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Posts Tagged ‘Debt Ceiling’

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is being held hostage by a radical minority pushing a risky agenda, one that is based on an economic model that is obsolete.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.”

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Donald Trump Has Revealed the Truth About the Republican Party

Johann Hari
Columnist, the London Independent via: HuffPost

Posted: 04/28/11 11:04 PM ET

Since the election of Barack Obama, the Republican Party has proved that one of its central intellectual arguments was right all along. They have long claimed that evolution is a myth believed in only by whiny liberals — and it turns out they were onto something. Every six months, the Republican Party venerates a new hero, and each time it is somebody further back on the evolutionary scale.

Sarah Palin told cheering rallies that her message to the world was: “We’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way!” — but that wasn’t enough. So they found Michele Bachmann, who said darkly it was an “interesting coincidence” that swine flu only breaks out under Democratic presidents, claims the message of The Lion King is “I’m better at what I do because I’m gay,” and argues “there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.”

That wasn’t enough. I half-expected the next contender to be a lung-fish draped in the Stars and Stripes. But it wasn’t anything so sophisticated. Enter stage (far) right Donald Trump, the bewigged billionaire who has filled America with phallic symbols and plastered his name across more surfaces than the average Central Asian dictator. A survey suggests he is the most popular candidate among Republican voters. It’s not hard to see why.

Trump is every trend in Republican politics over the past thirty-five years taken to its logical conclusion. He is the Republican id, finally entirely unleashed from all restraint and all reality.

The first trend is towards naked imperialism. On Libya, he says: “I would go in and take the oil… I would take the oil and stop this baby stuff.” On Iraq, he says: “We stay there, and we take the oil… In the old days, when you have a war and you win, that nation’s yours.” It is a view that the world is essentially America’s property, inconveniently inhabited by foreigners squatting over oil-fields. Trump says America needs to “stop what’s going on in the world. The world is just destroying our country. These other countries are sapping our strength.” The U.S. must have full spectrum dominance. In this respect, he is simply an honest George W. Bush.

The second trend is towards dog-whistle prejudice — pitched just high enough for frightened white Republicans to hear it. Trump made it a central issue to suggest Obama wasn’t born in America (and therefore was occupying the White House illegally) — even though this conspiracy theory had long since been proven to be as credible as the people who claim Paul McCartney was killed in 1969 and replaced with an imposter. Trump said nobody “ever comes forward” to say they knew Obama as a child in Hawaii. When lots of people pointed out they knew Obama as a child, Trump ridiculed the idea they could remember that far back. Then he said he’d “heard” the birth certificate said Obama was Muslim. When it was released saying no such thing, Trump said: “I’m very proud of myself.”

The Republican primary voters heard the message right — the black guy is foreign. He’s not one of us. Trump responded to these charges by saying: “I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.”

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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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