No it’s not your imagination……my countdown timer has moved up a day. The internet is now reporting we run out of money at midnight tomorrow night, not midnight Thursday night. Things are looking desperate indeed. The Senate appears to have given up and the House…….well the House is still the House……dysfunctional as ever. It is hard to see how this is going to workout.
There is only one song that could express how I am feeling as I prepare this post and here it is…….
The Republican Right Wing Extremist Tea Party continues to hold the US Government hostage. No one knows what is going to happen next (my prediction). As long as we maintain a sense of humor about this absurd situation I think we will have a fighting chance so…….
OK…..maybe this one is too close to the truth to be funny!
So…..today it seems like the Senate might be on the verge of a deal to temporarily end the Government Shutdown and temporarily raise the Debt Ceiling. Not the long term solution that we need but one that is being touted by the media as a big break through. I don’t want to bring anyone down but I suggest that we not count our chickens before they hatch! Here’s what I predict is going to happen……
The Senate is going to reach a deal on a bipartisan bill, pass it, and send it to the House relatively close to the debt default deadline. The House will get the bill, load it up with ransom demands, and send the modified bill back to the Senate where it will not pass. Game Over……..US defaults on debt!
I hope I’m wrong but time will tell……part of my rationale for this prediction has to do with a recent statement by Mo Brooks (as reported on AL.com). Here is what he had to say……
Mo Brooks says he’s not bluffing
on debt ceiling
Congressman Mo Brooks says he is not bluffing.
If Congress does not slash welfare programs, or take steps to adopt a balanced budget, he will vote against raising the debt ceiling.
“We address the cause of the problem or else I vote against it,” said Brooks, R-Huntsville, during a phone interview with AL.com this afternoon. He said public benefits program would also include Obamacare.
Brooks, who campaigned on the issue of a balanced budget in 2010, said the nation’s greatest threat is bankruptcy.
He said he would rather face the consequences of an unprecedented federal default — which could happen if Congress fails to raise the borrowing limit within the next 10 days — than allow the nation to continue piling up long-term debt and face “total devastation” of insolvency.
“We’re down to bad choices,” said Brooks, ”due to decades of financial irresponsibility and we’re having to choose a path that does the least amount of damage to our country.”
Brooks compared the current government shutdown to a 3 or 4 on the Richter scale. A few folks felt tremors and there was some localized damage. He said failure to raise the debt ceiling could be a greater earthquake of 5 or 6, with greater economic damage. But he said insolvency would be a devastating 10.
Earlier today, Brooks told the House: “As bad as government shutdown and debt ceiling risks may be, they are relatively inconsequential compared to the economic devastation resulting from an American bankruptcy.”
During his remarks in Congress, Brooks compared the trajectory of the United States to Greece and to Detroit, arguing pensions would be lost, assets seized or left valueless in the face of a federal bankruptcy.
“No question, not raising the debt ceiling poses economic risks. No one knows for sure how much risk because America has never crossed this threshold before,” he said on the House floor. “Whatever it is, it can be overcome.”
And he did not adhere strictly to partisan lines. Brooks said he was combating financially irresponsible members of both parties. On the phone, when asked, he said it was irresponsible not to budget for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Specifically, Brooks said he would urge Congress to reduce spending in two areas, public benefits and foreign aid.
He said he would limit public housing and food stamps and other welfare programs to the physically disabled. “The welfare programs, we don’t have the money for them,” he said, adding later: “It will force more people to work.”
He mentioned Obamacare only when asked, but added: “That is a big one.”
As for foreign aid, Brooks said he would maintain aid to Pakistan and Israel, as well as Afghanistan while U.S. troops are still present. “Outside of that, the rest of it has to go,” he said, adding: “I’m at a loss why we would borrow money to give it away.”
The only alternative to steep cuts, said Brooks, would be a long-term deal to break with the federal practice of deficit spending. The nation is approaching $17 trillion in debt and estimates show roughly $750 billion more in deficit spending this year.
He said a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution would require that federal spending cannot exceed tax revenues except during extraordinary circumstances approved by a supermajority in both houses of Congress.
When asked why now was a moment to draw a line in the sand, Brooks said it’s not. He noted that in August of 2011 he also broke with fellow Republican and voted against raising the debt limit.
Brooks had earlier shared concerns that Republicans would be blamed for the shutdown, but today he said the White House “overreach” was changing perceptions, as federal agents blocked off access to national monuments. “They are open air. You actually have to spend money to shut them down,” he said.
Thanks a lot Mo for pledging to destroy the US economy. Unless I’m mistaken that’s not what North Alabama was hoping for when they decided to vote you into the House of Representatives! So guess what…..you gotta go……
Although things look grim at this point we (all reasonable non-Tea Party Americans) all need to remember two things: 1) we have the power to change things and 2) this land is our land.