing it (out of necessity, of course) with the Russians in World War II, plunging Eastern Europe into a Dark Age. The Republicans slipped on it in feeding and unleashing the doctrinists of the evangelical/libertarian right.

    Now, the establishment has lost the Party. While the TP movements shares some underpinning philosophical positions with them, they stand in opposition both in implementing tactics, as well as in position, on many key issues. The debt ceiling was the most starkly delineated such issue to date, although there are a number of social issues as well.

    After all, does an ill and impoverished citizenry make good customers? Both for reasons of noblesse oblige and pure commercialism, social programs -government- cannot be destroyed. On the other hand, one large reason the evangelical right can take so many seemingly un-Christian positions is precisely because they can look to their congregations for their social safely nets. Thus, they should not have to pay for those who don't join in that, whether in the cities or suburbs or country. (I've heard it stated that is an implication of the writings of Paul, but not of the teachings of Jesus, but that is both off the topic, and a point which I'm not equipped to address).

    Showing my age, my first serious venture into politics was the Goldwater movement, against the establishment Republicans such as Scranton and Rockefeller. In part it was rebellion of youth, but it was also belief in many of the core principles. But I began to see, particularly in the defeat, a mindset of fanaticism and defiance, both of realities and of law, that was frightening and personally repulsive.

    For many, though, the crushing defeat defined a war that they would relentlessly and ultimately fight to win. That fanaticism and defiance would mature and mutate forward through the Nixon White House, the GW Bush WH, into the coordinated spin machine of the Republican party today. The TP is the twenty-first century heir to that experience and focused destiny.

    Back then, no candidate who had a hope of carrying even one state (in reality, no one could have beaten LBJ that year) was acceptable to the College Republicans, the YAF, or to those voters who hated the movement toward civil rights that enlightened Democrats and Republicans had visited upon them.

    Our best hope is probably a replay of that: ideologically pure candidates that appear (appear? hell, are) frightening, ill informed, even dangerous, to a nation whose majority remains, I believe, centrist.

  2. [2] 
    dsws wrote:

    How many people died of the hunger and other hardship of the Great Depression? It has to have been more than 2,977. The Tea Party Republicans tried, and will continue trying, to cause economic devastation worse than the Depression, as part of their ideological/cultural struggle against the civilized world.

    David Letterman was right.

  3. [3] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    They did it! They did it!

    While I was composing the (yes, somewhat rambling and unedited) above post, in spite of what I wrote on the other thread, S&P showed that they in fact do clang when they walk, and, this time at least, ain't gonna drink the Kool Aid. In part:

    "The political brinksmanship (CW, take note) of recent months highlights what we see as America's governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy. Despite this year's wide-ranging debate, in our view, the differences between political parties have proven to be extraordinarily difficult to bridge, and, as we see it, the resulting agreement fell well short of the comprehensive fiscal consolidation program that some proponents had envisaged until quite recently. Republicans and Democrats have only been able to agree to relatively modest savings on discretionary spending while delegating to the Select Committee decisions on more comprehensive measures. It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options. In addition, the plan envisions only minor policy changes on Medicare and little change in other entitlements, the containment of which we and most other independent observers regard as key to long-term fiscal sustainability."

    ...

    "...Our alternate scenario factors in a 50 basis point (bp)-75 bp rise in 10-year bond yields relative to the base and upside cases from 2013 onwards. In this scenario, we project the net public debt burden would rise from 74% of GDP in 2011 to 90% in 2015 and to 101% by 2021."

  4. [4] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    By the way, it is quite certain that the Full Rage and Fury of the Federal Reserve, the Comptroller's Office, the FDIC, the SEC, and at least two of three branches of government will descend upon S&P.

    Please remember that they were just the messenger, and, in as shown by the points above, a voice of spot-on reasoned insight to realities. Please support their courage.

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    LeaningBlue,

    You can't possibly be serious.

  6. [6] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Elizabeth, I am indeed serious. Just go and read, e.g., MSNBC's reporting: "S&P is off by two trillion", yada yada.

    The ceiling deal is a sham, the fiscal health of the nation is on a trajectory that will end in inflating away the debt, or worse, and this week the discussion was either: (a) how the TP got most of what they wanted or (b) how wonderful it was to see compromise again in Washington.

    And, yes, it was a courageous thing to do. After all, in contrast, Moody's and Fitch both said, in effect, that they would applaud any trick where they didn't see all of the slight of hand happen. I was pretty certain, after John King's report earlier, that they would have been persuaded to cave.

    The bottom line is: after the last three weeks, the debt deserved a downgrade for precisely the reasons they cited. I wish to God that were not the case, but it is. There are over 500 people who work on both ends of the Mall to blame for this. Not the messenger.

  7. [7] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    One last point, and then, for me, the matter is one of history. The regulators will likely, it now seems, not attack S&P. They'll leave that to the press and the politicians.

    Instead, they're just going to ignore it. They announced that there will no change whatsoever in the risk-based capital accounting for the banks. Actually, given the realities of too big to fail, it makes a certain amount of sense.

    Good night, to all.

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    LeaningBlue,

    Oh, where to start? The beginning is always a good place to start ...

    The credibility of the reportage of MSNBC and John King of CNN are both at zero and going backwards, number one. And, number two, the debt deal did what it was supposed to do and that is avoid the unthinkable. Which is, I suppose, a sham in and of itself. But, that is a whole other story.

    Furthermore, there is no serious argument to suggest that there is equal blame for either the debt ceiling crisis or the deficit/debt crisis. In other words, the truth is not half-way between right and wrong.

    There is nothing courageous about the shenanigans being engaged in by the sovereign rating service of S&P. Not by a long shot!

    Standard & Poor’s rating service bandied about their submission that $4 trillion in deficit reduction should be a target for the debt ceiling negotiations. Right. Let’s just say that figure was undoubtedly a case of over-compensating. That’s a little joke. Oh, I kid the ratings agencies.

    I guess I shouldn’t be very surprised by the action taken by S&P to downgrade the USG triple A credit rating as they can play politics with the best of the best.

    The fact of the matter is that these ratings agencies played no small catalytic role in precipitating the most destructive global financial crisis since the Great Depression as they handed out triple A ratings like they were going out of style to financial institutions that were involved in packaging up nefarious financial instruments like they were going out of style and which deserved less than junk status.

    These same ratings agencies, among other big financial players, are currently spending tens of millions of dollars in a concerted effort to weaken the financial rules and regulations currently being hashed out by the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), chaired by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

    And this is what is so un-friggin-believable about this downgrade, excuse my french, when you consider the prominent role played by S&P –– among other ratings agencies –– in bringing the global financial system to near collapse just a couple of years ago and what they are doing now to weaken the financial regulatory reforms designed, in part, to ensure these ratings agencies do their jobs with a degree of competence.

    It will be very interesting, indeed, to watch how the S&P rating service and others proceed - both in rating USG debt and in influencing the important work of FSOC.

    So, no, let’s get real here and understand what the rating agencies are really up to.

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    LeaningBlue,

    One last point, and then, for me, the matter is one of history.

    Well, isn't that just typical.

  10. [10] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Elizabeth, of course, I didn't mean "matter of history" as in shall never speak of it again. I meant for tonight. I'm old, and I'm tired.

    Which is why I can't respond to your indictment of the rating agencies, much of which I agree with, by the way. But not all, of course.

    Again, good night.

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    LeaningBlue,

    Well, then ... here's wishing you a very good night's rest. :)

  12. [12] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    It will be interesting to see how much interest rates go up for most people because of this. I hope the tea party gets nailed to the wall if the interest rate increases become noticeable. Too bad the main hits against the tea party will happen during the republican primaries. Or maybe not, Republicans can get quite nasty to each other during the primary, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has threatened to not fund tea party candidates and other radical republicans this next election cycle...

  13. [13] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Looks like Warren Buffett disagrees with S&P

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    Biden has stated that he himself didn't use the term, but that he heard it from other Democrats.

    It was reported by another Dem who attended that meeting that Biden himself used the "terrorist" moniker...

    While I do understand Reid wanting to get those 70,000 people back to work, this sort of brinksmanship is going to be the "new norm" in Congress, from this point on.

    You sure that's not "brinkmanship"?? {snicker, snicker} :D

    dsws,

    Before we discuss anything on this subject, let's agree on what the definition of terrorism is..

    Here is my definition based on two decades in the field..

    "Terrorism is defined as ongoing and systematic attacks of violence specifical­ly targeted against innocent civilian persons or property for the expressed purpose of furthering a political, economical or ideologica­l agenda."

    Would you agree with this definition?

    The Tea Party Republicans tried, and will continue trying, to cause economic devastation worse than the Depression, as part of their ideological/cultural struggle against the civilized world.

    To know this, you would have to be in the minds of the Tea Party, which is simply not possible..

    Let me give you an analogy..

    It's a common theme amongst Israel-bashers that the State Of Israel was borne of terrorism. Most often cited is the attack on the King David hotel as an example of early Israeli terrorism.

    But the simple fact is, the King David hotel attack was not an act of terrorism, but rather a legitimate military attack on a legitimate military target.

    The usual response from Israel-bashers when the facts of the issue are pointed out is, "Well, the Irgun WANTED to kill innocent civilians!!"...

    Yet there is absolutely NO PROOF of such a claim. For the IB'ers to know this, they would have to be in the minds of the Irgun at that point in time.

    You see the similarity??

    I get it. You don't like the Tea Party. So you ascribe motivations to the TP, simply based on that dislike. You can't possibly know the intent of the TP because you can't get into their heads.

    What we need here is a Godwin corollary that does for "terrorist" what Godwin did for "nazi" or "Hitler"...

    Bashi,

    I hope the tea party gets nailed to the wall if the interest rate increases become noticeable.

    So, you are going to blame the Tea Party...

    What about Democrats who piled on more debt in 5 years than the previous 220+ years???

    They are completely blameless???

    Well, I am sure glad you are not guided by Party ideology.. :D

    Michale.....

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    "No risk the US will lose its top credit rating"
    -Treasury Secretary Geithner, 19 Apr 2011

    I'm just sayin'....

    Michale.....

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    You are, undoubtedly the King of Spin around here and you certainly relish the role.

    Unfortunately for you, "the truth is not half-way between right and wrong."

    Care to guess who I'm quoting? It's become my favourite quote and I know I'll be using it quite a lot over the next year and a half.

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    If my facts are in error, by all means point it out.. :D

    Michale.....

  18. [18] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    So, you are going to blame the Tea Party...

    For losing the AAA credit rating, Yes.

    Debt is a different matter.

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    For losing the AAA credit rating, Yes.

    Debt is a different matter.

    So, do you blame Democrats for the debt?? :D

    Regardless, you are incorrect...

    We lost the AAA rating because we can't manage our debt...

    Lowering the nation’s rating to one notch below AAA, the credit rating company said “political brinkmanship” in the debate over ***the debt*** had made the U.S. government’s ability to manage its finances “less stable, less effective and less predictable.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/sandp-considering-first-downgrade-of-us-credit-rating/2011/08/05/gIQAqKeIxI_print.html

    Michale

  20. [20] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Do you read the links you post? Or even the part of the story you quoted in bold? Because it is not backing you up...

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    I quoted what backed me up...

    Can you do the same??? :D

    The DEBT is out of control.. How the US is handling the DEBT is why the US has been downgraded..

    Are you seeing the common theme here?? :D

    Let's ask LB what he thinks... :D

    Michale....

  22. [22] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Do I really have to walk you through it?

    the credit rating company said “political brinkmanship” in the debate over ***the debt*** had made the U.S. government’s ability to manage its finances “less stable, less effective and less predictable.”

    It's the "political brinksmanship" over the debt, not the debt it's self that caused the down grade according to your quote.

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    {sssssiiiiigggghhhhhhhh}

    If you commit an armed robbery and a cop is killed in a vehicle accident, you could be charged with murder even though you didn't directly murder the cop...

    The DEBT is the "armed robbery" here.... Anything that results from the DEBT is the fault of the DEBT...

    Hence, the DEBT is the issue... If there wasn't this orgasmic explosion of DEBT, there wouldn't be any brinksmanship over the DEBT..

    So, who do you blame for the DEBT????

    Don't tell me. Let me guess...

    Republicans.... :D

    Michale....

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    If you commit an armed robbery and a cop is killed in a vehicle accident, you could be charged with murder even though you didn't directly murder the cop...

    That analogy was incomplete. Sorry, I am at work..

    That SHOULD read.......

    If you commit an armed robbery and a cop is killed in a vehicle accident responding to the robbery, you could be charged with murder even though you didn't directly murder the cop...

    My bust.....

    Michale.....

  25. [25] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    RE: It's the "political brinksmanship" over the debt, not the debt it's self that caused the down grade according to your quote.

    No, sir, that is not correct. I copy/pasted text from the S&P release in [3] above; it's the source of the quote (and uses the form brinksmanship, as do you).

    The root cause of the downgrade is in the last paragraph: that given the current political/economic state, the debt burden will reach GDP in a decade. The same decade over which the ceiling deal's cuts are supposed to operate.

    Beyond that, a few days ago I wrote in a post that the rating agencies (and the markets) punish revenue dysfunction. The refusal to even consider tax revenues in the debate was explicitly mentioned. Entitlements were also mentioned, else there be interpretations of overt partisanship.

    The brinksmanship was just the evidence that it's not likely to get any better anytime soon.

    I've been presented with an agenda for the day by the Higher Authority which leaves no time until this evening for this or much else enjoyable.

    Until then, then.

  26. [26] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    No, sir, that is not correct. I copy/pasted text from the S&P release in [3] above; it's the source of the quote (and uses the form brinksmanship, as do you).

    Actually it is correct. The small section of the total that Michale quoted in his post does not back up the argument he made.

    I read the entire article and it says that it is the debt, the battle over the debt and the deal that was finally made that caused the lowering of the credit rating. That's three factors not one for those who are counting :-)

  27. [27] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    BashiBazouk
    my apologies; I read too quickly to see what you were saying. Even now, I'm only here because of the physical laws governing the differences between men's and women's required T2DU (Time to Dress Up).

    The approach from the the three different points is why I'm actually delighted by the downgrade. It will of itself, have little economic effect, I'm quite certain). But it could have some political effect, since it is a fairly distinct voice making an objective statement about the true state of the King's wardrobe.

  28. [28] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Only the phrase "of itself" should be in italics. Sorry.,

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    LB,

    You will note that the link I posted uses BRINKMANSHIP, without the S....

    My point is still valid.

    It's the DEBT that brought about the brinksmanship...

    Quit orgasming the Debt and there will be little to brinksman about....

    Or something like that... :D

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    But it could have some political effect, since it is a fairly distinct voice making an objective statement about the true state of the King's wardrobe.

    And it's about time that we had some overt, concrete and irrefutable evidence that Emperor Obama is, indeed, buck assed nekkid...

    Apologies for the mental picture that may produce... :D

    Michale.....

  31. [31] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    I did notice the brinkmanship. I figured a Post (imagine italics) copy editor's virtual blue pencil went with their style over the proper use of "(sic)" if they didn't like it.

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    I read the entire article and it says that it is the debt, the battle over the debt and the deal that was finally made that caused the lowering of the credit rating. That's three factors not one for those who are counting :-)

    But it was the orgasmic DEBT that beget the other two factors...

    If the DEBT hadn't been exploding as it has these past 5 years, it is highly unlikely that there would have been a battle over the DEBT, nor would there had been such a crappy deal to supposedly address the exploding DEBT.

    Hence, it's the exploding DEBT that is at the root of the problem...

    Eliminate the exploding DEBT and the subsequent factors would not have been factors..

    And WHO do we have to blame for the exploding DEBT?? :D

    Three guesses... First two don't count...

    Michale.....

  33. [33] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    To all -

    I cannot speak for other, lesser organizations, but here at CW.com the editoral board has spoken. Brinksmanship it will be, in these pages. And the New Yorker agrees with me, so there.

    Hmmph.

    :-)

    -CW

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    And the New Yorker agrees with me, so there.

    I picture CW letting out a big raspberry at the computer screen at this point.. :D

    PPPPPFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

    :D

    Michale.....

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    "No risk the US will lose its top credit rating"
    -Treasury Secretary Geithner, 19 Apr 2011

    I'm just sayin'....

    Looks like many on the Right are calling for Geithner's head...

    My bet is he won't last the year...

    1000 Quatloos

    Michale.....

  36. [36] 
    akadjian wrote:

    BTW-
    You can get a copy of the report on the S&Ps homepage.

    I imagine its rarely been this busy :)

    http://www.standardandpoors.com/home/en/us

    -David

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    Thanx David...

    Interesting what the title of the PDF is:

    United States of America Long-Term
    Rating Lowered To 'AA+' On
    Political Risks And ***Rising Debt
    Burden***
    ; Outlook Negative

    It's all about the DEBT....

    The Tea Party is simply doing what they have been elected to do...

    Even those on the LEFT have admired the resolve and the political backbone of the Tea Party...

    Apparently, the ONLY person who hasn't gotten the message is Obama....

    Michale.....

  38. [38] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Facts mean nothing if they are not placed in context.

    I thought you knew that.

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    OK, let me rephrase..

    Which facts are not in context??

    Back in April, Geithner assured the country that the US was not in danger of losing the AAA Credit Rating.

    Now, of course, situations and circumstances change. Geithner cannot be expected to know what the future held..

    But then, that begs the question.

    WHY would he make such a prediction???

    You simply don't make iron-clad, irrefutable and unequivocal promises unless you know for an absolutely fact that you can keep them...

    ESPECIALLY in the political arena...

    It's like being a lawyer in a trial... You NEVER ask a question that A}you don't already know the answer to and B} you know for an absolute certainty that the witness will give THAT answer...

    George Herbert Walker "Read My Lips, No New Taxes" Bush learned that valuable lesson...

    Apparently the lesson has been lost on the Obama Administration...

    Because NOW, it just appears that Geithner was telling the public what they WANTED to hear, not what they NEEDED to hear.....

    And NOTHING accelerates loss of confidence more than a kiss-ass exposed...

    THAT is why it is likely that Geithner will be introduced to the undercarriage of the bus within 3-4 months...

    That's my prediction....

    Michale.....

  40. [40] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Michale:

    I can't concur with the outcry for Secretary Geithner's head, any more than I can concur with the assertion that S&P acted culpably or recklessly in this downgrade.

    Scapegoating is an American tradition, of course, but when the scapegoat has to stand for the sins of the legislative branch, I won't play along. Neither the Treasury nor the Secretary is responsible for this. By the numbers, those responsible are listed on the rosters of the 105th through 111th Congresses, and the 43rd and, yes, the 44th Presidents. If you must give blame to the 75th Secretary of the Treasury, then you must also assign equal or higher blame to the 74th Secretary.

    It's sometimes said the G.H.W. Bush was the most prepared individual to ever hold the highest Office, and I assert that Secretary Geithner is the most prepared individual to ever serve as the Treasury Secretary. His background is public service, not coming out of, and going back through, the revolving door of Wall Street, or, God help us, academics. He was the President of FRB New York, which made him the second most powerful man in the Fed (and some say, thereby, in the country).

    He is a Republican by background and family, but a regulator by instinct, and the first Secretary in memory with a genuine commitment to financial market reform. He's also arguably the brightest man to hold this post in a generation. Given his predecessors, that's not necessarily saying much; in his case, though, it's an order of magnitude.

    Finally, and this is as close to impugning him as I will come, he was a direct participant in the implementation of the bailouts, which does mean he knows where the bodies are, both those already buried and the zombies still walking.

    I would hate to see him be a casualty of this, when there are so many hundred just down the street who should find themselves out of jobs at the next available opportunity.

    As far as his April interview went, yes, I'm sure he regrets not being as big a weasel as would have been required to keep him a little safer. On the other hand, I'm equally sure that we could find interviews, much later than his, from politicians and pundits who voiced exactly the same certitude. While I'm neither, as late as last night, I was still convinced that the White House would turn S&P back to the dark side, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary throughout the day, coupled with the clear lane Europe was offering them to take the shot.

    So if you want to blame the President for this mess, I won't argue, so long as you acknowledge the joint culpability of the second President Bush. If you want to blame the Democrats in Congress for this, I won't argue, so long as you acknowledge the joint culpability (and additionally, the deserved contempt due to their hypocrisy) of the Republicans as well as the Tea Parties. But Secretary Geithner: no.

  41. [41] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Ms. Miller:

    I just remembered that you asked me some days ago my opinion of Secretary Geithner. I trust the above post belatedly answers that question.

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    LB,

    My opinion of Geithner is well-known. He was one of the architects of the current crisis we face.

    In short, he was (and is) part of the problem, not part of the solution..

    Regardless of that, whether or not he deserves to be thrown under the bus was not my point. I believe he does but I respect your's and Liz's opinion that he doesn't...

    My point is that Obama has a history of scapegoating (as do most presidents before him) and bowing to political pressure. Which is why I made my prediction..

    So if you want to blame the President for this mess, I won't argue, so long as you acknowledge the joint culpability of the second President Bush. If you want to blame the Democrats in Congress for this, I won't argue, so long as you acknowledge the joint culpability (and additionally, the deserved contempt due to their hypocrisy) of the Republicans as well as the Tea Parties.

    I completely agree with you that Bush and Republicans and Tea Party all share the blame in our current mess we are in...

    However, in the here and now, I also believe that it is the orgasmic spending by the Democrats that is the major cause of the problems we now face..

    I am all for spreading the blame around as it would be illogical to hold one person or one Party at fault.

    But, as I often say, Democrats violated the one sacrosanct law of debt management..

    When in a financial hole, the VERY FIRST thing you must do is.. STOP DIGGING!!

    Democrats not only refused to stop digging, they brought in heavy equipment (tax dollars) to dig deeper and faster...

    But Secretary Geithner: no.

    I respect your opinion and acknowledge that it is based on a lot more knowledge in the field than mine is.

    Regardless, I still disagree...

    Michale....

  43. [43] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [34]-

    I'm going to try to get to the rest of these in a minute, but I just had to interject a historical ramble. I did a search, because it was hard for me to believe that I hadn't written at least a piece of a column on the subject before, but "raspberry" yielded up nothing more than a "404- not found" message here. So here goes.

    Anyone ever wonder why that "THHHPPPBBBBTTT" sound with the tongue and lips is called a "raspberry"? Nobody? Ah, c'mon, SOMEbody's got to have asked themselves that question at some point, right?

    Ahem. I digress.

    The answer lies deep within the world of "Cockney rhyming slang" (which is indeed a world unto itself -- as evidenced by just about any film by Madonna's husband). This was secret code of the streets, made as obscure as possible, so the outer world would never decypher it. The "raspberry" is the only remaining example of this in standard American English that I know of, but that's not saying there could be others of which I am unaware.

    The whole key to the system is that several links are unspoken, between the code and the word it replaces.

    Here's a pedestrian example: "Me trouble sed I couldna come down to the pub tonight, but I told her to piss orf!"

    See, you have to know that "trouble" is shorthand for "trouble and strife" which (conveniently) rhymes with "wife."

    You see how it works?

    Now, I leave this as a sort of contest for the readers. 100 Quatloos to the first person that can connect "raspberry" with the sound it stands for.

    BIG hint: In England, they enjoy raspberry tarts.

    Heh.

    -CW

  44. [44] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LeaningBlue [1] -

    OK, well, the whole Pauline church is suspect in their roots, as far as I'm concerned. I am firmly convinced that if Jesus showed up today, about 99.99 percent of those who call themselves "Christians" would turn Him away if He knocked on their doors. "Dirty hippie!" they'd self-righteously proclaim, while shutting their door to Him.

    I'm interested in the folks who are pushing the line: "What would Jesus cut?" in the whole deficit debate, because I find it a fascinating overlap of Evangelicals and traditional Democratic principles. Just had to say that.

    Goldwater, eh? I liked what he said towards the end of his life, when he denounced the "War on (some) drugs," personally. Seemed to fit in with the "gummint out of our bedrooms" sentiment. But maybe that's just me.

    One question: who were the YAF?

    dsws [2] -

    Yeah, I knew that Letterman quote would speak to some people.

    LeaningBlue [3] -

    Well, I have to admit, you certainly called that one right. You logged a comment earlier in the day which predicted exactly what happened. I have to admit, I am impressed.

    Although, I have to admit, I've seen the S&P report quoted as both "brinkmanship" and "brinksmanship," so I must admit I'm curious as to which it was in the original. The Wall Street Journal quotes that I saw had the "S" but that could be wrong, due to editorial policy, so I have to admit I just don't know.

    BashiBazouk [12] -

    Yeah, that will indeed be the ultimate upshot of this for most Americans. However, I don't really expect the MSM to cover this aspect of it, so it'll probably wind up as one of those "untold stories." Sigh.

    Michale [14] -

    Well, whether Biden said it or not, a blanket MDDOTW has gone out, for everyone who did say it. Satisfied?

    I'm interested though, would you include the Norweigan guy as a "terrorist" or not? Why or why not?

    Good point about Godwin's Law, I was (blush) too lazy to look it up when writing this. I have to thank you for bringing it up, because it is indeed germane to the debate.

    Liz [16] -

    I don't know who you're quoting, so end the suspense, please! It's a good generic quote, I have to admit!

    :-)

    Michale [various] -

    OK, seriously, cannot you see that EVERY-FRICKIN-BODY is to blame for this train wreck? Hmmph. Just had to say that. The blame game is fine and good, but seriously, even as a Democratic spin-meister, this was an absolute train wreck for EVERYbody.

    LeaningBlue [25] -

    Aha! That was from the actual report? With the "S"?

    I have to complement you on your masterful use of "brinksmanship" -- see, I told you, once you use the tags for a week, they'll become second nature!

    :-)

    BashiBazouk [26] -

    Yes, but was it "brinksmanship" or "brinkmanship"? Inquiring minds want to know. Heh.

    :-)

    LeaningBlue [27] -

    OK, that "T2DU" got a big laugh out of me, just had to pass that along....

    As for [28], I fix these sorts of problems for everybody here, so it's really no big deal.

    [31] -

    See, there you go again with the red pencil. I told you, it's a blue pencil to me.... Heh.

    Michale [35] -

    Oh, I bet Liz will take that bet. Just a hunch, personally....

    LeaningBlue [40] -

    OK, I have to admit, I absolutely loved the line: "Scapegoating is an American tradition, of course...."

    And I have to warn you, you may have made a lifelong friend with this comment of our very own Elizabeth Miller, for this comment. Just a hunch, mind you....

    OMG, as the kids say, I have come to the end of the comments! Woo hoo!

    -CW

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Comments at 0228hrs???? That's about the time I am usually waking up!! :D

    Well, whether Biden said it or not, a blanket MDDOTW has gone out, for everyone who did say it. Satisfied?

    Imminently.. :D

    I'm interested though, would you include the Norweigan guy as a "terrorist" or not? Why or why not?

    It's actually a tougher call than most would realize..

    It DOES meet every criteria of my definition. The "on-going" and "systematic" is a bit of a stretch. But the fact that he had a "manifesto" of sorts and alluded to being part of an organization that promises more attacks would seem to satisfy the ongoing and systematic..

    Good point about Godwin's Law, I was (blush) too lazy to look it up when writing this. I have to thank you for bringing it up, because it is indeed germane to the debate.

    As a veteran of many a USENET Flame War (some of which have become legendary.. :D) I can attest that Godwin is a well known theorem amongst the circles I used to travel in...

    OK, seriously, cannot you see that EVERY-FRICKIN-BODY is to blame for this train wreck? Hmmph. Just had to say that. The blame game is fine and good, but seriously, even as a Democratic spin-meister, this was an absolute train wreck for EVERYbody.

    I completely agree...

    However, some are more responsible than others.

    And some made out worse then others..

    I am not arguing anything but degree... I readily concede that NO ONE is innocent in this, nor did anyone escape unscathed...

    Michale

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    Now, I leave this as a sort of contest for the readers. 100 Quatloos to the first person that can connect "raspberry" with the sound it stands for.

    Just a guess.....

    The sound one makes when someone spits out sour raspberries???

    Michale.

  47. [47] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale,

    Blowing a raspberry comes from the Cockney rhyming slang "raspberry tart," fart.[5] Rhyming slang was particularly used in British comedy to refer to things which would be unacceptable to a polite audience, particularly on the BBC.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blowing_a_raspberry#Etymology

    100 quatloos, pay up ;)

  48. [48] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    CW,

    I am firmly convinced that if Jesus showed up today, about 99.99 percent of those who call themselves "Christians" would turn Him away if He knocked on their doors. "Dirty hippie!" they'd self-righteously proclaim, while shutting their door to Him.

    there's actually a wonderful poem about just such an event. it's called "the second coming," by ken siegmann. some of the pop culture references are a bit old, but the basic meaning remains intact:

    http://www2.cruzio.com/~zerocity/siegman.htm

  49. [49] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    CW = [44]

    YAF = Young Americans For Freedom

    Another busy day, alas.

    MichaleGeithner was part of the problem, yes. But less as an architect of it and more of an engineer of its construction. If you regard that as culpable, again, I won't argue, so long as the architects are also recognized for their role.

  50. [50] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    CW [44] Re the "blue pencil." Please re-read my comment. I did change pencil color reference there, in deference to you. I suppose I should have changed that in practice much earlier, as part of a broader political conversion...

  51. [51] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    On checking the document posted now in the link in akadjian [36] and the pdf I received Friday night, they both, on page 3, use the plural-brink form.

    I'll bet a Quatloo what we're seeing is copyEditor-O-Bots calling out style sheet 'errors', ignoring the origin as an external quote, and the reporters just accepting them in their haste.

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    LB,

    MichaleGeithner was part of the problem, yes. But less as an architect of it and more of an engineer of its construction.

    I'll bow to your superior knowledge in this matter...

    :D

    I won't argue, so long as the architects are also recognized for their role.

    Agreed...

    "Detente is a wonderful thing."
    -Maureen Robinson, LOST IN SPACE

    :D

    Michale.....

  53. [53] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Liz [16] -

    I don't know who you're quoting, so end the suspense, please! It's a good generic quote, I have to admit!

    :-)

    Oh, that was said by none other than Robert Reich, during an interview on PBS Newshour within the last week or so.

    He said this in response to the nonsense being spewed by some member of the "Republican cult of economic failure". Darn near fell off my chair, I have to admit! :)

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Republican cult of economic failure"

    As opposed to the Democrat economic plan which has been such a rousing success???

    Ya'all tend to forget that Democrats have been in control of Congress for almost 6 years...

    What does this country have to show for it besides an obscene amount of debt and a heretofore unheard of downgrade in the US credit rating??

    Michale......

  55. [55] 
    Michale wrote:

    For the record and having to do with nothing at all whatsoever...

    RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is THE best movie of 2011!!!!

    It's a must see....

    For movie aficionados, see how many original "Ape" references you can come up with...

    I'll give you one to get ya started..

    The orangutang that was with Caesar was named "Maurice".... :D

    Seriously.. Ya'all simply HAVE to see this movie..

    It's awesome...

    Michale.....

  56. [56] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's funny to read all the comments here and in other blogs slamming the Tea Party because they refused to compromise..

    Yet these same people slammed Obama BECAUSE he compromised during the CrapCare fiasco... :D

    The Left gets mad at this GOP faction because they refused to compromise..

    Yet it is this VERY aspect that the Left admires and would like to see in their OWN leaders.

    Most of the anger from the Left against the Tea Party is simple jealousy.. The Left wishes that THEIR political representatives would show as much backbone and testicular fortitude...

    Thus ends Amateur Psychology/Political Analysis 101. :D

    Michale.....

  57. [57] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Thus ends Amateur Psychology/Political Analysis 101.

    Is that a promise?

  58. [58] 
    Michale wrote:

    Is that a promise?

    At least for the next couple hours..

    :D

    Michale.....

  59. [59] 
    Michale wrote:

    Is that a promise?

    Or until someone points out how hypocritical I am being because I claim to be in the heads of the Left whilst castigating the idea that dsws can be in the heads of the Tea Party.. :D

    Michale.....

  60. [60] 
    akadjian wrote:

    The Left wishes that THEIR political representatives would show as much backbone and testicular fortitude.

    Idunno. The Tea Party seems pretty cowardly to me. First, they push for default knowing darn well the risk of downgrade. And now that the downgrade happened, they try to blame it on Democrats.

    If they really had testicular fortitude they would own the consequences of their actions.

    But their game has always been to mess things up and then try to blame them on their opponents. Cowards.

    -David

  61. [61] 
    Michale wrote:

    Idunno. The Tea Party seems pretty cowardly to me. First, they push for default knowing darn well the risk of downgrade. And now that the downgrade happened, they try to blame it on Democrats.

    I guess one could look at it that way..

    But, if one chooses that outlook, then it's ALSO fair to say that the Demcorats pushed for higher and higher debt "knowning darn well" it could lead to a default. Now that the downgrade happened, they try to blame it on Republicans and the Tea Party..

    That's the problem with biased political arguments. More often than not, they work both ways. :D

    But the simple fact is, the Tea Party did EXACTLY what the voters elected them to do...

    As I have pointed out (and have the facts to back it up) even progressives have stated they admire that about the TP...

    Michale.....

  62. [62] 
    Michale wrote:

    But regardless of all that, the main point has gone unanswered..

    Why does the Left castigate the Tea Party for *NOT* compromising, but then castigates their OWN leaders *FOR* compromising..

    That seems to be hypocritical, does it not???

    Michale.....

  63. [63] 
    Michale wrote:

    But their game has always been to mess things up and then try to blame them on their opponents. Cowards.

    You mean like Axelrod is blaming the Tea Party and Barney Frank is blaming the military??

    Why doesn't this Administration acknowledge their OWN mistakes and their OWN responsibility in this mess??

    Seems to me that they are as cowardly as you claim the Tea Party is...

    Michale.....

  64. [64] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Michale, forget about the left/right for a second. Let's just go back to your position.

    If I recall correctly, you didn't believe anything bad was going to happen if we didn't raise the debt ceiling.

    You wanted to see it not raised so that our government would be forced to live within its means.

    We argued that this would have a significant impact on our economy.

    It was raised, but not in a timely enough manner to avert all the consequences.

    Now that this has happened, are you willing to take responsibility for your earlier position?

    -David

  65. [65] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Why does the Left castigate the Tea Party for *NOT* compromising, but then castigates their OWN leaders *FOR* compromising.

    The simple answer is: we don't.

    The liberal issue with Obama is not "compromise". Compromise is good. Typically though, Obama has compromised to the point where he gives the GOP almost everything and gets little in return.

    The compromise with John Boehner was about 80/20 in favor of conservatives. Or even more. Why should liberals be happy about that?

    What's amazing is that the Tea Party still wasn't happy with it. They seem to believe that compromise means getting 100% of what they want. Screw the country, it's all about what they want.

  66. [66] 
    Michale wrote:

    If I recall correctly, you didn't believe anything bad was going to happen if we didn't raise the debt ceiling.

    I never said that..

    I said that it was all just politics. And the facts backed that up.

    It's STILL all just politics, as the blame game and the scape-goating clearly shows..

    We argued that this would have a significant impact on our economy.

    And what exactly has that impact been??

    Do we still get up in the morning?? Have breakfast?? Go to work??

    As anything REALLY changed between Friday and today??

    Not a damn thing.. Guess what??

    Things are unlikely to change dramatically next week.. Or next month... Or even next year...

    Now that this has happened, are you willing to take responsibility for your earlier position?

    Abso-frakin'-loutly...

    Are you??

    Are you willing to accept that Democrats pushing things like Porkulus, CrapCare and Bailouts put us in this position??

    That without all the orgasm of spending, we would not be here today??

    Are you willing to accept responsibility for THAT position??

    I am willing to bet you are not. I am willing to bet that you will claim those things did not bring us to this point..

    In other words, Democrats deny ANY responsibility in this mess. The will continue to blame the military of blame the Republicans or blame the Tea Party.

    ANYTHING that will allow them their illusions and keep them from having to look in the mirror and say,

    "Ya know. Maybe *I* am part of the problem. Maybe *MY* actions are responsible in part for this mess"...

    You want to talk about dodging responsibility???

    Democrats have elevated that to an art form..

    The simple answer is: we don't.

    It's like the year long CrapCare fiasco never happened... :^/

    It would be easy to find commentaries slamming Obama and the Democrats for all their compromises.. I don't even have to look further than CW.com to do it, either... All the talk of "Democrats have no spine" and "Obama just compromises everything away"...

    Screw the country, it's all about what they want.

    Which exactly was the Democrats motto when THEY had a complete lock on the Government...

    The problem was, they didn't have the backbone that the Tea Party apparently has.

    As I said, that's the problem with biased political arguments. You can change the names around and it all STILL fits and is all still accurate... :D

    Michale.....

  67. [67] 
    dsws wrote:

    CW [43]

    BIG hint: In England, they enjoy raspberry tarts.

    Hey, what's with posting the answer before giving us a chance? Actually, I think this one was fairly common knowledge anyway.

  68. [68] 
    akadjian wrote:

    The idea that the country will end on Aug 3rd is just so much fear-mongering... I thought ya'all were against fear-mongering???

    The idea that this country will default and can't pay the bills if Democrats don't get their way is complete and utter felgercarb. It's nothing but fear-mongering on a gross and perverse scale.....

    Sheesh ... makin' me have to go look up your previous posts. Look at the mess in the stock market today and we didn't even default. Imagine if we'd of defaulted.

    It would be easy to find commentaries slamming Obama and the Democrats for all their compromises

    If its so easy, find me one article that is critical of Democrats for JUST compromising. Its easy to find ones that critique Obama for going too far and giving away too much as I mentioned. But I bet you can't find one that says Obama should not compromise.

    1 post. 100 quatloos.

    And what exactly has that impact been?

    Well ... anyone who has a 401k or owns stocks has about 10% less today.

    And its just getting started. Wait until its harder for companies to borrow money.

    Abso-frakin'-loutly.

    So your idea of owning things is to turn around and blame Democrats? Cuz that's sure what it looks like ....

    When was the last time you wrote a post in which you didn't badmouth Democrats or the left?

    In fact, I'm not sure what you'd say if you weren't sounding off on Democrats or "the hysterical LEFT"
    :)

    -David

  69. [69] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    Did the country default??

    No it hasn't..

    The fact that (as you say) the country is STILL frak'ed simply proves the Democrats either liars or incompetent...

    Or both...

    And its just getting started. Wait until its harder for companies to borrow money.

    So, why have Democrats let things get this bad??

    Democrats have had Congress for 6 years now.. They had a LOCK on all government for 2 years...

    And all they did was make things worse. As you yourself admit..

    Or, is it your contention that it's all the Republicans fault??

    If its so easy, find me one article that is critical of Democrats for JUST compromising. Its easy to find ones that critique Obama for going too far and giving away too much as I mentioned. But I bet you can't find one that says Obama should not compromise.

    So, are you trying to tell me that not one Democrat said that Obama should stand firm on Single Payer and not compromise it away..

    Is THAT your claim?? I just want to make sure you are saying what I think you are saying..

    When was the last time you wrote a post in which you didn't badmouth Democrats or the left?

    Couple days ago when I slammed the GOP for not putting bills out on the NET for three days before voting on them.

    Besides, bad-mouthing the Right is YA'ALLs job, not mine.. :D

    I am simply around to point out that there really is no difference between Democrats and Republicans..

    As the facts clearly show..

    Michale.....

  70. [70] 
    Michale wrote:

    If its so easy, find me one article that is critical of Democrats for JUST compromising.

    Remember when the Left went ballistic when it was leaked that Obama was willing to compromise by putting Medicare and Social Security on the bargaining table??

    You sure you want to stand by the claim that Democrats NEVER encourage a no-compromise stance??

    Michale....

  71. [71] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    "Chopper crash shows risks for special ops forces"

    A Washington Post headline. I'm sorry, but this just shows, to me, how idiotic the "news" commentary has become.

    Risk for special ops? Ya think? These men (and women? I don't know for sure) chose to perform their duty to country in the highest risk units of the highest risk profession, and then are accepted only if they are personally of the highest qualifications. Whether you agree or disagree with the assignments they are given, they are the best we have.

    To say this tragic event shows it's risky just rubs me as about as stupid a statement as I've ever heard. In Viet Nam, there were units knows as "wild weasels." Their job was to fly over the North to try to get the anti-aircraft missiles to shoot at them. Then, while they tried to get away, the electronic lock they took on the radars was radioed to attack aircraft which then took out the radar.

    Sometimes, in fact quite often, the decoy didn't get away. I can just see, if that were today, some tassel-loafer wearing Post reporter concluding how that showed how risky that activity was.

    Sorry for the rant.

  72. [72] 
    Michale wrote:

    LB,

    I gotta agree with you on that..

    Media at it's worst...

    These men (and women? I don't know for sure)

    While women are not eligible to serve in special ops units, they are eligible to serve in support roles. And they are quite capable in those roles and serve with honor and distinction.

    It's being reported that a unit medic, an EOD (bomb disposal) and support personnel died in the shoot down of that helicopter. Although not the case in this particular downing, women could well have been in those positions.

    Especially when one considers this was a rescue mission to support pin-downed Rangers..

    Michale.....

  73. [73] 
    akadjian wrote:

    So, are you trying to tell me that not one Democrat said that Obama should stand firm on Single Payer and not compromise it away.

    Ok, point to you. Sure, single payer would have been better.

    But I would have been happy with the original compromise: the public option.

    As it is, I believe Obama gave in too much.

    What we're not happy with is capitulation. There's a big difference between compromise and capitulation. Compromise is 50-50%.

    Or, is it your contention that it's all the Republicans fault?

    You're the only one talking about Republicans and Democrats. I'm talking about the consequences of the late debt ceiling agreement.

    -David

  74. [74] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ohhh goodie!!!!

    We have a new -geddon / -calypse thingy...

    BARACKALYPSE NOW

    How kewl is that!?? :D

    Michale.....

  75. [75] 
    Michale wrote:

    What we're not happy with is capitulation.

    Unless, of course, it comes from the Tea Party. :D

    That's kind of my point..

    Democrats want capitulation from the Tea Party, but they call it "compromise"..

    What Democrats (present company included) don't seem to get is that, for the Tea Party that was elected for a SPECIFIC purpose, compromise *IS* capitulation..

    At least, what Democrats call "compromise"...

    What part of NO TAXES do Democrats NOT understand???

    Michale.....

  76. [76] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    Just one point.

    Democrats have had Congress for 6 years now.. They had a LOCK on all government for 2 years...

    The Democrats had Congress for 4 years. Since the beginning of this year (4 years after the 2006 elected class took their seats), the House has been Republican.

    The Democrats had a lock on the Senate for around 7-8 months, not two years. They had 59 seats while the Al Franken election was in the courts, and then they dropped back down to 59 when Scott Brown got Teddy Kennedy's old seat.

    I mean, I know the point you're trying to make, but you should be more accurate in making it.

    -CW

  77. [77] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Fair enough... The details may be rounded, but the point is still valid.

    Can anyone *HONESTLY* and truly say that things are better today than they were 6 years ago??

    No.. It's simply NOT possible to make that claim...

    Democrats go on an on about how they are the better choice to run the country..

    When Independents and NPAs (like me) give them the chance, what do they do??

    Spend money we don't have ("We can just print more money!!!") and oversee the downgrade of the US Credit Rating...

    Honestly, how Democrat Candidates can say with a straight face, "We're the better choice in 2012" is simply beyond me...

    Democrats were given the chance.

    They blew it..

    For me, it's really that simple....

    Give me greedy sniveling assholes and cowards over greedy sniveling assholes and cowards who CLAIM they are pure as the driven snow any day of the week and twice on Sunday...

    Michale.....

  78. [78] 
    akadjian wrote:

    What part of NO TAXES do Democrats NOT understand?

    Exactly my point. One side will not even talk unless the terms are already decided in their favor.

    That's not compromise.

    It's as if the 2 of us sat down to play checkers and you insisted you had to have twice as many pieces to start.

    If we truly want to solve our economic problems, we have to be flexible and everything has to be on the table. You can't start negotiations by saying, "Well, we'll negotiate with you. But only on what we want."

    If anyone offered you those terms, you'd tell them where to go - I know you. And I respect that about you. I'd do the same.

    Yet Republicans seem to think a pledge to Grover Norquist is more important than the welfare of the country or our Constitution.

    Think about it like this, what if Democrats all pledged allegiance to George Soros?

    -David

    p.s. BTW, once again, no Tea Party candidates I know got elected by talking about taxes. They got elected on JOBS. In fact, my reps slogan was "JOBS, JOBS, JOBS". Then they pulled the bait and switch once in office.

    Kind of like what both of us don't like about Obama. he promised "change," he delivered very little.

  79. [79] 
    akadjian wrote:

    To be fair, there's many things I believe Obama could have done better when it comes to the economy. I think Drew Westen has one of the best editorials I've seen recently:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/opinion/sunday/what-happened-to-obamas-passion.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general

    It's a lot of what folks here have been arguing for quite some time- basically that Obama never laid out his economic vision. Joseph Stiglitz covers some of the same themes in his book "Freefall" (another excellent summer read if anyone is looking for something).

  80. [80] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    I, in [4], wrote:
    "it is quite certain that the Full Rage and Fury of [...] at least two of three branches of government will descend upon S&P."

    Now, from Reuters:
    WASHINGTON | Mon Aug 8, 2011 5:04pm EDT

    (Reuters) - The Senate Banking committee has begun probing last week's decision by Standard and Poor's to downgrade the U.S. credit rating, a committee aide told Reuters on Monday.

    Uh, huh. I wonder what the kid who yelled out the true state of the Emperor's clothes got.

    The heights of vindictive hubris. Disgusting. And that's not what I really feel about them.

  81. [81] 
    akadjian wrote:

    The Senate Banking committee has begun probing last week's decision by Standard and Poor's to downgrade the U.S. credit rating, a committee aide told Reuters on Monday.

    Yech. Talk about shooting the messenger ...

    *dislike*

  82. [82] 
    Michale wrote:

    Exactly my point. One side will not even talk unless the terms are already decided in their favor.

    That's not compromise.

    Maybe not...

    But it's what the Tea Party was elected to office for..

    What's the real beef here??

    That the Tea Party wouldn't compromise??

    Or that the voters actually got what the wanted??

    If we truly want to solve our economic problems, we have to be flexible and everything has to be on the table. You can't start negotiations by saying, "Well, we'll negotiate with you. But only on what we want."

    You mean like Democrats started out with CrapCare??

    Regardless of that.....

    Let me see if I can explain it to you...

    The Tea Party politicians that were elected were given an explicit and obvious mandate by the voters..

    STOP THE SPENDING...

    STOP THE TAXES...

    So, if you have a problem with the Tea Party and their lack of compromise, then your problem is NOT with the Tea Party...

    Your problem is with the voters that elected the Tea Party...

    Take your case to THEM and tell all those voters how wrong they are...

    It might win Democrats points in 2012... :D

    Yet Republicans seem to think a pledge to Grover Norquist is more important than the welfare of the country or our Constitution.

    The "pledge" is not with Norquist... The pledge is with the voters who voted the Tea Party into office..

    You can ignore that point all you want, but that doesn't invalidate the point..

    p.s. BTW, once again, no Tea Party candidates I know got elected by talking about taxes. They got elected on JOBS. In fact, my reps slogan was "JOBS, JOBS, JOBS".

    Ahem...

    TEA Party...

    Taxed Enough Already Party....

    It's not called the JOBS Party for a reason...

    The ENTIRE movement is based on the TAXes issue, NOT the JOBS issue....

    It's a lot of what folks here have been arguing for quite some time- basically that Obama never laid out his economic vision. Joseph Stiglitz covers some of the same themes in his book "Freefall" (another excellent summer read if anyone is looking for something).

    On this we agree...

    We never saw Obama's plan... He leaked this and trial ballon'ed that... But he never laid out his plan...

    Why do you think that is???

    LB,

    The heights of vindictive hubris. Disgusting. And that's not what I really feel about them.

    “Pres Obama, show some guts & arrest the CEO of Standard & Poors.”
    -Michael Moore, The Quintessential Progressive

    Michale.....

  83. [83] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Oh, and speaking of S&P, I forgot this. The S&P 500 index today closed down 6.66%. It's still well off its low of 666 reached on 3/6/09, though. I wonder if that might mean anything to evangelicals invested in the market? Seriously.

    Michale, Re Michael Moore. That's a little ironic, don't you think, coming from someone who prides himself (prides himself a lot, I'd guess) in exposing "uncomfortable truths" and embarrassing hypocrisy?

  84. [84] 
    Michale wrote:

    The most powerful man on Earth?
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-most-powerful-man-on-earth/2011/08/08/gIQA49w72I_print.html

    Good read...

    Asks some good questions..

    Too bad this Jimmy Carter 2.0 Administration has nothing in the way of answers..

    Michale.....

  85. [85] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    Then they pulled the bait and switch once in office.

    So, yer pissed that the Tea Party pulled a "bait and switch" are ya??

    What about the ULTIMATE bait and switcher, Mr "Hope And Change" himself??

    President Obama pulled the ultimate con on the American people...

    And you seem to have no problem giving him a pass over it.

    Michale....

  86. [86] 
    Michale wrote:

    LB,

    Question for ya..

    I read a news report (can't find it now) that said that, had the Senate passed the Cut/Cap/Balance legislation and had Obama signed it, that would have prevented the downgrade in the US credit rating..

    Now, ignoring whether or not you think the legislation would be good for the country, would you agree with that assessment??

    That passing the CCB bill would have prevented the downgrade??

    Michale.....

  87. [87] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Though it's a bit belated, kudos on your call for Giffords as MIDOTW award.. As far as I am concerned, Giffords wins the Most Impressive American Of The Week award..

    Good call....

    Michale.....

  88. [88] 
    Michale wrote:

    A good point was made this morning on RCP....

    What do you think our credit rating would be right now if Democrats had gotten THEIR way and just raised the Debt Ceiling without any accompanying fiscal discipline imposed??

    Food for thought, eh??

    Michale.....

  89. [89] 
    akadjian wrote:

    But it's what the Tea Party was elected to office for.

    Well, then when the public gets angry because the economy doesn't recover, this is where fault should lie- with the Tea Party and those that elected them.

    Because lowering taxes does not increase demand and will not improve the economy.

    What about the ULTIMATE bait and switcher, Mr "Hope And Change" himself?

    I believe you missed that comment ... Kind of like what both of us don't like about Obama. he promised "change," he delivered very little.

    What do you think our credit rating would be right now if Democrats had gotten THEIR way and just raised the Debt Ceiling without any accompanying fiscal discipline imposed?

    It wouldn't have changed at all. The money was already spent. The market already knew that the debt ceiling was going to be increased just as it had been many, many times before. And it would have shown that our country was still functional. Not dysfunctional.

  90. [90] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, then when the public gets angry because the economy doesn't recover, this is where fault should lie- with the Tea Party and those that elected them.

    Because lowering taxes does not increase demand and will not improve the economy.

    IF the economy doesn't recover and IF the demand is not increased, then I will agree with you..

    But we're not at the point where that conclusion can made yet...

    Democrats had 4+ years to frak things up...

    Republicans are going to need a little more than 8 months to fix it..

    Yea, I know.. That was the Democrats argument AGAINST the GOP..

    I told you. Political Arguments work both ways.. :D

    But you do raise an interesting point.. Are the people responsible for the government they freely elect??

    This is an important argument when one talks about the Palestinian issue and their allegiance to Hamas...

    In THAT argument I say YES, so I would have to say YES to YOUR argument as well...

    If it turns out that the Tea Party royally fraks this country up, even worse than Democrats have (which I can't see HOW that would be possible) then Yes.. It's the voter's fault...

    Just like it's the voter's fault (myself included) for being con'ed by Obama with his Hope And Change felgercarb...

    I believe you missed that comment ... Kind of like what both of us don't like about Obama. he promised "change," he delivered very little.

    Touche... I DID miss that...

    I withdraw the point.. :D

    It wouldn't have changed at all.

    Really???

    Let me give you an analogy..

    Say I am a bank and you are a business.. You come to me because you need your credit limit raised...

    You have managed your business horribly, run it into the ground, produced very little in revenue and now you need more money to pay the previous debts..

    You further state that you have no intention of changing the way you do business. You are happy with the way things are and you see no reason to change.

    In short, you want to run up a BIGGER debt to pay off the previous debt whilst completely oblivious to the fact that you simply are sending good money after bad..

    Now, because your my boss's son, it's a forgone conclusion that I am going to have to raise your credit limit.

    But there is a credit rating agency who has warned you that your business credit rating is on the line. That HOW you do your business will affect your credit rating...

    Now, given all of the afore, is it not logical that your credit rating is going to suffer a LOT more because you will not change how you do business??

    Isn't it logical to conclude that utterly crappy way you do business is a big part of WHY you are in the mess you are in..

    Therefore, the ONLY logical conclusion is that, if you choose to continue to do business in the same way that your credit rating will reflect ANOTHER bad business choice..

    All a logical sequence and progression of events, no??

    Now, we apply that to the US...

    Do you honestly believe that S&P or MOODYS or whoever would have given the SAME rating to a country who would blatantly just raise the Debt Limit and then continue on this completely and utterly destructive path??? I mean, that's like a government saying, "We can't pay our debts?? We'll just print more money!!"

    That's how a third-world despot dictator regime does business.

    NOT the United States Of America...

    Again, I am not the economic greats that ya'all are...

    But I do know a thing or two about common sense.

    And it's simply NOT logical that our credit rating would have been able to be salvaged if the US just raised the Debt Limit and then continued on with the same destructive tendencies.

    Michale.....

  91. [91] 
    Michale wrote:

    Tea Party members are calling for an end to August recess and for Congress to get to work fixing this mess...

    http://bluepurplered.com/2011/08/09/pressure-mounts-in-house-to-end-august-recess/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pressure-mounts-in-house-to-end-august-recess

    Strange how it is those "evil" Tea Party'ers, those "terrorists", those people that are out to destroy this country...

    It's strange how it's THOSE people who are the ones making the case for Congress to get back to work, eh?? :D

    Michale.....

  92. [92] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Michale [86] -

    I read a news report (can't find it now) that said that, had the Senate passed the Cut/Cap/Balance legislation and had Obama signed it, that would have prevented the downgrade in the US credit rating..

    That's an interesting speculation. I can't answer it, though of course I can and will speculate below. The root reason I can't answer it is I didn't pay any attention to CCB because it carried the BBA, which doomed it with certainty.

    But in speculation, and in light of S&P stated and implied criteria, the thing would have worked positively is the BBA itself. If I understand what such would look like, it would say that all debt issuance would simply become refunding of existing debt, or "tax anticipation" short term funding.

    That would freeze the numerator of the all-important "debt burden" - to - "GDP" ratio.

    Thus the issue would center on the denominator: the effect on the economy of CCB. That's where it would get dicey. The question would distill down to that effect in medium term, since that was always S&P's time frame: 3 to 7 years. Would the C&C lock the brakes of the economy? Would it cause recession or even boom/bust cycles? Would it increase income disparity?

    Those are not social questions in this context: they have to do with revenue.

    In imperfect (although in CCB, more apt than usual) analogy: absent credit cards or home equity loans, what happens to a family if one or both breadwinners have hours cut back or are laid off? Thus, the question is what would the required expenditure cuts do to tax revenues, both from businesses and households?

    If reduced revenue would require even further cuts in spending, would that induce a cycle that increased the volatility of the economy?

    The point is, "cap" and "balance" would have unintended consequences to the economy, the form of which would be, in spite of what economists would postulate, impossible to predict.

    How S&P came down on that reality would be anyone's guess. Moreover, it would probably have forced them into showing a "political" hand. (Which they did not do here, BTW).

    I don't know that they would have done.

  93. [93] 
    Michale wrote:

    WOW...

    The phrase "be careful what you ask for" comes to mind. :D

    That was a helluva analysis, LB.. Made even better by the fact that I actually understood most... OK OK.... some of it.. :D

    If I DO understand it correctly you seem to be saying that, *IF* the goal was solely restricted to maintaining the credit rating, then the CCB would have likely done that..

    Again, ignoring all other factors and concentrating solely on preserving the credit rating, then the CCB would have (likely) been the way to go..

    Is that an accurate interpretation of your comment??

    Michale.....

  94. [94] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [90] -

    Ooo! Can I play?

    I'm the bank, and you're the business.

    Well, let's see here, it says that you spend half of your disposable income on guns and bullets. You have multiple times the guns and bullets of any of your neighbors, but you keep on insisting that you need more and more of them. You can't pay for them, and haven't been able to for a long time. In fact, the loan you are asking for is going mostly to pay for using the guns and bullets down at your favorite shooting ranges, Iraq and Afghanistan. Your budget far into the future shows that you plan on buying more guns and bullets than THE ENTIRE REST OF THE WORLD COMBINED, each and every year. While borrowing 40 percent of all the money you spend. Your business proposal also includes the bizarre concept that if you reduce your company's income, somehow you're going to get more money.

    Rather than a loan specialist, shouldn't you be consulting a mental health expert? I'm just sayin'...

    Heh. These reductio ad absurdum arguments sure are fun, aren't they?

    :-)

    -CW

  95. [95] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [91] -

    Good for the Tea Partiers! No, I'm serious. Obama missed an opportunity in yesterday's speech to call Congress back into session (which he has the power to do). I thought it was a serious missed opportunity, and I still think he should do it. If the Tea Partiers agree, well, the more the merrier, in this particular instance...

    -CW

  96. [96] 
    Michale wrote:

    Rather than a loan specialist, shouldn't you be consulting a mental health expert? I'm just sayin'...

    Touche'

    But there's a big difference in your scenario versus mine..

    With mine, we're talking economics...

    With yours, we're talking national security...

    And national security ALWAYS trumps economics, every time and twice on Sunday...

    Which is not to say that there can't be some slimming down at the Pentagon.. Fraud and waste management SHOULD be top priority, in EVERY government agency..

    Unfortunately, Democrats seem to think that the ONLY solution to EVERYTHING is simply to throw more money at it..

    "What do we care!! We can always tax people more!!"
    -Democrats

    Good for the Tea Partiers! No, I'm serious. Obama missed an opportunity in yesterday's speech to call Congress back into session (which he has the power to do). I thought it was a serious missed opportunity, and I still think he should do it. If the Tea Partiers agree, well, the more the merrier, in this particular instance...

    That's why I like it here... Most on the Left would rather cut out their tongues rather than give ANY credit to the Tea Party....

    Obama should take a lesson from Cameron... London is burning and Cameron ain't fiddling.... He called Parliament and said, "Get yer asses back here and get to work!!"

    Michale.....

  97. [97] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    National security is economics -- that's my main point. It doesn't exist in some world where the bills don't have to get paid. The Pentagon's budget is more than double what it was before 9/11. This is unsustainable, or in the Right's terms, a "massive government spending spree."

    -CW

  98. [98] 
    Michale wrote:

    As I said, I agree that the Defense budget needs to be overhauled..

    Let me put it this way...

    If it's a choice between cutting Medicare and/or SSN and cutting BADLY NEEDED Defense spending.... Which should go on the chopping block first??

    Michale.....

  99. [99] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Again, ignoring all other factors and concentrating solely on preserving the credit rating, then the CCB would have (likely) been the way to go..

    No, Michale, I didn't get that far before I started to weasel. Think of it this way (and as a summary of my post):

    Debt ratings use what's termed "coverage" ratios; i.e., how many times over does forecast available cash exceed the requirements for servicing the debt? In sovereign ratings, the ratio is DEBT to GDP (presumably, a government can claim any amount of the GDP it wants/needs ;)

    So:

    (a) if a BBA were to say you can't ever spend any more than you take in, you'll never again need any more debt. So the numerator of the ratio will never go up.

    (b) now it depends on what "cap" implies. If it caps expenditure to revenues, one very important component of the economy -government spending- will depend on the health of the economy, both taxable business profits and taxable income.

    Could that dependency induce "feedback" loops? As in, cutting spending -> lower revenues -> cutting spending? Arguably, it could.

    So a rating analyst, working on the coverage ratio, would have to worry about that in the ratio since those loops could cause serious disruptions that might take years to work through.

  100. [100] 
    Michale wrote:

    if a BBA were to say you can't ever spend any more than you take in, you'll never again need any more debt.

    And that would be a GOOD thing, right???

    As to the rest, that is WAY above my pay grade.. But I trust what you say.. :D

    Michale.....

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