Friday, July 29, 2011

The Debt Debate in a Nutshell

[N.B.: In one sense, I regret having to put up so many recent posts on a single topic -- a topic that does not even have anything directly to do with the Anglican Communion, or with ECUSA. (Please note that reservation: I said directly. Indirectly, of course, if this country goes down the tubes at this particular point, ECUSA will follow it a short year or so later. Even Trinity Church in New York City, the primary landlord of Wall Street, will not be immune from the consequences, and the repercussions from the United States could well sink the Church of England and the current Anglican Communion, to boot.)

[Nevertheless, on reflection, and properly understood, the current debt crisis is, I humbly submit, the single most important moment in the history of these United States since Lord Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown in 1783. I would feel greatly remiss if I failed to convince one single reader of this point, and at the same time failed to give him or her the ability (and the ammunition) to converse responsibly about what is going on. Therefore, let us soldier on: Herewith, one more post about the debt debate -- which, I promise, will be not much longer than this Introduction.]

Given that the House of Representatives has now sent to the Senate not one, not two, but three separate bills to deal with the current debt limit/budget impasse; and

Given that the President's current proposed budget was a non-starter, which would have continued the year-to-year deficit at an unsustainable $1.2 trillion (with still greater deficits to come), and which even the Democrat-controlled Senate defeated by a 97-0 vote; and

Given that the Senate on their own, under Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid, has ducked their responsibilities, for which (for heavens' sake!) we pay them each nearly $175,000.00 per year, to negotiate and pass (let alone, say, propose) a budget for the Government's operations -- for over 821 days now (translation to the common tongue: 821 days is two years, three months, and one day); and finally,

Given that the Senate just tabled the third proposal in the last four months to resolve the current crisis, laid before them by their colleagues in the House, with no counter-response whatsoever, and that they did so because both the President and Senate Democrats want a free pass until after the next election, which the Republicans are not minded to give them, at the country's expense;

Then the current debate over the budget/debt limit boils down to this, in a nutshell:
Democrats: "You won't compromise with us to guarantee that we do not have to face this issue in nine to twelve months, right when the 2012 elections will be heating up. You meanies want to make this an issue for our re-election, right at the time when our actions will be fresh in everyone's mind. That's so rigid, so 'right-wing radical,' so terrorist of you, to hold our Government hostage for such a small 'gimme', which would demonstrate to our captive media that you are the namby-pambies and RINOs we privately say you are." (That last dependent clause, of course, is unspoken, but is implied in the stakes of the debate.)

Republicans: "It's not our job to help you get re-elected, so that you can continue on your mission to 'save life on this planet as we know it today.' We have been elected to represent the best interests of the country as a whole, and not just the interests of you Democrats who will face re-election. The country can no longer afford what you are doing. So if you want to prevent a default over the money your non-budgets have committed us to borrow just since January 1 of this year, you had better take our bill off the table, and pass it."

That is it, folks -- that's what all the spilled ink and gaseous rhetoric comes down to, after piercing through all the ad hominem jibes and the supercilious appeals to "bipartisanship". For anyone who needs a picture of the difference between the two parties' approaches to spending (once again, in defiance of all the spin stories promoted by the captive media), then please take a look at this one -- as always, click to embiggen:

You now have a ready, handy-dandy translation of all the rhodomontade to which you are currently being exposed, and will continue to be exposed in the days to come. This is a public service, happily provided in the interest of true understanding, by your trusty Anglican Curmudgeon (who won't deny that there is a religious element to all of this debate -- having to do, don't you know, with such currently out-of-fashion concepts as "stewardship"). That, however, is a topic for another day -- if, God willing, we survive the present ones.

[UPDATE 07/30/2011: The lawyers in the audience should find intriguing this analysis by Michael Stern of the tangled constitutional arguments about the need to raise the debt ceiling.]

[UPDATE (#2) 07/30/2011: It going down to the wire, folks. Hot Air has an open thread following the events in real time, with an excellent presentation of the procedural pitfalls, and the strategies being adopted on each side to avoid them. Also, don't miss Keith Hennessy's backgrounder on the President's apparent fallback strategy -- at least, as much of it as can be gleaned from reading between the lines. Finally, if you are sick and tired of all the gamesmanship going on, you might want to let off steam via Mark Levin's great rant (mp3).]

[UPDATE (#3) 07/30/2011:

A fantastic speech today, from the floor of the Senate, by the junior Republican from Florida -- the exchange with Senator John Kerry alone is a priceless example of what's at stake:

As long as a few of our legislators can get it as well as Sen. Rubio does, there may be some hope yet!]

[UPDATE 08/01/2011: For all those who have patiently waded through all the back-and-forth posturing, accusations and demagoguery, Havoc on the Hill has a perfectly marvelous pictorial summation of the process which is worthy of our own Christopher Johnson (it's not entirely safe for work, so a mild caution is in order). H/T: Above the Law]


  1. Thank you for posting the Marco Rubio speech. Do you know why he isn't being discussed as a candidate for President? He seems like the best spokesperson for conservative values. I really like Chris Christy, but Marco Rubio seems more "polished". He seems like the ideal candidate.

  2. Hi, Perpetua -- thanks for your query. At this point Sen. Rubio has less legislative experience than even Obama did when he decided to run for president, and he (like Obama before him) has zero executive experience. We need someone with the latter credentials to keep the Presidency Republican while we wait for Rubio to build up his resumé. I believe there is already a "Rubio in 2020" Committee that has been formed -- meanwhile, here is a great background piece about him, in case you missed it.

  3. I agree with Mr. Haley - Sen. Rubio's time has not yet come. But he does provide a sliver of hope for us if we can just survive the next few years.

    (Gosh Kerry sounded lame. Was it his day to refresh Obama's teflon coating?)

  4. See: article under heading - "Media Hype, Myths" - Exercising Caution...