Happy Debt Limit Day!

posted at 4:00 pm on May 16, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Say, shouldn’t there be an official song for Debt Limit Day?  I’m thinking Enough Is Enough, except that would mean I’d have to play a Barbra Streisand song.  Today, the Treasury will hold a sale on bonds that will take the US to its statutory debt limit, beyond which we cannot borrow without a raise in the ceiling from Congress.  ABC calls this D-Day:

First thing this week, the United States will have hit its $14.3 trillion congressionally-mandated borrowing limit and the federal government will be running on fumes.

While the treasury says it can continue funding Uncle Sam’s $3.8 trillion annual spending spree by tapping into what is effectively an emergency credit card — borrowing from government worker retirement funds and cutting off federally-backed state and local bond programs — many people are wondering what, if any, impact not extending the debt limit might have as the May 16 deadline comes and goes.

Survey says — not much!  Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has already assured bond markets that the US can meet its obligations for the next three months, and some believe that we don’t have to default at all.  However, statutory spending will eventually force the federal government to do something to ensure proper payment on obligations.  Even economists in ABC’s D-day story believe that the White House will cut a deal well before any default dates.

But what should that “something” be?  Large majorities in several polls oppose any increase in the debt ceiling, at least not while the issue doesn’t appear to be critical.  That will make it rather difficult to get Congressional approval on a ceiling hike — which puts deficit hawks in the driver’s seat.  They will demand significant concessions from the White House before assuming an unpopular position on a debt-ceiling hike, and by significant, I mean something that will make a further hike unnecessary.  It may be a spending cap, it may be entitlement reform, but whatever deal is made will almost certainly require both, either explicitly or as a consequence to agreed structural changes in spending.

But back to my first question.  What should we be singing around the Debt Limit Day cake?  And where in tarnation am I going to find 14.3 trillion candles?


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Enough is enough.

Not Streisand.

sharrukin on May 16, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Nobody Knows You When You’re Sown and Out

obladioblada on May 16, 2011 at 4:04 PM

I was thinking something a little more upbeat…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WT1LXhgXPWs

Roy Rogers on May 16, 2011 at 4:04 PM

That obviously should have been “Down and Out.” PIMF

obladioblada on May 16, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Let’s celebrate by shutting down the EPA, the FDA, or the Dept. of Education. Heck, let’s do all three.

Vashta.Nerada on May 16, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Hmmm. I’d like the official theme song to be “The First Cut is the Deepest.”

cynccook on May 16, 2011 at 4:06 PM

How about Happiness is a Warm Gun?

search4truth on May 16, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Turbo Tax Timmy better hope those people whose pensions got robbed by him to be used as petty-cash the next three months don’t show up in DC with torches and pitchforks.

teke184 on May 16, 2011 at 4:07 PM

How about ’16 Tons’?
Need to change the lyrics to the ‘government doll’, rather than ‘company store’, though.

michaelo on May 16, 2011 at 4:07 PM

For the song, none other than “Made in the USA

Schadenfreude on May 16, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Let’s celebrate by shutting down the EPA, the FDA, or the Dept. of Education. Heck, let’s do all three.

Vashta.Nerada on May 16, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Add in the ATF on top of that and you’ve got a winner.

Between the Gunwalker crap and their “explosives experts” arguably starting some of the Texas wildfires due to a botched bomb disposal supervised by them, they really need to disappear.

teke184 on May 16, 2011 at 4:08 PM

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704281504576325510314457014.html?mod=e2tw A WSJ article about the Debt Limit.

I don’t get it. They claim:

recent analysis by the Congressional Research Service concluding that the federal government would have to “eliminate all spending on discretionary programs, cut nearly 70% of outlays for mandatory programs, increase revenue collection by nearly two-thirds, or take some combination of those actions in the second half of FY2011 (April through September 30, 2011) in order to avoid increasing the debt limit.”

I thought interest on our debt was like ~200 billion dollars. I mean that’s a lot, but that makes it sound like they’d need 3-4 trillion. What’s up with that?

apollyonbob on May 16, 2011 at 4:08 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgSPaXgAdzE

For Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner

Scoreboard44 on May 16, 2011 at 4:09 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlBiLNN1NhQ

Maybe just a whistle for the rest of us Ed.

Scoreboard44 on May 16, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Modified ’16 Tons’ to ’16 Tril’:

Some people say a man is made outta mud
A poor man’s made outta muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that’s a-weak and a back that’s strong

You owe sixteen tril, what do you get
Another day older, kids deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
We owe our souls to the government doll

I was born one mornin’ when the sun didn’t shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal
And the straw boss said “Well, a-bless my soul”

You owe sixteen tril, what do you get
Another day older, kids deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
We owe our souls to the government doll

I was born one mornin’, it was drizzlin’ rain
Fightin’ and trouble are my middle name
I was raised in the canebrake by an ol’ mama lion
Cain’t no-a high-toned woman make me walk the line

You owe sixteen tril, what do you get
Another day older, kids deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
We owe our souls to the government doll

If you see me comin’, better step aside
A lotta men didn’t, a lotta men died
One fist of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don’t a-get you
Then the left one will

You owe sixteen tril, what do you get
Another day older, kids deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
We owe our souls to the government doll

michaelo on May 16, 2011 at 4:14 PM

I don’t get it. They claim:

recent analysis by the Congressional Research Service concluding that the federal government would have to “eliminate all spending on discretionary programs, cut nearly 70% of outlays for mandatory programs, increase revenue collection by nearly two-thirds, or take some combination of those actions in the second half of FY2011 (April through September 30, 2011) in order to avoid increasing the debt limit.”

I thought interest on our debt was like ~200 billion dollars. I mean that’s a lot, but that makes it sound like they’d need 3-4 trillion. What’s up with that?

apollyonbob on May 16, 2011 at 4:08 PM

The deficit (yearly overspending of money we don’t have) is $1,645 billion. That would have to be cut from somewhere. After we get rid of that we start getting into what we have to cut from other programs.

sharrukin on May 16, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Foghat – Live Now, Pay Later

John Deaux on May 16, 2011 at 4:15 PM

“(You can’t get) Blood From a Stone” by The Hooters!

allanbourdius on May 16, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Our political leaders are acting like children. When is this total indulgence going to stop.

Paul-Cincy on May 16, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Everything Must Go

steebo77 on May 16, 2011 at 4:16 PM

This debt is the greatest danager to the Republic. The enemy within.

Oil Can on May 16, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Go figure. And I can’t even get a min-wage slave job.

Hey Washington…could you spare $100,000?

Uncle Sams Nephew on May 16, 2011 at 4:23 PM

I thought interest on our debt was like ~200 billion dollars. I mean that’s a lot, but that makes it sound like they’d need 3-4 trillion. What’s up with that?

apollyonbob on May 16, 2011 at 4:08 PM

The default would be on the treasury bonds being redeemed, along with the interest on immature bonds. The deficit number has nothing to do with that, other than reporting how much we’ll have to borrow to keep the government solvent.

In a few years, the interest on the debt will exceed $800 billion per year. That will be nearly 40% of GDP. Not to worry, thought. The economy will crash well before we get there.

BobMbx on May 16, 2011 at 4:26 PM

But what should that “something” be? Large majorities in several polls oppose any increase in the debt ceiling, at least not while the issue doesn’t appear to be critical. That will make it rather difficult to get Congressional approval on a ceiling hike — which puts deficit hawks in the driver’s seat.

Nope.

I just attended a high-level White House Debt Ceiling strategy meeting – as a “fly on the wall” …

Here’s an excerpt …

Obama: “Damn – can’t believe my UNBELIEVABLE LUCK! First, I cut the House Republicans off from their Tea Party base when I snookered John Boehner into $39B in cuts – after he’d said ‘Read My Lips! $100B and not a penny less!!’ … then I wax UBL … and now I have a chance to ‘three-peat’ by drivning a bigger wedge between the Tea Party and the Republicans on the Debt Ceiling!!”

Bill Daley (CoS): “You da man! Home Bleed! Hell, the Republican leadership is so scared of hitting this debt ceiling they’ll cut any deal we throw at them! Whaddaya wanna do, Big Guy? Ask Boehner for his bottom line and then subtract 61% off the top of it like we did on the budget cuts?”

Obama: “Uhhh – no …. uhh … let’s play it cool Bill. Call up Boehner – and ACT REAL SCARED. Hehe … Maybe he’ll get excited and go out and make some more of those ‘Write this down’ and ‘Read My Lips’ statements to his conservative base. See – thats the key – we want the base to be real unhappy with him and the other Republicans when they cave to my awesomeness!”

Bill Daley: “Yeah Big Kahuna – and what’ll make this sweeter – is when Boehner leans on Michelle Bachmann and Allen West and the other Tea Party guys to support him – by appealing to their party loyalties and using some nice ‘united we stand – divided we fall’ rhetoric!! Funny as hell!!”

Obama: “HAHAHAHAHA! This is a GRAVY TRAIN that just won’t quit, Bill! These damn Republicans are so awesomely predictable!!”

HondaV65 on May 16, 2011 at 4:30 PM

What should we be singing around the Debt Limit Day cake? And where in tarnation am I going to find 14.3 trillion candles?

Auld Lang Syne?

Or what if the gubbamint messed up and did this?

BobMbx on May 16, 2011 at 4:31 PM

Welcome to the Zombieconomy.

Vashta.Nerada on May 16, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Under Pressure.

mizflame98 on May 16, 2011 at 4:43 PM

It’s tough reading Obama’s lips, when he talks out the side of his mouth.

Roy Rogers on May 16, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Buddy can you spare a dime.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F4yT0KAMyo

mizflame98 on May 16, 2011 at 4:50 PM

I’d love it to be Won’t Get Fooled Again, but we will.

Pablo Snooze on May 16, 2011 at 5:02 PM

However, statutory spending will eventually force the federal government to do something…

But what should that “something” be?

Why, print and spend more money, thilly!

catmman on May 16, 2011 at 5:03 PM

The political elite ruling class must raise the debt ceiling…

… Promises were made, deals were struck, it’s just how things are done.

/

Seven Percent Solution on May 16, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Shut it down! THEN we will find out what is truly necessary!

GarandFan on May 16, 2011 at 5:10 PM

Go ahead raise the debt limit-every tiny innocent infant in United States is born owing the government $46,000. Amnesty creeps and liberal debt limit armageddonists be damned.Hey GOP reps watch this

canditaylor68 on May 16, 2011 at 5:13 PM

But, I still have more checks!

Fallon on May 16, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Repaired link>>>. Watch this Hold the line

canditaylor68 on May 16, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Dire Straits Money For Nothing.

I R A Darth Aggie on May 16, 2011 at 5:16 PM

allanbourdius on May 16, 2011 at 4:16 PM

good one

cmsinaz on May 16, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Soetero and Spouse, Geithner, Bernanke, an the Profligate Dems did the backup on this version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6xkT7FMyTc&feature=fvwrel

onlineanalyst on May 16, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Is intra-governmental holdings included in this limit? I still don’t get why we continue to pay interest on money we owe ourselves. The inflation already is accounted for when the money was borrowed (printed).

clement on May 16, 2011 at 5:43 PM

A reprise of an OT that I posted last night on the QOTD:

We are being taken to the cleaners with ObaMaoBucks being devalued every day. (Thanks, Bernanke and Geithner.) Yet Zimbabwe wants to move to a gold-backed Zim dollar because the American dollar is losing its value.
http://www.newzimbabwe.com/business-5127-RBZ+urges+gold-backed+Zim+dollar/business.aspx

Yikes! Zimbabwe is ahead of the curve.

onlineanalyst on May 16, 2011 at 5:50 PM

I still don’t get why we continue to pay interest on money we owe ourselves. The inflation already is accounted for when the money was borrowed (printed).

clement on May 16, 2011 at 5:43 PM

http://www.greatreality.com/DebtReal$.htm

The national debt is real money, owed to real people by the U. S. government (that’s you and me). It is in the form of U. S. savings bonds, treasury bills, notes, and bonds, and a few other things. Most of it, about 75%, is owed to private individuals and organizations. Those organizations include banks, savings & loan associations, insurance companies, corporations, state & local governments, and foreign investors. Some is owed to various private pension funds, including labor union and corporate pension funds. About 25% of it is owed to other federal government entities. Some of the debt is probably owed to you, directly or indirectly.

We borrow more money. Every year, the U. S. government issues new bonds, bills, and notes, to finance the debt. When someone buys a Treasury bill, that person is loaning money to the government. The loan will be paid back, with interest of course.

sharrukin on May 16, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Song? I’ve got a whole playlist for the occasion!

Thriller by Michael Jackson
Summertime Blues by The Beach Boys
Eat the Rich by Aerosmith
Welcome to my Nightmare by Alice Cooper
We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel
Don’t Know What You’ve Got (’til it’s Gone) by Cinderella
High Enough by Damn Yankees
The Final Countdown by Europe
One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer by George Thorogood
Big Goodbye by Great White
Point of No Return by Kansas
Road to Nowhere by Ozzy Osbourne

Just to name a few…

Tremor on May 16, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Government employee union thugs hardest hit.

pedestrian on May 16, 2011 at 6:37 PM

I’ve been looking at the numbers around our debt, deficit and future liabilities for some time. Ladies and gentlemen, we are truly fu(%ed!

I just don’t see ANY congress cutting government to where it needs to be, and even if somehow they do, the current liabilities are huge as the damage is done.

-The debt ceiling will be raised.
-Taxes will increase in the next few years.
-Inflation will continue as we monetize the debt.
-Life will be hard and the economy will suffer.

BierManVA on May 16, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Any post with the word “tarnation” in it gets the thumbs up from me.

Sinner on May 17, 2011 at 8:39 AM