the DON JONES INDEX…

 

 

 

GAINS POSTED in GREEN

LOSSES POSTED in RED

 

 

 

10/8/21…  14,402.77 

10/1/21…  14,369.19 

6/27/13…  15,000.00

 

(THE DOW JONES INDEX:  10/8/21…34,754.99; 10/1/21…33,843.92; 6/27/13… 15,000.00)

 

 

LESSON for October 8, 2021 – “MOOT!  MOOT!”

 

 

When Congress passed the “kick-the-can” government funding pushback to (maybe) Halloween, Don Jones must have breathed a sigh of relief, considering all the house o’horrors bats and spiders that panic-pushing Democrats have been promulgating…

But wait!

The celebration was premature inasmuch as… to use a football metaphor as now ‘tis the season… the rival Democrats and Republicans have played only two half-quarters of a four-quarter marathon. 

Last week (see DJI) brought President Joe one diluted (but necessary) victory (the kick-the-can government funding to a date and time of his choosing, said date being December 3rd in the real world, Halloween in Joe’s) and two resounding (but temporary) defeats (the expected 3.5 trillion human infrastructure levy and the humiliating 1 trillion physical infrastructure bill which Speaker Pelosi yanked from the Congressional floor after determining that too many “progressive”… i.e. “liberal”, i.e. leftist… Democrats held firm in their determination to oppose it unless humanity prevailed) and the debt ceiling breakthrough (or not) which TreaSec Yellin warns will descend upon us on or about October 18th.

Pelosi has not set a conclude-by date for either infraspendfest, in the aspirational belief that the two renegade donkeys (Joe Manchin, W.Va. and Kyrsten Sinema, Az) will back down and follow her orders on the human buffet, after which the physical measure will be addressed.

And there was a further complication – the government running out of money on or about October 18th, unless the debt ceiling is raised.  Normally this would have been another can-kicking enterprise, but with minority leaders Kevin McCarthy (House) and Mitch McConnell (Senate) intent on kicking Biden’s can and to hell with the country, an epoch of perilous and volatile times fell upon us.  Just what investors hate! 

 

“Nearly 50 million seniors could stop receiving Social Security payments or receive them delayed,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said, ramping up the fear. “Our troops would not know when they would get their next paycheck. We have 30 million families who rely on the monthly child tax credits and they would not receive that relief, at least not on time.” (CNN)

The Bipartisan Policy Center report coincided with the official warnings from Yellen that if Congress failed to raise or suspend the debt ceiling, the federal government would run out of cash and extraordinary measures by Oct. 18 (or, perhaps, December 3rd… the vagueness leading certain insiders to call Default Day by the Washington football-ish team appellation: the “X Date”.

“If we are to avoid crossing the Rubicon, Congress must act before, not on, the X Date to ensure the full faith and credit of the United States,” Shai Akabas, BPC’s director of economic policy, said in the report. “Even leading up to October 19, the Treasury Department will find itself with dangerously low cash levels. An unexpected event during that time frame could escalate into a financial crisis.”

Now, of course, unexpected events never occur, not in 21st century America.  Right?

Mark Thiessen, the WashPost’s conservative commentator concluded: “The ineptitude is stunning.”  (See Attachment Two)

 

Last week, to stick with the pigskin metaphors abounding, we summed up the first quarter, default, (the debt ceiling taking us to halftime, and the physical and human twinfrastructures being the 3rd and the 4th unless overtime rears up.  Give a qualified score for the Democrats at the end of One… a field goal, at best… citing the Associated Press and Al Jazeera…

“The House approved the short-term funding measure by a 254-175 vote not long after Senate passage in a 65-35 vote. A large majority of Republicans in both chambers voted against it. The legislation was needed to keep the government running once the current budget year ended at midnight Thursday. Passage will buy lawmakers more time to craft the spending measures that will fund federal agencies and the programs they administer.

“This stopgap measure funds the government through December 3 so that buys Congress some additional time,” Al Jazeera’s Heidi Zhou-Castro reported from Capitol Hill adding, however, that the government funding issue is “just one of two fiscal fires that Congress is confronting at this moment”.

“With their energy focused on Biden’s agenda, Democrats backed down from a showdown over the debt limit in the government funding bill, deciding to uncouple the borrowing ceiling at the insistence of Republicans. If that cap was not raised, the U.S. would have faced (and probably will again face) a financial crisis and economic recession, just in time for Christmas, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.”

The budget dogfight had aroused the interest of many foreign countries, not a few of whom hold U.S. paper whose value seems to be depreciating day by day.

Lawmakers had faced a midnight deadline before funding lapsed, reported the BBC, “which could have forced federal museums, national parks and safety programmes to close.”

The funding bill also included money for hurricane relief and resettling Afghan refugees.

A competitor from Old Country, Reuters, polled the colony's largest lender, JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), which has begun scenario planning for how a potential U.S. credit default would affect its operations, Chief Executive Jamie Dimon told Reuters on Tuesday.

"This is like the third time we've had to do this. It is a potentially catastrophic event," Dimon said. "We should never even get this close."

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

 

On to the second quarter – the debt ceiling.  McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy initially proposed a howler of a deal… a raising of the debt ceiling in exchange for a total, absolute scuttling of both Biden infrastructure bills.  Once that was out of the way, the serious… sort of… negotiations began.

 

As the Treasury Department had warned, an economically catastrophic default could hit by mid-October, “Democratic leaders plan to pass a standalone bill Wednesday afternoon to suspend the debt ceiling,” Politico reported, adding: “It's another messaging vote intended to paint Republicans as irresponsible and willing to endanger the global economy with a default on the nation’s debt.”

Elections and re-election (not the erections and re-erections of critical highways, roads, rail and other component of the physical infra bill) had also slithered into the debt ceiling negotiations. (Politico)  Like a script from Facebook to its content creation team pushing hateful and violent posts to angry up the belly of the Joneses (who would, they figured, remain on the sites and perhaps click upon an ad or two) Republicans had refused to engage in any bipartisan action to lift the debt ceiling, with just weeks before the Treasury could run out of money. And Democrats, who largely rejected a one-party path that could prove grueling and time consuming, insisted they would not buckle to GOP demands that they remedy the debt crisis through the budget reconciliation maneuver they are using to advance President Joe Biden’s social spending plan, Politico noted.

“The debt ceiling is not going to be increased through reconciliation, period. End of discussion," Warren Gunnels, a top aide for Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), said Wednesday.

 

Debt reduction and government policy are seriously polarizing political topics, claims Investopedia. “Critics of every position take issues with nearly all budget and debt reduction claims, arguing about flawed data, improper methodologies, smoke-and-mirrors accounting, and countless other issues.”

“The U.S. is heading to the precipice of a debt default as much for the sake of campaign ads and political branding as fiscal philosophy,” Bloomberg News concluded as, with the shutdown vote postponed, politicians turned to the ceiling.   So far, Democratic efforts to blame Republicans for the stand-off haven’t worked. Asked which party would be more to blame if the U.S. defaulted, 33% of Americans said Democrats, 42% both parties, and only 16% Republicans, according to a Morning Consult/Politico poll taken Sept. 18-20.

“The stability of global financial markets and strength of U.S. economic growth,” the Bloomers added, “once again are on the line in the resulting game of chicken.”

As the Associated Press notes, the government has defaulted at least twice before — once because of a 19th century war and once because of a 20th century paperwork problem.

During the War of 1812, recalled USA Today, the British invaded Washington and burned down the White House; “an empty U.S. Treasury could not even afford to pay American troops.”

A second default in 1979 flowed from "a back-office glitch that ended up costing taxpayers billions of dollars," the AP reported. "The Treasury Department blamed it on a crush of paperwork partly caused by lawmakers who — this will sound familiar — bickered too long before raising the nation's debt limit."

Ham-chewers in both parties said that they would “try” to avoid a similar fate this week by raising the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling ahead of Thursday's vote.

 

Last week, to stick with the pigskin metaphors abounding, we summed up the first quarter, default, (the debt ceiling taking us to halftime, and the physical and human twinfrastructures being the 3rd and the 4th unless overtime rears up.  We gave a qualified, sort of half-assed score for the Democrats at the end of One… a field goal, at best… citing the Associated Press and Al Jazeera…

“The House approved the short-term funding measure by a 254-175 vote not long after Senate passage in a 65-35 vote. A large majority of Republicans in both chambers voted against it. The legislation was needed to keep the government running once the current budget year ended at midnight Thursday. Passage will buy lawmakers more time to craft the spending measures that will fund federal agencies and the programs they administer.

“This stopgap measure funds the government through December 3 so that buys Congress some additional time,” Al Jazeera’s Heidi Zhou-Castro reported from Capitol Hill adding, however, that the government funding issue is “just one of two fiscal fires that Congress is confronting at this moment”.

“With their energy focused on Biden’s agenda, Democrats backed down from a showdown over the debt limit in the government funding bill, deciding to uncouple the borrowing ceiling at the insistence of Republicans. If that cap was not raised, the U.S. would have faced (and probably will again face) a financial crisis and economic recession, just in time for Christmas, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.”

The budget dogfight had aroused the interest of many foreign countries, not a few of whom hold U.S. paper whose value seems to be depreciating day by day.

Lawmakers had faced a midnight deadline before funding lapsed, reported the BBC, “which could have forced federal museums, national parks and safety programmes to close.”

The funding bill also included money for hurricane relief and resettling Afghan refugees.

A competitor from Old Country, Reuters, polled the colony's largest lender, JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), which has begun scenario planning for how a potential U.S. credit default would affect its operations, Chief Executive Jamie Dimon told Reuters on Tuesday.

"This is like the third time we've had to do this. It is a potentially catastrophic event," Dimon said. "We should never even get this close."

“Cluck, cluck… f…”

 

As the Treasury Department warned an economically catastrophic default could hit by mid-October, “Democratic leaders plan to pass a standalone bill Wednesday afternoon to suspend the debt ceiling,” Politico reported, adding: “It's another messaging vote intended to paint Republicans as irresponsible and willing to endanger the global economy with a default on the nation’s debt.”

Elections and re-election (not the erections and re-erections of critical highways, roads, rail and other component of the physical infra bill) had also slithered into the debt ceiling negotiations. (Politico)  Like a script from Facebook to its content creation team pushing hateful and violent posts to angry up the belly of the Joneses (who would, they figured, remain on the sites and perhaps click upon an ad or two.

 

Republicans have refused to engage in any bipartisan action to lift the debt ceiling, with just weeks before the Treasury could run out of money. And Democrats, who are largely rejecting a one-party path that could prove grueling and time consuming, insist they will not buckle to GOP demands that they remedy the debt crisis through the budget reconciliation maneuver they are using to advance President Joe Biden’s social spending plan, Politico noted.

“The debt ceiling is not going to be increased through reconciliation, period. End of discussion," Warren Gunnels, a top aide for Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), said Wednesday.

 

McConnell was hardly contrite over his first quarter loss.  “Let me make it abundantly clear one more time: We will support a clean continuing resolution that will prevent a government shutdown … We will not provide Republican votes for raising the debt limit,” he told the National Review as President Joe signed off on the kick-the-can.

While the debt ceiling, which is the amount of money lawmakers authorize the Treasury Department to borrow to pay for spending already authorized, had to be suspended or raised by Oct. 18, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, or the U.S. would likely default on its debt, Marketwatch pointed out that it’s “important to note that no one knows precisely when the U.S. Treasury will run out of money to pay its bills.”  (See Attachment Three)

What’s more, changes brought by the pandemic make it far more difficult to assess the state of the Treasury Department’s expected payouts and inflows.

CNBC grimly reported that Republicans would reject the legislation in the Senate “as they say they will not support a debt limit increase or suspension.”

Ben Koltun, director of research for D.C.-based Beacon Policy Advisors lectured: “If it does happen, it turns a manufactured political crisis into an economic crisis. The full faith and credit of the U.S. would no longer be full.”

What Koltun calls a “game of chicken” also may already be denting the economy. The last two times Congress came close to not raising the debt limit, in 2011 and 2013, Moody’s Analytics found, “heightened uncertainty at the time reduced business investment and hiring and weighed heavily on GDP growth. If not for this uncertainty, by mid-2015, real GDP would have been $180 billion, or more than 1%, higher; there would have been 1.2 million more jobs; and the unemployment rate would have been 0.7 percentage point lower.”

“I see (default) as an exceedingly slim chance, although with all the theatrics, the possibility has been ramped up,” Koltun said.

The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman offered this historical perspective:

“In March 2006, as the government veered dangerously close to a default, Senator Mitch McConnell, the No. 2 Republican, let the Bush White House know he was two votes short of what he needed to raise the legal limit on federal borrowing. Andrew H. Card Jr., then the White House chief of staff, began working the phones. He soon found two Democrats willing to break ranks and vote to put the legislation over the top. But instead of thanking him, the Senate leader grew irate. Mr. McConnell had been hoping to extract concessions from President George W. Bush as the price for uniting Republicans around lifting the limit. “I don’t need your damned votes,” he snapped at Mr. Card. He lifted the debt ceiling with Republicans only. Mr. Card never learned what the Kentucky Republican wanted, but he tells the story for a reason: Mr. McConnell has long used the periodic need to raise the government’s borrowing limit as a moment of leverage to secure a policy win, as have leaders of both parties. But two weeks before a potentially catastrophic default, Mr. McConnell, now the minority leader, has yet to reveal what he wants, telling President Biden in a letter on Monday, “We have no list of demands.” Instead, he appears to want to sow political chaos for Democrats while insulating himself and other Republicans from an issue that has the potential to divide them. Mr. McConnell has said the government must not be allowed to stop paying its debts; he has also said he will not let any Republicans vote to raise the debt limit, while moving to block Democrats from doing so themselves. He plans to do so again on Monday.”

 

Nothing has changed over fifteen years except the National Health and the magnitude of the deficit.  Presently, America’s national debt… owed to both domestic and foreign creditors… stands at 28 trill.  (See DebtClock in our chart below or, since it has undoubtedly risen day-to-day, at http://debtclock.org.)

“We (were) able to fund the government today because the majority accepted reality. The same thing will need to happen on the debt limit next week,” McConnell said upon the consummation of the deal. 

 

On, now, to the present week and Quarter Number Two.

 

Both factions gained some victories… and endured some defeats.  For Democrats, one of the latter occurred Monday when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a statement to clarify its support of the infrastructure bill and its hope to “defeat the reconciliation bill” (a sidewise slap at one of the Administration’s options to settle the debt ceiling issue).

But President Joe, nothing if not persistent, continued working the dim, dark and murky waters of the American business community, wielding the scimitar of collapse and raising the spectre of a Dow falling to… 20,000?  10,000?  Nothing?

On Tuesday, he motored off to Michigan where he reiterated his Build Back America plan that praised working families and derided the billionaire bullies with whom he was still dickering behind Don Jones’ back. 

 

And, sooner than many would have desired, it became Wednesday.  Hump day!

But which of the contending factions would be the humper, and which would be the humpee?

President Joe maintained a busy schedule.  To begin with, he met with top banking, financial and various industry leaders at the White House and then with the quarrelling and contentious… Democrats!... some of whom were not satisfied with the deals being cut behind their backs.

Eventually, the inevitable occurred: realization that the deal would not be done on the part of the donkeys, the necessity of another can-kick on the part of Republicans so as to appease their corporate allies.

Additionally, McConnell reiterated that if Democrats ditch their agenda a bipartisan debt ceiling suspension “could be possible.”

“To protect the American people from a near-term Democrat-created crisis, we will also allow Democrats to use normal procedures to pass an emergency debt limit extension at a fixed dollar amount to cover current spending levels into December,” he said in a statement.

“This will moot Democrats’ excuses about the time crunch they created and give the unified Democratic government more than enough time to pass standalone debt limit legislation through reconciliation. Alternatively, if Democrats abandon their efforts to ram through another historically reckless taxing and spending spree that will hurt families and help China, a more traditional bipartisan governing conversation could be possible," he continued.

 

Democrats in Congress largely concurred with the compromise to take up a short-term extension of the debt ceiling, punting the issue until December as a reconciliation package still expected to be pared back to the $2 trillion or so seems likelier and likelier. Also Wednesday, Sen. Joe Machin (D-WV) again said the Senate reconciliation bill should be further scaled back and more targeted, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) hit back saying that Manchin -- and Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema – should just join the Republicans castigated by Biden and get out of the way.  (Inside Health Policy)

Several Democratic senators emerged from their caucus meeting, saying that a short-term increase of the debt ceiling will help them finish the work on President Biden's domestic agenda without the threat of an economic collapse.

 

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer woke up America by announcing that a deal had been reached for an extension of the nation's debt ceiling through early December, CNN calling it “a major breakthrough to avert economic disaster that comes after weeks of partisan deadlock over the issue.”

"We have reached agreement to extend the debt ceiling through early December and it's our hope that we can get this done as soon as today," Schumer said in floor remarks.

A flurry of primping and posturing ensued.  Also some mooting.  Unfortunately, there was little muting of the noise emanating from both the winning and the losing sides.

“Democrats have a golden opportunity to end the debt ceiling permanently,” the liberal David Mark of NBC aspirationally aspired. “Economically, that would help stabilize financial markets globally and prove the U.S. always pays its bills. Politically, it would remove this sword of Damocles that both parties like to hang over each other — and Republicans at times seem prepared to actually drop.” (See Attachment Five)

Mr. Mark suggested that a “reconciliation” coalition of Democrats and Republicans frightened at the effecs of default on Wall Street was one option.  President Biden ventured even further, floating the notion that the filibuster be dropped entirely (Attachment Six), which sentiments were echoed by TreaSec Yellin.

 

And then, deep in the shadows beneath a mortgaged moon, (narrow) Majority Leader Chucky Cheese gaveled the judgment to commence… Senators voted 50-48 along party lines on the short-term increase in the nation’s borrowing limit. GOP Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) didn’t vote. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced House lawmakers will return on Tuesday to vote on the bill, before sending it to President Biden's desk. (See The Hill, Attachment Nine)

“Though the final vote, which required a simple majority, was along party lines, 11 Republican senators voted with Democrats to get the bill over a procedural hurdle that required 60 votes.”

“Congress is in for a hellish holiday season,” Fox News scowled, “as it will be forced to tackle two must-pass bills by approximately Dec. 3, while also trying to maneuver through Democrats' massive spending bill and the infrastructure bill.”

Credit pressure from down-home business interests (in defiance of the Chamber) combined with rumblings from Joneses, especially the elderly, frequent voting bloc appalled at the prospect of losing their Social Security checks, which motivated eleven Republicans to forego their filibuster and live to fight another day (probably December 3rd)… and McConnell to acquiesce.

They wandered back to the herd for the final vote but, with Manchin and Sinema consenting (and two Republicans out flying kites), the Senate approved the KTC 50-48, leaving Mister Trump to console himself with a bucket of KFC.

Fox News, predictably, predicted “a hellish holiday season.”  (Attachment Eight)  We have a responsibility to be the adults,” the Hill reported Manchin lecturing.  (Attachment Nine)  Both parties have made clear that the country must not default and that even coming close to it would likely bring catastrophic economic consequences,” CNN kicked the KTC away for another could of months while they turn to other crises.  (Attachment Ten)

For now.

Consequently, big questions like whether Social Security checks will still go out on time have only been temporarily resolved.

“Seniors can be reassured that at least in October and November, they’re going to get their Social Security on time and in full,” said Maria Freese, senior policy advisor on Social Security at the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.  Also stuffed into the kicked can… hungry children left home alone for lack of childcare, heavily armed (and, yes, disgruntled) soldiers waiting for their paychecks and 90 year old William Shatner, stuck in space because NASA has shut down for the duration.

 

The House will next have to approve the extension before it can be sent to President Joe Biden for his signature. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said late Thursday that the House will convene next Tuesday to vote on the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Thursday morning that a deal had been reached, paving the way for the final vote later in the day. An aide familiar with negotiations told CNN that the deal is to increase the ceiling by $480 billion, which is how much the Treasury Department told Congress it would need to get to December 3.

 

Some conservative nihilists remained outraged.  Alleging that Minority Leader McConnell had collapsed beneath Democrat debt-limit lies, Fox factotum Deroy Murdock vented: “McConnell, Kentucky’s senior senator, is bailing out Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. McConnell will deliver enough GOP votes to help Democrats increase the national debt limit by $480 billion through December. The Senate reportedly will vote today on this bipartisan fiscal-recklessness pact.”  (Attachment Seven)

"We screwed up,” Sen Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., admitted during an appearance on "Hannity" Thursday night.

“For two months, we promised our base and the American people that we would not help the Democratic Party raise the debt ceiling so they could spend $3.5 to $5 trillion through reconciliation. At the end of the day, we blinked. Two things have happened: We let our people down, and we made Democrats believe that we are all talk and no action. At the end of the day, every Republican voted against raising the debt ceiling, every Democratic senator voted for it. But we had a process in place. We made a promise, for two months, that we would make them do it without our help and we folded, and I hate that. We’re in a hole; we’ve got to dig out of this hole and we can. We shot ourselves in the foot tonight, but we will revisit this issue in December."

 

Still, there’s a lot of uncertainty as to exactly how long the proposed $480 billion could last, according to Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

“At some point in the next several months, we will be in danger of not meeting all of our obligations,” Akabas said.

Said Washington, D.C.-based think tank has been running its own scenarios about what could happen if the U.S. reaches that so-called X date.

The X date, as defined by the Bipartisan Policy Center, is “the first day Treasury has exhausted its borrowing authority and no longer has sufficient funds to pay all of its bills in full and on time.”

 

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons, a close ally of President Biden, told CNN that while the caucus was still meeting, his overwhelming impression was that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had blinked and Democrats would look to push ahead with a short-term increase of the debt limit.

“I think we'll end up raising the debt ceiling through December and it gives us the next three months, two months of this ... to focus on finishing the Build Back Better agenda,” said Coons. 

“Mitch McConnell blinked and it allows us to spend from here until November focused on finalizing the Build Back Better plan. So I think that's progress.”

Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin said she believes congressional Democrats are willing to accept one of the offers from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to raise the nation's debt limit.

“In terms of a temporary lifting of the debt ceiling through close to the end of this year, we view that as a victory, we view it as a temporary victory though with more work to do,” she told CNN's Jake Tapper on Wednesday.

 “We intend to take this temporary victory and then try to work with Republicans to do this on a longer term basis,” she said.

 

So, was Chuck dignified and magnanimous in victory.  Hell no! (See Attachment Eleven)

“After today, there will be no doubt, no doubt about which party in this chamber is working to solve the problems that face our country and which party is accelerating us towards unnecessary avoidable disaster,” Schumer ghosted and gloated on the Senate floor, which demonstration of taunting drew condemnation, if not a yellow flag.

Business Insider reported that Republicans…said they thought the speech was inappropriate. Minority Whip John Thune, one of the 11 Republicans who helped Democrats break the filibuster, said it was "totally out of line… just thought it was incredibly partisan speech after we had just helped them solve a problem," he said. "I let them have it," he said.

But nobody was more verklempt than Joe Manchin, who Esquire called “the nominal Democrat from West Virginia, who simply couldn’t shut up about how terribly Schumer had behaved toward the oh-so-cooperative Republicans.”

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin sided with Senate Republicans in strongly disapproving of a fiery, partisan speech by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday night before a vote to raise the debt ceiling by $480 billion. Manchin reportedly told Schumer his speech was "fucking stupid," while Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah said it was a "time to be graceful" after 11 Senate Republicans had voted to break a GOP filibuster and allow the vote to take place.

As Schumer spoke, Manchin could be seen behind him placing his face in his hands and shaking his head in disapproval…Manchin, still shaking his head, eventually got up from his seat and walked away.

“Neither fast enough nor far enough away,” Esquire’s columnist opined.

 

Back to the pigskin party… call it another field goal for Chuck, the talking mule, and Nancy (who assumes the responsibility of kicking the can through the goalposts on Tuesday… a likelihood about as likely as Alabama defeating Southwest North Dakota State).  Really… if the deal blows up before passing the House (through, say, a progressive jihadist union with bitter Republicans)… it’ll be time for Pelosi to gather whatever the Capitol mob didn’t pilfer and go back to Baltimore (or San Francisco – if she can afford it).

And while the budgetcrats poke and dither until Halloween or, maybe, December 3rd, investigators are quietly issuing subpoenas to reluctant and recalcitrant Republicans accused of collaborating with the one-six (which we will hereafter follow the leaders of Q-Anon in calling the J-Six) and threatening more jail terms for the various Trump appointees as were refused contentions of Executive Privilege by President Joe.

Who are these people?  Have we seen them before… like, fifty years ago?

Maybe.

 

 

 

OCTOBER 1 – OCTOBER 7

 

 

Friday, October 1, 2021

 

Infected: 43,619,754

Dead:  700.320

Dow:  34,104.60

 

 

Plague deaths top 700,000.  Fourth Wave ΔV caes declining, but doctors and politicians warn of approaching Fifth Wave.  Merck announces successful testing of “molnupiryvar” (sp?) cure, petitions for emergency approval from Feds.  Feds send more COVID money to states – which use them to build prisons.

   Physical and human infrastructure both stalled.  President Joe floats 2T compromise for the latter – no takers.  Sen. Bernie (D-Vt) says “I can’t speak for Mister Manchin (West Viginia refusenik Senator), I’m not a psychologist.”  Experts say plague-related inflation will last for at least a year.  TreaSec Yellin floats eliminating the debt ceiling altogether (whoopee).

   Laundrie parents no comment on their dropping the bad boy off in a state park and then returning alone.  Their house under siege.  Power ballet couple and several women’s soccer coaches accused of Nassaring teenagers.  School shooter in Memphis and Houston.

   Justice Kavanaugh gets it (plague).  Happy birthday to Jimmy Carter (97) and Disney World (50).

 

 

 

Saturday, October 2, 2021

 

Infected:  43,657,869

Dead:  700,933

 

 

           

 

Speaker Pelosi kills vote on human infrastructure as Manchin and Sinema hold firm, will try to pass the physical infrastructure bill over dissident democrats holding it hostage to the former.  Biden says his 2T HI bill still doles out free college tuition, climate change and child care money.  Democrats deny civil war, Congressional Black Caucus declares: “Diversity is our strength and unity is our power.”

   California becomes the first state to mandate vaccinations for schoolkids – presumably even those who can’t find them.  A gleeful TV lawyer predicts: “We will see litigation.”

 

 

 

Sunday, October 3, 2021

 

Infected:  43,683,048                          Dead:  701,169

                

 

 

Cataclysmic oil spill off posh Orange County beaches sets off mass cleanup and torrents of blame.  Spirit Airplines plane hits a bird, engine catches fire.  Another small Texas aircraft crashes as do several balloons among the 540 lifting off at the same time over Albuquerque.

   Abortion pro’s and foes descend on Washington, march around and fight and make noise.  Pundits say upcoming SCOTUS session will focus on “God, Guns and Abortion”.  Ronald Reagan Junior runs pro-atheist ads.  Nancy and President Joe push back the two Infra bills back to Halloween.

   “It’s always darkest before it’s totally dark,” declares Miss Malaprop… defeated Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)... before tripling up:  “It’s Groundhog Déyjà vu all over again.”

 

 

 

 

Monday, October 4, 2021

 

Infected:  43,852,255

Dead:  703,278

Dow:  34,002.92

 

               

 

It’s National Taco Day.  As the late nite comedians (and some usually-serious critics of society) aver, if Taco Tuesday is a Tuesday, National Taco Day should be tomorrow.  It’s just another manifestation of the incompetence that has been hammering America since… well… your guess is as good as mine.

   Incompetence is at the forefront off the California coast where an alleged from a backed-up container ship drags across an oil pipeline – fouling Huntington Beach with dead birds and fish and putting an end to summer fun.

   Incompetence is not on display – rather, it is premedited profit seeking that propels the social media to highlight hate and rage.  “The more anger people are exposed to, the longer they stay on the site,” says whistleblower (and lady with a book to sell) Frances Haugen.  And then Facebook and others crash – pundits searching for a solution ask: “God’s judgment?”

   More whistleblowing in Washington where the Pandora Papers (all 20-some thousands of pages of them) finger bigshot billionaires like Shakira, Vladimir Putin and the King of Jordan as hiding their salami (and baloney and cabbage) in offshore banks in little, tiny countries nobody has ever heard of.  And Melania’s tattletale Grisham notes the White House “culture of casual dishonesty” while the former First Lady calls her a “deceitful and troubled individual.”  Meow!  Scratch, scratch!

 

 

 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

 

Infected: 43,948,011                    Dead:  705,194

Dow:  34,299.99

 

 

President Joe sees a meteor coming for the American economy and tells Republicans to “get out of the way.”  They don’t (see above).  He takes more lumps from Ret. Gen. Stanley McChrystal (who has a book out, natch!) for failing to perceive that Afghans did not trust their corrupt government and HHS did a plague-y simulation wargame in 2019 that more or less followed form, but neither administration absorbed the lesson.

   It’s the Week of the Whistleblower (tweet! tweet!).  Facebook tattletale Haugen says the corporation enhanced the risk of “teenaged suicides and negative body imaging” and accuses their Zucked-up CEO of “moral bankruptcy”.

   And Pandora’s box, opened by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), unleashed a swarm of murder hornets aimed at 330 politicians and celebrities who hide their lucre in offshore banks domiciled in Singapore and the British Virgins as well as in five American states.  The good news… most of the morally bankrupt but not quite illegal billionaires are foreign.  The bad?  Wealthy crooked Americans have other and better ways to invest their excess.

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

 

Infected: 44,058,881

Dead:  707,788

Dow:  34,063.79

 

 

 

2021 US plague deaths top 2020 toll.  Ford Foundation President Darien Walter: vaxxes are expiring in American warehouses while African children are dying.  Charlize Theron promotes vaxxes in her native South Africa… “otherwise I’d just stay in bed, and I love my bed.”  Astra Zeneca still trying to get approval – authorities cite improvement “but not to the extent that people should feel comfortable.”

   Mark the Zuck disputes allegations that FaceBook is “hiding in the shadows” on hate and disinfo and seeks only profits, saying whistleblower collaborated until she didn’t.

   President Joe threatened Manchin with “nuclear option” filibuster repeal in debt ceiling case (above).  He plans to meet China’s Xi eventually (and virtually) as former UN Secretary (and possible Presidential challenger) Nikki Haley contends that Democrats “do not believe in America.” (Strange – since their human infrastructure budget is more generous than Santa Claus.)

   NYC Mayor and Presidential stumblebum Bill DiBlasio floats a challenge to Democratic state Governor despite police and firefighter scandals and underwhelming appreciation.

   Foxy Brett Baier derides kick the can as a punt and pitches his U.S. Grant bio comparing 1876 to J6 – painting a portrait ites “an uncertain world of shadows and ghosts where sparrows are bats.”  Fat bear contest in Alaska crowns Otis the moistest for the 4th time.

 

 

 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

 

Infected:  44,158,964

 Dead:  710,180

 Dow:  34,754.94

  

 

 

Federal judge blocks Texas abortion law on the grounds that it’s “an offensive depiction of such an important right.” Partisans cheer.

   On the right side of the freedom issue, mask and vaxxing mandate refuseniks protest L.A. law mandating that bars, restaurants and retailers refuse to serve them.  Also refusing the refuseniks: American Airlines (citing ongoing midair brawls), hundreds of local school boards and a Colorado hospital denying a MAGAwoman her scheduled kidney transplant.

   Inflation spikes natural gas prices – up 30% as winter approaches – and supply chain issues result in a shortage of Halloween costumes and pumpkins.

 

 

 

The up-again-down-again Don was, like the up-again-down-again Dow was up again, premised almost entirely upon the shadowy drop in unemployment and its concomitant effects on the stock market.

How, Don Jones (and many, even smarter people) asks: can the new job additions fall by half while the unemployment rate falls by nearly a tenth?  The answer, private and public soup stirrers allege, lie in algorithms which foment more lies than the internet.  Nonetheless, the Dow is up, the Don is up, so it’s time to be happy.  The weather is moderating, football season is under way and so is the world series.  Some doctors and bureaucrats contend that the rate of new plague infections is dropping, others say it’s only a matter of time before a newer and deadlier variant emerges… and if that doesn’t happen, there’s still the flu.  Nonetheless, Joneses are getting into the holiday spirit… even if it’s for all the wrong reason… trucking and shipping backlogs manufacturing a shortage of Halloween pumpkins, Thanksgiving vittles and Christmas toys from China which advances Black Friday by a couple of months.

So most people are happier.  The government won’t shut down for another two months (and one can bet money that neither party will risk spoiling Christmas with the 2022 midterms a year away).  Donald Trump is on the campaign trail, angrifying and gratifying his base, feminists are content with their five new quarters and the just curious are ready to see Captain Kirk shot off into space this coming Tuesday.

 

 

 

THE DON JONES INDEX

 

CHART of CATEGORIES w/VALUE ADDED to EQUAL BASELINE of 15,000

 

(REFLECTING… approximately… DOW JONES INDEX of June 27, 2013)

 

See a further explanation of categories here

 

ECONOMIC INDICES (60%)

 

 

DON JONES’ PERSONAL ECONOMIC INDEX

 

(45% of TOTAL INDEX POINTS)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CATEGORY

VALUE

BASE

RESULTS

SCORE

SCORE

OUR SOURCES and COMENTS

INCOME

24%

6/17/13

LAST

CHANGE

NEXT

 10/01/21

 10/1/21

SOURCE 

Wages (hourly, per capita)

9%

1350 points

 10/01/21

   +0.15%

 10/15/21

1,471.95

1,471.95

https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/wages  25.99

Median Income (yearly)

4%

600

 10/01/21

  +0.03%

 10/15/21

674.22

674.41

http://www.usdebtclock.org/   35,671

*Unempl. (BLS – in millions

4%

600

 10/01/21

   -8.33%

 10/15/21

386.04

418.21

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS140000004.8%

*Official (DC – in millions)

2%

300

 10/01/21

   +0.04%

 10/15/21

465.04

464.87

http://www.usdebtclock.org/      8,401

*Unofficl. (DC – in millions)

2%

300

 10/01/21

   -0.10%

 10/15/21

404.76

405.16

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    14,301

Workforce Participtn.

     Number  

     Percent

2%

300

10/01/21

 

 +0.01%

 +0.013%

 10/15/21

 

 

318.07

 

 

318.11

In 153,242 Out 100,060 Total: 253,302

 

http://www.usdebtclock.org/ 60.49

WP %  (ycharts)*

1%

150

 10/01/21

  +0.16%

 10/15/21

152.48

152.48

https://ycharts.com/indicators/labor_force_participation_rate  61.70 nc

OUTGO

(15%)

Total Inflation

7%

1050

 10/01/21

+0.3%

 10/15/21

977.27

977.27

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.3 nc

Food

2%

300

 10/01/21

+0.4%

 10/15/21

275.04

275.04

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.4

Gasoline

2%

300

 10/01/21

+2.8%

 10/15/21

255.00

255.00

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +2.8

Medical Costs

2%

300

 10/01/21

+0.3%

 10/15/21

285.34

285.34

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.3

Shelter

2%

300

 10/01/21

+0.2%

 10/15/21

288.19

288.19

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.2

WEALTH

(6%)

 

Dow Jones Index

2%

300

 10/01/21

  +2.69%

 10/15/21

367.46

377.35

https://www.wsj.com/market-data/quotes/index/DJIA 34,754.94 

Home (Sales) 

   (Valuation)

1%

1%

150

150

 5/21/21

  -1.84%

  -0.89%

 10/15/21

170.87

179.52             

170.87

179.52             

https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics

     Sales (M):  5.88  Valuations (K):  356.7

Debt (Personal)

2%

300

 10/01/21

 +0.06%

 10/15/21

270.71

270.55

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    65,192

 

AMERICAN ECONOMIC INDEX (15% of TOTAL INDEX POINTS) 

NATIONAL

(10%)

 

Revenue (trilns.)

2%

300

 10/01/21

 +0.21%

 10/15/21

330.35       

331.04      

debtclock.org/       3,871

Expenditures (tr.)

2%

300

 10/01/21

 +0.09%

 10/15/21

218.24

218.05

debtclock.org/       6,871

National Debt tr.)

3%

450

 10/01/21

 +0.09%

 10/15/21

319.34

319.04

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    28,829

Aggregate Debt (tr.)

3%

450

 10/01/21

 +0.04%

 10/15/21

372.82

372.67

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    84,844

GLOBAL

(5%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreign Debt (tr.)

2%

300

 10/01/21

 +0.10%

 10/15/21

275.58        

275.29        

http://www.usdebtclock.org/   7,627

Exports (in billions)

1%

150

 10/01/21

 +0.42%

 10/15/21

 189.01

 189.80

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/index.html  213.7

Imports (bl.)

1%

150

 10/01/21

 +1.77%

 10/15/21

 116.36

 114.30

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/index.html  288.0

Trade Deficit (bl.)

1%

150

 10/01/21

 +4.37%

 10/15/21

   98.63            

   94.32            

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/index.html    73.3

 

SOCIAL INDICES (40%) 3654

 

ACTS of MAN

(12%)

World Affairs

3%

450

10/01/21

     -0.3

 10/15/21

384.42

383.27

France discovers 216,000 molested children, 3,000 pervy priests, a pissed off Pope and a scandal for the church.  Sacre bleu!  Migrant Haitians discovering new routes – the latest interim hot spot is Panama.

Terrorism

2%

300

10/01/21

     -0.2

 10/15/21

220.52

220.08

Taliban and ISIS-K squabble among themselves.  DHS warns – public safety crisis looming because of firing of vaxx and mask refusenik police.

Politics

3%

450

10/01/21

    -0.1

 10/15/21

438.16      

437.72      

Anti- and anti-anti abortion marches in Washington as Federal Judge overturns Texas bounty hunter law.  Justice Brett (Beerman) Kavanaugh gets it (the plague, not the picture).  Black workers at Tesla plant in Fremont, CA sue for harassment and swastikas.

Economics

3%

450

10/01/21

    -0.4

 10/15/21

405.87

404.25

Amazon rolls out Twitch to compete with FB as system crash and blown whistle costs Zuck $6B.  Experts say inflation will last at least a year and average rents will rise 15% per year.  As mask wars escalate and wages fail to match prices, Kelloggs’ workers go on strike but Target offers $2/hr holiday “combat” bonus.  Supply chain backlog means shortage of Halloween costumes and pumpkins.  The latest panic – diapers.  Mortgage rates top 3% but savers still get no interest from bankers.

Crime

1%

150

10/01/21

     -0.5%

 10/15/21

238.50

237.31

School shooters in Memphis and Houston.  Two children shot in a car in Wisconsin.  Cops and perp shot after marijuana is found on a train in Arizona.  Nurse wars in Philadelphia end in gunfire.  (Yes, they were “disgruntled”.  Also, tired.) Cute brown Miya Marcano found dead in Florida.  A TV cop warns the ubiquitous, iniquitous Brian Laundrie (still only a “person of interest” in murder of cute white Gabby Petito)  that “you can run but you can’t hide and when we catch you you’ll be tired from all that running.”

 

ACTS of GOD

 

(6%)

 

Environment/Weather

3%

450

 10/01/21

      +0.1%

 10/15/21

400.46

400.86

Petroleum poobahs point: only four oily birds (count em: 1, 2, 3, 4) found washed up on oily California beach.  (But a lot more dead fish are beached and beginning to stink.)  Blame a Dutch cargoship dragging anchor?  Leaky company CEO has been cited 72 times for violations.  Climate change reportedly killed 14% of coral reefs; wildfires destroyed hundreds of ancient redwoods.  Miracle in California – it rains!

Natural/Unnatural Disaster

3%

450

 10/01/21

      -0.1%

 10/15/21

402.36

401.96

Spirit plane hits bird, catches fire.  No fatalities (except bird).  Small TX plane not so lucky, crashes in neighborhood – everybody dies.

 

LIFESTYLE/JUSTICE INDEX   (15%)

 

Science, Tech, Education

4%

600

 10/01/21

      -0.2%

 10/15/21

686.15

684.78

As William Shatner prepares for Columbus Day liftoff, Russian movie maker astronauts prepare to film a Space Epic that’s actually in Space!  NASA proposes ramming asteroids to knock them out of dangerous orbits… what could go wrong with that?  7% of NYC teachers will be fired for vaxx refusenikking.

Equality (econ/social)

4%

600

 10/01/21

    +0.2%

 10/15/21

556.38

557.49

Black NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace wins rain-shortened Talladega, the first since Wendell Scott in 1963 (and doesn’t that guy deserve a big budget or, at least, cable movie about his life?)!  Ordinary black man stomped by cops in Georgia.

Health

     

          

            Plague

4%

600

 10/01/21

     -0.1%

 

 

 

   

   +0.2%

 10/15/21

490.22

 

 

 

 

- 103.33

489.73

 

 

 

 

- 103.12

Senators compare Instagram to cigarettes.  Back to school results in a massive increae in teen vaping.

 

Dr. F. and CDC say holiday family gatherings are a no-no, then pivot, say a maybe-maybe (if every celebrant is vaxxed and there are no old or young people around).  Johnson and Johnson appeals to FDA to rollout its second (booster) shot… (the bureaucrats say wait and see)… and Astra Zeneca finally gets a potion to the health potentates.  It flops!    New COVID cure developed by Merck also seeks emergency approval.  A refusenik retorts: “our faith is in God, not Big Pharma.”

Freedom and Justice

3%

450

 10/01/21

   +0.1%

 10/15/21

460.95

461.41

DOJ hunts running, hiding Trump officials – threaten to send Steve Bannon to jail.  Britney, liberated from conservatorship, thanks her fans and gets a whole “Dancing with the (infected) Stars” soundtrack to herself.

 

 

MISCELLANEOUS and TRANSIENT INDEX           (7%) 

 

Cultural incidents

3%

450

 10/01/21

   +0.3%

 10/15/21

 528.27

 529.85

World Series field set as Red Sox beat hated Yankees and Dodgers win with walkoff home run.  Superbowl “halftime hip-hop” show to feature Snoop Dogg (and a cannabis-centered stage?).  Tampa Tom Brady sets passing record in win over former teammates in Boston. David Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) writes his memoirs; Tina Turner sells her 60 year old catalog for $50M.  R(etire)IP, achy breaky rocker David Lee Roth.  RIP Letterman sidekick Alan Kalter.

Miscellaneous incidents

4%

450

 10/01/21

   +0.1%

 10/15/21

 486.94

 487.43

Hackers find police departments rife with neo-Nazi POTheads while the FBI raids NYPD, claiming acts of infamy and corruption.  Archaeologist unearths 2,200 year old toilet in Jerusalem.  $700 M powerball winner in Morro Bay, CA.  (He’ll be looking for a second home in Newark.)  SoKo’s ultra-violent Squid Game goes viral.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Don Jones Index for the week of October 1st through October 7th, 2021 was UP 33.58 points.

 

The Don Jones Index is sponsored by the Coalition for a New Consensus: retired Congressman and Independent Presidential candidate Jack “Catfish” Parnell, Chairman; Brian Doohan, Administrator.  The CNC denies, emphatically, allegations that the organization, as well as any of its officers (including former Congressman Parnell, environmentalist/America-Firster Austin Tillerman and cosmetics CEO Rayna Finch) and references to Parnell’s works, “Entropy and Renaissance” and “The Coming Kill-Off” are fictitious or, at best, mere pawns in the web-serial “Black Helicopters” – and promise swift, effective legal action against parties promulgating this and/or other such slanders.

Comments, complaints, donations (especially SUPERPAC donations) always welcome at feedme@generisis.com or: speak@donjonesindex.com

 

 

ATTACHMENT ONE – From Investopedia (and last week’s DJI)

 

A Brief History of U.S. Debt

 

Debt has been a part of this country's operations since its beginning. The U.S. government first found itself in debt in 1790, following the Revolutionary War.8 Since then, the debt has been fueled over the centuries by more war and economic recession.

Periods of deflation may nominally decrease the size of the debt, but they increase the real value of debt. Since the money supply is tightened, money is valued more highly during deflationary periods. Even if debt payments remain unchanged, borrowers are actually paying more.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the federal debt held by the public will equal 98.2% of GDP by the end of 2020. As of Q3, 2020, it was 99.4%, with a peak at Q2 of 105%. That is the highest level since 1946.910 Since 1970, when the national debt stood at about 26.7% of GDP, debt has gone through a few different periods, staying fairly steady through the 1970s, rising drastically through the 1980s and early 1990s under the Reagan and Bush Presidencies. It peaked in Q1 1994 at 48.3% of GDP, before falling again under the Clinton administration to a low of 30.9% in Q2 2001. It started climbing under George W. Bush again, slowly at first, and then sharply.9

As the financial crisis hit with the worst recession since the Great Depression, government revenues plummeted and stimulus spending surged to stabilize the economy from total ruin. This economic catastrophe, combined with an enormous reduction in revenue from the Bush tax cuts and the continued expenses of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, caused the debt to balloon. Under the two terms of the Obama administration, federal debt held by the public rose from 43.8% of GDP in Q4 2008 to 75.9% in Q4 2016, a 73.3% increase.9

Under former president Trump, the national debt rose by 4% in his first three years in office.9 While Trump further slashed federal revenue with his Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the national debt didn't expand sharply as the economy had largely recovered from the 2008 financial crisis. However, in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and spread unchecked, the U.S. economy was sent into recession.11 The virus forced widespread quarantines, shutdowns, enormous stimulus and relief expenditures, and drastically lowered government revenue. The level of federal debt held by the public will have grown by approximately 48% under Trump's four years in office.12

Political disagreements about the impact of national debt and methods of debt reduction have historically led to many gridlocks in Congress and delays in the budget proposal, approval, and appropriation. Whenever the debt limit is maxed out by spending and interest obligations, the president must ask Congress to increase it.13 For example, in September 2013, the debt ceiling was $16.699 trillion, and the government briefly shut down over disagreements on raising the limit.14

From a public policy standpoint, the issuance of debt is typically accepted by the public, so long as the proceeds are used to stimulate the growth of the economy in a manner that will lead to the country's long-term prosperity. However, when debt is raised simply to fund public consumption, the use of debt loses a significant amount of support. When debt is used to fund economic expansion, current and future generations stand to reap the rewards. However, debt used to fuel consumption only presents advantages to the current generation.

Understanding the National Debt

Because debt plays such an integral part of economic progress, it must be measured appropriately to convey the long-term impact it presents. Unfortunately, evaluating the country's national debt in relation to the country's gross domestic product (GDP), though common, is not the best approach, for several reasons.

For one thing, GDP is very difficult to accurately measure. It's also too complex. Finally, the national debt is not paid back with GDP, but with tax revenues (although there is a correlation between the two). Comparing the national debt level to GDP is akin to a person comparing the amount of their personal debt in relation to the value of the goods or services that they produce for their employer in a given year.

Using an approach that focuses on the national debt on a per capita basis gives a much better sense of where the country's debt level stands. For example, if people are told that debt per capita is approaching $75,000, it is highly likely that they will grasp the magnitude of the issue. However, if they are told that the national debt level is approaching 70% of GDP, the magnitude of the problem might not register.

Another approach that is easier to interpret is simply to compare the interest expense paid on the national debt outstanding in relation to the expenditures that are made for specific governmental services, such as education, defense, and transportation.

How Bad Is National Debt?

Economists and policy analysts disagree about the consequences of carrying federal debt. Certain aspects are agreed upon, however. Governments that run fiscal deficits have to make up the difference by borrowing money, which can crowd out capital investment in private markets. Debt securities issued by governments to service their debts have an effect on interest rates. This is one of the key relationships that is manipulated through the Federal Reserve's monetary policy tools.

Proponents of the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) believe that not only is a long-term budget deficit sustainable, but it is also preferable to a government surplus; however, this view is not held by the majority of economists.

Keynesian macroeconomists believe it can be beneficial to run a current account deficit in order to boost aggregate demand in the economy. Most neo-Keynesians support fiscal policy tools like government deficit spending only after the monetary policy has proven ineffective and nominal interest rates have hit zero.

Chicago and Austrian school economists argue that government deficits and debt hurt private investment, manipulate interest rates and the capital structure, suppress exports, and unfairly harm future generations either through higher taxes or inflation.

What the Government Spends Money On

As indicated above, debt is the net accumulation of budget deficits. It is important to look at the top expenses, as they constitute the major factors of the national debt. The top expenses in the U.S. for 2021 are as follows:

Medicare/Medicaid and Other Healthcare Programs

For 2021, a total of $1.4 trillion is allocated to healthcare benefit programs, which include Medicare and Medicaid.15

Social Security Program and Disability Pensions

Aimed at providing financial security to the retired and disabled, total Social Security and other expenditures are approximately $1.1 trillion.15

Defense Budget Expenses

This represents the portion of the national budget that is allocated for military-related expenditures. $752 billion is earmarked for the U.S. Defense Budget in 2021.16

Other Miscellaneous Expenses

Transportation, veterans' benefits, international affairs, and public education are also government expenses. Interestingly, the common public belief is that spending on international affairs consumes a lot of resources and expenses, but in truth, such expenditures lie within the lower rung in the list.15

What Makes the Debt Bigger?

History tells us that among the top expenses, the Social Security program, defense, and Medicare were the primary expenses even during the times when the national deficit levels were low, as they last were in the 1990s.9 17 Then how did the situation worsen? There are various opinions on the matter.

The Overburdened Social Security System

Some argue the mechanism to finance Social Security has led to increased expenditures without obvious payoff. Payments are collected from present-day workers and used for immediate benefits; that is, payments to existing beneficiaries.

Due to the increasing number of retirees and their longer life spans, the size and cost of payments have skyrocketed. Parents having fewer kids are limiting the pool of present-day contributing workers.18 Recent economic downturns have also led to stagnant pay.19 Overall, limited incoming and more outgoing cash flows are making Social Security a big component of the national debt.

Social security, retirement, and payroll contributions have been the second-largest sector for government income, but contributions do not necessarily increase each year and even dipped significantly in 2010 and 2011.20

While Social Security generated a record high total income of $1 trillion in 2019, it paid out nearly the same amount in benefits, leaving the program with the smallest annual net increase since 1983.21 Limited jobs and lower or stagnant salaries have been the blockade for increases in this stream of government income. One major problem is that payroll taxes are not collected on income beyond a certain level: $142,800 in 2021.22 This means that the more money you make above the cap, the lower your effective payroll tax rate, making the tax regressive as well as limiting revenue.

Healthcare

The U.S. spends far more than other rich nations on healthcare, a full 17% of our GDP versus the 11% spent by Germany or the 9.6% spent by the U.K. While a much larger percentage of the U.S. healthcare system is run by the private sector than in other countries, the U.S. government alone still spends more on healthcare than the governments of Canada or Italy. Healthcare spending takes up roughly a quarter of government spending, up from 12% in 1990. The hugely disproportionate amount the U.S. spends on healthcare is a major contributor to the national debt.23

Continued Tax Cuts

Tax cuts introduced by multiple presidential administrations have continued to grow the national debt. The most recent examples were the Bush tax cuts of the early 2000s and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017 under the Trump administration.24

Individual income taxes are the topmost contributor to Uncle Sam's revenues: Individual taxpayers contribute nearly half of annual tax receipts.25 The challenge, along with the aforementioned Trump tax cuts, has been slow-to-grow U.S. salaries, resulting in limited tax collection.19

The third-largest piece of the pie in the government income chart, corporate tax inflow, peaked in 2007 but has since shown a sharp decline, particularly after the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.26

Similar to corporate taxes, excise taxes have shown dismal collections as well. The collection of excise taxes totaled $99 billion in 2019, or just 0.5% of GDP.27 Additionally, the federal excise tax on gasoline, which is the largest source of funding for roads, has been stuck at 18.4 cents per gallon for more than two decades, despite huge changes in the economy, roads, and the price of gas.28

Wars in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan

Primarily within the defense budget, continued involvement in these engagements has cost the U.S. massively, adding to the national debt. Around $5.9 trillion has been spent on these engagements since 2001.29 Additionally, the U.S. spends more on defense than the next 10 biggest spenders combined.30

Possible Consequences of the Growing National Debt

Given that the national debt has grown faster than the size of the American population, it is fair to wonder how this growing debt affects average individuals.31 32 While it may not be obvious, national debt levels may directly impact people in at least four direct ways.

Increased Risk of Government Default

As the national debt per capita increases, the likelihood of the government defaulting on its debt service obligation increases, and the Treasury Department will thus have to raise the yield on newly issued Treasury securities in order to attract new investors. This reduces the amount of tax revenue available to spend on other governmental services because more tax revenue will have to be paid out as interest on the national debt.

Over time, this shift in expenditures will cause people to experience a lower standard of living, as borrowing for economic enhancement projects becomes more difficult.

Forced Coupon Increase of Corporate Debt Offerings

As the rate offered on Treasury securities increases, corporate operations in America will be viewed as riskier, also necessitating an increase in the yield on newly issued bonds. This, in turn, will require corporations to raise the price of their products and services in order to meet the increased cost of their debt service obligation. Over time, this will cause people to pay more for goods and services, resulting in inflation.

Increased Costs to Borrow Money

As the yield offered on Treasury securities increases, the cost of borrowing money to purchase a home will also increase because the cost of money in the mortgage lending market is directly tied to the short-term interest rates set by the Federal Reserve and the yield offered on Treasury securities issued by the Treasury Department.

Given this established interrelationship, an increase in interest rates will push home prices down because prospective homebuyers will no longer qualify for as large of a mortgage loan. The result will be more downward pressure on the value of homes, which in turn will reduce the net worth of all homeowners.

Loss of Investment in Other Market Securities

Since the yield on U.S. Treasury securities is currently considered a risk-free rate of return and as the yield on these securities increases, investments such as corporate debt and equities, which carry some risk, will lose appeal.33

This phenomenon is a direct result of the fact that it will be more difficult for corporations to generate enough pre-tax income to offer a high enough risk premium on their bonds and stock dividends to justify investing in their company. This dilemma is known as the crowding-out effect and tends to encourage the growth in the size of the government and the simultaneous reduction in the size of the private sector.

Perhaps most importantly, as the risk of a country defaulting on its debt service obligation increases, the country loses its social, economic, and political power. This, in turn, makes the national debt level a national security issue.

Methods Used to Reduce Debt

Governments have many options when trying to reduce debt, and throughout history, some of them have actually worked.

Monetization

A country with its own fiat currency can always simply create as much currency as it owes in order to pay its debts if those debts are denominated in its currency. This is referred to as debt monetization.

However, there is a limit to how much debt can be monetized before a country starts suffering from inflation, or even hyperinflation. Efforts to monetize debt have often pushed countries well past that point. Monetizing debt can also make creditors less likely to lend to a country if inflation significantly lowers the value of what creditors are repaid.

Interest Rate Manipulation

Maintaining low interest rates is one method that governments seek to stimulate the economy, generate tax revenue, and, ultimately, reduce the national debt. Low interest rates make it easy for individuals and businesses to borrow money.

In turn, the borrowers spend that money on goods and services, which creates jobs and tax revenues. Low interest rates have been employed by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and other nations with some degree of success.343536 That noted, interest rates kept at or near zero for extended periods of time have not proved to be a panacea for debt-ridden governments.

Spending Cuts

One way to cut debt is to cut spending. This can be difficult in two ways.

First, each government expenditure has its own constituency that will fight efforts to cut that expenditure, making spending cuts politically difficult. Secondly, if done during a severe economic downturn, spending cuts can damage the economy through a negative multiplier effect. This can cut revenue enough that it can actually impair the ability to repay debts, so spending cuts must be done carefully.

Raise Taxes

On the other side of the ledger are tax increases. In the United States, federal government revenues have been below their 50 year average of 17.4% for 14 of the last 20 years.3738 However, just like cutting spending, raising taxes can be politically difficult as various interest groups will defend their own tax exemptions. Raising taxes can also have a negative multiplier effect, which can complicate efforts to reduce debt.

Bailout

A number of countries have been given debt bailouts, either by the IMF, in the case of many countries through the past several decades, or by the EU, as was most prominently the case for Greece during the European debt crisis.39 These bailouts often come with the requirement to impose harsh reforms on a country's economy, and there is substantial debate as to whether or not the structural adjustments the IMF or EU imposed on bailed-out countries had an overall positive or negative effect.

Default

Defaulting on the debt, which can include going bankrupt and or restructuring payments to creditors, is a common and often successful strategy for debt reduction.

A Polarizing Topic

Debt reduction and government policy are seriously polarizing political topics. Critics of every position take issues with nearly all budget and debt reduction claims, arguing about flawed data, improper methodologies, smoke-and-mirrors accounting, and countless other issues.

For example, while some authors claim that U.S. debt has never gone down since 1961, others claim it has fallen multiple times since then, depending on whether you measure the dollar amount or the debt-to-GDP ratio. Similar conflicting arguments and data to support them can be found for nearly every aspect of any discussion of federal debt reduction.

While there are a variety of methods countries have employed at various times and with various degrees of success, there is no magic formula that works equally well for every nation in every instance.

 

 

ATTACHMENT TWO – From WashPost (and last week’s DJI)

Opinion: On infrastructure, Biden has taken presidential incompetence to a new level

Opinion by Marc A. Thiessen Columnist Today at 2:01 p.m. EDT

 

Ask yourself: What kind of president goes up to Capitol Hill and urges members of his own party not to vote for one of his top legislative priorities?

Answer: the same president who threatened to veto his own bill.

Recall that in June, President Biden announced he had reached a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal with a bipartisan group of senators — and then promptly declared that he would veto that deal unless Congress also approved a massive Democrat-only social spending bill. “If this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it,” he declared.

His gaffe blindsided Republicans and nearly blew up the deal. Biden was forced to backtrack two days later — issuing a lengthy written statement declaring he had not intended to issue a veto threat, and giving Republicans his word the two bills were not linked and that he would pursue the passage of the infrastructure plan “with vigor.”

Well, on Friday, Biden broke his word. Instead of calling off House progressives who had taken the infrastructure deal hostage, he effectively gave them his blessing to hold up the legislation until there was a deal on a separate multitrillion-dollar reconciliation bill. In so doing, he violated his promise not to link the two pieces of legislation — as well as his promise to work vigorously to pass it.

Rather than work to persuade progressives to allow the infrastructure deal to pass, Biden never even asked for their votes. On “Fox News Sunday” this week, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) told host Chris Wallace, “What the Progressive Caucus has said is we will do what the president wants to do. Chris, I didn’t get one call from the White House saying that we want the infrastructure bill to pass first.”

Quite the opposite, it appears the White House actively encouraged progressives to block it. The New York Times reports that in meetings and discussions with progressive lawmakers, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain was “blunt about the president’s belief that Democrats need to reach a framework agreement on broader social policy legislation before they can approve the infrastructure measure.” According to Politico, “Biden’s aides are very careful to say they never crossed the line and actively whipped against their own bill, which would have been a serious betrayal of [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi.” Please. They did not have to actively whip against the bill; their failure to whip for it was message enough to progressives.

Just when you thought Biden had plumbed the depths of presidential incompetence, he finds a way to reach a new low. At a time when he desperately needed a win, he instead tanked his own bill. In so doing, he undermined Pelosi — his own House speaker — who was working in good faith the deliver on her promise to pass the legislation by Sept. 27.

He also betrayed Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), the infrastructure plan’s chief Democratic sponsor, whose vote Biden desperately needs to pass a reconciliation bill. Sinema reportedly warned Biden that if the House did not pass the bipartisan bill by Sept. 27, she would not vote for any reconciliation bill. Is she more likely to vote for one now that she knows Biden encouraged progressives to block her infrastructure bill — or after the president refused to condemn left-wing activists who followed Sinema into a bathroom stall, declaring her harassment was “part of the process”?

Biden also betrayed the infrastructure plan’s Republican sponsors. After the veto threat fiasco, he assured them that the bills were not linked — and promised he would get the infrastructure deal through the House. Based on those assurances, they put their own reputations on the line and persuaded their GOP colleagues to support the deal, which passed the Senate with 19 Republican votes. Biden not only broke his own word to the bill’s Republicans sponsors; he also made those Republicans break their word to their colleagues.

It is very difficult to recover from such betrayals. Biden has irreparably damaged his ability to work across the aisle, something he will regret if Republicans take back the House or Senate — or both — in the 2022 midterms. And he has burned a Democratic senator who literally holds the fate of his legislative agenda in her hands. The ineptitude is stunning.

 

 

 

ATTACHMENT THREE – From CNN

 

Yellen: "Catastrophic" default on debt could halt Social Security payments to nearly 50 million seniors

 

While Congress continues negotiations on infrastructure and aims to avert a government shutdown before midnight, another major issue looms: the debt ceiling.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress on Thursday a default on the national debt would wreak havoc on everyday Americans.

“I think it would be catastrophic for the economy and for individual families,” Yellen told lawmakers during a hearing.

“Nearly 50 million seniors could stop receiving Social Security payments or receive them delayed,” Yellen said. “Our troops would not know when they would get their next paycheck. We have 30 million families who rely on the monthly child tax credits and they would not receive that relief, at least not on time.”

Yellen added that the 2011 debt ceiling impasse showed how waiting until the last minute to raise the debt ceiling can hit investor and consumer confidence, rattle the stock market and raise borrowing costs. 

A spike in interest rates would mean higher interest payments for all borrowers, Yellen said, including on mortgages, credit cards and small business loans. 

Some context: Yellen warned lawmakers earlier this week that the federal government will likely run out of cash and extraordinary measures by Oct. 18 unless Congress raises the debt ceiling.

The new estimate from Yellen raises the risk that the United States could default on its debt in a matter of weeks if Washington fails to act. A default would likely be catastrophic, tanking markets and the economy, and delaying payments to millions of Americans.

Previously, the Treasury Department estimated it would run out of cash and accounting maneuvers at some point in October.

The House on Wednesday voted to suspend the nation's debt limit until December 2022. This bill now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to fail. The bill would need 60 votes to advance in the chamber that is split 50-50. Republicans have said they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling. Instead, Democrats can try to pass the legislation through the budget reconciliation process that only requires 50 votes.

 

ATTACHMENT FOUR – From NY Post

 

DOW SURGES 500 POINTS AS LAWMAKERS REACH DEAL ON DEBT LIMIT

By Will Feuer October 7, 2021 2:18pm 

Allegedly there was uncertainty over whether lawmakers would reach a deal in time has loomed over investors in recent days, pressuring stock prices.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“Today’s [market] is driven by a slight move in Washington towards rationality about being able to pay their bills, write some checks,” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners in Pittsburgh. 

She added, though, that some recent positive economic data is also likely helping buoy investor confidence.

US companies created 568,000 new jobs in September, more than economists had expected and topping the prior month’s gains in a sign of a renewed recovery in the labor market, according to data published Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP.

The ADP report comes ahead of the more complete September jobs report that will be released tomorrow by the Labor Department.

And earlier Thursday, the feds reported that fewer than expected Americans filed for jobless claims last week, bolstering the outlook that the labor market is recovering once again after a setback in late summer.

“Those two bits of data fed into today’s good action because we’re expecting a pretty good number, but not a number so hot, that would force the Fed’s hand to really ramp up the taper. I think we’re going to get that Goldilocks number of employment,” Forrest said. 

The Dow rose about 530 points right after the agreement was reached.REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

John Spallanzani, portfolio manager at Miller Value Partners, a Baltimore-based firm with $3.6 billion in assets under management, said he and his firm are bullish on the market outlook. 

Thursday’s bounce was likely caused by a combination of the debt-ceiling agreement and the positive economic data, he said, adding that the market’s been range-bound for the past few months. 

Spallanzani’s a value investor who focuses on long-term strategies, but he said he wouldn’t be surprised if the market rallies going into the end of the year as investors “chase performance.”

He added that investors are gearing up for the tapering of the Federal Reserve’s massive bond-buying program that’s given stocks a boost during the pandemic. If Friday’s jobs report comes in strong, he said, Powell may decide to begin tapering at the next Fed meeting, which is scheduled for Novembe

 

 

ATTACHMENT FIVE – From NBC

 

BIDEN CALLS CURBING FILIBUSTER TO RAISE DEBT LIMIT ‘A REAL POSSIBILITY’

 

Senate Democrats discussed carving out an exception to the 60-vote requirement as they explore ways to overcome Republican opposition.

·          

Oct. 7, 2021, 5:41 PM EDT, By David Mark, political analyst

 

Sparring Republican and Democratic senators reached a temporary truce over raising the nation’s debt ceiling just as the fight threatened to inflict severe economic pain on the U.S. economy. While the agreement staves off until December the battle over paying the American government’s bills, the saga also presents Democrats with an opportunity to end the fiscal charade for good by effectively abolishing the need for Congress and the president to routinely enact debt ceiling increases.

Congressional Democrats have a rare opportunity to abolish the troublesome debt ceiling. And if they choose to eliminate it, they’ll have support in high places.

The perennial debt ceiling fight has nothing to do with the proper amount the federal government should spend. It’s about paying off bills already racked up by the government. The time for lawmakers to limit federal spending was when budget proposals were up for consideration, not after they were approved.

Per the Treasury Department, “The debt limit is the total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments.” Voters might liken it to a credit card company raising their borrowing threshold while fully expecting them to pay off existing bills. It’s not a free pass to skip payment on purchases already made.

Trillions in Covid relief and infrastructure spending means we'll all pay later

Members of both parties have long postured over the debt ceiling to proclaim their fiscally prudent bona fides — even though congressional scholars argue GOP lawmakers shoulder more responsibility for weaponizing it and threatening America’s fiscal health. Republican officials going back to the Reagan administration tried futilely to use it as a way to rein in federal spending. But the real culprit was profligate spending, creating the need for more debt ceiling increases. But deficits and the national debt rose considerably under the four GOP presidents of the past 40 years — including Ronald Reagan himself and Donald Trump, whose administration contributed about a quarter of the $28.5 trillion national debt.

Today, the government has virtually no cash and can’t fill its coffers because it can’t borrow. The potential damage is enormous. In 2011, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit rating of the United States government for the first time in the country's history. If the downgrade had been sustained over time, it could have made borrowing money much more expensive. And a default could leave the government unable to pay its obligations, including veterans’ benefits and salaries for federal workers.

Now, with President Joe Biden in the White House and Democrats holding majorities in the House and Senate — albeit by the narrowest of margins — the party has been on the defensive from Republicans over efforts to raise the debt ceiling by Oct. 18. That’s the date by which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. government’s capacity to borrow will be exhausted.

Now that a default crisis has been temporarily averted — through a Senate deal that would raise the limit by $480 billion to extend it through early December — Democrats have a golden opportunity to end the debt ceiling permanently. Economically, that would help stabilize financial markets globally and prove the U.S. always pays its bills. Politically, it would remove this sword of Damocles that both parties like to hang over each other — and Republicans at times seem prepared to actually drop.

One way of achieving this would be to use a special budget procedure known as reconciliation, which requires only a bare majority to pass, to set the debt limit at a rate so high that even accounting for profligate spending by both parties, the federal debt wouldn’t approach a ceiling until long after every current living American has died. And their grandchildren’s grandchildren, too.

 

Or Democrats could reinstate the old “Gephardt rule.” The provision, named after then-Rep. Richard Gephardt, said that when Congress passed a budget, the government was automatically deemed to have authorized whatever borrowing was implied by that budget. It was kind of like a credit card company routinely raising the credit limit on a high-spending customer. But House Republicans, upon taking the majority in January 1995 and seeking leverage against Democratic President Bill Clinton in budget fights, abolished the Gephardt rule.

To get either measure through the Senate, lawmakers must use the process of reconciliation to remove the power of Republicans to filibuster — or essentially demand a 60-vote threshold for passing legislation — so they can scrap the debt ceiling on a simple majority vote that needs no Republicans to join in.

It’s an open question whether Senate Democrats would try to use reconciliation to raise the debt ceiling, however. Democrats don’t like itdue to its drawn-out and amendment-heavy process and because using it now would make it harder to use again on one of Biden’s major domestic spending items, the Build Back Better Act, unless they are willing to overrule the Senate parliamentarian’s determination about how often the reconciliation maneuver can be used. So far, the party has been reluctant to defy the chamber’s designated rules enforcer.

What the new budget deal doesn't do because both parties chickened out

Whatever the logistics, congressional Democrats have a rare opportunity to abolish the troublesome debt ceiling. And if they choose to eliminate it, they’ll have support in high places. "We should get rid of the debt ceiling," JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said Wednesday, during a meeting between Biden and business leaders. "We don't need to have this kind of brinkmanship every couple of years."

With Biden’s poll numbers weakand dropping, there’s a decent chance Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections will lose control of the House and/or Senate. Then their leverage in future debt ceiling fights will vanish. They have a rare opportunity to end debt ceiling gamesmanship and force lawmakers who say they’re serious about cutting federal spending to do so — before the bill comes due.

 

 

 

ATTACHMENT SIX – From the New York Times

 

 

By Katie Rogers  Published Oct. 5, 2021 Updated Oct. 6, 2021, 10:56 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON — President Biden said on Tuesday that Democrats are considering a change to Senate filibuster rules to bypass a Republican blockade over raising the debt limit, which has set the United States on a collision course with a government default.

“Oh, I think that’s a real possibility,” Mr. Biden said when asked if Democrats were considering the last-resort route, which would involve making an exception to allow for a debt ceiling bill to pass with a simple majority instead of the usual 60 votes needed.

Senate Democrats discussed carving out the exception at their weekly lunch on Tuesday. No conclusions were reached, but notably, according to participants, the two strongest opponents of filibuster changes, Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, did not speak up in protest. They also did not speak up in support.

The move, once nearly unimaginable in a chamber steeped in decorum, has come under discussion as the Biden administration and congressional Democrats have explored ways to head off a government default without Republican support. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen has warned lawmakers of “catastrophic” consequences, including a recession and financial crisis, if Congress does not act before Oct. 18, when the government is projected to be unable to pay its bills.

On Wednesday, the Senate will vote on whether to take up legislation to raise the debt ceiling until December 2022. But with 10 Republican senators needed to join Democrats in support, the vote is expected to fail.

Some Democrats have expressed hope that if curbing the filibuster is the only avenue left, the party could muster 50 votes for the rule change.

Lawmakers have carved out other exceptions to the filibuster in recent years. In 2017, Senate Republicans created one to clear a path for Neil M. Gorsuch, President Donald J. Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, to take the bench. And in 2013, Senate Democrats did so to overcome Republican opposition to President Barack Obama’s nominees for cabinet posts and judgeships.

Mr. Biden’s remarks on Tuesday evening, made as he returned to the White House after a trip to Michigan to sell a bipartisan infrastructure package and expansive social spending bill, reflected the president’s increasingly confrontational approach to a divided chamber that has presented him with one legislative obstacle after another as he tries to pass his domestic agenda.

“As soon as this week, your savings and your pocketbook could be directly impacted by this Republican stunt,” Mr. Biden said during remarks at the White House on Monday, cautioning that a failed vote on Wednesday could rattle financial markets, sending stock prices lower and interest rates higher. “A meteor is headed for our economy,” he said.

The president has also bristled at the ultimatum put forth by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, who has said Democrats must use reconciliation — a more complicated process that could take a week or more to come together — if they want to overcome Republican opposition to raising the debt limit.

 

Understand the U.S. Debt Ceiling

What is the debt ceiling? The debt ceiling, also called the debt limit, is a cap on the total amount of money that the federal government is authorized to borrow via U.S. Treasury bills and savings bonds to fulfill its financial obligations. Because the U.S. runs budget deficits, it must borrow huge sums of money to pay its bills.

When will the debt limit be breached? Technically, the U.S. hit its debt limit at the end of July. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been using “extraordinary measures” since then to delay a default. Ms. Yellen warned of “catastrophic” consequences if the debt limit isn't raised before a default, which the Treasury estimates would happen on Oct. 18.

What are those consequences? Ms. Yellen told Congress that inaction could lead to a self-inflicted economic recession and a financial crisis. She also said that failing to raise the debt ceiling could affect programs that help millions of Americans, including delays to Social Security payments.

Why does the U.S. limit its borrowing? According to the Constitution, Congress must authorize borrowing. The debt limit was instituted in the early 20th century so the Treasury did not need to ask for permission each time it needed to issue bonds to pay bills.

Why hasn’t Congress acted yet? Led by Senator Mitch McConnell, Republicans have said Democrats must supply all the votes to raise the debt ceiling, but have filibustered their attempts to do so. Senate Democrats increasingly see the G.O.P. blockade as clear justification for changing the chamber’s filibuster rule.

What about raising the debt limit via reconciliation? Reconciliation, a fast-track process that shields fiscal legislation from a filibuster, is one way Democrats could steer around Republican opposition and act unilaterally. But Democratic leaders have publicly resisted that option, which would be complex and time-consuming.

Why is raising the debt limit so difficult? For many years, raising the debt ceiling was routine. But as the political environment has become more polarized, Congress has been playing an increasingly dangerous political game over the debt ceiling.

Do other countries do it this way? Denmark also has a debt limit, but it is set so high that raising it is generally not an issue. Most other countries do not. In Poland, public debt cannot exceed 60 percent of gross domestic product.

What are the alternatives to the debt ceiling? The lack of a replacement is one of the main reasons the debt ceiling has persisted. Ms. Yellen said that she would support legislation to abolish the debt limit, which she described as “destructive.” It would take an act of Congress to do away with the debt limit.

“I respectfully submit that it is time for you to engage directly with congressional Democrats on this matter,” Mr. McConnell wrote in a letter to Mr. Biden on Monday. “Your lieutenants in Congress must understand that you do not want your unified Democratic government to sleepwalk toward an avoidable catastrophe when they have had nearly three months’ notice to do their job.”

Mr. McConnell has said the government must not be allowed to stop paying its debts; he has also said he will not let any Republicans vote to raise the debt limit, while moving to block Democrats from doing so themselves. Republicans already held together to filibuster an earlier bill to increase the debt limit.

Once the Republicans again filibuster a debt ceiling increase on Wednesday, Democrats will have to plot a path forward — and quickly.

On Tuesday evening, the White House announced an event to keep up the pressure: a meeting between Mr. Biden and a group of executives on Wednesday to “immediately address the debt limit and the damaging consequences for American families, small businesses and the economy if unnecessary delay continues any further.”

 

 

 

ATTACHMENT SEVEN – From Fox News

 

DEROY MURDOCK: MITCH MCCONNELL COLLAPSES BENEATH DEMOCRAT DEBT-LIMIT LIES

 

Mitch McConnell? He's more like Mitch McClellan

SpeechKit

What the hell is Mitch McConnell doing? 

Yet again, as Democrats are dazed, divided, and desperate, the Senate Republican leader rides to their rescue. 

McConnell, Kentucky’s senior senator, is bailing out Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. McConnell will deliver enough GOP votes to help Democrats increase the national debt limit by $480 billion through December. The Senate reportedly will vote today on this bipartisan fiscal-recklessness pact.  

If McConnell planned to collapse beneath Schumer's pressure, he should have done so quietly. Instead, McConnell very dramatically persuaded Senate Republicans unanimously to ignore Schumer's and President Biden’s cheap default drama and, instead, invite him, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Biden to push Democrats to boost borrowing thresholds on their own. 

McConnell held a news conference to highlight GOP unity. Having displayed resolve and rallied the Republican base, McConnell now whips out his oft-deployed white flag, just as the battle began. This will enrage and demoralize Republicans who, just days ago, were girding for a major fight over fiscal responsibility.  

Mitch McConnell? He's more like Mitch McClellan. 

"Mitch caved," Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., crowed Wednesday. She told The Hill: "And now we’re going to spend our time doing child care, health care, and fighting climate change." 

Precisely. 

Had McConnell’s nerve not vanished like a sandcastle at high tide, he could have forced Democrats to walk and chew an entire turkey at the same time. Grappling with the debt limit would have disoriented Democrats through much of October, even as Pelosi scrambles to pass the $1.2 trillion "infrastructure" bill and Biden's $3.5 trillion Build Back Better tax-hike and welfare boondoggle before her self-imposed Halloween deadline. Mitch’s debt-limit giveaway lets Democrats drop that Butterball and march single-mindedly toward their socialist utopia. 

placeholder

Even worse, McConnell let himself be spooked by Democrats’ loud lies. 

The warnings about America facing an Oct. 18 Argentine-style national-debt default are pure rubbish. Belief in this myth reflects a confluence of Democrat deceit and economic illiteracy. Alas, McConnell is among the illiterates. 

The national debt is like a giant personal credit card. If Jack Jones owes $5,000 on his MasterCard, he would not default on Nov. 1, if he could not scrape together $5,000. He only would default if he failed to make the minimum payment of, say, $250. If Jones sends MasterCard $250, everybody is happy. 

Likewise, Uncle Sam would not default if he could not pay America’s $28.8 trillion national debt this month. However, if he missed his monthly debt-service obligations, only then America would default. Washington can avoid default simply by underwriting interest payments on the national debt, not by coughing up the underlying principal. 

Despite shouted Democrat lies, America is not careening toward fiscal ruin. 

Yes, Washington should slash spending and leave new entitlements unlaunched. The budget axes and machetes should be sharp and in perpetual motion.  

But there is neither a need nor an expectation that Washington suddenly would fill this Grand Canyon of red ink. So long as Treasury covers the monthly minimum on the national-debt "credit card," there will be peace in the valley. 

U.S. Department of the Treasury

U.S. Department of the Treasury

Fortunately, the federal government collects lots more money every month than what it needs to finance interest. The Monthly Treasury Statement details how much Washington collects and disburses. Figure 1, above, illustrates Table 9’s data.

For August 2021, $268 billion in receipts reached the U.S. Treasury. Net interest payments totaled just $42 billion. Treasury gathered $226 billion more than necessary to avoid default. How much more? More than six times the amount required to satisfy U.S. bond holders. 

August was no anomaly. For 2021, the first month of each quarter confirms that revenues overwhelm net-interest expenditures: 

January 
Revenue: $384.6 billion 
Net interest: $25.2 billion  

April  
Revenue: $439.2 billion 
Net interest: $34.0 billion 

July 
Revenue: $262.0 billion 
Net interest: $37.9 billion 

Ditto last fiscal year: 

FY 2020 
Revenue: $3.4 trillion 
Net interest: $344.7 billion 

Cash cascades into the Treasury every month and inundates the sums needed to make bond holders smile. Default is a microscopic risk. 

Several Republican senators have not been bamboozled by the Democrats’ pathetic charade. Florida’s Rick Scott and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey sponsored the Full Faith and Credit Act, which Toomey first introduced in 2011. This legislation would make debt-service the first bill that Treasury pays each month. This would render default virtually illegal, so long as revenues outpace interest obligations.  

This legislation also would make Treasury stop spraying money, as if with a firehose. Instead, after interest, Treasury would prioritize Social Security checks, VA assistance, GIs’ salaries, and Medicare benefits. 

Sen. Toomey said: "This bill would simply prevent Democrats from taking the full faith and credit of the U.S. hostage and ensure we make timely payments to our creditors, seniors, veterans, and the active-duty military until they stop playing politics." 

If enacted, the Scott-Toomey measure would soothe markets and avoid the Black Friday-type scenario around which top Democrats are synthesizing a crisis and terrifying Sens. McConnell, Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, and others into doing what the Left wants: boost the debt limit, replenish the national Visa card, and hike America's available credit. This would let Democrats purchase $1.2 trillion of "infrastructure" and fund Biden’s $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend orgy. 

Rather than accept Schumer's demands and lead Republicans into bed with fiscally promiscuous Democrats, McConnell should introduce the Scott-Toomey bill as an amendment. Make Democrats vote on this concrete plan to put debt service atop Treasury's monthly stack of bills. If Democrats want default to disappear as a potential nightmare, they unanimously would join Republicans and pass the Full Faith and Credit Act. 

If Democrats balk at this major step toward fiscal prudence, then Americans will know that they dragged out the default monster simply to frighten the country. 

For now, Democrats are high-fiving each other. Yet again, McConnell has proven to be the Democrat Party’s best friend. He has handed them exactly what they want, in exchange for... nothing. 

With the GOP, once more, cleaning up after Democrats stumble out of their latest boozy blowout, the question occurs: How much longer will Senate Republicans stomach Mitch "General McClellan" McConnell as their "leader?" 

 

 

And… ATTACHMENT EIGHT – From Fox News

 

CONGRESS SET UP FOR MAJOR LEGISLATIVE CRUSH AROUND THANKSGIVING, BLEEDING INTO DECEMBER

Congress is in for a hellish holiday season, as it will be forced to tackle two must-pass bills by approximately Dec. 3, while also trying to maneuver through Democrats' massive spending bill and the infrastructure bill.

The continuing resolution Congress passed last month keeps the government open until Dec. 3, by which point another bill will have to pass to keep the government open. That deadline will be paired with another deadline at about the same time to raise the debt ceiling again.

The $480 billion debt ceiling increase the Senate passed Thursday -- which the House is expected to concur with next week -- is only designed as a short term fix to avert the debt default that would have come Oct. 18. It is meant to carry the government until at least Dec. 3, though the Treasury may be able to put off default for a short time beyond that.

It did not solve the underlying disagreement on how to raise the debt ceiling in the long term. Republicans say Democrats should do it via budget reconciliation while Democrats say they'll only do it as a bipartisan bill under regular order.

After a caustic floor speech by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Thursday night, Republicans say they will likely be more dug in come December and much less likely to bail Democrats out with some sort of short-term increase.

Meanwhile, Democrats say they are trying to get their massive reconciliation spending bill passed by the end of October -- something most observers say is very unlikely -- as well as the infrastructure bill.

Their efforts to pass those bills will likely bleed into November and possible December, at which point they may be swept up into the debt ceiling and government funding chaos and face an even tougher road forward.

A failure to pass either bill -- but especially the reconciliation bill Democrats say they plan to run on in 2022 -- would be a major blow to the president and his party.

So it's possible that Congress has set itself up for some intense days and long nights later this year when members would rather be home with their families

 

ATTACHMENT NINE – From The Hill

SENATE APPROVES SHORT-TERM DEBT CEILING INCREASE

 

BY JORDAIN CARNEY - 10/07/21 08:31 PM EDT

 

The Senate on Thursday approved a deal to increase the debt ceiling and keep the country solvent into December, moving to stave off a default expected to occur in a matter of days.  

Senators voted 50-48 along party lines on the short-term increase in the nation’s borrowing limit. GOP Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) didn’t vote. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced House lawmakers will return on Tuesday to vote on the bill, before sending it to President Biden's desk. 

Though the final vote, which required a simple majority, was along party lines, 11 Republican senators voted with Democrats to get the bill over a procedural hurdle that required 60 votes.

The Senate’s action comes a day after Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said that Republicans would let Democrats pass a short-term debt hike and just hours after Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced they had clinched a deal.  

It marked a quick end to a months-long standoff between Schumer and McConnell that had moved the country closer to a historic default. Congress has until Oct. 18 to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, or risk plummeting over the fiscal cliff with significant consequences for the world’s economy.  

Under the agreement passed by the Senate, the debt ceiling will increase by $480 billion. The Treasury Department, according to Senate aides, thinks that will set up the next deadline for Dec. 3, the same day government funding is set to expire.  

That effectively punts the debt fight until later in the year. But there was growing concern among senators in both parties that the stalemate didn’t have a clear offramp. 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) urged McConnell and Schumer, who at that point had not started speaking, to start negotiating with each other to find an offramp. 

“I truly implore both leaders ... to engage, start working, work this out,” Manchin said. 

“We have a responsibility to be the adults ... we should not have these artificial crisis,” he added. “Please lead, lead, work together.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) had also signaled that she was worried about how close the country was getting to its debt “x” date, or when the country would not be able to meet its financial obligations. Though the U.S. hit the debt ceiling on Aug. 1, the Treasury Department has been using so-called extraordinary measures to keep the government solvent since then. 

“I just want to make sure … that we are doing everything that we can to not send us into a situation of default, and I don't even want to get close,” she said.  

But the lead up to the vote was filled with drama. 

McConnell and GOP senators have pushed for Democrats to pass a long-term debt hike on their own through reconciliation, a budget process that lets them bypass the 60-vote legislative filibuster. They twice blocked Democrats from passing a debt suspension into 2022, once when it was tucked into a short-term government funding bill and by preventing Schumer from bypassing the filibuster a second time. 

That led several GOP senators to fume over the decision to offer a short-term extension, arguing that McConnell caved. Because conservatives insisted on a 60-vote cloture vote, GOP leadership spent hours trying to wrangle together the votes. In the end, 11 GOP senators voted to advance the debt deal.

“So Senator McConnell has been saying for two months now that if you’re going to spend the money through reconciliation, you need to raise the debt limit through reconciliation. And there’s been a change of heart there at the last minute,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). 

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), one of the GOP senators who insisted on the 60-vote procedural hurdle, added that “Chuck Schumer won this game of chicken.”  

“As two trucks drove towards each other on a country road, one or the other was going to turn or you were going to have a lot of dead chickens. I wish Republicans hadn't blinked,” he said. 

Schumer also sparked backlash from Republicans and Manchin after he gave a fiery floor speech just after the vote to end debate and before the final vote on the debt-ceiling extension. 

Schumer, speaking from the Senate floor, accused Republicans of playing a "dangerous and risky partisan game," for insisting for weeks that Democrats use the budget process to raise the debt ceiling. 

The speech earned him an earful from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senate Republicans. 

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) spoke with Schumer after the speech and said that, "I let him have it." 

"I thought it was totally out of line. I just thought it was an incredibly partisan speech after we had just helped him solve a problem," he said. 

Manchin also spoke with Schumer after the speech, saying that he "didn't think it was appropriate." 

"I'm sure Chuck's frustration was up, but that was not a way of taking it out," Manchin said. 

In many ways the vote sets up a repeat of the current fight for early December. 

Republicans are vowing that once the December deadline hits, Democrats will still have to use reconciliation unless their sweeping social spending bill falls apart.  

“I think in this case, what we did is we took the Democrats' main argument. An argument table which is which they didn't have enough time so you know this buys them some time,” said Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican. 

But Schumer and many Democratic senators in his caucus have vowed for months that they will not use reconciliation. 

“Using reconciliation is a horrible precedent to set because it then will only be done in reconciliation in the future, which will make it even harder to raise the debt ceiling so I'm not going to use reconciliation because of the precedent it sets,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

Updated at 10:26 p.m.

 

 

ATTACHMENT TEN – From CNN

SENATE VOTES TO EXTEND DEBT CEILING THROUGH EARLY DECEMBER

 

By Clare Foran and Ali Zaslav, CNN  Updated 7:44 AM ET, Fri October 8, 2021

 

The Senate voted 50-48 Thursday evening to extend the nation's debt limit through early December after Democrats and Republicans reached a deal to avert economic disaster following weeks of partisan deadlock over the issue.

The House will next have to approve the extension before it can be sent to President Joe Biden for his signature. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said late Thursday that the House will convene on Tuesday to vote on the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Thursday morning that a deal had been reached, paving the way for the final vote later in the day. An aide familiar with negotiations told CNN that the deal is to increase the ceiling by $480 billion, which is how much the Treasury Department told Congress it would need to get to December 3.

The announcement came a day after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly floated a debt ceiling proposal, which sparked negotiations between the two parties to reach an agreement.

Both parties have made clear that the country must not default and that even coming close to it would likely bring catastrophic economic consequences.

Yet while the debt limit extension stands to avert immediate economic disaster, it does not resolve the underlying partisan stalemate over the issue. It merely delays the fight until another day.

In addition, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and several Republican senators sharply criticized as overly partisan a floor speech Schumer delivered moments after 10 GOP senators joined Democrats in voting to advance the bill.

Republicans have been insistent that Democrats must act alone to address the debt limit through a process known as budget reconciliation. Democrats have argued the issue is a shared bipartisan responsibility and that process is too lengthy and unwieldy and that the risk of miscalculation would be too high.

Here are the 11 Senate Republicans who joined Democrats to break the debt limit deal filibuster

That fundamental dispute remains, setting up a high-stakes showdown in early December.

Lawmakers will also have to deal with the expiration of government funding in the same time frame after recently passing a short-term extension to avert a shutdown that lasts only through December 3.

Ahead of the final vote Thursday evening, the Senate voted to break a filibuster on the agreement to raise the debt ceiling, which needed 60 votes to succeed. The tally was 61-38. Republican senators provided 11 votes, which when combined with those of members of all the Democratic caucus, got the Senate over the procedural hurdle.

After that vote, Schumer blamed Republicans in his speech for nearly pushing the nation into default and rebuked their handling of the issue: "Republicans played a dangerous and risky partisan game, and I am glad that their brinksmanship did not work. For the good of America's families, for the good of our economy, Republicans must recognize in the future that they should approach fixing the debt limit in a bipartisan way."

"I thought it was totally out of line. I thought it was an incredibly partisan speech after we just helped them solve a problem," said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the GOP whip, who had helped find the Republican votes Democrats needed to overcome the filibuster and had voted for it himself despite opposing it. "I let him have it."

Manchin, a preacher of bipartisanship who tries to bring the parties together on a number of issues, also was unhappy with the tone of Schumer's speech, which took place on the crowded Senate floor as senators waited to cast the final vote.

"I don't think it was appropriate at this time," the West Virginia Democrat said. "I know Chuck's frustration has built up, but that was not the way to take it out. We just disagree. I would have done it differently."

 

AND… for partisans of horror, evil and… well… partisanship…

ATTACHMENT ELEVEN – From Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer via rev.com

 

Sep 27, 2021

 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer gave remarks on raising the U.S. debt ceiling before the Senate vote on September 27, 2021. Read the transcript of the speech here.

 

Chuck Schumer: (00:00)

Madam President.

 

Madam President: (00:02)

Mr. Majority Leader?

 

Chuck Schumer: (00:03)

Well, Madam President, and after today I ask-

 

Madam President: (00:06)

Mr. Majority Leader, we’re going to-

 

Chuck Schumer: (00:07)

… unanimous consent decorum be dispensed with.

 

Madam President: (00:09)

Without objection.

 

Chuck Schumer: (00:09)

Madam President, after today, there’ll be no doubt which party in this chamber is working to solve the problems that face our country and which party is accelerating us towards an unnecessary avoidable disaster.

 

Chuck Schumer: (00:28)

Let me say that again without interruption. Madam President, after today, there will be no doubt, no doubt about which party in this chamber is working to solve the problems that face our country and which party is accelerating us towards unnecessary avoidable disaster. At the end of last week, I filed cloture on proceeding to the continuing resolution sent to us by the House of Representatives, which among other things would prevent a government shutdown and suspend the debt limit, so we can pay for our debts incurred during the previous administration. In a few hours, we will vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to this bill. The Democrats will do the responsible thing, the right thing, the thing that’s been done for decades by both parties and vote yes. Now, if Republicans follow through with their plans to vote no, they will be on record deliberately sabotaging our country’s ability to pay the bills and likely causing the first ever default in American history.

 

Chuck Schumer: (01:32)

The consequences of a default would be in the words of Secretary Yellin, “Catastrophic.” The best case scenario is… The best case under this awful situation is that our country would fall into another recession, potentially erasing all the progress we have made to pull out ourselves out of the COVID crisis. That is if we’re lucky. Otherwise one analysis warned that default could hurt Americans for generations, for generations. Interest costs will be higher and not go down very quickly. And that has huge effects on so many different people. And that’s only one of the effects of default. So I want my Republican colleagues to think carefully about the practical consequences of what they’re doing. The default means quite simply, the government cannot pay it’s bills. It means that suddenly the government is presented with unimaginable options. Do they tell seniors they won’t get their social security checks or veterans that they won’t see their benefits or tell our military they won’t be getting paid?

 

Chuck Schumer: (02:41)

And the consequences on Main Street would be equally severe. A default would very likely send markets crashing and interest rates skyrocketing, making it harder for small businesses to make ends meet, for homeowners and renters to pay the bills, and for consumers to keep our economy going. All of the consequences or so many of the consequences can be boiled down into three frightening numbers, 6,000,000, 9, 15 trillion. 6 million jobs lost, 9% unemployment, 15 trillion in squandered household wealth. Let me say that again. Those are devastating numbers on so many households throughout America, just about every household. That’s 6 million jobs lost, 9% unemployment, 15 trillion in squandered household wealth.

 

Chuck Schumer: (03:36)

Yes, that’s what we’re potentially looking at if Republicans get their irresponsible and reckless way. None of this needs to happen. None of it. The only reason we are here, the only reason this is even a possibility is because Republicans are making this a possibility by preventing the government from paying its bills. It’s an unhinged position to the take, one that not long ago, only the most radical elements of the Republican party would’ve embraced. There’s no scenario in God’s green earth, where it should be worth risking millions of jobs, trillions in household wealth, people’s social security checks, veterans benefits, and another recession just to score are short term meaningless political points. That’s what Republicans seem fixated on doing.

 

Chuck Schumer: (04:26)

Now, there’s a very simple step we can take today to guarantee the government won’t default and won’t shut down. Both sides can come together to vote yes on today’s vote and vote to pass the continuing resolution. Just as Democrats worked in a bipartisan fashion under the Trump Administration, Republicans must now step up to the plate. To do otherwise is the height of recklessness, irresponsibility. Republicans say they don’t want to see a government shutdown. They say they don’t want to see our government default on our debt.

 

Chuck Schumer: (05:00)

Then they should vote yes. It’s plain and simple. It’s very clear. There’s no obfuscation here. Crystal clear. Voting yes means avoiding default and avoiding a government shutdown. Voting no says let’s risk it. Let’s risk it. By choosing to block today’s resolution, Republicans are intentionally making default more likely. By blocking an extension of the debt limit, Republicans will solidify themselves for a long time as the party of default. I cannot emphasize that this isn’t just another political gain. We’re facing a parade of horribles that will hurt every single American in this country. And it’s important to remember that today’s vote would also advance a number of priorities besides just funding the government and avoiding default, as important as those are. It would provide desperately needed emergency funding for millions of people affected by natural disasters from this summer, including hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding across Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia.

 

Chuck Schumer: (06:03)

It would provide billions to help resettle Afghan refugees who risk their lives, helping our troops abroad. Both sides claim they support these priorities. So the easy answer is to vote yes later today. Madam President, being elected to office means sometimes you have to do things to rise above partisan politics. It means we have an obligation to work together when our country faces an acute crisis. Tearing the barn down is easy. Building it up, preserving it, keeping it standing year after year takes hard work and cooperation. And at the end of the day, the only thing that matters in this chamber is how its members vote. Rest assured Democrats will vote today to do the right thing. The American people will be watching whether or not our Republican colleagues choose to vote in favor of preserving our full faith and credit or vote in favor of an unprecedented default. I yield the floor.