Saturday, May 6, 2023

The Debt Ceiling Is About to Crash, And Mr. Magoo Is Behind the Wheel

The Debt Ceiling Is About to Crash, And Mr. Magoo Is Behind the Wheel

Matt Vespa

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Let's get the obvious out of the way: when you overspend and things crash and burn—that's on you. In principle, sure, let the US default on our obligations; we've been overspending for years across the board with two parties that have zero interest in curbing any of it. 

Before the Koch brothers left the political advocacy business, they were right in their assessment of Washington: one party, the Democrats, wants to go over the fiscal cliff at 80 miles per hour, while the GOP would instead trot off at a slower 40. Academia and thought exercises aside, we can't default on our obligations. The reverberations in the world economy would be catastrophic, so for the Keynesians of the world, there is some optimism that both sides will compromise, at least on paper. The only problem is that Mr. Magoo is behind the wheel.

Multiple crises have struck America, and Joe Biden has failed to resolve them. We botched two withdrawals from war-torn nations. High inflation is still strangling American working families, with the bonus of the first quarter economic report being outright terrible. Banks are failing one after another. Yes, the US banking system is on shaky ground. And yet, in the mind of this sad, old man, we're riding high. I'm not as confident that anything of substance is getting done because Biden is cantankerous, arrogant, and stupid. 

The arrogance is astounding since Biden has accomplished next to nothing other than being the punchline for his numerous gaffes. He's an elected Democrat from Delaware, which isn't a political accomplishment. And neither is being wrong on every major foreign policy initiative this nation has undertaken, which explains our bumper-car-style leadership abroad: no endless wars unless they're by proxy and against the Russians. 

America is not back. She never left, but now everyone and their mother in Europe sees how unreliable we are with Biden at the helm. What makes them think he acts any differently when facing pressing domestic issues? 

Biden will have one line: a clean raise, which he knows will be unpalatable to some key folks in the House GOP caucus who, if they want to, could put on a show and bring forward a motion to vacate, which only needs one member. He's invited a congressional delegation to the White House to discuss a deal. Does anyone think any headway will be made with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the room? Any division is more likely to brew among congressional Republicans, so Democrats have the advantage coming in, not least because their side also occupies the White House. 

The bully pulpit here can be deadly. Obama used it expertly after the Tea Party wave, though he also had political skills. Joe doesn't. The tools are there for Biden to get what he wants, but does he have the intelligence, political acumen, and cognition to use them to his advantage? That remains to be seen. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and her mental capabilities have been an open secret on the Hill. She's lost more than a step but has excellent staffers and aides who keep the ship from hitting rocky shoals. Biden doesn't have that. He's assembled the most incompetent administration, staffed by people with no business helming the agencies they've been tapped to lead. They may speak with learned diction but can't do anything right. Yes, it's diverse, but no one cares if everyone is infected with the systemic ineptitude that's become the hallmark characteristic of this administration. 

Two things are going right regarding avoiding a default. One is history; when has Congress not increased the debt ceiling? Two, despite the GOP being weaker heading into these negotiations, I'll bet heavily that should Armageddon be brought upon us by these clowns, both parties would be equally blamed for the fiasco, especially among independent voters. June 1 is the date when the end of the world is upon us. And Mr. Magoo is entrusted with keeping us from going off the cliff.

Pass the aspirin and whiskey.

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