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Monday, March 25, 2019

Perhaps because I rarely visit Washington, I’m persuaded that the budgetary hostage crisis currently obsessing the nation’s capital holds little fascination for the general public. Wasn’t that what last month’s “fiscal cliff” deal was all about? Government by televised melodrama appears to be losing its ability to hold the nation in thrall.

To start with, there have been too many of the damn things. Promoted for ratings-building purposes by cable news networks, by politicians eager to garner TV face time, and by Pundit-Americans to enhance our own self-importance, these theatrical showdowns have succeeded mainly in undermining respect for democratic institutions.

Too bad, because if President Obama keeps playing his cards right amid Republican bluffing and liberal panic, the outcome of the upcoming debt-ceiling showdown could end up restoring that respect, if only in the sense of reminding everybody of something he said in 2009: elections do, indeed, have consequences. But hold that thought.

We’ve seen this movie before. Most people figure that there will be yet another last-minute deal and a “dramatic” vote in Congress whose outcome is foreordained. Speaker John Boehner will be forced to allow a debt-ceiling vote because there’s no sane alternative, and no evidence Boehner’s crazy.

The bill will likely pass with a minority of responsible Republicans joining Democrats to preserve “the full faith and credit of the United States government” against the prospect of becoming, as the president memorably said in his recent press conference, a “deadbeat nation.”

This time too, Obama’s doing a good job of explaining things in terms almost everybody can understand.

Too professorial by half, he hasn’t always done that.

“These are bills that have already been racked up, and we need to pay them,” Obama said. “So, while I’m willing to compromise and find common ground over how to reduce our deficits, America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they’ve already racked up.

“If congressional Republicans refuse to pay America’s bills on time, Social Security checks, and veterans benefits will be delayed. We might not be able to pay our troops, or honor our contracts with small business owners. Food inspectors, air traffic controllers, specialists who track down loose nuclear materials wouldn’t get their paychecks.

“Investors around the world will ask if the United States of America is in fact a safe bet. Markets could go haywire, interest rates would spike for anybody who borrows money—every homeowner with a mortgage, every student with a college loan, every small business owner who wants to grow and hire…”

“So to even entertain the idea of this happening, of the United States of America not paying its bills, is irresponsible. It’s absurd. As the Speaker said two years ago, it would be, and I’m quoting Speaker Boehner now, ‘a financial disaster, not only for us, but for the worldwide economy.’”

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66 responses to “Obama Has The GOP Right Where He Wants Them”

  1. Republicans will raise the debt ceiling for the second time during President Obama’s tenure. They did it 18 times when Reagan was in office, and 7 times when George W. Bush was president. They have no choice, the consequences of defaulting on the debt are far too great for even ideologues and hate mongers to pursue.
    We must find ways to reduce spending, and raise more revenues, to reduce our budget deficits, the need to borrow, and get our national debt under control, but we must do it in a way that does not affect the economy, the elderly, students and our standard of living. It can be done, the only thing that is needed is bipartisanship, common sense and a little courage. Sadly, these attributes are sorely missing in Congress.

    • You’er right on, but when is the last time Congress showed common sense.

    • David Nova says:

      with unemployment at 7.8% it’s still too soon to cut spending.

    • critten says:

      Funny no one mentions the biggest cash pig we have, the US Defense Dept. Just got 668 billion budgeted for this year. One can easily assume that about 200 billion of that is wasted money that is essentially a gift to three of our biggest competitors, the Germans, the Japanese, and the Koreans, all of whom pay lower taxes, and hence can sell us goods cheaper, thanks to the fact the US taxpayer picks up the tab for their national defense. In other words, our defense expenditures are actually costing us jobs. The huge fight we just had over the tax rates for the rich raise a pitiful extra 80 billion a year. Cutting 200 billion from defense and moving it over to Medicare, well, for some reason no one wants to talk about that.

      • Energy Guy says:

        They don’t talk about it because it’s a very bad idea. Cutting one government program and moving to another is just rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. The net effect is ZERO. If you’re going to cut, then cut to reduce the deficit which then reduces the ridiculous amount of interest the government (i.e., the U.S. taxpayer) must pay on the debt. Medicare is out of control and needs a complete reformation, not additional funding.

    • greascott says:

      Doiminick- The Dems had control of the House and Senate during the Reagan administration. Could you repeat that please? You do not know your facts.

    • Energy Guy says:

      Sorry, but there is absolutely no way to do it without affecting the economy or our standard of living as we have been living artificially well for decades. The only hope we have as a society is to gather our courage and brace for what will and must be a significant adjustment to our standard of living. Santa Claus is out of gifts to give and if we don’t take our medicine now, it will eventually collapse under its own weight. We can’t print money from thin air forever, no matter how much we wish we could.

  2. highpckts says:

    God help thiss country if the Tea party isn’t gone by the next Presidential election along with most of their minions!!

    • TonyinMO says:

      You people keep blaming the tea party. What about 0bama are you still blaming Bush for all his fuk ups?

      The TP are the only ones looking to shrink the government. What a sad excuse.

      • highpckts says:

        Absolutely!! We wouldn’t be as bad off if Bush and the Repubs hadn’t acted acted like THEY had a blank check!! Two unfunded wars! Now they refuse to pay for their folly!! You can’t make deep cuts without revenue! It seems the Repubs are slow learners!!

      • Ed says:

        Actually it would help immensely if ALL of us could stop playing the blame game. However, it cannot be denied that Oboma is taking a lot of flak because he brought the costs of two wars back into the budget, instead of running them “off the books”, which any constitutional scholar would say was an impeachable, even a criminal offense. That alone boosted the debt immensely, but it made no difference in how much we already owed.It would also help to recognise that that the debt is the lowest in relation to the GDP than it has been in 50 years. And that 1/2 of the debt is money the government owes itself, having borrowed it from Social Security funds, and now we are doing it from the federal employee retirement fund. Well that raises the possibility that some congressmen will take a hit like the rest of us.

        • TonyinMO says:

          You say: “if ALL of us could stop playing the blame game” then go on to blame Bush. Make all the excuses you like but the buck now stops at Big Ears desk.

          Ah the hypocrisy of the left.

      • Forrest says:

        the tea party is the primary problem with GEORGE running a close second for stupidity

      • Gambler2 says:

        The government doesn’t need to shrink further. We need to cut the bloated “defense” budget and trim all the waste in the Home Land Security department.

        • TonyinMO says:

          You don’t think that the defense budget and home land security is the government? Just who do you think pays for them? The tooth fairy?

          Fat chance at getting this administration to do anything about DHS 0bama strengthened The Patriot Act and signed of on the NDAA which allows US citizens to be detained without due process.

          Say goodbye to your civil rights 0bama is every bit as bad if not worse than Bush.

      • JanNH says:

        AMERICA, not just Obama, is still blaming Bush.
        Bush inherited four balanced budgets and they couldn’t build a single penny on Clinton’s accomplishment.

        Bush and GOP promptly unbalanced the budget within two years, with two unfunded tax cuts (which raided social security) and two unfunded wars (one based on blatant lies).

        When Republicans BEGIN to blame Bush, instead of being Loyal Bushies, the GOP will BEGIN to recover from their last Conservative President, George W. Bush (The.Worst.President.Ever.)

        • TonyinMO says:

          Sorry Jan but that is incorrect there were never 4 balanced budgets and there was never a surplus. You can’t have a surplus if you borrow money to achieve it, mathematically it’s impossible.

          I have no idea what the rest of your comment is because anyone who starts off that misguided usually has nothing of substance to say.

      • critten says:

        If you look at the deficits we are running, are you trying to tell me that two wars on the national credit card, a prescription drug program for seniors that was never funded and buys drugs at retail prices, insane tax cuts and all the other sugar passed for the corporations is “still blaming Bush”? Yeah, well, he is too blame, deal with it.

  3. m8lsem says:

    And, golly, the Repugnicans can’t hold the ordinary folk taxpayers hostage … that one’s gone already; the Pres. knew what he was doing all along.

  4. William says:

    The President has to stop bending to the will of the GOP. When you take your kids to the store and they have a fit because you don’t buy them something, things don’t get better if you cave. The GOP reminds of a bunch of spoiled brats that needs to have their ass beat.

  5. If the GOP lets the gov default, they will totally lose in the next election in 2014 since a huge portion of the voters will get hurt in the pocketbook. If they have any sense at all they will know that but that remains to be seen. I don’t see much sense in DC at all any more. We seem to keep electing idiots.

  6. TonyinMO says:

    These bills were racked up by an irresponsible Democrat controlled Congress which he was part and parcel off.

    0bama needs to learn to quit spending and Congress needs to hold his feet to the fire. Or in words the pres will understand “put a boot on his neck”

    • jstsyn says:

      You have that exactly backwards. Remember Iraq? Prescription drug coverage? The reich wing racks it up every time they are in office then, like you, blames Democrats. No matter…….you lost.

      • TonyinMO says:

        Wrong you are, if you had an honest bone in your body you would take responsibility for these liberal Jihadist’s who are every bit as responsible as the right.

      • TonyinMO says:

        So now you want to take the seniors prescription drugs away? Remember Iraq the liberals voted in favor of going over there too.

        • BDD1951 says:

          They voted on it because Bush and his thugs lied to them about WMDs. Bush was a criminal before he was elected but when you’ve got political power you can get by with it. In case you don’t know what crime I’m talking about it was Insider Trading.

          • TonyinMO says:

            If you think you’re going to get an argument out of me about whether or not Bush was a criminal you’re barking up the wrong tree. What you fail to realize is that Bush and 0bama are more puppets than criminals, they are both owned by the same Banksters and lobbyist’s that own both sides of our Congress. They have things right where they want them.

            “Bush and his thugs” now that’s funny. Same thugs different @$$hole every 4 to 8 years. Wake up!

  7. highpckts says:

    Democrat spending??? What was Bush doing in his 2 terms but spending and putting it all on credit! Obama had to bail everyone out because of Bush and his gang! Now they don’t want to pay their bills! No, it’s the Repubs who need their feet put to the fire!!

  8. john boehner when are you ryan,cantor,mcconell and the rest of your crooked people going to learn you are dragging youselves down in the mud and are going to suffacate in it.

  9. sleeve says:

    The reason Paul Krugman did not suggest a handful of magic beans or a trailer full of Monopoly money is because neither of those are encoded in law, while a platinum coin is encoded in said body of law. Put down the fairy tales and try to keep up, now.

  10. onedonewong says:

    As the country continues to die on the vine. 4 years from now the press will be writing about the US trying to keep Haiti from passing our economy

  11. rustacus21 says:

    Is it me, or are we seeing Republicans disentegrate before our very eye’s? W/absolutely ZERO credibility, they’re batting 00.0% on ALL policies forwarded since Nixon. During Reagan/Bush, they’ve reversed on every major (& even minor) policy initiative impacting the citizen majority. During the ‘no-name’ 2001-2009 executive, they created a complete catastrophe – economic, socio/political, infrastructural & most especially environmental – w/out even so much as having the decency to apologize for not just being wrong, but stupidly, intentionally so!!! But making matters even worse, they left a legacy of debt (rich-only tax cuts, 2 wars & a completely disfunctional govt., that is taking THIS LONG still to get back on track), while corporate media has the audacity to give conservatives credit enuff in assuming they have the credibility to at the very least, “APPEAR” to 1/2 way ‘seem’ to know what they’re talking about when discussing budgetary economics/priorities?! When all they think about is what further damage they can inflict on the Middle Class-fast becoming the majority working POOR, by cutting jobs, economic opportunities (stimulus involving training, cutting edge Green energy/preservation initiatives, SS, Medicaid/Medicare, saddle unionized (USPS for instance) public workers w/debt & competitive restrictions, while fighting like hell to eliminate tax responsibilities for the richest American ‘occupants’ (as opposed to ‘CITIZENS’ who realize their OBLIGATIONS involve PAYING TAXES!!!), whose crazy? They or WE, THE PEOPLE, who keep making xcuses for them as they muddle thru this process like drunken bafoons they appear to be?!?

  12. Butch says:

    spend spend spend spend spend think of it as fertilizer for the richness of life in the future (with a Tip ‘o the hat to Mr Astor)

  13. empaty1 says:

    How did Congress raise the ceiling 18 times during Reagan years and 7 times during Bush years without a fuss? What is different with President Obama? Paying the bills is the same, so why fuss?18 times minus 2 times leaves President Obama 16 more times to fight for the debt. Amazing. Nobody takes into consideration that the cost of living keeps going up which makes it impossible to balance a budget with rising costs on everything, even for the US of A.

    • Stella53 says:

      In case you haven’t noticed, President Obama is a black man (doesn’t matter that his mother is white). Anyone who thinks that this isn’t about Obama’s race is naieve and in denial. A white president would never face this kind of opposition and hate – never. Accept this and you won’t have to ask “why.”

  14. David Nova says:

    PBO is right not to bargain. he would’ve done better to refuse to deal a year n a half ago too, for the same reason: all he has to do is stand his ground till we near the debt limit, when wall street will start flooding GOP congressional offices with emails n phone calls, n the GOP will cave. just watch.

  15. sleeprn01 says:

    I don’t understand under Bush II & Chaney we went from a balanced budget to a sizable deficit. Where was the GOP then asking for a balance budget. The GOP and their minions seam to have a very short memory. Also, why are we even talking about social security, it has not added 1 dime to the deficit. In fact if my memory serves me correct President Reagan “borrowed” money from the social security trust fund to get his debt under control. Which by the way tripled on his watch!

  16. Hawkeye says:

    Actually the Republicans are right where they have put themselves, and Obama has the upper hand in dealing with the corner they have backed themselves into, and the liberals and moderates in Congress are as united behind him as they have ever been really behind any President. You aren’t hearing much if any grousing from them, the liberal commentators who are wringing their hands are outside that, and starting to realize it.

  17. jstsyn says:

    So if the President has the gop exactly where he wants them, when will they be GONE?

  18. Jack_Kennedy says:

    and the mooches celebrate…………as WE get closer to cutting off OUR money, as stolen by bozo to pay the mooches bills

  19. moderate Guy says:

    Yes indeed, GOP made 99% of Bush tax cuts permanent and forced Bam-bam to raise the threshold of tax raises from 250,000 to 450,000;
    It moved, not raised, the debt ceiling forward by three months only to accommodate spending “to the extent of obligations outstanding on May 19, 2013, exceeds the face amount of such obligations outstanding on the date of the enactment of ” the debt ceiling legislation – in effect a three months spending freeze, that Bam-bam and his idiot Senate signed off on;
    It holds all the cards in sequester fight, since even defense hawks know defense spending can be raised again if it is cut, but once parasite programs are killed they are not likely to be reinstituted.
    Yup, right where he [Obama] wants them; assuming where he wants them is eating his lunch, fondling his girl-friend and making him eat dirt.

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