Why Is This Debt-Ceiling Hike Like No Other?

Tyler Durden over at Zero Hedge makes a point overlooked by almost everyone who talks about this debt-ceiling limit compared to previous ones (his emphases):

While everyone and their grandmother is foaming at the mouth how both republicans and democrats hiked the debt ceiling for umpteen times over the past x years, the truth is that never before has the ratio of the proposed debt ceiling to the tax receipt ratio been as high as it is now. At nearly 6 times, this means that the top line (forget bottom line) cash inflows into the Treasury are 6 times lower than the current debt ceiling. And following the upcoming $2.5 trillion this number will surge to almost 8 times.

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Dueling Armageddons of TeaParty Rep. Steve Pearce

How many Armageddons?

The leaders of US business in the form of the US Chamber of Commerce, the New York Times reports, spent millions of dollars last election cycle electing the extreme right-wing dynamos now holding the Chamber and the rest of us hostage for the sacred Republican principle of a balanced federal budget (well, sacred except to Reagan, the Bushes, and the Congressional Republican leaders of the last 30 years). One of these intellectual giants the Chamber was particularly generous toward displays the kind of logic these new leaders (and, by implication, the rest of us) are at the mercy of:

The chamber spent $436,953 helping to elect Steve Pearce, a New Mexico Republican, almost 20 percent of the total that he was able to raise and spend on his own.

This month, Mr. Pearce told the radio program “News New Mexico” that cutting federal spending was just as important as increasing the debt ceiling.

“We have talked a lot about Armageddon if we don’t pass the debt ceiling,” he said. “There’s an equal Armageddon on the other side if we don’t start curing the spending problems.”

Set aside that the debt-ceiling “Armageddon” is pending next Tuesday and the other has been pending since Bush and Congressional Republicans spent the Clinton-era surplus on tax breaks for the rich, Pearce evidently wants us to believe  that in order to hold off the second already held-off Armageddon, it’s necessary to bring on the first.

Hey, Chamber, thanks for sending us this leader. Thanks a lot.

“Anarcho”-Capitalism (Proprietarianism) vs. Real Libertarian Anarchism

An American's sacred right to property being profaned.

Continuing from my last post, here reproduced are excerpts from the Usenet debates I had in the summer and fall of 2002, mostly, with self-described “anarcho”-capitalists. The original argument concerned “rights” and “freedom,” but it quickly led, as most debates with “anarchos” go, to the question of property. As I mentioned yesterday, these issues, I believe, lie at the very heart of the debates going on presently over the debt-ceiling (actually over revenues vs. spending) in Congress and the media. But you won’t hear our pundits or politicians for the most part bring it down to the very ground it all springs from. Continue reading

The “Anarcho”-Capitalist Conundrum

In the wake of September 11, 2001 and continuing through the lead-up to the Iraq War and into 2003, I was involved in an intense debate on several political Usenet groups (my involvement in political Usenet, actually, goes back to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal of 1997-1998), in which there was a clique of rabidly right wing libertarians holding forth on what they called “anarcho-capitalism.” Many believe that the only logical conclusion to right libertarianism (and to history, actually) is capitalism completely unfettered by government. In a sense, they’re right (except for the history part): If you think government is bad for business and you think business is the best way to distribute resources, then the best government is no government at all.  Of course a lot of Libertarians believe government is necessary to provide for the defense of business interests, but the anarchos would argue that if businesses need to be defended, they should do it themselves. Abolish government, they say, abolish borders, open all the world to capitalism. Let the market determine the value of everything. Continue reading

NYT: Americans’ Long National Free Lunch Daydream Is About to End

David Leonhardt very helpfully explains why Republicans are so single-mindedly pursuing what turns out to be a very popular idea, to keep the debt ceiling right where it is and force the government, come hell or high water (or both and worse), to get its financial house in order: Continue reading

Schadenfreude: Cantor’s Can’t Do Attitude Showing Him Up As an Amateur

I’m not a fan of this ridiculous deficit obsession and wish Obama and the Democrats and even Republicans would rise to the historic occasion in front of them and pass meaningful demand-side legislation, but I can’t help but enjoy the game Obama is playing with the little mouse from Virginia:

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What Makes Obama So Sure Independent Voters Want a Referee Daddy and Not a Roosevelt?

"Eat your peas."

Jackie Calmes in the New York Times today, in analysis pretending to be a news report, actually does seem to be telling a truth about what lies behind President Obama’s words at his press conference yesterday. I know Bob Somerby, one of my original Internet heroes, would be annoyed by any presumption to know what’s in the mind of a politician beyond what’s in his words, but I’ll explain what I mean after the quote after the jump. Continue reading