25
Jul
11

Brinkmanship and the debt ceiling

A couple links for you, starting with Kenneth Anderson:

Most enlightening, I think, is this observation:

Another way to put this, I suppose, is that Democrats are arguing about liquidity; Republicans about solvency.  […]  The assumption has been that Republicans holding tough on the debt ceiling is signaling behavior about their seriousness in addressing the solvency question.  If that’s so, then dropping the debt ceiling issue is interpreted as surrender.

(My link, not his.)

Reading this gave me one of those “aha!” moments.  I’ve spent the past few weeks entirely unable to comprehend how a purportedly market-respecting and fiscally-conservative party could be so cavalierly willing to bring on a cataclysmic shitstorm that’s been terrifying the markets for just as long.  It didn’t occur to me that they might be so focused on long-term solvency issues that they’d completely ignore the short term liquidity crisis.

Next, Megan McArdle has a moment of pessimistic dread:

[B]oth sides have given up making a deal, and are now just working on fixing the blame.  Boehner’s performance was uncharacteristically forceful, and even displayed a few flashes of personality, which was a nice change from his usual studied blandness.  But personal entertainment aside, this is not the moment when I really wanted to see John Boehner spontaneously generate a backbone.  He wasn’t trying to explain his position to a curious public; he was trying to justify the unjustifiable decision to risk the US credit rating rather than agree to a deal that Democrats could also live with.

Obama, meanwhile, seemed to be going out of his way to isolate Boehner from his more militant caucus members–praising Boehner’s willingness to cut a deal, if only it weren’t for the crazies on the far right.  Perhaps this makes Obama look like a nice guy to people who do’t understand the GOP intra-party dynamics, but of course, it poisons an already poisonous relationship between Boehner and the tea-partiers.  If I were feeling uncharitable, I might argue that Obama seems to be willing to lower the chances of getting a deal, as long as he raises the chances that the other guys get the blame.  And frankly, I’m not feeling very charitable right now.

So… fuck.

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anarchocapitalist agitprop

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