Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Jukebox: Debt Ceiling Edition

I won't lie to you: I stole this right out of the penguin's herring bowl.

But I won't lie to you about this, either; the Himalayan Massif of Stupid that is the GOP has got me ready to suck the shotgun. These people are like a roomful of toddlers with a diaper full of tantrum and a thumb on the spoon as they dance manically around the safety pin lying at their feet howling with incoherent rage.

So while I'm not feeling much like singing happy songs this Jarosz tune is a lovely way to sail out to the weekend.


If there is anyone out there reading this, and if you happen to have John Boehner's home address...for the love of God stop by this Sunday and kick the stupid sonofabitch dead square in the balls and tell him to get his fucking flying monkeys back in their fucking cage before they detonate the entire goddamn national product in their mad quest to prevent a couple of sick poor people from getting insurance coverage and lock in tax cuts for Kim Fucking Kardashian.


These people...


Syrbal/Labrys said...

Those penguins find the BEST herring, don't they?

And 'those people", they are certainly more pickled than ANY herring...

no one said...

ewwwww....the sky is falling!!!! LOL

Go John Boehner! No more spending of $s that we don't have. No more printing of new money at a rate faster than GDP growth. Thank god that someone in DC is responsible enough to do the right thing and commit the equivalent of a political suicide bombing that kills 'em all.

Prediction; regardless of how this goes, the day after the sun will still rise. People will still get up, do the 3s's and go to work in the morning. Most of us won't even notice anything has changed.

SS, Medicare and VA services will still operate, by law.

If it drags out long enough, we may even learn that we don't need Washington to live happy productive lives.

Turn off the switch and leave it off. Nail the doors and windows shut. Kick the scoundrels down the road and make them get real jobs.

FDChief said...

no one: Trying to educate you on the fundamentals of U.S. government and public policy is getting to be pretty trying, but here goes.

1. Officially repudiating debts the government has incurred WILL cause the economic sky to fall. SMART "conservatives" (and there are a few, even I admit) have recognized this and have warned the teabaggers not to go there. This isn't "political suicide bombing", this is pointless and idiotic grandstanding to try and keep a handful of sick poor people away from federally-mandated insurance and get tax breaks for rich people. It really IS that simple.

2. We "have" all sorts of money. We piss away billions on ridiculous military adventures every day. The deficit is shrinking. The debt-to-GDP ratio is stable. If there has been any expansion in federal spending it's because after the financial geniuses at places like AIG blew up the economy people still have no jobs and no money.

And you can't have it both ways; if Social Security, Medicare, and the VA are important than we do "need Washington". But the real bottom line is that if we want to continue to be a large industrial nation we need a large complex of laws, commercial, and political regulation to keep us from poisoning, cheating, swindling, and undercutting each other while maintaining our public infrastructure.

I have a friend whose 17-year-old son is an "anarchist". He has the same simple-minded ideas you do: "Turn off the switch and leave it off, kick the scoundrels out." He's got an excuse; he's a fool like all other 17-year-olds are fools, he lacks the experience that would tell him what it tells the rest of us; "anarchy" is simply another name for "who is strongest, rules". If you turn off the switch you will soon find that your "happy productive life" is only as long as and at the mercy of the person (or organization or corporation) with more power than you have moves in and either decides to use you or to dissassemble you for parts.

The one virtue of OUR government is that it IS ours, at least in theory. In fact, we have allowed the corporatists and their lobbyists freer rein than we should. But it is people like you, with your silly fantasies, that have convinced the other idiots that our government is "scoundrels" and have contributed to the problems that have led to this nonsense.

Now go away and come back when you have a sensible notion of governance that doesn't rely on Randian nonsense and magical anarchy sparkle ponies.

no one said...

" We "have" all sorts of money. We piss away billions on ridiculous military adventures every day..."

Yeah. We sure do. Who started those stupid and expensive military adventures? I didn't vote for them; did you?

"we have allowed the corporatists and their lobbyists freer rein than we should."

Yes. I don't remember voting on that one either. You?

The difference between you and me chief is that I argue from a position of what IS and you argue from a position of what you'd ideally like it to be.

You tell me your plan to get the corporatists and the warmongers out of there and, if it sounds practical, I'll become a believer in the potential for inherent goodness of government. Actually do it and I'll voluntarily pay twice what I owe the IRS for the rest of my life.

no one said...

"poisoning, cheating, swindling, and undercutting each other while maintaining our public infrastructure...."

But isn't that the very description of what Washington does - excepting the maintaining public infrastructure part as they've been slipping a bit on that for the past few decades.

Is it possible for vipers to do good works on behalf of lambs?

FDChief said...


Your problem is that you pretend that if we have NO government that everything will be peachy keen and FREEDOM because you lack the will and the guts to try and be a part of the solution rather than the problem.

This is a republic; if the "government is the problem" then it's your problem and my problem because we let it get to BE a problem.

Only the government ISN'T "the problem". The problem is that we only allow ourselves two parties, and of those two the Democrats have no balls and won't stand up for what they are supposed to believe in - the New Deal, the common good, the small people over the big and the rich.

And the other, the GOP, is just plain batshit crazy, taken over by people who believe like you do, that they're "realists"

The thing that gets me about this whole debt ceiling nonsense is what these "realists" propose to supposedly fix all that bad, awful, government spending. Kick the hippies and the poors off food stamps and cut off Obamacare. Y'know why I know that they're not serious, that it's really about hippie-punching and negro-kicking?

The fact that they're proposing massive tax breaks to corporations like agribusinesses and the wealthy at the same time.

The fact that they're not cutting a dime off spending on military hardware, or foreign adventures, or the surveillance state, or "homeland security".

Until the Right gets its head out of its ass and comes up with some ideas other than "government is the problem" government WILL be a problem, but not for the reason you think.

FDChief said...

"But isn't that the very description of what Washington does"

Fuck, no. "Washington" doesn't blow up fertilizer plants. "Washington" doesn't put botulism in yogurt or shit in beef. "Washington" doesn't short-weight scales or send out trucks with defective brakes or cut down the neighbor's trees without permission.

Look. If we were all perfect, responsible, intelligent, foresighted people, friends, and neighbors we wouldn't NEED government. We'd all get along in a big happy pile of squirmy puppies.

But the fact is that we don't. We try to cheat, lie, and steal when we can. Or maybe not - maybe we just get into a fight with our neighbor or the guy across the street about some damn fool thing. THAT's when we need government, to come in and provide a forum for settling those arguments and a way of enforcing the settlement.

Or maybe we get so big that WE can't control things like a defective truck made in North Carolina or raw milk shipped from Saskatchewan. That's where we need government to look at those things and make sure they don't hurt us.

Along with the usual roads and bridges (which have been "slipping a bit" because your conservative pals won't vote taxes to maintain them, by the way...).

Anyway, your incessant pissing and moaning about "big government" is not just silly, it's getting boring. If you want to keep doing that, fine, get your own blog and you can piss and moan to your heart's content. This is my blog; the rule here is that "government is a feature, not a bug". If you have some sensible ideas you're welcome to offer them. But any more of these "Oh, government is soooooo awful will get deleted rather than replied to. I just have better things to do than argue that silly non-sequitur.

Ael said...

Ok, I'll bite.

Why *does* the USA only have 2 effective parties? Most Western countries have a lot more (and you would think that centrifugal force would have ripped both the democrats and republicans long ago.

What are the architectural features of the system that encourage and preserve a two party system?

Barry said...

"What are the architectural features of the system that encourage and preserve a two party system?"

First past the post, winner take all electoral systems. If your party comes in second or third in a district, it gets nothing. If your third party pull votes away from the more sympathetic major party, then the major party which you like less wins.

FDChief said...

Ael: Yep, Barry nails it.

The classic example would be the Democratic Party between 1870 and 1970.

You really should have had two or maybe even three parties. The Southern Democrats were conservative as hell but because of the Civil War the GOP was locked out of the South until the Civil Rights era. The Dems in the North and West were split, too, between the urban machine pols and the rural populists, the remnants of the Socialists and the outright Reds.

Don't get me wrong in my replies to no one: government is often no better than a "necessary evil", and the genius of the U.S. system is that it at least TRIES to make that government as responsive to the popular will as it can to mitigate the "evil" part to the extent possible.

There a flaws, in some cases massive flaws, in any government system.

But to pretend that "less government" means "more freedom" is just foolishness. It's like reducing the size of a fire engine and assuming that means that house fires will get smaller. A large and complex industrial republic is going to get, by its very nature, a large and complex government. Our only options are to try and make that government the most responsive, flexible, and intelligent government we can...or to cede the powers of that government to "other" entities; large corporations, private wealth, powerful individuals. Power abhors a vacuum, and if you "shrink" government all you will do is enable private actors to take that government's place.

And private actors, by definition, have motives and outcomes entirely based on their private good, not the good of the commons.

Not a particularly good basis for public weal.

THAT's why the libertarian/Randite/teatard nonsense is so frustrating (that and it's entirely aimed at black bucks buying steaks on food stamps and the EPA - there is not even a pretense of curbing anything that "conservatives" like, like advanced fighter aircraft or electronic intelligence or bombing furriners...).

So like I said; I welcome rational analysis of how we can do government BETTER. But just reproducing the usual whines about how Big Gummint is SOOOOOO Evil? I got no time or patience for that grade-school bullshit.

FDChief said...

And here's the crux of the biscuit:

"Financial markets have long treated U.S. bonds as the ultimate safe asset; the assumption that America will always honor its debts is the bedrock on which the world financial system rests. In particular, Treasury bills — short-term U.S. bonds — are what investors demand when they want absolutely solid collateral against loans. Treasury bills are so essential for this role that in times of severe stress they sometimes pay slightly negative interest rates — that is, they’re treated as being better than cash.

Now suppose it became clear that U.S. bonds weren’t safe, that America couldn’t be counted on to honor its debts after all. Suddenly, the whole system would be disrupted. Maybe, if we were lucky, financial institutions would quickly cobble together alternative arrangements. But it looks quite possible that default would create a huge financial crisis, dwarfing the crisis set off by the failure of Lehman Brothers five years ago.

No sane political system would run this kind of risk. But we don’t have a sane political system; we have a system in which a substantial number of Republicans believe that they can force President Obama to cancel health reform by threatening a government shutdown, a debt default, or both, and in which Republican leaders who know better are afraid to level with the party’s delusional wing. For they are delusional, about both the economics and the politics."

Yeah, it's Krugman so it's partisan, but just look at the common sense of it. He's right; we accept a worthless piece of paper as money because the U.S. government says it is. Assume for a moment that the U.S. government won't honor that paper?

You got problems.

Same-same with the U.S. debt. Assume that the USG won't pay it's debts - won't pay off on the contracts it's already written - and the whole system of exchange collapses like a house of cards; we're back to bartering hard goods for hard goods because you can't trust a promissary note (which is what a fiat currency is, too, when you get down to it...)

And when you think of how many goldbugs and fiat-currency-deniers there are amoung the teatards it makes sense to think that they'd be willing to go there...

What a fucking fuckstory.

Ael said...

Ok, but Canada has a first past the post too and Canada has had a stable 3 party system for most of my life (and sometime 4!). The key is that the third party has to be regionally strong.

As you say, Chief, the southern Dems were quite different from the northern Dems. Why did the democratic party stay one party instead of exploding along regional lines? Is it because party discipline is so weak (at least compared to Canada), that you can be very different, but still stay in the same party?