A Sane Republican

If you’ve been wandering around with a lantern searching for a sane Republican, former NH Sen. Judd Gregg has an op-ed giving his party hell over at The Hill:

“Most Americans these days are simply ignoring Republicans. And they should.

“The self-promotional babble of a few has become the mainstream of Republican political thought. It has marginalized the influence of the party to an appalling degree.

“An approach to the debt ceiling that says one will not vote for its extension unless ObamaCare is defunded is the political equivalent of playing Russian roulette with all the chambers of the gun loaded. It is the ultimate no-win strategy.

“You cannot in politics take a hostage you cannot shoot. That is what the debt ceiling is. At some point, the debt ceiling will have to be increased not because it is a good idea but because it is the only idea.

“Defaulting on the nation’s obligations, which is the alternative to not increasing the debt ceiling, is not an option either substantively or politically.

“A default would lead to some level of chaos in the debt markets, which would lead to a significant contraction in economic activity, which would lead to job losses, which would lead to higher spending by the federal government and lower tax revenues, which would lead to more debt.”

In other words, Ted Cruz is a flaming asshole.

Quote of the Day

“A critical chunk of House Republicans insist that they will only vote for a bill to keep government going if said legislation also defunds Obamacare.  You may have noticed that House Republicans have a stupendously high opinion of health care reform.  Most Democrats think it will be a very good thing over the long run, but probably a pain to implement, with lots of complaining from all sides.  Republicans, on the other hand, think that the instant it goes into effect, voters will be so ecstatic they will toss out any public official who threatens to take it away from them.  Yet, simultaneously, the world as we know it it will come to an end.  Go figure.”

Gail Collins, “Back To Boehner,” NYT

Government Shutdown Averted

The House today passed, 318-109, the continuing resolution that the Senate passed yesterday to keep the government funded for the rest of FY 2013, through September 30.  The sequester stays, but some money gets moved around, especially at the Defense Department.

The House also passed, 221-207, the Ryan budget that balances the federal budget in ten years, with both drastic spending cuts and tax cuts for the rich.  That was a symbolic vote, since that budget has no chance of passing the Senate.

Avoiding Government Shutdown

On a 73-26 vote, the Senate passed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through the rest of FY 2013, which ends September 30.

They moved money around within the Defense Department to avoid sequester-related problems, and made a number of other similar fixes, such as making sure we will have meat inspections and that the State Department can provide non-lethal aid to Syrians.


Geithner — I’m Outta Here

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner plans to leave by the end of this month.  He’ll be gone before the sh*t hits the fan on the debt ceiling, the sequester, and the continuing resolution for the budget.  Fun times!

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, poor thing, is expected to succeed him.  Unless he goes on Sunday talk shows and says anything about Benghazi.

Not Budging from the Bottom of the Cliff

If we needed any further proof that markets are irrational, we see it today in the stock market’s rise of 308 points.  Yes, the deal reached on the fiscal cliff was better than nothing, but only slightly.  It postponed much more than it solved.

The markets can climb if they want to, but as for me, I’m going to sit here at the bottom of the cliff.  I see no point in trekking back up only to tumble again in a couple of months.

Once Tim Geithner can no longer find spare change in Treasury’s couch cushions, we’ll hit the debt ceiling in a couple of months.  I laughed last night when the President said he won’t negotiate on that.   He’s going to hold his breath till the world’s economy turns blue?

The sequester that got “delayed” in this deal for 60 days will come up again at the same time as the debt ceiling.

Finally, the latest “continuing resolution” we limp along with in lieu of a real budget expires at the end of March.  So another fight.

I expect the Tea Party will make the coming battles over the debt ceiling, sequester, and budget make the one we just concluded look like, well, like a tea party.