Budget Deficit

Is a Streamlined Legislature the Answer to an Overbearing Executive?

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Writing in today's New York Times, Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker and Yale law professor Oona Hathaway argue that Congress has inappropriately ceded its constitutional powers to the executive branch on issues such as fiscal policy, the war in Libya, and regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. But the solutions they propose, which are aimed at streamlining congressional procedure, would not necessarily help return presidential authority to its proper limits:

Legislative obstacles like the debt ceiling are a source of mischief, not precaution. They aren't found in the Constitution; they were put in place by previous Congresses seeking to tie the hands of their successors. Far from encouraging more responsible governance, they often have the opposite effect.

Unnecessary supermajority requirements are another culprit—the Senate filibuster chief among them. It has been transformed over the last generation from an extraordinary step taken by disgruntled minorities into a hard-and-fast "rule of 60" that makes compromise extraordinarily difficult. And when Congress fails to meet this extra-constitutional threshold, it is no surprise that the president tries to work around it.

Hacker and Hathaway are right that the debt ceiling and the Senate's current cloture rules are not constitutionally required, but that does not mean they are bad policy. Any debt reduction plan that extends beyond the next year or two seeks to "tie the hands" of future legislators in some sense (although they can always untie their own hands if they really want to), and the debt ceiling panic, however artificial, seems to have motivated President Obama to support "cuts" (compared to projected spending increases) he otherwise would have shunned. By contrast, letting the president borrow additional money at will, as Mitch McConnell's "Plan B" (traces of which survive in the current debt deal) would have done, is an abdication of congressional authority, not an assertion of it. Likewise, supermajority requirements make it harder for the Senate to get things done, but they also make it harder for the president to impose his will.

More generally, Hacker and Hathaway minimize the president's responsibility for the current imbalance, making it sound as if his lawless unilateralism has been thrust upon him by circumstances:

The two-step begins with a Congress that is hamstrung and incapable of effective action. The president then decides he has little alternative but to strike out on his own, regardless of what the Constitution says.

Congress, unable or unwilling to defend its role, resorts instead to carping at "his" program, "his" war or "his" economy—while denying any responsibility for the mess it helped create. The president, on the defensive, digs in further.

Yet the first example Hacker and Hathaway cite to illustrate this phenomenon, Obama's unauthorized intervention in Libya's civil war, does not show a president reluctantly acting on his own because Congress can't get its act together. It shows a president who cares so little about the constitutional limits on his powers that he does not even bother to ask Congress to approve a military assault on a country that has not attacked us and poses no threat to the United States. "Some say," Hacker and Hathaway coyly write, that "the president didn't try very hard to get Congress to agree to the intervention…because he didn't think he had the votes." Didn't try very hard? He didn't try at all. And who, aside from U.S. presidents and rebellious adolescents, thinks it's OK not to ask for permission because the answer might be no?

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  1. Sullum, you and your fellow reasontards (hehe…see what I did there?) don’t seem to get it!!! Obama would be perfectly willing to go to Congress, if the GOP (Gansters on Parade, am i right?) would stop holding this country hostage by opposing his good and noble intentions. What the hell is wrong with this blog? Does it seriously think that old people should be dying in the street, just like those damn rethuglicans???

    If spending isn’t increased, forever, then it can’t keep pace with an ever growing population!!! Duh!!! And if those terrorists at S&P give us a downgrade because Obama was trying to get us out of a ditch, then we should just ban them!!!

    /end troll
    /bow

    1. Suderman “gets it”. The previous post is on how failing to raise the debt ceiling is “not an option” and making a thinly veiled plea for tax increases.

      It’s like Weigel and Wilkinson never left.

      1. Wilkinson was never here. You may be thinking of his carnal paramour.

    2. #WINNING

  2. Hacker lives up to his name.

    1. And here I thought the op-ed sounded more like it was written by Sir Humphrey than by Mr. Hacker.

  3. Fucking Nigger! I hate that God-damn Kenyan!

    1. Um, that was strange!

      That seems to be all that you can say!

      1. I am for states rights and liberty agian’ the niggers!

        Like Ron Paul!

        Liberty? strange concept to you?

        1. When you were shot, did you feel your brain being damaged?

          1. Either that’s a spoof, or someone’s really serious about it.

            Either way, it’s fucktarded.

    2. Right on!

      Oh, my mistake, I thought you said “I hate those God-damned Keynesians.”

      Never mind.

      1. Tellingly, Marshall registers no problems with the first part!

        1. Keep consorting with these terrorist Tea Party types, pal, and see what happens.

          1. But WE’RE cool, right, Joe?

            1. Fuckin’ cracka Biden BETTER give us a pass!

    3. And after all I’ve done for you!

    4. In the face of all the really good reasons to loathe George the Lessor why bother with this half baked speculation?

  4. By contrast, letting the president borrow additional money at will, as Mitch McConnell’s “Plan B” (traces of which survive in the current debt deal) would have done, is an abdication of congressional authority, not an assertion of it.

    What part of “Plan B” allowed the executive to spend additional money? It only allowed him the power issue T-bills to pay for the things that Congress already spent the money on.

    There is no debt limit. If we want one (and we really need one) then it needs to apply to the budgeting process when the money is actually spent, not as some random arbitrary figure when we default on our obligations.

    If anything, the belief that the Treasury should unilaterally decide what bills get paid first is an abdication of responsibility, even if legally correct (not that that seems to matter, since everyone accepted that we’d just commit accounting fraud to get by to Aug 2 anyway when we went over the limit in May.)

    1. “What part of “Plan B” allowed the executive to spend additional money? It only allowed him the power issue T-bills to pay for the things that Congress already spent the money on.”

      What? How did they spend the money? Either they have the money, in which case they don’t have to issue debt, or they don’t, in which case they have to issue debt first in order to have money to spend. And the debt limit would prevent that, thus, they wouldn’t spend anything.

      Perhaps you’re confusing “things that Congress already spent money on” with “things that Congress said it would spend money on, but lied about because it turns out didn’t have either cash or enough of a credit line to afford it”.

      1. Perhaps you’re confusing “things that Congress already spent money on” with “things that Congress said it would spend money on, but lied about because it turns out didn’t have either cash or enough of a credit line to afford it”.

        So when you receive some good or service and then your check bounces, that creates a debt. Not paying employees for time already worked, not paying for stuff already ordered, you still owe that money even if you decide not to pay it.

        Since not sending out social security checks was off the table, that only really leaves things that Congress has already spent money on as far as suddenly hitting the “debt limit” and not actually stopping the spending that wouldn’t be paid for.

        Our debt is like a speeding train set to go over a destroyed bridge at some unknown point in the future. Derailing the train is not a solution to this problem.

        1. “So when you receive some good or service and then your check bounces, that creates a debt.”

          When you receive a good or service because you tell the provider that your friend is good for it, even though he hasn’t yet approved any money for you, that also creates a debt. But not for your friend. I hope Barack and Timmy are loaded.

          1. When you receive a good or service because you tell the provider that your friend is good for it, even though he hasn’t yet approved any money for you, that also creates a debt. But not for your friend. I hope Barack and Timmy are loaded.

            Unless Barack and Timmy were members of Congress when the last spending bill passed (and you could at least make an argument for one of them, though not a very good one) then it goes back to refusing to accept that Congress is responsible for spending.

    2. Promising to spend money and actually spending money are two completely different things.

      If the money was already spent, there would be no need to issue debt to get the money.

      1. So if you run up a bunch of credit card debt but don’t pay the bill, has that money already been spent?

        If no, explain why.

        If yes, explain your contradiction.

        1. Having a maxed-out credit card is not necessarily an argument to get another card to max out. The situation can also be solved by cutting back your spending and redirecting your income to servicing the debt.

          1. Having a maxed-out credit card is not necessarily an argument to get another card to max out.

            As previously noted, the credit card is not maxed out. That is the root of the problem. That the “limit” was only on our ability to pay the bill, and not on the credit card itself.

            The situation can also be solved by cutting back your spending and redirecting your income to servicing the debt.

            It is unclear to me how you could have convinced yourself that I support any course of action other than that. But it wasn’t an option that was actually discussed among Congress.

  5. What part of the fact that Congress is permitted only to make laws, not legislators, does Congress not fucking understand?

    When the number of people that give a shit dwindles enough over generations, governments can fuck the citizenry and expand its powers under the guise of legitimate procedure because nobody will sufficiently challenge them.

    A good example would be how a board of nine people gets to decide whether gravity exists, SCOTUS.

    1. The collapse of the education in this country could not happen accidentally. It had to be caused by the government wanting to dumb down the populace so they can walk all over us, or at least beat us into submission.

      1. The dependency racketeers have been wildly successful in miseducating the citizenry.

        1. What James Ard said. And the citizenry went along gladly. Well, most of them…

      2. The collapse of the education in this country could not happen accidentally.

        Why not? I would think that libertarians of all people would understand that things can happen without anyone willing them to happen.

        1. In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present eduction conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds, and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people, or any of their children, into philosophers, or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen ? of whom we have an ample supply. The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.

          ? John D. Rockefeller General Education Board (1906)

  6. When the number of people that give a shit dwindles enough over generations, governments can fuck the citizenry and expand its powers under the guise of legitimate procedure because nobody will sufficiently challenge them.

    Umm….whaddya mean “when” kemosabe. That ship has sailed already.

    1. Yeah, 150 years ago. I was referring to the general pattern.

      1. Yeah, 150 years ago this nation was in so much better shape, a second rate power ready to fight a bloody civil war because half of us wanted to leave the nation rather than face any incursions on their rights of enslaving half of their population…

        When Preachers of Liberty wax eloquently about the grand old days of 1860 the gig is pretty blatantly up.

        1. I think you missed the fucking point, asshole, and that seems to all too common with you.

          1. Yeah, I get the point, paleo-liberconservative longs for the “good old days” of liberty. It’s fairly common actually, probably why so many people discount how much you guys throw slavery analogies around…

            1. Pure class mingey, as usual.

              “We’re all closet racists.”

              You must be big fun at parties.

              1. Not as much fun as people who yell about taxtion=slavery, obamacare=slavery, roads=slavery, but who lapse into reverence about times in which there was actual, honest-to-God slavery rampant in this nation.

                Kind of like the cons who every now and then slip and express their fondness for the heady days of the 1950’s…

                1. Right, we’re all racists. Thanks mingey, we got it the first few thousand times you’ve said it.

                2. Mung, see, when you go full retard like this? That’s when you’re no fun.

                  Go away and come back when your meds kick in, m’kay? You’re much more fun (and coherent) then.

            2. MNG, the number of people who actually pine for the days of sippin’ mint juleps while Eb the farm hand whips the slaves for you… well, we’re talking about a very tiny fraction of a fraction.

              1. Did the guy refer to the heady days of 150 years ago or not?

  7. Require that every spending bill detail its sources of revenue, such as so many points of the income tax, sales tax, fair tax, whatever, and that revenue drive the benefits, not the other way around. If not enough money comes in, either stop spending until more revenue arrives, or reduce the payout rate. You’d have to specify a max payout, so that if more revenue comes in than expected, you refund the surplus to the sources you sucked it in from.

    This idea of a general fund for everything is a tragedy of the commons. The idea that you define benefits first, then borrow if revenue falls short, is as wrong as defined benefit pensions.

    One thing I would dearly love about this is it would make it very easy to detail where your taxes go, down to the penny.

    1. Not a bad idea…. Instead of “this bill authorizes $55.5 bazillion to be spent for X, Y, and Z,” they would say “this bill authorizes 1.5% of individual income tax receipts to be spent for X, Y, and Z.” Then limit spending bills to 100% of quarterly or annual “revenues”.

      1. And it’s so simple. About the only trickery is that revenues and expenditures are lumpy, so you have to allow some *small* surplus buildup and possibly even (shudder) borrowing; if you forbid all borrowing, the revenues will be purposely higher than needed, and then the congress critters will look for some way to spend it.

        But it’s dead simple and self-enforcing, unlike a balanced budget amendment.

        1. No where near enough ability to reward friends and punish enemies.

    2. Don’t really have to do a “pay as you go” kind of thing, really. Another option is… all money collected during the previous FY is used to fund the current FY. No money from the current FY may be used to fund the current FY, and is saved for use in the next FY. All money collected after 1 October should be used to fund the next FY, not the current.

      This would mean that the government will budget based on what it actually has, and will spend only what is has and not a penny more… except with contingencies.

    1. I especially like “Copright 1984”, that’s a great touch.

  8. Didn’t try very hard? He didn’t try at all.

    That’s not accurate. I oppose the Libyan thing as much as the next guy, but Obama informed Congress according to the procedures of the War Power resolution. This is a request for action from them and starts a clock ticking. He then followed up with an additional request as that clock was winding down. They did nothing, so he let the deadline pass and withdrew from all actions then ignored the rules.

    1. That’s not accurate. I oppose the Libyan thing as much as the next guy, but Obama informed Congress according to the procedures of the War Power resolution. This is a request for action from them and starts a clock ticking. He then followed up with an additional request as that clock was winding down. They did nothing, so he let the deadline pass and withdrew from all actions then ignored the rules

      Fixed.

      1. Nah. There is no need to polish this turd. The truth is just bad enough.

        1. The truth is that Libya was an imminent threat to no one. Without the threat, it is entirely accurate to say that Barry ignored the law from day one of the invasion.

    2. Obama informed Congress according to the procedures of the War Power resolution. This is a request for action from them

      Not necessarily. If the military action ends before 90 days no Congressional authorization is necessary, so the act of informing Congress that military action has begun does not constitute a request for authorization for military action.

      1. This is, again, wrong.

        The War Powers Act allows a time limit to conduct military action without Congressional authorization only if certain conditions are met. None of those conditions were ever met. Quote:

        “(c) The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”

        Even claiming he ever had a certain time limit within which he could go to Congress is allowing him to steal a base he doesn’t deserve.

        Though the media largely covered for him by spreading the clear falsehood that he had 60 days, Obama’s behavior in this respect was much worse than Bush, who actually got congressional buy-in.

        Of course, the operation’s incompetence has led it to go over even the 60 days limit that was never authorized to begin with.

    3. It’s just odd, NM, that Obama ran in part on hatred of us being in Iraq… and does similar shit himself a couple of years into his prez gig.

      Hypocrisy, yo.

  9. I agree with some guy on this issue.

  10. The “rule of 60” that makes compromise extraordinarily difficult…

    Actually, super-majority requirements make compromise necessary, and should be encouraged. If 60 out of 100 senators agree on something, chances are it doesn’t go as far in either direction as one side hoped, and was probably deemed necessary by those who agreed to it.

    Super-majority requirements prevent a temporary majority from wreaking too much havoc. The 2/3 super-majority required to over-ride a presidential veto should give hope to libertarians — elect a president willing to veto everything, and Congress could only pass bills that most of the country can live with.

    1. I was going to make pretty much the same comment. Obviating the need for compromise is quite different from making compromise easier or harder.

    2. elect a president willing to veto everything, and Congress could only pass bills that most of the country can live with.

      But team red won’t nominate Gary Johnson, so we’re not in there after all.

  11. And who, aside from U.S. presidents and rebellious adolescents, thinks it’s OK not to ask for permission because the answer might be no?

    Admiral Grace Murray Hopper.

    “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”

    1. Easier=/=OK

  12. No, sreamlining congressional procedure would be disastrous. We already have terrible laws due to Congress passing whatever it wants. Semi threadjack: Case in point: H.R. 1981, another “for the children” bill that’s a huge clusterfuck.
    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/07/house-committee-approves-bill-mandating-internet

    The House Judiciary Committee voted 19 to 10 to recommend its passage and there’s little standing in the way for it to become law now, unless somehow people can convince enough of their representatives…

  13. This deal is to tie the hands of the tea party until after the 2012 elections.

    The tea party for the next 1.5 years will have nothing to do and nothing to show for it by the time they are up for reelection.

    Tea Party = amateurs who just shot themselves in the foot.

    That is if this thing passes the house.

    1. They can hang out with the Reform Party.

    2. I wouldn’t count them out yet. Congress is real good at pissing off the electorate. so its not like they’ll run out of ammo.

    3. I’ve run this by a couple of folks smarter than me, and they’re yet to have a really convincing reason it wouldn’t happen.

      It the economy continues to suck like it has been, the debt is going to grow faster than Obama et al predicted. The debt limit that was bought today won’t last through 2013 is revenues continue to suck. I’d bet some money that we are danger-close the the debt ceiling again before the elections in 2012.

      1. I’d bet some money that we are danger-close the the debt ceiling again before the elections in 2012.

        They fell for it once or maybe twice if you include the spending bill they passed a few months ago…

        They are weak and proven weak…a third chance will not change that fact.

      2. especially given they are talking about extending the payroll tax cut. that wasn’t figured into the baselines and its a hefty chuck of change.

  14. House Passes Debt-Ceiling Bill; Senate to Vote Tuesday

    Just one day before the deadline to lift the debt ceiling, the House passed the bill, 269 to 161.

    Fuck. This.

    1. RIP tea party it was fun while it lasted.

      So lets see what you accomplished.

      Number of government agencies shut down: Zero

      Amount cut from the budget: Zero

      Amount you plan on growing the budget over the next 10 years: 8 Trillion

      Did you keep spending at 2010 level: No

      Did you use any of the powers granted to you to leverage your position such as control of the budget and control of the debt ceiling: no

      Did you stop tax increases: No the deal includes letting the Bush/Obama tax cuts expire.

      Yep the tea party just blew their own brains out and the republican party gave them the loaded gun to do it with.

      1. I have to give the devil his due.

        Obama got his debt ceiling increase to tide him over through the election. Sure he threw his base under the bus headfirst, but he doesn’t have to fight the debt battle during the election.

        1. Sure he threw his base under the bus headfirst

          huh?

          He just got a 10 year 8 trillion dollar budget increase for all his favorite government programs.

          On what planet did not help his base?

          1. Sorry, I was thinking about the debt ceiling increase, not the budget.

            Stupid comment rescinded.

          2. The super committee is set up to fail–we’ll get large indiscriminate cuts to social programs and the pentagon later in the year. Liberals are not happy.

            In terms of policy direction this is a victory for the tea party but they, of course, can’t recognize it as such. Apocalyptic cults don’t work that way.

            1. Apocalyptic cults don’t work that way

              how did a minority apocalyptic cult win over the majority again?

              See Tony how your theory fails so easily because even internally it is inconsistent?

              The Tea Party lost by being fooled by a republican/democrat majority. (they could have simply lost because they were the minority…SIV says they all voted against the bill…of course this point if proven true does not help your argument in the least)

              See how easy it is to be consistent?

              1. how did a minority apocalyptic cult win over the majority again?

                It’s game theory. They were willing to blow the whole place up. It confers an advantage in negotiations.

                But in terms of pure policy movement, we got closer to cutting government than to not cutting government. No tax increases even. As far as I’m concerned they won when we started obsessing about debt.

                But because they are an apocalyptic cult they can’t take anything but total purity. They could have declared victory the first day of negotiations and any reasonable negotiator would agree with them.

                Yeah they voted against the bill–they get the benefits without the political difficulty. Sounds like a victory to me.

                1. As far as I’m concerned they won when we started obsessing about debt.

                  I can see why you put so much emphasis on what the government’s intent is rather then what it actually accomplishes.

                  Anyway the tea party did not start the talk about the debt.

                  Perot talked about it way back in 1991 and 92 same with Newt later on and same with Clinton and same with Gore and same with the democrats from about 2004 until they took over congress in 2006.

                  In fact one could argue the Tea Party movement has actually been a good scapegoat to allow the republicans and democrats to put off the issue.

                  My guess is that some time in 2013ish the dems and what is left of the tea party (some may still be in office at that point) will start talking about it again.

                  1. Ironically the debt started to be a big deal to the very people who oversaw it’s sudden rise. As I pointed out the other day our debt ballooned around the Reagan administration and the ascension of the supply-siders, not the supposedly ‘big government’ Great Society and such.

                    1. If you wanted to create a climate favorable to “dragging the government into the bathroom and drowning it in a bathtub” a good place to start would be to run up a hellacious debt…

                2. “they can’t take anything but total purity”

                  Like “the only way to fix this mess is to raise taxes and spend shitloads of billions of dollars on welfare”?

            2. Liberals are NEVER happy. Even when they spend shitloads of money on dead-end bullshit.

              1. “apocalyptic”

                Like “if we don’t fix this by August 2nd, we’re fucked”?

                1. No, like “let’s fuck ourselves.”

      2. The “Tea Party” reps all voted aginst it.Boehner and Pelosi teamed up to deliver the votes.

        1. Do you got a link?

          1. He doesn’t, because it is only true in his fantasies.

            http://www.nytimes.com/interac…..f=politics

        2. Not all of them.

      3. “Blew their brains out”?

        For the most part you’re blaming the people who got sold out by the Establishment Republican leadership, not those who did the actually selling out. It was only the Tea Party Freshmen and their supporters that forced them to drag the charade out this long. They didn’t blow their brains out, they had it done for them.

    2. WTF did you want them to do?

      1. WTF did you want them to do?

        A)Wean America off of the financial heroin known as Treasury Bonds.

        B) Demand that the federal bureaucracy be pared down, starting with it’s most unnecessary elements (Department of Education).

        C) Not do what the hell they just did.

        1. How were they supposed to do that considering they don’t control the Executive or the other house of Congress? You might as well be mad that they didn’t ride unicorns through DC…

          1. Hold the House hostage. Obstruct everything. Monkeywrench the process as much as humanly possible.

            1. Wonder if they read the bill?

              1. Wonder if they read the bill?

                Probably not.

                also they did not put it up on a web site to allow the voters to read it for three days either:

                http://www.cnsnews.com/news/ar…..gop-pledge

                Boner need to go.

            2. And give the Dems an excuse for the economy sucking. Great idea.

              1. Reading the bill beforehand is a joke, right?

                1. It’s certainly a tea party talking point.

              2. They already have an excuse.

                They say it was “unforeseen.”

                Fuckin’ market forces! How do they work?

      2. They control the budget, spending and taxation.

        At the very least they should have kept spending at 2010 levels….and even that should be seen as mostly a failure.

        They ran on cutting spending not cutting the rate spending…and in fact by not keeping the rate of spending at 2010 levels they in fact increased the rate of spending.

        Increasing the rate of spending slightly less then what Obama supposedly proposed to increase it at (we don’t actually know because Obama never actually proposed anything.) is a complete and utter failure on ever level.

        To answer your question i wanted them to cut spending…but that was yesterday. Today i would like every member of congress to hang themselves…tea party members included.

        anyway it never was about what i wanted…i am a friggin libertarian not a tea pirate.

        The above post is simply an observation of how the tea party is now dead meat. You should be happy MNG. Tea party just lost your team just won….Team libertarian would have lost no matter what the Tea party did…it is only about as to what degree we would be losing.

        1. My “team” did not win JC, I may play the House liberal here, sometimes for argument’s sake, but as I said a few days ago I think the debt is a moral crisis and shame on liberals for not addressing it more seriously. My preferred plan was the one I heard Jeff Flake float the other day, a debt rise for a ‘plain vanilla’ balanced budget amendment.

          We can keep looking forward to an ever growing % of federal money going to bondholders rather than doing good, no liberal should be happy about that. No American either for that matter.

          I will say that my liberal friends are not much pleased with this, they don’t feel ‘their team’ won much of anything. Cuts were made, no movement on taxes…

          1. My “team” did not win JC

            I apologize. I thought about while i was writing “MNG has mentioned some libertarian leaning stuff before” but I dove in anyway. My bad, sorry for doing that.

            In my defense I had not read your position on the debt. Thank you for providing it. I will adjust my comments to this information from here on out.

            1. 40% of every federal dollar today goes not to programs a liberal might get behind which they think (wrongly or rightly) promotes fairness, opportunity or just support for the needy, but instead to bondholders, most of who are well off.

              That’s shameful.

              I support a BBA. I’d pay for it by slashing defense and means-testing the hell out of entitlements (not doing this should be indefensible for liberals, but don’t get me on that soapbox too).

              1. I am interested about hearing more from you while you’re on your soapbox, MNG. Your ideas intrigue me.

                1. The entire legitimacy of these programs rest upon the need of the recipient, without that they’re indefensible.

              2. 40% of every federal dollar today goes … to bondholders, most of who are well off.

                Don’t forget your microeconomics; money is fungible, so propping up interest rates on the “safe” investments ends up growing interest rates across the board.

                Isn’t it weird that nobody else ever seems to discuss government debt from this perspective? You can’t get through a decent high school History or English program without hearing about how “old money” has despised “new money” for centuries, but few people wonder why our budgets seem to be designed to force people who work for income to give hundreds of billions of dollars a year to people who already have money to invest.

    3. Saint Gabby cast he first vote since the tragic Palin-inspired Loughner shooting!

      1. “her”

        The Teabagging Terrorists LOSE!

    4. It should also be noted that Newt did a better job then the tea Party did…

      Seriously Newt.
      That has got to hurt.

    5. It is cold comfort that my representative, a progressive democrat, heir to Leon Panetta and probably able to serve in the House as long as he wants to, voted NAY along with Ron Paul.

  15. http://www.cnsnews.com/news/ar…..gop-pledge

    Fun stuff…the republicans promised to allow 3 days before passing a bill….and they just broke that promise.

    If anyone doubts that the intent of this deal was to destroy the tea party then i would like to present the above to the contrary.

  16. The debt ceiling is not a “legislative obstacle”.

    It’s actually a PREVIOUS concession of legislative power to the executive.

    Under the Constitution’s separation of powers, the Congress should have to approve each and every bond issue.

    Because that became tedious and burdensome, the Congress instead chose to hand that power over to the treasury, up to a certain dollar limit (which has been changed over time).

    Without debt limit enabling legislation, the Treasury department would have to seek Congressional approval every time it did a refunding.

    Also, who gives a shit if the President is frustrated? The argument that the President is entitled to act because the Congress is “dysfunctional” and won’t take action itself shows a decided ideological bias in favor of statism. Why is no action so completely unthinkable? If the Congress won’t act, then the state doesn’t act. Big fucking whoop.

    1. The 3 branches are checks to each other.
      Statists have no interest in checking government power.

      I give it 10 years until the left reinterpret the constitution to mean the 3 branches are meant to allow the government to act when 1 or 2 of the branches refuse to.

    2. Not acting has policy consequences that are just as real as any others effected by acting. If default had happened would you quit blaming the government for all the resulting problems?

      1. If one doesn’t like government, fine, work for lower government. I think the rising debt is indefensible myself. Having said that it is irresponsible to play chicken with the economy. It’s a weak economy, it’s skittish, what possible sanity lies behind the salivating over the prospect of it on the part of many on the right?

        1. what possible sanity lies behind the salivating over the prospect of it on the part of many on the right

          The same sanity that the left salivated over from 2000 to 2008ish.

          The economy swings elections and politicians will be politicians.

      2. If default had happened it would mean that the executive chose for it to happen. There is plenty of revenue coming in to the feds to make debt payments.

        1. And it would illustrate the point nicely: the executive would be forced to exercise the power to decide which of Congress’s laws it should enforce, on a huge scale.

  17. Hacker and Hathaway are right that the debt ceiling and the Senate’s current cloture rules are not constitutionally required, but that does not mean they are bad policy.

    But they are bad policy with respect to executive power, the theory goes. Plus I don’t know what virtues there are in minority rule in the Senate or in the automatic economic crisis machine the debt limit has now become.

    1. The funny thing is that it is not so much filibustering that lies behind this Congressional impasse as the different and staggered terms in the Senate relative to the House. If every Senator had been up in 2010 I’d bet the GOP would have won both houses.

      1. I’d bet the GOP would have won both houses.

        They will probably take it in 2012 and get the WH.

        The economy is not getting any better and time is running out for it to improve.

        1. I dunno. It seems the 2010 victory largely was due to the electorate shrinking from where it had exploded in 08. People turn out in Presidential elections that don’t tend to turn out in Congressional ones, and that type of person is less likely to be an arch-conservtive. And in 08 Obama was the master of turning those same people out.

          Sure, people are dissapointed in Obama, but he will run a similar campaign and the GOP will likely help him by 1. nominating a nut and 2. coming off as too extreme to many non-arch-cons.

          1. You could be right (you are not but we shall see) and the dems still lose the senate. Many more Dem seats up for grabs in 2012 then Republicans.

            I still think Obama won not because of his great campaign but because the country (especially independent voters) hated Bush at that point and wanted to punish him…even if they could only punish his party.

            Anyway we shall see.

          2. Ground beef and gasoline at $5+ and un/underemployment doesn’t favor an incumbent POTUS, even if people still “like” him.

          3. Obama’s lame duck term doesn’t go any easier with a fully GOP congress.

      2. Which is a virtue of staggered elections–I don’t think the founders would have interpreted a single midterm result as a mandate to completely rework the country along a narrow agenda.

        But the thought of Obama negotiating only with Republicans is a scary one.

        1. My God… it could be the 90’s all over again! How awful.

          1. It’s amazing how far you have your nose up Team Blue’s ass, Tony.

            Republicans suck, but in your worldview ONLY Republicans suck. Quite myopic.

            1. That’s not true. They just suck in a much more dangerous way.

          2. The Republicans have gotten more purist with each generation. The 90s were an era of massive radical right-wing obstructionism. Now it’s much more right-wing and much more obstructionist. This should end well.

            1. Weird that you say that, Tony. I thought that the radical right-wing obstructionism plus the Democratic president worked well together in the ’90s.

              1. It didn’t. Shall we impeach the president every 4 years for the sake of the country?

        2. Which is a virtue of staggered elections–I don’t think the founders would have interpreted a single midterm result as a mandate to completely rework the country along a narrow agenda that isn’t MY agenda.

          At least say what you really mean.

  18. The point seemed to be missed that the debt ceiling was a streamlining measure, not an effort to tie anyone’s hands. Prior to that, Congress had to pass a bill for each and every debt offering and the debt ceiling allowed them to deal with the issue less frequently. Look how much easier it has made it for us to go into debt.

    1. +1.
      Indeed.

  19. No, what we need is… a Chancellor! Yeah, that’s what’ll bypass the idiot rethuglican congress! “Chancellor Obama”

    *cums in pants*

  20. No, what we need is… a Chancellor! Yeah, that’s what’ll bypass the idiot rethuglican congress! “Chancellor Obama”

    Heil Osama/bama

  21. Putin says U.S. is “parasite” on global economy

    “They are living beyond their means and shifting a part of the weight of their problems to the world economy,” Putin told the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi while touring its lakeside summer camp some five hours drive north of Moscow.

    “They are living like parasites off the global economy and their monopoly of the dollar,” Putin said at the open-air meeting with admiring young Russians in what looked like early campaigning before parliamentary and presidential polls.

  22. There is no debt limit. If we want one (and we really need one) then it needs to apply to the budgeting process when the money is actually spent, not as some random arbitrary figure when we default on our obligations.

  23. In fact, there are also some legislative without spectrum thing, you said no?

  24. In fact, there are also some legislative without spectrum thing, you said no?

    1. Hmmm…somebody needs to fix this bot’s augmented transition network.

      Either that or celebrate it as Dada.

  25. Hacker and Hathaway are right that the debt ceiling and the Senate’s current cloture rules are not constitutionally required, but that does not mean they are bad policy.

  26. the government must keep concering the debt risk!

  27. MNG|8.2.11 @ 8:43AM|#
    Did the guy refer to the heady days of 150 years ago or not?

    Did he say “we should bring back slavery”?

    We can play this game all you want, MNG, but this time you’re dead wrong.

    IF you could add up every single true-to-the-cause, nigga-hatin’ REAL racist who wants those days back… you’d have a very, very tiny group of morons.

    It’s exasperating, how you can get something right now and then… and go off into the “racist” ditch with no proof.

  28. Tony|8.2.11 @ 12:07AM|#
    No, like “let’s fuck ourselves.”

    Too bad your Team is involved in the self-fucking. We could really use some solutions that don’t put us further in debt and raise spending on dead-end entitlement programs.

    The days of two trillion dollar annual budgets aren’t far off. What happens when we can’t tax enough to spend that kind of money?

    Hell, we’re there NOW, for that matter.

  29. “much more obstructionist”

    And when – God forbid – Republicans get the House, Senate, and the presidency… Team Blue will be “much more obstructionist”.

    Embrace it.

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