Day: January 4, 2011

The Debt Ceiling Issue

Debt Ceiling 101

Question: What is the debt ceiling?

Answer: The debt ceiling is a statutory limit on the amount of U.S federal debt held by the public and the government’s own accounts. The debt ceiling became law with the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917, which helped finance the United States’ entry into World War I.

Question:  What happens if The Congress votes not to raise the debt ceiling?

On This Week with Christiane Amanpour, Jake Tapper interviews Obama economic advisor Austan Goolsbee about the upcoming vote on the National Debt ceiling, and wonders what will happen if the new Republican Extremists successfully keep it from being approved.

Analysis:

There has been a lot of talk about “The Debt Ceiling” lately.  The Tea Party influenced GOP in congress want to place a limit on the out of control debt spending by capping the “debt ceiling”. 

Most Dems (and some Republicans of a more moderate stripe) want to follow the status quo and continue to raise the debt ceiling as borrowing expands.  The GOP want to cap the ceiling.

Of course, Washington being what it is, some GOP members wouldn’t mind voting in favor of raising the debt ceiling as long as Congress produces serious limitations on future spending.  That would mean Medicare and Social Security cuts will have to be in the offing.

Yes, that’s right!  They are playing their little blackmail game yet again, using Social Security and Medicare as the perineal sacrificial lambs in order to agree to raise the debt ceiling.  

Now, in all honesty, I do see a need for cutting the debt but the experts all agree that doing so would be catastrophic to the American economy as well as global economies.  Borrowing money to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy is not a problem for the GOP/Tea Party.  However, cutting entitlement programs to our country’s most vulnerable segment, senior citizens is in my opinion heartless.  There’s got to be a better way.

There are some serious GOP pundits like George Will and some Fox News pundits who totally disagree with capping the debt ceiling.

It’ll be interesting to see how this “game of chicken” plays out.

Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC’s The Last Word does a better job of explaining the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling than I ever could:

Despite Demanding ‘Bipartisan Discussions’ On Health Reform, Republicans To Vote On Repeal Without Hearings

This is typical of GOP behavior when they led both Congress and the Senate for the majority of George W. Bush’s eight years …

Think Progress

Politico reported this afternoon that House Republicans will hold a vote on January 12th to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Democrats quickly accused the new majority of bringing the measure to the floor without allowing time for adequate debate or bipartisan negotiation. During a joint appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball this afternoon with Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) argued that Republicans will force the Congress to vote on repeal without first considering the consequences of completely eliminating the measure:

MORAN: We had 80 bipartisan hearings, we made this bill available for a month to consider before we brought it to the floor. They’re going to bring it right to the floor. This party supposedly of transparency and open government, right to the floor without any hearings.

MATTHEWS: January 12th, without any hearings.

MORAN: Without any hearings.

LUNGREN: Oh no, the hearings have been held on under Obamacare…

MORAN: Not considering the ramifications, the adverse consequences of repealing it and it’s a whole new bill you’re talking about now.   More…

Watch it:

Obama Job Approval Reaches 50% for First Time Since Spring

This can’t be good news for the incoming GOP led Congress…LOL!

Gallup

Obama Job Approval Reaches 50% for First Time Since Spring

Barack Obama averaged 50% job approval in the most recent three days of Gallup Daily tracking, the first time his rating has reached that mark since the Memorial Day holiday last year.
 
 
Americans enter the new year with considerably more optimism than pessimism about what it may bring: 58% say 2011 will be better than 2010, 20% say 2011 will be worse, and 21% say it will be the same.

Looking at 2011 Economy, Optimists Double Pessimists

Twice as many Americans think the U.S. economy will be better rather than worse in 2011. Forty-four percent think their personal financial situations will be better this year than in 2010.
 

Scalia: Women Don’t Have Constitutional Protection Against Discrimination

Once again, Justice Antonin Scalia appears incourrigible in his delusional view of American civil liberties…

Huffington Post

The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not protect against discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, according to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

In a newly published interview in the legal magazine California Lawyer, Scalia said that while the Constitution does not disallow the passage of legislation outlawing such discrimination, it doesn’t itself outlaw that behavior:

In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don’t think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we’ve gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that. … But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that’s fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don’t need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don’t like the death penalty anymore, that’s fine. You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.

For the record, the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause states: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” That would seem to include protection against exactly the kind of discrimination to which Scalia referred.    More…