StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

Debt Ceiling Increase is Likely To Fail at Least Once Before it's Finally Adopted

20 Apr 2011
Posted by Stan Collender

This new Marist poll, which includes responses from just before and just after President Obama's speech at George Washington University last Thursday, shows again that many of the most fundamental positions of the leaders of the tea party and GOP on the budget are at odds with a vast a majority of not just the country as a whole but with their own party as well when it comes to cutting Medicare and Medicaid.

However, the most informative response in the poll was about raising the federal debt ceiling.  Almost 7 out of every 10 voters (69 percent) said the debt ceiling should not be raised.  But with the exception of raising taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year, those who responded didn't support any of the things that would actually make it unnecessary to increase the amount the government borrows.

There are some important implications for the debate on increasing the federal debt ceiling that's just ahead.

  1. No matter what the Treasury secretary, Wall Street, John Boehner, or anyone else says, opposing an increase in the debt ceiling will be the easiest position for most members of Congress to take.  Remember: 7 out of every 10 voters in the U.S. say they don't want it raised.  This includes a majority of Democrats and substantial majorities of Republicans and independents.
  2. This almost certainly means that most representatives and senators will need to vote against a debt ceiling bill at least once so that they have something on the record showing their constituents that they were with them.
  3. Forecasts of a crisis will then allow enough members to vote for a debt ceiling increase.
  4. This likely means that the debt ceiling won't be raised until at least a month after the current borrowing limit has been reached and the situation appears to be getting desperate.
  5. Congressional leaders, especially the Democrats, should recognize this and get this first vote over with as soon as possible.  Yes, it will be taken by some (especially international financial markets that typically overreact to political developments in the U.S. because they don't understand the theater) as an indication that the debt ceiling won't be raised, but the sooner this first vote is taken and the bill is defeated, the sooner the serious work on getting past this largely meaningless point in the budget debate can get started.
  6. The GOP plan to tie substantial spending cuts to a debt ceiling increase isn't likely to work because, as the poll shows, many of the reductions will be even more unpopular than than increasing the government's borrowing limit.
  7. If actual spending cuts won't work, expect a budget process change of some kind -- something that promises change without actually changing anything -- to be included in the debt ceiling increase bill.  There's a precedent for this: Gramm-Rudman-Hollings was adopted in 1985 as an amendment to a debt ceiling increase.

Respectfully, why do you

Respectfully, why do you state that "Congressional leaders, especially the Democrats, should recognize this and get this first vote over with as soon as possible" when it appears the GOP is doing all the politicking over raising the debt limit? Why single out the Democrats in Congress?

Love the prior post!!!

Love the prior post!!! liberal stan outflanked on the left.

get some passports and travel outside the beltway!

Really? The easiest position?

One might contemplate why raising taxes on those earning over $250K isn't an even easier position to take (I'm assuming you agree that it doesn't seem to be) since support for that is higher than opposition to raising the debt ceiling. Public opinion and the actions of "our" representatives are linked very tenuously, at best.

Excellent Post

Stan -

LOVE the LOGIC of what will happen re the debt ceiling. There's current analysis, history, and a set of predicted logical political steps so it can be va;idated (or not, which would probably be because of the Tea Party). Reducing the growth of Medicare spending, while maintaining quality (outcomes) is pretty straightforward. Find and implement comprehensive solutions to problems that are key cost drivers. What is worrisome is the level of diabetes, which is progressive and has a set of nasty negative outcomes. Medicaid is I think much more problemmatic (so they really better work on it before PPACA hits)

Hope the radio and TV appearances went well.

We must stop buying the

We must stop buying the garbage that the 'first cuts' to a budget are SS and Medicare. Come on!! Lets look into the REAL Budget....I bet I can find a lot of Gubment to cut. There are so many Grants and Programs, Branches, Bureaus...etc. Lets hack it out. "No" to increasing the Debt Ceiling. That just allows them to continue growing the debt. They must be forced to comply with a Budget that means just that....a Budget with LIMITS. There is enough money to pay are debt. Debt payments can still be made without increasing the ceiling. Don't drink the Kool Aide. They have been serving the same poison to America for a Century!!! All Americans, need to understand how these folks manipulate these issues and how they mismanage (steal) our money. REMEMBER TARP? Remember what drink they were serving then? That's right.....Pass Tarp or else! LIARS!! THIEVES!!!

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