Rand Paul conquers Meet the Press: Last Wednesday, CNN’s Erin Burnett was unprepared.
She was unprepared for Rand Paul’s completely standard presentation about the debt limit. For our Memewatch report, click here.
Yesterday, Paul appeared on Meet the Press. He followed Jack Lew, who pretty much convinced the nation that we have little to fear from a failure to raise the debt limit.
We know, we know! Lew was trying to say the opposite. But what a horrible, narcotized spokesman! This brings us back to Paul’s appearance on Meet the Press, with Savannah Guthrie serving as substitute host.
Do we have to fear default if we don’t raise the debt limit? In truth, most people don’t know what the term “default” even means, but Guthrie made no attempt to explain it. She also saved this crucial topic for last.
At that point, Guthrie said this. All the analysts shuddered:
GUTHRIE (10/6/13): Very quickly, before I let you go, as you well know, there's a debt-ceiling vote on the horizon. Will Republicans let this country go into default?The key words there were “very quickly.” They presaged disaster, defeat.
“Will Republicans let this country go into default?” Paul offered his party’s standard presentation on this topic:
PAUL (continuing directly): I think it's irresponsible of the president and his men to even talk about default. There's no reason for us to default. We bring in $250 billion in taxes every month. Our interest payment is $20 billion. Tell me why we would ever default. We have legislation called the Full Faith and Credit Act, and it tells the president, "You must pay the interest on the debt."One minor note: Last Wednesday, Paul told Burnett that our interest payment is thirty billion dollars per month. Whatever!
So this is a game. This is kind of like closing the World War II Memorial. They all get out on TV and they say, "Oh, we're going to default.” They're the ones scaring the marketplace. We shouldn't scare the marketplace. We should never default. There's no reason to default.
On its face, if it goes unchallenged, this presentation may seem quite convincing. It says that the federal government receives more than enough revenue each month to avoid default, whatever that is.
Below, you see Guthrie’s response, followed by Paul’s rebuttal. By now, Guthrie is almost completely incoherent. Simply put, she isn’t prepared:
GUTHRIE (continuing directly): Let's say your plan worked and you can pay the interest on the debt and you don't have a technical default. Wouldn't there be dramatic consequences on the economy anyway? It may not be the letter of the default, but the spirit of it?Guthrie seems to agree that we might be able to avoid “technical default,” whatever that more exotic creature might be. Incoherently, she even refers to “the spirit of the default,” using a phrase that has probably never been used on the planet before.
PAUL: Yeah, but look at what happened in 2011. Our credit rating was downgraded. But you know why? The reasoning they gave was because we have too much debt, that we weren't cutting enough spending. And so they downgraded us. It has to do with the big picture of how much debt we're accumulating.
It isn't so much of these deadlines that the market's worried about. The market's also worried about a $17 trillion debt and that we're not acting fiscally responsibly and we're spending more money than we bring in. That's what the market's worried about.
(The Nexis archives record no usage in the past five years.)
In response to this incoherence, Paul repeated familiar complaints about a pair of familiar concepts, too much spending and too much debt. After he gave his speech, Guthrie responded with this:
GUTHRIE (continuing directly): Senator Rand Paul, it's always good to talk to you. Thank you for your time, sir.Like Burnett, Guthrie was unprepared to discuss this completely standard presentation.
This is the way our society works. Each day this week, we’ll the stars of our upper-end national “press corps” as they pretend to deal with this meme.