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(The Atlantic)   "For Congress to decide whether to raise the debt ceiling, for programs and tax rates it has already voted into law, makes exactly as much sense as it would for a family to decide whether to pay a credit-card bill for goods it has already bought"   (theatlantic.com) divider line 171
    More: Obvious, convictions, tax rates, credit cards, government spending  
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1500 clicks; posted to Politics » on 13 Jan 2013 at 10:32 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-13 05:02:54 AM  
In all fairness, plenty of people decide not to pay their credit card bills, especially these past four years.  That's not really a good comparison, because people who aren't paying their credit card bills can't because Congress has done such a shiatty job of improving the economy.  Or because they lived outside their means to begin with.

Actually, maybe it IS a good comparison.
 
2013-01-13 08:27:44 AM  
These are people who think "We gotta done run that there govermant thingy the way I run my family's budget" is a "scream 'sexual chocolate' and drop the mic" response to any debate.

Presenting them with facts is like trying to show a labradoodle a card trick.
 
2013-01-13 09:21:51 AM  
The family doesn't have to take out a new credit card to pay off the old one.  It can cancel cable, call off the next vacation, rent out the spare bedroom, get a second job, cut off junior's allowance, trade steak for hot dogs and a million other things.  At some point, you have to pay down the debt, not just postpone it.  The more you delay, the harder it gets.
 
2013-01-13 09:27:08 AM  
this fact needs to be shouted upon high to the blithering masses who think that the debt ceiling is simply a credit limit.
 
2013-01-13 10:16:47 AM  

FlashHarry: this fact needs to be shouted upon high to the blithering masses who think that the debt ceiling is simply a credit limit.


These sort of discussions are great for determining which people have no idea what's going on. I remember, during the last debt ceiling hostage negotiation, many people agreeing that the best thing for this country would be inaction. To simply do nothing and to see what happens.

The fact that we're here, again, really irritates me to no end.
 
2013-01-13 10:17:01 AM  
In all fairness, most Americans are stupid and uninfromed.
 
2013-01-13 10:24:57 AM  

Il Douchey: The family doesn't have to take out a new credit card to pay off the old one.  It can cancel cable, call off the next vacation, rent out the spare bedroom, get a second job, cut off junior's allowance, trade steak for hot dogs and a million other things.  At some point, you have to pay down the debt, not just postpone it.  The more you delay, the harder it gets.


The problem is the current bunch running the House promised Simple Cousin Grover they'd never, ever, ever, EVER rent out the spare bedroom or get a second job, lest he wish them into the cornfield
 
2013-01-13 10:35:32 AM  
I predict dozens of posts decrying the comparison of macro and microeconomics.
 
2013-01-13 10:36:41 AM  

Il Douchey: The family doesn't have to take out a new credit card to pay off the old one.  It can cancel cable, call off the next vacation, rent out the spare bedroom, get a second job, cut off junior's allowance, trade steak for hot dogs and a million other things.  At some point, you have to pay down the debt, not just postpone it


So Congress should do that. But they haven't, because no one actually wants to reduce spending.

The President does not have the unilateral power to cut expenses. So if the Congress tells it to not pay the bills, but has also told it to pay the bills (i.e. appropriation) its a contradictory order.
 
2013-01-13 10:38:00 AM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: In all fairness, most Americans are stupid and uninfromed.


They are fully infromed and that is the problem.
 
2013-01-13 10:39:01 AM  
Except with far, far greater consequences that will reverbrate across the entire world economy...
 
2013-01-13 10:39:23 AM  
Fascinating how historical perspective is lost here.  There wasn't a Congressionally-set debt ceiling until Watergate......
 
2013-01-13 10:41:38 AM  

Il Douchey: The family doesn't have to take out a new credit card to pay off the old one.  It can cancel cable, call off the next vacation, rent out the spare bedroom, get a second job, cut off junior's allowance, trade steak for hot dogs and a million other things.  At some point, you have to pay down the debt, not just postpone it.  The more you delay, the harder it gets.


Sure, but holding your credit worthiness hostage by refusing to make payments until you figure it out is asinine, especially since this is the US government, which is way more important than the financial health of this hypothetical family we keep using for comparison.
 
2013-01-13 10:42:15 AM  

hurdboy: Fascinating how historical perspective is lost here.  There wasn't a Congressionally-set debt ceiling until Watergate......


Watergate happened in 1917?
 
2013-01-13 10:46:05 AM  

Il Douchey: The family doesn't have to take out a new credit card to pay off the old one.  It can cancel cable, call off the next vacation, rent out the spare bedroom, get a second job, cut off junior's allowance, trade steak for hot dogs and a million other things.  At some point, you have to pay down the debt, not just postpone it.  The more you delay, the harder it gets.


And yet you still have to pay the bill on what you did already buy. Debt ceiling != future spending.
 
2013-01-13 10:47:46 AM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: In all fairness, most Americans are stupid and uninfromed.


and they elect republicans to congress. hence the current know-nothing party.
 
2013-01-13 10:49:41 AM  
Maybe this theoretical family should cancel the order for the aircraft carrier and stop waging war in the Middle East.
 
2013-01-13 10:50:28 AM  

Il Douchey: The family doesn't have to take out a new credit card to pay off the old one.  It can cancel cable, call off the next vacation, rent out the spare bedroom, get a second job, cut off junior's allowance, trade steak for hot dogs and a million other things.  At some point, you have to pay down the debt, not just postpone it.  The more you delay, the harder it gets.


No. This is dangerously, powerfully wrong. An entity with a potentially infinite lifespan such as a nation or a corporation can borrow forever and never be out of debt, provided that it can grow quickly enough to comfortably service its debt. Happens all the time.
 
2013-01-13 10:50:30 AM  

Il Douchey: The family doesn't have to take out a new credit card to pay off the old one.  It can cancel cable, call off the next vacation, rent out the spare bedroom, get a second job, cut off junior's allowance, trade steak for hot dogs and a million other things.  At some point, you have to pay down the debt, not just postpone it.  The more you delay, the harder it gets.


No matter how much I cut expenses, the credit card company is still going to want me to pay for what I already bought.
 
2013-01-13 10:52:16 AM  

Mr. Coffee Nerves: These are people who think "We gotta done run that there govermant thingy the way I run my family's budget"


When social conservative "values" perverse fiscal conservatism, you get stupid farking comparisons like this.
 
2013-01-13 10:55:28 AM  
Monthly federal tax receipts are about 10x the monthly interest payments on the national debt. Even if the debt ceiling were not raised, we will not "default" on our debt. Just thought I'd throw that out there.
 
2013-01-13 10:57:09 AM  
Fun fact: It turns out that managing the finances of one of the largest, most advanced economies in the world is exactly like managing the finances of a family of four living in Missouri.

/sarcasm
 
2013-01-13 10:57:17 AM  

miked1883: Monthly federal tax receipts are about 10x the monthly interest payments on the national debt. Even if the debt ceiling were not raised, we will not "default" on our debt. Just thought I'd throw that out there.


On what basis is the President permitted to direct those receipts be used to pay interest on the debt rather than any other obligation of the government?
 
2013-01-13 10:58:06 AM  
us.123rf.com
"Look, honey, I'm not signing the check to pay for the bills until you agree to cut out the Thursday Night poker games and let me spend more money on clothes."
 
2013-01-13 11:00:32 AM  

miked1883: Monthly federal tax receipts are about 10x the monthly interest payments on the national debt. Even if the debt ceiling were not raised, we will not "default" on our debt. Just thought I'd throw that out there.


No default on the debt perhaps. But we'd default on other statutorily required spending. Government spending would be immediately cut by ~40%.

Not funding governmental functions is illegal. Borrowing beyond the debt ceiling is illegal. The two are mutually incompatible meaning Republicans have set up Obama to break the law regardless of his own actions.
 
2013-01-13 11:00:50 AM  

Il Douchey: The family doesn't have to take out a new credit card to pay off the old one. It can cancel cable, call off the next vacation, rent out the spare bedroom, get a second job, cut off junior's allowance, trade steak for hot dogs and a million other things. At some point, you have to pay down the debt, not just postpone it. The more you delay, the harder it gets.


The problem with this line of reasoning (and the major problem with the whole "government budget is like my family budget") is that this "family's employer" cuts the family's salary if they cut their spending; it's even possible that they increase the deficit by cutting expenses, because the cuts to expenses cause even larger cuts to their income.
 
2013-01-13 11:01:56 AM  

DamnYankees: On what basis is the President permitted to direct those receipts be used to pay interest on the debt rather than any other obligation of the government?


The Constitution doesn't say a whole lot about paying for "any other obligation of the government", but there is this little nugget "hidden" in Amendment XIV:

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.
 
2013-01-13 11:03:09 AM  

TofuTheAlmighty: Not funding governmental functions is illegal. Borrowing beyond the debt ceiling is illegal. The two are mutually incompatible meaning Republicans have set up Obama to break the law regardless of his own actions.


Know how I know you don't understand the way government spending works?
 
2013-01-13 11:04:35 AM  

Serious Black: hurdboy: Fascinating how historical perspective is lost here.  There wasn't a Congressionally-set debt ceiling until Watergate......

Watergate happened in 1917?


Until the libs got a hold of the history books.  Now, everyone blames a Republican for Watergate.  Of course.

I've been infromed that we're teaching our kids communist math, also, too.
 
2013-01-13 11:04:48 AM  
Lost in all of this is just who incurred the problematic liabilities.

/boy, the roi on tax cuts and wars sure was great
 
2013-01-13 11:04:50 AM  

Sum Dum Gai: The problem with this line of reasoning (and the major problem with the whole "government budget is like my family budget") is that this "family's employer" cuts the family's salary if they cut their spending; it's even possible that they increase the deficit by cutting expenses, because the cuts to expenses cause even larger cuts to their income.


You're right. Let me change my above:

us.123rf.com
"Look honey, I'm not paying the credit card bills until you agree to take a lower-paying job!"
 
2013-01-13 11:05:02 AM  
What if McConnell is really a Sith Lord and is trying to manufacture a crisis and a civil war? Someone needs to get some ysalamiri to DC immediately.
 
2013-01-13 11:05:17 AM  

ox45tallboy: DamnYankees: On what basis is the President permitted to direct those receipts be used to pay interest on the debt rather than any other obligation of the government?

The Constitution doesn't say a whole lot about paying for "any other obligation of the government", but there is this little nugget "hidden" in Amendment XIV:

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.


I don't see the connection. No one is questioning the fact that the debt is valid. But that has nothing at all to do with where it comes in on the priority of payments.
 
2013-01-13 11:06:01 AM  

ox45tallboy: Sum Dum Gai: The problem with this line of reasoning (and the major problem with the whole "government budget is like my family budget") is that this "family's employer" cuts the family's salary if they cut their spending; it's even possible that they increase the deficit by cutting expenses, because the cuts to expenses cause even larger cuts to their income.

You're right. Let me change my above:


"Look honey, I'm not paying the credit card bills until you agree to take a lower-paying job!"


Nailed it.
 
2013-01-13 11:06:15 AM  
I think we should run the country like a family. Not our finances, mind you but it's way past time the republican party was taken to outside, forced to cut a switch and then had their backside tanned. Farkin' brats.
 
2013-01-13 11:06:16 AM  
Well sure, if that family was going to live for thousands of years and have quite a while to pay it back. But I don't think a family has the same life span as a nation.
 
2013-01-13 11:06:49 AM  

gameshowhost: /boy, the roi on tax cuts and wars sure was great


Well, Bush had to deal with that Congress of No that wouldn't pass any of his initiatives. If they had just rubber-stamped his agenda, we'd be living in Libertarian Utopia right now under President McCain's second term.
 
2013-01-13 11:09:25 AM  

Serious Black: hurdboy: Fascinating how historical perspective is lost here.  There wasn't a Congressionally-set debt ceiling until Watergate......

Watergate happened in 1917?


President Nixon and his magical time machine.
 
2013-01-13 11:11:10 AM  

ox45tallboy: DamnYankees: On what basis is the President permitted to direct those receipts be used to pay interest on the debt rather than any other obligation of the government?

The Constitution doesn't say a whole lot about paying for "any other obligation of the government", but there is this little nugget "hidden" in Amendment XIV:

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.


Just because there's no pithy one-liner saying that only the congress can decide how to appropriate funds doesn't mean that the President can randomly decide to ignore how the congress HAS ALREADY CHOSEN TO APPROPRIATE FUNDS. farking arseholes.
 
2013-01-13 11:12:14 AM  

ox45tallboy: Know how I know you don't understand the way government spending works?


Please, infrom me.
 
2013-01-13 11:12:19 AM  

BSABSVR: Serious Black: hurdboy: Fascinating how historical perspective is lost here.  There wasn't a Congressionally-set debt ceiling until Watergate......

Watergate happened in 1917?

President Nixon and his magical time machine.


Ah, the president must have went back in time and then let Nixon borrow it and go further back in time.
 
2013-01-13 11:13:01 AM  

ox45tallboy: gameshowhost: /boy, the roi on tax cuts and wars sure was great

Well, Bush had to deal with that Congress of No that wouldn't pass any of his initiatives. If they had just rubber-stamped his agenda, we'd be living in Libertarian Utopia right now under President McCain's second term.


GOD DO I MISS SARAH PALIN
 
2013-01-13 11:13:04 AM  
Just raise the damn thing and be done with it.
 
2013-01-13 11:14:25 AM  

miked1883: Monthly federal tax receipts are about 10x the monthly interest payments on the national debt. Even if the debt ceiling were not raised, we will not "default" on our debt. Just thought I'd throw that out there.


OK, you can call up all the old people and tell them "Social Security and Medicare is suspended because payments to creditors come first."
 
2013-01-13 11:16:14 AM  

DamnYankees: ox45tallboy: DamnYankees: On what basis is the President permitted to direct those receipts be used to pay interest on the debt rather than any other obligation of the government?

The Constitution doesn't say a whole lot about paying for "any other obligation of the government", but there is this little nugget "hidden" in Amendment XIV:

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

I don't see the connection. No one is questioning the fact that the debt is valid. But that has nothing at all to do with where it comes in on the priority of payments.


IMHO, refusing to pay the interest (much less the principle) causes the validity of the debt to be called into question. Here's what else the Constitution says about spending, from Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence[note 1] and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Note that the Fourteenth Amendment came some 80+ later, and in a way just reinforces what this clause says about debt. Everything else (other than defense) could theoretically come under "general welfare", but debt and defense are the two things directly authorized by the Constitution.

I think this is one of the biggest differences in Conservative and Liberal thinking - how they define "general welfare". It must have sounded good to the Founders, but I think every single person that read it and signed it had a slightly different definition in mind. This is probably why they were so willing to sign it, though - it said what they wanted it to say.
So for those who don't believe "general welfare" means Obamacare or the EPA or the NEA, keep in mind that paying public debt is EXPLICIT in the Constitution. TWICE.
 
2013-01-13 11:18:42 AM  

actualhuman: Just because there's no pithy one-liner saying that only the congress can decide how to appropriate funds doesn't mean that the President can randomly decide to ignore how the congress HAS ALREADY CHOSEN TO APPROPRIATE FUNDS. farking arseholes.


Well, it was Congress than ran up the debt to begin with. Does this mean that they are allowed to decide whether or not to pay the bills they generated?

I can see the Constitutional thinking behind an Executive Order raising the debt ceiling in order to comply with the 14th. I just can't understand the thinking of those who believe that Congress should be allowed to hold the debt ceiling hostage.
 
2013-01-13 11:19:03 AM  
This thread is going to wither and die if a designated derper doesn't show up posthaste with some savory stupidity.
 
2013-01-13 11:19:25 AM  
"For Congress to decide whether to raise the debt ceiling, for programs and tax rates it has already voted into law, makes exactly as much sense as it would for a family to decide whether to pay a credit-card bill for goods it has already bought"

. . . and while the average conservative would be outraged by such lack of responsibility on the part of a private family, they just can't understand how it could possibly be expected to apply to them.
 
2013-01-13 11:20:44 AM  
Please stop using metaphors, similes and analogies when discussing politics.

They rely on an agreed upon, shared experience and a willingness to consider a new perspective in light of that experience. Modern politics lacks both. You will end up arguing the analogy, the redefinition of the analogy, WHY the original is better or worse than the redefinition, the actual issue from the side of the person making the analogy, and the issue from the side of the person redefining the analogy (at the very least). One argument just turns into several.

This is especially true for the "family budget" analogy, which has nothing to do with the operation of the government for 50 states that comprise the most powerful country in the history of the planet. This goes for both sides.
 
2013-01-13 11:22:28 AM  

Mr. Coffee Nerves: Il Douchey: The family doesn't have to take out a new credit card to pay off the old one.  It can cancel cable, call off the next vacation, rent out the spare bedroom, get a second job, cut off junior's allowance, trade steak for hot dogs and a million other things.  At some point, you have to pay down the debt, not just postpone it.  The more you delay, the harder it gets.

The problem is the current bunch running the House promised Simple Cousin Grover they'd never, ever, ever, EVER rent out the spare bedroom or get a second job, lest he wish them into the cornfield


And many of them are balking ad trading the steak for the hot dogs and calling off the next vacation (see the defense budget), while yelling at the top of their heads that we need to lower our electric bill and insurance bill (Medicare, SS, et al).
 
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