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Archive for the ‘Debt Ceiling’ Category

 

Reuters reports: “The United States lost its top-notch AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s on Friday, in a dramatic reversal of fortune for the world’s largest economy.” The new rating is AA+. In explaining their decision Standard & Poors cites both the decision by Republicans in Congress to turn the debt ceiling into a […]/p

via BREAKING: S & P Downgrades U.S. Credit For First Time In History, Repeatedly Cites GOP Intransigence On Taxes.

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Paul Feldman reports on giant Israeli protests

Peoples Assembly Network 08.01.2011

Highlights:

* On Saturday night, more than 150,000 people – out of a population of seven million – gathered in 12 cities across Israel as part of the biggest social movement the country has witnessed.

* Middle-class Jews and Israeli Palestinians have come together in local encampments in a way that seemed unimaginable only a few weeks ago.

* A poll showed that 87% of Israelis support the tent city protests.

* A steady influx of wealthy diaspora Jews from New York, Miami and Paris who bought up flats in Israel’s big cities has driven up prices in many affluent neighbourhoods along the Mediterranean coast in cities such as Tel Aviv and Netanya, in addition to Jerusalem.

* In Israel, the Zionists who dominate a nationalist state founded on a single ethnic group have used the threat of an external “enemy” in the shape of Arab regimes to hold sway over a seemingly pliant population.

* The idea that the Jewish state represents all Jews equally is being exposed and blown apart and with it will go the raison d’être of the Zionist regime itself.

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AP/The Huffington Post First Posted: 7/27/11 09:52 PM ET Updated: 7/29/11 10:19 AM ET

Neither the House nor the Senate has a clear path forward for must-pass legislation to allow the government to continue to borrow to pay its bills, putting lawmakers and financial markets alike on edge less than a week before the deadline for heading off the nation’s first-ever default.

Without a deal by Tuesday, the Obama administration has said the government will be unable to pay all its bills, and could miss checks to Social Security recipients, veterans and others who depend on public help. In addition, credit rating agencies could downgrade their assessment of the government’s finances, further unnerving financial markets and perhaps causing interest rates to rise for everyone.

Despite his image as a button-down Republican, House Speaker John Boehner walked to the brink of a dramatic and historic agreement to change the government’s spending habits.

But as he twice approached a $4 trillion deficit-reduction deal with President Barack Obama that would have rocked both parties’ bases, Boehner was reeled back in by his caucus’ conservative wing. The muscular, Tea Party-fueled group not only forced him to abandon a “grand bargain” with Obama, it made him scramble Wednesday to secure the votes for a far more modest deficit-ceiling plan, which in turn is all but doomed in the Senate.

MORE HERE

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While the rest of the country focuses on the looming deadline to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, House Republicans are taking advantage of their distraction to repeal environmental regulations and pass the most severe environmental budget cuts in 35 years. Republicans are pushing a bill that cuts 7 percent from the Department of Interior budget […]/p

via With Default Seven Days Away, House GOP Fixates On Repealing Environmental Regulations.

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Pushing Crisis: GOP Cries Wolf on Debt Ceiling in Order to Impose Radical Pro-Rich Agenda

DEMOCRACY NOW  July 22. 2011

President Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner are allegedly close to a $3 trillion deficit-reduction package as part of a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling before an Aug. 2 deadline. But the deal is coming under fire from both congressional Democrats and Republicans. Part of it calls for lowering personal and corporate income tax rates, while eliminating or reducing an array of popular tax breaks, such as the deduction for home mortgage interest. Some Democratic lawmakers expressed outrage on Thursday because the Obama-Boehner agreement appears to violate their pledge not to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, as well as Obama’s promise not to make deep cuts in programs for the poor without extracting some tax concessions from the rich. We’re joined by economist Michael Hudson, president of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends, a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and author of “Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire.”

Read more or view video at Democracy Now
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The New York Times reports that President Obama and Speaker Boehner (R-OH) are nearing a deal on a sweeping deficit reduction package they both may have a difficult time selling to their respective parties. The deal to avert a government shutdown in less than two weeks calls for $3 trillion in savings from substantial spending […]/p

via Morning Briefing: July 22, 2011.

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Tea Party: GOP Will Be Held Accountable For Backing Business In Debt Ceiling Fight

HuffPost- Michael McAullif

First Posted: 06/ 1/11 02:27 PM ET Updated: 06/ 1/11 02:45 PM ET

WASHINGTON — Think of Republicans’ Tuesday vote against raising America’s debt cap as their “honest, I do still love you” sop to last summer’s fling, the Tea Party.

Because, like all such overheated romances, this one could soon be headed for an ugly breakup over money.

Last year, the Tea Party’s interests and those of big business were nearly perfectly aligned, with companies pouring millions into campaigns to oust Democrats. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce alone dropped some $33 million, with 93 percent going to elect Republicans.

But things are different this year, and nowhere will the split be starker than in the fight over raising the debt limit. Those groups represented by the Chamber want it to go up, in order to avoid what Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warns would be a catastrophe. The Tea Party — especially its more loosely organized, grassroots members — adamantly want the debt ceiling to stay put.

The big crunch will come sometime before August, when the United States is expected to begin defaulting on its debt if the limit is not raised. Then, Republicans — and the 86 freshmen who were powered into office on the Tea Party surge in 2010 –- will have to decide if they embrace the entreaties of the business world to increase the limit or the ardent pleas of their tea-sipping supporters who want Uncle Sam’s credit card cut off at the current $14.3 trillion.

“What we’re looking for is real control of Congressional spending, not some fallacy they invent to make the electorate feel good for a temporary time,” said Mark Meckler, a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots.

A fallacy, in his eyes, would be the plan Congressional Republicans have embraced to raise the debt ceiling once they get concessions on spending cuts and budget reforms from Democrats.

MORE HERE

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Crowd at New York's American Union Bank during a bank run early in the Great Depression. (Photo: Public Domain)

Inviting Chaos: The Perils of Toying With the Debt Ceiling

Friday 27 May 2011
by: Ellen Brown, Truthout

[T]hreatening to default should not be a partisan issue. In view of all the hazards it entails, one wonders why any responsible person would even flirt with the idea.
Alan S. Blinder, Princeton professor of economics, former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve 

A game of Russian roulette is being played with the national debt ceiling. Fire the wrong chamber of the gun, and the result could be the second Great Depression.

The first Great Depression led to totalitarian dictatorships, war to consolidate power and concentrations of capital in the hands of a financial elite. The trigger was a default on the global reserve currency, in that case the pound sterling. The US dollar is now the global reserve currency. The concern is that default could create the same sort of global panic today. Dark visions are evoked of the president declaring a national emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plans locking into place, camps being readied for protesters and the secret government taking over.

This may all just be political theater, but do we really want to get close enough to the economic precipice to find out? The conservative ideologues toying with the debt ceiling are doing it to force cuts in the budget, a budget that was already approved by Congress. Congress is being held hostage by a radical minority pushing a risky agenda, one that is based on an economic model that is obsolete.

High-Stakes Gambling

On May 16, The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece titled “The Armageddon Lobby,” which claimed that a “technical default” on the federal debt was just “political melodrama” and not really a big deal: “[B]ond markets can figure out the difference between a genuine default when a country can’t pay its bills and a technical default of a few days if it serves the purpose of fixing America’s fiscal mess.”

MORE HERE

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During Bush Presidency, Current GOP Leaders Voted 19 Times To Increase Debt Limit By $4 Trillion

Think Progress- By Travis Waldron at 11:49 am

After pushing the government to brink of shutdown last week, Republican Congressional leaders are now preparing to push America to the edge of default by refusing to increase the nation’s debt limit without first getting Democrats to concede to large spending cuts.

But while the four Republicans in Congressional leadership positions are attempting to hold the increase hostage now, they combined to vote for a debt limit increase 19 times during the presidency of George W. Bush. In doing so, they increased the debt limit by nearly $4 trillion.

At the beginning of the Bush presidency, the United States debt limit was $5.95 trillion. Despite promises that he would pay off the debt in 10 years, Bush increased the debt to $9.815 trillion by the end of his term, with plenty of help from the four Republicans currently holding Congressional leadership positions: Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl. ThinkProgress compiled a breakdown of the five debt limit increases that took place during the Bush presidency and how the four Republican leaders voted:

June 2002: Congress approves a $450 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $6.4 trillion. McConnell, Boehner, and Cantor vote “yea”, Kyl votes “nay.”

May 2003: Congress approves a $900 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $7.384 trillion. All four approve.

November 2004: Congress approves an $800 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $8.1 trillion. All four approve.

March 2006: Congress approves a $781 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $8.965 trillion. All four approve.

September 2007: Congress approves an $850 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $9.815 trillion. All four approve.

Database searches revealed no demands from the four legislators that debt increases come accompanied by drastic spending cuts, as there are now. In fact, the May 2003 debt limit increase passed the Senate the same day as the $350 billion Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

When Bush was in office, the current Republican leaders viewed increasing the debt limit as vital to keeping America’s economy running. But with Obama in the White House, it’s nothing more than a political pawn.

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Boehner the Bluffer (Photo: Speaker's office)

Report: Wall Street execs warn Boehner on debt ceiling brinksmanship

by Jed Lewison for Daily Kos

Wed Apr 13, 2011 at 12:40 PM EDT

Politico:

Republicans are growing increasingly concerned about the impact a bruising fight over raising the nation’s $14.29 trillion debt ceiling could have on U.S. financial markets.House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has had conversations with top Wall Street executives, asking how close Congress could push to the debt limit deadline without sending interests rates soaring and causing stock prices to go lower, people familiar with the matter said. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said Tuesday night that he was not aware of any such conversations.

Republicans are busily making a long list of absurd demands in exchange for raising the debt-limit ceiling, but they are running a bluff. There’s not a chance in hell they will block an increase in the debt limit. They might demand a bipartisan vote, and in divided government, that’s both reasonable and with precedent, but anyone who thinks GOP leadership will actually block an increase in the debt limit—or that Democrats need to make any concessions beyond being willing to join the GOP in voting for the debt limit increase—is absolutely out of their gourd.

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