Debt Ceiling Chicken

bandit0013 wrote:
Seth wrote:

Oh and Germany? the Unions there are extremely strong. It's only in America that companies like BMW try to destroy Unions. Because...we let them.

In Germany, closed shops are illegal.

Also, German unions tend to have representation on the board and are more involved with management decisions. It's a symbiotic relationship more than the adversarial one we have here. Also in Germany employers form associations so collective bargaining is truly collective rather than deal A with Ford, Deal B with GM, and Deal C with Whoever else. The government tries to seek a true balance of power between employer associations and unions. It also prevents something like what happens here where union workers at GM can threaten to walk off the job and damage GM at the expense of competition with Ford since both groups would belong to associations a work stoppage at GM would mean a work stoppage across the board.

There's far more incentive in the German system to bargain fairly and not do the crap that unions here do that I highlighted.

But see all those reasons you pointed out why German unions work require vastly increased regulation of industry, which the US has shown it is unwilling to do.
Also, there is nothing preventing German Unions from striking, except the bomb contracts that they sign with their respective industry groups. They get this because Germany has a long history of metered socialist politics that are willing to make concessions with the establishment (see SPD vs USPD/KPD/Spartakists).

bandit0013 wrote:
Let me finish your sentence: Often to the detriment of the company, the taxpayer, and non union workers.

For your logic to be true the 1950s--when unionization peaked--must have been just an absolutely horrible decade for companies, taxpayers, and all workers. **Googles** Nope. Everything was pretty danged hunky dory.

bandit0013 wrote:
I do believe we need funding reform, however as you stand up there shouting about funding remember that the generation that put us on the moon did so without calculators or computers in their classrooms. You do NOT need a lot of money to teach reading and math, you need a chalkboard and a teacher who actually understands the topic.

Oh, you mean the same generation that Uncle Sam paid to go to college via the GI Bill?

bandit0013 wrote:

Standardized testing and other evaluations of teachers are critical to the goals that you claim to have. I find that you and others with the same opinion are caught in a contradiction. You want to stress the importance of teachers, otherwise why pay them better or hire more of them to reduce class sizes? At the same time, however, by resisting measurement you are trying to de-emphasize the variable importance of the individual teacher (uniformity)—otherwise, why shouldn’t the best get paid more money? Why should the worst be allowed to teach at all? In your quote above you're doing what I talked about, your de-emphasizing the individual teacher in favor of other factors (funding, home environment). I argue that if the individual teacher doesn't make much difference then teaching is a commodity and we should probably look at increasing class sizes and/or cutting pay.

I'm a huge fan of the 'you can't improve what you don't measure' mentality. The problem with NCLB is that it measures the wrong thing and that's why teachers don't like it. Right now it's essentially pass/fail. Either a kids knows what the test says they should know or they don't. If enough kids don't then the teachers are fired and the school is shuttered.

That is essentially a Glengarry Glen Ross approach to education: funding is for test passers.

The problem is that it doesn't track how that kid improves over the course of a year. The standards might say that a kid has to know X, Y, and Z, but that's not going to be the case for every kid since they don't all start the school year with the same knowledgebase. Under NCLB a teacher could dramatically improve a student's knowledge, but that wouldn't matter a damn if the kid didn't pass the standardized test. Under NCLB the teacher would appear to be a failure.

The teachers I know want a system that measures how much one of their students improves throughout the course of a school year. That's a much more accurate measure of how good of teacher they are and it also serves as an excellent way to weed out poor performers (you might think you hate bad teachers, but nothing can compare to the burning hatred good teachers have towards bad teachers).

bandit0013 wrote:

43% of college students don't graduate. Who prepared them for college? If you didn't learn the fundamentals of reading and math in your public school days, you are going to have a really tough time getting through engineering. I don't have data handy on switching majors out of engineering, but my anecdotal experience from college was that more than half washed out or changed majors in the first 2 years.

IMAGE(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/03/Educational_attainment.jpg/561px-Educational_attainment.jpg)

I guess education is so sh*tty because of the teacher's unions that the number of college graduates has tripled over the past 50 years.

@OG

You claim the Generation of the GI bill then you post a graph showing that about 10% of the population in that generation got a bachelors (1950-1970 or so).

You're also trying to compare a protectionist state that wasn't feeling much impact of automation and globalization with today, which isn't logically sound.

The number of high school graduates has tripled as well, so it seems that college graduates to high school graduate ratio is remaining steady. So how is that an indication of anything at all? It used to be that you could get a job without a high school diploma and you could leave school at 15 to work the farm or whatever. Those days are gone.

Yonder wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
Funny thing about the Debt Ceiling discussion going on in Washington.... There is talk about how the Debt Ceiling is unconstitutional. Some might remember that this came up here in another thread.

http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/108473?page=1

So is Goman really Joe Biden posting on GWJ or has this 14th Amendment issue been out in the air and I haven't noticed it. I thought it was crazy when it was brought up here and now I'm shocked that it's actually making news headlines. Goman is either Joe Biden or extremely prescient.

That's actually a pretty compelling argument, and I think that it's very applicable.

Bill Clinton agrees.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/b...

The problem with ignoring the debt ceiling (which can't be raised by fiat by a president) is that the issue would have to be decided by the Supreme Court. And who knows how they would rule? People don't want the uncertainty. I could see the president going this route in an emergency, but it will be sorted out before then.

The Constitution says that the debt of the US has to be considered valid, but if the Treasury has to borrow for debt service, nothing in the Constitution gives it that power. If it had money, it would probably be unconstitutional to refuse to send out checks to debt holders, but if it doesn't have cash on hand, that clause certainly doesn't empower it to incur new debt.

I'd also say that clause probably prioritizes debt holders to the front of the line, before daily operations. Some money is certainly coming into the Treasury every week, no matter what Congress is doing, so I'd say that the Treasury would be Constitutionally forced to service debt before it could pay for daily operations. That means that the Social Security retirees would need to get paid before the soldiers or the government workers... or Congress.

Oddly, the bullsh*t "Social security lockbox" might actually serve a limited function in this instance. It's not an asset, it's just a measure of a liability, but it appears likely that its existence will increase the likelihood that retirees will get paid during a government shutdown.

This is what is so stupid about this whole exercise. There is supposedly some "gang of six" proposal or whatever floating around. I saw this on the first page:

*Dramatically cut discretionary spending: Cut nonsecurity and security discretionary spending over 10 years [and] Maintain investments that encourage economic growth, strengthen the safety net for those who truly need it, and preserve a strong national defense.

So we'll dramatically cut discretionary spending by going after stuff that doesn't encourage economic growth, strengthen the safety net, or allow us to bomb more places at once. There's going to be a ton of stuff to cut once you exclude everything covered by those three goals, right?

Jeebus, it's all babble. And surprise, surprise! It includes cuts in marginal tax rates and an end to the AMT.

...Cut ... security ... Maintain ... national defense

What?

We could cut defense spending to somewhere around a fifth what it is now and be perfectly safe from invasion. We'd still be outspending every other country in the world, and we've got a gigantic nuclear arsenal.

Malor wrote:
We could cut defense spending to somewhere around a fifth what it is now and be perfectly safe from invasion. We'd still be outspending every other country in the world, and we've got a gigantic nuclear arsenal.

I yawn when I read comments like this. Or comments about legalizing drugs. Not because it's not true. It's absolutely true. Ending the war on drugs and cutting defense spending to sensible levels would solve the budget problem immediately. The problem is that we can say these common sense things (cut defense, decriminalize drugs) until we're blue in the face and yet it's never going to happen. Never. I have very little faith in our political system as it is currently constituted.

Malor wrote:
The Constitution says that the debt of the US has to be considered valid, but if the Treasury has to borrow for debt service, nothing in the Constitution gives it that power. If it had money, it would probably be unconstitutional to refuse to send out checks to debt holders, but if it doesn't have cash on hand, that clause certainly doesn't empower it to incur new debt.

I'd also say that clause probably prioritizes debt holders to the front of the line, before daily operations. Some money is certainly coming into the Treasury every week, no matter what Congress is doing, so I'd say that the Treasury would be Constitutionally forced to service debt before it could pay for daily operations. That means that the Social Security retirees would need to get paid before the soldiers or the government workers... or Congress.

Oddly, the bullsh*t "Social security lockbox" might actually serve a limited function in this instance. It's not an asset, it's just a measure of a liability, but it appears likely that its existence will increase the likelihood that retirees will get paid during a government shutdown.


I wonder if IRS workers will not be paid. If that is the case then they should not work. Then if that is the case then why pay taxes?

Also if this happened right after tax season would taxpayers be stiffed on their tax rebates?

Malor wrote:
We could cut defense spending to somewhere around a fifth what it is now and be perfectly safe from invasion. We'd still be outspending every other country in the world, and we've got a gigantic nuclear arsenal.

The problem is that, aside from the US, there simply is no other country or combination of friendly countries capable of global power projection. If you want to combat Somali pirates, you need the US Navy. If you want to end a genocide in East Buttf*ckistan, you need the US military airlift and sealift command. If you want to prevent a Mullah Mohammed Whackbar from getting a nuclear weapon, you pretty much need the US SOCOM. No one else is up to the job.

You might argue that none of these jobs really need done, but a substantial portion of the American (and, honestly, global) population would probably disagree with you. As much as others resent us for our high handed moralizing (and we are pretty insufferable that way, I must admit) and we may resent others for our having to foot the bill (and we have good right to be pissed at global ingratitude), the present situation is probably the best of regrettably pissy options.

Paleocon wrote:
Malor wrote:
We could cut defense spending to somewhere around a fifth what it is now and be perfectly safe from invasion. We'd still be outspending every other country in the world, and we've got a gigantic nuclear arsenal.

The problem is that, aside from the US, there simply is no other country or combination of friendly countries capable of global power projection. If you want to combat Somali pirates, you need the US Navy. If you want to end a genocide in East Buttf*ckistan, you need the US military airlift and sealift command. If you want to prevent a Mullah Mohammed Whackbar from getting a nuclear weapon, you pretty much need the US SOCOM. No one else is up to the job.

You might argue that none of these jobs really need done, but a substantial portion of the American (and, honestly, global) population would probably disagree with you. As much as others resent us for our high handed moralizing (and we are pretty insufferable that way, I must admit) and we may resent others for our having to foot the bill (and we have good right to be pissed at global ingratitude), the present situation is probably the best of regrettably pissy options.


What you are saying makes complete sense Paleo, but I would like to see what would happen if we just cut it anyway.

The Somali pirate problem doesn't *require* us; Europe could deal with it. And I think the warnings about global collapse into anarchy without good old Uncle Sam keeping the peace, when we're probably the primary initiator of force in the world, is entirely backwards.

DSGamer wrote:
Malor wrote:
We could cut defense spending to somewhere around a fifth what it is now and be perfectly safe from invasion. We'd still be outspending every other country in the world, and we've got a gigantic nuclear arsenal.

I yawn when I read comments like this. Or comments about legalizing drugs. Not because it's not true. It's absolutely true. Ending the war on drugs and cutting defense spending to sensible levels would solve the budget problem immediately. The problem is that we can say these common sense things (cut defense, decriminalize drugs) until we're blue in the face and yet it's never going to happen. Never. I have very little faith in our political system as it is currently constituted.

I'd rather be the asshole who keeps saying it than cowtowing to an irrational perspective. I wrote all of my representatives as such. The only one who was at least sensible was Crazy Dr. Senator Coburn.

House Speaker Boehner has walked away from negotiations with the White House:

NPR[/url]]Minutes after House Speaker John Boehner went on Fox to announce there "was no deal" on raising the debt ceiling, President Obama called his own press conference to confirm that Boehner had walked away from the negotiating table.

The president said it was "hard to understand" why Boehner would walk away.

In his interview with Fox, Boehner said he would now start negotiations with the Senate.

President Obama had his own press briefing as well. It's really hard to understand how anyone wins here, but it looks to me like the President is right that at least the Democrats stepped up to the plate. From what I heard about Senate Democrats responses to the deals Obama was willing to make, I don't see Boehner getting a much more receptive audience there.

Yeah, this is gonna be ugly for everyone involved, but I think the Republicans are gonna take the biggest beating. Even Bill O'Reilly is calling on the Tea Party to suck it up and take the compromise.

Jolly Bill wrote:
President Obama had his own press briefing as well. It's really hard to understand how anyone wins here, but it looks to me like the President is right that at least the Democrats stepped up to the plate. From what I heard about Senate Democrats responses to the deals Obama was willing to make, I don't see Boehner getting a much more receptive audience there.

Video of the press conference. Nice to see Obama finally using that bully pulpit.

Paleocon wrote:
Malor wrote:
We could cut defense spending to somewhere around a fifth what it is now and be perfectly safe from invasion. We'd still be outspending every other country in the world, and we've got a gigantic nuclear arsenal.

The problem is that, aside from the US, there simply is no other country or combination of friendly countries capable of global power projection. If you want to combat Somali pirates, you need the US Navy.



That is provably and demostrably wrong
. In fact I even remember South Park had a particularly jingoistic episode where they presented the situation off Somali as only the US were doing anything about the piracy to the point of portraying the French as complete cowards. Of course that completely ignored the reality that a team of French commandos stormed a yacht before Navy Seals snipers performed their very impressive action. Its even more relevant because some have suggested that the loss of life in the French raid had an impact on the decision to use snipers.

If you want to end a genocide in East Buttf*ckistan, you need the US military airlift and sealift command.

Agree. That's where the US is complete unique and where your NATO allies are trying to close a gap.

If you want to prevent a Mullah Mohammed Whackbar from getting a nuclear weapon, you pretty much need the US SOCOM. No one else is up to the job.

Really? I seriously doubt that assertion. The British were dealing with seriously dangerous counter terrorist situation for decades and the French are viewed as probably the best counter terrorists in the world.

“The absence of Islamist attacks on French soil since 9/11 should not be misinterpreted: it does not signify at all that France has been immunized from such actions, notably because of its position on the Iraq conflict. Elsewhere, we have already indicated that terrorist cells have been taken apart [since 9/11]—cells which were planning attacks on our soil. Further, outside of our national territory, French targets were struck, like the May 8, 2002, attack in Karachi…or the attack against the oil tanker Limburg off of Yemen on October 6, 2002. France is an integral part of Western civilization, a target of radical Islamic terrorists. In this regard, she figures among the potential targets of these terrorists to the same extent as any other Western nation.”

Post-9/11, the CIA and the FBI decided to headquarter America’s premier European counterterrorist liaison shop in Paris because they recognized, despite the acrimony arising from the run-up to the Iraq war, that France was the European country most serious about counterterrorism.


You might argue that none of these jobs really need done, but a substantial portion of the American (and, honestly, global) population would probably disagree with you. As much as others resent us for our high handed moralizing (and we are pretty insufferable that way, I must admit) and we may resent others for our having to foot the bill (and we have good right to be pissed at global ingratitude), the present situation is probably the best of regrettably pissy options.

If the rest of world wanted their governments to project global power they would vote for it and they don't. On the other hand what they do want is for there troops to be used in peace keeping missions in conjunction with countries in order try and save lives, or in other words the UN. This is an area the US doesn't provide substantial resources to in either men, material or money.

You can pay for your own disastrous foreign policy decisions if you don't mind.

Malor wrote:
The Somali pirate problem doesn't *require* us; Europe could deal with it. And I think the warnings about global collapse into anarchy without good old Uncle Sam keeping the peace, when we're probably the primary initiator of force in the world, is entirely backwards.

And we do, follow the above link to Operation Atlanta. I've said it a million times before, there is a distinct policy in US media to play down what your allies do and play up what your "opponents" are capable of but in fairness your comment about the possible collapse of civilisation reveals that you know this already.

Boehner stopped responding to phone calls from Obama Thursday evening. Obama had demanded an additional $400B in revenue to balance a Republican demand for deep Medicare cuts. Also, the Republicans wanted to put a repeal of major parts of the health care reform act up as a "trigger" to ensure Dems returned to the table, but Obama refused that (my guess is that he realized that the *Republicans* could pull that trigger if they wanted, but I'm not sure of the exact wording).

Another victory for the Party Of No. At least the Dems were willing to put skin in the game, cutting some of their most treasured programs. The Republicans couldn't even live up to their "pay as you go" philosophy, which used to be *their* selling point for fiscal responsibility. We'd have had tax code reform, lower individual and corporate taxes, and lots of other good changes, but the Republicans choked on $120B new revenue per year over the next decade.

Well, they've driven us over the cliff. The FAA is furloughing 4,000 workers (3,000 of them contractors.) We'll see more things like this as the various funding sources dry up due to non-renewal before Aug 4.

If you've ever dreamed about just stopping the government from spending, well, you're about to see how well that works.

And I am sure there is a healthy percentage of people who want exactly this: Government shutdown.

My point is that the unique capabilities America possesses are bought with permanent bases in unstable or unsavory places. Other nations have limited enroute refreshment capacity but no one has demonstrated the political will to commit to a global power projection capacity. And as much as folks complain about us using it less than fully responsibly folks have also failed to provide a viable alternative. In point of fact the only power that has expressed any interest in doing so is the Chinese.

David Frum, former speechwriter for President G.W. Bush[/url]]There's blame for all in the debt talk breakdown.

The president walked away from Simpson-Bowles, declined to present plans to reach long-term budget balance, etc. etc. etc.

But in the argy-bargy, keep this in mind: the debt problem has become a debt crisis for one reason only: because Republicans put the threat of debt default on the table.

That never needed to happen.

House Republicans could have kept the debt ceiling issue wholly separate from the budget cut issue.

Instead, Republicans put the gun on the table. They raised the menace of deliberate default in a way it has not been raised before.

Then, having issued the threat, they discovered that their own core supporters would not allow the gun to be holstered again.

They issued demands they knew could not be met, for budget cuts much bigger than Republicans ever enacted when they had the power to enact them. They cocked the weapon. And now here we are: the demands are unmet and Republicans find themselves facing a horrible choice between yielding on their exorbitant demands or pushing the United States into financial upheaval.

I am not a big fan of the President. But I can't help but be impressed with his press conference. I wish he grew his spine about a month ago. This Debt Crisis could be the bounce that he needs to assert himself as a strong leader.

I would hate to be a Republican Leader today.

Isn't there some quote about great presidents being made through adversity?

Could this lead to Obama's re-election and democrat majority again in both senate and the other place?

I wonder how long it will be before the various national debts are written using exponents rather than million/billion/trillion.

Duoae wrote:
Isn't there some quote about great presidents being made through adversity?

Could this lead to Obama's re-election and democrat majority again in both senate and the other place?

My fear is that Obama will cave to the demands of the House Republicans at the last minute in order to prevent default. I hate to say it, but if they aren't willing to honestly deal he needs to let the country go over the cliff. His bargaining position will be much, much stronger when Social Security checks aren't being mailed and soldiers aren't getting paid on August 3rd.

OG_slinger wrote:
Duoae wrote:
Isn't there some quote about great presidents being made through adversity?

Could this lead to Obama's re-election and democrat majority again in both senate and the other place?

My fear is that Obama will cave to the demands of the House Republicans at the last minute in order to prevent default. I hate to say it, but if they aren't willing to honestly deal he needs to let the country go over the cliff. His bargaining position will be much, much stronger when Social Security checks aren't being mailed and soldiers aren't getting paid on August 3rd.

Social security checks will be mailed. The Social security fund has US treasuries and is a primary debtholder of the US. It's pretty much illegal under default rules for them not to get their money first.

Everyone else that receives money from the government may be borked though.

As David Frum pointed out, there was no need to combine the debt ceiling with the long-term budget debate. This is on the Republicans who created the situation in the first place.

Robear wrote:
As David Frum pointed out, there was no need to combine the debt ceiling with the long-term budget debate. This is on the Republicans who created the situation in the first place.

IMAGE(http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2011/07/18/chart_244_debt_110718.GIF)

Polling seems to agree with your statement. If we're just talking about winning elections Obama might be better off letting them drive it off the cliff.