Barack Obama

Clean Debt-Limit Increases are for Suckers or, Tomorrow We Scrimp But Tonight We Spend Like There's No Tomorrow!


Earlier in the week, the House and Senate passed a "clean" debt-limit increase which allows the federal government to borrow more money without even pretending to restrain future outlays.

Last October, when talk of government shutdown was in the air, I recorded the video above arguing the only good debt deal was a dirty debt deal.

Click above to watch "3 Reasons We Need a Dirty Deal on Debt Ceiling." Here's part of the argument:

As the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) warns, "increased borrowing by the federal government would eventually reduce private investment in productive capital" while also increasing the risk of a fiscal crisis spurred by jumpy investors worried about the ability or willingness of the feds to pay back lenders.

None of this is controversial. Indeed, back in 2008, Candidate Obama was pretty eloquent on the need to "break that cycle of debt" created by Republican government under George W. Bush."we've lived through an era of easy money," he crooned in one of his stump speeches, "in which we were allowed and even encouraged to spend without limits; to borrow instead of save." And what was it he used to say about increasing the debt ceiling when he was just a wet-behind-ears senator? That raising the debt limit signaled "a failure of leadership" and "reckless policies" that were "shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren."

But today, all Obama can talk about are "clean" CRs and "clean" debt-limit increases. This is what my colleague Matt Welch calls "junky logic," the sort of magical thinking particularly strong among addicts who are always "gonna kick tomorrow". Really, man, this is the last time.

Read more here.

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  1. Enter that picture in the gallery of pictures I never want to see again.

  2. Mister Megan McArdle was the only guy here at Reason who I can remember behaving the way John described a couple of days ago, acting like a hysterical woman during the phony and absurd “shutdown”. Nick has been solid as a rock on this issue the whole time though, without a doubt.

  3. The last person to get any political mileage from voting against raising the debt ceiling was Senator Barack Obama.

    Unfortunately, it has become too radioactive – time to figure out another way to attack the issue.

    1. FYCS

    1. Winona Ryder

      ***pumps fist**

      1. She was so damn cute in that movie.

        1. I’m trying to find a recent pic, but just typing her name into Bing produces more hot pics from her youth than Sophia Loren and Anne Margarette combined.

          My personal favorite —



    2. Do you really think this won’t suck? Burton has been terrible since Planet of the Apes. They’re all old. It would be a miracle for this to not suck.

  4. At this point what difference does it make?

    1. Just one more hit! After that, I promise I’ll quit!

      1. Not even. This is more like, let’s wait till after the Big Party, and then we’ll have a discussion about my drinking.

      2. Sevo,

        You could always quite permanently by inserting a hand grenade in your rear end and pulling the pin. I will mark your file DSAF “Did Society A Favor”.

  5. “If we don’t address the underlying problems, they are not sustainable.”

    And still, somehow they march on and on.

    “Unsustainable” (in this context) is yet another word I’d like to see go away.

    Give a timeframe for the system collapsing, or STFU.

    1. Unsustainable is just a word for cliffs we jump off of together.

    2. I think you’ve got a point there, but I don’t think anyone can really predict when it will all cave in.

  6. Sometimes man you jsut have to throw your hands up in the air? Wow.

  7. Well, according to John Boehner, our choices were between a clean debt limit bill and one in which the the debt limit is increased, on the condition that we SPEND MORE MONEY!

    If those are the two options I pick clean debt limit. Or I reject the choice entirely.

    1. Actually the choices were between a clean bill or having to satisfy the Tea Party wing of the House. He chose the Democrats over his own party for political experience because of a fear of bad press associated with a shutdown fight.

      1. Expedience not experience

      2. God, Boehner is such a pathetic pushover. I’d give real money to see Thomas Massie or Justin Amash give him and that other fake conservative, Paul Ryan, a little taste of what they really need.

      3. IIRC, the #1 idea they floated was attaching an increase in military pensions to the debt limit increase. Either that or demanding approval of the keystone XL pipeline.

        Actually cutting spending wasn’t even on the table.

      4. Let’s face it, the media beat the living crap out of the Republicans during the last debt fight.

        It’s tempting to blame Boehner, but to his credit he tried to stop it last time. And he Lost! Sometimes you’ve just got to admit the deck is stacked against you and you just can’t win this particular fight.

    2. We had to temporarily remove the ceiling allowing us to spend money with no limit to avoid having to pass a bill authorizing us to spend money up to some limit.

      *Republican logic

  8. Clean debt limit increases are for cowards


  9. Finally, our long Austerian nightmare has ended. Let us pick up the pieces of our shattered lives as best we may and strive valiantly forward into the glorious dawn of collective equality!

  10. Well, according to John Boehner, our choices were between a clean debt limit bill and one in which the the debt limit is increased, on the condition that we SPEND MORE MONEY!

    What the fuck is that even supposed to mean?

    1. You missed the part where they offered to increase the debt limit, in exchange for increasing military pensions?

  11. No doubt you’ll feel the same way when a Democratic congress under President Paul tries to extract tax increases in exchange for raising the debt limit.

    1. What, you seriously think for one second they wouldn’t? And as much as I hate the idea, it’s still better than authorizing more borrowing with precisely nothing contemplated to pay for it.

      Oh, and if blowing off tax increases equals no more borrowing, I’d actually consider that a win-win.

  12. No doubt you’ll feel the same way when a Democratic congress under President Paul tries to extract tax increases in exchange for raising the debt limit.

    “I have a pen, and I have a phone veto. Try again.”

    1. Oh, I momentarily forgot, a President Paul’s first priority would be destroying the country.

      Why do you guys keep saying “shutdown” btw? Do you even know what the fuck you’re talking about?

      1. Tony|2.15.14 @ 12:35PM|#
        ‘Oh, I momentarily forgot, a President *Obama’s* first priority would be destroying the country.’

        And he’s doing quite well, particularly with bootlickers like you in the audience.

        1. Sevo,

          Hi there. I just posted a comment. Looking forward to your rebuttals as usual. Just letting you know in advance that if you don’t like my comments (as usual) you can still stick them in that magical part of your anatomy where your brain is located. Have a nice evening.



      2. Do you even know what the fuck you’re talking about?

        Coming from someone who thinks there was ever a government “shutdown” in any un-raped sense of the term, this is rather rich.

  13. Why do you guys keep saying “shutdown” btw? Do you even know what the fuck you’re talking about?

    Shutdown? What shutdown?

  14. The only way we could cut spending back to 2005 levels would be to round up and slaughter fifteen per cent of the population, right Tony?

  15. I love the anti-Obama propaganda photographs, especially the one where he is holding the ice cream cone. Whenever anyone wants to malign someone they detest, one of the best ways to do this is to catch that person in an awkward moment looking silly as a human being. It always works and is a weapon used to great advantage by whoever hates anyone at any given moment.

    When Obama leaves the White House in January 2017, the same photographs will be used against whoever replaces him in the West Wing. However, for pure historicity I always like the political cartoons of Nast. Also, one of my favorites (not Nast) is the one showing Andrew Jackson robed like a King, with the caption of “King Andrew”.

  16. The ‘clean debt limit increase’ is a bipartisan political maneuver that avoids accountability while failing to address the largest existential threat to the country. The Democrats are clueless spendaholics – I don’t think a single Dem voted against this. The Republicans that voted for the debt limit increase are worse – they are cynical political opportunists who know better, but play reindeer games that put their personal political interests ahead of those of the Nation.

  17. Ah, power corrupts absolutely.

  18. Unfortunately Obama’s junk logic leads to the whole country being ruined, most middle-class families are on the edge of poverty and use various kinds of lending options provided by PersonalMoneyService and the alike companies.
    What makes me most upset is that my children and even grandchildren I think will work to pay back the current debt of our Government.

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