Glenn Beck: Raising the debt ceiling is the beginning of the end for Republicans

posted at 9:48 pm on January 4, 2011 by Allahpundit

A surreal clip, not because they don’t understand the consequences of failing to raise the ceiling but because they do — and Napolitano, at least, seems prepared to accept them. From the myopic standpoint of what’s more likely to bring about the end of the GOP, I’m guessing that an economic collapse triggered by a Republican-driven federal default is slightly more likely to cause trouble for conservatives than voting to raise the ceiling in return for, say, a balanced-budget amendment or other heavy debt-reducing concessions. But beyond that, and I ask this in all sincerity, how exactly is it “fiscally conservative” to willingly default on your obligations? The ceiling is just a ceiling. A Congress committed to solvency could raise the limit now to preserve the stability of global markets and then get cracking on real budget cuts — and entitlement reform — to start moving us away from that ceiling, never to return. This idea of letting the government default because it’s the only way to make Americans get serious about the debt reminds me of some liberals shrugging off spiraling gas prices a few years ago on grounds that they would finally make Americans get serious about alternative energy. In both cases, because the final “crisis” is supposedly inevitable, the point is to bring it about ASAP and make people suffer until they’re willing to agree to dramatic change. Ironically, it reminds of the Cloward-Piven strategy: If you want meaningful reform to an unjust system, the best thing to do is overwhelm it until it crashes and then rebuild it in the ashes more to your liking. Beck’s not quite willing to go that far here, but Napolitano? You tell me.

As companion viewing to this, head over here and watch Jim DeMint encourage freshman Republicans not to vote for raising the debt ceiling because “it’s not a problem they created.” Where does that principle begin and end? A lot of Democrats elected to Congress in 2006 and 2008 didn’t vote for war in Iraq either, but the party continued to fund the mission anyway because a gradual drawdown was more responsible than simply pulling the plug. Why does that logic not apply in this case? Click the image to watch.

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There seem to be a bunch of Austin Goolsbee parrots in here. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves. “Conservative?” Hah!

You know, we didn’t have a federal debt ceiling between 1776 and 1917. WTF did we do for the 141 years we had to authorize each piece of deficit spending with a seperate act of congress?

gryphon202 on January 6, 2011 at 12:17 AM

Wait, you know that we’re talking about a debt ceiling NOT a deficit spending ceiling, right?

blink on January 6, 2011 at 12:16 AM

If we froze the debt ceiling in place, the deficit spending would take care of itself. Government would have no choice. After all, cumulative public debt is the result of deficit spending…right?

gryphon202 on January 6, 2011 at 12:18 AM

I read through all of Austin Goolsbee’s comments. He doesn’t outline anything, and he incorrectly states that defaults will automatically occur if the debt ceiling is reached.

blink on January 6, 2011 at 12:18 AM

Goolsbee is as bad an egg-sucking weasel as any of them, but he is one of many Obama Administration spokesmouths. You and I are on the same page, I assure you, Blink.

gryphon202 on January 6, 2011 at 12:20 AM

gryphon202, tell me what you meant by “No new spending. NONE”

blink on January 6, 2011 at 12:20 AM

Freeze all spending at current levels in *actual* dollars. No more of this baseline budgeting bullcrap where the baseline is 8%, a department gets 5% increases, and then whines about the “3% cut.”

Baseline budgeting is 98% of the problem, and is the #1 reason the debt ceiling has been raised multiple times every year since 1963.

gryphon202 on January 6, 2011 at 12:22 AM

Does that mean that you wouldn’t leave it in place after the budget is balanced?

blink on January 6, 2011 at 12:26 AM

This is where my misplaced trust and political presumptuousness starts — I would think that with a balanced budget, we wouldn’t *need* to raise the debt ceiling.

I did a little research of my own and found something interesting. Prior to the establishment of a statutory federal debt ceiling, in the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917 (which, along with income tax, was supposed to finance America in the wake of WWI), each issuance of debt was voted on separately in Congress.

And even now, it still can be.

The reason for the ceiling’s existence at all is not to prevent default — it is to expedite spending. When the ceiling is reached, there is an obscure provision in the Liberty Bond Act of 1917 that allows Congress to continue to vote on each issuance of debt separately as it did before. With all the debt that Congress incurs now, it’d really muck up the system to have to hold that many votes on debt alone, and I’m not entirely opposed to that on-principle. It’s about time Congress got a little mucked up.

gryphon202 on January 6, 2011 at 12:33 AM

Missing from this discussion is the underlying point.

Constantly raising the debt ceiling is destroying the value of the dollar. This will ultimatly cause even more turmoil than forcing the federal government to adjust it’s spending plans.

Freddy on January 6, 2011 at 1:42 AM

I absolutely, 100%, without a doubt could balance the budget between now and the Debt Ceiling vote. I would be inefficient and painful, but it could most certainly be done, and to imply otherwise is idiotic.
I never stated that the budget could be balanced efficiently prior to raising the debt ceiling. I’ve repeatedly stated that it makes more sense to raise the ceiling in order to balance the budget more efficiently.
blink on January 6, 2011 at 12:01 AM

You’re playing games and moving the goal posts. Obviously one could theoretically shut down the government or shutter entire agencies all at once, or take other drastic measures to “balance the budget” using discretionary dollars (your rule). That does not mean that would be a wise choice. Sudden shocks to the economy should be avoided when possible. I already said it couldn’t be done without inflicting damage which implies that it could be done theoretically.

Meanwhile, please cite where you “repeatedly stated….”. Link to each comment in this thread.

Thanks in advance.

Buy Danish on January 6, 2011 at 8:59 AM

I found this post linked at RealClearPolitics, taking Allahpundit’s question as the link text: “How is Defaulting on Debt ‘Fiscally Conservative’?” It seems the real question is not one of default but of bringing to an abrupt halt the “federal” government’s ability to spend more than its income, less interest. That being said, neither choice would conserve the wellbeing of the “federal” government. However, it seems this much at least may be said in counterpoint: The Americans should aim for federal government, and returning to federal government will require weakening the “federal” government in some way. I have not seen that a slow, decades-long approach to restoration of federal orders is sustainable. This House has two years in which to attempt to return to federal orders, and cutting the “federal” budget is an important part of that task. Making left-“liberals” begin to live, not within their limits, but merely within sight of their limits is the only way to make them negotiate a return to federal orders. Making them beg for each little increase in the public debt, if it can be done, would be an powerful tool in harsh negotiations.

Kralizec on January 6, 2011 at 10:52 AM

If it is not already clear, I mean to say that merely being conservative is no longer your task. It is left-“liberals” who are trying to conserve the present, ruinous order. It has long since come to the point that your task is not conservative but restorative.

Kralizec on January 6, 2011 at 10:58 AM

blink on January 6, 2011 at 12:42 PM
blink on January 6, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Damn if the word “disingenuous” doesn’t apply to you!

At the prior thread (which you only just linked to – something you could have done at the onset) you repeatedly make the same arguments I have been making here about the perils of suddenly balancing the budget in lieu of raising the debt ceiling. But you go on to say:

I’m fine with refusing to raise the debt ceiling even if it means a government shut down.
blink on January 3, 2011 at 2:18 PM

And –

The federal government would be suddenly forced to live on a balanced budget once the ceiling is reached. They wouldn’t even be able to get a short term bridge loan (like a business that simply needs a loan for a few days to make payroll before a big check comes in). It would mean that many expected expenditures would be abruptly terminated.
blink on January 3, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Thus in your view we can either balance the budget (not recommended) or shut down the government (not recommended). Terrific!/

Some of those “expenditures” are also known as “obligations” which would be in “default”. You’ve been badgering me into “admitting” that I’m an Obamaton (you forgot to add Ed Morrissey to the list) to claim that not raising the debt ceiling can lead to default. Then why shut down the government? You yourself detail “what obligations won’t be met”. So yeah, you can claim victory! Technically, we don’t have to default because there are other options which are available if you live on Planet Theory, but not Planet Earth.

P.S. I don’t “feel bad”, I feel just fine. Thanks for your concern.

Buy Danish on January 6, 2011 at 2:54 PM

blink on January 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM

In response to Clinton’s unwillingness to make the budget cuts that the Republicans wanted, Newt Gingrich threatened to refuse to raise the debt limit, putting the country in default. Since Gingrich expected Clinton to fold, the result was a game of chicken between the two. Economically, the result would be a shaking investor confidence and higher interest rates, which would increase the cost of borrowing money.

This is all I have time for right now…

Buy Danish on January 6, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Arggh! I had a response but didn’t realize I wasn’t logged in so now I have to start over.

YOU are a disingenuous jerk. An immediately balanced budget isn’t simply theory.
blink on January 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM

It’s theoretically possible but it’s not going to happen at this point of time on Planet Earth. There is nothing disingenuous about that.

You have essentially told every commenter who wants to raise the debt ceiling to prevent default that they’re idiots. Sure, it’s possible we wouldn’t default, but what are the odds? Meanwhile Boehner and Paul Ryan are using the Default word. Here’s Ryan:

Asked whether Republican demands for spending cuts would threaten a government default, Ryan said, “It would be irresponsible if the president brings about a default of the country if he refuses to sign a bill that raises the debt- ceiling limits. That’s his choice.”

Did he misspeak? Is this an idle threat? Do this require a Clintonian response that it depends on what the meaning of “if” is?

Buy Danish on January 7, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Do this=Does this…

Buy Danish on January 7, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Stop pretending that the math is far fetched. It’s not.
blink on January 7, 2011 at 11:25 AM

I’m not “pretending” anything. Drastic measures could be taken but they would be extremely inadvisable and are not going to happen at this time. I see no evidence to the contrary from the House leadership. However, since you say it’s possible to achieve, why don’t you do the math for us? Show how you would cut discretionary spending. Ballpark estimates are fine.

Gee, if we decided to limit spending only to obligations, then we wouldn’t default at all

According to what timetable? By March/April?


Okay, then I’m in good company.

blink on January 7, 2011 at 11:26 AM

I saw this but was running out the door and didn’t have time to reply. You didn’t have to cut and paste the entire post.

Look, I’m willing to concede that the wiki statement about the Clinton era “default” was incorrect, but FDR essentially defaulted on the debt in 1933 (by screwing bondholders kinda like Obama screwed Senior bondholders in the GM deal, but I digress) yet The GDP went up after that. From this one example we could deduce that default doesn’t necessarily cause the GDP to plunge. I’m not willing to make that prediction going forward.

Buy Danish on January 7, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Um, why do you think the timetable matters? I’m getting the feeling that you’re still confused about this issue.

Because it’s more “efficient” (to coin a word from you) to make substantial cuts over an extended period of time than over a few months?

That’s politics – not math. Learn the difference.

Gawd you’re bossy. I know the difference! What do you think they’re going to do? Act like politicians and claim they’re cutting the budget by $100 B in the calendar year but come back with a big SURPRISE of much larger cuts for Obama to sign off on?

No. It has NOTHING to do with the point I’m making on this thread.

YOU talked about discretionary spending cuts but (if I understand you correctly) now you’re saying it’s irrelevant. How the hell do you cut spending without cutting spending?

I’m much more happy being right than being in good company.

Good for you. Maybe you should ring up his office and tell him how wrong he is.

Then why did you quote it?

Because it was an example of default that I found as I was running out the door? I’ve taken a second look at it and changed my mind.

Buy Danish on January 7, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Are you under the impression that inefficient budget cuts is the same things as default?
blink on January 8, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Absolutely not.

My point is that some combination of them can be cut in order to avoid default.

Obviously it can be done. As I have repeatedly said that doesn’t meant that it’s wise to make cuts that deep that soon (and not a single person in the GOP leadership is suggesting we make such drastic cuts on a 3 month time schedule).

Buy Danish on January 8, 2011 at 4:28 PM