Holding the Debt Ceiling Hostage

Here’s what Corker wants:

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) introduced a bill Wednesday to trade nearly $1 trillion in entitlement savings for an equal hike in the debt ceiling.

Corker said the Dollar For Dollar Act would include $937 billion in savings from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, with an equivalent, dollar-for-dollar hike to the debt ceiling.

Corker offered some details about his bill during a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday. Corker said his bill would raise the age of Medicare eligibility to 67 and would include the Medicare Total Health package that would increase private-sector competition for covering the elderly. Corker also said there would be a form of means-testing, making wealthy Medicare recipients pay more of their healthcare needs.

Corker said he’d also “slowly” raise the age of eligibility for Social Security benefits, but did not specify an age.

This is insanity. They want to gut the social safety net, and if they don’t get to, then they will trash the economy and earn us another credit downgrade because the rest of the world will realize the Republicans are so fucking crazy they might just not pay the nation’s bills.

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50 replies
  1. 1
    cmorenc says:

    Unfortunately, IMHO one way or another we’re going to get a standoff out of the combo tax cut expiration/debt ceiling that lasts long enough that we’re going to go over one or both slopes (fisical cliff, then the debt ceiling) before either side blinks and it’s resolved, and we’re going to get to find out whose pocket the turd winds up in (or more aptly, whose face is covered with shit after it hits the fan).

  2. 2

    If I were the President, I’d counter with “Go **** yourself.”
    And after that, I’d counter with linking congressional pay to the median Social Security benefit collected, ending Congressional pensions, and replacing the Federal healthcare benefit congress enjoys with Medicare. Then I’d ask them to come back in another month with their next offer.

  3. 3
    Shinobi says:

    A conservative family member was recently ranting about Obama’s unprecedented power grab re: the debt ceiling. He seems to think that raising the debt ceiling is totally irresponsible and is destroying our future.

    Ultimately reality just cant compete with the hysteria fueled hypocrisy that is fox news .

  4. 4
    MikeJ says:

    Here’s the corker, if you will: as we reach the point where more money comes out of Social Security than is paid in each year, the debt actually *goes down*. The national debt is largely owed to Social Security.

    If we borrow one dollar for every dollar the Social Security fund drops, the debt would stay exactly the same.

  5. 5
    Draven says:

    At night I dream that the Democratic counter-proposal is to lower the Medicare eligibility age to 63 as a giant fuck-you to the “starve the elderly” bent we’re on. They can justify it on the grounds that it’s more cost-effective, and once everyone is outraged enough at the mere thought of it, maybe we can meet in the middle at 65.

    Because, like, everyone knows that the best solution is the one that meets in the middle (also permissible is meeting to the right of the middle, but god forbid to the left).

  6. 6
    mandarama says:

    I live in TN, in a little blue circle. But I’d just like to tender my apologies for inflicting Bob Corker on y’all, and Lamar Alexander, too. And Marsha,Marsha,Marsha! Alls I can say is that I’m phoning them all. Not that they care.

  7. 7
    Hill Dweller says:

    Obama should point out the wingnuts spent the last three years accusing him of stealing from Medicare. They also promised to restore the 721 billion Obama “stole” when Willard took office. But now they’re demanding Obama cut even more from Medicare(and SS).

    The Village sure as hell won’t point out their hypocrisy/dishonesty.

  8. 8
    Yutsano says:

    @Draven: You can start withdrawing SS at 62, why not balance out the actuarial tables and lower the Medicare age to that as well? Let Corker put that in his pipe and smoke it.

  9. 9
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    On the APR, someone suggested that Obama should propose to raise the debt ceiling by $6 Trillion, stating that this is the amount that would need to be raised in order to cover Paul Ryan’s budget.

  10. 10
    Paul says:

    Why the heck do we even have a debt ceiling? Other than Denmark, I don’t know of any other country that has it. What’s the point of it? Congress approves a budget and that should be it. If Congress is against its own budget, then why the heck did it approve it in the first place?

    In this case, Bob Corker expressed support for the expensive Iraq war from the get-go. Just another hypocrite.

  11. 11
    The Golux says:

    Sully had quite a good post on this subject, essentially saying that Obama should tell the GOP (Gang Of Prigs) to pound sand.

  12. 12
    Draven says:

    @Yutsano: That’s perfect. I love it.

  13. 13
    David in NY says:

    No.

  14. 14
    dr. bloor says:

    Sen. Corker seems to be a bit confused about the nature of “leverage” and structure of Congress. If Congress won’t give Obama responsibility for the debt ceiling, he’s going to make them own it lock, stock and barrel. The Boner Brigade has to run for re-election in two years.

  15. 15
    Punchy says:

    Corker said he’d also “slowly” raise the age of eligibility for Social Security benefits, but did not specify an age.

    Of course he didn’t. Why would that be important? Just pass his bill, he says, but dont look for, ask for, or expect anything specific. But pass it anyways, shut up, that’s why.

  16. 16
    Brachiator says:

    Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) introduced a bill Wednesday to trade nearly $1 trillion in entitlement savings for an equal hike in the debt ceiling.

    Someone should offer a bill which would take away the pensions and health insurance of members of Congress. These are silly, unearned entitlements.

  17. 17
    Ailuridae says:

    @Shinobi:

    Agreed. Also excellent screen name. Maybe I’ll rename myself “Elevator Action”

  18. 18
    The Moar You Know says:

    Obama’s made it very clear that fucking with the debt ceiling won’t be tolerated.

    More importantly, Money has made that very clear too. Corker can spout any shit he wants. There will be no showdown like last time.

    Money has spoken loud and clear about that.

  19. 19
    kc says:

    I hope Obama tells him to go fuck himself.

    And fix this goddamn website already!

  20. 20
    Citizen Alan says:

    @mandarama:

    I live in TN, in a little blue circle. But I’d just like to tender my apologies for inflicting Bob Corker on y’all, and Lamar Alexander, too. And Marsha,Marsha,Marsha! Alls I can say is that I’m phoning them all. Not that they care.

    Not your fault, mandarama. It took Harold Ford to lose that seat to Corker. IIRC, it was the only contested seat the Dems lost in the 2008 wave election.

  21. 21
    dmsilev says:

    Corker said he’d also “slowly” raise the age of eligibility for Social Security benefits, but did not specify an age.

    Wimp. Though consistent with the rest of his party, who have steadfastly resisted specifying which tax loopholes they would close or exactly what spending they would cut. Would it be uncouth of me to suggest that someone ram a slide rule up Senator Corker’s ass?

  22. 22
    catclub says:

    @Comrade Dread: Agreed.
    As long as the discussion is couched in the completely nonsensical “trade nearly $1 trillion in entitlement savings for an equal hike in the debt ceiling.” terms, they are winning the battle.

    The only logical endpoint to that is to have no debt ceiling, and also cut the entire federal budget to zero.

  23. 23
    Good Doc says:

    @Comrade Dread: Spot on!

  24. 24
    Maude says:

    Trying to get rid of the New Deal and what LBJ did.. Nothing new.
    Means testing is about getting rid of Medicare. Once they can make a program income eligible, they just keep lowering the income. Pretty soon it’s zero. Problem solved.

  25. 25
    PsiFighter37 says:

    And Corker is one of the so-called ‘moderate Republicans’ these days. What did he do to earn that? Not drool on himself?

    What a fucking assclown.

  26. 26
    El Cid says:

    Perhaps Democrats should propose cutting the federal budget to zero. Just zero. No money for anything. No money for defense, SS, Medicare, Congressional pay, nothing. Just, ‘OK, let’s shut the whole thing down and have a zillion jobs be created with all the low taxes and no regulations and stuff.’

    Like Bush Jr. did with Amtrak. He proposed a budget for Amtrak of zero dollars one year. Not zero percent increase, but zero dollars.

  27. 27
    Kristine says:

    Perhaps related to whatever’s going on with the website: when I tried to visit using IE8 as the browser, I received a half-dozen “do you want to stop this script from running” error messages when I tried to move to a different page. So there were multiple scripts running that didn’t want to stop. Usually with IE8, I usually get one, maybe two.

    I don’t get those script errors with any other browsers, so maybe it’s just an IE glitch.

  28. 28
    shortstop says:

    Who put a quarter in Corker? Does he think he’s running for prez in 2016?

  29. 29
    gene108 says:

    @Shinobi:

    He seems to think that raising the debt ceiling is totally irresponsible and is destroying our future.

    My fear in all this is the less than tuned in voter, will feel this is an Obama power grab/foolish action by Democrats by not lowering the debt ceiling.

    There’s something relatively intuitive about equating high levels of debt as being something bad (at least when Democrats are in charge).

    I just hope this Republican grandstanding doesn’t trigger another recession.

    My current job can’t withstand another recession.

  30. 30
    kc says:

    @Kristine:

    Got the same thing on IE,

  31. 31
    Rob says:

    What pisses me off is that Social Security isn’t causing any debt. It’s paid for. Just because they borrow from it doesn’t mean it’s the cause of any debt. That’s like saying your bank should be closed because you don’t want to pay back the money they loaned you.

  32. 32
    rikyrah says:

    fuck all these mofos.

  33. 33
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) introduced a bill Wednesday to trade nearly $1 trillion in entitlement savings for an equal hike in the debt ceiling.

    Shit-proposals like this need to be hung around the necks of these idiots on a daily basis as de facto evidence that they are A.)completely unserious grifters, who’s goal is to score a job with the likes of Heritage, and B.)liars who have absolutely have no intention of making the U.S. Government work.

    Just use simple terms, so as not to overwhelm the people who vote for them.

  34. 34
    Bokonon says:

    I agree with Shortstop. Gentlemen, start your engines … because Bob Corker has launched his presidential campaign for 2016.

    With an innovative (yet classic) right wing face smash that will delight the talk radio crowd, and have no chance of becoming law, but that will take the fiscal cliff negotiations down a useless dead end. WINNING!

  35. 35
    cat48 says:

    This is based on the Rivlin Plan which means VOUCHERS 4 MEDICARE! GOP is trying to do Romney/Ryan Plan even though they lost. Boehner WILL NOT agree to increased Rates. He still wants loophole closing. Elections mean nothing to them.

  36. 36
    And Another Thing... says:

    WTF happened to cutting the bloated Pentagon?

  37. 37
    Ruckus says:

    @dmsilev:
    Would it be uncouth of me to suggest that someone ram a slide rule up Senator Corker’s ass?

    Yes.

    But the problem is not the idea of what to do but the the tool proposed. A rusty 4 ft chainsaw, running at full speed, now that’s the ticket.

  38. 38
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ruckus:

    A rusty 4 ft chainsaw, running at full speed, now that’s the ticket.

    The rusty implement of choice around here is the pitchfork, and I know just the person to wield it.

  39. 39
  40. 40
    gene108 says:

    WTF happened to cutting the bloated Pentagon?

    Bloated? Don’t you mean underfunded?

    I mean, with all the money we’ve spent after Clinton gutted our military readiness, Iran still can get nuclear bombs, North Korea launched an ICBM and al-Qaeda in the Maghrib caught Obambi off guard, killing Americans in our consulate in Benghazi.

    Also, too China has an aircraft carrier, so look for a showdown over Taiwan anytime now.

  41. 41
    Ruckus says:

    @Roger Moore:
    The rethugs have turned the crazy up to 13 so the tools that used to be successful no longer yield positive results. We need stronger methods to clear out the mendacious assholes.

    And I miss her comments around here as well.

  42. 42
    mclaren says:

    @And Another Thing…:

    WTF happened to cutting the bloated Pentagon?

    Silly naif. America is a military garrison state operating under de facto martial law, and has been since 9/11. A garrison state under martial law doesn’t cut military spending, it increases military spending.

    As witness the latest move in America’s ongoing effort to turn itself into a gigantic open-air military prison under martial law:

    U.S. Terrorism Agency to Tap a Vast Database of Citizens

    The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. That is a departure from past practice, which barred the agency from storing information about ordinary Americans unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.

    Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited. Data about Americans “reasonably believed to constitute terrorism information” may be permanently retained.

    The changes also allow databases of U.S. civilian information to be given to foreign governments for analysis of their own. In effect, U.S. and foreign governments would be using the information to look for clues that people might commit future crimes.

    “It’s breathtaking” in its scope, said a former senior administration official familiar with the White House debate.

    Source: Wall Street Journal, 12 December 2012.

    Going to take a lot of money to implement this Orwellian surveillance system, so look for U.S. military to rise significantly as a result of the upcoming “Grand Bargain” on the fiscal cliff.

    And of course the first targets of this kind of data-sharing + indictment system will be union organizers and anti-poverty community organizers, since organizing unions and trying to stop child poverty in America today are effectively crimes, for all practical purposes.

  43. 43
    burnspbesq says:

    You still haven’t explained why I should give a shit about the possibility of another credit downgrade, since the last one had exactly no effect on the Treasury’s ability to convince investors to pay it to hold their money for safekeeping.

  44. 44
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    @mclaren: And truth of Obama’s words is proven by his great efforts to enact Ryan’s bill word for word.

    Obama, of course, is the world’s biggest liar and possibly the most evil human being who ever lived, but I think in this one case we can assume he was being completely honest.

    ETA: If this reply triggers an 8000 word essay and someone wears out their page down button, I apologize.

  45. 45
    geg6 says:

    @Baron Jrod of Keeblershire:

    And I fail to see why it isn’t a legitimate proposal. Just because it would fuck over everyone except Paul Ryan and his cronies doesn’t make it illegitimate. Immoral, mean spirited, and lacking in any and all sympathy or empathy for others as it may be, that doesn’t make it illegitimate.

  46. 46
    Commenting at Balloon Juice Since 1937 says:

    The debt ceiling is raised by the house so fuck whatever a senator says. Obama has already stated he’s not negotiating. This is completely a House responsibility, so maybe some business people who care about us defaulting should have a conversation with Boehner.

  47. 47
    lefthanded compliment says:

    It’s so very gratifying to see how, after a period of deep introspection following their electoral defeat, Republicans are now modifying their message so as to broaden the party’s appeal. Keep up the good work, guys!

  48. 48
    Nancy Irving says:

    I would like to see some polling groups ask the elderly folks who voted GOP in November, what they think of the GOP’s blatant push to cut SS and Medicare, now?

  49. 49
    Ken J. says:

    Where I think it will all go sideways is that many powerful Republicans believe they are on a mission from God (literally) to slash social insurance benefits, which they see as godless communism.

    Can’t really compromise on behalf of God.

  50. 50
    Tata says:

    This is insanity. They want to gut the social safety net, and if they don’t get to, then they will trash the economy and earn us another credit downgrade because the rest of the world will realize the Republicans are so fucking crazy they might just not pay the nation’s bills.

    From the perspective of most people in this country, gutting the safety net does trash the economy. There’s no either/or.

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