Congress avoids default.

Only hours before the debt limit deadline, Congress finally passed a temporary measure to avoid default. The plan was approved 81 to 18 in the Senate, and 285 to 144 in the House. The Continuing Appropriations Act funds the government through January, suspends the debt limit until February, and directs both parties to agree on a long-term budget by December 13th. After two weeks of Tea Party hostage-taking, Republicans only got a continuation of the sequester and an Obamacare income-verification rule in exchange. But, they caused serious harm to our nation in their effort to extract more demands.

Because of the standoff, our nation lost at least 900,000 jobs, our economy lost at least $24 billion dollars, and our national credit rating is once again on the brink of being downgraded. After both chambers approved the legislation, President Obama made a short statement. He praised Congress for passing the measure, but said, “We've got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis.” However, the temporary measure that Congress passed could simply have scheduled the next one.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the deal “is far less than many [republicans] hoped for, quite frankly, but it's far better than what some had sought. Now it's time for Republicans to unite behind other crucial goals.” Presumably, those goals include trying to dismantle Obamacare, and slash the budgets of other social net programs. In addition to the economic consequences, the debt-limit standoff produced record-low approval ratings for Republicans, so it's unclear why they would want to have the same fight over again. The American people want to see Congress move on to working on ways to improve our nation, and stop this governing-by-hostage-taking.


sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 10 years 36 weeks ago

A Kentuckian groans in humiliation even as she sighs with relief...for now. As if having, as Steven Colbert so aptly put it, a human-turtle hybrid as my rep. in the Senate wasn’t embarrassing enough...nothing against turtles mind you, for the most part they are benevolent, but not so much in this case. Last night Mitch McSnapper, a tax and spend CONservative, (tax the poor to spend on the rich) squeezed 3 BILLION $$ for KY out of the pockets of the poor who have been without work and in some cases food since the shut down. (not to mention the countless lives that will be ruined by the draconian cuts which look as if they might become permanent). Supposedly, we need a dam, but for the life of me I can’t think where we’d need one THAT big.

For the moment, the multi-national corporate plutocraps have manipulated the strings of their T-puppets into concession. They chose to delay bringing about the world-wide financial chaos they so desperately want in order to maneuver into power in a final bid for global fascist control. This I’m guessing, is because the Supreme Court has not yet rendered voters completely impotent, another thing my illustrious cold-blooded reptilian Senator has groveled for within the last 10 days. Once SCROTUS waves that flag of surrender, they know the vote will be warm putty in their hands. The worse their ratings in the polls, the more intoxicated by the potential of absolute power they will become, cackling like drunken, evil witches around a cauldron.

We will not stop voting, we will never stop speaking out.

Flopot's picture
Flopot 10 years 36 weeks ago

" In addition to the economic consequences, the debt-limit standoff produced record-low approval ratings for Republicans, so it's unclear why they would want to have the same fight over again."

Perhaps voters didn't have the energy to spam call their political representatives because they are still exhausted after dragging congress back from the brink of WWIII over Syria. Methinks voters need to harass their lawmakers more often but are not "fit" enough to do so. They are out of shape. Perhaps it is time to start retraining those civic action muscles :P

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 10 years 36 weeks ago

Hey Flopot,

Why don't they care about the polls? They aren't fighting, just biding their time...see post # 1.

steffb503's picture
steffb503 10 years 36 weeks ago

It is a Tea Party mentality

Chris Matthews explains it perfectly, I know a few of them.

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 10 years 36 weeks ago

So, we can sleep peacefully tonight. But, what about tomorrow night?!?

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 10 years 36 weeks ago

I don't think so, as to why, see post #1

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 36 weeks ago

I agree with everything said above. Why doesn't anybody on the left listen to the facts given by Ravi Batra? Every time the deficit becomes smaller (0.6 trillion is smaller) the stock market crashes. Of course, I should really ask do any of the commentators on the left know the difference between the deficit and the debt. Also, any economic commentator who says the debt is $17 trillion is not an economist. The debt that matters is 100%, that is, 100% of GDP.

PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 10 years 36 weeks ago

Republicans in the House of Representatives have learned nothing. Ted Cruz learned nothing. The Republicans will attempt to gum up the works again when the continuing resolution comes up again unles the adults in the United States Senate can force a full budget in the committee. It is possible for the Senate to take the lead in this if the committee takes its work seriously. If the Republicans cannot find a way to come to a deal in the committee, they may make themselves irrelevant in national politics. The strategy and tactics they used in this debacle were doomed from the start. Cruz Control was a disaster for the Party.

Ted Cruz will not be on the committee. I think he is pretty much history for the remainder of his time in the Senate. Republican members of the Senate will marginalize him for his rude and crude behavior. They do not need a leader like him. He has harmed the Party Brand and enhanced his personal status with a tiny minority that the Republicans don't want on their side anyway. I think very soon you may see the Tea Party disconnecting from the Republican Party.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 10 years 36 weeks ago

I think Boner and Kruz each owe the taxpayers $12 billion. My unrep Tom Reed along with 143 of his co-workers voted to collapse the global economy. They all deserve national exposure by name, state, and district they represent. In addition, how about the 30 or so public employees who attended the secret tortilla joint meeting with Kruz?......voters need to know!

Walmartalism: A Corp. economic system in which almost all profits go to owners and shareholders. This is made possible by grossly underpaying workers to such an extent that they qualify for govt. Social Welfare Programs.

We still need a graphic display in the House showing the ever growing cost of Reagan/Bush unfunded tax cuts for the super rich. This would explain the numbers on Reed's debt clock display.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 36 weeks ago

As I mentioned early the debt clock show an irrelevant number; that is, it means nothing but some number the right wing can fool the American public with.

bobcox's picture
bobcox 10 years 36 weeks ago

The Four Freedom Awards by the Roosevelt Institute


DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 36 weeks ago

Quote chuckle8:As I mentioned early the debt clock show an irrelevant number; that is, it means nothing but some number the right wing can fool the American public with.

chuckle8 ~ If this is the what you are talking about:

You are certainly right. This thing lists the National Debt at about $17 Trillion. Then it lists the national defense spending at $607 Billion. What it is referring to with the $607 Billion figure is the annual budget of military operations. That is also a very conservative estimate of that annual cost. I've heard that it could go as high as $1.2 Trillion. It fails to list the overall budget during the time period where the $17 Trillion was incurred. In fact, it never mentions the estimated $4.7 Trillion cost of the oil wars in the last decade. Furthermore, at the bottom it lists our Social Security liability at almost the same $17 Trillion of the entire debt. The actual annual Social Security liability is around $1 Trillion; or, about the same liability as routine military operations domestically, and abroad. Mixing debt incurred over time with annual expenditures is mixing apples and oranges and is meaningless and misleading. If you were to go by this clock you might think that our military is cheap and our wars were free.

This website gives a simple pie chart for annual federal expenditures that is much more informative.

As you can see, the majority of the budget goes for Social Security, Medicare, and Social Safety Net programs--about 55% that is; and, not 98% as is insinuated with that so called "Debt Clock." What also is not stated is that the Medicare/Medicaid budget is as big as it is because the only members of Medicare/Medicaid are in the highest health risk group. If Medicare was combined with Medicaid and was expanded to cover everyone healthy people would be taxed as well to pay for it; and, that slice of the budget pie would shrink considerably. Medicare and Medicaid are wastes only because of their structure. The structure needs to be changed and then any cuts will be unnecessary; infact, benefits could be expanded, for instance, to include mental, vision, and dental health.

The Republican game is, and always has been, to make the system look broke and use that as a justification to really break it. The Republicans hate our Democracy and functional government and want nothing more than to undermine and destroy it. They are the enemies from within, doing the bidding of their Corporate masters; and, we must learn to identify their tricks so we don't fall prey to them. This "Debt Clock" was obviously designed to mislead and frighten the ignorant public. Their ultimate goal is a reverse Robin Hood strategy. They want to rob from the elderly and the sick and use that money to fund our war machine. We must not let that happen. They want We the People to pay for their dirty work. The evidence for that suspicion is crystal clear in how this "Debt Clock" is laid out. Take a good look at it. Where on it does it break down and state our real war budget? It is conveniently hidden, isn't it? I wonder why?

The debt clock is just another bogus Republican trick. It should be called the "Coco Debt Alarm Clock."

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 35 weeks ago

If there's one thing Obama has done right, it's refusing to cave to the ransom terrorist tactics of the Tea Party. Give in to those thugs and you set a dangerous precedent that could be mighty hard to shake off. Our democracy is in bad enough shape already, it seems to me.

Der Spiegel's still getting my two cents. Frankly, I'm a little embarrassed by the international spectacle these congressional dramas create. We must be a laughing stock to the rest of the world by now. The more lucid and on-target Der Spiegel's articles about our lame-ass Congress and related topics, the more defensive Americans' blog posts generally are in response. These dumb yankees remind me of battered wives who still defend & rationalize their husbands' abusive, bullying behavior. They overlook so many important factors and their comments are so shortsighted, I can't resist the impulse to jump in, filling in the missing pieces from the puzzle. Yet I often wonder if I'm a glutton for punishment, engaging in those discussions. Guess I've become a compulsive-obsessive blogger! - Aliceinwonderland

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 10 years 35 weeks ago

A tax revenue loss clock would matter! By slashing taxes that used to be revenue from the billionaires who specialize in sucking away wealth from the workers, also known as the "wealth creators...." the austerity political machine has gained a huge advantage. It's all about the rich not paying their,"our," fair share back. The Kochbaggers are oblivious to the fact that the taxed enough already slogan wasn't in reality meant to apply to them, it was only to stir them's all about more money and power for the elite.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 35 weeks ago

Alice in not such a wonderland -- Does "Der Spiegel" point that the Koch bros etc have purchased our congress?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 35 weeks ago

Dan we have had this argument before. I agree with most everything you say, but you do not understand what I am trying to say.

I am saying we need to spend more on our infrastructure, like 100 MB internet for all, free eduction for all, roads, bridges, etc. Since these investments will increase our debt, I say let the debt clock run wild. What these investments will do, as they have throughout the history of our country, will build an economic machine that will eat our debt even if we are building tanks that go immediately to the scrap heap. It would be far better if we could cut back on the wasteful spending but even with the wasteful spending, I think we could be the best economy in the world.

For me to believe you understand what I am trying to convey, you need to mention how important the GDP is in these discussions.

As a side note social security has not contributed to the debt except to be a source for the government to buy bonds.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 35 weeks ago

chuckle8- I could not find a link to the article, so I'll have to paste it here:

The illustration on the cover of German business daily Handelsblatt on Wednesday morning fairly well encapsulates the way the US federal government shutdown is being perceived across the Atlantic. The Statue of Liberty stands bound in chains, her torch hand hanging listlessly by her side. Across it reads the headline: "The Blocked World Power."

ANZEIGEMany Germans have found it hard to understand American lawmakers' inability to resolve their budget disagreements in time to prevent a shutdown of all nonessential government services, which went into effect at midnight on Monday night. "What Washington currently offers up is a spectacle, but one in which the spectators feel more like crying," writes the conservative dailyFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

"Because Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate, Congress and president could not agree on a stop-gap budget, hundreds of thousands of federal employees were sent on involuntary leave and many agencies were forced to shut down," continues the editorial. "The main actors in this dispute, which brings together many factors, both ideological and political, took a huge risk and, unhindered, proceeded to validate everyone who ever accused the political establishment in Washington of being rotten to the core -- by driving the world power into a budgetary state of emergency. The public is left wondering how things could have been allowed to get to this point and why there is so much poison in the system."

Elsewhere, German commentators asked whether a similar government shutdown could happen in Berlin, where Chancellor Angela Merkel is currently embroiled in drawn-out talks over Germany's federal budget between her conservatives and their probable coalition partner, the center-left Social Democrats. "The American situation is not at all comparable with the Germans," Professor Henrik Enderlein, a Berlin-based expert on political economy, assured news agency DPA on Wednesday. The article went on to characterize the shutdown as a "specifically American problem," a sentiment echoed by other media outlets.

Yet it was clear to many that the fallout would be far-reaching. "The whole world pays for America's shutdown," reads a headline in the right-leaning daily Die Welt above an article about the consequences on the German economy. In the article, several prominent German economists registered disapproval. "If the Americans shoot themselves in the foot right now, it is highly dangerous for the entire global economy, and of course for the German export economy," warned Anton Böner, president of the Federal Association for German Wholesalers and Foreign Trade.

The 'Kamikaze Party'

The overwhelming consensus among the German press is that the Republicans are the most to blame for the gridlock. In a Tuesday commentary, SPIEGEL ONLINE's Gregor Peter Schmitz dubbed them the "kamikaze party." He attributed the gridlock to America's mercenary political culture -- where directly elected lawmakers run for re-election every two years and campaigns are privately financed -- as well as to the lack of party infrastructure compared to Germany's parliamentary model with its publicly funded campaigns.

"It's circumstances like these," writes Schmitz, "that explain why a brigade of Republicans conduct themselves like a bunch of Berlusconis -- as enemies of the state from within who want to cripple the country because that's the desire of their conservative voters at home."

When it came to the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, the German press was not pulling any punches. "There are fundamentalists within the world's largest democracy: The hardline wing of the Republican Party are once more crippling the United States," writes Nuremberg's Nachrichten. The Tea Party movement, it concludes, "does not engage in democracy, but in dogmatism."

"Here are fundamentalists at work who hold up their country to ridicule to advance their pure doctrine," wrote a commentator in Collogne'sStadt-Anzeiger. "What a tragedy!"

'Self-Destruction' of a Democracy

Munich's national Süddeutsche Zeitung offers a slightly more depressing take, pointing blame at all sides. "What has already been apparent in America for a few years now is the self-destruction of one of the world's oldest democracies. And the great tragedy here is that this work of destruction isn't being wrought by enemies of democracy, greedy lobbyists or sinister major party donors. America's democracy is bring broken by the very people who are supposed to be carry and preserve it: the voters, the parties and the politicians."

The argument? The Republicans who have brought Washington to stillstand are repeatedly and democratically elected by voters and given a mandate to block. The parties themselves are fomenting an increasingly radicalized culture that deepens political, societal and geographic divisions in the country, argues the newspaper. And finally, there are few politicians in America who are willing or capable of thinking beyond their own electoral constituencies.

"At the moment, Washington is fighting over the budget and nobody knows if the county will still be solvent in three weeks," the paper concludes. "What is clear, though, is that America is already politically bankrupt."

-- Charly Wilder

I find it most intriguing to see how other countries view this American fascist soap opera. - Alice I.W.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 35 weeks ago

chuckle8 ~ I'm not disagreeing with anything you've said. In fact, I whole heartedly agree. The GDP is the most important national investment public or private that is made. I'm just suggesting better ways to spend our non productive money to provide vital services for everyone.

Like you said...

Quote chuckle8:I am saying we need to spend more on our infrastructure, like 100 MB internet for all, free eduction for all, roads, bridges, etc. Since these investments will increase our debt, I say let the debt clock run wild.

I'm right there with you buddy! Well said!

By the way, don't you think we need sound import tariffs to stimulate the GDP too? After all, we are going to have to export something other than militarized Democracy and posters of Marilyn Monroe eventually.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 35 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland ~ Thanks for sharing that enlightening perspective from the German press. I must say they are spot on. Supposedly Campaign Finance plays a huge role; however, so does the deep dividing dogmatic opinions of the constituency. The Germans did everything but say the word--racism. Here we have Corporate sponsored mercenaries in Congress that have been elected on a racist platform and are being held accountable to a racist constituency with a racist agenda. Racism, like any other form of hatred, blinds people to reason and common sense. Therefore, you have what you have--an America that "is already politically bankrupt."

Since time began sowing discord amongst the masses has been a most effective method of control by the ruling elite. It functions to distract and to occupy the time and resources of their groups of opposition better than any standing army. In a melting pot of segregation such as the United States is, there is no room for hatred of any kind. As we can see, it is counter productive to our best interests. Perhaps this nonsense might serve a greater purpose in the long run. In the short run it will deeply damage the credibility of the United States and it's standing in the world community. However, in the long run, there may be three positive outcomes. First, it may help the people of this nation come to grips with their own prejudices and hatreds in such a way as to show them how counter productive and useless those sentiments really are. Such an evolution of thought is critical in a multinationally diverse society like ours. Secondly, as a side effect, this adventure might underscore the need for Campaign Finance Reform. As stated by the German press this is one of the main differences between German politics and our own--our politicians are privately owned. Finally, without a doubt, the immediate positive result will be the banishment of this Tea Party influence in our next election. Assuming our dumbed down nations memory lasts that long. Good riddance!

david salomon 10 years 35 weeks ago

As they enjoy so comfortable a living independent of the success of our country, the jerrymander protected billionares have no interest in our collective prosperity, and they all lied upon taking oath to serve. Saddly, our Monsanto backed President is negotiating another behind the scenes internatioinal unfair trade "agreement," even as he appears to be championing for we American people. Why did he offer negotiations on social security rather than propose a modest raise to the cap on paying into it?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 35 weeks ago

DAnneMarc, I agree with everything in your response; particularly about the power elite's "divide & conquer" tactics against the "masses". Noam Chomsky opened my eyes to this, in one of his books. I'm not holding my breath, comrade, but when those midterms roll around, imagine witnessing the bulk of the Tea Party unceremoniously dumped from their congressional seats, gettin' the ole heave-ho! This would be cause for celebration!! (Sigh...) - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 35 weeks ago

Alice W -- First, thanks for the info. It is too bad the German publications do not reflect on the Powell doctrine something they need to be wary of. The Powell doctrine being the doctrine put forth by the neighbor of the head of the US Chamber of Commerce. The doctine or guidebook on how to put the media into the hands of the 1%. Powell was then made a supreme court justice by Nixon.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 35 weeks ago

Dan -- Once again I agree with what you say. The point I was trying to make is even if we can't get the repugs to provide greater than 50% tax rate on the 1% (actually 0.5%), a min wage of $9, and tariffs as they should, we still get a benefit from building an infrastructure. The $17 trillion debt is not an excuse for not investing in infrastructure. The 100% of debt to GDP is something we can be concerned about. Increasing the debt by investing in infrastructure could raise the debt to 20 trillion and beyond, yet the 100% debt/GDP would be reduced to something like 70% (a very good number).

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 35 weeks ago

David S -- Almost certainly what you say about Social Security is correct; however I am wondering. I assume you are referring to the chained CPI. Everyone says the chained CPI computes the CPI by chaining the CPI to whatever group it is dealing with. I find it very interesting if they chain it to what seniors consume then the CPI will increase more than normal CPI because it will be chained to healthcare more than anything else. Of course, with the ACA, healthcare costs will start coming down and seniors will be screwed.

It is Gerrymandering named after Gov. Gerry of Massachusetts in the 1800's. It came from his name and salmander.

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