Bald Faced Theft

Jim Fallows latest is a post titled “The Two Sentences That Should Be Part of All Discussion of the Debt Ceiling,”

Victor_Dubreuil_-_Barrels_on_Money,_c._1897_oil_on_canvas

They are:

 

1) Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize one single penny in additional public spending.

2) For Congress to “decide whether” to raise the debt ceiling, for programs and tax rates it has already voted into law, makes exactly as much sense as it would for a family to “decide whether” to pay a credit-card bill for goods it has already bought.
Ayup.
Image:  Victor Debruil, Barrels of Money, c. 1897
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69 replies
  1. 1
    sb says:

    There is reality and then there is the reality perceived by others. It is very, very difficult to argue with the latter.

  2. 2
    Kitty says:

    It should also be said that it is the REPUBLICAN-controlled Congress that is not willing to authorize payment for ITS OWN spending.

  3. 3
    efgoldman says:

    It doesn’t matter. A few hours from now, the folks Charles Pierce calls “The Gobshites” will spout their usual running commentaries of shit, nobody will mention what you said (unless KThug is one of the guests), and off we go.

  4. 4
    Yutsano says:

    And yet they won’t do it unless they can blame the blah guy.

  5. 5
    sb says:

    @efgoldman: He’s one of the guests. From what I understand, he’s going to be the main guy when discussing the debt ceiling.

  6. 6
    sb says:

    @Yutsano: They’re going to try to do what they did last time; get what they can out of holding the nation hostage and hope and prey the media and the 27%ers are as stupid as they were last year.

  7. 7
    Alison says:

    @sb: Heh, at first I thought you meant Pierce and I was like, holy damn, when did that happen?

  8. 8
    Jay S says:

    2) For Congress to “decide whether” to raise the debt ceiling, for programs and tax rates it has already voted into law, makes exactly as much sense as it would for a family to “decide whether” to pay a credit-card bill for goods it has already bought.

    I’m sorry, a family may well have a valid reason to not pay a credit card bill that does not apply to the US government. People do not have the same ability to pay as governments do.

  9. 9
    Wag says:

    @sb:

    i think you have a freudian slip in there. Prey which is what the blood-sucking GOP is so good at.

  10. 10
    q.e.d. says:

    I would express the notion in 2 far more strongly. If I choose to “miss” my payment I get penalized with a fee, the credit card company gets on fine without me. If the government chooses to “miss” their payment, the consequence is a credit collapse and people actually suffering and dying for no reason. It’s far more insidious and another reason why a government’s budget isn’t the same as a household’s budget.

  11. 11
    Arclite says:

    As long as the Repubs keep insisting on using stupid comparisons of the country budget with a family budget, may as well turn it against them.

  12. 12
    Jennifer says:

    @sb: I’m hoping Obama will maintain a position of “this is not up for negotiation.” I’m to the point where it would almost be a relief for the Republicans to win one of these games of chicken and for the predictable disaster that follows to ensue. These people aren’t conservatives; they’re nihilists, and there seems to be a significant portion of the electorate that remains clueless about the pitfalls of electing nihilists to positions of power.

  13. 13
    AA+ Bonds says:

    If y’all aint go to bat for Mohamed Mohamud, then y’all a bunch of hypocrites, alphabet boys got a bunch of the same shit out

  14. 14
    Alison says:

    @Jay S: Sure, but the idea is that you’ve already made the purchases and at some point they need to be paid for. Paying a credit card bill isn’t about making NEW purchases, it’s about taking care of previous ones. You can’t go out and charge stuff and then when you get the bill say “Eh, changed my mind, I’m not going to pay this”.

    I mean…you CAN, but the bills don’t disappear.

  15. 15
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jennifer: They haven’t been conservatives since at least 1980.

  16. 16
    karen marie says:

    @Kitty: *Oh, no, it’s all spending by Democrats. THEY had control until 2010 and they still have the White House. This is absolutely not the fault or responsibility of Republicans.*

    I guarantee that’s what you’ll hear on the Sunday chat shows.

    Also, too, whatever happened to the business where Obama just had to say “debt ceiling raised!” and unless the House voted against it, it was raised?

  17. 17
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    makes exactly as much sense as it would for a family to “decide whether” to pay a credit-card bill for goods it has already bought.

    Hey, you’re dealing with people who put “off budget” a savings and loan bailout in the late 80’s and two fucking wars in the Aughts.

    When Obama said, basically, “fuck THAT noise”, and put the two fucking wars back on the budget, the deficit ballooned, and the usual suspects started bawling that Obama ballooned the deficit!

    This is like saying, “well, I won’t count the car payment against the family budget, therefore we can balance it! So we’ll ditch the Toyota, and get a Mercedes!”

  18. 18
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Have you ever considered providing context for your drive by rants?

  19. 19
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Fuck Russia’s war on my tax dollars, amen.

  20. 20
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Is there such a thing as Google? I claim that there is. Some sources disagree, and they know not the quotation marks that make “Mohamed Mohamud” a useful search, yea verily.

  21. 21

    \@AA+ Bonds: Shorter you: “Do my work for me”.

  22. 22
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I could just use lmgtfy, and be a huge dick, but here I am assuming that BJ’s customers (including certain large media types) can Search Engine up such a ridiculous railroading themselves.

  23. 23
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Okay, thanks. Asshole.

  24. 24
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @The prophet Nostradumbass:

    Hey: democracy works with a bunch of people. Me myself? In a just system, I need more people.

  25. 25
    Jay S says:

    @Alison: No, both a family and a government can declare bankruptcy, but the effects are very much different. The government has a very different arsenal of ways to prevent bankruptcy than an individual does. Individual bankruptcy is something that we should allow for, since it usually helps all of us. Government bankruptcy generally hurts all of us (with the understanding that even this can help all of us in the right circumstances.) Not paying bills can be a reasonable choice for an individual, it is rarely a reasonable choice for a government.

  26. 26
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Look, individuals mean nothing in democracy and that is as it should be. Remember FDR? Make me, he said. And so it goes, for any Democrat. Make. them.

  27. 27
    Gravenstone says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    I could just use lmgtfy, and be am a huge dick,

    Fixed for accuracy. Seriously fuckwit, if you’re gonna drop a non sequitur and expect people to jump through hoops to figure out your twisted context, you deserve every ounce of abuse you receive.

  28. 28
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Look here it goes. Some demanded it, so I did what I was asked.

    Here is the link to the Grey Lady – all of you are wise enough to parse the bias. I trust you.

    I am not here to do anything but suggest you go further, go harder. (2012 y’all) Is that not why we came? And if not, then why bother?

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Communication requires achieving some degree of understanding from those you are trying to reach. Otherwise, it is random babbling.

    @AA+ Bonds: God, you are just an asshole.

  30. 30
    AA+ Bonds says:

    THIS IS IMPORTANT SHIT. I enjoy James Fallows. I enjoy, he came to some financial bullshit with a suggestion of “What do I do with $250,000?” and they were uncomfortable with his poverty. But come on: don’t let them send someone up for some FBI entrapment. Don’t let them love you love you love you, you’re et cetera.

  31. 31
    priscianusjr says:

    @sb: They’re going to try to do what they did last time; get what they can out of holding the nation hostage and hope and prey the media and the 27%ers are as stupid as they were last year.

    Remind me again what they actually got last time.

  32. 32
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Look, I got beeps coming at me, I love y’all and believe in y’all, just take it up and give a damn, peace.

  33. 33
    Chris says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    They haven’t been conservatives since at least 1980.

    I’d say the 1950s, and the hardcore, unrepentant, anti-New Deal fringe of that era (John Birch Society, Joe McCarthy, Ayn Rand, William F. Buckley) who refused to follow the lead of the Eisenhower moderates, are when it jumped from “conservatism” to “full-blown nihilist madness.”

    Up until the Great Depression, the New Deal and World War Two, I’ll say it was possible to be honestly pro-laissez-faire economics. You’d have to be intellectually incurious (e.g. afraid to try something else) and pretty insular in your outlook (e.g. ignoring the welfare state experiments already under way in Europe), but you could still be honest and not necessarily ill-meaning.

    By the 1950s, though, after having seen just how bad the laissez-faire crap could get and just how much good a proactive government could do, the only way you could continue to support the Gilded Age ideology would be if you were either a blind and batshit insane ideologue (like “Mao telling farmers to smelt iron in their back yards” level of blind and insane) or outright ill-intentioned towards your fellow citizens.

    Which is what we see today in their teabagger children and grandchildren.

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chris: Okay, but they didn’t achieve dominance in a major political party until, let’s call it, 1976 (Reagan’s coming out party).

  35. 35
    Chris says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Works for me.

  36. 36
    SatanicPanic says:

    I totally know what James is saying, but I’m tired of these kitchen table, belt-tightening metaphors.

  37. 37
    Yutsano says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Shorter AA: y’all won’t blog about what I wanna blog about and I’m too lazy to start my own blog, so I’ll just be noisy as hell on here and pretend my work is done.

    Well not much shorter. But more accurate.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Yutsano: Too comprehensible.

  39. 39
    Yutsano says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: A translation, then. And yeah that case will be about the truth being somewhere in the middle.

  40. 40
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Yutsano: Pretty much sums it up.

  41. 41
    Petorado says:

    The whole debt ceiling thing is solely about the full faith and credit of the Republican Party. They spent the damn money on their painless (at the time) tax cuts, multiple wars put on the credit card, and Medicare Part D. Now they want to welsh on the debt they incurred. If only we had a media that could casually point that out from their pulpits from time to time.

  42. 42
    Ted & Hellen says:

    So why DON’T we hear these two sentences from Mr. Obama?

  43. 43
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Hey, you’re dealing with people who put “off budget” a savings and loan bailout in the late 80′s and two fucking wars in the Aughts.
    When Obama said, basically, “fuck THAT noise”, and put the two fucking wars back on the budget, the deficit ballooned, and the usual suspects started bawling that Obama ballooned the deficit!
    This is like saying, “well, I won’t count the car payment against the family budget, therefore we can balance it! So we’ll ditch the Toyota, and get a Mercedes!”

    Why do you think it is that Obama does not articulate this to the nation, over and over and clearly, just as you ahve done?

  44. 44
    Alison says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Well, I’ve certainly heard him say basically the second sentence plenty of times, while also implying the first by pointing out that it’s about paying off spending, not engaging in new spending.

    But look at me, thinking you’re coming from a point of good faith. Har.

  45. 45
    Mnemosyne says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    And here, ladies and gents, is the best possible demonstration of why it’s a bad idea to drink and comment. The phrases that make sense in your head while you’re drunk make no sense at all when sober people try to read them.

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:

    Someone in the thread below posted a link to a Billmon post explaining why the platinum coin idea is bad politics.

  47. 47
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Alison: It’s late. These things happen.

  48. 48
    piratedan says:

    makes you wonder why the Banksters love the Republicans, their own stated behavior makes them a bad credit risk (ok, so you buy things and spend money then you refuse to pay for them… ummm, okay) and then who do they have to sell the country too? Not the rich, the smart ones are already in places like the Cayman’s, Monaco or Luxumbourg.

  49. 49
    Ash Can says:

    You know it’s a good late-Saturday-night thread when at least one commenter (AA+ Bonds) needs to sober up and at least one other (T&A) needs to start drinking..

  50. 50
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    it’s a bad idea to drink and comment

    HEY! +4

  51. 51
    Yutsano says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: We’re all tired and a touch cranky. Accidentally dropping troll food is a forgivable sin at these times.

  52. 52
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jay S:

    I don’t think the point is to get into a complicated discussion of the government’s options for bankruptcy vs. an individual family’s options. The point is to extend the metaphor for people who persist in thinking of government finances and family finances in the same way and get them to think about whether a normal family expects to be able to run its credit card up to the limit on everyday stuff and then default on it.

    A lot of people seem to think that the debt ceiling refers to new spending, not spending that was already approved and allocated by Congress. That’s why the credit card metaphor is apt for those people — they currently don’t understand that the money is already spent and Congress is now trying to default on the country’s credit card because Congress doesn’t feel like paying the bills they ran up.

    I know it’s annoying to have to put things into simplistic metaphors, but sometimes it’s necessary to get the idea across.

  53. 53
    xian says:

    @AA+ Bonds: this assumes we care what the fuck you are babbling about

  54. 54
    Yutsano says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    the government’s options for bankruptcy

    The US government cannot ever be bankrupt. Since it is in charge of making its own currency it will always have that currency should it ever need it. It’s one of the reasons why T-bills are considered so secure as a financial asset. We run a deficit for several economic reasons (inflation and such) but we could eliminate it tomorrow if we so chose. It would just be a huge economic shock that would cause a huge amount of inflation.

  55. 55
    xian says:

    @Chris: you say this like being conservative was once some good thing. I think Corey Robin debunked that pretty good.

  56. 56
    xian says:

    @Alison: yeah, I almost fell for it too. there’s always an angle, some way that this terribly disappointing man has let down our special troll.

  57. 57
    MikeJ says:

    @xian:

    you say this like being conservative was once some good thing

    Everything great that America has ever done was done by liberals, and that includes the things done by Republicans.

  58. 58
    Bmaccnm says:

    @xian: Giving the benefit of the doubt to Mr AA, I think he is babbling about Muhamed Mohammed, who is under trial for a fake bombing in PDX during a Christmas tree lighing ceremony in a public place two years ago. Mr Mohammed was a disaffected 18 year old Somali refugee at the time and thought he was setting off a rather substantial load of explosives. There is some idea that Mr Mohammed was groomed and entrapped by the FBI. On the other hand, I was in that crowd along with my two sons and I have some thought that I did nothing to Mr Muhammed to deserve a bloody death on a cold, rainy night. At the time, my younger son, who is the same age as Mr Mohammed, remarked “Who did the driver of that van pay off to be able to park there?”

  59. 59
    Joel says:

    @Bmaccnm: well put.

  60. 60

    @piratedan:

    makes you wonder why the Banksters love the Republicans

    Well, you could try looking at the post-crash wealth versus the pre-crash wealth in the very rarified strata. There is a very large difference between a paper loss and losing your house or business or job – you can hold the whacked assets until they recover and meanwhile buy a bunch more at fire-sale prices. Try to keep that kind of thing in mind. Oh… yeah, people will lend that person money.

  61. 61

    @Chuck Butcher: You may want to fix the link you use to your blog, for future comments.

  62. 62
    piratedan says:

    @Chuck Butcher: as always IOKIYAR is in play I suppose.

  63. 63
    Jay S says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think when reasoning by analogy leads you astray you need to blow up the analogy.

  64. 64
    SFAW says:

    @Yutsano:

    I think putting AA’s original rant through the Yoda translator, followed by running it through the Jimmy-James-biography translator, might have improved its comprehensibility.

  65. 65
    Paul says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    So why DON’T we hear these two sentences from Mr. Obama?

    We have heard him say that PLENTY of times. Perhaps it is because you have chosen not to hear it? Based on your postings, your particular hatred of Obama is not exactly news.

    And I ask you yet again – why do you literally NEVER criticize Congress?

  66. 66
    WaterGirl says:

    @Paul: Why do you guys interact with this blot on the blog? It only clutters up the thread.

    If you actually think you can actually engage someone like this and make a difference, you are fooling yourself. And if you do it for fun, please think about the rest of us.

  67. 67
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Paul:

    Because, my friend, Congress, especially as twisted by the Republican controlled house, is beyond all redemption.

    I am a registered Democrat. I push for MY side to do better. In Obama’s case, a LOT better. As should you be doing.

    And of course the completely self-blind, pathological Obama worship here makes an easy target at all times.

  68. 68
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Your desperate, and ever failing attempts to control the discourse here to make you comfortable is really very sad.

    Talk to other people in the real world. This is a blog on the Internet.

  69. 69
    BillCinSD says:

    @Bmaccnm: and you don’t think the same of the people pushing him to this?

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