Planning Ahead

Back when there were discussion about what the Democratic Congress could do to require President Bush to end combat operations in Iraq, one of the main arguments I made was that the Democrats needed to announce a date certain when they would no longer fund combat operations in Iraq. (It goes without saying that no one listened to me. They never do.) So I am intrigued by Matt Yglesias' strategy proposal for the coming debt ceiling "hostage situation:"

It’s a two pronged strategy. The first one is a credible, repeated commitment not to surrender anything in exchange for getting congress to agree to the debt ceiling being increased. After all, why should anything be given up. [. . .] The second prong, important for credibility, is to move to thinking about what happens as we reach the ceiling.

This isn’t a sudden “shutdown.” Nor is is true that we have to default on obligations to our bondholders. Rather, it means that government outlays are now limited by the quantity of inbound tax revenue. But for a while, the people administering the federal government [. . .] will be able to selectively stiff people. So the right strategy is to start stiffing people Republicans care about. When bills to defense contractors come due, don’t pay them. Explain they’ll get 100 percent of what they’re owed when the debt ceiling is raised. [. . .]

I like this strategy. Chances of it being adopted? Precisely zero. The confidence fairy must be fed after all.

Speaking for me only

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    Well, since Bohner has already said (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 12:31:14 PM EST
    he wants something big in return, I'm sure O's planning ahead and making a list . . . .

    Which he'll offer pre-emptively ... (5.00 / 7) (#3)
    by Demi Moaned on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 12:39:32 PM EST
    and then that can be the starting point for negotiations.

    Obama has already agreed he will call (none / 0) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 02:43:46 PM EST
    for cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

    President Barack Obama this week will outline a broad plan to reduce the nation's deficit, shifting from immediate budget concerns to the debate over the nation's long-term economic health. Obama is expected to call for cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and tax hikes for the wealthy. link

    The call for tax hikes for the wealthy are just smoke and mirrors as chances of that recommendation being adopted? Precisely zero.

    The cuts to Medicare and Medicaid OTOH are just a matter of how deep they will be.


    LOL, didn't he (or the Republicans) (none / 0) (#27)
    by observed on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 04:12:27 PM EST
    also mention Defense cuts?

    Obama may have called for defense (none / 0) (#28)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 04:29:02 PM EST
    cuts but the defense budget was untouched in his current budget deal.

    You might be able to hunt and or kill wolves in Montana thanks to Sen. Tester. As far as I know, that is the first time something like that was decided during a budget negotiation  


    Hunting wolves huh? (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 03:13:25 AM EST
    phuckin pathetic

    Defense cutsm are you sure? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 08:00:09 AM EST

    IIRC, CNN said the 38Bil included 2Bil of defense cuts.

    Yglesias better watch out (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by TJBuff on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 12:45:14 PM EST
    Suggesting a strategy that would work will give Obama a sad.

    Oh Honey (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 12:57:05 PM EST
    If defense contractors ever had to wait as long for a check from the government as a healthcare facility did to settle a Medicare account.....some donor bundling would seize the hell up and in the distance there would be lots of screaming :)  Like in a Zombie movie :)

    I'd be flexible and give Boehner some options (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 01:40:55 PM EST
    Column A: 3 brands of war funding (Afghan, Iraq, Libya)

    Column B: Bush tax cuts (all, or only top 1%)

    It's never too late to undo The Deal!

    If we had a (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by cal1942 on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 01:44:50 PM EST
    tough, determined President (who actually believed in the goal) something like this could be effective.

    We don't so it won't.

    cost of war (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 02:26:36 PM EST
    ""We're on track to spend about $110 billion on Afghanistan this year," said Donald Marron, Jr., director of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. "That's a lot of money. In Iraq, I think we're on track to spend $44 billion, for example, so Afghanistan is more than twice as much. From the big picture point of view, when you look around the world at our budget challenges, clearly walking down defense spending is part of the solution.

    A new report by the Swedish think tank SIPRI found that U.S. military spending has nearly doubled since 2001. The United States spent $698 billion on the military in 2010, an 81 percent increase over the last decade."

    Who needs medicare, medicaid and SS when you can have Afghanistan and Iraq.  I know they are not Boardwalk and Park Place, but they are ours!

    Good point (none / 0) (#19)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 02:29:17 PM EST
    We may have been able to outright buy Iraq and Afghanistan for all the money we have spent over there. Why do nation-building when we can do nation-buying?

    698 bn (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 02:44:29 PM EST
    it is like my son asking me for 150 bucks for groceries and me responding "Cannot do it this month, I bought this laser system that melts intruders in the event my house is broken into.  It set me back $865,000.  I mean we live in Chicago and we average more than 1000 homicides a year.  Would you rather i be safe so that in the future i can help with your groceries or would you like me dead?

    See, i feel better about our spending already.


    PLANNING A H E (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 02:53:19 PM EST
    A  D

    Seems more like what is going on.

    We know what the issues are, we know what the Democratic goal should be.  Nothing about how the issues are strategized ever leads to the realization of those goals.

    And it isn't going to happen on this issue, either.  The Matts and Ezras and others of their ilk will offer ideas about what should be done, and as those ideas fail to materialize, will just adjust their commentary to fit the situation - they will try, once again, to make lemonade from lemons, a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and when it's all over, will write something they believe to be profound to sum it all up.

    I mean, isn't that the way this goes?  Completely dysfunctional, wholly co-dependent, changing nothing.

    Where all of this should have started was with the education of the American public on the myth of the debt and deficit crisis; maybe if anyone with a reasonably large audience had done so, we could have had more control over the argument.  Instead, we allowed the hysteria to take root as if it were justified, and so here we are, anticipating yet another sell-out of the American people - because you know that we will all somehow be made to pay.  Again.

    Jesus, it's always Groundhog Day in Washington; I hated the original movie, and I'm not liking this one, either.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 12:11:56 PM EST
    it is a good strategy but like you said it has zero chance of being used.

    Appropration bills would be the easiest way (none / 0) (#5)
    by BTAL on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 12:46:09 PM EST
    to stop that strategy in its tracks.

    Really? (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 12:57:35 PM EST
    Since the House has to appropriate all (none / 0) (#8)
    by BTAL on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 01:02:45 PM EST
    funds, it just guts the departments of its choosing and passes appropriation bills as necessary.  The executive branch would be violating federal law (the appropriation bills) if it attempted to move funds to different departments.

    Then what is this debt ceiling (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 01:50:50 PM EST
    of whence they speak?

    Did Congress already violate it?


    Not that I am aware of - yet... (none / 0) (#15)
    by BTAL on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 01:58:08 PM EST
    Actually (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 02:11:35 PM EST
    I'm pretty sure that their appropriations due in fact lead to a debt ceiling violation.

    So what trumps? Appropriations or debt ceiling?

    And who sues the President?

    Think it through my friend.


    Then budget sequestration triggered (none / 0) (#17)
    by BTAL on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 02:22:41 PM EST
    Otherwise, they vote to raise the ceiling.  

    With sequestration the ceiling takes precedent - correct?


    Sequestration (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 02:30:37 PM EST
    is not the issue imo.

    It is that the spending of monies as stated by the appropriations would violate the debt ceiling.

    At the point, the President chooses which law to follow.

    Who sues him?


    Your assumption is that under this House, without (none / 0) (#21)
    by BTAL on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 02:41:44 PM EST
    a debt ceiling increase, would actually pass appropriations that would exceed the existing ceiling.  

    I'll hark back to my original comment on this topic - the strategy would not work based on appropriations.  It would be the fastest way to cut the budget, far faster than Ryan could even dream about.


    I think they already have (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 02:47:38 PM EST
    Congress appropriates, the President spends (none / 0) (#29)
    by NYShooter on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 04:40:26 PM EST
    don't remember where i read it, but it sounds like a good idea:

    The President should offer nothing to raise the ceiling. If the R's then freeze it, then Obama can simply start spending on  programs and ,obviously , passing by republican pet projects.

    built in excuse.


    And if that doesn't work then (none / 0) (#9)
    by BTAL on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 01:09:21 PM EST
    a budget sequester situation could kick in.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 01:18:08 PM EST
    maybe they can send war funding one bill at time like Bush did and then the reps will have a record of whether they think wasting more money in Iraq is a good idea.

    Another act in the fake ... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 01:24:35 PM EST
    debt crisis drama.  Zzzzz ... wake me when something interesting happens.

    Economics (none / 0) (#26)
    by dandelion on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 03:34:08 PM EST
    yes, it's startling how little the punditerati class really know about economics, or maybe it's startling how much of what passes for left discourse in this country is nonetheless steeped in Milton Friedmanism.  

    It's almost as if it's the language they grew up in, and while they can converse on occasion and for a few minutes at a time in another economic language, they aren't fluent, it's not natural, and all their actual thinking takes place in "free market-ism."  

    As a great American President once said: (none / 0) (#30)
    by RonK Seattle on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 05:07:29 PM EST
    Per Monday FP NYT; "He'll (none / 0) (#31)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 11:11:57 PM EST
    Lay out his approach this week in terms of the scale of debt reduction he thinks the county needs so we can grow economicallt and win the future--a balanced approach.". David Plouffe.

    SITE VIOLATOR lanmeng (none / 0) (#35)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 08:26:36 AM EST