Media complicity in Tea-Publican economic terrorism over the debt ceiling

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

John McCain's puppet boy, little Lindsey Graham, needs a good ass-kicking for engaging in economic terrorism against the United States of America. What is it with these Neo-Confederates from South Carolina?

On Monday, little Lindsey Graham entered the hermetically sealed conservative bubble of FAUX News Fraudcasting and threatened that Tea-Publicans will violate the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by holding their breath until the U.S. defaults on its national debt, causing a global financial crisis, all because this snotty little prick wants to gut social security and Medicare. Lindsey Graham: Debt Ceiling Will Force Obama To Man Up On Medicare Cuts:

On Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) conceded that Congress will
find new revenues to avert the tax increases that are part of the
so-called fiscal cliff in January, but predicted that Republicans won’t
raise the nation’s debt ceiling unless President Obama agrees to
fundamentally reform Medicare and Social Security.

Appearing on Fox News, Graham put forward an argument that is quickly
becoming Republican conventional wisdom: Obama has leverage when it
comes to raising tax rates, but once Republicans agree to some sort of a
deal, the power will shift to the GOP. A growing number of Republicans
now believe that after compromising on tax rates, the party will have
the leverage and credibility to hold the nation’s borrowing limit
hostage in order to force deep cuts to entitlement programs:

GRAHAM: In February or March you have to raise the debt ceiling. And I
can tell you this, there is a hardening on the Republican side. We’re
not going to raise the debt ceiling
. We’re not going to let Obama borrow
any more money or any American Congress borrow any more money until we
fix this country from becoming Greece. That requires significant
entitlement reform to save Social Security from bankruptcy and Medicare
from bankruptcy. Social Security is going bankrupt in about 20, 25
years. Medicare is going bankrupt in 15 or 20 years. […]

Oh, sweet Jesus, this man is a babbling idiot. The U.S. economy is the world's largest economy, and is nothing at all like Greece. It cannot go "bankrupt." The FAUX-bots who keep repeating this ridiculous lie are babbling idiots. Maybe little Lindsey Graham should read Forbes magazine, trusted by Tea-Publicans, which explained No, The United States Will Not Go Into A Debt Crisis, Not Now, Not Ever:

If there’s one article of faith in Washington (and elsewhere), it’s the idea that the United States might get into a debt crisis if it doesn’t get its fiscal house in order.

This is not true.

The reason why it’s not true is because we live in a fiat currency
system, where the United States government can create an infinite number
of dollars at no cost to meet its obligations
. A Treasury bill is a
promise that the government will give you US dollars–something that the
United States government can produce infinitely and at no cost.

That’s the reason why interest rates on United States debt have only
gone down even as the debt has ballooned. That’s the reason why Great
Britain has very low rates on its debt despite having very high
debt-to-GDP. That’s the reason why Japan has an astounding debt-to-GDP
ratio and still enjoys some of the lowest rates ever. Investors have bet
for so long that there would be a run on Japanese debt and have ended
up so ruined that in financial circles that trade is called “the
Widowmaker.”

Well, what about Argentina? Argentina had to default on its debt
because it had pegged its currency to the US dollar. It wasn’t sovereign
with regard to its currency since it had to maintain its currency’s
peg. It wasn’t Argentina’s debt that caused it to default, it was its
currency peg.

What about Greece? Same thing. Greece hasn’t used its own currency for ten years. Of course it’s going bankrupt.

You don’t have to take my word for it. How about Alan Greenspan? He said
(.pdf): ”[A] government cannot become insolvent with respect to
obligations in its own currency
. A fiat money system, like the ones we
have today, can produce such claims without limit.”

And the FAUX-bots who keep repeating the ridiculous lie that social security and Medicare are going "bankrupt" are also babbling idiots. The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler destroyed little Lindsey Graham's assertions the other day with this aptly captioned post, Lindsey Graham's 'bankruptcy' trifecta:

In dismissing the administration’s offer to resolve the so-called
“fiscal cliff,” Sen. Graham referred to the “imminent bankruptcy” of
Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

* * *

When Graham speaks about the “imminent bankruptcy” of Medicare, he is
only speaking about the Part A trust fund, which would be exhausted by
2024.

* * *

[T]hough the fund would be “depleted,” it would not be
“bankrupt.” That is because the government could still cover 87 percent
of estimated expenses in 2024 — and 67 percent in 2050. So, yes, there
would be a shortfall, but it doesn’t mean that the fund is "bankrupt."

Indeed,
the Medicare Part A fund from its inception has been on the brink of
going “bankrupt.” The Congressional Research Service, in a report titled “Medicare: History of Insolvency Projections,” shows that in 1970 it was due to go “bankrupt” in 1972.

As for Social Security, once again Graham is pointing to just a part of the program — the trust fund for disability payments.

* * *

The disability fund has come under strain because of a combination of
older workers and the weakness of the economy, leaving fewer jobs for
people with marginal disabilities. Once the trust fund is exhausted,
benefits would continue to be paid, but at a lower level — 79 percent —
because incoming payroll-tax revenue would not be sufficient.

But
the trust fund for the broader Social Security retirement programs is
not projected to be depleted until 2033 — and Congress could in fact
authorize the disability fund to borrow from the retirement fund.

* * *

As for Medicaid, we have no idea what Graham is talking about. Medicaid
has no trust fund but is funded through general revenues in partnership
with state governments. The rising cost of health care — and increased
enrollment in Medicaid — has certainly put pressure on state government
finances. But that’s completely different from saying the program is
going "bankrupt."

* * *

In this case we are going to bump Graham up to Three Pinocchios. Not
only did he repeat the error of treating all of Medicare as one entity,
but he did the same with Social Security. Moreover, his reference to
Medicaid makes little sense, even if one has very expansive definitions
of the words “bankruptcy” and “imminent.”

What about this Tea-Publican "conventional wisdom" to take the country hostage again and engage in economic terrorism over the debt ceiling to gut social security and Medicare? Greg Sargent writes, On debt ceiling, GOP is defining extortion down:

Pay close attention to how this is covered. In a very general sense,
the shrugs that greet the prospect of another debt ceiling fight suggest
Republicans are successfully redefining the withholding of support for a
debt limit hike as not agreeing to concessions requested by Democrats. In other words, Republicans won’t give Democrats the debt ceiling hike they want unless they get spending cuts in return.

But raising the debt ceiling is not merely giving Democrats something they want. It is averting a threat to the economy and to the whole country. Top Republicans have admitted this. As Steve Benen recently documented, during the last debt ceiling battle John Boehner readily admitted that default would mean “financial disaster” for the global economy.

Indeed, the mere threat of brinksmanship itself, let alone default, is potentially damaging. During the last debt ceiling fight Standard and Poors downgraded U.S. government debt before default occurred — partly because of the mere fact that Congress was fighting over whether to raise it.

[In 2011, Republican demands nearly led to a credit default and ultimately cost taxpayers “$18.9 billion over 10 years, due to elevated interest rates between January and August 2011.”]

But McConnell and Boehner believe the threat of damage to the economy
is a perfectly legitimate lever to use to get what the GOP wants.
McConnell has said
that the 2011 fight taught Republicans that the debt ceiling was a
“hostage worth ransoming” to extract spending cuts
. Recently, Boehner reportedly responded to Obama’s request for a debt ceiling hike by saying: “There is a price for everything.”

This is not business as usual, in which each side is demanding
concessions from the other. In this case, one side is asking for
concessions in exchange for not hurting the whole country
, and spinning
any eventual agreement not to do that as a concession on their part.

This is economic terrorism, pure and simple. And it is not to be tolerated. The feckless media villagers who report this economic terrorism as a "legitimate" bargaining position are aiding and abetting an act of economic terrorism. They are equally guilty. That includes the Arizona Republic(an)'s Robert Robb who wrote this outrageous opinion piece in support of Tea-Publican economic terrorism. Thinking about the unthinkable: Not increasing the debt limit.

Tea-Publicans are violatiing the 14th Amendment and holding this country hostage to inflict harm on the beneficiaries of social security and Medicare, and on the U.S. and global economy if they do not get the ransom they demand. Why is this country tolerating such outrageous behavior? These Tea-Publicans ought to be run out of town on a rail.

NOTE: Important reminder by Jamelle Bouie: "Republicans talk about the limit as something that either permits or
forbids spending, but in reality, it’s an accounting measure — it
specifies how much the Treasury can borrow to pay its current obligations. The issue isn’t new spending, it’s whether or not the United States will pay debts based on funds already appropriated by Congress. If Republicans want to reduce spending, the proper time to do it is during the appropriations process."

0 responses to “Media complicity in Tea-Publican economic terrorism over the debt ceiling

  1. Graham says, “And I can tell you this, there is a hardening on the Republican side.”

    I think what’s hardening are the arteries giving oxygen to Republican amygdalas.