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Your prediction on the Debt Crisis
Old 07-14-2011, 07:41 AM   #1
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Your prediction on the Debt Crisis

We are getting down to the wire here so what do you think will happen? I don't want to provoke a lot of rants against one side or the other but I am curious about how people think this will unwind. I will start.

It seems like the GOP has gotten into a terrible bind by taking Grover Norquist too seriously. When the President doubled down with his $4T proposal, they could have taken the money and run and probably negotiated some pretty painless loophole closing concessions but "the Pledge" is an impenetrable obstacle so no deal. The impression is settling in that a failure to raise the limit would actually be catastrophic so I think the GOP will have to blink.

1) Therefore my number one prediction (70%) is that we will see some sort of McConnell approach that gives the President full authority to raise the limit but preserves the right for the GOP to vote against what they just authorized him to do.

On the other hand, there is enough Tea Party skepticism and anger that it may be impossible to work the above deal through the House and we will actually reach an impasse.

2) In that event my number 2 resolution (30%) is that the President will wait until the limit is reached, will pay the interest on bonds to avoid true default and will temporarily start cutting elsewhere while "trying" to get agreement with the GOP. This could include delay paying some SS checks, my pension, military pay, etc (after all we are talking about a 42% cut of expenditures). If that horror show still doesn't push thru the #1 above solution, the President will do a nationwide TV address saying DOJ has carefully looked at options and has concluded that this catastrophic impact on the country is precisely what the 14th Amendment should prevent. The President will then reluctantly invoke it to restore all spending.

Unfortunately we will then get into standard shutdown territory over appropriations and could get another impasse on October 1. The President will be able to continue paying SS and Military during an appropriations impasse but will have to go through the shutdown routine. Unless --- maybe some of the rationale found to support the 14th Amendment resolution to the debt ceiling will be found to govern shutting down Government in the appropriations scenario and the President will pull a new rabbit out of the Executive Privilege hat. He will simply invoke a continuing resolution approach pending action by the Congress and wait for the Supreme Court to tell him no - provided Congress can pass a resolution to go there.

Net affect in either scenario, lots of turmoil in the markets but everything works out; our portfolios bounce back and we all survive.
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:00 AM   #2
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What I think will resolve the impasse is for those GOP House members who took that awful Grover Norquist pledge to end up getting deluged with phone calls from angry constituents when their government checks arrive late or not at all. When they, especially those in marginal ("swing") districts, are told daily by hundreds of those angry constituents, "I voted for you but not for THIS! I will never vote for a Republican again!" over and over, this pressure will overcome the pressure from the keeping the awful Norquist pledge and shatter the GOP's antitax cohesion and they will cave to a more balanced approach to fix this.

But the price to be paid for this eventual resolution will be paid by everyone to some degree, even if our portfolios bounce back.
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:08 AM   #3
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I think the spineless parasites from both parties will raise the debt limit and then pat themselves on the back like it was a great victory for America. Politics as usual. Pathetic.
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:11 AM   #4
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getting deluged with phone calls from angry constituents when their government checks arrive late or not at all.
If that happens, it will be a directive from Obama. The money is there to pay current "entitlements" month to month. It's a condition that the president is operating in "fear tactics" (something from his day's in Chi-town?)

Failure to pay current benfits will fall on him; he's making the decision, and has selected the part of society that is most succeptable to these types of "manufactured fear" (the same thing that was done during the partial 1995-96 shutdown, when the Republicans made the same statement, concerning SS).

Current tax revenue (monthly) is more than enough to cover "entitlements" - the largest part of federal expenses. The argument is how to fund the remainder, and what should be cut in order to get the budget under control. That's a completely different question.

The R/D's have a challange to be sure (and both are at fault in their current dealings), but it dosen't help when a "3rd party" (e.g. Executive Branch - but the head of the Democratic Party) starts to shake the trees with short term "scare tactics", IMHO.
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:00 AM   #5
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From the very little I saw about the Big Deal, it was a lot of promisses to cut in the future, but nothing now and nothing in stone.... kind of like the cut that was promissed in medicare with the health care plan... you would have to vote them in in the future... but, the tax increases would be in stone, no new vote required to get there....


The 'cuts' that were made in December has been shown to not be real... it was mostly money that never would have been spent anyhow... to get where we need to be we need real cuts that saves dollars going out the door...

I am not sure that we will even see the $2 trillion they are talking about... from the reports, a lot of that is smoke and mirrors....
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:02 AM   #6
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I don't know what will happen. But looking at the stock markets (which aggregate opinions from around the world), I don't see a lot of catastrophe priced in. The VIX index (a measure of volatility) has gone up some in July, but still at fairly tame levels. I think a lot of political posturing is going on right now, and that some reasonable outcome will occur somehow. I hesitate to speculate about the details, because they aren't that important to me.
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rescueme View Post
If that happens, it will be a directive from Obama. The money is there to pay current "entitlements" month to month. It's a condition that the president is operating in "fear tactics" (something from his day's in Chi-town?)

Failure to pay current benfits will fall on him; he's making the decision, and has selected the part of society that is most succeptable to these types of "manufactured fear" (the same thing that was done during the partial 1995-96 shutdown, when the Republicans made the same statement, concerning SS).

Current tax revenue (monthly) is more than enough to cover "entitlements" - the largest part of federal expenses. The argument is how to fund the remainder, and what should be cut in order to get the budget under control. That's a completely different question.

The R/D's have a challange to be sure (and both are at fault in their current dealings), but it dosen't help when a "3rd party" (e.g. Executive Branch - but the head of the Democratic Party) starts to shake the trees with short term "scare tactics", IMHO.

My boss has suggested that Congress pass a bill stating the order of priority of payments.... IOW, you pass a law saying you pay interest first, then the military, then SS, then medicare, then whatever is next.... the Dept of Education, Commerce and a few others can be low on the list... you pay down the list and when you run out of money, the items below that point are not funded... this takes it out of the Presidents hands of not paying SS....
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rescueme View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrabbler1 View Post
... getting deluged with phone calls from angry constituents when their government checks arrive late or not at all.
If that happens, it will be a directive from Obama. ...

Failure to pay current benfits will fall on him; he's making the decision, and has selected the part of society that is most succeptable to these types of "manufactured fear" ... but it dosen't help when a "3rd party" (e.g. Executive Branch - but the head of the Democratic Party) starts to shake the trees with short term "scare tactics", IMHO.
Agreed. And it is especially troublesome when the Executive Branch, earlier this year, said that it was imperative that these scare tactics be avoided:

Kevin McCarthy || Majority Whip || Blog || Now Vs. Then: President Obama Engages (Again) In Scare Tactics That He Once Derided

Quote:
NOW: President Obama Claimed That Republican Budget Cuts Would Target “Someone’s Grandparents,” “Poor Children,” “Children With Autism Or Down’s Syndrome,” And “Kids With Disabilities.” OBAMA: “This is a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit. And who are those 50 million Americans? Many are someone’s grandparents who wouldn’t be able afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome. Some are kids with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks At George Washington University, Washington, D.C., 4/13/11)

THEN: In January 2010, President Obama Claimed That Long-Term Deficit Reforms Would Not Be Possible If One Party Claims The Other Is “Being Irresponsible” Or “Trying To Hurt Senior Citizens.” OBAMA: “I raise that because we're not going to be able to do anything about any of these entitlements if what we do is characterize whatever proposals are put out there as, ‘Well, you know, that's -- the other party's being irresponsible. The other party is trying to hurt our senior citizens. That the other party is doing X, Y, Z.’” (President Barack Obama, Remarks At House Republican Retreat, Baltimore, MD, 1/29/10)


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From the very little I saw about the Big Deal, it was a lot of promisses to cut in the future, but nothing now and nothing in stone.... kind of like the cut that was promissed in medicare with the health care plan... you would have to vote them in in the future... but, the tax increases would be in stone, no new vote required to get there....

....

I am not sure that we will even see the $2 trillion they are talking about... from the reports, a lot of that is smoke and mirrors....

This is the concern that I'm hearing about too. I don't how substantive it is, I'll try to research that more, but the concern is that if they trade tax increases for spending cuts, the spending cuts will turn out to be those 'smoke & mirror' cuts. Like all those "shovel ready" jobs?

-ERD50
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:11 AM   #9
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Anybody think that maybe this whole debt crisis is a good thing? I mean, in the past, we have just increased the debt limit without a single thought and joe public was ignorant. Now at least it has been brought to the front of debate, so even if it is increased as before, there will at least be some attempt to fix things for the future.

Or maybe Bieber breaks up with his girlfriend and in the shock joe public will forget there ever was a debt crisis. I rate this as highly likely.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:24 AM   #10
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The business community -who has much to lose in case of a default or quasi-default by the US government- is putting pressure on Capitol Hill to resolve this issue ASAP. I think they will get their way. Since a bipartisan agreement seems out of reach, I think the can will be kicked in extremis down the road until after the next election cycle using either the McConnell proposal or the 14th amendment provision.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:33 AM   #11
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If that happens, it will be a directive from Obama. The money is there to pay current "entitlements" month to month. It's a condition that the president is operating in "fear tactics" (something from his day's in Chi-town?)...
Current tax revenue (monthly) is more than enough to cover "entitlements" - the largest part of federal expenses. The argument is how to fund the remainder, and what should be cut in order to get the budget under control. That's a completely different question.

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My boss has suggested that Congress pass a bill stating the order of priority of payments.... IOW, you pass a law saying you pay interest first, then the military, then SS, then medicare, then whatever is next.... the Dept of Education, Commerce and a few others can be low on the list... you pay down the list and when you run out of money, the items below that point are not funded... this takes it out of the Presidents hands of not paying SS....
I watched a detailed piece on this on NPR. The money is simply not there. During the month of August incoming revenues are 42% short of obligations. Sure, you could pay entitlements, but then you would have to default on the debt precipitating a world wide economic crisis. Or you can pay the debt and precipitate a different crisis - failure to pay everything else. How in the world are you going to trim back 42%? The reason everyone concedes that we have no choice but to raise the debt ceiling is that we have no choice. The idea that the money is there is magical thinking.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:47 AM   #12
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My prediction:

When all is said and done, much more will have been said than done. All the problems we had before we will still have. Some people will be smugly satisfied, for no reason.

The only winners will be the cable news shows.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:04 AM   #13
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I watched a detailed piece on this on NPR. The money is simply not there. During the month of August incoming revenues are 42% short of obligations. ... How in the world are you going to trim back 42%? The reason everyone concedes that we have no choice but to raise the debt ceiling is that we have no choice. The idea that the money is there is magical thinking.
But why would the President single out Social Security recipients when he says he can't guarantee they will get their checks? If you are going to hold up SS checks, wouldn't you hold up every Federal paycheck also?

Your numbers point out the bigger picture problem - how can we continue to spend 1.6x what we take in? I don't think we can raise revenues by that amount w/o adding to the damper on the economy (I do think we can do some selective adds), so there's got to be significant cuts.

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Old 07-14-2011, 11:43 AM   #14
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But why would the President single out Social Security recipients when he says he can't guarantee they will get their checks? If you are going to hold up SS checks, wouldn't you hold up every Federal paycheck also?

Your numbers point out the bigger picture problem - how can we continue to spend 1.6x what we take in? I don't think we can raise revenues by that amount w/o adding to the damper on the economy (I do think we can do some selective adds), so there's got to be significant cuts.

-ERD50


+1

To add... the politicians are just talking about a small percent...

a quick look says we have a $3.8 trillion budget this year (It is from Wiki, so could be wrong)... the cuts they are talking about is $2 trillion over 10 years with almost nothing out this year or next... that means if you average the cuts it is $200 billion a year / $3.8 trillion or 5%... not even close to the 40% we need..
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:59 AM   #15
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We are getting down to the wire here so what do you think will happen?
Net affect in either scenario, lots of turmoil in the markets but everything works out; our portfolios bounce back and we all survive.
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I think the spineless parasites from both parties will raise the debt limit and then pat themselves on the back like it was a great victory for America.
I can't predict the details, but I can predict "brinkmanship" followed by a return to "status quo ante".

(I can, however, appreciate the irony of Wall Street shaking a finger at Congress and admonishing "Now cut this crap out! Stop screwing around with our financial future!!" Karmic paybacklash in less than three years.)

Then we'll spend the next 15 months getting beaten senseless by candidates who will fix this once and for all, and this time we really mean it.

Like all large, slow-moving crises of doom, I suspect that we'll work out way out of this one in 5-10 years and maybe even pay down the debt a little.
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:38 PM   #16
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But why would the President single out Social Security recipients when he says he can't guarantee they will get their checks? If you are going to hold up SS checks, wouldn't you hold up every Federal paycheck also?

Your numbers point out the bigger picture problem - how can we continue to spend 1.6x what we take in? I don't think we can raise revenues by that amount w/o adding to the damper on the economy (I do think we can do some selective adds), so there's got to be significant cuts.

-ERD50
He probably wouldn't. It is more likely that he would pay social security checks and interest and would not pay Fed salaries, military salaries, and just about everything else. Or that he would cut back 40% across the board (except on treasuries). The point is simply that the costs are real and I suspect the President will let the crisis unfold for a few days to demonstrate what Congress' failure to raise the ceiling implies before he pulls a constitutional remedy out.

As to my numbers, things are not that dire. Our current situation clouds the picture because of huge stimulus spending. The big deal that was on the table - if pursued - could have led to a long term fix. We were there ten years ago, we can do it again. But it takes common sense and there is not much of that in evidence on the Hill.
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:06 PM   #17
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I think the spineless parasites from both parties will raise the debt limit and then pat themselves on the back like it was a great victory for America. Politics as usual. Pathetic.
OK. So our Congress 'grows a spine' and doesn't raise the debt limit. What next?

A study by the Bipartisan Policy Center (PDF) shows August 2nd as the 'out of cash' point, just like Treasury reports. Cash flows for August 3-31 are as follows:

Inflow: 172,400 million dollars
Outflow: 306,713 million dollars
Deficit: 134,312 million dollars

I would point out that the very same Congress that you want to immediately stop borrowing also is the one that authorized the spending (Outflow) and the taxation and fees (Inflow) that fail to match up.

Congress has chosen to incur these bills with years of spending increases and tax cuts that are now law, and now they want to force the Treasury Secretary to choose and prioritize which federal contractors and programs should be paid from current revenues, and which get IOUs to hopefully be paid later when Congress comes to it's senses.

Congress has made these decisions to borrow as part of their responsibility[1] for the federal budget. Pretending that when their borrowing reaches Congress's own self-imposed debt limit it is Someone Else's Problem is absurd.


If you choose to pay...
ProgramCost
Interest on Treasury Securities$29.0 b
Social Security Benefits$49.2 b
Medicare / Medicaid$50.0 b
Defense Vendor Payments$31.7 b
Unemployment Insurance Benefits$12.8 b
For a total of $172.7 billion

Then you can’t fund these programs, worth $134 b.
ProgramCost
Military Active Duty Pay$2.9 b
Veterans Affairs Programs$2.9 b
Federal Salaries + Benefits$14.2 b
Dep. of Education (e.g., Pell grants, special ed. programs)$20.2 b
Food/Nutrition Services + TANF$9.3 b
Dep. of Labor (e.g., training and employment services)$1.3 b
Dep. of Justice (e.g., FBI, federal courts)$1.4 b
Dep. of Energy (e.g., energy research, national nuclear programs)$3.5 b
Health and Human Services Grants$8.1 b
Federal Highway Administration$4.3 b
Environmental Protection Agency$0.9 b
IRS Refunds$3.9 b
Small Business Administration$0.3 b
Federal Transit Administration$1.3 b
HUD Programs (e.g., housing assistance for the poor)$6.7 b
Other Spending$52.8 b
If you choose to pay...
ProgramCost
Interest on Treasury Securities$29.0 b
Social Security Benefits$49.2 b
Medicare / Medicaid$50.0 b
Food/Nutrition Services + TANF$9.3 b 
HUD Programs (e.g. housing assist. for the poor)$6.7 b
Veterans Affairs Programs$2.9 b
Unemployment Insurance Benefits$12.8 b
Special Education Grants$3.6 b
For a total of $173.9 billion

Then you can’t fund these programs, worth $132.8 b...
ProgramCost
Military Active Duty Pay$2.9 b
Defense Vendor Payments$31.7 b
Federal Salaries + Benefits$14.2 b
Dep. of Education (e.g., Pell grants, special ed. programs)$6.2 b
Dep. of Labor (e.g., training and employment services)$1.3 b
Dep. of Justice (e.g., FBI, federal courts)$1.4 b
Dep. of Energy (e.g., energy research, national nuclear programs)$3.5 b
Health and Human Services Grants$8.1 b
Federal Highway Administration$4.3 b
Environmental Protection Agency$0.9 b
IRS Refunds$3.9 b
Dep. of Interior$1.2 b
Federal Transit Administration$1.3 b
Centers for Disease Control$0.5 b
Other Spending$51.4 b
The federal government has an estimated $306.7 billion in payment obligations for August 2011 after the 2nd of the month. The U.S. will take in $172.4 billion in revenue from August 3 to 31, 2011. Check out the following tools to make the difficult choices that would prioritize programs and balance the books:


1. US Constitution, Article 1, Section 7, Clause 1
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:33 PM   #18
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So if the debt ceiling doesn't get raised, who gets to decide what gets funded and what doesn't?

I'm assuming that it should be Congress, since they are the ultimate spending authority, but much of what I've heard is suggesting it would be the Executive branch.

I would expect that whoever has that power would be tempted to use it in pretty partisan ways.

"I think we'll fund the SS checks for everyone in districts controlled by my party"

It would be pretty easy to balance the budget that way
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:28 PM   #19
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I would expect that whoever has that power would be tempted to use it in pretty partisan ways.

"I think we'll fund the SS checks for everyone in districts controlled by my party"

It would be pretty easy to balance the budget that way
It'll definitely be a partisan payout scheme but it won't be that specific.

Obama's already hinted no deal, no SS checks. He'll use that decision to lay the blame at the feet of the Republicans.

Both parties are playing with fire. One party has history on its side re:who gets the blame.
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:29 PM   #20
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But why would the President single out Social Security recipients when he says he can't guarantee they will get their checks? If you are going to hold up SS checks, wouldn't you hold up every Federal paycheck also?
-ERD50
Because seniors are more likely to get riled and then phone their representatives?
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I can't predict the details, but I can predict "brinkmanship" followed by a return to "status quo ante".
That makes for a potential rebalancing opportunity.
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Then we'll spend the next 15 months getting beaten senseless by candidates who will fix this once and for all, and this time we really mean it.
Well, if it wasn’t this they would beat us senseless with something else. If it does send the markets down a bit, it might be worth it.
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Like all large, slow-moving crises of doom, I suspect that we'll work out way out of this one in 5-10 years and maybe even pay down the debt a little.
Or it will fade away and, like a phoenix, a new crisis will arise from its ashes.
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