And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.
To see what the Boehner rule means, consider the following facts. Based on projections done last August by the Congressional Budget Office, the national debt will increase over the next decade by about $12 trillion under current law. To cut spending over the next decade by $12 trillion, it would be necessary to cut annual spending by an average of $1.2 trillion a year. Since total non-interest spending over that period will average $4 trillion a year under current law, about 30 percent of projected spending would have to be eliminated. Because big cuts are impossible next year or the year after, the required cuts toward the end of the decade would have to approach 50 percent to satisfy the Boehner rule. As it happens, no one in either party—and, most tellingly, none of those insisting on the dollar-of-cuts-for-a-dollar-of-increase-in-the-debt-ceiling trade-off—has indicated where spending cuts of even one half this amount should come from. Even so, they have declared that they will oppose any increase in the debt ceiling unless these terms are met. And they have the votes to make their commitment hold.
My only real complaint is calling any of these “rules” in the House rules. Hastert, Boehner, what-have-you: they have no force of law and only exist as a “rule” in the sense that washing one’s hands after using the toilet does. If one does so, one is following the rule. If not, well, uh not much really. The Boehner Affectation, or the Boehner Most Dangerous Strongly Held Opinion. Whatever, just not a “rule.”
But: yep. And the reason no one “has indicated where spending cuts of even one half this amount should come from”? Because they don’t give a shit about the deficit. This whole “crisis” was created and continues to exist as a useful cudgel to extract tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the poor. Period, the end. Positive deficit impacts of said policy, be they large or small, are purely coincidental and entirely unintended.
"We shouldn’t dread the debt limit. We should welcome it. It’s an action-forcing event in a town that has become infamous for inaction."
— John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives, tipping his hand. I’d say this is the first time you can see real fear of the status quo. More broadly, that doing nothing will fix most of the deficit over the near term by eliminating the Bush tax cuts and a few other money-sapping provisions. Were it deemed reasonably likely that Obama will win reelection in the fall, they’d quickly calculate that the only chance the GOP has for full extension of the Bush tax cuts is to force the issue before that happens. You do that by holding the full faith and credit of these United States hostage. Again. And the only way they get there is by reneging on their previous agreements and hope nobody remembers that they’re doing so. Nothing that has transpired in the past 20 years leads me to believe they are wrong on this count.
Sadly for them: they think this cunning scheme to yet again needlessly and recklessly and by choice yet again delivering the nation to the economic precipice has the benefit of being a big political winner for them. Sadly for the rest of us: you can only put this particular gun to the hostage’s head so many times before it gets fired. Maybe this time, maybe next. But soon.
"I’ve talked to enough members over the last 24 hours who believe that, ‘Hey, we don’t like this two month extension [but] if you can get this fixed, why not do the right thing for the American people, even though it’s not exactly what we want."
— John Boehner, completely misunderstanding the position of his caucus. Either it’s exactly what we want or we blow up the country. Right, John? Right?
The Republican Party in the United States—15 months before the next presidential election—has already burdened itself with an array of front-running presidential candidates […] [and] it now seems a necessary qualification for the Republican nomination, at least at the present primaries stage, to be a born-again fundamentalist Protestant. Yet in the United States the majority of the electorate is not fundamentalist, evangelical or Protestant.
This last bit is key. If we assume that the economic situation gets no worse and, perhaps, even improves a bit between now and 2012, and we further simply take the polling of the GOP field as it stands today (giving the nomination to Perry in a walk), it’s very hard to see how he beats Obama. So: Perry gets crushed in the general election. In the inevitable “we lost because we weren’t conservative enough” aftermath, how exactly does one make that case? Because that’s the case that will be made. The “message of the American voter” in delivering a massive tidal wave of support to 2012-Obama will universally be seen to have been a clear, ringing demand for lower taxes on the rich, a dismantling of the social safety net, and that the poor and out of work should just go die in the streets already.
Perhaps you just blame Boehner. You’ve presumably lost some House seats (but retained the majority). Cantor wants to be Speaker, so you spin it as “Perry only lost because Boehner was too easygoing on radical urban liberal Obama.” Seems impossible that anyone would buy it, but then most of FOXnews’ more successful narratives seem pretty unlikely when viewed in the abstract.
"A number of economists tell us if we can cut spending it will lead to a better environment for job creation in America"
— John Boehner, Speaker of the House.
Exactly what number of economists would that be, John? One? Two? Because the vast preponderance of economists, at least those located anywhere on the Earth think otherwise. And you don’t have to throw your lot in with a bunch of pointy-headed intellectuals either, because that’s an experiment that’s been tried. In fact, they’re trying it right now in the UK and, hey presto!, it’s costing jobs not creating them. And the UK’s experience is far from being an outlier in this regard. Cutting government spending to “create” jobs is something that’s never been shown to, you know, work. Ever.
Boehner: [Multi-billion dollar subsidies to oil companies are] certainly something we should be looking at. We're in a time when the federal government's short on revenues. [Oil companies] ought to be paying their fair share.
Obama: Dear Speaker Boehner, Senator Reid, Senator McConnell, and Representative Pelosi: I am writing to urge you to take immediate action to eliminate unwarranted tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, and to use those dollars to invest in clean energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. [...] I was heartened that Speaker Boehner yesterday expressed openness to eliminating these tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry. Our political system has for too long avoided and ignored this important step, and I hope we can come together in a bipartisan manner to get it done.
Boehner through spokesman: Unfortunately, what the President has suggested so far would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump.
The people actually in charge of Our One True Plutocracy seem to be getting antsy:
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has had conversations with top Wall Street executives, asking how close Congress could push to the debt limit deadline without sending interests rates soaring and causing stock prices to go lower, people familiar with the matter said.
The Wall Street executives say even pushing close to the deadline — or talking about it — could have grave consequences in the marketplace.
“[GOP leaders in Congress] don’t seem to understand that you can’t put everything back in the box. Once that fear of default is in the markets, it doesn’t just go away. We’ll be paying the price for years in higher rates,” said one executive.
Nothing some massive tax cuts couldn’t paper over, right?
"Mr. Boehner may face just as much risk as Mr. Obama, if not more. He has promised his more conservative members that he will extract significant concessions from the Democrats before he agrees to an increase in the debt limit. A White House that was willing to play hardball could put him to the test, and perhaps cause a substantial loss of face.
If Mr. Obama is a good poker player, he’ll know not to disregard Mr. Boehner’s earlier rhetoric, which gave away the vulnerability of his hand. And he’ll recognize Mr. Boehner’s more recent and more confident rhetoric for what it is: the oldest “tell” in the poker book, a show of strength betraying the ultimate weakness of his position."
— Nate Silver
Mr. Obama is most decidedly not a good poker player.