Memewatch: Who’s afraid of a debt limit fail?

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2013

Rand Paul speaks with Erin Burnett: Where does bungled reasoning come from? Bungled understanding?

Consider what happened when Rand Paul appeared with Erin Burnett.

We know—that sounds like a terrible match! At one point in Wednesday night's CNN program, Paul stated a standard GOP position concerning the upcoming debt limit fight.

Who’d afraid of a debt limit fail? Paul explained why failure to raise the federal debt limit wouldn’t necessarily lead to default:
PAUL (10/2/13): I'm for taking default completely off the table. I'm promising to the American people and to the markets to Wall Street that we will always pay the interest on the debt as a priority.

Do you know how we do that? We bring in $250 billion in tax revenue every month. The debt payment is about $30 billion. We just promise we will always pay it. What's going on is interestingly the Democrats are scaring people and saying, we might not pay it because Republicans don't want to raise the debt ceiling. If you don't raise the debt ceiling, what that means is you have a balanced budget. It doesn't mean you wouldn't pay your bills. We should pay the interest and we should never scare the markets. So if I were in charge, I would say, "Absolutely, we will never default." I would pass a law saying that the first revenue every month, the first revenue, has to go to pay interest.
As noted, this is a standard GOP presentation. Despite what you saw Rachel say the next night, this isn’t some crazy stupid thing The Paul Family weirdly dreamed up.

(Rachel likes to clown.)

According to Paul, it wouldn’t necessarily lead to default if we don’t raise the debt limit this month. The federal government receives $250 billion in tax revenue every month, he said. And it only needs $30 billion per month to service federal debt.

Does this standard claim make sense? Briefly, Burnett tried pushing back. But Paul just kept on coming:
BURNETT (continuing directly): But it is still defaulting if you were late on Social Security payments or anything, anything like that.

PAUL: Why would you be late on your Social Security payments? We have a bill that is called The Full Faith and Credit bill. And we passed it in the House before. We have introduced it in the Senate. And it says you pay Social Security, you pay Medicare, you pay your soldiers' salaries and you pay with interest on the debt. We have money for all of that.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Senator Paul. Thank you very much. We appreciate you taking the time, Senator Paul.
According to Burnett, it would still be default if the federal government didn’t make its Social Security payments. Paul said there’s also plenty of money for that, at which point Burnett gave up.

As noted, this presentation was made on CNN last Wednesday night—and it’s a standard presentation. Voters see this standard GOP pitch all the time.

As was the case this night, cable talkers rarely seem prepared to discuss the merits of this presentation. Our major newspapers have made little effort to subject this pitch to review.

Over the first few days of the coming week, we’ll see what has happened on other shows when this presentation is made. Within our routinely hapless press corps, is anyone prepared to critique this standard GOP pitch?

45 comments:

  1. Bob, this is the same silly game they are playing with "let's fund sick kids" that you are all in favor of.

    Don't be so naive or disingenuous (take your pick). This is all about "Obamacare" and the right-wing faction of the GOP knowing they can't get a clean bill to repeal or de-fund it through Congress.

    So now they not only want to hold the whole budget hostage, but also the full faith and credit of the United States of America while they pick and choose which portions of federal spending they will fund.

    We had a fair fight about national health care in 2010. We had another one in 2012. They lost both times.

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  2. Anon4:43, Bob didn't say he was in favor of funding sick kids. He suggested it wasn't a stupid question for the journalist to have asked why we shouldn't fund sick kids if even one sick kid could be saved. It is the same point made here -- those who present ideas to the public need to have answers for these sorts of questions and points, not just complain that the question is inappropriate or shouldn't be asked. You can shut up a journalist that way but the general public is going to wonder the same thing, so it is better to have a good answer for such questions.

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    1. Someone named "Bob Somerby" put a comment on Drum's thread that certainly said that we should fund sick kids if the GOP lets us do it.

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    2. Anon @ 3:06 is right Anon @7:36, and Anon @ 4:43
      clearly was complaining about the "game" not a position Bob had taken.

      If you feel the need to respond, do it in Standard, not Daylight Time.

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  3. Getting rid of that 2nd Amendment will save at least one child. What kind of ghoul would be against that?
    You hear that question ALL THE TIME from people like Dash.

    J/K, you NEVER hear that kind of stupid question from the likes of those like Dash. She knows why she's getting paid.

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    1. I don't have a gun and have no desire for one but having the information that there are places in Colorado where one law enforcement officer covers an area half the size of New Jersey explains to me why people want to have a gun.

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    2. So what's the crime rate in this Colorado area half the size of New Jersey?

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    3. Some of my best friends are guns.

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    4. Anonymous 3:09 - They want the guns because they fear crime; just a fact. They think they would be plagued with motorcycle gangs and home invasions if they didn't have the guns. They are never going to willingly give up those guns

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    5. Oh, because they fear crime. Not because they actually have crime.

      And amazing how you can read the minds of people living in an area of Colorado half the size of New Jersey.

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  4. Hilarious follow-up to the first exchange you will NEVER hear:

    (proposed) BURNETT: So, if I'm understanding you correctly, you propose to create a priority system about which of America's bills she will and won't pay?

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    1. " So, if I'm understanding you correctly, you propose to create a priority system about which of America's bills she will and won't pay?"

      WINNER!!

      *This* is what it would look like to answer the question proposed by The Daily Howler's Bob Somerby, "Within our routinely hapless press corps, is anyone prepared to critique this standard GOP pitch?"

      Having seen the form such an answer would take, proposed quite hilariously as coming from the lips of Erin Burnett, the original question remains:

      Is there anyone out who can actually respond to the GOP in this way?

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  5. Bob is right. This always happens. It is mind boggling why dem leadership is never prepared to answer the most obvious predictable GOP critique.

    Maybe because the proposal is so transparently cynical that no one expects objective media to take it seriously. It is the kind of idea hatched on right wing hate radio like Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh. Sure, great idea. Let us only pay for what conservative GOP congresscritters decide we should pay for. Never mind all those bothersome laws that will have to be terminated. Why didn't anyone think of this before.

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    1. They've passed quite a few laws about border security that haven't been enforced. This is not unique that laws/programs are not funded or enforced. How about that border fence? They've funded it but hardly any of it has been built.

      "Its the law" is not a good argument when laws are routinely ignored. In Obama's case, he unilaterally creates new laws all on his own like that one in 2012 when he created his own "DREAM" Act all by himself. And he's given waivers on the ACA/Obamacare Act that's in question.

      The Democratic position is just arrogance, actually.

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    2. Democrats have earned the right to be arrogant. We've won the popular vote in 6 out of the last 7 presidential elections. The only question is, when the fuck do republicans realize they lost.

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    3. Lionel, you take the prize for the stupidest commenter, congrats

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    4. How do you figure last 7 presidential elections? Bush the Elder won popular vote in 1988 and Bush the Younger won it in 2004. 2000 was a wash and neither won a majority. Clinton never won a majority in the popular vote.

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    5. Perhaps, Lionel, he used the same math BOB used to claim the US outgained Poland on all three of the PISA tests if you leave out the first three and count two out of three as a series win. I think that was back in Part Six of his Five part series but my back channel to Howler archives is down so we can't be sure.

      KZ

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    6. KZ
      Yes I guess one of the Bushes didn't count. God help us we don't get another Bush (Jeb). It looks like the elites would love that.

      All of the presidents elected in the last 7 presidential elections are nothing to brag about anyway.

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    7. "All of the presidents elected in the last 7 presidential elections are nothing to brag about anyway. ..since none were liberals."

      FIFY

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  6. http://www.military.com/video/forces/navy/us-navy-drill-team-in-norway/2700427719001/
    That's a video of the US Navy drill team - rifle twirlers - on tour in Norway.
    Every serviceman costs the taxpayers $140,000/year when you include all the costs. In the last dozen years, they've expanded military bands. The military has golf courses that are probably being expensively maintained during this "shutdown."

    Who doesn't think theres massive unnecessary spending in the security state explosion when they couldn't or wouldn't track the Tsarnaev brothers despite being warned by the Russians.

    Closing monuments and not funding NIH cancer trials seems so damned spiteful. It makes me very wary of the federal government having more power in the healthcare industry because politicians will hold healthcare hostage in order to grab more money. Just a fact; they will do that.

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    1. Yeah, closing monuments is spiteful. What sort of non-essential shutdown isn't spiteful? Whatever you select, there will be people who feel it's more essential than delaying a visit to a national monument, or funding NIH cancer trials.

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  7. The problem is, Democratic elected representatives didn't read the fine print in the Constitution where it explains that after you pass a law by both houses of Congress, and then the President signs the law into effect and it is further reviewed by the US Supreme Court and found to be constitutional, the final step is then to talk about it with John Boehner to debate how best to sabotage the supreme achievement of your administration.

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  8. Paul is advocating paying the people who hold the paper (bond holders) over those that incurred debt based on the US gov't's direction (i.e., federal workers, vendors, contractors, etc).

    If this scenario sounds familiar, it should. When a large company goes Chapt 11, the bond holders get the company assets before anyone else. What crumbs are left go to workers, vendors, contractors etc (i.e., the people who actually do things for a living).

    Anyway, while this Paul idea may mean the US gov't won't "default" (and that's to be seen) it ultimately still means the US gov't will not be paying it's debts.

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    1. I watched the Treasury Secretary on 2 shows today and he would not say that the US might default. Its not going to happen.

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    2. My point, Lionel, is that not going into default does not mean paying accrued debt. Regardless, Mr Lew said exactly what you did not hear him say. See below.


      "Speaking on four TV news shows Sunday morning, Lew continued the drumbeat of admonition"

      “'Congress is playing with fire,' he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 'If the United States government, for the first time in its history, chooses not to pay its bills on time, we will be in default, there is no option that prevents us from being in default if we don’t have enough cash to pay our bills.'

      http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/2013/1006/Congress-playing-with-fire-on-debt-limit-warns-Treasury-Secretary-Jack-Lew-video

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    3. Default on the national debt????

      That's the issue, not whether they fund every bill that's ever been passed or signed into law. Did they "default" when they didn't build the entire border fence that's been passed into law several times?

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    4. You said he never said we'd be in default, but he said exactly that. Now you say he never said we'd "default on the national debt." By which i presume you mean we will keep the paper holders whole. Which goes back to my first point, even if we pay the interest on the loans we will be in arrears on paying debt owed to workers, contractors vendors.

      As for the border fence, what the hell does that have to do with paying accrued debt?

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    5. Lionel. We're not talking about funding every bill that's ever been passed, we're talking about paying debts that have been contractually incurred by the USG. Failure to do so means the US goes into arrears on those debts (i.e., default) even if it pays the interest on the t-bills.

      As for building a border fence - has the US contracted with an entity to build that fence, and missed a payment? I guess i'm not sure what your point is.

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    6. "has the US contracted with an entity to build that fence, and missed a payment? I guess i'm not sure what your point is."

      He doesn't know either.

      We're just supposed to be a stupid as he is, and therefore blithely assume that Not Funding a project is the same thing as Not Paying Your Incurred Bills!!

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    7. Obamacare/ACA is not in effect and no one has bought a policy hence the subsidies that need to be funded are not contracted.

      Broadening the meaning of "default" to include not funding subsidies for uncontracted insurance premiums is just an abuse of the language.

      If we pay the interest on the national debt, we are not in default and the government takes in more than enough money to do so. They can then cut spending and I would suggest that right off the bat they eliminate all military bands and drill teams and all golf courses on military bases and at veterans hospitals - Who defends those expenses? And they are not insignificant.

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    8. "If we pay the interest on the national debt, we are not in default and the government takes in more than enough money to do so. They can then cut spending..."

      Sorry, dumdum -- it's not about cutting spending! That's the budget process.

      Hitting the debt ceiling is about Not Paying for Things You've Already Bought!

      You can do the Simpleton Strut with Rand, crowing that you've got plenty of tax revenue to pay your interest expenses, so there's no reason to go into default, what's this crazy talk of default! -- but you ignore that you don't have enough tax revenue to pay for all of the other expenses That You Have Already Incurred.

      Not paying those bills isn't "cutting spending" -- it's reneging.

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  9. Perhaps the US will not default, but I am certain there won't be any money for treating any cancer-stricken children.

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    1. Ilya, that's not the way cancer care works in this country, I assure you. I know of an instance here in my state where a person with no insurance was treated - in hospital - for 150 days. The hospital absorbed the cost. I don't know the details but it was likely leukemia or lymphoma. Patient was a non citizen; I believe I remember that he was at the airport and appeared very ill.

      Currently, the issue is clinical trials funding and the Senate should pass that bill and Obama should sign it. The pettiness and spite of holding up funding for clinical trials is a good reason not to entrust these people with more responsibility.

      If the clinical trials are being delayed a few weeks, the patients are still being treated, of course. A lot of clinical trials enroll patients over a long period of time so the number being delayed is not the whole number proposed for the trial.

      Why do they always talk about "children" in the context of medical care? That is so depressing. What a limited kind of compassion that the patient has to be a child to get sympathy and attention from the mainstream media.

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    2. Yeah, they should vote on paying for clinical trials! Oh, and they should vote on allowing superfund project managers to return to work to cleanup sites currently impacting people. And they should allow FWS workers to get back to work to review zoning approvals so that people who have had homes destroyed by Sandy can move forward with rebuilding. etc, etc.... funny how the "non essential" workers could be essential if you live near a hazardous waste site that hasn't been cleaned, or own a home destroyed by Sandy and you need a zoning approval, or you got a kid with cancer who wants the years long clinical trials to continue without delay.

      hey, here's an idea, they should allow a vote on passing a clean bill and end this pointless, costly, shut down rather than piece meal approvals for "non essential" work.

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    3. Anonymous 8:19 - Any harm that comes to a child whose cancer trial is delayed is on Obama's head.

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    4. Lionel: I was being facetious. I am pointing out that on the one hand GOP is crying about restoring some NIH funds, while on the other hand claiming that we can plod along without raising the debt ceiling. As Anon8:19 is pointing out, government services are quite essential. And I also can't accept your view that having insurance is irrelevant when it comes to receiving full scale cancer treatment.

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  10. Interestingly sympathetic take on Republican talking points. Wonder if Bob will ever get around to the generation of Republican promises to strip and destroy the essentially evil United States Federal Government.

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    1. You are a bullshit moron Greg. This post is not sympathetic to GOP talking points -- it's rueful regarding the inadequacy of the press in addressing those talking points.

      Explaining that to you though is like explaining algebra to a dog.

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