Posts Tagged ‘ceiling
Mark Mellman (The Hill): Make no mistake: Republicans castigating President Obama for S&P’s ill-considered downgrade are akin to a mugger attacking the mayor, then blaming the sheriff for “letting” him do it.
Republican members of Congress attacked the full faith and credit of the United States by arguing publicly that defaulting on our debts would not be so bad. No rating agency can hear that and remain confident America feels bound and determined to pay its bills.
When every serious GOP economist and most every Republican who has carefully investigated the issue – from Sen. Tom Coburn to former Sen. Alan Simpson – conclude that both spending cuts and revenue increases are required to restore our fiscal heath, but Republican leaders announce they will refuse to appoint anyone to the supercommittee who might even consider eliminating billions in subsidies to oil companies, they not only subordinate the national interest to the interests of Big Oil, they also send an unmistakable message to rating agencies that they aren’t serious about restoring fiscal discipline, thereby mugging America’s credit rating. Then they attack President Obama for what – allowing them to speak freely, if foolishly?
… “Tea Party” is becoming a dirty word …. Republicans running for every office from president to dog catcher are forced to pledge fealty to a group that is increasingly scorned by the American people.
The same could be said of the GOP itself. Just this week CNN/ORC pollsters found 59 percent of Americans harboring unfavorable views of the Republican Party, while only 33 percent offered favorable opinions. At no point in the last two decades has opinion of the Republican Party been so negative …. (While hardly loved, Democrats are 26 points better off than the GOP.)
…. Americans want compromise and moderation, while Republicans emerge from this crisis looking uncompromising in their extremism. Public preference for compromise is clear – three recent polls found 66 percent to 85 percent saying they would rather the parties compromise than stick to their principles.
But the GOP failed this test … Being uncompromising, extreme and in thrall to a movement that is becoming a pariah will hurt the GOP. Unfortunately, it hurts the country even more.
Full article here
Ron Klain (Washington Monthly): Among the many misconceptions about Barack Obama is that he is cautious. In fact, it is hard to think of a modern president in recent times who has been more willing to take big risks, not because he is reckless, but because he is willing to suffer potential short-term setbacks to achieve a desired long-term result. It is in that context that the much-maligned debt-ceiling compromise must be understood.
…. One example early in his administration was his choice to “bail out” the automobile industry …. Obama took action by investing substantial funds, demanding important management and strategic changes, requiring bankruptcy filings, and painfully shrinking auto-dealer networks. All were risky steps that could have quickly unraveled.
Two years later, that choice is paying off: Car sales have risen, auto-industry employment is up, taxpayers are getting their money back, and U.S. cars are getting higher consumer ratings than ever.
Health-Care Overhaul: …. many of the president’s advisers urged him to abandon the push for a comprehensive bill, and pursue a far more limited approach. But Obama wouldn’t bend, and took a gigantic risk: He pressed for a House vote on a bill that was passed by the Senate the previous year and was unpopular with many House Democrats.
Obama could have easily, and visibly, lost. Yet, once again, his gamble paid off, achieving a victory that had escaped his predecessors.
Bin Laden Raid: …. the president once again rejected the play-it-safe advice of many advisers, and ordered SEAL Team 6 to carry out its heroic raid to kill Osama bin Laden. The safer alternative – a drone strike – would have minimized the fallout if the al-Qaeda leader wasn’t at the target, or if the assault went awry. But the president believed the bin Laden’s death could only be verified with a manned raid; once again, the risky decision was the right choice.
…. So now we come to the recent debt-ceiling deal … In accepting a deal that swapped an increase of more than $2 trillion in the debt ceiling for discretionary spending cuts that Republicans wanted – without balanced, revenue-increasing measures – the president didn’t give up on his goal, as some progressive critics have alleged. Instead, he gambled that he would be able to reach his objective later.
The key to this wager is the package of contingent cuts that will be triggered if Congress fails to pass additional deficit reduction after a so-called super-committee makes recommendations in November….. the White House should do everything possible to convince the widest spectrum of voters that the consequences of activation of the trigger would be unacceptable.
…Ultimately, the only way that Republicans will accept what they consider unacceptable – revenue increases – is if the alternative is even less acceptable: horrific defense and Medicare cuts.
…. Obama’s willingness to mark his time and double down may be vindicated, and the critics who are betting against him now may be proven wrong once again.
Full article here
Thank you Loriah
Steve Benen: American voters clearly aren’t happy, and no one in Washington is winning any popularity contests, but support for the Republican Party is deteriorating at a surprising pace. A new CNN poll shows the GOP “had the upper hand” when it came to holding the debt ceiling hostage, but the party has “lost a lot of ground with the public” in the process.
A lot of that anger seems directed toward the GOP. According to the survey, favorable views of the Republican party dropped eight points over the past month, to 33 percent. Fifty-nine percent say they have an unfavorable view of the Republican party, an all-time high dating back to 1992 when the question was first asked.
The poll indicates that views of the Democratic party, by contrast, have remained fairly steady, with 47 percent saying they have a favorable view of the Democrats and an equal amount saying they hold an unfavorable view.
…. the Republican Party’s support is down to an embarrassing 33% — the lowest either party has seen in two decades of CNN polls.
There’s plenty of speculation about what the 2012 elections have in store, and whether President Obama can win given the larger headwinds. It’s worth remembering that it matters what voters think of the opposition party, and if the recent trends pick up, the much of the public might balk at the idea of handing a wildly-unpopular Republican Party control of the White House and Congress.
Full post here
The White House announced Tuesday morning that the President’s trip to Interstate Moving Services in Springfield, VA., where he was scheduled to talk about fuel efficiency, has been cancelled.
Instead, the President will “meet with industry officials at the White House to discuss the first of their kind fuel efficiency standards for work trucks, buses, and other heavy duty vehicles,” the White House said.
Eugene Robinson: The so-called analysts at Standard & Poor’s may not be the most reliable bunch, but there was one very good reason for them to downgrade U.S. debt: Republicans in Congress made a credible threat to force a default on our obligations.
This isn’t the rationale that S&P gave, but it’s the only one that makes sense. Like a lucky college student who partied the night before an exam, the ratings agency used flawed logic and faulty arithmetic to somehow come up with the right answer. No, life isn’t always fair.
And no, I can’t join the “we’re all at fault” chorus. Absent the threat of willful default, a downgrade would be unjustified and absurd. And history will note that it was House Republicans who issued that threat.
…. What happened this summer is that Republicans in the House, using the Tea Party freshmen as a battering ram, threatened to compel a default. More accurately, they demanded big budget cuts as the price of raising the debt ceiling. If the Senate and President Obama did not comply, the Treasury’s access to capital through borrowing would have been cut off.
…. The ratings agency should have focused instead on the one development that has direct bearing on our creditworthiness: the GOP threat to force a default. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor should never have planned to use the debt ceiling vote as “leverage.” Obama should have made clear from the start that if necessary he would take unilateral action, based on the 14th Amendment, to ensure there could never be a default. And yes, progressive Democrats who voted against the final debt-ceiling bill should be ashamed.
It’s pretty simple: If you threaten not to pay your bills, people will — and should — take you seriously.
Full article here
I’m late posting this video, but John Kerry is always worth the wait.
The President has no public appearances in his schedule today – he attends two DNC events in Washington this evening (the first at a private residence, the second at the St. Regis Hotel)
Michael Tomasky (The Daily Beast): With a double-dip recession looming and attacks on Obama mounting, it’s amazing the GOP is still setting the U.S. agenda when its own George W. Bush ran up half the debt we’ve accumulated since Reagan.
… Every time I step back and ponder this sordid history, I am amazed that the Republican Party has any credibility..
The Boston Globe ran a chart last Sunday that I’d buy billboard space to reproduce in every decent-size city in America:
The premise of it was very simple: It showed how many trillions each president since Ronald Reagan has added to the nation’s debt. The debt was about $1 trillion when Reagan took office, and then: Reagan, $1.9 trillion; George H.W. Bush, $1.5 trillion (in just four years); Bill Clinton, $1.4 trillion; Obama, $2.4 trillion.
Oh, wait. I skipped someone. George W. Bush ran up $6.4 trillion. That’s nearly half – 44.7 percent – of the $14.3 trillion total. We all know what did it – two massive tax cuts geared toward the rich (along with other similar measures, like slashing the capital gains and inheritance taxes), the off-the-books wars, the unfunded Medicare expansion, and so on. But the number is staggering and worth dwelling on. In a history covering 30 years, nearly half the debt was run up in eight. Even the allegedly socialist Obama at his most allegedly wanton doesn’t compare to Dubya…
In percentage terms, the case is even more open and shut. This table tells the sad tale (see table at the top of the post)…
The percentages in question here are debt as a chunk of the GDP … Reagan raised it 20 points, to 53 percent from 33 percent. Bush Sr. a gaudy 13 points more. Clinton lowered it by 10 points, back down to 56 percent. Bush Jr.? Up 28 points, to 82 percent of GDP. Obama has raised it nine points. Once again: In a 30-year increase from 32 percent to 93 percent of 61 points, nearly half, 28 points or 46 percent, happened under Bush.
…. I can only laugh when I hear Tea Party conservatives avow today that they have no love for Bush. It is truly an incredible record when you stack it up. First, the party fought tooth and nail against every single move Clinton made that ended up putting us in surplus. Then it got power – and let’s not get into how that happened – and ran up completely unprecedented debts and deficits. Then it put the foxes in command of the henhouses at the SEC and OTC and brought the world to the very brink of total economic collapse.
Then a guy from the other party got back in, tried to do what the vast majority of economists would say should be done in such a situation (the government should spend money while the private sector couldn’t), and they fought him tooth and nail. And now they’ve forced him into a deal (which he should not have agreed to) that will help ensure that the economy remains stuck in neutral until, oh, November 2012, to pick a date out of the air. Next, that guy will identify tax cuts to spur job growth, and they will invent reasons to oppose these measures, just as they once invented reasons why “deficits don’t matter”.
Full article here