StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

Ryan-Republican Plan Requires Debt Ceiling To Be Raised By $6 Trillion

21 Apr 2011
Posted by Stan Collender

Over at The Washington Post, Matt Miller has a wonderful column that says what needs to be said about the current budget debate as directly and angrily as it can be stated: "“The House Republican budget adds $6 trillion to the debt in the next decade yet the GOP is balking at raising the debt limit."

There's more:

The supposedly “courageous,” “visionary” Paul Ryan plan — which already contains everything Republicans can think of in terms of these spending cuts — would add more debt than we’ve ever seen over a 10-year period in American history.


The classic definition of chutzpah was a kid who kills his parents and then asks for the mercy of the court because he’s an orphan. The new definition of chutzpah is Republicans who vote for the Ryan plan that adds trillions in debt and who then say the debt limit goes up only over their dead bodies!

Several things.

First, I've known Matt for a long time and, honestly, I've never read anything he's written that expresses so much exasperation and frustration as this piece.

Second, before anyone goes hyperpartisan on me or him, Matt does say "The Democrats’ plans are no better on the debt."

Third, the point isn't that Democratic plans don't also add to the debt; they obviously do.  The point, however, is that, as Matt states, " least Democrats aren’t rattling markets by hypocritically holding the debt limit hostage while planning to add trillions in fresh debt themselves."

Matt suggests that Barack Obama should use as his mantra as he tours the country "...that we should lift the debt limit only by as much debt as is needed to accommodate Paul Ryan’s budget."  Along the same lines, I don't understand why House Democrats didn't offer an amendment during the debate on the budget resolution last week that would have raised the debt ceiling by enough to accommodate the additional borrowing in the Ryan plan.  That would have forced every Republican to vote on it rather than allowing them to avoid the issue.


No reason not to - this

No reason not to - this artificial limit has been a drama theatre rather than anything of significance (just like government shut-down is hardly one of what one would normally expect from the literal reading). There is simply no way to slash the 1.5 tril deficit from get-go in year 1, even if the most extreme cuts were passed, so raising the debt ceiling is a necessity anyway if any sort of consolidation were to take place. Also raising it by so much means allowance of several years without this useless drama battle. Whether you are pro-saving/cut expenditure or not, it's pretty much unavoidable as a logistical management problem.

Fiscal sensitivity comes not only from a debt ceiling, as most good corporate treasurers would tell you. Until a budget plan that contains a ~ 40-50% cut on defence expenditure comes into light and passed, anything else is fruit cake.

If US were to nationalise healthcare the european way, looking at cost averages, it would mean a saving of at least 5% of GDP annually! How's that for a radical saving plan (US spends about 20-25% GDP on health care at the moment as a whole)?

Maybe I missed it, but where

Maybe I missed it, but where in the plan does it call for 6 trillion?

look at the section of the

look at the section of the budget resolution that lists debt under the resolution (which is the Ryan plan) --it's higher than the current debt level

The both sides do it trope

Second, before anyone goes hyperpartisan on me or him, Matt does say "The Democrats’ plans are no better on the debt."

Why does every piece of American journalism have to have a blatant bit of false equivalence in it these days? Both of the Democratic plans offered as substitutes for the Ryan plan are much more fiscally conservative (in the original sense of the phrase, not the I-hate-all-social-programs sense) than the Ryan plan, which is garbage because it is based on ridiculous number. In fact, he admits one of the Democratic plans is better than the Ryan plan. Here's the full quote:

"Yes, I know: The Democrats’ plans are no better on the debt (though it must be noted that the Congressional Progressive Caucus plan wins the fiscal responsibility derby thus far; it reaches balance by 2021 largely through assorted tax hikes and defense cuts)."

Of course, he doesn't even get that right. The CPC's budget starts bringing the debt as a percentage of GDP down starting in 2013. The Federal Government's budget doesn't need to be in balance in order for debt as a percentage of GDP to decline. So even though CPC's budget isn't balanced until 2021, the more important goal is achieved in just a few years.

There is absolutely no equivalence between what the Republicans have offered and what the Democrats have offered.

What PeakVT said

You know, Stan, a person who is partially sane and partially honest still cannot be trusted at all. Both you and Matt Miller need to decide whether or not you're going to bag the false-equivalence schtick and come out for 100% truth and sanity.
Because otherwise, there is no reason for honest, sane people to listen to a word you say.


Stan -

You've done it again. Catching up post vacation, I read the post from Bruce about the stupidity of the Tea Party, and then from Andrew re how Obama has backed down on Medicare Advantage cuts (... and I'm thinking why bother to do anything intelligent, when it's so politicized and I think we're already in 2012 mode - and to be honest, I'm not sure if that's more about raising money [business interests who it appears to me to own the government], or senior votes [they vote - big surprise guys, a lot of other people - GASP - vote too - and at least some seniors have - what are those called again (Oops, dementia, Alzheimers, whatever I forgot) adult "children" (who cares about them) - but wait - grandchildren (!!) and even great granchildren (!!) who are already living in a Banana Republic, it will just get obvious sooner [probably before we get out of Iraq at this rate.....]

So, THANKS for the Laughter, but I have a good sense that the right is far better funded, deafening, and frankly, Obama screwed up with PPACA, big time.

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