Wednesday, January 23, 2013

these are a few of my favorite strings

after spending the past month threatening to destroy the u.s. economy unless the president agreed to draconian spending cuts that the u.s. public rejected in the last election, the house of representatives caved and voted today to allow an increase on the debt ceiling. of course there are strings, those guys love strings! and what awesome strings they are!

first, they pretended they weren't lifting the debt ceiling by temporarily abolishing any limits on the government's ability to borrow until may 19th, at which time they the debt ceiling would automatically lift to cover whatever was borrowed during that four month period. the delayed "automatic lift" isn't really automatic, it is authorized like any debt ceiling increase by the bill they voted on today. for some reason they think that a bill to raise the debt ceiling effective four months from now does not count as a bill to raise the debt ceiling. also, as an added bonus, they have effectively given the treasury carte blanche to borrow as much as they want in the meantime. i thought the whole reason house republicans created this debt ceiling crisis was because of their deeply held belief that the government should not be permitted to borrow without limit. so now they've removed all limits on the federal government's ability to borrow, and ironically they did it to avoid seeming like a bunch of hypocrites.

second, the debt bill includes a rule that members of congress won't get paid if they don't pass a budget after april 15th. never mind that if congress doesn't pass a budget and funds the government with a temporary spending authorization (which is how the government has run for the last four years) all they would have to do is slip a line in the spending authorization bill ending the pay suspension. but on top of that, it seems rather clear that the pay freeze is unconstitutional. how clear? so clear that house republicans know it is, but they decided to do it anyway. hey, it's about their paycheck. they're probably betting that a court will block the freeze from going into effect.