“Gov’t shutdown: No progress on ending stalemate” Boston.com


"The political stare-down on Capitol Hill shows no signs of easing, leaving federal government functions — from informational websites, to national parks, to processing veterans’ claims — in limbo from coast to coast. Lawmakers in both parties ominously suggested the partial shutdown might last for weeks.
A funding cutoff for much of the government began Tuesday as a Republican effort to kill or delay the nation’s health care law stalled action on a short-term, traditionally routine spending bill. Republicans pivoted to a strategy to try to reopen the government piecemeal but were unable to immediately advance the idea in the House.
National parks like Yellowstone and Alcatraz Island were shuttered, government websites went dark and hundreds of thousands of nonessential workers reported for a half-day to fill out time cards, hand in their government cellphones and laptops, and change voicemail messages to gird for a deepening shutdown."  Boston.com


I remember the last shutdown in 1995.  That was a terrible miscalculation on the part of Gingrich.  This time the blame seems more evenly distributed.

The Tea Party Republicans seem adamant and they are from Gerrymandered districts that probably make them invulnerable to electoral challenge.  Both parties have worked hard and long at the task of dividing the country politically into "safe" districts.  they have been successful at that.  The 8th District of Virginia where I live is a place where no Republican is likely to ever be elected.  The same thing is true of the 7th District to the south.  In that case no Democrat is foolish enough to try,  Eric Cantor is the member from that district.  It wanders across the state and was carefully shaped to protect party interests.

The Democrats are determined to force Republican defeat in this struggle.  Last night they declined to consider in the senate several bill passed in the Republican controlled house.  These bills would have selectively funded parts of the government that the public generally like.  The National Parks are an example.  Clearly the Democrats want the public to feel the pain and attribute the pain the the Republicans. 

I have doubts about the coercive nature of the ACA.  I have doubts about the price structure of the insurance to be generated by the ACA.  I have doubts about the massive subsidies that will be necessary in order to pay for poor peoples' mandatory health insurance.  I have doubts about the extraordinary profits that will be generated for health insurance companies.  I have all these doubts and more, but I would not close the US Government in protest.

Boehner should call the CR to the floor and allow a vote.  He should accept the fact that this is his duty.  If this impasse continues, a major constitutional crisis is inevitable.  pl





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104 Responses to “Gov’t shutdown: No progress on ending stalemate” Boston.com

  1. r whitman says:

    If Obama and the Democrats win this with a “clean resolution” then they also win the debt ceiling debate in 2 weeks.

  2. Governing like life in the Armed Forces is a tough tough business. Many are not up to it IMO!
    For whatever reason both Congress and the Executive Branch and the Armed Forces seem to reflect each day more and more the lack of leadership talent in the USA. Greed and worship of Mammon seems to be the rule of the day in the richest country the world has ever seen but also one in which paying the price of leading evidently was too high for much of America.
    Imagine for example what a tax free zone and 1 million new Chinese immigrants under the age of 40 might do for Detroit. Or perhaps Charles the First could arrange the sale of Detroit to Canada. I have recently learned that I am the first Cumming in five generations to not be a Canadian.

  3. David says:

    Colonel Lang,
    Would a major constitutional crisis be so bad? I once considered myself a liberal Democrat, but for some years I have voted for the Green Party. It would be very hard to convince me that the vast majority of any party officials in either major party have the least interest in what is good for the country or even for their individual constituents.
    This has been a country run by and for the corporations for so long, that there seems little hope for it.
    Maybe a constitutional crisis might change that dynamic?

  4. VietnamVet says:

    I agree with you 100%.
    Americans have successfully convinced by corporate propaganda that big government is bad. I bet most citizens know that they aren’t receiving services equal to the taxes paid. However, us old farts remember when government provided protection from corporate predators and the wealthy paid taxes appropriate to the graft they took in. Today, we are easy game and the money flows offshore.
    The House Republicans have taken this one step further. They know government is evil. Shutting it down is good. This is going to drag on to the federal debt defaults. We shall then see if the President has the balls and opens the government for work. Citing the 14th Amendment, he pays the bills without having the House’s approval.

  5. Laura Wilson says:

    WIN…the debt ceiling? Hello, you don’t want to pay the debts we have already incurred? Really? What MBA School does that come out of?

  6. Castellio says:

    Sorry to have lost you.
    My opinion is that we are seeing one of the weaknesses of the Republican system. In a parliamentary system, if major legislation fails then it is understood to be a vote of no-confidence and that the government no longer has the support of the people. An election is called. The reason for the non-confidence usually becomes the central issue of the campaign.
    Thus, there is an immediate and proven way to get rid of an unpopular government, or, from the other side, to confirm the will of the people.

  7. zanzibar says:

    A treasury debt default is bogus and just more fear mongering. Interest expense is $400 billion. Total federal government receipts are around $2,700 billion.
    Now if Congress decides that the government cannot borrow from future generations any more (something less likely than a giant meteor hitting planet earth). Then they can’t spend more than they tax. Yes, for some that is catastrophic but for others like today’s toddlers it maybe exactly what the doctor ordered.

  8. nick b says:

    In the abstract, this has been very interesting to watch. In yesterday’s Washington Post there was a very insightful discussion between Ezra Klein, and Robert Costa of the National Review, about why Speaker Boehner won’t or can’t bring a ‘clean’ continuing resolution to the House floor for a vote: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/01/why-boehner-doesnt-just-ditch-the-right/
    Last week we received platitudes from leaders of both sides explaining that a government shut down wasn’t going to happen. But that line was crossed, with relative ease. It’s a problem, to be sure, but we’re still on ground that has been tread upon before. Things will get considerably more ugly if the debt limit comes and goes and the United States defaults on its debts. There is no precedent for this, and no one knows just how bad it could be. (It will be very, very bad.)
    As an interesting aside on US debt, many debt instruments are hedged or insured through the use of credit default swaps (CDS). Basically it’s insurance in case your bond defaults, your counter party will make you whole on your investment, and they’ll own the defaulted instrument. You might think there is a huge market for CDS on US Treasury instruments, but there isn’t. The market puts so little risk on US Treasuries than no one feels the need to insure against default. Default is, in essence, unthinkable.
    So this week I’m hearing platitudes from leaders on both sides that default will not happen. Why am I not assured? Should the Congress decide that default is just another line to cross, and head the country into it, a constitutional crisis could easily arise around efforts to avoid default through the 14th amendment. In fact, I’m not sure how it’s avoided. But it may not even matter. These things don’t happen in a vacuum. It’s conceivable that the rating agencies could downgrade our debt preemptively should we get too close to the drop dead date, causing sell offs and general market chaos even without default. And should the unthinkable happen, and the US actually default on its debt? Well, there will be no getting the genie back in that bottle. For the US will have defaulted not because we were unable to pay, but unwilling. Our credit, and our global standing, may never be the same again.

  9. zanzibar says:

    This is nothing but partisan politics at it’s finest. It’s all about perceived political advantage.
    Go back to the budget battles during the Carter and Reagan era. Was anything really accomplished?
    In any case government debt has continued to grow as our government spends more than it took in for decades now. What will change at some point is that interest rates will no longer decline because it just can’t. Then rollovers become more expensive.

  10. Will Reks says:

    From what I can understand neither party has any great incentive to fold over the shutdown. Obama can’t allow the Republicans to kill his only significant accomplishment of note and the Republicans can’t allow the working class to have a greater reason to vote Democrat.

  11. Norbert M. Salamon says:

    Not being Constitutional lawyer, nor a USA citizen, I do see that the 14th Amendment would force the USA into default of the current bonds, if and only if, the president uses the interpretation that the government would have to pay interest, and borrow the money thereto from the Federal Reserve, which is not effected by the lack of budget for the next fiscal year.
    However, if I am correct, the President does not have constitutional authority to get a budget to operate the government – or pay any bills not authorized by Congress; therefore, I can not see how
    “the president has the balls and opens the government for work”
    for the government needs Congressional action to have operating funds.

  12. jerseycityjoan says:

    I think the people eager to confront — and to their way of thinking — “win” against the president and the Democrats and what they represent tot hem felt great on Sunday night, and still felt pretty good yesterday.
    I think they won’t feel so good by next week or the week after that. But at least they’ll have gotten over whatever was in their system that just had to come out, and we can all go on from there.
    That, at least, will be a blessing.

  13. jerseycityjoan says:

    Turning to the larger question of the fate of the Republicans and Democrats in the future, I do not see the rough parity between the two major parties lasting much longer.
    There will be far more low income immigrant voters who have no place in the current Republican Party in 12 years, and many of their current older white voters, sadly, will not longer be able to cast their ballots for anyone. I also expect that going forward, there will be a considerably larger number voters from long term American families who will also be lower income who, again, are of no interest to the current leadership of the Republican Party.
    The Republicans do not have the current under 30s, either. They may gain some as they get older, but not as many as they might have in prior generations. Too many will remain too needy to become Republicans.
    California is an not a typical state but take a look at these numbers. They did surprise me:
    “California has reached an all-time high of 18.2 million registered voters, while the number of registered Republicans has fallen below 30 percent, signaling a worrisome decline for the state’s minority party, officials said Friday.”

    “The GOP now has about 1.5 million more voters in the state than those registered as having no party preference, previously called decline-to-state voters. Independent voters account for 21 percent of the electorate.
    Democrats make up 43.7 percent of voters, a slight decline from four years ago. The raw number of registered Democrats has been climbing, while the number as well as percentage of Republicans has fallen.”
    Look at that 21 percent for Independents. There is where the new third party — the moderate one that I hope for, the one in which the interests of nonelite Americans will come first — may be perhaps be found.

  14. Stephanie says:

    There’s no point in agreeing to piecemeal funding because Boehner has stated that there is no change in the ultimate goal of inflicting damage on the ACA, which is, like it or not, the law of the land and okayed by the Supreme Court.
    The Medicaid expansion in the ACA is aimed at helping the poor, but the people who will be helped by the law if it succeeds include middle and lower-middle class people. Small businesses also. Difficulty in obrtaining affordable health insurance isn’t just for the poor any more…..

  15. Grimgrin says:

    A crisis is always tempting because it lets one imagine new possibilities. I’m not immune to it myself, “If only we could just clear away the old dross and do what’s best and what would work”. It’s almost never the most reasonable and levelheaded who prevail when the rules break down though.
    The problem in this case that I see is that to resolve this logjam without the House Republicans changing their mind the US government has to spend money without an appropriation bill. Any crisis would therefore likely involve implicitly removing or weakening Congress’s “power of the purse”. This would be a radical shift of power away from the legislature towards the executive, even by the standards of a century marked by ever expanding executive power. The consequences of that might never be felt, so long as everyone who gets elected president is a good and decent person with no desires that would lead them to abuse their authority.

  16. bth says:

    Public disgust is bi-partisan and overwhelming. It may morph into an anti-incumbency movement. Both parties are likely to find that the 2/3rds of this country that generally agree on most things in moderation have had enough.

  17. Mark Logan says:

    Vietnam Vet,
    The deal struck with the private insurance industry is that 80% of their gross has to be spent on medical bills, which is better than the 70% they spend now.
    I’m not upset by preserving the US private HC insurance industry just yet. The example of the German system demonstrates it can work, and work very well. The Germans practically write the policy’s for them, so the major arena for competition between the players is administrative efficiency.
    As good as it gets, IMO.

  18. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Here’s the irony: for all the talk about “gov’t shutdown,” the fed gov’t has not shut down. The “essential functions” of gov’t, to which vast majority of gov’t spending is directed at, continue. Many people suffer, either their livelihood threatened (directly or indirectly) or at least seriously inconvenienced, as the consequence of these, but they are left in the lurch by political calculation–they are not politically consequential enough to have spending on their account covered as “essential.” Both Democrats and Republicans are happy to play this game, possibly for a long time, because, in practice, the political costs they pay is relatively limited. In some sense, underneath all the grand rhetoric, the whole thing is an irresponsible game dishonestly conducted. This is sickening.

  19. JohnH says:

    I expect BO to back down shortly. The man can be blackmailed, which is why Republicans continue to raise the stakes. At least this time he didn’t give everything away before going to the negotiating table, as he did in December, 2010.
    I also expect that he will get Republicans to agree to his proposal to cut Social Security and military pensions via the chained CPI. Once that inviolable wall has been breached, cuts will be piled onto cuts.

  20. jon says:

    The shutfown is almost entirely the fault of House republicans, particularly the Tea Party strain. Obamacare/ACA is simply the pretext. If they wipe that out, they will bring up another hobby horse and foment another crisis To think, that republicans used to be the sober party of fiscal responsibility and careful finance. The shutdown is apparently costing us $300 million a day, so the petulant House can make its point.
    Some Republicans may be in unassailable seats, but not all are. A sufficiently upset public may turn them out. Republicans are already looking at demographic oblivion, and all their gerrrymandering and voter disenfranchisement efforts may not be sufficient to hold an electoral majority after the next few cycles.
    Obama has previously been far too willing to compromise, and has retreated from contests of will with Congress. That has led the republicans to consider him easy meat. If he had held fast and allowed the Bush tax cuts to expire, we’d have much more revenue now, helping to reduce the deficit, and also keeping us away from the debt ceiling a bit longer.
    I’m no constitutional scholar, but seems that the House leadership might be subject to impeachment proceedings for their vast dereliction of duty and placing the government and country in harms way. This has been the least productive Congress since the Civil War, yet they have managed to hold 42 votes to rescind the ACA. The have refused to vote a budget, perhaps their most basic task.
    It would be a mistake to forge deals short of a full budget, and a clean lifting of the debt ceiling. Continuing Resolutions and temporary fixes only allow for this game to be repeated, likely in less favorable political circumstances.
    Similarly it would be a misjudgment to fund favored portions of the government and not others. We saw how that worked when air traffic control was released from the sequester, because it disproportionately inconvenienced business travelers and the affluent. The sequester was supposed to gore everyone’s ox sufficiently to get a budget deal done; now it’s the new normal. If there are parts of the government that should be shrunk or programs to be cut, it should be done through the budget process.
    As for Obamacare/ACA, it’s supposed to pay for itself, by bringing in more healthy young people who will be purchasing insurance plans, by raising rates on some affluent people, and by reining in costs. We shall see how that works out.

  21. MM says:

    The votes are there, in the House, to pass a clean CR.
    John Boehner won’t bring it up for a vote because he’s running for re-election next year in Ohio and he’s afraid of a Tea Party challenge in the Primary – along with the fear of losing his Speaker of the House position if he allows a vote.
    This is all on Boehner to do the right thing FOR THE COUNTRY and allow a vote.

  22. CK says:

    Just a personal observation, so far have not missed anything important in my existence due to the government taking a vacation. Less meddlesomeness is always a benefit.
    It might be two weeks or so before a deal is struck, enjoy the time off — the IRS the NSA and the various other meddlers will be back and nothing will change.

  23. Lamoe2012 says:

    What I find irritating about this whole situation is the US is 12 Trillion in debt. The Fed is buying billions mortgage and other bonds per month to keep down interest rates. This shut down will be nothing compared to what will happen if the dollar tanks, or we have our Greek moment. If interest rates get above 4 percent the money used to pay on the debt will consume a large chunk of tax revenues. That will trigger either higher interest rates to attract buyers of US debt putting us in a spiral I don’t want to think about, or cause the markets to dump US debt. Either or you would have a problem paying basic Government services let alone this on going health care train wreck.
    The political ineptness of the Republicans is simply breath taking. They can’t get the WH back and they lost the Senate. There are people who think we will never see another Republican President again. The Tea Party is the only political group I know of who are trying to keep the US from blowing it’s fiscal head off (With little to show for it I might add). The left seems to think we can tax anything productive that moves and that will solve everything. What a mess!

  24. Robert C says:

    Agree…only govt employees hurt….and people who had a trip to a National Park planned. These episodic govt shutdowns could be eliminated by congress ending the exemption for the FAA and air-traffic controllers. Corporate America (airlines, hotels) simply would not stand for closure of all airports.

  25. nick b says:

    The Anti deficiency act of prevents obligations or expenditures that exceed appropriated funds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antideficiency_Act
    To spend money without appropriation is a crime that can be punished by imprisonment. What I believe you are suggesting is already illegal.

  26. scott s. says:

    I can see things going in different directions. But I am a bit concerned that the general run pf comments seem (to me anyway) to portray opposition to ACA as political posturing, or part of an ulterior motive of damaging the President’s stature. I believe we have to consider the possibility that opposition to ACA is sincere, and ignoring that opposition could be dangerous. I think back to Kansas-Nebraska which was the “law of the land” and many “reasonable” politicians thought that moderates would prevail, as they had in the compromises of 1850. But K-N had the opposite effect — it greatly polarized opinion at the North and created a situation where citizens and politicians with the more strident views were moved to the fore-front. Look at the candidacy of Fillmore in 56 — this was your quintessential “adult”, “moderate” and it went nowhere. Moderates were forced to go one way or the other.
    Note that “limiting dates” for appropriations, as well as the Congressional budget, are merely conveniences established by Congress to provide a control on the executive branch (aside from the limit on appropriations for the Army). My understanding is that limiting dates were imposed in the latter 1800s due to executive departments accumulating “slush funds” from prior appropriations. The Congress also passed the Anti-Deficiency Act, which is typically referred to as a 3679 violation after the section in the old Revised Statutes enacted as Section 7 of the 1871 Appropriations Act.
    As far as the debt, it seems that it is impossible for a sovereign that borrows and repays in its own currency to default in any but a paper sense.
    Also note that Each House shall be the Judge of Qualifications of its own Members, and Each House may punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member. I further note that expulsion has mainly been used against Senators who represented Confederate States. Something to consider.

  27. Tyler says:

    Ahahaa, really?
    Let’s remember that the ACA had to be shoved through via parlimentary fiat by claiming it was ‘budget’ related, and that the tax for not having insurance wasn’t a tax but a ‘penalty’.
    At least until Roberts decided he wanted to keep on being invited to cocktail parties and decided, no really, it was a tax, which SHOULD invalidate the whole thing.
    Law of the land? Really? From a President who refuses to enforce our immigration laws or any other laws he finds inconvenient? Give me a break with this pious bullshit.

  28. Tyler says:

    Yes, we’re likely heading towards a Constitutional crisis, but we’ve ignored the rule of law for so long now that G-d only knows how the chips are going to fall.

  29. Tyler says:

    I like how the wording changed from “essential” and “non essential” to “furloughed” and “non furloughed”.
    The business of essential government is still going on. People are still reporting to work in my neck of the woods and things are getting done.
    However if we were open air monuments we’d probably be barricaded in passive aggressive fashion in order to score political points.
    This government is too big and too unwieldy, as is this country. Hope for a velvet divorce. Then the guys in the Fantasy Islands can recreate the dysfunction that is California in their backyard by importing tens of millions of meztizo peasants.

  30. optimax says:

    The Republicans have failed 41 times to repeal the ACA and now hold the government hostage to get their way. I think they are afraid the average person will find Obamacare beneficial. Of course it is a far from perfect law and can hopefully be improved, if we can elect a congress that works for the people and not just the corporations. Opening the national monuments, or any piecemeal legislation, to hide the implications of a gov shutdown, is strictly cosmetic. The best way I see this ending is an salmonella outbreak sickening and spreading uncontrollably throughout Texas due to the FDA being unable to do its job.

  31. ISL says:

    Most of the idiot debate in the media misses the point. Our (!) govt is demonstrating its dysfunction and untempered ability to apply its dysfunction to the overall economy. It has had two effects on me and my employees – 1. the lab is closed on Monday, and 2. a number of planned investments are on permanent hold,so the real effect on the real economy will be from the uncertainty and unpredictability being imposed by the irresponsible children voted in because the alternative was other irresponsible children. Other businesses (except those with near monopoly power like much of the FIRE industry) I am sure are being affected and responding in similar ways.
    If congress and the president want to have a fight about ACA (or anything), they should not be fighting by slamming the public against the wall to see whether the slam on the democratic wall or the republican wall hurts the American public more! And these same idiots then claim the world wants to be like Americans and implement our form of democracy?

  32. MM says:

    Just because something doesn’t effect you then it’s okay to deny my military family support in he form of WIC?
    You think the only function of government is that of spies and taxmen?

  33. The US now sending a message that it lacks both hard and soft power!

  34. GulfCoastPirate says:

    The ‘parliamentary fiat’ of which you speak was the exact same ‘parliamentary fiat’ used to pass Bush’s tax cuts which, other than Reagan’s stupidity and dishonesty, did more than anything to get all of us in this mess.
    Facts matter. If the ACA is illegitimate and should be rescinded then intellectual honesty demands you call for an end to the tax cuts also.

  35. GulfCoastPirate says:

    This is a dishonest intellectual argument as the government DOES NOT take in $2700 billion which it can use to pay interest or other discretionary items. The majority of that $2700 billion is Social Security and Medicare payments. These monies are dedicated to those programs alone although the surpluses are used to purchase Treasury notes that can be used for other purposes and yes, SS and Medicare do run surpluses. The Republican idea that entitlements have to be part of any budget deal is nothing more than a con game to use those monies for other purposes so their precious tax cuts can be extended.
    What is going on here is very simple and the President and Senate are correct in not negotiating AT ALL with the Republicans in the House. The Republicans say they want to cut government but they won’t tell us where or what they want to cut nor do they want to be put out on a political limb by voting for these cuts. In fact, they can’t even get the cuts necessary to move towards Ryan’s budget through their own caucus as we all witnessed with the fiasco surrounding the recent farm bill vote. They are more than willing to vote for deficits with a few cuts thrown in as bones to their base then use the budget and debt limit as a way to force Democrats to accept cuts which gives their cutters the political cover they need in order to make cuts. It now looks as though the cuts are ‘bipartisan’. This is precisely why many liberals like myself were so upset when Obama went through this charade with these Republican clowns the first time he did so.
    If the Republicans really want cuts and a balanced budget then they should have the balls to do it in broad daylight and not try to hold the rest of the country hostage to their dishonesty. Obama has to force the Republicans to back down 100% or this nonsense will never end and as this goes on and people realize what is happening that is exactly what the Republicans will be forced to do. Use the 14th Amendment if he has to but under no circumstances should he give an inch to these scoundrels and extortionists.

  36. GulfCoastPirate says:

    This is not going to be possible as he could never get it through the Senate. You don’t negotiate with blackmailers and extortionists. Obama has no choice now except to go to the mat and see this thing through once and for all.

  37. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Astute observation about the public option. I personally prefer single payer as it is more efficient and I don’t have a big problem with the ACA as I think it will work better than many would believe and is much better than what the country had before (although it makes no difference to me personally as I could always afford health insurance); however, Obama caused himself a lot of problems with the ACA approach. We should have just allowed those who want and need insurance but can’t get it on the private market for whatever reason to buy into Medicare and been done with it.
    I’m still waiting for one of these old, white farts on Medicare who declare themselves tea people to throw away their Medicare card and beg to be put back into the private market. Just one – has anyone seen just one?

  38. robt willmann says:

    A detailed discussion of the Un-Affordable Care Act was presented on the website of Paul Craig Roberts, who was an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during the Reagan administration, among other things, and who held high security clearances during some of his government work. Roberts is an economist and writer who received a PhD from the University of Virginia. However, this analysis of the Obamacare law was not done by him, but by a person who wishes to remain anonymous and so Paul Craig Roberts published it on his website. It is worth reading more than once even though it is longer than most articles about the Act I have seen. Roberts writes a short introduction, and then the analysis starts with “Obamacare: Devils in the Details”–
    The discussion of the Act includes the fact that the “tax credit” to help with insurance premiums can be in some instances a loan you have to pay back, and that some Medicaid benefits might be recovered from the recipient’s estate! Obamacare also creates a whole new concept — Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) — which is not to be confused in any way with the wonderful little story, The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry.
    The fact that the health care law was essentially drafted by the health plan companies and the pharmaceutical industry has been widely disclosed, with a couple of articles here–
    And depending on what the federal poverty level is and the MAGI, in some cases a corporation can shift workers making low enough wages onto Medicaid–

  39. Fred says:

    So are the heroic members of the FSA getting their (our) money? How about all that foreign aid? Ok, enough of the snark. As the host points out, the gerrymandered districts pretty much make individual Congressional members immune from challenge without a very strong groundswell of opposition. That’s how the ‘Tea Party’ came into being. Unlike the “Occupy WallStreet” movement they actually got people elected. We’ll see if this gets anoyone voted out of office. In the mean time I’m sure there’s plenty of bi-partisan grass-roots fundraising going on.

  40. nick b says:

    “As far as the debt, it seems that it is impossible for a sovereign that borrows and repays in its own currency to default in any but a paper sense.”
    If you’re interested, Steven Schwarcz from Duke Univ law school has an upcoming article about roll over risk in US debt. It goes into discussions of default,technical default, its consequences and potential remediation. Here’s a link to the site where you can download the article: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2307569
    It’s a fairly quick read at 38 pages. I’d be interested to get your take on it, vis-a-vis your quote above.

  41. CK says:

    No, I notice that parts of the government are good at using deadly force against people too.
    An inept government that also stops paying its military is a soon discarded/replaced government.
    As for your need for government assistance beyond your salary, I am not denying them to you; but it is blindingly obvious that your employers do think it is ok to do so.

  42. Laura Wilson says:

    The pious bullshit of which you speak is the Constitution of the United States…are you not an American?

  43. Will Reks says:

    The debt is actually a bit higher than 12T now. That was the talking point from a few years ago.
    Republicans will get another President just as soon as they stop acting like Leninist revolutionaries. It doesn’t take much to win a few more percentage points of independents and moderates.
    The government responded to the high debts after WWI and WWII with tax rates that reached 91% on the highest bracket. No one is seriously considering a return to the tax rates of the 1950s.

  44. Edward Amame says:

    The lying and posturing and spinning around the shutdown is nauseating. A perfect example is the videotaped dressing down of a Park Ranger for doing her job by one of the Congress people directly responsible for the Park Ranger’s actions that the Congressman from TX supposedly found so reprehensible.
    Col Lang has called it correctly. The Speaker of the House simply needs to jettison the Hastert “Rule” and allow a vote on a clean CR to proceed to the floor and the shutdown is over.
    If I have to again, like I did in 2011, sell all of the stock in my retirement account in advance of another potential default, I will, again, be pretty unhappy.
    We do not deserve this.

  45. turcopolier says:

    Laura Wilson
    “Are you not an American?” That’s a bit much. Tyler served two tours in the infantry as an enlisted soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think his credentials as an American are pretty good even if you don’t like his opinions. pl

  46. Tyler says:

    Good grief you’re dense. Repeal the tax cuts for all I care. You’re still stuck in your binary “Democrats GUD Republicans BAD” paradigm I see.

  47. Tyler says:

    I guess “government health care” appears right next to “executive order” in the Constitution then? Oh wait, because they’re not there, much like the President doesn’t have magical powers to waive laws he doesn’t like at his discretion, because he is not an emperor.
    Seriously, if you want to bleat about “rule of law” then why the hell aren’t Obama’s aunt and uncle, both under orders of deportation, on a one way trip back to Africa?

  48. Jose says:

    CBS polls shows 76% of the American people want Obama to negotiate with the Republicans and only 44% blame the Republicans.

  49. Tyler says:

    Seriously don’t speak piously to me about “r-r-r-rule of law” when I see first hand what a joke the enforcement of the INA is because of political appointees deciding what laws we will and will not enforce today.

  50. Fred says:

    California is about to allow those here illegally to vote. Where is that in the Constitution?
    Michigan is going to allow those here illegally to attend state universities with in state tution. US Citizens out of state, including veterans like myself (a FL resident when on active duty an in college) get to pay out of state rates. How nice to be seperate but equal as a veteran. Why should I subsidize via my federal tax dollars this action by the state of Michigan?

  51. zanzibar says:

    I don’t want to get in the middle of your partisan tribal war. I am a registered independent and detest both parties and contemporary politicians in general.
    The point I was trying to make is that default of treasury debt – marketable treasury bills, notes & bonds – is pure fear mongering. The Constitution requires that the first priority of federal government receipts is to pay interest and principal on those treasury debt instruments.
    Now, you are absolutely correct that the Social Security Trust Fund is an euphemism, since payroll taxes are spent right away and the federal government swaps it with a non-marketable treasury security. The Trust Fund cannot sell that security in the market and raise cash to pay it’s obligations. It is in essence a deferred tax or deferred borrowings on future generations.
    Do you know the last time the federal government did not increase it’s debt outstanding? Both Democrats & Republicans are responsible for the situation of continuous growth over many decades in the government’s debt – the spread between expenditures & receipts that have been papered over. If interest rates can keep going down as it has for the past 30 years then as we have seen we have continually increased the leverage in our economy. When that changes and rates stop declining then you will witness the start of the real fights. The real wars on the sharing of the pie. You aint seen anything yet!

  52. Former 11B says:

    Same polls say only 33% blame Democrats. Selective quoting at its best. The GOP is on a sucide mission and will get its wish. Sure you want to be on that boat?

  53. Former 11B says:

    Political posturing at its best. Hard to believe someone like him is in any position of power.
    The people in his district that elected him deserve every measure of this

  54. Norbert M. Salamon says:

    Your analysis of the income of the USA Government” is correct.
    What you have left out that the USA Government has no [or at most very limited] funds for discretory spending [that is any spending after Social Security, Medicare and the interest on Government Debt].
    While it is true that the USA government could negate both Social Security and Medicare in theory, it could not do so in practice [extending contribution ceiling, mean testing, et al would ease the problem, but would not make much room for discretory spending] The interest due is part of the 14th amendment, and one would presume that the Social Security Trust fund has equal right to the interest as the Sovereign or private creditors of the USA.
    Under the prevailing economic conditions [thanks to the great recession] there is no way to balance the USA budget, only possibility is to reduce the annual deficit – especially due to demographics of an aging population when wages are concurrently falling in real terms [not forgetting the loss of income for those who have savings due to ZERO INTERST POLICY of the Feds [ I do not remember where the amount of lost income due to ZERO interest was estimated, but the figure indicated multi trillion over the last five years].

  55. Will Reks says:

    I think Obama is quite willing to negotiate over debt reduction and funding levels. He might as well resign if he’s going to give in to extortion over Obamacare.

  56. Tyler says:

    All that means is that 56% of America is rayciss! :O

  57. Edward Amame says:

    Negotiate, Jose? This is an appropriate response to that characterization from Jedd Legum’s twitter feed:
    Can I burn down your house?
    Just the second floor?
    Let’s talk about what I can burn down.

  58. different clue says:

    The idea that entitlements have to be part of any budget deal is not just a Republican idea. It is President Obama’s idea too, and I believe Obama still wants to achieve it. Obama has long wanted to be the historic Democratic President who achieves a “Nixon-goes-to-China” degradation and attrition of Medicare and especially Social Security. He calls it the “grand bargain”.
    I believe Obama wants to do his part to build up the pain and pressure for so long that an opportunity can open up for him to achieve his Social Security cuts in return for Congress voting to raise the debt ceiling. If the House Republicans are not too personally offended in order to cooperate with Obama in getting Social Security cut, then he can achieve it unless every single Senate Democrat opposes it. And Durbin (and perhaps several others) have already said in the past that they support cutting Social Security
    as part of the Grand Bargain.

  59. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Not especially familiar with the article on Roberts’ web site, but the argument is plausible enough, even in big picture sense: the ACA does nothing about the core of the problem–that US pays awful lot for medical care that is decidedly mediocre among the high income countries, and merely shifts the economic burden around through the government. Both the conservatives and liberals critiqued the law for this reason, but, given that BHO is literally married to the health care industry, fat chance that we’d have been able to reform that at the present time.
    In some sense, even if we could assume (and that’s assuming a LOT) that Reps are honest in their arguments against ACA, the whole alleged gov’t shutdown reeks of foolishness and irresponsibility. The gov’t didn’t shut down enough that enough Americans would really feel the impact and punish the perpetrators, but enough of it stopped functioning that many people suffer. And no one is doing anything to seriously address the many deficiencies of ACA instead of calling names.

  60. The Twisted Genius says:

    Seems that Boehner has signaled that he had no intention of letting the nation default by failing to raise the debt ceiling. By doing this he is risking his swanky office, his Speaker of the House position and an angry Tea Party primary challenge in his next election. If he’s in it for that, then he might as well just go for broke and schedule a vote to fund the government with a continuing resolution. Then budget negotiations can begin. Right now sequestration will still be in place and the government will be forced to shrink in an awkward, ham handed manner.

  61. jmc5588 says:

    Back on the campaign trail in 1976, then Governor Jimmy Carter pledged if elected to provide a government as good as the American people themselves. ‘Twould appear this ideal has been realized at last.

  62. Tyler says:

    I’d like to take a moment and remind everyone that the ‘law of the land’ includes building a wall on the southern border. A law that was…wait for it…defunded by Pelosi and Reid.
    We are not breaking new ground right now, so let’s try to keep the hysteria about ‘fairness’ or whatever down to a dull roar.

  63. Jose says:

    More polling showing a shift to the Republicans, the longer this madness goes on the more Americans hate ObamaCare:

  64. jerseycityjoan says:

    What flashed through my mind when I read your comment was:
    “We aren’t willing to go through any shrinking pains”
    And shrinking pains are in order.
    We are not what we were in 1980, 1990 or even 2000.
    Conditions in the world have changed, our position in the world has changed but we are killing ourselves with borrowing and neglecting our own people and our own needs to keep up a pretense.
    We are way overdue with a reality check. I long for the day when we present a realistic view of ourselves and our capabilities to ourselves and the rest of the world.
    Everybody who really knows what’s going on knows we can’t keep up the facade much longer. But they also know we are still a force to contend with. We just are not the land of limitless resources and money that can afford to waste our blood and treasure without a thought. That never was really true anyway. Our excesses always had costs. We just were better able to ignore them before. Now we can’t afford to anymore.

  65. Alba Etie says:

    Hi Tyler
    You have used velvet divorce several times in this forum – what exactly does that mean to you ?

  66. Alba Etie says:

    We have a lively discussion here at SST. Many times me & Tyler will disagree without being disagreeable ( mostly anyway ) . And I absolutely have no doubt that Tyler in “an American”,,

  67. Alba Etie says:

    Yes its high time we think about a true third party ..

  68. Former 11B says:

    When I was stationed in Germany I visited a wall.
    Be careful what you wish for.

  69. Edward Amame says:

    That signal was sent by an anonymous congressman. Suggesting that Boehner is floating a trial balloon. This will only end when the majority of GOPers tell the radical minority in their ranks “no.” Hopefully the minority will get a time out too. But all that’s doubtful, so I’m anticipating selling the all the stock in my retirement account as default looms in approx 2 weeks.
    And regarding sequestration. The Democrats have already bitten the bullet and agreed to fund the government at sequestration (ie: Republican) levels. That wasn’t enough for Tea partiers in the House who wanted to use a government shutdown and/or a debt ceiling breach as leverage to gut the ACA.

  70. Edward Amame says:

    What Jose doesn’t know is that Senate Dems have been trying to get the House to negotiate the budget for the past 6 months, but House GOP leaders have refused because the radicals in their minority wanted to wait so they could use a government shutdown or debt ceiling as leverage to gut the ACA.
    So now the Dems are expected to “negotiate” with seconds to spare and a guns to their heads? BS.
    And BTW, Americans are very strongly opposed to using a gov’t shutdown to stop the ACA: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=1958

  71. Edward Amame says:

    GOP opposition to the ACA may indeed be sincere ( they’re not willing to take the chance that it’ll become popular with Americans, like Soc and Medicare have).

  72. Tyler says:

    Don’t be ridiculous. Comparing guarding our borders to the Berlin Wall is no different than the hyperbole of comparing deporting illegal aliens to the Holocaust.

  73. Tyler says:

    It means that we go our way, to live how we want, and they can have all the open air sodomy parades, post partum abortions, and illegal aliens they want.
    Unfortunately I don’t think the Puritan strain that infects the Left would allows this. So there will be blood.

  74. Tyler says:

    I was taught gung ho qualities at the knee of the Freedom Eagle himself.

  75. Tyler says:

    Are you for real?
    The convesation sounds more like:
    We’re broke.
    We’re broke.

  76. Tyler says:

    I’d say if it wasn’t for the Tea Party, the amnesty treason would already be a done deal and we’d get the ‘vibrancy’ of 30 million new illegal aliens in our country.
    Populism is viable again. Boner can’t sell out to big business interests because of that threat of a primary challenger, which is a good thing.

  77. Tyler says:

    Thank you.

  78. turcopolier says:

    The Berlin wall and the fences along the inter-German border were intended to keep people from leaving. pl

  79. Edward Amame says:

    Yours sounds like the same polling firm that convinced GOPers that Mitt had it in the bag. The non-partisan Quinnipiac University poll begs to differ: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=1958

  80. Tyler says:

    Did you even read the demographics on this one?
    24% self identified Republicans compared to 35% Democrats and 31% Independents. I’d bet I could come up with some funny numbers too if I played with those.
    Hardly a comprehensive survey to justify you “tut-tutting” about it.

  81. Richard says:

    Anyone here actually have any experience with ACA. The only contact I have had so far is through good friend, small buisness man. He experience is,his rates will increase by 50% and deductibles will increase. This puts him in a position where he is considering opting out for a few years to save money so when he goes back into the program he can afford the deductibles.

  82. CK says:

    Any wall that can prevent people from entering can prevent people from leaving. It just depends who runs the wall; evil russkies or exceptional dual-national amerikanskis.
    The Berlin wall kept people out also. The Israeli wall keeps similar people separated as well as keeping them out/in depending on how you look at it.

  83. turcopolier says:

    People were killed trying to get out of East Berlin and the GDR and not the other way around. pl

  84. Edward Amame says:

    1. We’re not broke.
    2. If that’s how you think Washington should operate then I guess it’s fair game for Obama to refuse to sign any bill that doesn’t include, for instance, a rider setting up a national background check for guns.

  85. jerseycityjoan says:

    I only know what I have read. I have stayed away from everything this week, since everything seems so crazy.
    Anyhow, about your friend.
    All this stuff is complicated but I am surprised that he would end up being so worse off under the ACA that he is thinking of just opting out of healthcare. I wonder if the changes you describe were changes to his old plan through an insurance company, or whether that was the best he could do on the exchanges.
    In any case, besides the premium subsidies there is additional money available to some people.
    “There will be additional help to cover out-of-pocket expenses for those earning less than 250% of the poverty line: $28,725 for a single person and $58,875 for a family of four. The subsidies are tied to the cost of the state’s silver level plans.”
    I saw this pointed out the other day. Note you have to get the silver plan. I really hope he doesn’t go without coverage. If I were him I’d talk to a few people at those 800 numbers first, to make sure he knows all that is available and all his options.

  86. jerseycityjoan says:

    By the way, I agree that there with you that there are a lot of problems with the ACA.
    I am sure it will end up being greatly revised or even scrapped.
    It was better than nothing. We need to stop the madness of our decades of grossly overpaying for healthcare.
    The ACA will be the link between what we had and what we will have in the future.
    It certainly time for every citizen in this country to have healthcare. The government is already paying for so many people, it is unjust to leave the relative few low income people out that we do. It ends up being arbitrary, with adults without children under 18 or without disabilities usually being left out. It is one thing to put the disabled, parents and children first. It is another thing to keep leaving out the those who don’t fit that profile. Most of them pay or used to pay taxes too.

  87. Mark Logan says:

    I do. Our plan was pretty good and was not affected. We got a small rebate from our insurer this year as a result of the “80% must go to medical bills” part of it.
    The policy’s that mostly created the illusion of being covered have been banned, and there were quite a few of those around. Some businesses will be honestly reporting their rates have increased drastically. This is actually good, as the existing condition of foisting the expensive cases on the states Medicaid programs a bad one, it’s both wrong and unsustainable. It’s privatizing the profits and socializing the losses.

  88. Edward Amame says:

    Demographics do not change the fact that of those surveyed: “Republicans support the federal government shutdown by a narrow 49 – 44 percent margin, but opposition is 90 – 6 percent among Democrats and 74 – 19 percent among independent voters.”
    Also, this is cut ‘n pasted right from the Fox News Poll:
    27. Do you favor or oppose cutting off funding for the health care law from the federal budget?
    Favor 41% Oppose 53% (Don’t know) 6%
    30. Do you think a partial shutdown of the federal government could be a good thing or is it definitely a bad thing?
    Could be a good thing 30% Definitely a bad thing 67% (Don’t know) 3%

  89. Will Reks says:

    Good points. I think Reagan mandating ERs take in patients made this inevitable. Free-riding has been a problem for too long.

  90. Fred says:

    As the host quite correctly pointed out in this post:
    “Both parties have worked hard and long at the task of dividing the country politically into “safe” districts. they have been successful at that.’
    That national poll means just about zero to the re-election chances of those who are refusing to pass any bill in the House. Congressional elections are by district, as you well know. Depending on the House rules and the actions of the majority leadership something might change quickly; I don’t think media action and polling will have as much influence in the very short term as the media might think.

  91. Alba Etie says:

    Careful there is a ban on snark here at SST – as was pointed out to me about six weeks ago ..( just saying ..)

  92. Edward Amame says:

    Not every House Republican is immune from shut down-blow back, Fred. Just ask Peter King. And I don’t think that Republican govs with presidential aspirations and the GOP leadership are all that happy either.

  93. C L says:

    Here comes the weather to add a devastating twist to the standoff.
    Perhaps a hurricane/tropical storm hitting the heart of the deep south this weekend will remind us all why we form societies with governments for the benefit of the whole.
    FEMA, national guard, Weather Service, Federal aid depts etc… are furloughed, those not are busy assisting in Colorado with one hand tied behind their back.
    It will be interesting to see how GOP house reps explain the lack of Federal response & aid due to the shutdown.
    lets hope this storm shuts down before coming ashore

  94. turcopolier says:

    I have no objection to irony or sarcasm. I don’t like the word “snark.” pl

  95. Mark Logan says:

    Thanks. I’m a business owner (small -less than 50) and have been following this from the get-go closely.
    Two things I recommend to people who wish to get a handle on this are “Dirty Rotten Strategies -How we trick ourselves and others into solving the wrong problem perfectly.” A nice examination of “problem” and “mess” fixing, which used this issue as one of their primary examples. There’s about 20 minutes of interviews on YouTube for the non-book readers. It’s necessary to start there, this is a real “mess”.
    The other is “Sick Around The World.”, a Frontline documentary of five other nations solutions to this.
    Somebody elects me king, all five up for a popular vote, we have another vote between the top two, and then we will adopt the winner -verbatim. Just a silly little dream of mine…

  96. Alba Etie says:

    Thank you Col Lang – just trying to err on the side of caution in the interest of good order and discipline here at SST .

  97. Edward Amame says:

    I guess by now, I should no longer be shocked by the doings of certain very rich, very powerful American businessmen, but I am.
    Apparently the effort to defund the ACA by threatening to cut off financing for the entire federal government did not originate in the halls of Congress. It originated with former Attorney General Edwin Meese and a ” a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists” shortly after the beginning of Obama’s second term. Their effort has been well planned and well financed. By you know who: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/us/a-federal-budget-crisis-months-in-the-planning.html?hp&_r=0&pagewanted=all
    Read it and gag.

  98. Charles I says:

    You grossly overestimate my influence. . .

  99. Charles I says:

    The SCC spoke. The law is the law until it is not, and selective enforcement of other laws – quel surprize! – does not change that inconvenient fact.

  100. Charles I says:

    But surely as a police officer you understand that’s what laws are for – for rulers to apply as when and where politically 1ndicated. Surely you apply discretion a dozen times a shift on somewhat personally subjective grounds in dealing with the public, do you not?
    Prosecutors do it every day.

  101. Charles I says:

    dunno whose it was but I saw polling on tv nes this morning that saifd 70% of polled “dissaproved of Repub handling of fiasco, 50% diapp,l for Dems, 51% for Obama.

  102. Charles I says:

    From north of the 49th, granting the hard won divisions of the last decades was a joint effort, the negotiating with hostage-takers meme strikes a broad public chord. I have heard some crazy crazy shite come out of various T.P’ers – our voters wishes count, we must obstruct with moral righteousness.
    Not a peep about the majority’s votes to the contrary. They sound simultaneously hysterical and unnervingly like one-vote-one-timers.
    It may be you need a constitutional crisis.

  103. Charles I says:

    and p.s., most up here would not easily fathom much of this being seen as Obama’s fault, however fraught passing the ACA without the Repubs was, esp after an election and SC ruling

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