Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mixed reports on progress toward a debt-ceiling, re-opening deal; a "change in tone"; Is Paul Ryan the main broker now?

The latest on the budget talks is that the center of the negotiation now seems narrow down to Obama and libertarianesque Senator Paul Ryan (R-WI).  Obama has asked Republicans to figure out what they would need to re-open the government at the same time there was a short term extension on the debt ceiling.  The core CNN story is here.  The Senate is moving in this direction (with a longer debt limit extension).  As of Saturday morning, no clean vote on even a temporary extension of the debt limit had been scheduled in the House yet. 
In my own mind, two big questions remain.

To Boehner, why not call a vote in the House on a “clean” bill when major media polls show that the votes are there to pass, assuming the breaking of the “Hastert Rule”?  This requires a discharge petition

To Obama: you don’t have a completely convincing answer to why “negotiating” over the debt ceiling is giving in to “extortion” when most previous presidents have done it.  It’s true, the circumstances are more challenging this time, as hardliners in the GOP are trying to overturn a law they wouldn’t have the votes to oppose with normal majority rule.

To both:  what are the numbers on debt reduction over the years?  What entitlement reforms (accepting that Obamacare does require some federal support, possibly especially to take care of the anti-selection, pre-existing conditions and mandatory coverage issues) will bring down the debt to levels that safeguard the dollar as a reserve currency?  (Is Porter Stansberry right about this?)  Can you give Social Security recipients (future and current) some “ownership” of their FICA “contributions” to protect them from politicians?  I think we all need to understand the social implications of right wing objections to "another entitlement program".
 Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has said the current generation should accept the personal sacrifice of a "managed catastrophe" now for the benefit of future generations.  (Not good if you didn't have kids.)  Sounds like war! Tne Business Insider story is here


We're stalled again, and slipped bacj.  As of mid Saturday afternoon, the Senate rank-and-file House Republicans and debt-ceiling deniers went home to their districts (where they'll get riled up about Obamacare again), and a Senate Cloture vote failed 45-53.  WSJ story.   

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