Well, This is Fucking Insane

This is every bit as bad as defaulting and then some:

One day after assuring Americans he is not running for president “to make things unstable for the country,” the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, said in a television interview Thursday that he might seek to reduce the national debt by persuading creditors to accept something less than full payment.

Asked whether the United States needed to pay its debts in full, or whether he could negotiate a partial repayment, Mr. Trump told the cable network CNBC, “I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal.”

He added, “And if the economy was good, it was good. So, therefore, you can’t lose.”

Such remarks by a major presidential candidate have no modern precedent. The United States government is able to borrow money at very low interest rates because Treasury securities are regarded as a safe investment, and any cracks in investor confidence have a long history of costing American taxpayers a lot of money.

Experts also described Mr. Trump’s vaguely sketched proposal as fanciful, saying there was no reason to think America’s creditors would accept anything less than 100 cents on the dollar, regardless of Mr. Trump’s deal-making prowess.

“No one on the other side would pick up the phone if the secretary of the U.S. Treasury tried to make that call,” said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP. “Why should they? They have a contract” requiring payment in full.

This jackass actually thinks defaulting on the US Debt would work just like arbitration after a bankruptcy where bond holders would settle for pennies on the dollar. The US is basically the fucking Lannisters of the world, and as we all know, a Lannister always pays his debts. That’s why the American dollar IS the gold standard. And what no one wants to talk about is that if this gets interrupted, every single pension, investment, and what not owned by an American is essentially worthless.

We’re so fucked if this lunatic wins.






184 replies
  1. 1
    Betty Cracker says:

    Wow. I was an English major and am thus completely stupid about economics, but even I know you can’t undermine confidence in T-bills without totally fucking not just the US economy but the entire global economy. Christ on a crumpet. This motherfucker has to lose in a landslide.

  2. 2
    Damien says:

    My sister is intentionally disconnected from politics (she apparently wants to be “happy” and whatever), but she knows I mainline it, so she always says she takes her cue on how scared she should be of something by how I react to it. I’m glad she didn’t see my face when I read this, because I think she and I would have been sharing an entire bottle of aqvavit.

    This election is so beyond terrifying, it’s hard to believe we’re living through it.

  3. 3
    negative 1 says:

    On the plus side at least someone has noticed that white-collar yuppie wannabe Republicans are rubes, too. This would make sense to someone who has no knowledge or economics but fancies themselves a ‘business-minded executive’.

  4. 4
    Alabama Blue Dot says:

    I have a savings bond. I have T-bills in my IRA. I am therefore a creditor, as are millions of other individuals. Obviously he has no idea what U.S. debt actually is.

  5. 5

    I consider this slightly less insane than the official GOP position of ‘Maybe default would be a good idea?’ At the least it means that Trump has no plans to create a crisis and put his default plans to the test during his (not-going-to-happen) presidency.

  6. 6
    rikyrah says:

    Asked whether the United States needed to pay its debts in full, or whether he could negotiate a partial repayment, Mr. Trump told the cable network CNBC, “I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal.”

    He added, “And if the economy was good, it was good. So, therefore, you can’t lose.

    that is absolutely batshyt insane

  7. 7

    @Betty Cracker: In financial modeling T-bill rate is taken as the risk free rate. This will upend all those models that form the basis of the complex web of global finance.

    Heh you guys with Trump at the helm the immigration problem will be solved because no one will want to come here anymore. No wall necessary to keep people out.

  8. 8
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    a good hook for New Jersey Democrats to start talking about Trump’s properties on the Boardwalk

    The big business man has wrangled with big debt in the past 20 years. Trump’s first visit to bankruptcy court was in 1991, when his Atlantic City casino, the Taj Mahal, was buried under a mountain of debt. The Taj carried a $1 billion price tag and was financed by junk bonds carrying a staggering 14 percent interest rate. As construction completed, the economy slumped, as did the Atlantic City gambling scene, soon plunging Trump into $3.4 billion of debt.
    ‘Keep the Donald Afloat’
    “[The banks] could have simply taken everything he had right then, but they wanted his cooperation,” said Lynn LoPucki, a bankruptcy expert and professor at UCLA Law School. “There’s that old saying, ‘If you owe your banks a little, you’re at their mercy. If you owe the banks a lot, the banks are at your mercy. They saw the best way for him to repay the money was to keep the Donald afloat.”
    The Donald struck a deal with the banks to hand over half his ownership, and half of the equity, in the casino in exchange for a lower interest rate and more time to pay off his debt. He sold off his beloved Trump Princess yacht and the Trump Shuttle airplane to make his payments, and his creditors put him on a budget, putting a cap on his personal spending.
    “The first one was a really big hit for him. They had him personally, and he ended up taking substantial losses in that bankruptcy. He also had the humiliation of having some bankers deciding how much money he could spend — the numbers are just astonishing — the amount of his monthly budget,” LoPucki said.

  9. 9
    Jeffro says:

    This is the thing that 16 of those “deep benchers” could have, should have, stood up and yelled about as long and loudly as they were able: TRUMP. IS. A. MORON. He’s Sarah Palin in a suit. He’s Joe the Plumber with a couple mil inheritance.

  10. 10
    petesh says:

    So, he’s going to lay off American workers and restructure the economy, eh? There are assets to be stripped, y’know — Yosemite should be worth a bit on the open market. Gosh, this governmenting stuff is complicated. Maybe Putin could give him some tips. Maybe Putin already has.

  11. 11
    Calouste says:

    Considering that the vast majority of US T-bills are held by US taxpayers, directly or indirectly, this would be the equivalent of a massive tax increase.

  12. 12
    Luthe says:

    What would you expect from a doucheweasel whose “empire” is built on screwing people in bankruptcy court? He thinks that’s a get-out-of-jail-free card because it’s always worked for him before.

    I can’t wait for the Hillary ads interviewing all the little people who got hosed when the Donald declared one of his numerous bankruptcies.

  13. 13
    MattF says:

    On the other hand, Trump has just solved all the Wall St. problems because everyone in the financial industry just had a fatal heart attack.

  14. 14
    Matt McIrvin says:

    As I said in the other thread, it could be an effective electoral strategy: make creditors and investors so scared you might win that you tank the global economy, cause massive unemployment, damage confidence in the incumbent party and coast to a win.

    (It’s pretty much what Republicans believed Obama did in 2008.)

  15. 15
    NotMax says:

    U.S.A., Inc., an LLC.

  16. 16
    Ben says:

    What’s interesting is this pretty closely describes the business model of a bigtime real-estate developer. Borrow a lot of money – build a shop[ing mall (or a casino) – if the project crashes, call your creditors and “make a deal”.

    Of course, this approach isn’t available to ordinary people with mortgages, or countries. But nothing in Trump’s experience would cause him to know that.

  17. 17

    @Jeffro: He is a stupider version of Palin, if anything. She must have some native smarts because she was not born a millionaire.

  18. 18
    Calouste says:

    @rikyrah: And of course when the US could have borrowed money at near-zero or sometimes even negative interest rates to put in infrastructure and stimulate the economy, the Republicans were against it.

  19. 19
    NotMax says:

    “Trump Tower Market has the best apples. I love the destitute!”

  20. 20
    SciNY says:

    In addition to being insane and unachievable now, Trump’s plan to negotiate presently owed debt down is self-refuting, because the Treasury is constantly issuing new debt. If that goes from the safest bet on Earth to a high-risk investment, investors will demand a much higher premium, making it that much more expensive to borrow the same amount we currently do. Yeah, turning Treasury notes into junk bonds is a hell of a bad idea. Even floating this idea could destabilize markets, since Trump is not guaranteed to lose in November.

  21. 21
    cleek says:

    yeah but he’s still beating Clinton by 428%.

  22. 22
    JPL says:

    @Alabama Blue Dot: Trump was told by the internets, that China owned all are debt, and therefore owned the US. If he read it on the internet, it must be true.
    At some point, he’ll just deny that he said it, and the media will move along.

  23. 23
    Jack the Second says:

    @Jeffro: Not one of those 16 people was running out of concern for the Union they so love. They were running out of a deep, pure desire to be President. Throwing themselves on the live grenade of Trump might have saved the rest of us, but it wouldn’t have helped make them President.

  24. 24

    he might seek to reduce the national debt by persuading creditors to accept something less than full payment.

    Why does this surprise anyone? How many times did he or his holdings declare bankruptcy? The Dumpster Fire Worldview historically indicates “I can fuck you over anytime I want”. This is more of the same, just with bigger fonts.

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: That’s it, mate, you’ve got the gist of it now.

  25. 25
    Trollhattan says:

    @Luthe:
    I actually fear his habit of build-exploit-fold. It’s his bidnez style and there is no international Chapter 11 to turn to.

  26. 26
    HinTN says:

    @cleek: Please don’t make coffee spew out my nose.

  27. 27
    oldgold says:

    After reading this and ALL that has come before it, I am having a hard time believing they are going to actually nominate him in Cleveland. Is there any chance, any chance, that the powers that be in the GOP say, “enough is enough” and nominate someone else?

    A nominee of a major political party talking about giving all US debt holders a “haircut” is so damn reckless and stupid that it boggles the mind.

  28. 28
    LAO says:

    I really wish, when asked about whether they support Trump, Republicans were asked about the “policies” Trump professes to support. The media shouldn’t let them weasel out of aligning with Trump. It drives me nuts how the media has accorded the Republican party the title of the “Adults in the Room,” when they consistently behave like children throwing a tantrum.

  29. 29
    Shell says:

    Yosemite should be worth a bit on the open market.

    Theres plenty more golf courses to be built.

  30. 30
    Emma says:

    Companies such as TIAA-Cref must be having conniptions.

  31. 31
    StringOnAStick says:

    I’m sure tRump was more than OK with the vulture hedge funds who have pushed and sued Argentina for full repayment of their bonds; at 100%, not at the discounted rate Argentina was willing to pay. Once again, it is only OK if we do it; woe to anyone else who dares to try. Argentina is once again heading into crushing inflation and depression thanks to that. Puerto Rico is getting the shock doctrine treatment as we speak, and the rethugs in Congress are making sure it stays that way by not letting Puerto Rico restructure its debt.

    I have to hope this wakes up a few of the Wall Street MOTU’s; this is your party’s boy, aren’t you a bit nervous at what he’s proposing?

  32. 32
    cleek says:

    @HinTN:
    that’s what noses are for!

    that and holding up your glasses.

  33. 33
    MattF says:

    @Trollhattan: It’s the con artist’s endgame. Leave town.

  34. 34
    Anoniminous says:

    :blink:

    That’s it. He just lost the election. TPTB aren’t going to allow anyone to fuck with their US dollar holdings.

  35. 35
    MattF says:

    @Emma: As would any company that does anything financial. The existence of a zero-risk interest rate is one of the founding axioms of modern finance.

  36. 36
    JPL says:

    @Anoniminous: They think that they can control him.

  37. 37
    Peale says:

    Every gold bug is jumping for joy. “Finally, that crisis that we’ve predicted is just around the corner every six months for the past 40 years is about to happen!”

  38. 38
    PhoenixRising says:

    Good Lord.

    As someone said above, Bernie just wants to jail the banksters, whereas this clown is apparently trying to kill them.

    The cardio ward at Columbia-Presbyterian just filled with sudden heart attacks in relatively young white males in suits…

  39. 39
    Peale says:

    I don’t know. Is this any less sound than $2 Trillion Platinum Coins?

  40. 40
    Chris says:

    @Jeffro:

    This is the thing that 16 of those “deep benchers” could have, should have, stood up and yelled about as long and loudly as they were able: TRUMP. IS. A. MORON.

    Uhhh…

    He’s Sarah Palin in a suit.

    ::gasp:: “You called Sarah Palin a moron? You insulted our hero from Wasilla? You liberal elitiiiiiiist!”

    He’s Joe the Plumber with a couple mil inheritance.

    :: gaspgaspgasp:: “You hate Joe the Plumber too? Oh my God! You RINO! You liberal! You traitor! You all around bad person! I’m never voting for you!”

  41. 41
    Aleta says:

    So Trump wants to destroy the financial system? Is he going after the ‘destroy and rebuild’ vote or the ‘welcome the end times’ vote ?

  42. 42
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Peale: That was kind of nutty, but it was about NOT defaulting. (You’ll notice Obama took pains not to touch the idea with a ten-foot pole.)

  43. 43
    Chris says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    He is a stupider version of Palin, if anything.

    Whoa now.

  44. 44
    scav says:

    The default will be yuuuge! The classiest, gold-plated yoooooogist ever! And there will be classy escalators to ride down into it, with acolytes and blonds arrayed behind — America will be the greatest, classiest, most unpredictable crater the world has ever known.

    On the upside, I think the self-cratering will rather throw up the equivalent of taco-bowl walls, so maybe Mexico is off the hook.

  45. 45
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @srv: It is to laugh.

  46. 46
    cleek says:

    Make America A Great Risk Again!

  47. 47
    Warren Terra says:

    The aspect of this that I haven’t seen discussed is that, yes, it’s insane to suggest the US should try to declare bankruptcy like this, because we can pay our obligations and our creditors won’t have any reason to take less – except there is one big creditor with a conflict of interest: the Social Security and Medicare Trust Fund(s). In theory, they could be compelled to accede to a “haircut” in a way CALPERS couldn’t. So: why is Trump saying he’ll gut Social Security?

  48. 48
    Emma says:

    @MattF: Yeah, but TIAA gets to tell me directly why my retirement funds have taken a dive. Multiply me by millions and it’s going to give them all gray hairs.

  49. 49
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @LAO: Unfair to children throwing tantrums, who are far more dignified.

  50. 50

    @Anoniminous:
    TPTB desperately did not want a default crisis which lowered America’s credit rating. They desperately did not want Trump from day one. They wanted Jeb;.;Their power is greatly overestimated.

  51. 51
    Aimai says:

    @PhoenixRising: LOL! Yeah. Im windering what this does to the various billionsires who were supposed to fund trumps PAC? Maybe even the kich btothers are going to decide they cant afford to let trump near the smell of the oval office.

  52. 52
    dollared says:

    @Calouste: But there’s two ways to do that tax increase – default on the debt, in which case the TBill and savings bond holders pay it, or just print money, in which case people who hoard cash pay it.

    So,This is Trump being so stupid he’s backing into the right conclusion from entirely the wrong reasoning. In a perverse way, he’s absolutely right in line with the economists to the left of Krugman who say you should ignore the debt and just spend on the government whatever you need to maintain full employment.

    So no, you can’t negotiate a default. But you can print money. (wait ’til he figures that out!!) So build those bridges and highways and train systems. Name them all Trump. Then print dollars to pay for them.

    The weird thing is, if he did that, we would have rising wages and higher general prosperity, at least for a while……

  53. 53
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I’m economically financially[?] ignorant on my best days, but what exactly does this mean?

    “I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal.”

    Borrow what?

  54. 54
    WaterGirl says:

    Holy fucking shit. It’s a travesty that Trump is the republican nominee. This makes me want to bang my head against the way.

  55. 55
    Gene108 says:

    Clever way to drown government in a bath tub. As a good chunk of the debt is infra-government borrowing the people, who have to settle with President Trump will be government agencies.

    Hey social security and Medicare, you know those trillions in T-bills you hold to pay old people? You’re getting twenty-five cents on the dollar now.

  56. 56
    PsiFighter37 says:

    He’s a fucking idiot. I was watching him call into CNBC, and none of the flunkies on Squawk Box could be bothered to clarify that bit of craziness.

  57. 57
    goblue72 says:

    Look, what he is proposing is total stupid, for the basis reason it will just increase the rate we have to pay out on Treasuries. That said, as totebaggers are fond of lecturing to Teabaggers, government budgets are not household budgets. And in this case, countries are not companies. The U.S. could certainly tell creditors they are going to take cents on the dollar – again, it would cost us – but we could do it. We could be sued in some court – international or otherwise – but we’re the biggest badass on the block by far. What, Sheriff Yang or Bailiff Franz going to come and repo the Statue of Liberty? Gimme a break.

    And good luck starting a trade war with us. Every country not named China has an economy either in the toilet or about to go down one. And even the bloom is off the China rose. We’re the only healthy economy on the planet – and about the only country to come out of the Great Recession not having made a complete cock-up of its recovery. Europe is basket-case and Japan is going on two decades of cluelessness. Australia is discovering what happens when you entire economy is based on “dig shit up and sell it to China” and most of the BRICs are starting to shit bricks.

    What is true for Iceland or true for Russia or true for France, is not true for the U.S. Relative power around the bargaining table is relevant – and Trump as a guy addicted to the deal is probably grokking off that.

    Is it still a stupid idea because it would cost us more than it would help, in the long term, due to permanently affecting our ability to borrow at the rates we do? Yes. But it’s not as simple as his critics make it out.

    (Also, despite the popular wisdom that U.S. Treasuries are the “best” – a number of OECD member states issue sovereign debt at lower rates than we do. The yield on a 10Y German bund is trading at 0.14%. Equivalent term US Treasuries are trading at 1.78%. The yield on an equivalent term Japanese bond is actually a negative yield currently. Most of this is not related to relative creditworthiness, but to various other factors, from relative strength of currencies, domestic inflationary/deflationary expectations, central bank activity, domestic savers habits, formal national policy in connection with forced purchasing of govt debt, etc. So its perfectly possible for our creditworthiness to erode, but at same time implement OTHER policies which would mitigate upfront borrowing costs. All of which is to repeat – nation-states are not companies)

  58. 58
    Tom Hamill says:

    From the US Constitution:

    “[t]he validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

    So purchasers of US debt are secure from Trump-like shenanigans, QED.

  59. 59
    sunny raines says:

    what else would you expect from a shyster that bankrupted 4 businesses?

  60. 60
    Anoniminous says:

    @JPL:

    They don’t have to control him. They control the media. Clinton is the safe bet since it is certain she will be a Business-As-Usual president to business.

  61. 61

    @goblue72: You should be Trump’s running mate. Such brilliance. Much smarts. Wow!

  62. 62
    WarMunchkin says:

    @SciNY: Yeah, this is the thing I’m getting freaked out over. U.S. Treasury Bonds have to be priced to assess risk of Republican takeover for the foreseeable future.

  63. 63
    scav says:

    There was, of course, the (slight) danger that the media might stop the constant, escalating, attention to him between now and the convention, so he’s got to the keep the waters chummed. Also, it’s a better media event if the convention is contested –and it’s all about the ratings — so lacking the 17, he needs to keep the establishment party riled and rebellious. Plus it will make their capitulation all the more sweet.

  64. 64
    BruceJ says:

    @petesh: When he was giving his oh-so-humble victory speech the other day, with Son behind him looking like a gorram Walking Dead extra, Melania was standing to the side looking at him EXACTLY like ‘I am his KGB handler…’

  65. 65
    WJS says:

    This is how Trump thinks. He comes up with a half-baked idea and then he runs with it. He doesn’t actually believe it, but, like any good executive, he supports it with qualifiers and other half-baked ideas. He repeats it, and he asserts it, and because it’s him speaking, he thinks it arrives with the full authority of his wealth and experience. There’s no need to prove his idea works because many, many of his ideas have worked and therefore this one probably will as well. Once you live your life around conference tables where people can be tricked into signing papers that give you money, everything else is just gravy.

    You don’t accept his idea but so what? He’s rich, he’s in charge, and you’re not so you must be a loser who doesn’t get it. Meanwhile, a bird flew past and now he’s on to something else. Incompetence is too weak of a word for this phenomenon. He’s living in his own world and everyone else is just static that he can ignore.

  66. 66
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I liked Daniel Lin’s tweet: GOP version: Dinosaurs see meteor heading for Earth, endorse meteor because it doesn’t sound like a politician and can’t be bought.

  67. 67
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    One day after assuring Americans he is not running for president “to make things unstable for the country,” the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, said in a television interview Thursday that he might seek to reduce the national debt by persuading creditors to accept something less than full payment.

    Asked whether the United States needed to pay its debts in full, or whether he could negotiate a partial repayment, Mr. Trump told the cable network CNBC, “I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal.”

    Hey, if it worked for my nephew in his Freshman year of college when he maxed out his $1000 credit card to buy Mike’s Hard Lemonade and pot and then, when his parent’s refused to cough it up, fell behind on his payments and had to settle the debt after he lost his job because he kept sleeping in from smoking and gaming all night so he had to sell his Sony Playstation and all it’s games at a yard sale…

    Shit, why can’t it work for the the Richest Nation on Earth® ?

  68. 68
    Anoniminous says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Riffing off of what I’ve said to JPL, above …

    Trump is a creature of the media, nothing more. He will not be able to withstand even 1/10th of the hostile media Clinton has dealt with.

  69. 69
    goblue72 says:

    @Gene108: Well certainly. But “telling China to go take 50 cents on the dollar” gets the rubes excited and not realizing he’s paying for it part by screwing Social Security.

    That said, Congress could just as easily pass a law that U.S. Treasuries held by the Social Security Trust Fund have to be paid out 100%, but all other bondholders do not. We are a nation-state – we can do whatever the hell we want at the end of the day, if there is enough political will for it. And unlike every other country on the planet, we have such overwhelming sheer military and economic might, that we kind of exist in our bubble of special rules. (China, despite the growing size of its economy, has it spread out over 4 time as many people. Per capita, China’s GDP is about 1/10th our ours. Which should put all this into perspective.)

  70. 70
    Amit Joshi says:

    @Tom Hamill: Yep, this!

  71. 71
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Anoniminous: This is o.k. for Trump, though — score it a draw, because Hillary’s going to get 10x the hostile media Trump does.

  72. 72
    goblue72 says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Whatever nutbar. Like I said, its still a stupid idea. Its just that criticism of “what’s Trump gonna do when they repossess Yosemite” are just a dumbass as he is.

  73. 73

    @BruceJ: So is Trump, Martha?

  74. 74

    @Aimai:
    The Koch Brothers funded the Tea Party candidates who thought defaulting on the debt was a good thing. The Kochs believe in complete dismantling of the federal government. This may be the first thing Trump has said that they like.

    The rich are no more monolithic than the poor, and have enough money to refuse to cooperate with anyone else.

    EDIT – @goblue72:

    But “telling China to go take 50 cents on the dollar” gets the rubes excited and not realizing he’s paying for it part by screwing Social Security.

    In this, I agree with you one hundred percent. I don’t think Trump realizes it either. I don’t think half the elected Republican officials realize it, to be honest.

  75. 75
    gvg says:

    That idea is dangerous enough that someone might actually shoot him, after the fact though because apparently a lot of citizens don’t actually believe the experts.
    thinking about the other candidates, I don’t think any of them are actually financially literate though I would have expected JEB to at least have a clue. I guess they didn’t even know enough to argue this with him. After all few if any GOP officials argued with the shutdowns and threat of default. somehow we have lost the guys who knew how things worked. I thought Romney was stupid for considering running again but now I think he is the only one I can think of who could get up there and spell out what a moron he is.
    Trump is always leveraged. Maybe some bankers will call his loans unless he gets out of the race. not takes back this idea, gets out, because he is really dangerous.
    I can’t believe how stupid this is.

  76. 76
    Anoniminous says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    After this I honestly think they’ll hit Clinton for form’s sake but save their bullets for Trump.

    shrug.

    We’ll see.

  77. 77

    @goblue72:

    That said, as totebaggers are fond of lecturing to Teabaggers, government budgets are not household budgets. And in this case, countries are not companies. The U.S. could certainly tell creditors they are going to take cents on the dollar – again, it would cost us – but we could do it. We could be sued in some court – international or otherwise – but we’re the biggest badass on the block by far. What, Sheriff Yang or Bailiff Franz going to come and repo the Statue of Liberty? Gimme a break.

    You write this and I am the nutbar?

    Most of the US debt is owned by us, not China or any other country.

  78. 78

    @goblue72:

    That said, as totebaggers are fond of lecturing to Teabaggers, government budgets are not household budgets. And in this case, countries are not companies. The U.S. could certainly tell creditors they are going to take cents on the dollar – again, it would cost us – but we could do it. We could be sued in some court – international or otherwise – but we’re the biggest badass on the block by far. What, Sheriff Yang or Bailiff Franz going to come and repo the Statue of Liberty? Gimme a break.

    You write this and I am the nutbar?

    ETA: Most of the US debt is owned by us, not China or any other country.

  79. 79
    Face says:

    Too funny, sorta. Sen. PittyPat wont support Trump because he’s duplicitous, fake, phony, conspiratorial, and not a true conservative. Yes, until you get to the 8231st paragraph, where it then says:

    He added that he might consider backing Trump if he says “that Ted Cruz’s dad had nothing to do with killing president Kennedy.”

    So if Trump merely utters a “just kiddin’!”, all of the other stuff is water under the bridge and Light Loafered Lindsey is good to go. Spines are in short supply in SC.

  80. 80
    Calouste says:

    @goblue72: Saudi-Arabia holds a fair chunck of T-bills, as do other Gulf states. No US President is going to survive $8 gas prices if OPEC starts a retaliatory oil boycott.

  81. 81
    Mike in NC says:

    So Drumpf is the candidate all the doomsday preppers have been waiting for. Time to stock up on ammo and canned goods!

  82. 82

    @Anoniminous:
    The media was ‘Both sides are at fault. What an interesting negotiating strategy. Would it even hurt if we defaulted? We do need to reform out of control entitlements, after all.’ when the default hostage crisis happened.

  83. 83
    SRW1 says:

    He’s gonna deny that he ever said it tomorrow. But the ears of the money people will have perked up.

  84. 84
    catclub says:

    @Jeffro:

    He’s Joe the Plumber with a couple mil inheritance.

    And it makes all the difference. Likewise, Sarah Palin and George W Bush are incurious dimbulbs, but one was born into the US aristocracy.

  85. 85
    catclub says:

    @Mike in NC: It would be ironic (ha ha) if, after all the talk that Obama was the Anti-Christ, Trump actually was it.

  86. 86
    Mike in DC says:

    It’s right up there with charging protection money to allies for our military services. I hope Trump floats more of his fascinating “ideas” between now and the convention, so more people can realize how bugfuck crazy it would be to make him prez-o-dent.

  87. 87
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @BruceJ: The KGB doesn’t need Melania when they have Paul Manafort running the campaign.

  88. 88
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    As I always like to point out to people who try to argue Trump is some kind of financial genius, he lost money in a business that consists of people walking in and handing you their money. I mean, you’re some kind of genius if you can lose money that way, but you sure ain’t a financial genius.

  89. 89
    D58826 says:

    @Damien:

    My sister is intentionally disconnected from politics

    She is probably smarter than every one on this blog :-) :-)

  90. 90
    Mnemosyne says:

    @SRW1:

    If Hillary wasn’t getting donations from the financial industry before, she’s getting them now. Their self preservation demands it.

  91. 91
    Germy says:

    What a great time to be a political cartoonist:
    http://www.gocomics.com/matt-bors/2016/05/04

    (I kid, I kid)

  92. 92
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Calouste:

    @goblue72: Saudi-Arabia holds a fair chunck of T-bills, as do other Gulf states. No US President is going to survive $8 gas prices if OPEC starts a retaliatory oil boycott.

    OPEC can do whatever the fuck they want. We’re on a trajectory now where north american supplies are pretty much adequate to our needs, and we’re on a trajectory to reduce our needs from current levels. Now, China and the EU will be fucked…

    This is the challenge of being a Democratic president – one of the better ways to reduce our pressure to get involved in middle-east wars is to drill in places where environmentalists don’t want drilling, to shift to natural gas and open up fracking. When you are forced to step back far enough (as a President must do) the damage to some wildlife preserve is a lot more acceptable than what happened in Iraq. They both suck, but one sucks a lot less than the other.

    Obama pushed things far enough that OPEC doesn’t have anywhere near the leverage over us that they used to have. That gives the country a lot more independence to make decisions that are better domestically.

  93. 93
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @goblue72: Problem is that you lose the dollar as the world’s reserve currency and the gravy train stops. At the moment the US government can print paper IOUs, trade them for goods and services and raw materials on the world market and know most of those IOUs will never come back to be redeemed as they’re too useful for other nations to use to buy and sell oil, commodities, food etc. There are trillions of electronic and paper dollars out there and if the world ever gets the idea that the US will renege on its promises then those dollars will come flooding back into the US to buy up anything that’s worth a damn — land, property, goods and materials while another currency takes over the gravy train.

  94. 94
    Jeffro says:

    This is on topic only because the title of the post is, “Well, This Is Fucking Insane”

    Because this is:http://www.charlotteobserver.c.....37112.html

    Alabama’s passed a law that bans abortion clinics from being within 2000 feet of a school because – get this – school kids shouldn’t be exposed to the images, insults, and possible violence from anti-abortion protestors(!) Truly, the mind boggles…don’t get after the protestors or anything, Alabama legislators…just keep re-writing the (TRAP) laws until you pass over into absurdity.

    This is the kind of stuff that will happen with that “Dark Money” I talked about in earlier posts…they’re going to keep doing crazy stuff like this at the state and local levels no matter who is President.

  95. 95
    NonyNony says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Heh you guys with Trump at the helm the immigration problem will be solved because no one will want to come here anymore. No wall necessary to keep people out.

    Mexico will be building a wal to keep us out.

    Holy crap – I think I’ve discovered Trump’s secret plan to get Mexico to pay for that wall!

  96. 96
    Rick Taylor says:

    “We’re so fucked if this lunatic wins.”

    We’re fucked if he doesn’t win. Other countries are surely listening to this candidate for President and questioning if T-bills really are the perfectly save investment they assumed.

    Hopefully someone will have a word with Mr. Trump and he’ll clarify his comments, the way he clarified his comments that soldiers would be doing warcrimes and they’d do them because he said so.

  97. 97
    Brachiator says:

    This is the thing that 16 of those “deep benchers” could have, should have, stood up and yelled about as long and loudly as they were able: TRUMP. IS. A. MORON. He’s Sarah Palin in a suit.

    Problem is, most Americans are just as dumb as Trump and won’t see anything wrong with this ridiculous proposal.

    So, the fun question is whether the GOP grandees have the courage to do the right thing and declare that Trump is utterly unqualified and dump him. This would obviously risk tearing the GOP apart, but it would save the country. Trump’s only option would be to bellow like a wounded buffalo or to try to hook up with a third party. The Democrats would likely win the election against a last minute GOP replacement, but some level of sanity would be restored, and the GOP might be able to rebuild.

    Or, they have between now and the convention to get Trump edjumicated on economics and probably foreign policy.

    Or, as is more likely, the GOP will hold its nose and hope that Trump can bully his way to victory, and then try to build a congressional wall around him to head off major stupidities.

    Bitcoins, anyone?

    ETA: the google doodle indicates that this is Freud’s birthday. We should ponder how we are now headed toward disaster because Trump could not contain his rage at being laughed at and mocked by Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and how the world could have been saved had someone been able to get this crazy muthafucka Trump into some goddam therapy.

  98. 98
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Jeffro: So they’re going to make it illegal for attractive women to live within 2000 feet of a school to prevent the sex offenders from being there?

  99. 99
    cleek says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    OPEC can do whatever the fuck they want. We’re on a trajectory now where north american supplies are pretty much adequate to our needs, and we’re on a trajectory to reduce our needs from current levels. Now, China and the EU will be fucked…

    fungible commodity, global market, yadayadayada

  100. 100
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Trump Airlines – failed
    Trump casin(0)s – failed
    Trump University – failed
    Trump Vodka – failed
    Trump Steaks – failed
    Trump marriages – failed
    Bankruptcies – four

    But there will be so much winning we’ll get bored with winning.

  101. 101
  102. 102
    NonyNony says:

    @goblue72:

    That said, as totebaggers are fond of lecturing to Teabaggers, government budgets are not household budgets. And in this case, countries are not companies. The U.S. could certainly tell creditors they are going to take cents on the dollar – again, it would cost us – but we could do it. We could be sued in some court – international or otherwise – but we’re the biggest badass on the block by far. What, Sheriff Yang or Bailiff Franz going to come and repo the Statue of Liberty? Gimme a break.

    I don’t think you understand exactly how the world’s economy works these days. We’re the biggest gorilla on the block because we’re the world’s reserve currency. We’re the world’s reserve currency for exactly one reason – because we’re the safest place in the world to loan money to. It’s why all oil is bought in dollars – because everyone knows that a dollar is going to be worth a dollar tomorrow because the US pays its debts.

    If we lose that then we cease to be the world’s reserve currency. And at that point we lose the status that makes us the biggest gorilla on the block. I really don’t want to try to predict what happens next, but I suspect it isn’t pretty for anyone involved.

  103. 103
    scav says:

    @Jeffro: Given what they preach down there, based on evidence, shouldn’t churches be banned from within 2000 feet of a school? Could be a win-win, protects the church-goers from the contaminating influence of education.

  104. 104
    Schlemazel Khan says:

    “You guys! He doesn’t mean it, he’s just saying this stuff to get elected. Once he is in office he’ll play ball with us and everything will be fine. Relax, we got this.”
    – Albert Junker, 1936 speaking at the Berlin businessman’s club

  105. 105
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    Stuck in mod because of the c- word. It’s going to be hard to discuss Trump’s failures without ending up in moderation hell.

  106. 106
    rikyrah says:

    In Deeply Divided Chicago, Most Agree: City Is Off Course
    By MONICA DAVEY and GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO
    MAY 6, 2016

    CHICAGO — The people of Chicago are deeply riven by race, class and neighborhood, distrustful of the police, fearful of the growing rate of violent crime and united chiefly in their disapproval of the mayor’s performance and their conviction that the city is headed down the wrong track.

    These are among findings of a new survey by The New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation, which polled residents of a city that has been upended in recent months by revelations of questionable actions by the police, threats of a teachers’ strike, a school funding crisis and an uptick in violence.

    The poll finds broad discontent with the police and those charged with overseeing them, particularly among African-Americans. Residents expressed concerns about racial bias in shootings by officers and many show ambivalence about whether calling the police will ease situations or not make a difference.

    Residents of Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, appear to have lost faith in many of its essential institutions, including the police, courts and the public schools.

    The sharpest levels of discontent appear among black residents on the South and West Sides. When it comes to hopes for young people, satisfaction with city services and — especially — expectations about interactions with the police, the divide between black and white Chicago is striking.

    “It seems like the police can do anything and get away with it,” Enix Daniels, who is 50 and black and lives on the West Side, said in a follow-up interview. “There are no repercussions. If we do something, we have to pay a bond before we get out. If they do something, they get to sit at their desk.”

    …………………………………..

    In the survey, 62 percent of residents said they disapproved of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s job performance, and only a quarter approved. Among blacks, his disapproval rating is 70 percent.

    Most Chicagoans say they doubt that the mayor cares much about the needs of people like themselves. Among black residents, the feelings are stronger: Only 8 percent believe that Mr. Emanuel cares a lot about people like them, and nearly two-thirds think he cares not much or not at all.

    Responding to the survey’s findings, a spokesman for the mayor spoke of work already underway.

  107. 107
    Brachiator says:

    This is the thing that 16 of those “deep benchers” could have, should have, stood up and yelled about as long and loudly as they were able: TRUMP. IS. A. MORON. He’s Sarah Palin in a suit.

    Problem is, most Americans are just as dumb as Trump and won’t see anything wrong with this ridiculous proposal. And they won’t understand it even if it is spelled out for them, so the media ain’t riding to the emotional rescue on this.

    So, the fun question is whether the GOP grandees have the courage to do the right thing and declare that Trump is utterly unqualified and dump him. This would obviously risk tearing the GOP apart, but it would save the country. Trump would be reduced to bellowing like a wounded buffalo or trying to hook up with a third party, but the Repubs would regain some honor. The Democrats would likely win the election against a last minute GOP replacement, but some level of sanity would be restored, and the GOP might be able to rebuild.

    Or, they have between now and the convention to get Trump edjumicated on economics and probably foreign policy.

    Or, as is more likely, the GOP will hold its nose and hope that Trump can bully his way to victory. The GOP will then try to build a congressional wall around him to head off major stupidities.

    ETA: the google doodle indicates that this is Siggy the Freud’s birthday. We should ponder how we are now headed toward disaster because Trump could not contain his rage at being laughed at and mocked by Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and how the world could have been saved had someone been able to get the Donald into some goddam therapy.

  108. 108
    D58826 says:

    @goblue72:

    The U.S. could certainly tell creditors they are going to take cents on the dollar – again, it would cost us – but we could do it. We could be sued in some court – international or otherwise – but we’re the biggest badass on the block by far.

    And we can a-bomb half the world. It makes no sense to talk about and get everyones nerves on edge that he might do it

  109. 109
    Face says:

    @Jeffro: I read about this, too. And as soon as that provider gets 2001 feet away from a school, they’ll either zone for a new school 1999 feet away or change the law from “2000” to “2005” feet. Ad infinitum.

  110. 110
    Jeffro says:

    @🌷 Martin: I guess! Hey…following their logic, if I gather a few friends and we protest in front of a gun store, legally, they should have to ban gun stores from operating within 2000 feet of a school. I mean I know guns are legal and all (like abortion), but think. Of. THE CHILDREN, legislators!!

    Heck, under this logic, I should go down there and protest in front of the legislature itself…and then see if they shut themselves down so that visiting school field trips don’t have to witness me protesting, right?

  111. 111
    scav says:

    @rikyrah: Work already underway? Well, holes like he and his PD are digging themselves into don’t dig themselves.

  112. 112
    gene108 says:

    @catclub:

    after all the talk that Obama was the Anti-Christ, Trump actually was it.

    As the good folks, who wrote the Bible were unaware of the existence of the Americas, why would the anti-Christ be from the Western hemisphere?

    Shouldn’t we, by default, be exempt from starting the Apocalypse, because we could not have been referenced in Biblical prophecy?

  113. 113
    🌷 Martin says:

    @cleek: That only goes so far. Transportation cost are non-trivial and we still have an export ban on petroleum which means our domestic market is insulated to external prices so long as there’s enough elasticity there (there isn’t, but in theory).

    So 75% of demand is covered by domestic supply. 12% is covered by NAFTA. We’re at least in the ballpark of being able to stave off an oil shock.

  114. 114
    Ken says:

    “In international news, Monaco has been appointed the Trustee in Bankruptcy for the United States. The Monégasque government announced that it would begin auctioning the remaining assets of the former North American nation in April. Monaco narrowly edged out other candidates after pledging strict neutrality in the process.

    “On the lighter side of the news, a record 18,623 people visited the Trump Detention Center today to mock the former leader. Officials attributed the jump in attendance to the recent re-piping of the facility’s sewer system, so that all the flush toilets drain through Mr. Trump’s cell.”

  115. 115
    ET says:

    Is this what he learned form his multiple bankruptcy proceedings? Jebus. This is the Republican nominated for PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES? If he wins we are so fu**ed.

  116. 116
    rikyrah says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    He’s a fucking idiot. I was watching him call into CNBC, and none of the flunkies on Squawk Box could be bothered to clarify that bit of craziness.

    What the phuck is all this CALL-IN BULLSHYT.

    He wants an interview?

    Get your azz on camera.

  117. 117
    🌷 Martin says:

    export ban on petroleum

    export ban on oil. We do import oil and export some petroleum products. Couldn’t edit.

  118. 118
    oldgold says:

    Now he is going after Joe Scar in typical Trump fashion. This afternoon Trump has tweeted:

    Joe Scarborough initially endorsed Jeb Bush and Jeb crashed, then John Kasich and that didn’t work. Not much power or insight!

    hear @JoeNBC of rapidly fading @Morning_Joe is pushing hard for a third party candidate to run. This will guarantee a Crooked Hillary win.

  119. 119
    D58826 says:

    @Face: A lopt of states have that for folks on sex offender registries. The way some are written the only place they can live is the Mohave desert and the break the law taking a bus to report to their probation officer or support group. How did we survive so long as a country with legislators this stupid. Maybe the Brits are right God has a special place in his heart for drunks and americans

  120. 120
    Brachiator says:

    This is the thing that 16 of those “deep benchers” could have, should have, stood up and yelled about as long and loudly as they were able: TRUMP. IS. A. MORON. He’s Sarah Palin in a suit.

    Problem is, most Americans are just as dumb as Trump and won’t see anything wrong with this ridiculous proposal.

    So, the fun question is whether the GOP grandees have the courage to do the right thing and declare that Trump is utterly unqualified and dump him. This would obviously risk tearing the GOP apart, but it would save the country.

    Trump’s would either bellow like a wounded buffalo and go away or try to connect with a third party. The Democrats would likely win the election against a last minute GOP replacement, but some level of sanity would be restored, and the GOP might be able to rebuild.

    Or, they have between now and the convention to get Trump educated on economics. And everything else.

    Or, more likely, the GOP will hold its nose, pretend that all is well, and hope that Trump can bully his way to victory, and then try to build a congressional wall around him to head off major stupidities.

    ETA: today is Sigmund the F’s birthday. We should ponder how we are now headed toward total disaster because Trump could not contain his rage at being laughed at and mocked by Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and how the world could have been saved had someone been able to get the Donald some help.

  121. 121
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    As I always like to point out to people who try to argue Trump is some kind of financial genius, he lost money in a business that consists of people walking in and handing you their money. I mean, you’re some kind of genius if you can lose money that way, but you sure ain’t a financial genius.

    The casino business is actually not a guaranteed license to print money. Atlantic City has been having a lot of problems because other ways and places to legally gamble have gradually come into being and saturated the market: Native American reservation casinos, state lotteries and Powerball, Internet gambling. I recall Vegas was hit hard by the recession; apparently the demand for gambling is not completely inelastic. And big glitzy casinos are really expensive to build.

    Which is not to say that Trump has been particularly savvy building them; quite the opposite. It’s kind of a lousy way to make money these days unless you’re really in it to build enormous monuments to yourself.

  122. 122
    Hal says:

    This a day after my mother told me she thought Donald Trump might be a good president because he’s so good at business. I told he lends his name to companies that go bankrupt. Not such a great model to run a country. That was the second most disappointing comment in the two weeks from family regarding politics. The first was a cousin who told me this was the first time she voted for a democrat in presidential election. Which on one hand, good for her recognizing Trump’s awfulness, but I just looked at her as someone who voted for Palin. And Romney.

  123. 123
    geg6 says:

    @Emma:

    People who have their entire retirement tied up in companies like TIAA-CREF should be having conniptions. I know I am, simply thinking about what this con man says here.

  124. 124
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Brachiator:

    Problem is, most Americans are just as dumb as Trump and won’t see anything wrong with this ridiculous proposal.

    You don’t have to be particularly smart to knock it down; it fails even by the stupid “government as a family budget” standard. People know that if you default on your mortgage or rack up credit card debt you can’t pay, it hurts your credit score.

  125. 125
    Mnemosyne says:

    Oh, and all of y’all who are wringing your hands about “what if” Trump wins?

    What are you planning to do to prevent it? Don’t mourn, organize, goddamnit.

  126. 126
    bupalos says:

    @🌷 Martin: Substantially all of our new supply is fracked wells, production from which drops off a cliff in short order, replacement of which puts you on a treadmill that is falling through a spiral contained in a vortex.

    North American production is able to create a temporary glut, it’s not sustainable even in the most limited sense of sustainable that you might talk about within the fossil fuel market.

  127. 127
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Hal:

    I am going to be very sweet and gentle and encouraging to any Republican who says they’ll vote for the Democrat in November. Mocking and scolding them can wait until AFTER Trump is humiliated at the polls.

  128. 128
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Jeffro:

    Alabama’s passed a law that bans abortion clinics from being within 2000 feet of a school because – get this – school kids shouldn’t be exposed to the images, insults, and possible violence from anti-abortion protestors(!)

    Isn’t this what the courts call a “heckler’s veto”? The argument doesn’t work well in First Amendment jurisprudence…

  129. 129
    agorabum says:

    this is what happens when the MSM normalizes Republicans threatening to default as normal politics instead of absolute insanity and economic self-sabotage. The Republican party proved itself to be economically incompetent at that time (well, plenty of times before, but especially then), and most of the media’s failure to acknowledge that just pushed us further down the rabbit hole.

  130. 130
    D58826 says:

    @Mnemosyne: Maybe even treat them to a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant. Won’t be to expensive since there will only be one or two.

    Lindsey Graham isn’t voting for trump or Hillary. He doesn’t say who or what he will vote for. Isn’t it our civic duty to however distasteful vote for a presidential candidate.

  131. 131
    Elie says:

    @Robert Sneddon:

    THIS THIS THIS

    Problem is that you lose the dollar as the world’s reserve currency and the gravy train stops

  132. 132
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Just realized that saying the name of a certain type of recreational establishment constructed by Donald Trump puts you in automatic moderation…

  133. 133
    🌷 Martin says:

    I think what people might be missing here is just how golden this is. A lot of voters have accused banks and lenders of taking on risk with the full expectation that they would get out at reduced cost if things went bad, something that isn’t extended to working-class people. ‘Real Americans’ pay their bills, even when things go bad. It’s just the right thing to do. These have historically been easy voters for the GOP to pick up – this is what ‘tax and spend Democrats’ is aimed at, this is what ‘fix the deficit’ is aimed at. Trump isn’t just admitting that it’s okay to default, he’s admitting that the ability to default is a rationale to act irresponsibly.

    This strikes right at the core of the independent/moderate Republican. Republicans slip up on ladyparts and foreign policy all the time and survive. But they never, ever, ever fuck up the ‘we pay our way’ message. That is lethal – particularly in the red west/midwest states. These are places where a lot of people still don’t use credit cards. And Trump just went way past any message that even a pro-deficit Democrat would put out there. Clinton is going to bring that up in every debate, in every ad.

  134. 134
    Zinsky says:

    This is just another variation on the theme that “government should be run like a business”, which is utter and complete horseshit! First, businesses are not democracies – they are dictatorships. We don’t want to emulate dictatorships, for obvious reasons. Second, governments don’t need to earn a profit, so they can engage in ventures or invest in projects where the ROI is much lower than would be needed in the private sector. This falls under that catch-all phrase in the preamble to the Constitution about “promoting the general welfare”. Finally, as someone who has worked in both government and private sector jobs, don’t kid yourself that workers in private enterprise are so much smarter and work so much harder than those in government. It ain’t true!

  135. 135
    🌷 Martin says:

    @bupalos: Unless you are buying time for conservation to kick in. Natural gas consumption in CA is falling as we convert gas electricity production to solar.

  136. 136
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Nothing to worry about.
    Take an hour today and register some voters near you.

    Do your bit once a week and we win this thing; White House, Senate & … House!

    Yes.We.Can.

    PS Slacktivism won’t win it, and could possibly lead to losing.

  137. 137
    Revrick says:

    The truly hilarious thing about this stupidity is as plain as what’s written on all US currency: “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” The US government can crank up the printing press any time it wants, and voila, debt paid. Of course, that’d be a dumb move, as it would likely set the dial of inflation on 11, but still it could be done.
    The only thing that matters about the debt is can we service it. And the answer is always, yes.

  138. 138
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    This strikes right at the core of the independent/moderate Republican. Republicans slip up on ladyparts and foreign policy all the time and survive. But they never, ever, ever fuck up the ‘we pay our way’ message.

    You mean except for the entire House Republican caucus in 2011 and 2013? Within weeks it became completely mainstream for a conservative to say a debt default wouldn’t be so bad at all, because the tough love would keep us from spending like drunken sailors.

  139. 139
    D58826 says:

    @bupalos: If we were smart (insert jokes here) could we maintain the treadmill long enough for alternative/green energy supplies to kick in and pick up the slack?

  140. 140
    patroclus says:

    @Revrick: The way we service debt is by issuing new debt. Messing with the full faith and credit clause makes it more expensive to issue debt; hence more expensive to service debt. There is no printing press that we can crank up that can convince bond buyers not to demand a premium (or not buy at all) if we only partially pay creditors. This does not concern currency, which is a very small part of the U.S. debt – this concerns bonds and T-bills.

  141. 141
    Davebo says:

    @bupalos: Porcelain fracking greatly extends a well’s life but you’re still talking five years at best.

  142. 142
    jonas says:

    Andrew Sullivan recently wrote that a Trump presidency would be an Extinction Level Event. Brits are known for their habit of wry understatement.

  143. 143
    Dadadadadadada says:

    @Tom Hamill: Also, if we lose our minds and elect him, that very same clause can be invoked in order to impeach him on Day 1.

  144. 144
    les says:

    this is just Trump getting in line with the Republican House. Sorta sucking up to Ryan. Or at least the Freedum Caucus.

  145. 145
    Keith G says:

    @goblue72: Just to highlight something….Before you make any other comments on this thread, read (several times) the comments linked below.
    @NonyNony:
    @Robert Sneddon:

    There is no upside. There is no marginally bad, but survivable downside. There is nothing but mitigated disaster times 6 billion.

  146. 146
    catclub says:

    @Keith G: So not as bad as unmitigated disaster x 6Billion! That would be bad.

  147. 147
    catclub says:

    @agorabum: This.

  148. 148
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    You mean except for the entire House Republican caucus in 2011 and 2013? Within weeks it became completely mainstream for a conservative to say a debt default wouldn’t be so bad at all, because the tough love would keep us from spending like drunken sailors.

    They never said they wouldn’t pay, in fact they insisted it wouldn’t lead to that. They said they were going to force the government to stop spending in order to get budget considerations. When it became clear that not paying our bills was going to happen, they backed off because they knew it would hurt them.

    They stuck to the core message the whole time. Reality didn’t agree with that message, but they were reliably on message the whole time.

    Trump’s message is ‘we don’t need to pay’. I’ve never heard a Republican get anywhere close to a statement like that.

  149. 149
    liberal says:

    @goblue72: That doesn’t make any sense. As you yourself imply, creditors could sue us and win. It’s written into the Constitution, IIRC.

    It especially doesn’t make any sense because you get the same result without nominally reneging on the debt obligation by just printing money to pay it off. Of course, that would generate lots of inflation, but it’d be legal.

  150. 150
    liberal says:

    @Zinsky:

    Second, governments don’t need to earn a profit, so they can engage in ventures or invest in projects where the ROI is much lower than would be needed in the private sector.

    Actually, the irony is that it’s government that (a) has the lack of short-term-ism, and (b) can ensure there’s no issue of free-riding on others’ investments, so that activities with extremely high ROI can be funded.

  151. 151
    piratedan says:

    tbf… just because Mr. Trump is just as misinformed about sound economic policy as damn near everything else, remember that the sweet sixteen of GOP presidential hopefuls were just as shitty across the board on various flavors of governmental policy, be it immigration, women’s rights, LGBT rights, the civil rights act, education, climate science, etc etc etc… it just so happens that Trump is just a big as fraud on business acumen and economic repercussions of his policy as he is about damn near everything else. The entire roster was a shitburger of epic proportions with their policies, it’s just a matter of flavoring and odor, it all was unpalatable. The remainder of the GOP field was just as likely to burn something else to the ground, be it education, the IRS, the ACA the Supreme Court, world wide economic chaos shouldn’t feel like it was off the table considering all of the other whackadoodle ideas these nimrods would have introduced.

  152. 152
    liberal says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    This strikes right at the core of the independent/moderate Republican.

    Would that it were so.

    Republicans are much more fiscally irresponsible than Democrats, but the crowd you’re talking about believe otherwise. They’re incorrigible.

  153. 153
    Aleta says:

    @🌷 Martin: “Clinton is going to bring that up in every debate”

    I have confidence in Hilary’s intelligence and debate skills and in her organization. Seems possible, though, that the debates will boost Trump’s numbers. He’s a great performer (people can’t take their eyes off him and you don’t know what he’ll do next). He’s got a trained TV audience from way back. He has no problem commanding the space, interrupting and improvising explosions. He’s like a scene stealer who will even elbow in front of the other performer’s moment. For that aspect (not the rational debate part), it might depend more on the moderators’ skill than H’s to overpower him, and even then he’ll play to the audience at home. Personally I wish the mikes could be shut off if needed to equalize the time. They always mention the rules but can’t actually enforce them against a rule-breaker. And given the prize fight atmosphere that cable news goes for, I expect the debates may have more influence than other years.

  154. 154
    MCA1 says:

    Jeezus f’ing keyrist on a popsicle stick. How did we ever get to the point where “Manifestly unqualified, incurious, narcissistic, vindictive, bigoted. vulgar fascist bully” just barely scratches the surface for the presumptive nominee of one of our two major political parties?

    This is multitudes upon multitudes of irresponsible, clueless and stupid. Suggesting that if we run into a recession we can just open up settlement talks with f’ing China and the 250 million U.S. citizens holding some form of T-bill, and the global financial system wouldn’t f’ing explode. Holy hell. I mean, words fail. The global economy is not a Chapter 11 court.

    Hillary should start demanding Trump release his Wharton transcripts, and then just link to this interview.

  155. 155
    quakerinabasement says:

    Uh, a giant chunk of our debt is owed to the American people. Trump is proposing that the government simply keep the money it owes us.

  156. 156
    Original Lee says:

    @StringOnAStick: I was just going to say, I don’t want my country to become a YUUUGE version of Argentina.

  157. 157
    Original Lee says:

    @Aleta: Plus, Trump voters don’t actually care about the substance of the debates. It’s all optics to them and won’t change their minds at all. They might watch the debates if nothing else is available, but they will come out afterwards talking about what a witchy liar Shillary is.

  158. 158
    Botsplainer says:

    @Gene108:

    Those old people who would take the beating? A lot of his donors to date and his most relentless partisans are the old…

  159. 159
    Bob In Portland says:

    From an article at Salon:

    The worst offenders of all are the American left’s cultural warriors, who daily wage some new battle over some imagined cultural offense, which has nothing to do with the lives of normal people but only the highly tuned sensibilities of those in the academic, publishing, and media ecospheres.

    The Hillary supporters have the authoritarian mentality of small property owners. They are the mirror image of the “realist” Trump supporters, the difference being that the Trump supporters fall below the median income level, and are distressed and insecure, while the Hillary supporters stand above the median income level, and are prosperous but still insecure.

    To manipulate them, the Democratic and Republican elites have both played a double game for forty years and have gotten away with it. They have incrementally yet quite comprehensively seized all economic and political power for themselves. They have perverted free media and even such basics of the democratic process as voting and accountability in elections. Elites on both sides have collaborated to engineer a revolution of economic decline for the working person, until the situation has reached unbearable proportions. The stock market may be doing well, and unemployment may theoretically be low, but people can’t afford housing and food, they can’t pay back student loans and other debts, their lives, wherever they live in this transformed country, are full of such misery that there is not a single word that an establishment candidate like Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush says that makes sense to them.

    This time, I truly believe, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them. When they did have a difference to choose from—i.e., the clear progressive choice, Bernie over Hillary, who consistently demonstrates beating Trump by double the margins Hillary does—the elites went for Hillary, even though she poses the greater risk of inaugurating Trump as president. And now you want us to listen to your panic alarms?

  160. 160
    Botsplainer says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Fuck you. Go die.

    And that goes for your paymaster Putin as well.

  161. 161
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Calouste: Yep. The vast majority of US debt is owned by Americans. In retirement accounts – either defined benefit/pension or 401K or as other forms of investments.

  162. 162
    Keith G says:

    @catclub: That’s a good observation on your part. Once again I forgot to thoroughly check what voice recognition figured
    I was saying. Although, this time VR was correct, I just fell asleep on the job.

    DOH!

  163. 163
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @FlipYrWhig: He doesn’t understand fiscal versus monetary policy, as well as cyclical versus counter-cyclical spending. Since 2008 the argument has been that because interest rates are so low, once you look at the multiplier of anything that the government spends that borrowed money on, amortized over the time length of repaying the loans, that the interest rate works out to be in the negative. So Krugman and Delong and Stiglitz and many, many others have been screaming that we should be borrowing now to rebuild infrastructure (power grid – both generation and transmission, as well as alternative energy prospects like solar and wind; roads; bridges; tunnels; airports; schools; hospitals) as well as anything else we’ll eventually have to purchase or rebuild over the next decade because it would have a huge (no irony intended) stimulative effect on the economy. Then, of course, as the economy heats up the brakes are slowly applied and no more borrowing occurs as the effects of the multiplier in terms of tax receipts allows us to pay down both the debt and the deficit while maintaining positive growth.

    What Trump thinks is that if you do counter-cyclical (or even cyclical) borrowing now and there’s an economic downturn, somehow the US can go into bankruptcy court or attempt to knuckle our creditors. The vast majority of whom are Americans.

  164. 164
    Hal says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    This time, I truly believe, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them

    eyes roll right out of head.

  165. 165
    Peale says:

    @Warren Terra: Yep. It is easy to say that “our bonds are worthless now: ergo, social security is now bankrupt” and poof, it’s gone.

  166. 166
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: Don’t forget the USFL! First and 10, do it Again! Bandit Ball!

  167. 167
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @oldgold: As I indicated: Scarborough will not be the VP selection.

  168. 168
    Soylent Green says:

    @Bob In Portland: Hey, Bob, thanks for reminding me why I don’t bother reading anything at Salon.

    If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t goin’ to make it with anyone anyhow.

  169. 169
    different-church-lady says:

    @Shell:

    Yosemite should be worth a bit on the open market.

    Theres plenty more golf courses to be built.

    Think of the water hazards!

  170. 170
  171. 171
    different-church-lady says:

    @MCA1:

    How did we ever get to the point where “Manifestly unqualified, incurious, narcissistic, vindictive, bigoted. vulgar fascist bully” just barely scratches the surface for the presumptive nominee of one of our two major political parties?

    Lots of hard work by conservative media, abetted by spineless GOP leadership. That’s how.

  172. 172
    chopper says:

    @Hal:

    This time, I truly believe, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them

    LOL that’s a blast from the past.

  173. 173
    NotoriousJRT says:

    @Davis X. Machina:
    The dinosaurs are NOT going to be happy if that observation ever reaches them in time.

  174. 174
    bk says:

    @goblue72: Are you insane? Or just trolling?

  175. 175
    NotoriousJRT says:

    @catclub:
    I had that very thought the other day. Since Trump’s pronouncements are so antithetical to the teachings of the guy so many of the Trumpeters that I know proclaim to worship -nearly every hour on the hour.

  176. 176
    Cacti says:

    @Robert Sneddon:

    Problem is that you lose the dollar as the world’s reserve currency and the gravy train stops. At the moment the US government can print paper IOUs, trade them for goods and services and raw materials on the world market and know most of those IOUs will never come back to be redeemed as they’re too useful for other nations to use to buy and sell oil, commodities, food etc. There are trillions of electronic and paper dollars out there and if the world ever gets the idea that the US will renege on its promises then those dollars will come flooding back into the US to buy up anything that’s worth a damn — land, property, goods and materials while another currency takes over the gravy train.

    This. This. This.

    Trump’s plan means the end of the petro dollar for all-time. And the end of the petro dollar means the end of the US as superpower and global hegemon.

    The average American has no idea what an extravagant privilege it is that global commodities like oil are priced in dollars. But boy howdy would they ever feel it if it ended.

  177. 177
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @bk:

    It’s #BernieMath, Jake.

  178. 178
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @Cacti:

    But boy howdy would they ever feel it if it ended.

    and they’d blame Obama, who will leave office with the ship righted after weathering a mighty storm, and headed on a steady course.

  179. 179
    NotoriousJRT says:

    @piratedan:

    I agree.

  180. 180
    Interrobang says:

    Speaking as a Canadian, if this happens, well, it’s sure going to be interesting living in a country with a hard currency, for once, because then we might just have the world’s most stable banking system (like we did during the Great Recession), and a currency petrodollars can get behind. Might be some damn use for the Tar Sands after all…

    Jeez, I’d really and truly and honestly hate for that to happen, but fuck, self-interestedly, wouldn’t it be nice?

  181. 181
    joel hanes says:

    @srv:

    America is just too big and unwieldy. Some restructuring will probably have to happen.

    I’m glad you brought that up — I’ve been meaning to have a talk with you about that.

    Some restructuring is necessary, and we’ve … uh,
    we’ve decided to let you go and leave your position vacant.
    I’m sure you understand.
    We appreciate your many years of service as the Annoying One-Line Dyspeptic Conservative Jackass Troll,
    but given last quarter’s results, we have to streamline operations.

    Leave your userid and password with Gail at the front desk when you leave today.
    The security team will be around in a couple hours to help you pack.

  182. 182
    Heliopause says:

    Well, This is Fucking Insane

    According to Dean Baker, “Trying to make sense of Donald Trump’s comments can be a risky business, but it is actually possible that he got it right.”

  183. 183
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Heliopause: He’s trying way, way too hard to read something sensible into that.

  184. 184
    akryan says:

    I don’t think Trump is insane, I just think that he’s dumb. I don’t think he’s ever actually been a “working” executive of any of his businesses. He’s the president, but he’s never taken on CEO or CFO type of responsibilities. He doesn’t understand the guts of finance. So, he doesn’t ever think through anything that he says because he’s always had people that try to make the fantasy deals that he has, work. The idea that you can restructure the debt of a nation the same way you restructure the debt of a company just strikes him as something reasonable because he’s too ignorant to think through the consequences of it.

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