Obama to Boehner: Drop Dead
By Matthew Vadum
President Obama has rejected a proposed compromise from House Republicans that could have helped to end the congressional standoff that led to the now 11-day-old partial federal government shutdown.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) pitched a “clean” six-week increase with nothing in return to the community organizer in the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
As Big Government’s Matthew Boyle reports,
“Obama’s and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to completely reject any offer of a compromise from House Republicans confirms what most conservatives already know: Obama will not negotiate on anything (he has said as much numerous times over the past couple of weeks) unless he faces consequences for failing to do so.”
The entirely predictable response from the nation’s top Democrats throws a public spotlight on their intransigence, and in particular, on Obama’s refusal to compromise on anything, unless he’s harming America by shredding the nation’s nuclear deterrent or extending a welcoming hand to the al-Qaeda operatives who murdered nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11.
Conservatives had been hoping Republicans would use the leverage GOP leadership doesn’t seem to realize it has in Congress to kill Obamacare or at least throw a few wrenches in the works.
Republicans’ reasonableness and generosity (with other people’s money) was rewarded with a swift kick in the teeth.
Boehner apparently succumbed to the relentless stream of horror propaganda from the fiscally illiterate Chicken Littles of the mainstream media and went to Obama with a no-strings attached “temporary” debt ceiling increase. Of course, there is no reason to grovel before Obama who has a pathetic 37 percent approval rating at the moment as Americans recoil from the president’s petty shutdown-related torments but Republicans did it anyway.
Obama and his lieutenants had laid down a marker, falsely claiming that the government wouldn’t be able to meet its obligations if the debt ceiling wasn’t raised by Oct. 17. Then Obama’s former campaign manager turned senior adviser David Plouffe upped the ante by throwing a temper tantrum on Twitter, screeching that Republicans were traitors for refusing to raise the debt ceiling. The smarmy Plouffe accused House Republicans of “committing economic treason” for not offering unconditional surrender to America’s Marxist president on the debt ceiling issue.
Plouffe didn’t bother to point out that it was just a few short years ago when Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) suggested it was treasonable to raise the debt ceiling. When President George W. Bush sought an increase in federal borrowing authority Obama said at the time that to do so would be “unpatriotic.”
But times have changed and consistency has never been a condition that afflicts Saul Alinsky devotees.
And there is no possibility of default, as Moody’s, the Wall Street rating agency says. The only person who can cause a default is President Obama if he re-orders the government’s payment priorities. Right now more than enough revenue is coming in to cover interest payments on the national debt.
Republican thinking yesterday was that punting the debt fight till late November would be a good strategic move that would allow the congressional GOP to focus all its energies on undermining Obamacare in the interim. It could at least be argued that piling another trillion dollars or so in government debt on top of at least $16.74 trillion in already outstanding debt would be worthwhile if there’s a possibility it will afford patriotic lawmakers an opportunity to strangle Obama’s unholy offspring in its crib.
Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham, who has been pushing hard to defund Obamacare, said the GOP should let Obama have his so-called clean debt limit increase so conservatives can turn their attention to the partial government shutdown and Obamacare.
Under another approach, Republicans could simply go into hibernation and allow Obamacare to go forward. This would let Americans bear the full brunt of this hideous usurpation of civil society. The hope is that public opposition would mushroom to torch-and-pitchfork levels that would force repeal. It is a superficially appealing plan until one realizes that no major entitlement program has ever been repealed once entrenched.
But it’s a problem that benefits are being implemented early in the process. If people get used to the “sugar,” as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) puts it, they are likely to support Obamacare. With each passing day and every new benefit, the people who get the goodies aren’t going to want to give them up and they’ll get awfully upset at anyone who tries to take them away. This is the animating principle of the welfare state. If you think it’s hard to curb government spending now, just wait till the future when the program kicks into high gear.
Republicans could also try to delay the individual mandate for a year, embark on a consciousness-raising adventure, and then pray they crush Democrats in next year’s congressional elections. Under the best of circumstances, the GOP still wouldn’t achieve the supermajority it needs to overcome a presidential veto of repeal legislation in America’s sclerotic House of Lords. On the other hand, every bit of pressure helps to weaken Obama and his signature monstrosity.
Meanwhile, at the end of last month the federal government’s total debt brushed up against the debt ceiling, weighing in at $16.74 trillion, which is slightly more than the $16.66 trillion gross domestic product figure (on an annualized basis) for the second quarter.
Other arms of the U.S. government “own” 28.4 percent of the debt, or roughly $4.76 trillion. Like all federal government accounting this is sleight-of-hand, a fiction that increases the money supply and further debases the greenback.
Former SEC chairman Chris Cox and former House Ways and Means Committee chairman Bill Archer (R-Texas) say the true debt level is five times the official figure.
“The actual liabilities of the federal government—including Social Security, Medicare, and federal employees’ future retirement benefits—already exceed $86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP,” according to Cox and Archer. “For the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, the annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security was $7 trillion. Nothing like that figure is used in calculating the deficit. In reality, the reported budget deficit is less than one-fifth of the more accurate figure.”
Some economists say it’s a lot more than that, even more than $210 trillion, or roughly triple the annual economic output of every single person on the planet Earth combined.
Such a colossal sum could never be repaid even if the U.S. government imposed 100 percent income tax rates on Americans and invaded its neighbors and siphoned their wealth.
Although a real, live default is still probably far off in the future, Americans ought to be nervous that investors’ appetite for U.S. public debt appears to be tapering off.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. said Thursday that its money market funds have dumped all of their short-term U.S. government debt in an attempt to limit exposure. The mega-bank reportedly said, “its money market funds no longer held any U.S. Treasurys that mature or have payments scheduled between Oct. 16 and Nov. 6.”
On Wednesday Fidelity Investments said it no longer possesses U.S. Treasurys that fall due when the government maxes out on borrowing.
“While JPMorgan Chase & Co. says it believes the probability of a U.S. government default is low, it’s taking precautionary measures to protect investors,” the news report indicated.
Wall Street knows the borrowing can’t go on indefinitely.