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Did You Hear About House Speaker John Boehner on the Debt Ceiling Debate? His Chutzpah is Unbelievable [61]

Updated on July 17, 2012

The Contestants

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER 61st Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER 61st Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio | Source

One Has To Wonder

IF JOHN BOEHNER really understands how the government works. A partial quote I want to start off with was delivered on July 12, 2011 in the group meet the Conservatives held recently where Speaker Boehner said, in part,: " ... the debt limit is his [President Obama's] problem and I think it is time for him to lead by putting his cards on the table ..." Then later he says: "… American’s would say a balanced approach is a simple one. The administration gets its debt limit increase and the American people get their spending cuts and their reforms. And, adding tax increases to the equation doesn't balance anything."

I am guessing the third in line to the Presidency of the United States has never had U.S. Government 101. As much as Senator Mitch McConnell and Speaker Boehner may want to try to cast this as the President's problem, it is really theirs, as well as Majority Leader Reid's; they represent the leadership of Congress. As 40% of high school graduates, I hope, should know, it is Congress who is saddled with saying what the government spends money on AND authorizing the government to go into debt to pay for it if enough revenues are not raised to pay for it; Article 1, in case you didn't know. Article II gives the Executive the authority to execute Congresses will; that is all it does, no more and no less when it comes to budget matters.

(Article III, by the way, has to do with that branch of government the Conservatives wish would go away or become a subset of Congress, the Judicial branch.)

My intent with this hub wasn't to talk that much about whether Speaker Boehner is really that ignorant about how the government works or not, we all know he is; he is a very smart man and even smarter politician. What he is hoping, of course, is to fool the 60% of those high school graduates, and those who didn't bother graduating at all, into believing what he is saying is the truth, when, in fact, it is a lie. Both Boehner and McConnell both know very well the Debt Ceiling problem is NOT the President's problem, instead, it IS SQUARLY a Congressional problem, in other words, it is THEIR problem, it has always been THEIR problem and it always will be THEIR problem, no matter how much they try to lie to you.

What I did want to talk to you about, though, is the basic premisethat this debt ceiling crisis is the Democrat's, and by the Conservative dialectic, Obama's, mess; it isn't that either, don't you see.

Who's Mess is it Anyway?

SPEAKER Boehner says, tongue-in-cheek I am sure, that the "debt ceiling crisis is President Obaba's problem"; like it isn't America's or Congress' or John Boehner's problem. How can he, without laughing his head off, deliver that one-liner? I have to give him kudos for being able to maintain a straight face. But, let's take Speaker Boehner seriously for a second, what he is really saying, as has been the Conservative mantra for quite a while now, is that the debt that we are wanting to raise the ceiling to pay for is the result of President Obama and Democratic, not Conservative, policy. BULL!

Just think about it for a second, because that is about all you should need before that smile begins to crease your face as you get the great Conservative practical joke on the American people. OK, maybe it will take a bit longer so let's set the stage a bit:

  • In 2000, the full force of the Clinton economic policy was taking hold. Everything else being equal, the annual deficit, as it is normally measured, was actually showing a surplus and left to itself, the actual debt would have started come down, in real terms, it had stopped growing.
  • Of course, everything was not equal. The biggest external factor was 9/11 which gave a bad shock to the economy. By itself, it was not enough to turn economy south as its effect was temporary. One consequence, of course, that would have stressed the economy would be the war in Afghanistan to oust and destroy the Taliban and al Qaeda. Even with this, it is problematic that the horrific debt increase during the Bush administration would have occurred.
  • Given the way President Bush abandoned Afghanistan after Tora Bora, one must wonder that if he had not cut taxes and invaded Iraq, that we still wouldn't have seen a reduction in the national debt.
  • The rest of the damage was self-inflicted. It is well established by many sources and studies, not the least of which is the CBO and GAO, is that the primary cause of the $5 Trillion doubling of the national debt under President Bush to $11.9 Trillion reached by 9/30/2009 (as a result of the last Bush budget, btw, Obama's expenditures don't really show up until 10/1/2010)
  • I would argue that if the Conservatives had followed a sound economic policy instead of declawing the regulators and deregulating the financial industry so that they were incentivized to do all of the bad things they did to ruin our economy, then we would not have fallen in the Great Recession of 2008
  • Also, had Chairman Greenspan used the remaining power that he did have at his disposal to reign in the bad financial actors rather than believe that his Conservative economic theories would save the day when there was overwhelming evidence that it wasn't, then America would not have fallen into the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression thereby causing President Obama to spend trillions of more dollars to same America from disaster.
  • Let's see, what else, oh yes, it is said, we default around Aug 2, 2011. That means, at the very least, debts incurred before Aug 2, 2011, are the ones that are coming due.
  • And, ahh, President Obama became President in late January 2009. That would mean, wouldn't it, that the budget should have been passed, Oct 1, 2009, would have been his first budget and would have included the beginning part of the $400 billion Stimulus. The next budget was due Oct 1, 2010 to be spent 10/1/2010 - 9/30/11; this would contain another part of the Stimulus.
  • Except for a few appropriations, like civilian payroll, programs authorized in one year often take many years of outlay to complete, each new year generally has to be voted on by Congress in the next years budget.

So, with this rather tedious, but necessary preamble, if I am not going to criticized for the same slight-of-hand as those I am criticizing, what can we determine ... the Conservatives are lying to you, of course, what else? The debt, or 90% of it anyway, given the facts as they occurred, are not a result of anything the Democrats, let alone President Obama has done; they fall SQUARELY, as I said somewhere else, on President Bush. I would argue that 100% of the debt ceiling problem lies at the feet of President Bush and the Conservatives because none of this should happened in the first place. Guess what, if it hadn't, the national debt would be falling and he wouldn't be having this crisis in the first place.

Now, tell me, which makes more sense, my last statement or the one the Conservatives are making trying to protect millionaires from a tax hike they will never notice by sayiingthat the debt is Obama's fault. OK, are you smiling yet? Laughing?


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    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thanks Shyron.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Greedy Old Politicians (GOP) work for the filthy rich and their "quest for power and lust for money," is what is driving this tea wagon.

      Good hub. will share!

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      7 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thanks TeaPartyCrasher, glad you liked it.

      I saved the link you provided to my research database, TTanglewood; it had a lot great numbers and references in it.

      No question about it, Peanutroaster.

    • peanutroaster profile image


      7 years ago from New England

      GOP understands who they work for - wealthy and big business. Everything else is a smoke screen.

    • TTanglewood profile image


      7 years ago

      My Esoteric

      This is a resource that reinforces your point about this being, in part, a revenue problem.

      You'll notice that last year, the gap between income and spending was at its greatest point in the last 60 years.

      Even if we went back to 2006 levels of spending, as Tea Party suggests, we would still run a deficit without any additional revenue.

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile image


      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

      This was a great antidote to a lot of the Koch' Brother's 'Tea' I've seen on HP.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      8 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thanks Cmerritt, all is well here as well, if the market, especially Apple, dips just a little bit more today and tomorrow. I didn't think it would do as well as it did when I was in Las Vegas last week and was caught off-guard. The only thing saving my butt is this stupid fight between the Conservatives and the Democrats; if they yell at each other just one more day, I might be OK. (In case you are wondering, I made some stock option transactions that assumed the market would stay below about where it is right by tomorrow (and Apple about $10 below where it currently). If it does, I make a few bucks, if it does, and I don't get out in time, I lose a lot of bucks.)

      Only time will tell how this plays out and exactly what authority the government actually has; I wish I truly knew, but, it does give me an opportunity to present this in a slightly different way based on the rest of what you said, still pulling from my main hub, but from some others.

      By Feb 1, 2009, a few days after Presisent Obama assumed office but before he had a chance to enact anything, an historic avalanche had started rolling down a very long moutain. Obama's team, not Obama, had already made their prediction of 8% unemployment BEFORE the end of year 2008 data was in, in hindsight that was very dumb, had they waited until Feb 2009, they might have made an initial prediction of 12 - 15% instead ... 12 - 15%!

      Here is the truth of the matter: On Feb 1, 2009, America was on its way to losing more than 12 million jobs from the middle of 2008 to the end of 2009. Every one of those jobs lays at the feet of President Bush and the Conservatives, every one! What isn't laying at his feet are the millions more jobs that WOULD have been lost had President Obama followed the Conservative do-nothing plan. The Conservatives did nothing in the Depression of 1857, 1873, 1893, and 1929; all financil recessions that bear a striking resembelence to 2008. (I can't comment yet on those from 1889 to 1929 because I haven't researched them yet.) The Conservatives did nothing because that is their economic theory when the ecomomy goes south. In all four depressions, unemployment topped 15% and in 1857, 1873, and 1929, stayed their for years! Three of the four depressions were depressions because the government did nothing. Most of this is from Wikipedia, go check it out; you can get there from here:

      We got to the debt crises for two reasons, in my opinion, one, gross mismanagement by the Bush Administration and two, President Obama being forced to stop a Bush Administration caused catastrophe; why sugarcoat it?

      With hindsight being 20-20, we know now there is absolutely no reason why President Bush had to raise the total debt 100% from a little over $5 Trillion and shrinking, when he took over in with his first budget in Oct 2001, to over $11.9 Trillion when President Obama submited his first budget in Oct 2009. It is now a little over, what, $14 Trillion comining up on Aug 2, 2011.

      How much of that extra $3 Trillion, which is the ONLY amount that can conceivably be attributed to Obama, is there because he chose NOT "to do nothing" like his predecessors, except President Bush personally, wanted him to do from the start and like the Conservatives did do 151, 135, 115, and 79 years, respectively, that led to such horrific disasters? How much of the ceiling that needs to be raised today is because of all of the poor choices the Conservatives, not the Democrats, made in the period 2001 - 2008 because those choices, and the unintended consequenses, including Obama's "out-of-his-control" reaction to them, of the policies, made during those years are what is driving the crises today.

      The Conservatives are wrong, it is a revenue problem, driven by a screwed up tax ideology. Things were working great until 2000. Without the tax reduction, in 2001, we might have weathered 9/11 and the Bush invasion of Iraq. It certainly didn't gain the middle class anything thing, their standard of living went down. The big cut in taxes on the wealthy certainly didn't create jobs, it was a jobless recovery from the small tech recession. The ONLY things that happened from the Bush tax cut is the government LOST revenue, the middle class and poor because poorer, the wealthy became much wealthier, and America's debt started skyrocketing. I have the figures to back it up, presented many times in other hubs. Can anybody challenge me with facts and not rhetoric? The gauntlet is down. (Wikipedia and the people who develep stats might love this, lol)

      Damn, I just wrote another hub ... sorry Cmerritt.

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 

      8 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Things are going very well ME, Hope all is well with you.

      First of all Obama CAN guarantee that social security checks WILL be sent. There IS a priority list and SS IS on the top. He is lying, and watch there WILL be more in the next few days.....

      I have to say one more thing, though I will not deny that Bush allowed WAY too much spending, and carries a certain amount of blame. The fact that Obama has spent MORE than Bush did his entire eight years says a whole lot. It has been since 2006 since the democrats took control of the purse. Don't get me wrong, both parties have enough blame to spread around.

      The bottom line is that we need to make it a constitutional admendment that we cannot spend MORE than we collect. That is really such a simple and yet extremely important requirement.

      It is time for our Congress and POTUS to become very serious about our finances. We waste so very much. There is an enormous amount of fraud.

      I just read where the U.S. owns 650 millions of acres in this country, approx. 1/3 of this Nation. Most of it could/should be sold, reaping billions of dollars. We also spend $25 billion annually to maintain this land. That is just a very small example of where we need the right people in place to explore and deploy measures to utilize the American tax dollars to it's fullest.

      My prediction is that we will raise the ceiling limint, but there is going to be some serious spending cuts put in place. I also think that raising taxes WILL be an enormous mistake, it will NOT help this crippled economy in any way, shape or form, it will only delay any potential recovery.

      I'm through, but as always, I enjoy reading your hubs and I do understand your points of view, though I don't always agree.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      8 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Well said, Susannah42, thank you for your comment.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      8 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Hi CMerritt, how is it going? It certainly will be the POTUS's problem if it does go south, but the question is which party of Congress will go with him?

      There are so many things up in the air that will determine Obama's future and the Conservatives, for that matter, the biggest being, of course, how the debt ceiling debate comes down, who wins the Medicare debate, how the 2012 budget debate turns out, oh yeah, there is the unemployment and the economy itself. All I can say is I am glad I am just sitting here writing about it, unless they make a really bad decision in the next week or two; then we are all in deep kimshi.

      There is no question American's want spending under control, but along with speaking clearly about that, they were also pretty adament about the two sides working together, and that simply is not going to happen, it seems. Obama caved in December, in the Democrats opinion, but not mine, and he wants to give up some more here to same the country as well in ways that the Democrats want nothing do with, but will when push comes to shove. The Conservatives do not appear to me to have the will, as a party, to compromise, at this point and I think the results will be devasting to them, Obama, and the country.

      Obama is trying to scare the public, but it is no lie. He said he cannot guarantee it, and he can't. As of Aug 2, or there abouts, the expected revenues fall short of expected outlays by about 40%, I think the number is. They don't know, on a day by day basis, what the exact amounts of cash flow is, but what they do know is they have no authority to borrow money to cover any shortfalls and they have run out of ways to move money around to cover things. The bottom line is ... a lot of things won't get paid, period. Now, whether that is social security, interest due on our debt, government operations, you pick it, millions and then billions of dollars of bills are not going to get paid.

      You need to remember, they are raising the debt limit, to pay for the debts incurred primarily in the Bush period, not the Obama presidency nor what is to come. It is just like you borrowing money to pay for something you bought on time last year but don't have the money to pay for now, like your house.

      Where the Conservatives need to focus their energy, if they want to reign in spending is on the 2012 budget, not on past obligations that we already owe but they don't want to pay for now.

    • susannah42 profile image


      8 years ago from Florida

      I absolutely agree. It seems ridiculous for the most wealthy americans to get away with tax cuts, while the poor and those on social security will pay the price. Wake up,it's your America too!

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 

      8 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      the bottom line really is...the POTUS problem. If it goes south, so does the POTUS....If a "happy" solution is put into place...the POTUS looks good, and perhaps he gets another four years.

      The American people DID speak loudly and clearly, they want spending under control.

      I don't think that is being unreasonable to say either.

      This admin went two years without a budget....spending is the most extreme we have ever seen.

      Both sides is trying to "scare" the public....yesterday Obama himself did so...even to the point of saying Social Security checks, veterens checks, medicare checks MAY not be mailed out because HE says there is NO money in the coffers....which is a LIE.

      We cannot keep on raising the debt ceiling EVERYTIME we need more money to spend on things we should not be spending on.

      I think the repubs are reminding Americans that outrageous spending is real and is serious.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott Belford 

      8 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Hi HS, it has been awhile. Scary it is, for sure! I am so unsure how to take the American people, logic fails me as to who will politically get hurt by all this. Twenty years ago, there would be no question in my mind it would be the Conservatives but given deep lack of understanding by the citizenry on how the economy actually works where they actually, and wrongly, think Obama is at fault for the unemployment problem and how easily it appears for the Conservatives to shnooker them on how the government actually works, I am not sure of anything anymore; it is really depressing.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 

      8 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Awesome Hub My Esoteric. The debt ceiling problem is actually all of America's problem. Speaker Boehner's statement of course is ridiculous and a ruse. I feel that Eric Cantor has hooked on to the Tea Party and is forcing Boehner into this idiocy. He wants his job so badly and will do anything for it. The GOP are holding this country hostage with their blackmail on this debt ceiling issue. Grover Norquist is holding the GOP hostage with his no tax raise document. Of course they are all in this with the Koch Brothers and the rest of their brethren. It is all obscene and I'd laugh if it was not all so scary.


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