Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Thursday, October 20, 2016


While the American economy has been chugging along through most of 2013 in a recovery that has been great for investors and painful for workers, the House GOP has been plotting.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) convinced a cabal of powerful Republicans — which calls itself “the Jedi Council” — in February that battling over the debt limit right after the president was re-elected would be “suicide.” Instead, they would leave the sequester’s automatic cuts in place. In exchange for their patience, Ryan would introduce a new version of his already draconian budget that balances within 10 years while gutting Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare, though the taxes that pay for them are all left in place. Then Republicans would prepare themselves to fight for Ryan’s cuts at the end of summer.

That fight is set to begin in September.

According to The National Review‘s Jonathan Strong, “…leadership will follow the original plan to force a debt-ceiling brawl.” Republicans recognize the incredibly shrinking budget deficit will make battles over the so-called debt limit far less frequent. So they’re more determined than ever to put the budget on a “path to balance” before the debt limit is hit in mid-October. To do this, they’re willing to cut anything — except, of course, tax breaks for the rich and corporations. By promising this, the House leadership hopes to get their caucus to keep the government funded after September 30 without a standoff they know they can’t win over Obamacare.

The problem for the GOP is the president has vowed not to negotiate over the debt ceiling and is unwilling to consider any large budget deal that does not include new revenues.

The problem for the president and America is that he has negotiated before over the debt limit in 2011, when the GOP threatened his re-election with a financial meltdown and a default on the U.S.’s debt. And if Republicans get the sense they’ve been tricked, it may become impossible for Boehner to present any debt limit deal that wouldn’t cost him his job.

Even toying with the debt limit in the aftermath of a financial crisis has costs. So as Republicans prepare to do exactly that, here’s five things to expect if this trillion-dollar game of chicken goes terribly wrong.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Lynda Groom

    I’m all for the fifth one, but it appears to me that the meltdown of the GOP will happen no matter the results of the debt ceiling discussion.

    • Sand_Cat

      We all hope you’re right, but don’t count on it: Einstein said that only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and that he wasn’t sure about the universe.

  • disqus_LcxpBv2uzz

    If the republicans try to pull this bullshit again, Obama should totally ignore any debt ceiling timeline and simply continue paying the country’s obligations ( the expenditures have already been approved by congress; now the bills are due) under the authority granted by the 14th Amendment. The debt ceiling is an artificial construct.

  • charleo1

    I think maybe they are really going to need to do this. They keep coming back to
    this, again and again. No one has seen fit to disarm them. They seem to be working themselves into this lathered up state where finally, they get up the nerve to pull the trigger. To create a crisis. And, then run the American economy right off a cliff.
    I keep getting this image of this wreck of a guy, sitting in this luxurious 5 star hotel room, in New York, City, drunk, and contemplating suicide. Why? Because he’s this narcissistic, lout, that has had advantages, and the kind of wealth most people can only dream of, handed to him on a silver platter. But he’s angry, because he feels as if people are taking advantage of him. And, he’s come to the conclusion, that offing himself would make the perfect statement. Then, all the shiftless, and ungrateful moochers that are feeding off his magnanimous disposition, will sure be sorry they killed this Golden Goose! So, he takes another drink, and plays with the pistol some more. He also believes he’s dead broke, in spite of what his accountants tell him. HIs bones picked clean, he’s sure of it, by all the hangers on. They need a living wage! They need health insurance! Their kids want to go to college! It never ends! These pathetic little urchins! If I do this, and it all comes tumbling down around
    their greedy ears, that would be justice! Of course, he’s sat here before, fingering his pistol. And one of these days, maybe this October, November, these T-Party nut jobs may just pull the trigger, if they keep playing with the gun.

    • sigrid28

      What a fine literary characterization. We can all just see this guy–I think he is one of these wealthy benefactors of the GOP. But I think he is probably not ALL of them. The super rich may be insulated by their wealth, and they may know it–but they love their riches more than life itself and will not be parted from them. I might be bored by ultimate wealth, like fill-in-the-blank, or made uneasy by it, like Bill Gates. But not the majority of those who feel their are wealthy because they deserve to be. Their sense of entitlement is unshakable. If enough of their paid elected officials threaten this glowing concept they thrive on, and they will put a stop to it. Toppling the stock market that magically inflates their treasure, undermining the banks (many of which they own), and inflating the debt market, which is the rich guy’s playground, hits the super wealthy more than the rest of society. Unlike this poor guy in the hotel room, they KNOW this chapter and verse, or they would not have gone to the trouble of making putting elections themselves on the auction block.

      • disqus_LcxpBv2uzz

        Sigrid, your post (and Charleo’s above) are among the reasons I enjoy the NM. Literate, well-reasoned and thought out, analytical and objective, and intelligent. Not a speck of bombast in sight (well, hardly any!) and realistic. Keep on keepin’ on!

        • sigrid28

          Thanks, disqus, and the same goes for you. Our conversations provide a kind of hope for those of us who feel helpless in the present economy, a feeling you bring alive in your posts below. Our votes may count for less nowadays, but I hope that what we say to each other–and to any leaders reading the National Memo–can have an impact, however limited. Like you, I forgive a certain amount of bombast, because it allows writers to vent enormous feelings and ideas in print. If we were sitting in a huge booth together in a diner having coffee, it would be like letting one or another of us, now and then, pound the table with our fist, sending the cups and saucers flying. A good excuse to order up seconds and thirds all round.

    • [email protected]

      Really, it seems as if those who have the most seem to complain the most. I guess our system which is based upon consumerism and militarism beats the drums of unfulfilled needs and domination over others does create a feeling of inadequacies within our populations.

      • charleo1

        Well said. I think you’re right. Those that have the most,
        are complaining the loudest.

  • Jack Ragan

    Don’t know if it is legally possible, but if they let this happen, make su
    re their compensation is shrunken to a level with most of us that will lose from the action

    • Barbara Morgan

      It isn’t legally possible the way the Constitution is written and that is why we the voters don’t get to vote on their raises because of the Constitution. That needs to be changed by a Constitutional amendment and so does the perks that they vote for themselves and the rules that make that goes against the Constitution like there having to be a super majority instead of a majority for a bill to pass. Remember how 48 votes beat 52 votes in the background check law.

  • tax payer

    The checks will come later, so it’s like a savings to most of us. Isn’t this what happens on a yearly basis and they end up coming up with a Compromise?

    • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

      Yea and those who rely on those checks to pay the rent, mortgage, utilities, medicine, food – don’t worry you I am sure your landlord will understand and your bank will be understanding. Who needs electric or water. Perhaps your doctors can give you samples and you will clean out the cabinets. Just think you will have a savings account – if your lack of medication didn’t kill you.

      • tax payer

        Social Security was never intended to support us for life because we have to make sure we worked at jobs that had Pensions and people have to set aside a certain amount every time they get their check or Social Security benefits. I set aside some money every month, so we can make it, if something negative happens because of the Government not knowing how to Budget our tax money. The Bank understands since they have some of my money to lend to others, so yes they understand .

        • Sean Maddox

          Not our government Tax Payer. Conservatives don’t know how to run a basic budget. They have ran up over 13 trillion of our debt in the last three decades, and they have yet to propose a sound budget in god knows how long. Sorry, there is only one party who has been the financial mess for America, and it hasn’t been democrats.

        • Barbara Morgan

          tax payer, I am sure now that you are a paid poster. There has never been a time when all work places had pensions and there are many people that are on SS that never worked at a job that had a pension or whose pension money isn’t much thanks to the money lost when wall street failed. Nor do all people that draw SS draw enough to set aside any money out of it each month. If you are a Senior as you claim you must draw more than most seniors do, there are seniors that draw as little as $400.00 a month, tell me how they are going to sit aside anything ? You are as phony as a 3 dollar bill.

          • tax payer

            Thank you for the compliment that I get paid, but no I am just like you. I post, when I read something and why is that so wrong? I know people that get $400.00 a month, but it’s someone that draws SS because they use their husbands credit and I think they get about 45% of the husband’s SS. When I was working I used to tell the young teens work for a Company that has a Pension for the employees, so I think I gave them good advice. Those that draw what you say may draw it because they didn’t have enough years working under SS, so SS takes their highest 35 years and divides and that’s how they come up with your share. I don’t know the correct formula, but I can always Google it.

  • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

    So Boehner’s deal for the debt ceiling is to cut “Mandatory” government spending which is Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and government pensions. I do not see one word of stopping the Corporate Welfare – same old story rob the poor and give to the wealthy.

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    A complete meltdown of the Republican Party – from your lips to God’s ears.

  • sambolina

    You know, this really isn’t a joke, people. We are on the brink and slipping nearer the abyss. These folks really ARE crazy – certifiably so. The observation made by some on this site, i.e. if the crackpots in the Republican Party actually go forward with their ludicrous threat, the President not only can, but MUST ignore them and pay the country’s bills as required under the aegis of the 14th Amendment, Sections 3 and 4.

    • sigrid28

      I hope the president will pay the country’s debts, as you say, under the aegis of the 14th Amendment if the worst happens. Like his opponents, he too has wealthy benefactors and a public who will back him if he does.

      I just cannot believe that the benefactors on whom these Republican crazies depend ENTIRELY for re-election–those who donate to the GOP’s political campaigns–will allow the same elected officials, whom they paid to put in office, to undermine the very financial institutions on which the super wealthy depend to remain remain super rich and to enjoy their wealth.

      • disqus_LcxpBv2uzz

        The astounding thing to me is that many of the rank and file voters in the red states who elect the increasingly unhinged Tpots to congress are the very people who need so-called “entitlements” the most. When their elected representatives shut down the government under the guise of reducing the deficit, and they no longer receive Medicaid or Medicare or their social security checks or food or fuel assistance, will they realize the cause of their self-inflicted privation? I think not; they will spout the hateful rhetoric their lunatic politicians hand them and blame the president. Read “Deer Hunting With Jesus” by Joe Bageant to better understand this strange phenomenon.

        • sigrid28

          The willingness to act against one’s own self-interest is, oddly, also an important component of altruism. We see it as well in the biological imperative at work when a mother fights like Brave Heart to protect her young. I wonder if the few Red state voters who recognize how the Republican platform threatens their well-being associate bravery with white supremacy, a last ditch effort to preserve their race? Also possible, in my view, is the fact that racism of this kind is passed down from generation to generation. Perhaps “Deer Hunting With Jesus” will bear this out. Another perspective on white supremacy and the difficulty of overcoming its siren call wherever it can be heard is a superb film on the subject, entitled “American History X” (1998).

          Within the next two months, our best hope is that the current batch of Republicans, whom these low information voters have put in office, will act instead on behalf of their BENEFACTORS and give in before they crash the economy. They know perfectly well on which side their bread is buttered.

  • bcarreiro

    cut the salaries and cap them for members of congress to 100,000 a year for 5 years no less now that should be in the equation……..any questions members, try that shit on the train.

    • Barbara Morgan

      We can’t, the Constitution says that their salary can’t be cut and it can’t be capped because only Congress can do anything about their salary and they will receive all monies that they cut from the salaries voluntary after this sequester is over with. The only way to change that is through a Constitutional amendment which we need to get on the ballot and passed.

  • Pamby50

    There are times when I just want to say, shut the government down. They have been bragging about doing this all summer long. A few republicans have tried to explain that it would not be a good idea. They just don’t care. They see it through a narrow prism that can only help them. When all the government does stops, people will finally wake up. It will be to little to late. I could make a list but it would be to long. Here’s the one that most people don’t think of, even the republicans. All the air traffic controllers are federal employees. No paycheck no work. The spiral begins. So ultimately I hope the president does us all a favor and sites the 14th ammendment and pays our bills. That will just wake up the crazies more and the impeachment ferver will ramp up.

    • Sean Maddox

      I think they’re going for impeachment hearings myself, as a means to drive voters to the polls in 2014. They will force Obama to either let the world economy implode or force him to raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval, giving them grounds to finally try to impeach him and fulfill their rhetoric of him being a dictator; I notice the irony in the situation myself, but most conservative voters probably wouldn’t. They do this around every midterm election. Last time is was the evil that was the ACA coming to steal your healthcare and give it to some illegal, who just walked across the border. This time it is going to be the debt ceiling; They are the last line between unmitigated, communist control of our country or a “free America,” which from what I can tell means a scary mixture of an oligarchy and theocracy where moral behaviors are dictated to everyone but the most wealthy and connected among us..

  • howa4x

    I truly believe the republicans think they can make Obama blink. Their backers are the banks, wall st, and the bond market. If they cause some real calamity in those areas of the economy they risk being shown the door the next time they go to them to fund their campaigns. Millionaires don’t like to loose money on foolish endeavors, plus all the government vendors will be pounding on the door of the capitol demanding to be paid. These include all the defense contractors as well as thousands of smaller business. Those republicans with a high concentration of defense contractors in their districts better start worrying if Obama takes them to the Mat and refuses to blink.
    As for cutting social security, and Medicare they better think 2x about this. Already seniors are becoming increasingly wary about the republican obsession on cutting these two popular programs. They already see the tea party as too extreme. If seniors bolt the republican party en masse, who do they have left? They already lost Latinos, minorities, gays, women and most of the young and also most of the independents.
    If I were Obama I would make them shut the government or pay the bills and let them have only those 2 choices.

  • toptwome

    For a long time the GOP has been the anti-American Taliban against the President, against all Americans, whether they have the sense to know it or not, and their behavior has been treasonous. I have nothing but contempt and hate for the idiots who want to keep voting for treasonous republicans who don’t care about the middle class and the poor and they never will. This is not a game. This is our country that we can’t allow the GOP to ruin any further than they did when Bush was in office.

  • jimjf

    Honest graphs please. “The Disappearing Deficit” graph, if it is talking about disappearing should start at zero dollars, not three hundred billion dollars.

    • Sean Maddox

      Why is this? The Debt started at 1.3 trillion when he took office, so why should he be handicapped by the mess Bush and company left him. I think, considering what he was left with, he has done a good job overall, especially with the constant purposeful obstruction from the crazies in the Tea Party.

  • docb

    All are true and more but the meltdown is now happening to the repub baggers now!

  • diverdown48

    So the constitution says not in exact words that the US governments ability to pay its bills will not be questioned. Bill Clinton told Obama the last time a shutdown was about to occur to order the treasury to pay the bills with or without a budget and if anybody didn’t like it they could sue and let the courts figure it out. If there is one branch of government that is even slower than Congress its the judicial system. But we have a president who can’t seem to do anything without begging the Congress to pat him on the back and give their ok. The secretary of the Treasury, the guy who runs it, is a part of the administrative branch of government. He takes his orders from the president. Obama didn’t take Clintons advice and the credit rating of the US took a hit and the Congress gave us a preview of how weak Obama really is. We have a president in name only. He is not a leader. Hopefully we can survive 3 more years of his incompetence and then good riddance. I am somewhat ashamed to tell you I voted for him 2 times. Sorry about that.