Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Friday Afternoon Apocalypse

with one comment

* Obama self-parody watch: hashtag #compromise.

* Also from Chait: Obama’s Incentive To Punt On the 14th Amendment.

The problem is that, even if we get through this crisis with little damage, the debt ceiling is still sitting there, a weapon that will one day explode. Indeed, if there’s one good reason to downgrade U.S. debt, it’s that House Republicans have discovered a kind of doomsday device that, if not used this time, will probably be used eventually. Any use of the debt ceiling to extort policy concessions will encourage subsequent uses.

The only way to actually defuse the long-term threat is to eliminate the debt ceiling vote, which is a completely unnecessary relic. Doing so would provide long-term benefits, while the political costs would be born entirely by Obama. That may explain his reticence. Or possibly his advisors’ legal judgment simply differs from Jeff’s. There is legitimate disagreement here. In any case, it’s worth keeping in mind that fact that Obama’s political incentive structure on this issue doesn’t fully line up with the national good.

* Mystery of the jobless recovery solved: there wasn’t a recovery. More here. Nearly everything that has gone wrong during the Obama administration stems from this single original sin:

The second perhaps more important point is that by the fall of 2009, the Obama Administration had already decided the recession was so yesterday that it was time to shift into deficit-reduction mode. Stimulus was out, austerity was in.

…Why is that important now? You can draw a straight line from the President’s decision in the fall of 2009 to the current default crisis. I don’t want to downplay the impact of the Republican Party taking over control of the House in the 2010 elections — obviously that was a pivotal moment — but the 2010 elections were contested on a battlefield of the GOP’s choosing: that spending was wildly out of control, deficits were threatening the stability of the economy, and long-term debt would strangle the country. The President basically agreed, ceding vast acreage of political, rhetorical and policy ground to the Republicans.

* Boehner’s next plan is even less viable. America!

* And today’s blogpost of the day: Reality as Failed State.

The point, for the climate denier, is not that the truth should be sought with open-minded sincerity – it is that he has declared the independence of his corner of reality from control by the overarching, techno-scientific consensus reality. He has withdrawn from the reality forced upon him and has retreated to a more comfortable, human-sized bubble.

In these terms, the denier’s retreat from consensus reality approximates the role of the cellular insurgents in Afghanistan vis-a-vis the American occupying force: this overarching behemoth I rebel against may well represent something larger, more free, more wealthy, more democratic, or more in touch with objective reality, but it has been imposed upon me (or I feel it has), so I am going to withdraw from it into illogic, emotion and superstition and from there I am going to declare war upon it…

Via that state of states, MeFi.

One Response

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  1. Still more from Chait!

    The basic problem is this. Lifting the debt ceiling requires a bill that’s acceptable to 217 members of the House, 60 Senators, and President Obama. The easiest way to get a bill like that would be to write something that passes the House with maybe 10-20% of House Republicans supporting it, and the rest of the votes coming from Democrats. Unfortunately for Boehner, such a scenario would probably result in House Republicans kicking him out of his job. So we’re stuck relying on a vote coalition containing most of the House GOP caucus, which means relying on people who are extremely reluctant to raise the debt ceiling or to compromise at all.

    So basically, we’re risking mass financial havoc so that… John Boehner can remain as House Speaker, and not have to go be a lobbyist making way more money. That sounds like a bad trade-off for virtually in the world everybody except Boehner. (Boehner’s family might even take that deal.)

    gerrycanavan

    July 29, 2011 at 3:19 pm


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