- Politics and Social Issues
Did You Hear About House Speaker John Boehner on the Debt Ceiling Debate? His Chutzpah is Unbelievable 
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?