The Debt Ceiling Dance

There is not much to say.

Of course the republicans are shitheads, for trying to take the economy hostage in order to get more tax breaks for the rich, and shut down services for the poor. Someone’s gotta get tough on those poor folks!

What blows my mind is the attitude on some liberal hangouts, which is that we ought to be cheering for “dark brandon” – as though he’s some kind of badass and not some stammering old coot who needs to be surrounded by an army of handlers to keep him from walking into a wall, or falling down stairs. Over at Daily Kos, some are crowing about how the democrats stuck it to the republicans, by, uh, giving away things in a negotiation that didn’t have to happen in the first place.

The meme above is prompted by the observation that, inevitably, the DOD budget went up. Remember, the DOD doesn’t even know where and how it’s spending its money, it spends so much of it, but somehow it knows it always needs more. The whole premise of the “debt ceiling” dance is that something something has to do with making it harder to increase the national debt – the one thing congress has demonstrated bipartisan skills at doing. None of those lying assholes in Washington are willing to confront the fact that if you’re having problems with your spending, you need to look at the biggest items first, and not fuck around down in the weeds worrying about making a 5% change to .01% of your overall budget. They’re lying bastards because they all – even the more progressive stars – pretend that this is not the case. My view of the situation is remarkably similar to my view of the police: there are no “bad apples” because it’s all bad apples, since everyone who works there is either corrupt or cooperates and says nothing with someone that they know is corrupt.

So, for example, they expanded the work requirement for benefits. That’s not exactly the same as “cutting benefits” it’s more like “making benefits inaccessible” – it makes the bones of my skull squeal from the pressure when I think of that – it’s specifically aimed at people who labor off the books. Meanwhile, they cut back IRS staffing intended to examine corporate tax dodging. Isn’t that all rather obvious?

The pundit class is busy pontificating about “well, it’s a negotiation and that means you give a bit and get a bit…” what they really should be saying is “you screw some people, we screw some people.” If anyone was serious about spending they’d whack back the DOD, or more plausibly, “let’s do it this way: for every dollar you cut, we raise a dollar by increasing taxes.” The whole idea of a “debt ceiling” is absurd to begin with. It would make more sense to have a ceiling after which we stop funding the military and tell them to stand down and go home. Of course none of this is going to happen, and it’s probably for the best if your objective is to see the US empire continue to expand its reach and flourish.


  1. says

    Discussions of the bloated DOD budget always bring to my mind a private Dwight Eisenhower remark in the 1950s: “Every branch of the military wants enough money to win a war on their own.”
    How is it that a career military officer is the last president to try to rein in spending on the military?

  2. lanir says

    Eh. Biden is more concerned with appearing like he can talk to people than figuring out WTF they’re talking about. If he walked into this with any principles at all he’d have just let McCarthy lay out what he wanted, prompt him to say why he wanted it, then spent the rest of the time talking over him. Saying things like “I agree, we do need to sort out our budget. So here’s what I’m thinking. How many decades of tax cuts for the rich do you want to undo? I’m thinking 8 but we can probably manage okay with 6. Oh and those program cutbacks you want? Those are going to hurt the economy and that’s obviously not going to help our budget at all. Don’t be an idiot. So back to repealing tax cuts were you thinking 6 or 7 decades? We can start negotiating from there.”

    There is no point to honest negotiations with dishonest clowns.

    Oh, quick side comment. Doesn’t the DoD ask Congress for what they want every time and then they always get more than they asked for?

  3. says

    I think Biden’s track record offers at least some reason to think that the dude actually does listen to people, and actually can be persuaded to change his mind. I also think that until such time as we toss out “first past the post” in favor of some other voting system (ranked choice, single transferable vote, whatever), we are, as a practical matter, stuck with a two-party system. The above being the case, I think that in the current political situation, supporting Biden is less a matter of mindless zealotry, but of not letting the Perfect be the enemy of Better.

  4. says

    Oh, quick side comment. Doesn’t the DoD ask Congress for what they want every time and then they always get more than they asked for?

    Because the money isn’t simply going to the military. It’s going to the states where the military spends that money and where the constituents for the congress critters live.
    If someone seriously demands a reduction of the military budget, all the rest will simply go “okay” and then slash that one item that goes to the state of the offender. Then, next election, when the voters are mad at rising unemployment, the idealist is kicked out and replaced by someone more “reasonable”. And the system grinds on.

    Corruption isn’t an aberration. It’s the foundation of our civilization. It’s corruption all the way down. The empire never ended.

  5. billseymour says

    There was an article on 538 a couple of years ago that pointed out that Senator Biden was pretty much always the median Democrat.  My takeaway was that he has no actual ideas of his own, but just positions himself in the middle of the Overton window so that he can claim to be a successful negotiator.

  6. says

    My takeaway was that he has no actual ideas of his own, but just positions himself in the middle of the Overton window so that he can claim to be a successful negotiator.

    Obviously, I don’t understand what makes politicians tick – they’d rather spend a whole lifetime creeping sideways toward power, then finally, I dunno, “he managed to get elected twice” is a heck of a major thing to go down in history for.

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