Published: Wednesday, Oct. 9 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT
"Let's say the debt limit is breached and the Treasury Department does
prioritize payments. Treasury is an executive branch agency, which means that
you are effectively giving President Obama the authority to decide who to pay
and who to stiff."Not necessarily. Depends on how closely the
Congress wishes to manage the government's expenditures. Remember, the
House is responsible for all funding bills... not the president. Congress
provides the funding and the president uses the funding to run government
operations."Is that your end goal?"The goal of
the Congress is, or should be, to work toward reducing the annual deficit and
national debt to keep the government from eventually collapsing. Right now the
country is on the track to ruination. It might even be too late now.
wrz,Congress could only force the priorities if both the House and
Senate agree and the President signs the bill into law. Otherwise, it would
default to the Treasury.
As usual, I completely agree with Mr. Kayser. We have no choice but to continue
spending and raising debt limits; it's the law. In addition, by definition,
how could we possibly cut "entitlements"? It wouldn't be right to
defy the definition of the word "entitlement". Lastly, I wish to thank
our children and grandchildren for understanding that we had no choice in making
the spending decisions that we are making today, as we approach $17 trillion in
debt. Sorry kids. We were simply obeying the law (and the dictionary).
wrz wrote - "The goal of Congress is, or should be, to work toward reducing
the annual deficit..."John Makin, a resident scholar at the
conservative American Enterprise Institute, reviewed the Congressional Budget
Office’s projections for deficit spending and argues that "American
fiscal austerity has been moderate and probably . . . has proceeded far enough
for now." The budget deficit was more than 10 percent of GDP in 2009 but is
on track to be about half that this year. "The federal budget
deficit is shrinking rapidly," writes Jan Hatzius, the chief economist of
Goldman Sachs, in an April 10 report. Goldman estimates that in the first three
months of 2013 the deficit was running at 4.5 percent of GDP, and they forecast
a deficit of 3 percent of GDP or less in the 2015 fiscal year. So
you see even under the current climate in Washington, those goals are actually
coming about. Those forecasts of falling deficits would of course change if
there were a recession or an abrupt change in policy. Or perhaps if the US
defaulted on their debts and failed to raise the debt limit.
@wrz – “The goal of the Congress is, or should be, to work toward
reducing the annual deficit and national debt to keep the government from
eventually collapsing.”Completely agree!I just
think we should be clear that this is not the goal of many in Congress today.
For many, the goal is to shrink government down (small enough to drown it in a
bathtub) and creating crisis’ (including, it looks like, collapse) is
actually an expedient means to achieve this end.These folks could
care less about the deficit otherwise why would they have changed course in 2001
after years of surpluses (cut taxes and massively increase government spending
all charged to the credit card? Anyone who thinks this mess is not a
long term strategy (because they couldn’t convince voters of their
ideology) meant to destroy what most people think are largely (always
exceptions) reasonable government policies that the People have enacted over
many decades is kidding themselves.
This presumption that Republicans WANT the US to default is preposterous. Republicans do NOT want the United States to default. Nobody wants the
US to default. We just have different ways of avoiding it. One wants to
spend less (Conservatives). The other just wants to continue spending and just
borrow more (Liberals).There's no doubt they're going to
approve the request to borrow more. To avoid that the budget reduction talks
would have needed to start months ago. I think that's going to pass
without a problem. But the discussions on the budget need to happen eventually
(or the US is going to default no matter how many debt limit increases they
pass). Eventually people are going to lose faith and stop buying our debt.
Then it doesn't matter what our limit is.We are approaching the
point where even if we applied 100% of our GDP to the debt... we couldn't
reduce it. That's a bad tipping point. Then your only options are sever
government osterity (which will result in civil unrest) or crippling taxes even
for the middle class (which will bring financial difficulty many Americans have
@Twin Lights:"Congress could only force the priorities if both the
House and Senate agree and the President signs the bill into law. Otherwise, it
would default to the Treasury."And, who does the Treasury
Secretary work for, Huh? The Preso. So, Obama will decide where the cuts will
be... not the House where government funding decisions should be made. In fact,
he already has. Close national parks (Yellowstone, Yosemite, etc.) and
memorials... where damage will be most noticeable by the public. Can you
imagine arresting and jailing a vet because he crossed a 'WWII Memorial
closed' barrier? That displays the mentality of our illustrious leader.@ECR:"Goldman estimates that in the first three months of 2013
the deficit was running at 4.5 percent of GDP..."It now stands
at a estimated annualized 5.01 percent. Any future percentages are a pure
guess... depending on that we do in the mid east. If we get out of Iraq and
Afghanistan we'd be in fairly good shape. But we won't. We're
fighting terrorists who have vowed to destroy the 'Great Satan' which
will go on for decades and more.
@Tyler D:"I just think we should be clear that this is not the goal of
many in Congress today."I think you'll find they're
called 'Democrats.' Harry Reid and his ilk."For many,
the goal is to shrink government down (small enough to drown it in a bathtub)
and creating crisis’ (including, it looks like, collapse) is actually an
expedient means to achieve this end."Right now you couldn't
drown it (government) in the ocean."These folks could care less
about the deficit otherwise why would they have changed course in 2001 after
years of surpluses..."Deficits since 2001 are from wars on
terrorism (Bush) and the real-estate bubble bust (Frank/Dodd). Keep that in
mind."Anyone who thinks this mess is not a long term
strategy..."It's not long term strategies. It's
simply politicians trying to stay in office by handing out government largess.
Obama is a master at this with his Obama-phones, amnesty for illegals, etc..
wrz,Nobody wants to "drown the Government". Not in a bathtub,
and not in an ocean. Nobody's out to drown your precious government. We
just have different opinions on the ROLE of Government.... that's all.I prefer the traditional "Role of Government" we have had in the
US since it's inception - Capitalism- States with their own
constitutions, legislatures, courts, Governors, etc.- Small limited
Federal Government focused on National Defense, foreign affairs, inter-state
issues (not a government focused on taxing the heck out of a small percentage of
the citizens and redistributing the wealth)- No... I don't need to be
able to drown it in a bathtub, but I need to be able to manage it. Humanity
and History has proven that government is no better than it's citizens, and
that when people give up and expect the government to make their decisions...
the government can get so big and beyond control that the Citizens can't
control it, and if the wrong people get control (which CAN happen)... the
majority can just roll over the people they don't like (it happens more
times than I can count in human history).
wrz,Yes, Treasury is a dept. of the Executive Branch so obviously it
will ultimately be the choice of the President. There is no other
constitutional method.As to choices made, let's be realistic.
If Obama opened every National Park and signed all the little bills to fund this
or that "priority", then where would his leverage be when negotiating
with the House?Part of the problem is that we have already made the
shutdown too painless. If govt. is closed, then it should be closed - no Soc.
Sec., no Veterans stuff, nothing except the active military until Washington
gets its act together. The howling this would create would ensure fast
action.To your point to Tyler D on the deficits since 2001 being
from the war on terrorism partly. But that is because these were combined with
tax cuts.There is no doubt Obama and Reid share some blame here but
the Tea Partiers promised a shutdown and have now delivered. And yes this is a
strategy - show that govt. doesn't work by making sure it does not.
People keep in mind that the house has proposed bills to keep the government
running. Senator Reid and his band of thieves (Including McCain and Hatch) have
held the country hostage vs sitting down and negotiating a way through the
current debt mess before working on the Obamananable Care Act. We should all get
a one year extension to determine our next best step just like the President
supporters including the unions of which Hoffa and his team want out. If that
was agreed to the debt limit would be signed before we all go to sleep tonight.
@Twin Lights:"Yes, Treasury is a dept. of the Executive Branch...
There is no other constitutional method."Not so. The
Constitutional method is: The House decides federal funding and the president
accepts it. The Constitution is negated when politics enter the scene. Negates
the separation of powers concept envisioned by the Founding Fathers."As to choices made, let's be realistic. If Obama opened every
National Park and signed all the little bills to fund this or that
'priority,' then where would his leverage be when negotiating with the
House?"His leverage is with the people... same as with the
House. Unfortunately for the (Republican) House, the president has the liberal
media on his team which seems un-American."If govt. is closed,
then it should be closed - no Soc. Sec..."Soc. sec. is not part
of the government, technically. I paid into it and expect to get my money back,
regardless of shutdowns.Actually, it is reported that the government
is 82 percent funded, up, and running. That should be enough government. Using
the 18 percent savings to reduce the national debt would be a win-win.
2 bit:Relative to your point that our politicians in DC need to sit
down and truly understand each other and compromise, Democrats are more likely
to view healthcare as a "right", explaining the hesitancy to negotiate
on this point.If Republicans can sit down and negotiate an important
item to them, the lack of gun control, I suspect Democrats would be open to
tempering Obamacare.The different groups can't get everything
they want, but that is certainly how engagement is happening, a scortched Earth
strategy where compromise is not possible.Do you agree!
wrz,We have gone over this before. The Constitution says: "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of
Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on
other Bills. Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives
and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of
the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return
it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who
shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider
it."The house is the starting point only. They have to
negotiate with the Senate and President. In the absence of a law outlining what
would get paid first, it falls to the Executive Branch.Politics is a
pain, but the constitution is never negated. The Republicans have Fox,
Limbaugh, and other talking heads on their side (if they are sufficiently
"pure" in their conservatism).Soc. Sec. is a govt. program
run by the federal govt. (instituted by that evil liberal Franklin Roosevelt).
10cc,Re: "If Republicans can sit down and negotiate an important
item to them, the lack of gun control, I suspect Democrats would be open to
tempering Obamacare"...But Republicans DID sit down and
negotiate new gun control laws, just this past year (in response to the Sandy
Hook incident)! So... since Republicans did what you claim they would never
do... when can we expect Democrats to be open to tampering with ObamaCare?
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