Posts Tagged ‘Paul Ryan’

Debt Limit Deal: Maybe Not Completely Awful?

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

There has been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the debt deal President Donald Trump made with congressional Democratic leaders that pushes U.S. debt over the $20 trillion mark.

Is it a bad deal? From my perspective, almost certainly. Debt is an existential threat to the Republic, and I believe that we should reduce spending by eliminating vast swathes of federal government programs (Federal housing sibsidies? End them. Department of Education? Eliminate it. Agribusiness subsides? End them all. Etc.) until the budget is balanced. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about hitting the debt limit at all.

Sadly, my position seems to be a decidedly minority one in D.C. Since politics is the art of the possible, it’s better to ask: How bad is President Trump’s deal among the constellation of actual debt limit deal possibilities?

The answer seems to be: Still not great, but maybe not as bad as first impressions.

It’s possible that President Trump went for the deal because he had no choice, as Republican congressional leadership was woefully unprepared on the issue:

With much of the Washington Republican establishment still grumbling about President Donald Trump’s decision earlier this week to strike a deal with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, one prominent member of the House Freedom Caucus took to the Sunday Talk Shows to deliver what sounded like the faction’s official response to the week’s events.

In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan struck a delicate balance: criticizing the consequences of the president’s decision without impugning the man himself.

Jordan explained that while the Trump-Schumer-Pelosi deal wouldn’t be “good for the American taxpayer” the president can be excused for agreeing to it because Republicans in Congress failed to provide him with a suitable alternative.

And just like that, a member of the House’s most intransigent, conservative faction – the group that almost singlehandedly crushed the Trump administration’s health-care ambitions – turning the blame for Trump’s debt-ceiling can-kicking, and the powerful leverage that Democrats gained because of it, back on the president’s favorite opponents: Congressional Republicans.

Here’s Jordan:

I don’t think this was a good deal for the American taxpayer. We didn’t go anything to address the underlying $20 trillion debt but frankly what options did the president have in front of him? The first time the Republican conference talked about the debt ceiling was Sunday morning. And the Freedom Caucus had called for, nine and a half weeks ago, we said ‘don’t leave town until you have a plan on the debt ceiling’ and instead we went home for the longest August recess in a decade, longer even than in elections years.

Indeed, the deal House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted was actually worse for conservatives:

Trump on Wednesday agreed to the proposal of House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) to increase the national-debt limit for three months, and attach that to emergency aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey. But just days earlier, conservatives had been wringing their hands in fear that Schumer would turn the debt ceiling into the Democrats’ newest set of brass knuckles.

If not for the high-profile urgency of, in essence, stapling the debt limit to Harvey assistance, the pressing need to re-charge Uncle Sam’s credit card would have given Schumer a fresh way to beat up Republicans. Absent Harvey, Schumer and his band of toughs would have kidnapped the debt limit in exchange for something else, perhaps “DACA or death!” Instead, the debt-limit increase slid through, behind Harvey’s shield, with no last-minute hostage drama.

Trump rejected the offer of House speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) to extend the debt limit for 18 months, past the 2018 mid-term elections. This would have removed federal borrowing from the list of issues on which the GOP could have run next year. Obama hiked the national debt from $10.6 trillion to $19.9 trillion — a staggering 87.8 percent. That mess, and how to escape it, would have been a worthy GOP issue. Ryan and McConnell largely would have obviated that opportunity.

Ryan and McConnell’s 18-month proposal also would have deprived Republicans of a priceless “must pass” vehicle to which they could append items that Senate Democrats dislike. The GOP similarly handed Obama multiple long-term debt-limit extensions that prevented Republicans from sending him short-term debt-limit measures that he would have had to sign, notwithstanding amendments that rankled him. Republicans should not deploy the debt limit every month, in order to corner Schumer and Senate Democrats. But mothballing this weapon until spring 2019 smacks of unilateral disarmament.

From all reports, Ryan and McConnell were ready to drop-kick the debt-limit 18 months down the road, in return for . . . nothing. Even worse, as conservatives correctly complain, they did not tie the debt-limit boost to any structural reforms, such as a cap on federal spending as a share of GDP, adoption of the brilliant Penny Plan (which would balance the budget by cutting total spending by 1 percent every year for eight years), a private-sector audit of every federal department and sub-cabinet agency, or even converting Washington’s books from cash-basis to accrual accounting. Ryan and McConnell promised 18 months of borrowing and spending on autopilot. Trump properly rejected such fiscal brain death.

Now, in three months, fiscal conservatives can and should append reformist language to the next debt-limit increase. Ryan/McConnell would have denied them that opportunity until nearly two Easters hence.

If Schumer wanted to demand “DACA or death!” I would have seen how he likes death: no debt limit vote, cut spending until the budget is balanced, and let Schumer explain why it was necessary for welfare recipients to lose their checks so Democrats could amnesty more illegal aliens.

Like I said, mine seems to be a minority viewpoint.

There are also reports that the deal is written in such a way that McConell might get the last laugh:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote in some “extraordinary” provisions to the debt ceiling bill that could mean there won’t be another debt ceiling fight in 2017 after all, he revealed on “The New Washington” podcast Monday.

McConnell insisted, in the face of Democrats’ objections, that the bill be written to preserve the Treasury’s ability to extend federal borrowing power by moving money around within government accounts. In layman’s terms, that means the Republicans can work around the December debt limit deadline and push that issue into 2018.

All this is just rearranging deck chairs on the Debtanic as long as the driving motivation for current congressional leadership is avoiding bad poll numbers rather than actual conservative governance. But short of a debt deal that includes spine replacement surgery for congressional leadership, there seems precious little chance of congress fulfilling any of the myriad conservative promises they made when Obama occupied the White House.

Did Trump Actually Want RyanCare to Pass?

Monday, March 27th, 2017

Yesterday House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the ObamaCare “repeal” bill from consideration. This was not surprising, in that the Republican base hated the bill even more than Democrats did, mainly because it was an awful bill. Voters elected Republicans who promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, not embrace and extend it.

Let’s face it: A firm grasp of health care policy specifics and a deep understand of the many nuances of federalism are not among Trump’s demonstrated virtues. But he would have had to be very tone-deaf indeed not to notice the discord RyanCare engendered in the Republican ranks.

The media is spinning this as a terrible defeat for President Trump, because of course they are, and because he publicly supported the bill. And Trump did give every indications that he would have signed the bill or proclaimed it both a win and a campaign promised fulfilled had it passed. But I didn’t see the sort of push and focus from Trump indicating that this very major piece of legislation was even his top priority thus far, much less the make-or-break bill of his presidency.

Read this phone interview Trump had with Robert Costa of the Washington Post just hours after the bill was pulled.

efore I could ask a question, Trump plunged into his explanation of the politics of deciding to call off a vote on a bill he had been touting.

The Democrats, he said, were to blame.

“We couldn’t get one Democratic vote, and we were a little bit shy, very little, but it was still a little bit shy, so we pulled it,” Trump said.

Trump said he would not put the bill on the floor in the coming weeks. He is willing to wait and watch the current law continue and, in his view, encounter problems. And he believes that Democrats will eventually want to work with him on some kind of legislative fix to Obamacare, although he did not say when that would be.

“As you know, I’ve been saying for years that the best thing is to let Obamacare explode and then go make a deal with the Democrats and have one unified deal. And they will come to us; we won’t have to come to them,” he said. “After Obamacare explodes.”

“The beauty,” Trump continued, “is that they own Obamacare. So when it explodes, they come to us, and we make one beautiful deal for the people.

Spin? Sure. But it does sound like he already has his talking points warmed up and ready to go. Democrats killed the bill. Not one of them was willing to vote for it. ObamaCare’s failures are (still) on their head. Someday soon Democrats will come to us begging for a deal

Maybe passing RyanCare was actually Trump’s plan A. But maybe having it fail, and sticking the failure on Democrats (rather than the House Freedom Caucus) was always a very close plan B.

As Scott Adams has noted time and again, Trump appears to view almost everything through a persuading and deal-making lens. RyanCare wasn’t a failure, it was just an opening bid in a much longer negotiation. (Ann Althouse has similar thoughts.)

The question then becomes: Does the next ObamaCare repeal effort actually end ObamaCare and moves us back toward federalism, or does Trump cut a deal with Democrats to try to pass some sort of move to even more socialized medicine? The later seems unlikely, since a Republican-controlled House and Senate would never pass it and Democrats hate President Trump far too much on an irrationally visceral level to work with him. (Which is ironic, given that he seemed the most liberal Republican candidate when he joined the field in Presidential field in 2015).

For mainstream media pundits spinning this as a crippling loss for Trump: I tend to doubt it. A bill that wasn’t passed in March 2017 isn’t going to be much on the minds of voters in November 2018. Now Trump need not worry about fracturing Republicans over a flawed ObamaCare bill and can move on to other priorities.

ObamaCare Repeal: The Dam Breaks

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

After a couple of weeks of President Trump and GOP House leadership insisting “Nope, this is it! Kiss this pig or it’s nothing!” and conservatives replying “Die in a fire!” it looks like the GOP establishment has finally gotten the message.

First came this news from Senator Mike Lee:

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said on Wednesday that the Senate parliamentarian has told him that it may be possible for Republicans to push harder on repealing Obamacare’s regulations than the current House bill, which contradicts the assertion by House leadership that the legislation goes after Obamacare as aggressively as possible under Senate rules.

“What I understood her to be saying is that there’s no reason why an Obamacare repeal bill necessarily could not have provisions repealing the health insurance regulations.”

Now Speaker Paul Ryan, the pig’s primary pimp, has relented as well:

In a last-minute bid to woo conservatives ahead of a high-stakes vote on Thursday on repealing and replacing Obamacare, House leaders are considering gutting more Obamacare regulations.

The news comes as President Trump and White House officials are in talks with House conservatives over changes that can win over holdouts and secure enough votes to move the bill to the Senate.

Among the many arguments conservatives have made against the House healthcare bill, one of the most significant is that it leaves too many costly regulations in place and thus fails to address long-standing criticisms of Obamacare — that it limits choices and drives premiums higher than they otherwise would be.
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Previously, House leaders have argued that the regulations could not be nixed, because doing so would blow up the bill in the Senate, where Republicans will have to pass the measure under restrictive rules to enable it to clear with a simple majority.

But a House leadership aide told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday that Republicans received new information from the Senate, indicating that axing the regulations would not automatically doom the bill from being considered on an expedited basis.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office is now more open to nixing the regulations, known as “essential health benefits.” Under Obamacare, all insurance policies must include ten categories of benefits, such as maternity care and preventive coverage, that make policies more comprehensive but also make it costlier for individuals who would prefer cheaper plans with fewer benefits.

You know what would be a great bill? One that completely repealed ObamaCare. You know, the way every Republican House and Senate member running for election since 2010 has promised.

The Trump Administration can also gut Obamacare without any help from congress:

Within the bill there are 2,500 references to “the Secretary”. 700 times the Secretary “shall” do something, 200 times the Secretary “may” do something, and 139 occasions when the “Secretary determines” what should be done.

These “shall” and “may” determinations cover things like what type of insurance coverage Americans are required to have, how insurance networks and exchanges are organized, how grant money is doled out, what the “essential health benefits” that every insurance policy must cover are.

Suppose the new Secretary determines that Americans “shall” only be required to have catastrophic insurance? Or no insurance at all? What if the “essential health benefits” are left to the discretion of the purchaser of the insurance policy? What if the Secretary “determines” that there will be no insurance mandates or penalties? Or that insurance “may” be sold across state lines?

The Secretary also has discretion over “pilot programs” and “demonstration projects” for controlling costs. These include wellness plans, information technology, quality measures, and national payment for Medicaid. Perhaps throw in tort reform and a rollback of many of the many more onerous regulations strangling the medical profession. The Secretary “may” implement these reforms.

In reality, the Secretary has the statutory power to infect Obamacare with the cancer of repeal and replace, metastasizing into so many aspects of the law that what emerges is a shadow of the original bill. Repeal and replace from within.

The downside to this approach is that any future Democratic administration could restore all the Obamacare nightmare taxes and regulations at will.

Still, there’s no reason Republicans can’t pursue a two-track approach: Gut it administratively while also working on a full legislative repeal.

Both approaches are far superior to the original “embrace and extend” ObamaCare bill Republican leadership originally tried to cram down representative’s throats….

Paul Ryan Reelected Speaker

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Rep. Paul Ryan has been reelected Speaker of the House:

As expected, Republican Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin on Tuesday was elected speaker of the House for the 2017-2018 congressional term. The final vote was 239-189, with five lawmakers not voting for either Ryan or Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

There were issues with Ryan’s speakership (as there were with all his Republican predecessors), but with Republicans in control of all three branches of government, Ryan should be able to implement vastly more of the Republican agenda than they did under Obama. Ryan needs to enable Trump when he’s acting to implement conservative policies, and provide a check on him when he isn’t.

First order of business: Repealing ObamaCare. Second order: Junking as much of the remaining cruft of the Obama Administration as possible. Third order: Securing the border and staying the hell away from the siren song of “comprehensive immigration reform” that so many establishment Republicans still harbor a suicidal longing for.

There’s a hundred other things that need attending to (including doing something about the budget deficit), but the damage of the Obama years will not be undone overnight…

The Reviews Are In! Ryan-Murray Is Budget-Busting Garbage!

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Conservatives have taken a good, close look at the details of the Ryan-Murray budget agreement, and are unanimous in their judgment: It stinks!

  • “House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan has now accomplished the astonishing task of pushing House Republicans substantially to the left of the Senate GOP. His budget deal, announced Tuesday night, was achieved by shutting conservative Senate Republicans out of negotiations, by resorting to the old trick of spending now while claiming savings later, by ignoring a symbolically important budgetary red line, and by treating as Democratic “concessions” things to which even Democratic budgeteers already had agreed.”
  • “With liberal Senator Patty Murray, Congressman Ryan wants to raise spending today on the promise that Congress will restrain itself ten years from now (or whenever the benchmark will be). It’s a return to pre-sequestration Washington — spending increases today in exchange for promises of spending cuts later.”
  • “How can leadership credibly promise spending cuts later, after agreeing to a plan that rolls back the sequestration savings promised two debt increases ago?
  • Ted Cruz: “”The new budget deal moves in the wrong direction: it spends more, taxes more, and allows continued funding for Obamacare… this proposal undoes the sequester’s modest reforms and pushes us two steps back, deeper into debt.”
  • Sen. Mike Lee: “Rather than enacting reforms to make government more efficient, the budget deal makes more government more expensive. Sequestration is far from ideal, but at least it forced Congress get serious about excessive spending. This deal cuts into the modest gains taxpayers have won since 2011, by trading concrete spending reductions over the next two years for theoretical spending cuts a decade from now.”
  • Paul Ryan has given birth to a pile of garbage. The fact that it’s a relatively small pile of garbage is beside the point, since it will still stink up the place. Republican House and Senate members should haul it out to the curb.

    LinkSwarm for December 9, 2013

    Monday, December 9th, 2013

    A LinKSwarm to start your Monday off, with a mix of old and new:

  • Obama’s popularity down among the Obama coalition:

    Obama’s job approval rating among Hispanic Americans has plunged from 75 percent in December 2012 to 52 percent today — a drop of 23 percentage points, the sharpest decline among any voter group. Among Americans who make less than $24,000 a year, the president’s approval rating has fallen from 64 percent last December to 46 percent today. Among Americans 18 to 29 years of age, it has fallen from 61 percent to 46 percent. Among women, it has fallen from 57 percent to 43 percent.

    Evidently free contraceptives don’t trump lost jobs and insurance. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • First came the first wave of ObamaCare “cancellation shock” as policies were dropped left and right. Next comes the “Doc Shock,” as people lose physicians who won’t cut their rates for ObamaCare plans. (Hat tip: Instapundit and Ed Driscoll.)
  • Indeed, 7 out of 10 California doctors are boycotting California’s ObamaCare exchanges. When you’ve lost California…
  • So get ready to see a lot more signs like this. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • “The GOP establishment is loath to admit it, but the government shutdown is turning out to be a brilliant political chess move on the part of Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.”
  • Why the hell is Paul Ryan trying to undo the sequester cuts?
  • New York City starts confiscating rifles and shotguns.
  • On Twitter, #LiesObamaToldUs trended for three straight days. Well, it’s a target-rich environment…
  • Photojournalist robbed twice in one day in Detroit. Funny how 50 years of Democratic rule mean that government is unable to enforce its most central function: keeping the populace safe by enforcing the rule of law.
  • Why you don’t stop shooting until the threat is neutralized:

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)

  • Is Hollywood turning the Biblical story of Noah into another tree-hugging Dances With Smurfs?
  • Vice Presidential Debate Reaction Roundup

    Friday, October 12th, 2012

    Lots of commentators said that Joe Biden did better debating against Paul Ryan than Obama did against Mitt Romney. I found Biden the far more irritating of the two, his his constant grinning and interrupting. He was like some weird, glad-handing political coelecanth that had somehow survived into the 21st century, and didn’t realize how fake his antics look on high def television. (And that’s to say nothing of Biden’s outright lies. No evidence of green pork cronyism? Right. Pull the other one.)

    Other reactions:

  • 48% of CNN viewers thought Ryan won the dbeate, as opposed to 44% who thought Biden won.
  • This unsigned Houston Chronicle liveblog tries to be evenhanded, but dings Biden for his jackassery. “Biden’s contempt for his rival is palpable. Biden’s constant interruptions and grinning and head shaking could turn off some viewers.”
  • The Weekly Standard notes that “You don’t win a nationally televised debate by being rude and obnoxious. You don’t win by interrupting your opponent time after time after time or by being a blowhard. You don’t win with facial expressions, especially smirks or fake laughs, or by pretending to be utterly exasperated with what your opponent is saying.”
  • NRO’s Yuval Levin thinks that “Biden’s hyper-aggressive and at times buffoonish performance (and perhaps especially his Joker grin, which seemed to me as much a product of nervousness as of intent) hurt the ticket some with independent voters and especially with women,” but also thinks he did what he needed to do (stop the liberal bleeding).
  • By contrast, NRO compatriot John O’Sullivan thinks Biden won on points, but as engendered a “hostile reaction from women to his amazingly blatant mugging and grinning at the camera during Ryan’s arguments.”
  • “Coprophagic Smirks” would be a good name for a rock band.
  • Forbes also wasn’t impressed with Biden: “Television provided split screens, so while viewers saw Ryan calmly responding to the questions that came his way, on the other half of the screen they saw a batty older man laughing obnoxiously at someone who, even if voters disagree with him, comes off as very reasonable. The contrast can’t have worked in Biden’s favor.”
  • The Daily Gator says that Biden was “rude, condescending, and acted like a bully. Biden did not make any glaring gaffes, but, how he conducted himself might have been more damaging. His over the top smiles, really creepy smiles to be honest, his constant interruptions, which the moderator did nothing to stop, and his other facial gymnastics made him look like a man with nothing to say.”
  • “Paul Ryan Beats Blustering Buffoon Joe Biden in Vice Presidential Debate.”
  • “Ryan won by staying cool and composed.”
  • Best tweet of the night (from Dave Itzkoff): “I’m told Joe Biden was just a small-time hood before Batman dropped him in the vat of chemicals that left him with a permanent grin.”
  • This RNC ad spliced together from last night’s debate already has over a quarter-million hits:

  • And finally, complete video of the debate in case you missed it:

  • Things to Like About the Paul Ryan Vice Presidential Nomination

    Sunday, August 12th, 2012

    Just in case you were trapped in a mine, Mitt Romney selected Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate. There are many things to like about the pick, but I’d like to focus on just a few:

  • The election, more than ever, is about the size of government. Obama wants an ever-larger, ever more powerful federal government, while Romney-Ryan want to reign it in. Despite Romney having a reputation as a bit of a squish, the pick shows he’s serious about reigning in runaway government. And it doesn’t detract from the debate over Obama’s horrible handling of the economy: Runaway government spending (and the uncertainty it engenders) is the largest single factor holding back the economy.
  • As an observant Catholic, Ryan sharpens the debate on the Obama Administration’s War on Catholics. The fervor with which Democrats pursued codifying taxpayer-funded abortion (no matter how many House seats it cost them) and the unwavering refusal to allow Catholic and other pro-life entities to opt out from providing insurance coverage of abortion suggests that it was one of the central driving goals of passing ObamaCare. Increasingly it appears that yes, that is the hill liberals want to die on. We should let them, and make sure that devout Catholics know the contempt the liberal establishment holds for both them and their beliefs.
  • Ryan Puts Wisconsin Further in Play. Scott Walker’s budget successes, and the abysmal serial failure of the Wisconsin recall elections prove that this once solidly Democratic state has been trending increasingly purple. By naming favorite son Ryan as his VP pick, Romney has singled he’s going to put up a real fight there. Romney can win elsewhere (Nevada and Iowa, for example) and still win 270 electoral votes; I don’t see any realistic path to victory for Obama if he loses there.
  • Celebrating #Julia’s Circle of Life

    Saturday, May 5th, 2012

    You may have heard of the Obama campaign’s attempt to use an imaginary woman named Julia to convince women to embrace a cradle-to-grave welfare state. (And looking at European demographics, we can only assume that’s more grave than cradle.)

    Naturally, conservatives have had fun on Twitter with #Julia, including the observation that her male counterpart would naturally be named “Winston.” Also: “#Julia died at age 78. She voted Democrat until age 92.”

    But, as usual, IowaHawk nails it.

    Some other Julia tidbits:

  • What was left out of Julia’s story: She’s not a taxpayer, she’s not married, and she’s not religious.
  • The Heritage Foundation reimagines her life.
  • Paul Ryan calls it creepy and demeaning.
  • Ad “Twitter” to the list of things The New York Times doesn’t understand. (I know, it’s a long list.) Hey NYT, it isn’t the “Republican Response Machine,” it’s the swarm. The reason I named this blog “BattleSwarm” was after the Rand Corporation’s Swarming and the Future of Conflict: Dispersed, autonomous units come together at a point to concentrate their firepower. It’s the army of Davids. It’s the future of media. It means that the MSM has lost control of the narrative and there’s nothing you can do to get it back.
  • Update on the Coming Euro Collapse (and Our Own)

    Monday, June 6th, 2011

    Andrew Lilico in the Telegraph (via McArdle, via Insta) has a sobering look at what will happen when Greece defaults (“It is when, not if”). It starts out:

  • Every bank in Greece will instantly go insolvent.
  • The Greek government will nationalise every bank in Greece.
  • The Greek government will forbid withdrawals from Greek banks.

  • And then gets even less pleasant, including martial law and the European Central Bank going insolvent. The real European crisis hasn’t happened yet, and when it does, it will probably be much worse than the current U.S. recession.

    Meanwhile, Greeks continue to protest long-overdue austerity measures. I am doubtful Greece is willing to actually implement real austerity. After all, the Greek government only recently decided that it might want to stop paying pensions to the dead. instead of solving the problem of an out-of-control welfare state, the ECB and the IMF have decided to let Greek slip even further into debt in exchange for implementing reforms and austerity they’ve shown no signs at all of being willing to implement; in other words, to kick the can down the road and hope that gives the other PIGS time to get their respective houses in order before the Euro collapses.

    Meanwhile, Ireland’s crisis is so severe that not only are they going to start taxing private pension funds, they’re actually going to start fining trustees that don’t hand over pensioner’s money. “Threatening scheme trustees with huge fines that are not covered by trustee indemnity insurance if they refuse to or cannot collect the levy, is a guaranteed way to stop anyone coming forward to be a trustee. I expect the other consequence of the Finance Bill (no 2) 2011 will be the resignation, post-haste of hundreds of scheme trustees.”

    The chances that various transnational and euro bureaucrats will succeed in rescuing all the PIGS (and thus the Euro) is slim to none: “The ‘troika’ [ECB, IMF, EU] is doubling down on its losing bet in Greece and is playing with the dice loaded against them.”

    How bad is it going to get?

    Austerity is going to mean hellishly bad deflation, high and rising employment, and depression in the indebted countries.

    There is $600 trillion in derivatives now loose in the world. Who knows which banks have written them and to whom? Who are the counterparties? We did not fix this with the last political fix. The next crisis has the potential to be just as bad or worse than 2008, which is why I think Europe’s leaders are so dead set on avoiding a day of reckoning. If you look under the hood, as they most assuredly have, it must be frightening. And with pushback from voters?

    Contagion, thy name is Europe. And with the US economy slowing down, it might not take much to push us over the edge

    And that’s the best case scenario, the one where the PIGS actually bite the bullet and implement austerity. It’s entirely possible that one or more of them will reject austerity measures and, in doing so, set off a run on the Euro.

    Also via Insta comes news that China has divested itself of 97% of its holdings in Treasury Bills. As Mark Steyn has pointed out, where Greece is now is where Obama wants to take us, with ObamaCare as just the down-payment on a full-blown European welfare state. We’re not nearly as far along as Greece is to financial collapse, but our debt is already starting to look like a bad bet.

    Certainly we’re not so far along that we can’t turn back, but the Paul Ryan Roadmap is probably the minimum we need to be doing to get our debt under control. Less than that and we’re asking for serious trouble. It’s already looking like Carter era stagflation is here.

    As the recent Texas legislative session showed, it is in fact possible to actually shrink the size of government, not just slow the rate of increase. Or at least it’s possible when you have Republican Supermajorities in the House, Senate, and Executive branch. By contrast, the Obama administration and Harry Reid’s Senate have shown no sign of being willing to address the problem, or even to admit it exists. They too want to kick the can down the road and keep piling blocks of debt onto the backs of your children. But, as the Euro crises shows, such actions have a way of catching up with you sooner rather than later.

    You can only kick the can down the road so far before you run out of road.