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Breakfast links: Taxes and cars


Photo by Caro Wallis on Flickr.
Get rid of the hybrid tax: Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) and Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) created an online petition to ask Governor McDonnell to line-item veto the $100 hybrid fee in the transportation bill. Dave Albo (R-Prince William) wants to keep it. (Post)

Car taxes oddly rise: DC collected a lot of vehicle taxes in January. Did people buy a lot of cars, or was DMV just catching up on late paperwork? Nobody really knows. (WBJ)

Downside of sales tax on gas: Two economists point out drawbacks to a sales tax on gas instead of a per-gallon gas tax: the price of gas is much more volatile and often doesn't track inflation, making it a less predictable revenue source. (Post)

Graham slapped for ethics: The DC Council officially reprimanded Jim Graham (Ward 1), with only Marion Barry supporting Graham. The council also took away Graham's alcohol oversight and gave it to Vincent Orange. (DCist)

See DC from space: From the International Space Station, you can see DC pretty clearly and make out downtown, the Mall (as negative space), the Beltway, and even the DC-Maryland border. (DCist)

Sequestration means...: Sequestration would hit DC affordable housing programs, teachers and police, and more, but at least AAA can be happy. (WTOP)

The next taxi regulatory fight: SideCar, a service that lets drivers give other people rides, was shut down in Philadelphia because its drivers aren't officially licensed as taxi drivers. Debates over whether to allow this kind of ridesharing will likely be the next iteration of the Uber battles. (Philly Post)

Bike bits: Bills for bike safety all failed in Virginia this year. (VABike) ... A cyclist was "critically injured" on Maryland Avenue SW. (Post) ... Want to work for WABA?

And...: Now that Virginia funded transportation, will Maryland follow (but with a better plan)? (Examiner) ... Crystal City will get new apartments and become more residential. (ArlNow) ... There are fewer surface parking lots for Nats games this year. (JDLand)

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David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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On the hybrid tax, I think a fair compromise would be $20, which would account for any loss of tax revenue from fuel economy improvements. Hybrids pay already, its not like electric vehicles. This is basically a double tax, and at $100 the hybrid is being treated like a truck, not a sedan

by Tysons Engineer on Feb 26, 2013 8:34 am • linkreport

Err, I think the $100 was the compromise.

So far in my new neighboorhood on U st I've spotted a BMW x6, a Ferrari, and a 7 series BMW. Parked on the street. Once again my 16 year old car is the oldest around. Like it or not, when you try to attract affluent people they tend to have cars and expensive ones at that.

Car light, not car free.

by charlie on Feb 26, 2013 8:46 am • linkreport

Sweet space pic. Western, Eastern, and Southern Aves clearly visible. But wow, VDOT really illuminates their portion of the beltway more than MDOT does, lol.

by Stevey Jones on Feb 26, 2013 9:09 am • linkreport

How about eliminating the hybrid fee and instead charging an equivalent amount extra for the clean fuel plates that entitle hybrids to clog up the HOV lanes without additional passengers?

by ah on Feb 26, 2013 9:17 am • linkreport

From the ISS shot, it appears the district is doing less than its neighbors for dark skies.

by ah on Feb 26, 2013 9:17 am • linkreport

Well maybe should hold onto it's surplas as a rainy day fund after all and use it to cushion the budget if this sequestration thing happens.

by Alan B. on Feb 26, 2013 9:20 am • linkreport

1. Figuring out why vehicle taxes were so high should be a pretty simple process based on data I really hope DMV keeps (like how many drivers paid it, how much they paid and whether it was for a new car or not).

2. The hybrid tax is stupid for so many reasons. Let me point out a couple.

Virginia has several policies that try to encourage people to use less gasoline. The reason is that the gas tax doesn't cover any of the environmental costs of gasoline use. It doesn't even cover all the costs of driving. So every time someone burns a gallon of gasoline in Virginia, Virginia loses. So a goal of Virginia is to get people to burn less gas. To then turn around and tax people extra for conserving gasoline runs counter to that goal. I submit that it is stupid to pass laws that make it harder for you to achieve your goals. This is also true of the higher tax on diesel fuel, though at least that does hit truckers more.

In addition, the tax doesn't even achieve the goal it purports to achieve - fairness. Some very fuel efficient cars are not hybrids. My GEO Metro (and you can still find some on the roads) used to get 50 mpg and it wasn't a hybrid. And then some hybrids aren't particularly fuel efficient.

If Virginia really wants to decouple these goals (having a user fee for roads and reduce gasoline use) then they need to add an additional tax. So first have a $0.25 a gallon tax on gasoline that automatically adjusts to inflation and use the revenue to offset air pollution, CO2 production, resource consumption and water pollution caused by gasoline use and automatically adjust it for inflation. Then add a tax of ~$0.04 per mile per year (though it would vary based on the weight of the vehicle) - paid at the annual inspection - that is used to pay for transportation infrastructure, and tie it to inflation.

That way they can tax people based on how much they drive AND encourage people to burn less gasoline. Truckers would pay more but drivers of fuel efficient diesels would not. Road funding would be more consistent and wouldn't change if everyone switched to electric.

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 9:21 am • linkreport

The Sidecar issue is Philly baffles my mind. Does the driver need to be special insurance to carry passengers? Do passengers have to a sign a waiver of the driver's liability in an accident? Is there a govt't inspector that checks for requisite vehicle safety? Does the service perform background checks to ensure drivers with a history of multiple auto accidents and/or rape convictions are excluded? Ae drivers assigned numbers, so they can be tracked down of a passenger complains of injury, safety violations, discrimination of the passenger or the destination?

It just sounds like a nightmare to administrate. Giving a ride to a friend is one thing, but to a stranger? So many alarm bells go off in my head, I don't see how this cold ever be successful on a large scale.

I do know about the slug phenomenon in NOVA, but that emerged under the specific conditions of horrific NOVA traffic, the availability of the HOV lane, and its necessity of multiple passengers. I doubt it could be recreated elsewhere absent that scenario.

by Adam on Feb 26, 2013 9:22 am • linkreport

it appears the district is doing less than its neighbors for dark skies.

Well, that may be true, but you'd have to divide the light pollution by population density. One thing that would help would be for DC to modify their "signature" globe lights. I get the historic and artistic significance of them, but they're wasteful and cause light pollution. But even Harriet Tregoning seems unwilling to change those, so it's a tough fight.

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 9:24 am • linkreport

The space picture is pretty cool. But is it indicative of a light pollution problem? I just visited San Diego, and was amazed by how many stars I could see. The stars were at least as visible there as they are from Shenandoah.

by sk on Feb 26, 2013 9:26 am • linkreport

I just visited San Diego, and was amazed by how many stars I could see.

Apples and Oranges. San Diego has ocean on one side. That's a big advantage when it comes to light pollution.

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 9:30 am • linkreport

This is rich:

“I don’t think it’s fair that Dave Albo’s driving a gas-powered car and it’s paying for the electric car’s share of the road,” he said.

First of all, why are you talking about yourself in the third person? That's weird.

Second, how fair is it that the electric car driver pays your share of air pollution mitigation? Or that you aren't actually paying your share of the road (since some of the money is coming from sales tax revenue)?

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 9:33 am • linkreport

DC's streetlight design is pretty wasteful of light, so that explains a lot.

by spookiness on Feb 26, 2013 9:34 am • linkreport

Isn't San Diego near an ocean?...like the Pacific? I think that matters when comparing DC/SD pollution levels.

Superkewl aerial though!

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 9:34 am • linkreport

With the space picture - sure density is part of the issue, but I doubt that the density drops so significantly right at the state line. Clearly DC is using different lights or a different density of lights than MD is.

by TomA on Feb 26, 2013 9:36 am • linkreport

Taxi service would have to be pretty bad in order to get me to use SideCar (and apparently they are terrible in San Francisco). At least with Uber it operated in a gray area - actual licensed hire vehicles providing dispatched rides. With SideCar it seems like it's just a taxi dispatch service operating without licensing any cars or drivers. And if something goes wrong, are you confident that the company running the service (and therefore making the money) is going to do what it can to make you whole again? There are reasons we regulate Common Carriers, so that the public has some set of guarantees when they use their services.

by MLD on Feb 26, 2013 9:37 am • linkreport

BTW, please tell me the report that David Grosso used his time on the dais to read e-mails from people telling him, "Great Job"! I do hope that is an awful misprint and he's not that ridamndiculous.

Not surprisingly, the "sequester" blame game is in full effect with Obama barnstorming around complaining that a plan he suggested will happen, while republicans say, "don't blame us..blame him" (even though they supported it) and still nothing gets done. Will Obama's plan backfire?

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 9:41 am • linkreport

Well, that may be true, but you'd have to divide the light pollution by population density.

While true, I'm focused on the obvious border between DC and Maryland. I believe the population density is relatively comparable on either side of Western, Eastern, and Southern Avenues yet there's a stark difference in the amount of light.

I'm not comparing areas out towards Gaithersburg with downtown DC.

by ah on Feb 26, 2013 9:41 am • linkreport

About the tax on hybrids: do those who pushed for the tax understand the difference between a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid or an all electric vehicle? The large majority of hybrids on the roads, most of which are Pruises, get all their motive power from gasoline. The battery and electric motor are just to make them more efficient. There is no practical difference from a gas fuel usage standpoint between a very efficient conventional small gas powered car and a hybrid.

Plug-in hybrids are different because they may go 40 miles on an electric charge from a wall outlet. So an extra tax on those vehicles can be justified, but $100 is excessive. At the current excise tax of 17.5 cents, that is equivalent to buying 571 gallons of gas a year. Even more at the new lower wholesale tax rate. Someone driving 12K miles a year in car that gets 30 mpg consumes 400 gallons in a year. It is taxing the EVs and plug-in hybrids as if they were burning gas like a large SUV or pick-up truck.

by AlanF on Feb 26, 2013 9:44 am • linkreport


@DavidC, your logic chain is founded on one big assumption-- that the purpose of the gasoline tax is to price out a scarce commodity. It isn't --it is designed for funding roads.

Like most government policies it isn't designed for maximum efficiency. There is plenty of headroom for growth, and if you look at Europe people are willing to pay $10-$12 a gallon for gasoline. I'm not suggesting that, but moving it up to a $5 range is also not unreasonable.

Your VMT tax proposal is very unwieldy. What's more it is expensive at ONE time, rather than the small doses of the gas tax. I'd rather see a federal tax on imported fuel and oil.

by charlie on Feb 26, 2013 9:48 am • linkreport

San Diego might be better, but it's marginal. The only real place to get away from massive light pollution is the mountain west/desert SW, especially the national parks. I'll never forget my first night working at the Grand Canyon. The Milky Way was easily visible.

by thump on Feb 26, 2013 9:49 am • linkreport

I believe the population density is relatively comparable on either side of Western, Eastern, and Southern Avenues

I'm not so sure of that. Much of the PG Side of Southern avenue is a park - for example. Bring up the Google Map satellite view and look at tree density. Along Eastern from Silver Spring to Mt. Ranier there is stark difference in tree coverage (and street/building density). That pattern is true elsewhere too.

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 9:49 am • linkreport

About the tax on hybrids: do those who pushed for the tax understand the difference between a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid or an all electric vehicle?

Those kinds of nuances don't matter at all. The only thing the people pushing for the tax care about is a preconceived notion that "liberals drive hybrids" and they want/need to screw over those people.

It's just another salvo in the constant war against "things Democrats like." Doesn't matter if the "things Democrats like" are good policy or bad policy, they need to be punished/taxed/removed.

by MLD on Feb 26, 2013 9:51 am • linkreport

If the argument for the hybrid fee is that they use less gas, and therefore pay less gasoline tax, they've gone about this all wrong. Their fee should be tied to the Dept. of Energy MPG ratings, not the technology that drives the car. A vehicle that gets 40 MPG will buy less gas for the same amount of driving as a comparable vehicle that gets 30 MPG no matter if it's a hybrid or conventionally powered. Even then, this law is basically saying, "Lets lower the tax for those that use more resources and raise it on those that use less." Backwards all around.

Personally, I've always thought that the HOV exception for Hybrid vehicles was silly, and that's being phased out somewhat, as some HOV lanes require Clean Fuel plates from before a specific date (2006 for I95, 2011 for I66). That's as a hybrid owner since 2001, though I don't regularly drive in HOV lanes.

by Another Josh on Feb 26, 2013 9:51 am • linkreport

your logic chain is founded on one big assumption-- that the purpose of the gasoline tax is to price out a scarce commodity.

I didn't make that assumption at all. I stated that VA wants to dissuade people from using gasoline. And a gasoline tax is a good way to do that.

Your VMT tax proposal is very unwieldy.

Not really. You're already taking your car some place and paying a fee. It's the added step of pluging your mileage into a computer and spitting out a larger fee.

What's more it is expensive at ONE time, rather than the small doses of the gas tax.

It actually costs the exact same amount.

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 9:53 am • linkreport

I hate that gas bill and can't wait for McDonnell's term to end. Hopefully there will be some competition to Cucinelli, but I'm not holding my breath.

by m2fc on Feb 26, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

If Surovell and Ebbin really want to persuade the Governor to veto the new fee, the peitition needs to include a statement such as "The fee will depress the demand for ethanol which will harm farmers who grow corn."

by JimT on Feb 26, 2013 10:04 am • linkreport

"It actually costs the exact same amount."

Cash flow, my friend. Cash flow. It is why the IRS withholds taxes instead of asking for them all at once.

"Not really. You're already taking your car some place and paying a fee. It's the added step of pluging your mileage into a computer and spitting out a larger fee."

And what if I drive all my miles, say, in DC rather than Virgnia. Or Tennessee.

As I said, unweildy. We have a system, it works, and we can push it up for a long time before we have to move to a new system. And by then we'll all be in airplanes anyway.

by charlie on Feb 26, 2013 10:13 am • linkreport

"The only thing the people pushing for the tax care about is a preconceived notion that "liberals drive hybrids" and they want/need to screw over those people."

BAM. exactly.

by spookiness on Feb 26, 2013 10:21 am • linkreport

This business of taxing hybrids is stupid. Taxing them because they are too fuel efficient? Talk about an anti-progress position.

Hybrids may not generate as much gas tax revenue, but they also don't generate as much pollution and all the health issues/costs that brings.

by Chris on Feb 26, 2013 10:24 am • linkreport

I wonder if it's something about the lights at the University of Maryland causing its campus to look kind of blue-green compared to its surroundings.

by iaom on Feb 26, 2013 10:30 am • linkreport

@MLD, I think you may be right. There is a culture war sub-current of the only libs/democrats/tree-huggers drive hybrids and we are going to hit them in the pocketbook for not driving big pick-up trucks like real Americans going on. Since the $100 tax was in McDonnell's original proposal, I doubt that he will exercise a line item veto on it. If McAuliffe gets elected Governor, it would give him something to try to fix, but he would likely still be dealing with a Republican controlled House of Delegates, just with a thinner Republican majority.

The 2013 Governor's race in VA is gong to be an interesting one.

by AlanF on Feb 26, 2013 10:40 am • linkreport

Cash flow, my friend. Cash flow.

An assortment of payment options can handle this. We're not reinventing the wheel. If you can't pay up front, it can be added onto your utility bill, for example. Could be done in 5 minutes.

And what if I drive all my miles, say, in DC rather than Virgnia.

Nothing. Same as with the hybrid fee.

We have a system, it works...

First of all, it's the Virginia legislature that is changing this system. I'm just saying that if they want to change it, here's a better way.

And the system doesn't really work since the state has two competing interests - getting people to use less gasoline and getting people to buy more gasoline (and pay more tax).

For now raising the gasoline tax works because gasoline use is a nice proxy for driving and the places where it doesn't match punishes polluters and benefits non-polluters, but that doesn't mean that decoupling the two items (pollution and user fee) isn't better.

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 10:40 am • linkreport

Seems the number of vehicles registered in DC is sky-rocketing. As the population soars with higher-income types I guess more vehicles and higher values isn't a surprise.

Since OP and DDOT's misleading "# of cars in DC is decreasing" meme has been shot down, it would be nice if we could get a figure on how much the # of vehicles in DC has actually increased.

Maybe the stat is not PC or maybe it's inconvenient or maybe it's embarrassing, but it's knowledge we need to to gauge how DC is changing and how to promote what we want to become.

by Tom Coumaris on Feb 26, 2013 10:50 am • linkreport

@Hogwash

You are losing credibility with your complaints about DC CM's. I understand you don't like "Saint Wells" but Grosso has been tremendous so far. Is this solely a race issue with you?

He went up on the Dais and read e-mails to show that DC residents support cracking down on ethics... Makes sense to me? There has been a culture for some time where ethics was not a concern (see Barry, Marion re-election to mayor, and subsequent election and continued re-election to CM)

RE: Obama's plan... Yes, it will work. When the news is showing stories of single parents who have to quit their jobs to take care of children who were kicked out of Head Start, and the next story is about how the Republicans are refusing to look at removing tax breaks for Exxon and Mitt Romney's Carried Interest Loophole, that doesn't look great. People hate the Republican Congress (19% approval rating) so they are going to take this on the chin... Badly.

by Kyle-W on Feb 26, 2013 11:10 am • linkreport

@Tom Courmaris, rather a large leap to state that a one month jump in motor vehicle excise tax collections is due to the number of cars in DC is exploding. That it occurred in January suggests possibly due in part to year-end bonuses in the legal and political consultant firms after a lucrative election year. The DC population is increasing, are car registrations increasing faster or slower than the population growth? If it is, where is the space to add more roads and highways to accommodate a lot of additional cars in the city?

by AlanF on Feb 26, 2013 11:11 am • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris: the way I see it, there are at least four possible drivers (no pun intended) for the increase in motor vehicle tax collections:

1. More cars being registered. This could be a matter of residents buying new cars to replace replace old cars, or it could be new cars for households that are new to DC, or households that are adding vehicles, from 0-1 (or 1-2 or 2-3) cars.

2. More expensive cars being registered in DC. This would also go along with the affluent-buying-expensive-cars theory, and would be independent of whether or not the overall number of registered cars is increasing.

3. A higher proportion of DC residents registering their cars in DC. In addition to the reciprocity afforded to Congressional staff and (a few) university students, there have always been some people living in DC who keep their cars registered out of state, parking them in private spots. It's possible that a higher proportion of these people are changing their residency to DC and/or changing their vehicle registration, which could be due to factors such as a rising cost for private parking, or to the increased value of residential parking permits, particularly as the District is implementing RPP-only parking in some neighborhood blocks.

I agree with you, though, that without seeing the DMV registration figures, we don't know the answer.

by Jacques on Feb 26, 2013 11:24 am • linkreport

@Hogwash

Or when they show the security line at O'Hare, or DFW, or Miami literally stretching out the front door. Or when there is a story about three hour taxi-ing delays because there are only two air traffic controllers when there should be three. Or when they interview a furloughed employee at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, who has 6 kids he is feeding at home.

There are going to be some very clear negative signs here. The American public wants deficit reduction in principle, but doesn't actually want to cut anything outside of foreign aid.

by Kyle-W on Feb 26, 2013 11:26 am • linkreport

"I agree with you, though, that without seeing the DMV registration figures, we don't know the answer."

if its people registering vehicles that previously were registered (unlawfully) out of state, you won't be able to tell that from the DMV figures, right? Such folks will claim these are vehicles they have only recently brought into the District, correct?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 11:36 am • linkreport

@AWITC Correct, I wasn't quite clear. Without the registration numbers from DMV, we have very little evidence with which to interpret the data.

DMV registration numbers would help parse out which portion of the increase in taxes is due to an overall increase in vehicles (the addition vs. replacement question), but it would still only be a partial answer.

by Jacques on Feb 26, 2013 11:40 am • linkreport

You are losing credibility with your complaints about DC CM's. I understand you don't like "Saint Wells" but Grosso has been tremendous so far. Is this solely a race issue with you?

Blank Stare o_O.

If you don't mind, please explain the race element? Thanks!

He went up on the Dais and read e-mails to show that DC residents support cracking down on ethics... Makes sense to me?

But this isn't a secret. Every poll since 2011 has indicated the same thing. My criticism is that Gross chose THIS moment to read e-mails from those telling him "Great Job" which is utterly ridiculous and makes no sense AT ALL. Find another time to give yourself a pat on the back.

There has been a culture for some time where ethics was not a concern (see Barry, Marion re-election to mayor, and subsequent election and continued re-election to CM)

Please explain the culture you reference here? What culture of ill-ethics has been supported by Barry's subsequent reelection? Where is this culture?

RE: Obama's plan... Yes, it will work. When the news is showing stories of single parents who have to quit their jobs to take care of children who were kicked out of Head Start,

Sure. It's called demagoguery. The same sort we rail against when it's the Tea Party or republicans in VA..or any other state for that matter. So yeah, Obama "could" win the political gamble but it's no secret that the plan to force the republicans to "compromise" has now backfired and we're now facing the potential of real cuts. The administration played political football w/the lives of the american people.

Or when they show the security line at O'Hare, or DFW, or Miami literally stretching out the front door.

Which likely won't happen but it also won't stop the demagogues from making your exact point. Even if federal employees are furloughed, agencies have enough discretion to ensure that they don't affect the operation of the agency. Again, this was OBAMA's idea so all of these "catastrophic possibilities" should have been considered BEFORE suggesting the plan...don't you think? Or are you one of those who blame the republicans for supporting the president's plan?....

As if.

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 12:17 pm • linkreport

The administration played political football w/the lives of the american people.

You are aware that the only reason the sequester came into existence in the first place was because it was the only compromise plan the republicans would agree to when they were holding a gun to the economy's head over the debt ceiling, right?

all of these "catastrophic possibilities" should have been considered BEFORE suggesting the plan
Many possibilities were considered - like the possibility at the time that the GOP holdout over the debt ceiling would result in an even worse economic catastrophe.

Is 18 months ago really too long to remember what actually happened around this issue?

by MLD on Feb 26, 2013 12:28 pm • linkreport

"The administration played political football w/the lives of the american people."

They did so to avert default, when the GOP was playing football with the lives of the american people. They certainly would have preferred to just drop the default thing and not have the sequester.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 12:28 pm • linkreport

Anecdotally, with the car registration thing, in the past year, I've heard from a lot of people who had their cars registered out-of-state that they started to get ticketed a lot, so that prompted them to register their cars in DC.

by CCZ on Feb 26, 2013 12:39 pm • linkreport

Did some comments disappear?

by selxic on Feb 26, 2013 12:55 pm • linkreport

CCZ- In most instances car registration tax doesn't apply if the tax was paid in another state. Also transfers are often older cars. Dec/Jan are traditional vehicle purchase months... Christmas, end of model year sales, end of year sales, employee end-of-year bonuses, etc.

It's just the huge increase in the numbers lately that's so surprising.

by Tom Coumaris on Feb 26, 2013 1:02 pm • linkreport

The administration played political football w/the lives of the american people.

Ok, correct me if I am wrong.

It is the president's (constitutional) job to propose a budget.
It is Congress' (constitutional) job to pass a budget.

The president has submitted a proposal. Congress has failed to pass it, or anything else. As it has the last 12 years (or so).

So, how is this the president's fault? Congress has the power of the purse, not POTUS.

by Jasper on Feb 26, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

You are aware that the only reason the sequester came into existence in the first place was because it was the only compromise plan the republicans would agree to when they were holding a gun to the economy's head over the debt ceiling, right?

Yes am I aware that it came into existence after the administration failed to reach a compromise and decided on offering "automatic spending cuts" as a deal - avoiding a potential debt cliff.

like the possibility at the time that the GOP holdout over the debt ceiling would result in an even worse economic catastrophe.

Can't say I've heard that one. I thought furloughing people would have a large impact. I could be wrong though.

Is 18 months ago really too long to remember what actually happened around this issue?No to me. Back then, the parties were incapable or reaching a compromise.

This "well he only did it because xyz" is a logical as saying that Bush "only" went to war because Congress gave him the authority. Could he have done it w/o Congress? No. But we do blame only him right? Since it was his idea right?

Or have we blamed congress and not Bush?

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 1:09 pm • linkreport

Blank Stare o_O.

If you don't mind, please explain the race element? Thanks!

Perhaps I read too much into your original comment. My original reading was that you already hated this guy, which, if so, I could only attribute to race, as he has been nothing short of terrific so far IMO. If I misinterpreted, and it was this lone incident, than I apologize, but it just seems to me your mind is made up about Grosso, and if so, I can only wonder why.

My criticism is that Gross chose THIS moment to read e-mails from those telling him "Great Job" which is utterly ridiculous and makes no sense AT ALL. Find another time to give yourself a pat on the back.

Not ridiculous at all. The council is cracking down on corruption, and he was demonstrating that constituents agree with his approach. Seems perfectly reasonable.

Please explain the culture you reference here? What culture of ill-ethics has been supported by Barry's subsequent reelection? Where is this culture?

The man did crack. Enough crack that he went to prison. The man was/is corrupt, as recently as 2010. Both on their own are plenty of reason why he should NEVER be back in office. He got reelected, indicating to the rest of the council that corruption was accepted by 50% +1 of the citys population. Seems simple to me?

So yeah, Obama "could" win the political gamble but it's no secret that the plan to force the republicans to "compromise" has now backfired and we're now facing the potential of real cuts. The administration played political football w/the lives of the american people.

Plenty of other people have commented about this, but this is just false. The republicans in congress decided to use a mechanism (debt ceiling) as a political football for the first time in our nations history, not the Administration. The Republicans were willing to turn it into a political football of the size that the entire world financial system would have been turned upside down.

Or when they show the security line at O'Hare, or DFW, or Miami literally stretching out the front door.

Which likely won't happen but it also won't stop the demagogues from making your exact point. Even if federal employees are furloughed, agencies have enough discretion to ensure that they don't affect the operation of the agency.

No... They don't. Why would you say these lines wont happen? Do you have any sort of proof that all the experts regarding TSA furloughs are wrong, other than gut feeling?

Again, this was OBAMA's idea

False.

so all of these "catastrophic possibilities" should have been considered BEFORE suggesting the plan...don't you think? Or are you one of those who blame the republicans for supporting the president's plan?....

This wasn't the presidents plan. Yes, I blame the republicans here. In the stubborn insistence on not another dollar of revenue, we have lost the ability to get the additional revenue, and actual structural reforms to entitlement programs that are needed. Dems ARE willing to reform entitlements, Repubs ARE NOT willing to do more taxes. No compromise is possible when the other side will not give an inch.

by Kyle-W on Feb 26, 2013 1:11 pm • linkreport

The president has submitted a proposal. Congress has failed to pass it, or anything else. As it has the last 12 years (or so).

So how exactly did the Republican HOUSE propose (Ryan's) AND pass its own budget. OTOH, the Democratic SENATE hasn't passed a budget since Obama's been in office. So which argument are you making here?

So, how is this the president's fault?

Because he proposed it. Not sure what's difficult to understand about that.

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 1:14 pm • linkreport

"The council also took away Graham's alcohol and gave it to Vincent Orange."

Kinda funny mis-read. :)

by Frank IBC on Feb 26, 2013 1:21 pm • linkreport

The administration played political football w/the lives of the american people.

The administration and the Dems in Congress would love to cancel the sequester and go back to the status quo. It's the Repubs who won't allow it. Failing to cancel the sequester is 100% the Rs fault. Or should I say credit? Because many Rs think the sequester is actually a good idea that will benefit the economy in the long run.

What I don't understand about the R position is that they simultaneously blame Obama for the sequester, won't allow Obama to cancel it, and say the sequester is actually a good thing.

by Falls Church on Feb 26, 2013 1:22 pm • linkreport

"OTOH, the Democratic SENATE hasn't passed a budget "

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2012/02/parliamentary-procedure

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/05/zombie-lie/

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 1:24 pm • linkreport

@hogwash/David C.

Yes, there might be light pollution benefits of being next to an ocean. And San Diego might have to do less to mitigate the effects of city lights because they have a natural buffer. But that does not change the fact that the night sky in the DC metro area is very bright and that something could be done to address the issue.

by sk on Feb 26, 2013 1:24 pm • linkreport

It looks like DC uses predominately low-pressure sodium (amber colored) lights, whereas the suburbs (and the Mall) use high-pressure (blue-white) lights.

by Frank IBC on Feb 26, 2013 1:27 pm • linkreport

"Because he proposed it. Not sure what's difficult to understand about that."

if someone kidnaps your kid, and you suggest paying a ransom, is the ransom payment your fault for suggesting it?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 1:28 pm • linkreport

It's kind of interesting flying into Miami at night. The city lights start abruptly at the ocean, then end just as abruptly at the edge of the Everglades. The city looks like it's on an island.

by Frank IBC on Feb 26, 2013 1:29 pm • linkreport

Please explain the culture you reference here? What culture of ill-ethics has been supported by Barry's subsequent reelection?

Here is but one example:

Washington attorney Robert S. Bennett laid out the results of a thorough eight-month investigation that revealed how the Ward 8 council member repeatedly violated ethics laws and breached the public trust. "His conduct not only appeared to be improper, but was improper," Mr. Bennett said Tuesday as he detailed how Mr. Barry funneled public money to friends and associates, including a former girlfriend. The noted attorney was recruited by Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) to examine Mr. Barry's conduct following allegations last summer that he put a former girlfriend on the city payroll and that he abused council earmarks by steering money to questionable organizations.

by Falls Church on Feb 26, 2013 1:35 pm • linkreport

Dave Albo (R-Prince William) wants to keep it.

Delegate Albo represents the 42nd District in the Virginia House of Delegates. All of the 42nd is in Fairfax County, not Prince William (the southern border of the district is Prince William). Map of the district here (.pdf, over 3 MB).

by C. P. Zilliacus on Feb 26, 2013 1:47 pm • linkreport

The budget is not the issue, because it is disconnected from the appropriations process, which is where we actually spend the money.

So while I would like to see an organized budget process, it's getting a disportionate amount of attention. What matters is what is appropriated, the often has very, very little to do with the budget resolution because they are seperate processes. There also are a myriad of ways in which we make things not count in the budget, that we still pay for, which lends even less transparency to the process.

It's like the focus on the debt ceiling. You are looking at the wrong place. What matters is what makes it into appropriations bills.

The squester was designed to be such a bad idea that no one would actually go for it. It was never a real plan. Some people actually call it "the punishment sequester."

by Kate W. on Feb 26, 2013 1:48 pm • linkreport

@AWITC, uhm, thanks for pointing out that the Senate couldn't pass a budget because it couldn't get the votes. That sounds strangely similar to why republicans didn't pass Obama's "budget." That is, because Boehner couldn't get the votes. Am I missing something here?

if someone kidnaps your kid, and you suggest paying a ransom, is the ransom payment your fault for suggesting it?

Ridiculous analogy but I'll play along. In this instance, there was a "threat" that the child could be kidnapped IF something doesn't happen if the ransom (suggested by parents) wasn't paid. Then when the parents couldn't come up w/the money, they went on the media circuit complaining that they were being forced to pay the ransom.

if someone kidnaps your kid, and you suggest paying a ransom, is the ransom payment your fault for suggesting it?

@FC, not sure where you're going here. But where is the evidence that there's a "culture" which supports bad ethics? Is that different from the "culture" which supports Jim Graham?

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 1:59 pm • linkreport

But where is the evidence that there's a "culture" which supports bad ethics? Is that different from the "culture" which supports Jim Graham?

There is a culture of bad ethics. Marion Barry is the poster child of bad ethics but Graham is part of it to. The culture of supporting bad ethics is the culture that excuses the behavior of these people and continues to re-elect them.

by Falls Church on Feb 26, 2013 2:05 pm • linkreport

But where is the evidence that there's a "culture" which supports bad ethics? Is that different from the "culture" which supports Jim Graham?

No it's the same one, the person who originally posted that was criticizing the ethics culture (or lack thereof) of the whole council. But nice job trying to play the race card again.

Ridiculous analogy but I'll play along.

Actually, it's a perfect analogy. An even better analogy would be if they were threatening to murder your child, since that, like the debt ceiling debacle, could not be reversed. The GOP position was literally "come up with a plan to cut spending you don't want to cut or we will destroy the American Economy by letting us hit the debt ceiling." And so Obama came up with a plan to buy more time to reach an agreement. And now the GOP has decided that they want to go through with that plan but somehow don't want to take the blame for wanting to go through with the plan. Luckily the American people are a lot smarter than that and every poll says they will blame republicans if it goes through.

by MLD on Feb 26, 2013 2:05 pm • linkreport

"@AWITC, uhm, thanks for pointing out that the Senate couldn't pass a budget because it couldn't get the votes.
That sounds strangely similar to why republicans didn't pass Obama's "budget." That is, because Boehner couldn't get the votes. Am I missing something here? "

To pass over filibuster it needed 60 votes, which the Dems have not had since Ted Kennedy passed away.

To pass over filibuster it needed 60 votes, which the Dems have not had since Ted Kennedy passed away.

"In this instance, there was a "threat" that the child could be kidnapped"

no there was a threat that the kid would be killed.

" IF something doesn't happen if the ransom (suggested by parents) wasn't paid."

No, the threat to kill the child (fail to pass the debt ceiling resulting in default) came before the suggestion of ransom (sequestration)

"Then when the parents couldn't come up w/the money, they went on the media circuit complaining that they were being forced to pay the ransom"

And then the kidnappers attacked them for saying the ransom payment was ruinous, a ransom the parents suggested, and ignored the fact that the whole thing resulted from the kidnapping in the first place.

And then the media said that both the kidnappers and the parents are at fault.

Hoo boy!

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 2:08 pm • linkreport

Dems :

1+1 = 2

GOP :

1+1 = 4

Media, : There are partisans on both sides, but the most serious people think that 1+1 = 3

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 2:10 pm • linkreport

If I misinterpreted, and it was this lone incident, than I apologize, but it just seems to me your mind is made up about Grosso, and if so, I can only wonder why.

If you've never seen me spread any "hatred of Grosso," then how exactly were you able to jump ship and consider my non-hate race-related?

The council is cracking down on corruption, and he was demonstrating that constituents agree with his approach. Seems perfectly reasonable.

And we still disagree and that's ok. Maybe Grosso has missed every single report concluding that most DC residents do support ethics reform. So his "information giving" seems more about giving himself an unccessary pat on the back.

He got reelected, indicating to the rest of the council that corruption was accepted by 50% +1 of the citys population. Seems simple to me?

Well yeah I guess. But that would mean those people in Ward 1 have long supported this same ill-culture. If only it were that simple.

The Republicans were willing to turn it into a political football of the size that the entire world financial system would have been turned upside down.

Yeah sure! But how does that change the fact that the POTUS came up w/the suggestion that would lead to catastrophe he now complains about? It doesn't right? I'm sure you're only explaining "why" he had to play football right? He didn't really mean for his suggestion to come to life. Oke doke!

Do you have any sort of proof that all the experts regarding TSA furloughs are wrong, other than gut feeling?

Not sure what experts you're referring to. As in Ray LaHood? He, like the republican anti-defense cutters also claim that the country could never cut defense spending because our efforts to fight terrorism would be hampered. But since we're on the subject, how has the FAA decided to handle the across the board cuts? Do you know or are you relying on a "feeling" based on what you heard?

False.

So the sequester was whose idea exactly?

Dems ARE willing to reform entitlements

And what entitlement reforms are in the works?

, Repubs ARE NOT willing to do more taxes. No compromise is possible when the other side will not give an inch.

That's odd, I thought they just caved at the end of last year? Or are you saying they aren't willing to give more than what they already gave?

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

Regardless of how these kidnappers are threatening my child we have the following situation:

One party has spent its entire existence as the party against "wasteful spending" and the party of cuts. Lo and behold a large budget cut comes up.

However, this party is now saying those cuts are bad. The other party who has been cutting things offers to rework and remove some of these cuts coupled with some tax increases. But the original party hates taxes even more than spending cuts, and to give in to tax increases means a "win" for the other party which also can't happen. So the original party will let the cuts go through but find a way to blame it on the party who has the offer of tax increases on the table.

So yes, the republican party should be thrilled with the sequester in principle but they are savvy enough to recognize that principles doesn't always translate to winning elections.

by drumz on Feb 26, 2013 2:17 pm • linkreport

Marion Barry is the poster child of bad ethics but Graham is part of it to.

Yet, he was only reprimanded by the council once? Doesn't that seem odd? Or are you including his drug addiction in that?

But nice job trying to play the race card again.

You guys must really have your race hat on today. Marks the second time the "racism" charge has been created from whole cloth. Not sure what race has to do w/any of this. But ok. I'm playing the race card.

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 2:20 pm • linkreport

"Dems ARE willing to reform entitlements

And what entitlement reforms are in the works?"

The Dems have offered to discuss entitlement reforms, as long as tax reforms are also on the table. It would be foolish of them to propose specific entitlement cuts when the GOP wont put tax reform on the table.

" Repubs ARE NOT willing to do more taxes. No compromise is possible when the other side will not give an inch.

That's odd, I thought they just caved at the end of last year? Or are you saying they aren't willing to give more than what they already gave?"

They did not vote for a tax increase. They voted for a bill that allowed some of the bush era tax cuts to expire - less though than would have expired automatically had no bill been passed.

If your point is that some taxes increased at the end of 2012, its also true that there are spending cuts in 2011.

Now the GOP wants further cuts - to keep balance there will need to be further new revenue.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 2:23 pm • linkreport

To pass over filibuster it needed 60 votes, which the Dems have not had since Ted Kennedy passed away.

You do know that he died in August 2009 right? And that it was 8 months into Obama's term right? Which means they could've passed a budget when he first took office and didn't. I'll have to go back and check but I recall they "didn't" for political reasons. But at least you proved that when they had the votes, they didn't act.

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 2:24 pm • linkreport

You do know that he died in August 2009 right? And that it was 8 months into Obama's term right? Which means they could've passed a budget when he first took office and didn't.

Hmmmm....what was going on in those first 8 months....nope, I got nothin'.

by thump on Feb 26, 2013 2:29 pm • linkreport

your initial complaint was that they didn't pass it for the entire time BHO has been in office. Are you now focusing on that 8 month period, now almost 4 years ago? You should have said so.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 2:31 pm • linkreport

But at least you proved that when they had the votes, they didn't act.
Good god, do we really have to listen to the same tired Fox News bulls*** arguments about Congress?

http://sandiegofreepress.org/2012/09/the-myth-of-the-filibuster-proof-democratic-senate/

You really need to branch out and read/watch something other than right-wing propaganda.

by MLD on Feb 26, 2013 2:32 pm • linkreport

Yet, he was only reprimanded by the council once? Doesn't that seem odd?

I don't doubt that he's done other shady things and the most likely reason he hasn't been reprimanded more often is that there is a culture of corruption on the DC Council where corruption is not sufficiently investigated and those responsible are not held sufficiently responsible. Graham probably should have been reprimanded more often and Barry should have probably been impeached and removed.

by Falls Church on Feb 26, 2013 2:35 pm • linkreport

If you've never seen me spread any "hatred of Grosso," then how exactly were you able to jump ship and consider my non-hate race-related?

Just my perception of your view of the council as a whole, conceived by reading what you have had to say over the last few years.

And we still disagree and that's ok. Maybe Grosso has missed every single report concluding that most DC residents do support ethics reform. So his "information giving" seems more about giving himself an unccessary pat on the back.

You are making a huge deal of this. He spent a couple of minutes to make a point that DC residents are tired of the corruption and ready to move forward. This is a non-issue. You want to talk about a time waster, talk about how the house just forced a voice vote on a measure to rename a building in CA that passed last time 414-0. They spent a half hour on that vote. Grosso spent 3 minutes making a valid point. Moving on.

He got reelected, indicating to the rest of the council that corruption was accepted by 50% +1 of the citys population. Seems simple to me?

Well yeah I guess. But that would mean those people in Ward 1 have long supported this same ill-culture. If only it were that simple.

It means exactly what I said. 50% + 1 of the city didn't see corruption as being a big enough issue to not vote someone into office. Regarding specifically Jim Graham, he has had a huge amount of corporate support. I agree, he should not be in office, and feel strongly his time is up come next election.

Yeah sure! But how does that change the fact that the POTUS came up w/the suggestion that would lead to catastrophe he now complains about? It doesn't right? I'm sure you're only explaining "why" he had to play football right? He didn't really mean for his suggestion to come to life. Oke doke!

See above post by MLD. But you know this, you are simply choosing to ignore facts, which is unfortunate.

Not sure what experts you're referring to. As in Ray LaHood? He, like the republican anti-defense cutters also claim that the country could never cut defense spending because our efforts to fight terrorism would be hampered. But since we're on the subject, how has the FAA decided to handle the across the board cuts? Do you know or are you relying on a "feeling" based on what you heard?

Again, you are just burying your head in the sand. Even if it was someone not particularly reliable, at least they are working with facts, and not just a feeling. There is no way to handle cuts like these in a labor intensive org like TSA. Employees will need to be furloughed, there is no other way.

So the sequester was whose idea exactly?

See countless comments above

And what entitlement reforms are in the works?

You are kidding me here right? Chained CPI is done in a minute if there is a compromise. There was no doubt on POTUS side that he could get well over half his caucus to agree with this. There can and will be further cuts to Medicare/Medicaid if a big agreement can be reached.

Repubs ARE NOT willing to do more taxes. No compromise is possible when the other side will not give an inch.

That's odd, I thought they just caved at the end of last year? Or are you saying they aren't willing to give more than what they already gave?

Thats exactly what I am saying. Dems have cut ~2 trillion in expenses, and we have gotten 680 billion in new revenue. We need further more on both sides, and Republicans have indicated they are done.

See John Boehner on Monday "Well, Mr. President, you got your tax increase. It's time to cut spending"

by Kyle-W on Feb 26, 2013 2:36 pm • linkreport

It is possible to be popular with voters while being corrupt.

by drumz on Feb 26, 2013 2:42 pm • linkreport

our initial complaint was that they didn't pass it for the entire time BHO has been in office. Are you now focusing on that 8 month period, now almost 4 years ago?

That's the same complaint I have now. Have they or have they not? Someone else posted the suggested "reason" why they haven't which highlighted the 60-vote minimum hadn't been so since Kennedy died. So they haven't passed one the entire time..INCLUDING the period where they had the votes.

You really need to branch out and read/watch something other than right-wing propaganda.

Ahhh, and I suggest you read/watch something other than Al, Rachel, Ed, Lawrence and the rest of the radical left.

there is a culture of corruption on the DC Council where corruption is not sufficiently investigated and those responsible are not held sufficiently responsible.

I'm just trying understand the time frame. Granted, I have been more interested in the mayor's office than the council. So there might have been other serious ethics problems prior to Harry Thomas but can you name a few?

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 2:44 pm • linkreport

@ Walker:
Dems: 1+1 = 2
GOP: 1+1 = 4
Media: There are partisans on both sides, but the most serious people think that 1+1 = 3
, can you believe the dress Heidi Klum wore at some Oscar after-party? Here to talk about the looming fiscal cliff is some hyperpartisan clown that claims that 1+1=7. Sir, you can not be serious. We all know 3-4=-1. Why would you claim that 1+1=7, while the other side claims that 1+1=13,000,000? After the break, more dress reviews from the Grammies.

by Jasper on Feb 26, 2013 2:54 pm • linkreport

Just my perception of your view of the council as a whole, conceived by reading what you have had to say over the last few years

Then that means you really haven't been reading what I've actually said. What you likely have done is gained this perception based on what someone else said about what i wrote rather than what I actually said. Which is ironic considering that I've also been oft-accused of having a laissez faire attitude toward the council and general ethics problems.

You are making a huge deal of this.

Uhm, no you are. I've already stated that's its ok if we don't agree. I said it was a ridiculous show...you disagree.

Regarding specifically Jim Graham, he has had a huge amount of corporate support.

Ok. Well culture of corporate interests who support ill-ethics as well as the residents of Ward 1.

There is no way to handle cuts like these in a labor intensive org like TSA. Employees will need to be furloughed, there is no other way.

Who's arguing that they won't be furloughed? My question was whether you knew what plan TSA has put in place to deal w/the cuts. I don't recall seeing reports that on Monday, x amount of workers would be furloughed. Or Tuesday..Wed...etc. Any agency head who hasn't planned to deal w/the cuts should resign.

There was no doubt on POTUS side that he could get well over half his caucus to agree with this. There can and will be further cuts to Medicare/Medicaid if a big agreement can be reached.

Sure, and where exactly is the evidence of this? Are the proposed cuts online? Care to share? Thanks!

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 3:00 pm • linkreport

You do know that he died in August 2009 right? And that it was 8 months into Obama's term right?

It is a myth that dems had years and years of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

The Dems only had 60 votes for a month or two, because it took forever to get that senate election in MN decided. By the time Franken was finally seated, it was Summer, Congress went into recess, and by the time it came back, Kennedy (and Byrd) were too ill to get much done. They were pretty much wheeled in to get Obamacare passed.

It is not a myth that even that year they failed to pass a proper budget.

by Jasper on Feb 26, 2013 3:01 pm • linkreport

that does not change the fact that the night sky in the DC metro area is very bright and that something could be done to address the issue.

Agreed. I just wanted to push back on the idea that that "something" was something San Diego was already doing.

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 3:01 pm • linkreport

"Someone else posted the suggested "reason" why they haven't which highlighted the 60-vote minimum hadn't been so since Kennedy died. So they haven't passed one the entire time..INCLUDING the period where they had the votes."

which turns out on closer inspection to have been only 4 weeks, not even 8 months. So they havent passed one for the entire time, including the four weeks that they could have passed it over a filbuster, with not even one vote to spare.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 3:03 pm • linkreport

So they havent passed one for the entire time, including the four weeks that they could have passed it over a filbuster, with not even one vote to spare.

Yes. Which takes us back to my initial assertion that they haven't passed one during Obama's entire time in office. Your rationale is sorta secondary to the facts here. So they had 4 weeks to vote on a budget they had every means to work on during the entire 8 mos in office.

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 3:07 pm • linkreport

Is "light pollution" really that much of a concern? Seems like a natural result of urbanization.

by Chris on Feb 26, 2013 3:10 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash

Fair enough, I think its a non-issue, you see it as an issue. Thats fine. I mentioned that I wasn't sure why W1 still supported him. Perhaps the big money backing him has warded off any challengers that would have been able to win? Like I said, I think this is his last term.

There are plans for each agency. TSA knows exactly what their furlough policy will be. This information is out there, just because you haven't seen it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

This article includes a lot of people against it in rhetoric, but none take it off the table completely. The fact of the matter is, the President has proposed it, and the President has his caucus behind him, something you cannot say about any Republican leader.

http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/many-dems-not-sold-on-chained-cpi-offer-85287.html

by Kyle-W on Feb 26, 2013 3:19 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash

after the administration failed to reach a compromise

It takes two to not reach a compromise.

But how does that change the fact that the POTUS came up w/the suggestion that would lead to catastrophe he now complains about? It doesn't right?

No that is a fact. It is your interpretation of the relevance of that fact, and the assignment of blame, that people are opposing.

On the one hand you blame him for failing to reach a compromise and then you blame him for promoting and idea that leads to a compromise. Don't these two positions seem to be contradictory.

So the sequester was whose idea exactly?

Jack Lew and Rob Nabors.

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 3:27 pm • linkreport

Is "light pollution" really that much of a concern? Seems like a natural result of urbanization.

Yes, both to humans and other animals. Simply google "effects of light pollution" to find studies.

by thump on Feb 26, 2013 3:29 pm • linkreport

Which takes us back to my initial assertion that they haven't passed one during Obama's entire time in office.

Which is a fact. But since the Democratic SENATE hasn't haven't really had the power to pass a budget makes it irrelevant to your original point. There are a lot of things the Democratic Senate hasn't done that they can't possibly do.

The fact is that the Senate can't do anything unless both sides are willing to compromise. We could argue over who is being unreasonable in these negotiations, but the Republicans are sitting on quite a bit of power here so you can't reasonably lay the blame at the feat of just Democrats. And I would point out that Republicans have used the filibuster in a way that is unprecedented and arguably harmful. Do you support the use of the filibuster as demonstrated by the Republicans in the Senate?

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 3:33 pm • linkreport

But since the Democratic SENATE hasn't haven't really had the power to pass a budget makes it irrelevant to your original point. There are a lot of things the Democratic Senate hasn't done that they can't possibly do.

It's the Republican Congress's responsibility to write a check. And, granted, they haven't done that. But the Senate Democrats are every bit as bad because they haven't endorsed the check! And furthermore, Obama hasn't cashed it!

So I can't understand how anyone could argue this is primarily the GOP House's fault.

by oboe on Feb 26, 2013 4:03 pm • linkreport

Perhaps the big money backing him has warded off any challengers that would have been able to win?

Or it could be the same as why Barry continues to win in W8. That is, there hasn't been a serious contender which makes him, like Graham, simply "all they know" and he wins by default. But I honestly would never suggest W1 voters support corruption as it is often implied about those of us in W8.

I didn't suggest that TSA doesn't have a plan. I'm most certain that they do...its not optional. My point was that they have "planned" how to roll out the furloughs meaning there won't be the long lines as suggested.

Don't these two positions seem to be contradictory.

Not to me. But to clarify, I'm pushing the notion that it's ridiculous for the POTUS to parade around the country complaining about a plan he suggested. I have to go back but I believe this single point covered my initial post on the matter.

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 4:35 pm • linkreport

But since the Democratic SENATE hasn't haven't really had the power to pass a budget makes it irrelevant to your original point.

I don't see how. They had "four weeks" to pass one. That's aside from the democratic controlled house which could've cooperated w/the Senate's simply majority vote. They didn't. BTW, I'm not "just" placing the blame at the feet of democrats. I'm placing blame for the idea of the actual sequester on the person most responsible...Barack Obama.

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 4:43 pm • linkreport

I'm pushing the notion that it's ridiculous for the POTUS to parade around the country complaining about a plan he suggested.

I would say it's not a "plan" he suggested. It was a forcing mechanism that he suggested, in response to a Republican threat, and the Republicans agreed to. POTUS is complaining that Congress appears to be on the verge of letting that forcing mechanism kick in, which is something that most people don't want to happen.

In other words, it is not ridiculous for him to complain about the sequester if he thinks it's bad policy. And who suggested it is irrelevant.

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 4:45 pm • linkreport

"I'm placing blame for the idea of the actual sequester on the person most responsible...Barack Obama."

If congress would pass a bill to simply eliminte the sequester, BHO would sign it. They won't. Whats complicated about that?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 4:48 pm • linkreport

They had "four weeks" to pass one.

No. They really didn't, because one of their votes was in no condition to actually vote.

I'm placing blame for the idea of the actual sequester on the person most responsible...Barack Obama.

Let's recall that he only suggested the sequester because Republicans were threatening to not raise the debt limit to cover spending Congress had already approved.

And in light of that, what deal should Obama have made if not the one he did? Is there another credible plan that seemed viable?

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 4:51 pm • linkreport

POTUS is complaining that Congress appears to be on the verge of letting that forcing mechanism kick in, which is something that most people don't want to happen.

But also something he KNEW COULD happen if the republicans played ball.

In other words, it is not ridiculous for him to complain about the sequester if he thinks it's bad policy. And who suggested it is irrelevant.

Thank goodness for agreeing that he supported bad policy. Of course it's irrelevant to you since Obama suggested it. Wouldn't expect you to think otherwise.

If congress would pass a bill to simply eliminte the sequester, BHO would sign it. They won't. Whats complicated about that?

I guess about as complicated as the WH agreeing to spending cuts w/no tax increases. Their agreement could nip this in the bud. Correct?

No. They really didn't, because one of their votes was in no condition to actually vote.

Ahhh...that old line hunh? Yet in his sickly condition, Ted Kennedy DID cast a vote in favor of Obamacare. Maybe he only had enough strength to make one vote. *snickering*

Let's recall that he only suggested the sequester because Republicans were threatening to not raise the debt limit to cover spending Congress had already approved.

Yes. And now that his worst case scenario has come full circle, he blames the republicans..even though he could end it by passing a bill w/o more spending.

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 5:06 pm • linkreport

But I honestly would never suggest W1 voters support corruption as it is often implied about thoise of us in W8.

I think some voters in W8 define corruption differently than at least I would. For example, I'd define tax evasion as corruption. Based on your statement below, it seems like you don't define "tax problems" as corruption or that form of corruption wouldn't stop you from voting for someone.

@Falls, admittedly, I don't know anything at all about Bondi's tax problems. Frankly, I haven't even read the charges here.Personally, I wouldn't vote against a person because of past tax problems...I just wouldn't. I also wouldn't go the mile and assume that someone who is negligent in satisfying their tax obligation can't be trusted.

by Falls Church on Feb 26, 2013 5:08 pm • linkreport

I'm placing blame for the idea of the actual sequester on the person most responsible...Barack Obama.

Couldn't agree more. Not the people who drafted the legislation. And not the people who voted for it, certainly. Time to put the blame for this legislation squarely where it belongs: on the Executive branch.

Did anyone else used to watch Schoolhouse Rock growing up, or did I dream that up?

by oboe on Feb 26, 2013 5:11 pm • linkreport

And FWIW, twice today i've been accused of either being racist or playing the race card.

I'm assuming many people here flooded the GGW inbox complaining about that and how disruptive it is...Correct? Or is it par for the course since it's HogWash we're talking about here?

Imagine that.

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 5:12 pm • linkreport

Based on your statement below, it seems like you don't define "tax problems" as corruption or that form of corruption wouldn't stop you from voting for someone.

I can't speak to how other W8 voters view corruption so I'll defer to your more authoritative judgment. Knowing many who've been delinquent (for whatever reason), including yours truly, no I don't think delinquency is akin to corruption. You do..and that's ok. We just disagree.

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 5:16 pm • linkreport

Both parties share the blame for another reason: Reaching the debt ceiling was never going to destroy the financial system.

Reaching the debt ceiling does not force the federal government to default. It simply prevents the government from incurring more debt. It's essentially a really severe sequester--spending can not be more than revenues.

That's less severe than a shutdown, where spending must be zero. Why so many people believe the line about the government having to default on its debt is beyond me.

So: To prevent a big sequester the parties agreed to a small sequester. The only think that makes the small sequester worse than the standard governmnt shutdown, is that it is not as bad as a shutdown, so we might just live with it.

by JimT on Feb 26, 2013 5:28 pm • linkreport

"I guess about as complicated as the WH agreeing to spending cuts w/no tax increases. Their agreement could nip this in the bud. Correct?"

And if the GOP would accept revenue increases without spending cuts, that would nip it in the bud too. Neither is reasonable. Abolishing the sequester and negotiating WITHOUT a manufactured crisis IS reasonable, and BHO is willing and the GOP is not.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 5:28 pm • linkreport

"It's essentially a really severe sequester--"

Like disastrously severe. Plus the effect on demand would have ripped the economy to shreds. Plus its not actually clear that the SecTreasury could have met the obligations to bondholders while stopping congressionally authorized spending.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 5:31 pm • linkreport

A standoff in the debt ceiling — even a brief one, with bondholders paid on time — might also raise the country’s borrowing costs permanently. “It is not assured that the Treasury would or legally could prioritize debt service over its myriad other obligations, including Social Security payments, tax rebates and payments to contractors and employees,” Fitch, the major ratings agency, said on Tuesday. “Arrears on such obligations would not constitute a default event from a sovereign rating perspective but very likely prompt a downgrade even as debt obligations continued to be met.”

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 5:34 pm • linkreport

But also something he KNEW COULD happen if the republicans played ball.

Yes. What was the better alternative?

Thank goodness for agreeing that he supported bad policy.

No. He reluctantly agreed to the sequester as a forcing mechanism, but did not "support it" as bad policy.

You were trying to make an analogy to the Iraq War earlier. Here's the difference. Bush made decisions and exerted pressure on Congress to give him a policy he wanted - the war. But Congress made decisions and exerted pressure on Obama to get a policy that he didn't want - spending cuts. That's why Bush should get primary blame for the war (but not all of it) and Congress should get primary blame for the sequester. It's the actions of Congress that put this in place.

As a thought experiment, imagine that Bush had had a more friendly Congress (with a majority of people who thought like him). Would we still have had the war? Most certainly.

Now imagine Obama had a more friendly Congress (with a majority of people who thought like him). Would we still have had the sequester? Absolutely not.

Of course it's irrelevant to you since Obama suggested it. Wouldn't expect you to think otherwise

Ok. That's an insult. A polite insult, but one nonetheless. You're implying that I'm incapable of thinking rationally and in a non-partisan way. If you've got a reason to think that about me, then let's hear it, but otherwise cut it out. This is a frequent refrain of yours and it does not do the debate here any service.

Yet in his sickly condition, Ted Kennedy DID cast a vote in favor of Obamacare.

No. He didn't. He was dead.

he blames the republicans..even though he could end it by passing a bill w/o more spending.

Yes. Because it is Republican action that has led to this point, in defiance of what a majority of Americans want ("a balanced deal").

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 5:39 pm • linkreport

Why so many people believe the line about the government having to default on its debt is beyond me.

So not paying people the money they're owed because you don't have the money to do so is not a default? That is certainly a novel definition of the term. Do you know of any economists who support that definition?

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 5:42 pm • linkreport

OTOH, the Democratic SENATE hasn't passed a budget since Obama's been in office.

One more thing. This statement is untrue (can't believe I didn't catch it earlier). They passed a budget in April 2009. Obama was sworn in in January 2009. As in before April 2009.

So you're whole premise is wrong, because you're wrong on the facts.

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 5:56 pm • linkreport

Here's the difference. Bush made decisions and exerted pressure on Congress to give him a policy he wanted - the war. But Congress made decisions and exerted pressure on Obama to get a policy that he didn't want - spending cuts.

Wait. So Bush asked Congress for their authority based off of information both he and congressional leaders had access to. But you liken that to exerting pressure on Congress. Yet, Obama was forced to do something he didn't want..and I assume he "didn't" exert pressure on his caucus to pass it? You do know that it would not have passed w/o pressure from the WH right? Since it was his plan. Bush is responsible for Congress giving him the ok. Obama isn't responsible because Congress did it. Alrighty then!

You're implying that I'm incapable of thinking rationally and in a non-partisan way. If you've got a reason to think that about me, then let's hear it, but otherwise cut it out.

Sure! See my comment in this post as well as your response to each previous post. Based on that, it doesn't seem as if you're able to think in a non-partisan way and I see your twisting and turning (just to absolve the president) as evidence of that. Don't get what's insulting about that. It's my belief based on what you've written..and you can disagree. That's ok.

No. He didn't. He was dead.

That you weren't supposed to catch.

Yes. Because it is Republican action that has led to this point, in defiance of what a majority of Americans want ("a balanced deal").

Count this as another example of the viewing through a partisan lens. The opinions of americans are known to be half-baked and quite situational. Just a few years ago, Americans were against homosexual marriages. Yet, many democrats supported it in clear defiance of the american people.

So you're whole premise is wrong, because you're wrong on the facts.

Yes I was wrong. The Senate hasn't passed a budget in nearly four years. OTOH, the house has..twice I believe and it went to die in the Senate. That's a more accurate description.

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 7:00 pm • linkreport

Bush asked Congress for their authority based off of information both he and congressional leaders had access to.

Well, not to rehash it all, but it's a little more than that. He used his power to move troops into place thus setting up a situation where pulling them back would have signaled weakness. It's sort of the same tactic - give me what I want or hurt the standing of the United States. And he leaked false information to the NY Times which he then used as justification for the war, along with other false information which he presented publicly so as to create pressure on Congress to act. Admittedly, Congress (and the media) failed to do their job. But that's what happened.

I assume he "didn't" exert pressure on his caucus to pass it?

On his caucus? Perhaps. On Republicans? No. That's the difference.

You do know that it would not have passed w/o pressure from the WH right?

No. I don't, and neither do you. Unless you have a magic box that let's you know the outcome of events that never occurred.

Bush is responsible for Congress giving him the ok. Obama isn't responsible because Congress did it.

Again, another gross oversimplification. But Bush got what he wanted and asked for. Obama did not. That's why Bush is primarily responsible, but Obama is not. If Obama had come to Congress and asked for a sequester unsolicited, and then pushed for months he'd be primarily responsible. If the stimulus or Obamacare fail, those are things he's responsible for, because they were his initiative. But the sequester was not. Do you see the difference? I've laid it out as clearly as I can.

Based on that, it doesn't seem as if you're able to think in a non-partisan way and I see your twisting and turning (just to absolve the president) as evidence of that. Don't get what's insulting about that.

Ok. Well, leave these kinds of comments out anyway. You think I'm a mindless, knee-jerk Obama supporter for reasons you can't state [something like continuing to draw the same conclusions even as I'm shown that the facts that back it up are wrong, for example] AND you don't see how calling someone mindless is insulting. Whatever. I respect that. But I'm telling you now that, to me, it is and I'm asking you to respect that. So when you feel like going down this path in the future, don't.

Just a few years ago, Americans were against homosexual marriages.

Alright, so your position is that Republican support of budget cuts without revenue increases is a courageous stand for their beliefs, regardless of whether or not the voters agree. I don't see it that way, but it doesn't really change the fact that it is Republican actions that got us here.

Yes I was wrong. The Senate hasn't passed a budget in nearly four years.

But you can't just dismiss this. The fact WAS your point. Let's rewrite what you wrote without it.

So how exactly did the Republican HOUSE propose (Ryan's) AND pass its own budget. OTOH

Doesn't make much sense does it?

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 7:32 pm • linkreport

"Based on that, it doesn't seem as if you're able to think in a non-partisan way and I see your twisting and turning"

I see you, of all people, accuse others of twisting.

I can respect that.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 7:39 pm • linkreport

The above discussion is a good example on why we're in this mess. We can't even agree on the basic facts. And worse, most of the discussion is meta-blame game stuff.

Blame is irrelevant. What's relevant is how we're gonna get out of this mess. And how we're gonna prevent getting in this mess again.

And now for some hypocritical effing on: How about blaming Harry Reid for not getting rid of the filibuster? Spineless weasel.

by Jasper on Feb 26, 2013 8:20 pm • linkreport

@ Jasper - I too wish that Reid had gotten rid of the filibuster, but unfortunately the Democrats don't have a filibuster-proof majority enabling them to do so. Catch-22.

by Frank IBC on Feb 26, 2013 11:33 pm • linkreport

Well, not to rehash it all, but it's a little more than that.

Did he or did he not go to Congress, asked and was subsequently given the authority to invade Iraq? Yes Correct? There's always more to any story.

Unless you have a magic box that let's you know the outcome of events that never occurred.

I also see dead people. That 6th sense I have allowing me to realize we have a system where a President (sometimes making personal appeals) sends down directives to party leaders who in turn take it to their caucus. You don't believe such a system exists and that's ok. We can disagree but remember *I see dead people*

If the stimulus or Obamacare fail, those are things he's responsible for, because they were his initiative. But the sequester was not.

If Obama had agreed to cut spending w/o raising taxes, (not a smart idea) there would've been no sequester. Because he wouldn't concede to their demands, the WH suggested the sequester. It was his proposal.

You think I'm a mindless, knee-jerk Obama supporter for reasons you can't state

I think you're being way too harsh on yourself because I certainly don't think that. In fact, your focus on Obama is misplaced since I believe your positions are more inline w/the democratic party than w/one particular person. It's an ideological predisposition..similar to Rachel Maddow but unlike Schultz. Again, waaaay to hard on yourself dude.

AND you don't see how calling someone mindless is insulting. Whatever. I respect that. But I'm telling you now that, to me, it is and I'm asking you to respect that.

Well sure I do consider that insulting. But that's your characterization..not mine. There isn't a poster here who I would describe in such a way. No, I'm not going respect the fact that you put words in mouth my and expect me to concede to your edict. But at least we've moved beyond your former approach of inviting me to meet you in the street so you can poke your finger in my chest while spitting in my face. Oh, the irony of "respect" :)

but it doesn't really change the fact that it is Republican actions that got us here.

Yes, their actions coupled w/the Democrat's and WH are responsible and why we should all be angry that the system still can't work and leadership is failing us.

But you can't just dismiss this. The fact WAS your point.

Sure I can. Let me show you how. I was off by four months. Democrats haven't passed a Senate budget since April of 2009.

Doesn't make much sense does it?

So the republicans didn't pass their own budget? Then what exactly did democrats campaign against? Ryan's Ghost Budget!

*There's something strange, in the n'hood, what you gonna call it? Ghost Budget...I can't hear youuuu*

(doing the cabbage patch and a lil watusi)

by HogWash on Feb 27, 2013 10:12 am • linkreport

@DavidCSo not paying people the money they're owed because you don't have the money to do so is not a default? That is certainly a novel definition of the term. Do you know of any economists who support that definition?

I don't think you are characterizing what I am saying correctly. Failing to pay debts is default, but that is besides the point, because your unpaid debts are also debts. The point is that when you hit a debt ceiling, you have the option--I'd say obligation--of not incurring any more debt (beyond debts you pay off). The idea of not paying a debt because you hit a debt ceiling is odd, because that debt is a debt, and failing to pay it does not somehow convert it to something that is not a debt.

By anlogy, if your credit card reaches its debt ceiling when your income is 80% of your spending, do you say: Since I am at my credit card limit, I will continue spending but I must stop paying my creditors?

I think the debt ceiling really requires: Pay everyone you owe when due, as you do today. Then, with the rest of the cash flow, cut spending. That might mean cutting about 20% of spending, putting employees on 2-3 days forlough per pay period, reduced social security, etc.

@Awalkerinthecity: I'm not saying that is good. I am saying that this is not detault. Totally different. I would also say that it is not as bad as total shutdown, where no one is working at all and no one gets even a partial entitlement check.

So why were we hearing about default, instead of the partial shutdown which logic suggests is required by reaching a debt ceiling? vidently, because some officials thought that reaching the debt limit means that you can keep going into more debt, as long as you don't pay off your debtors.

I'll also add that the suggestion that the President has no authority to stop paying social security but that he does have the authority to stop paying bondholders when you hit a debt limit is really odd. Failing to spend is what you have to do to stay below the debt limit, while failing to pay bondholders or contractors does not keep you below the debt limit.

by JimT on Feb 27, 2013 10:52 am • linkreport

JimT - i believe you are incorrect about the legal nature of the debt ceiling. It banned Treasury from issuing more debt instruments. It did not require treasury to avoid having interest accrue - nor did it mandate cutting all spending to avoid having the interest accrue. Indeed, its not clear that treasury even had the legal right to stop spending that is mandated by statute. They may have been legally obligated to default.

"I'll also add that the suggestion that the President has no authority to stop paying social security but that he does have the authority to stop paying bondholders when you hit a debt limit is really odd."

IANAL, but I have read that many lawyers did think that was the case, odd or not.

We can quibble about what the law was, or should have been. The reality is that A. he may not have had the choice to pay bondholders first B. to do so might have been a disaster worse than default, ergo default may have been the preferred choice, and hence is the proper thing to cite as the motivation for suggesting sequester. Anyway, this is all a quibble about language - the bottom line is that claiming it was BHOs idea, out of context, is profoundly misleading.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 27, 2013 11:00 am • linkreport

I'll also add that the suggestion that the President has no authority to stop paying social security but that he does have the authority to stop paying bondholders when you hit a debt limit is really odd.

That was not the argument. The argument put forth then was that the president doesn't have the authority to decide what to spend on and what to not spend on. Because he constitutionally doesn't have that authority. Congress decides what to spend money on and what revenue to collect including how much the country can borrow.

Also the US federal budget works quite a bit differently than you and your credit card.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/04/12/135314575/the-debt-ceiling-explained
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/01/22/the-debt-ceiling-explained-video/

You originally said:
Reaching the debt ceiling does not force the federal government to default.

This is wrong and the vast majority of economists disagree with you.

by MLD on Feb 27, 2013 11:12 am • linkreport

@MLD: Can you explain why you think that reaching a debt limit forces the government to default (i.e. stop paying its bills), as opposed to paying all bills while cutting spending? Those links certainly don't.

The argument put forth then was that the president doesn't have the authority to decide what to spend on and what to not spend on. Because he constitutionally doesn't have that authority. Congress decides what to spend money on and what revenue to collect including how much the country can borrow.

That's a better characerization of the argument that I think is odd, in the context of a debt ceiling. If the President is faced with a law that says "don't increase the debt any more" then that is, by necessity, a requirement to cut spending. The Constitution says that the President must ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. So what in the Constitution would prevent the President from (for example) paying all bills and debts as they come due, and then cutting all other forms of spending by an equal amount?

I find it quite odd to suggest that the President must instead disregard the debt ceiling law and thereby cause the nation to go farther into debt while failing to pay bills that have been legally incurred.

by JimT on Feb 27, 2013 11:28 am • linkreport

Can you explain why you think that reaching a debt limit forces the government to default (i.e. stop paying its bills), as opposed to paying all bills while cutting spending?

Who is cutting spending? Congress can (by passing a law that would reduce spending) but the President cannot. How can the government "pay all bills" while also "cutting spending"? Those two things are completely at odds. Spending that the government is doing includes paying bills as well as paying employees and sending out social security checks. The President can't just stop doing those things, because the law requires him to do those things. But let's posit for a moment that he could. What is he supposed to "stop spending" on that isn't going to shake the confidence that the US government can pay its bills?

If the President is faced with a law that says "don't increase the debt any more" then that is, by necessity, a requirement to cut spending. The Constitution says that the President must ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. So what in the Constitution would prevent the President from (for example) paying all bills and debts as they come due, and then cutting all other forms of spending by an equal amount?

You're ignoring the fact that the law also says "you have to spend money on all these things in appropriations bills." And as you said, "The Constitution says that the President must ensure that the laws are faithfully executed." The debt ceiling is law. Appropriations are also law.

The video on that WaPo page actually explains this quite succinctly.

by MLD on Feb 27, 2013 11:35 am • linkreport

" If the President is faced with a law that says "don't increase the debt any more" then that is, by necessity, a requirement to cut spending."

I dont think you understand the nature of the debt limit. Its a limit on the amount of debt the treasury may ISSUE. Way back in the early history of the republic, the treasury went to congress for authorization of each issue of bonds (the way some localities have referenda to authorize a bond issue). Of course they did not go to congress each time they made an interest payment. The debt ceiling was a way to have congress authorize bond issues, without having to vote on each and every Tbill issue. As such it has been passed routinely - its simply about giving legal authorization for bond issues, its NOT about setting policy on overall indebtedness, and in no way mandates paying interest beyond the existing legal obligation to pay interest.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/31/3101

the debate over the "debt ceiling" was highly misleading, and has left considerable confusion.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 27, 2013 11:45 am • linkreport

"Blame is irrelevant. What's relevant is how we're gonna get out of this mess. And how we're gonna prevent getting in this mess again."

blame is profoundly relevant. without blame there is no accountability. If we all automatically cast equal blame on all, there is no incentive for politicians to behave responsibly. blame is about imposing a cost on obstuctionism and extremism.

We have an election coming up in 2014. The results of that will impact whats possible in the subsequent two years. If the voters think everyone is equally to blame, that will result in a different outcome than if they place the blame on those who have actually been obstructionist and extremist.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 27, 2013 11:51 am • linkreport

@AWITH: That explains why default would be legal. But does it really explain why default would be the only option?

I think the argument that some would make, if I follow the argument, is: There is no statute preventing the government from going into default or stiuffing creditors. There are authorization and appropriations bills, and varioius program statutes that direct spending. So therefore, the President who cuts spending is exceeding his authority while the President who stiffs creditors is mot. amd that forces the government to go into default. Do I follow your point?

If so, what I am trying to say is, that default seems to be an option by that logic. But the other option is to pay the creditors because all participants in the market are legally required to pay their bills. That legal requirement to pay bills does indeed run up against legal requirements (or at lesat authorization) to spend money on various programs.

The President must take care to see that the laws are faithfully executed. And here there are conflicting requirements. Where is the requirement for the President to give greater deference to appropriations laws than to the legal requirement to pay bills? That is, if one law says turn left and another law says turn right, does that mean that the President must steer into the rocks? I think it means that the President has the authority at that point to do what it best.

by JimT on Feb 27, 2013 11:56 am • linkreport

Where is the requirement for the President to give greater deference to appropriations laws than to the legal requirement to pay bills?

What exactly are these things other than "bills" that the government is paying? Do you know what the government does?

Are the wages your company pays you every two weeks not a "bill" for work already done? Are social security checks guaranteed to people not a "bill"?

by MLD on Feb 27, 2013 12:01 pm • linkreport

"I think it means that the President has the authority at that point to do what it best."

you may think that, but apparently many constitutional lawyers did not. Can we leave it at that?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 27, 2013 12:02 pm • linkreport

@AWITC: Well, if you have any idea about what the argument was that the President can't use best judgment when faced with these conflicting requirements, I would love to know what that argument is. But if you don't, we could surely leave it at that. Lunchtime is almost over.

@MDL: The bills I had in mind are payments due under every contract the government signed, including bonds. But no, social security checks or federal retirement checks are not a "bill" (or even a property right). Nor are the salaries of federal employees for time not yet worked.

That is, beyond about a month, the payments that the government is legally required to make are well below taxes collected, making it quite feasible to carry on without going into default. That is why I think that default was a possible option, but not the inevitable (or preferred) response to reaching the debt ceiling.

by JimT on Feb 27, 2013 12:24 pm • linkreport

Did he or did he not go to Congress, asked and was subsequently given the authority to invade Iraq? Yes Correct?

Exactly, and that's why Bush's involvement in the Iraq War gives him far more ownership of it than Obama has of the sequester. Bush asked for the war and Obama settled for sequester - while publicly stating opposition to it actually happening.

Again, if Bush had had a Congress full of like-minded legislators we would have still had the war, but if Obama had a similar congress there would have been no sequester. You do see how these things are different right?

It was his proposal.

No technically it came from his staff. But even if we include that in a forgiving definition of "his proposal", on it's own is deceptive. It is more accurate to say that it was a counter-offer, made after a series of other counter-offers were rejected and when a deadline was looming during which the opposition was threatening to do something that they knew would harm the country.

Context matters. You seem to be ignoring that.

That you weren't supposed to catch.

So are you saying you were lying?

I think you're being way too harsh on yourself because I certainly don't think that...It's an ideological predisposition.

First of all I'm not being hard on myself or judging myself at all. Your opinion of me doesn't shape my opinion of myself at all. I just think hurling insults at each other does little good.

Second of all, here's what you wrote:

"Of course it's irrelevant to you since Obama suggested it. Wouldn't expect you to think otherwise."

Your point seems to be that Obamas' suggestion of it MADE IT irrelevant to me. You're implying that if it has been suggested by someone else I would have found it relevant are you not?

That isn't an ideological predisposition. It is the use of trivial facts for the creation of value judgements. How is that not an insult?

by David C on Feb 27, 2013 12:31 pm • linkreport

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