Not raising the debt ceiling will cause a massive recession and put the economy farther down the toilet than it has been since the 1930s. Current Republican leaders know and acknowledge this. If they vote to default, it is nothing short of treason, in my mind, and anti-American. It will immediately jack interest rates on everything, including mortgages and small business loans, by 3 to 5 percent. They cannot reduce the deficit by freezing the debt ceiling. They can only destroy both the U.S. and global economies by defaulting on what we owe the rest of the planet.
Some uncomfortable facts:
- The debt ceiling was raised seven times and nearly doubled under George W. Bush, from $6.4 trillion 2002 to $11.32 trillion in 2008. Nobody was squawking; that started after Bush left Washington for good.
- Paul Ryan's mean-spirited and fiscally ignorant budget (not "bold" or "courageous" in any way), by further cutting taxes on the richest citizens and corporations and thereby further reducing federal revenue, ensures that the debt limit will have to be raised over the next decade to the tune of an estimated $6 trillion or more, from its current level of $14.29 trillion to well over $20 trillion.
- Ryan's household goddess, Ayn Rand, modeled the character of Republican Party icon Howard Roark on serial murderer William Edward Hickman (more here; be prepared, it's nasty). Of this deadly sociopath, Rand wrote: "Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should." He had, she noted, "no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel 'other people.'"
So, let me see if I can sort this out. Paul Ryan is proposing to add $6 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, the bulk of which is in the form of continued and increased wealth-fare tax cuts. At the same time, and in the same piece of legislation, he suggests a reduction in federal spending by destroying Medicare, Medicaid, and eventually (maybe not in this bill, but don't ever doubt it's coming) Social Security. And do you think your taxes are going down? Not a chance. Somebody has to fund all of Ryan's "premium support" payments to his handlers, the private sector health insurers and Wall Street thieves. Unlike vouchers, which would be given to Medicare recipients who would then shop insurers, premium support goes directly to the insurer. No muss, no fuss, and no accountability. Either way, senior citizens are going to be smacked with the majority of their medical bills, as high as 68% by some estimates. With those who can best afford tax increases refusing to shoulder their part of the load, the rest of us are going to be hit very, very hard if Ryan and the rest of the Republican goon squad get their way.
Udate: Okay, this is in practice a voucher program. Legitimate "premium support" payments would rise with the over-all cost of the premiums, so that the cost to the subscriber should remain level. Not so with the Ryan plan.
Henry Aaron of the Brokings Institute:
If one does the arithmetic, income grows a few percentage points faster than prices. Health-care spending grows faster than income by a couple of percentage points. So we’re looking at linking to an index that grows less rapidly than health-care costs by three to four percentage points a year. Piled up over 10 years, and that’s a huge erosion of coverage. It’s vouchers, not premium support.
Damaging or destroying the lives of millions of American families? That's not a problem for Paul Ryan. Just remember where he gets his inspiration: "Other people do not exist for him . . ."
Comfort is the enemy of growth