Debt ceiling deal

First, congratulations to both Kevin McCarthy and Joe Biden on the debt ceiling deal. The Senate and House need to pass this deal whether they like it or not. There just is no time left.

The most important part of the deal is it will last for 2 years. Dana Obeidallah from CNN writes that for Democrats who don’t like the deal, some things could be reversed if they win back the House in 2024, and still have a Democratic president.

Even better would be win back the House in 2024 and get rid of the debt ceiling.

Stay tuned,


Debt deal: Politics at its worse

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and President Biden have had a number of meetings this week to finalize a debt deal. As I have said many times, the debt ceiling should be approved without any conditions. It is not authorization to spend money, but to borrow enough money to pay the bills.

Treasury Secretary Yellen has stated that the debt ceiling must be raised on June 5 to avoid sovereign default. The consequences of default are extremely serious in terms of employment and the chance of recession. See link below:

Link Debt Breach

The deal in progress is to lift the debt ceiling sufficiently to cover the next two years. So, June 2025 would be the next time the US would once again be in this game of brinkmanship.

The major sticking point seems to be tougher work requirements for Federal aid program including food stamps and Medicaid. I can understand why the Medicaid work requirements are particularly contentious, as the states would be enforcing denial of medical payments to low income families. And, you can be sure if you live in a strong Republican state, officials would be blaming it on Washington, namely President Biden, for loss of medical benefits.

The future spin of Republicans in the 2024 election, is that the idiots in Washington (Democrats) spent all the money on the Ukraine war, so there is nothing left to pay for food and health needs for the poor in the US. And nobody has a job because Biden let everyone in over the border. Powerpoint bullet: Too much is spent outside the US and too little inside.

The reality is that it is the Republicans who are circumventing the democratic process and pushing through their own agenda on the threat of driving the US into default.

Link: Tougher work requirements for federal aid programs pose obstacle in debt limit talks

The only other country with a debt ceiling is Denmark, which is set so high, that it never becomes an issue.

Link: Denmark’s Debt Ceiling

Economist Paul Kruger explained in a recent New York Times column that government debt is not comparable to personal debt. Personal loans can really be destroy lives when individuals no longer have the ability to repay them. This can often happen later in life. Governments don’t have a lifetime, and as long as there is confidence from the financial community (particularly credit rating agencies), that the reserves and revenue stream are sufficient to service the debt, then our credit is fine.

McCarthy is actually fighting two battles, one with Biden and Democrats, and the second one with his own party. Within the Republican party, there are a known set of obstructionists, who will be quick to point out the insufficiencies in the deal. They will likely minimize the risk of default, a horrible mistake.

There is a third group, which I will call the sideliners, and this includes the Freedom Caucus and Donald Trump, who will almost certainly attack the deal as insufficient. Anyone who attacks the deal as being weak, will be headline news on Fox News.

Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was on a cable station, echoing Yellen’s warning that default would be catastrophic. Further, he suggested that if work requirements for federal aid programs can’t be resolved by June 5, just take them off the table for now, and leave them to future discussions.

This is the democracies should be working and it takes a lot of work to resolve issues. Maybe Medicaid is in need of reform. In that case, Republicans should work to explain what they want from their constituents, gain more representatives in the Senate, and win a majority in both houses, to pass for Medicaid reform.

The Democratic process makes a whole lot more sense than to hold the US economy hostage until Republicans get what they want.

Stay tuned,


Feedback Time

This will be the last year of this blog site. In the remaining months, I will look for stories which receive less attention by the media. I’ve got a few topics already begun.

If there is a particular issue of interest, I would like to know. I can’t guarantee that I will be able to prepare a blog on each topic.

There are also the like button, to tell me it is a topic of interest.

Stay tuned,


Debt Ceiling

Scary stuff from the US Treasury on May 22:

“With an additional week of information now available, I am writing to note that we estimate that it is highly likely that Treasury will no longer be able to satisfy all of the government’s obligations if Congress has not acted to raise or suspend the debt limit by early June, and potentially as early as June 1,” Yellen wrote Monday [May 22].”

Under these conditions, Kevin McCarthy would in a more rational world just buy time, by passing a bill that would suspend the debt ceiling for a couple of months. Why isn’t he doing it? To pass a suspension, would require the vote of a small group of Republicans who think all this brinkmanship can work to their advantage. They want their pound of flesh from Biden. It is a political power game. And this time, it just might go too far.

Yes. Default is a self-inflicted wound. The equivalent of crashing a plane to draw attention to flight safety.

I know the country would be just fine without a debt ceiling. Congress already has the authority to raise or lower taxes and approve spending. Yes, if Congress does not approve a budget, we go in shut down mode, where government services must be cut. This is very different. The US can not default on its debt as the world depends on the dollar.

The minting of a trillion dollar coin, issuing premium bonds and invoking the 14th amendment, have all been suggested, and described by others as gimmicks, which would result in a massive loss of confidence in the credit of the US.

I don’t know how the next 1-3 weeks will play out.

Stay tuned,


E. Jean Carroll Lawsuit

Donald Trump has been found guilty of sexual abuse and defamation in a civil proceedings in New York City. It is a civil case, so he must pay for the harm he has caused by his actions. The assault is claimed to occurred in 1996, approximately 27 years ago.

He can not be charged with the crime of sexual assault or rape, because of the statute of limitations. A criminal case would have a higher burden of proof. It also has a number of protections for the accused.

Trump’s lawyers are certain to provide numerous reasons why he received an unfair trial in their appeal. Likely they will be explaining these reasons on cable news. One of them is the Adult Survivors Act. The ASA creates a one-year lookback window for sexual assault survivors to pursue civil claims in court for abuse that may have occurred years earlier, as long as they were over 18 at the time. Previously, a person who experienced sexual abuse only had a few years to file a lawsuit in New York before their claim would be time-barred.

Link: Adult Survivors Act

The window is from November 22, 2022 to November 23, 2023. So from now until Nov 23, victims have the right to file civil complaints for claims that may go back 50 years ago or more. They had to be 18 years old at the time. It will be argued in the appeal, that the law did not have sufficient safeguards for the accused.

Statute of limitations help protect people of being accused of a crime that occurred so far in the past, that it would be unreasonable to expect the accused from being able to recall what happened on a particular day and find rebuttal witnesses. But, it can deny victims their day in court. It is especially important in cases where DNA and other evidence has been collected.

I intend to follow this case from a legal perspective. * The appellate court will not determine if Trump received a fair trial, as this is a very open question. What they will rule on is, whether his appeal is valid, based on court records, judge’s decisions, the rules of evidence and his constitutional rights, which are intended to provide the accused with reasonable protections in a civil case. It may be a very long time until this is resolved.

Stay tuned,


Note: I am not a lawyer. I don’t know if the filings are posted on the internet. Certainly, Trump’s lawyers will come up with a dozen reasons why the case should be overturned. As this is being played out, they will attempt to settle the case with Carroll privately.

White House Correspondent’s dinner

It begins with some well deserved high praise for journalists and photographers who are on location in the most dangerous places in the world to report the news. Some have been in imprisoned and others have died. The First Amendment of our Constitution, guarantees the freedom of speech, and while there are some exceptions, like defamation, the right to criticize officials of our government is absolute.

Now, the last 30 minutes or so are the “goodies” where we find out how well President Biden can be funny. Let me make this clear, both Presidents Bush and Obama excelled in this effort. Bush delivered some beauties, which I call side winder missiles, because you just don’t see them coming.

Best line from Biden was: “I had a lot of Ron DeSantis jokes ready, but Mickey Mouse beat the hell out of me and got to them first.” This of course refers to the current feud between DeSantis and Disney. This was followed up by: “I can’t be too rough on the guy. After his reelection as governor he was asked if he had a mandate. He said, ‘Hell no, I’m straight.’ I’ll give you time to think that one through. You got it?”

I particularly liked: “Last year, your favorite Fox reporters were able to attend because they were fully vaccinated and boosted. This year, with that $787 million settlement, they’re here because they can’t say no to a free meal.”

It was followed up with “And hell, I’d call Fox ‘honest, fair and truthful.’ But then I’d be sued for defamation!”

Comedian Roy Wood, Jr then stepped up to the podium, and opened with “Real quick, Mr. President, I think you left some of your classified documents up here. … I’ll put them in a safe place, he don’t know where to keep them.”

Roy Wood’s best line of the night, by far: “When the retirement age went up two years to 64 [in France] they rioted because they didn’t want to work till 64. Meanwhile in America, we have an 80-year-old man begging us for four more years of work.”

“I’m not fixing to have Dominion on my ass! I love Dominion. As a matter of fact, let me just say it right now: My favorite voting machine is Dominion voting machines. When I go to the polls, I make sure it is a Dominion machine that I use. If your election needs the truth, put Dominion in your booth! I ain’t fixing to get sued!”

I stop here, as you can watch the whole show on Youtube, or get pieces of the monologues from the Internet.

Link from Vulture: Roy Wood Jr.’s Best Jokes at the 2023 White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Link from People Magazine, The Funniest Moments from President Joe Biden’s 2023 White House Correspondents’ Dinner Speech

Youtube has many of the speeches made by former presidents. Trump is the only president in recent times who would not attend the dinner.

Stay tuned,