EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Morning Briefing for July 13, 2011
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Everyone is using the hostage metaphor these days regarding the debt ceiling. Barack Obama started it back in December when he called the GOP hostage takers before the GOP gave him everything he wanted.
Well, I hope the GOP noticed Barack Obama yesterday upped the ante and declared his willingness to shoot his hostages, i.e. senior citizens. Yes, if the GOP dares to hold the line on spending cuts, Barack Obama will balk, the debt limit will not be raised, and Obama will refuse to pay senior citizens.
Jim Pethokoukis notes a Goldman Sachs report showing there will be plenty of money flowing into the treasury in August for the government to pay its debt obligations, pay social security obligations, pay military obligations, and avoid default. But Obama won’t let facts stand in the way of starving senior citizens to score political points against the GOP.
Of course, it is not just Obama willing to score political points. Mitch McConnell wants to give Barack Obama the right to automatically raise the debt ceiling. The only caveat is McConnell wants everyone to know it’ll be Obama who does it, not the GOP. Just how bad is McConnell’s plan? After David Hauptmann, a staffer in McConnell’s office, sent out an email linking to a National Review Online column that said Grover Norquist “supported” Mitch McConnell’s capitulation, Americans for Tax Reform rapidly sent out a press release saying Norquist did not support the plan, just “the goals.” They also asked NRO to clarify.
Undeterred, McConnell enlisted the support of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, which came out swinging not just in favor of McConnell’s plan, but also pretty directly against me. I can console myself that they also supported McConnell’s push for TARP.
Consider the Associated Press’s headline right now: “GOP Leader McConnell proposes giving Obama new power for automatic debt limit increase”
Mitch McConnell is right now talking about making a historic capitulation. So fearful of being blamed for a default, McConnell is proposing a compromise that lets Barack Obama raise the debt ceiling without making any spending cuts at all.
Consider sending McConnell a weasel as testament to his treachery. His address is 601 W. Broadway, Room 630, Louisville, KY 40202 and the phone number is (502) 582-6304.
McConnell’s idea is to make the debt ceiling automatic unless Congress, by a 2/3 vote blocks the increase. Oh yes, he put a salve on it by dressing it up in tough talk that, to quote the Wall Street Journal, “[a] ‘eal solution’ to U.S. fiscal problems isn’t possible as long as President Barack Obama remains in office.” So since no “real solution” is possible, McConnell proposes to go Pontius Pilate and wash his hands of spending, blaming Obama while doing nothing himself.
Here is how the plan would work.
President Barack Obama has announced that he may not be able to mail Social Security checks out on 3 August if he has not been given an increased debt ceiling to borrow more money for the government. The blackmail attempts have officially begun. Give us more money now, or watch the entitlement recipients in YOUR Congressional District start to get it.
According to James Pethokoukis, the US Treasury is not precluded from specifically making the next Social Security payment by actual liquidity. “Social Security payments Treasury needs to make on Aug 3. $22 billion. Treasury cash balance on Aug. 3: $74 billion.”
This implies these payments would be stopped as a result of fiscal priorities greater than making Social Security payments that totaled an amount greater than the $52Bn that the Treasury would have on its books as of 3 August 2011. As concerned American citizens, we are owed a dutiful and factual accountings of what those specific priorities happen to be. This is, after all, the most honest and open administration in the history of terrestrial democracy. Isn’t it?
As late as Monday, the Teamster-represented funeral directors, embalmers and livery drivers from four Chicago-area nursing home were prepared to walk out on strike on Tuesday over an impasse in negotiations with Service Corporation International.
However, when vandals struck three out of four of the funeral homes that were to have been targeted by the strike, the Teamsters hastily postponed walking out on the dead.