Glenn Reynolds says a lot of stupid things, but this may take the cake (Bruce Bartlett via Matt Yglesias):
SO HERE’S A QUESTION: Would a default on Treasuries accomplish what the Balanced Budget Amendment was supposed to achieve, by forcing the government to spend no more than it takes in? With more collateral damage, of course. . . .
Obviously GR knows nothing about how debt default works eh? Maybe he can ask the mexicans, argentinians, brazilians, etc etc how that worked for them during the 1980s? What a fucking idiot. Bartlet takes him tot he woodshed as should be, but how insane are these hacks that they would prefer economic catastrophe to raising taxes?
Rush: So here’s a question: Couldn’t we eliminate the deficit by just printing more money? Economist say that would lead to inflation, but real Americans know that the more money you have, the richer you are. Liberals want you to believe the more money someone else has, the less money you have. That’s just not true, folks. It’s not. Caller from Minnesota, you’re on the air.
Caller: Wouldn’t inflation mean we’d have to be carrying money in wheelbarrows to buy a loaf of bread?
Rush: That’s the thing, even if inflation were true — which it’s not — we all use debit cards now anyway. Who uses cash? When I go on cruise ships, they give me a little credit card with ‘Boy Virgin Atlantic Bucks’ that’s linked to my personal credit card. Have you ever seen someone with a wheelbarrow full of cash on a cruise ship? See, folks, liberals just don’t know what they’re talking about. Inflation! Next caller.
There are many countries that Glenn can visit and see how he likes their country. Correct me if I wrong but I think Zimbabwe would be a good choice. We could even have a fund raiser and send him over for free.
Come on now, he wants one more wank before he deposits his brain in Robby v0.9 and masturbation is gone forever.
I think the US government should first start defaulting on T-bills owned by Republicans.
Let’s see how funny Glenn Reynold thinks this idea is when he looks at his next 401k balance.
I would again like to know who, precisely, is learning law from this fucking moron.
But this misses the point entirely. The deficits are by design.
First in the 1980’s and again in the 2000’s, the Republicans deliberately started to run deficits as a defense mechanism against presumed Democratic spending. Were the budget ever to be balanced again, the Republicans would immediately propose tax cuts to prevent future spending!
Sometimes I think I’m in one of those really bad movies from the ’70’s. Not just the fashions or the FX, but those gaping plot holes that everyone falls into… and then climbs back out of.
Just read the NYT article on long-term unemployment. Depressing.
In my neck of the woods, we don’t even have a good underground economy. There are plenty of things that need to be done but nobody has any money. And even the folks with jobs are making less than they used to.
I guess that means that I should be grateful for the job I have. I hate having to be grateful for being overworked and underpaid. Yuccccch!
Next Glenn Reynolds recommendation: Why don’t we agree that every American will give a backrub to three Chinese if they forgive our debt?
OT: Evan Bayh thinks the filibuster delays bills. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/opinion/21bayh.html?ref=opinion Film at 11.
demo woman: here’s Instapundit’s response to Bartlett (via Instaputz):
“I’m going to do some gardening today.”
“With a flame thrower?”
“I have to kill some weeds. There may be some collateral damage, of course…”
With his love of endless wars perhaps putz will likewise propose we only attack wealthy countries. The military should be self-financing.
Why do republicans always hate on lawyers (tort reform will fix everything!) when it seems they attract so many to their ranks? Putz, malthouse and baby hughy are training the forthcoming generation using the power of their sheer geeeeenius.
@trollhattan: If the government could take a cut of oil revenues from our conquered provinces, the military could very well be self-financing.
Of course, taking oil company profits would eliminate the whole point of invading those countries.
@RSA: I can’t remember where I read the comment, but it was like:
1) New York has a major rat problem
2) Thermonuclear weapons kill rats
3) We should nuke New York to get rid of the rats
Might have been on Scott Adams’ blog (Dilbert creator). He couldn’t imagine a way out of this, but I can.
1) Look at the historical tax rates and income inequality and the deficit. Corporations and the wealthy are paying about half or less of what they have historically. We could totally raise taxes (or effectively raise taxes by cutting exemptions and loopholes and giveaways) on corporations, rich people, capital gains, etc. without any negative impact on the economy (except maybe a lot of bitching from WSJ advertisers). This would likely close funding gaps in all sorts of small things (Social Security’s shortfall, for example).
2) Cuts to military spending (esp. from ending the two wars we have going and major defense contract reform).
3) Get Medicare spending under control by moving to Medicare for all, and using all the various cost control tools people have discussed.
Boom, problem solved. Kidding, I know it’s not trivial to do, but the solutions are right there. We just lack the will and the “overton window” is so far to the right that reasonable tax increases are considered “beyond the pale” for solving problems and so we go round and round about spending cuts, etc. without making any progress.
Glennie is obviously one of those who believes Treasuries are only owned by the Inscrutable Chinee.
Total Debt Held by the Public (that is excluding Intragovernmental Holdings like Social Security Trust Funds) is $7.893 Trillion
Total Foreign Holdings of US Treasuries is $3.614 Trillion
Meaning that Americans, and mostly wealthy Americans and large entities like pension funds are holding $4.279 Trillion in Treasuries
Does Reynolds understand that he just declared economic war on the rentier class? Why not confiscate $4 trillion in wealth from the billionaires? Who knew the Revolution was be proclaimed from the Faculty Room of the U of K Law School?
I give you Professor Glenn Reynolds! Vanguard Revolutionary! Scourge of the Capitalist Roaders! (I guess the John Birch Society is right, those filthy commies are everywhere, even teaching Constitutional Law to unsuspecting Kentuckians).
@jcricket: Yep. They are still shrieking that taxing the rich will stifle investment and creativity and result in the loss of jobs and the cratering of huge corporations…
wait, wait… (pause to adjust)
that would be even worse than what we have now!
Chad N Freude
@inkadu: Just in case you didn’t make this up (and I certainly hope you did), isn’t there a bit of cognitive dissonance between printing more money and not needing to carry printed money around because we have credit/debit cards?
Yeah, who says the Republicans are out of ideas?
We’ve got this thing called “The 14th Amendment.” It sort of mentions a little something about America’s debt. I wonder if Reynolds he’s ever heard of it?
To Bruce Webb:
You’ve been catching up on your reading, haven’t you? Very good.
Yeah, there’s the Zimbabwe thing in the back-and-forth, but what’s clear to me is that idiots like Reynolds want to take us down the road to Somalia. If you want a libertarian paradise, why not just move there and spare those of us who want a civil society and modern economy? Even the corporations will suck up the realistic tax burden and stay here.
@Chad N Freude: I did make it up, but i wouldn’t be surprised to hear something similar from the party that denies global warming and obvious resluts of bad fiscal policy.
During the Wermacht regime, before the Nazi’s took over, inflation was so bad, it is said, that people needed to carry their money in wheel barrows to buy a loaf of bread. If that was the only problem with inflation, it would be neatly taken care of by debit cards. Retail stores could also have digital price tags linked to a financial computer updating prices on the hour…
It’s all a scheme to get us to switch to gold and silver coins!
I don’t think Glen has correctly anticipated future markets in lawyer-production if we crater the dollar. But perhaps he’s looking forward to growing all his own food, and trading blowjobs for propane.
UT, not of K.
We should poison the water supply to reduce traffic congestion.
@Mojotron: lol Thanks for that.
DougJ: Via John Cole.
(Now we know that Doug doesn’t click through all of John’s links!)
Well, I for one, believe GR may be on to something here. If a country like ours, which is too big to fail, fails anyway, then the rest of the world will be left with no choice but to bail the fail. Debt forgiveness by China, IMF subsidies, direct Euro financing of all unsecured Fed printing presses. Why even Israel could send us foreign aid.
Then, Congress and the Fed can award themselves fat bonuses with some of the largess.
Goldmann Sachs was just a trial balloon.
And he’s a professor of law. Complete intellectual self-immolation, capped off by this:
“Bruce, I’m not trying to turn the United States into Zimbabwe. That would be the guy in the White House, whom you seem surprisingly anxious to defend.”
– Let’s see, Glenn speculates about voluntary default, but Obama is trying to turn the US into Zimbabwe. Who could that possibly make sense to, and why?
Oh, wait, I get it… Zimbabwe is, you know, an AFRICAN country. And Glenn, on the other hand, is a “real”, “heartland” American.
So, should I invest in wheelbarrow stock?
but if we default, the terrorists win!
OT I was watching some on Ron Paul’s acceptance speech, cause i was interested to see how the crowd would react. At one point he said conservative to him means conserving the constitution and the good things about this country. The crowd predictably cheered. What is with wingnuts fake love of the constitution? Some times watching these people makes me crazy. They believe they are the protectors of the constitution, and the constitutional lawyer from Harvard and the U of C is its enemy. I am convinced they love it so much because the only thing they know about it is it protects der guns.
Instapundit holds forth from atop ol’ Rocky Top? The symbolism is rife w/graphic possibility…
Reynolds seems to be one of those folks who root for catastrophe because, when its over, they think wealth will be just lying around for the picking and they’ll be rich beyond their wildest dreams.
Somehow, the seem also to believe that they will retain their own status and power in the maw of disaster, and will not themselves be swallowed in the cataclysm they helped unleash and applauded; that they won’t in fact probably be among the first casualties of a world far harder than they have ever been trained to survive.
If it were possible that such a fate could be visited upon them alone, I would applaud their temerity; but since any such calamity must perforce claim older, frailer hippies such as myself, as well, I hope I may be forgiven if I merely invite the Perfessor to go fuck himself.
To recap: Reynolds apparently gives credence (via a semi-“Cavuto”) to one of the dumbest economic suggestions in 225 years…a suggestion that has been openly discussed among the Beck/Bachman/Tea Party crowd for months now, BTW.
Bruce Bartlett, a longtime, conservative supply sider is literally disgusted and shocked – you can almost visualize him trembling with angst as he types his response – at Reynolds’ proposal.
Meanwhile, Mark Thoma, a left of center economist, e-mails over to Bartlett that Reynolds is – has got to be joking. It appears he might be trying to talk Bartlett in from off the ledge. Bartlett, leaves open that possibility, appears a bit calmer but still not sure whether Reynolds has a sense of humor, particularly when it comes to economics.
Reynolds, in turn, doubles down, calls Bartlett a fuck. Tells him to stop wasting his time with facts, history and potential scenarios of economic Armageddon if his “idea” is implemented.
And Obama’s a douche.
Hopefully, Mr. Bartlett has signed-off for the day.
@clone12: And now we have found the root of deficit hysteria and the push to privatize social secruity, well done.
Reposted. Don’t release from moderation.
WaPo (via Sadly):
A little tin-foily perhaps, but is it at all possible that Glenn Beck is a performance artist aiming to satirize and destroy the Republican Party from within?
Seriously, Beck attacks even the fig leaf rhetoric the GOP uses to appeal to moderates. And they applaud him for it. If it were fiction, who would believe this shit?
OT, but for a laugh from No Quarter:
EVENT HONORING LYNN FORESTER DE ROTHSCHILD
From the comments:
Is that for real? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
@Chad N Freude:
Adjust your snarkometer.
I’m not sure why anyone is surprised by this. Probably the biggest single holder of US Treasuries is the Social Security Administration.
Default on treasuries, and you kill Social Security. That’s been a GOP grail for 75 years.
It’s the GOP version of two birds with one stone.
The funniest thing is Reynolds has been posting for two years about the impending pension meltdown, and apparently has no idea how pensions are, in large part, funded.
Beck is a political, vs a religious/fundie, “Poe.”
A “Poe” is, as I am sure most know, a performance of fundi/evangitard rhetoric so over the top that it is impossible to tell the “real” thing from an artful imposture.
Yep, it’s not just Social Security, practically every pension fund in the country has at least some investment in US Treasuries. I wonder how much Reynolds has invested in Treasuries without even knowing it?
Bruce Bartlett is a pretty sharp guy. Which, needless to say, means there is no place for him in the Republican Party.
We really do need a sensible center-right party run by adults, to keep the crazies on both sides in check.
Davis X. Machina
Reynolds is just confirming something many of us have believed for years — that those people would rather sit in the ruins on their terms than avert disaster on someone else’s.
Which is the politics of an over-tired three-year old.
@Will: Oy vey. Reminds me of those asinine ads for the Rosetta Stone series of language CDs. “He was an out-of-work PUMA. She was an heiress to a banking dynasty. He knew he had only one chance to impress her.”
I thought that was the Democratic party. Tell me when anything suggested by a crazy on the left has even been talked about in public in DC.
@JGabriel: Not surprised they hate Teddy R. Compared to current republican ideology, every previous republican president in history was a communist s0cialist redistributionist.
Remember, Rush said just the other day that spending money to build yourself a lavish beach house was every bit as moral as spending that money on poor sick people.
Remember all those times Jesus stopped healing lepers to go gild the King’s new estate? Yeah I don’t either.
MikeJ, that would be every time the GOP discusses Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers’ college years, and the few far-left truthers.
Republicans defaulted on rationality about 40 years ago. Alas that the foreclosure proceedings are raking us all in as collateral damage.
“For too long our culture has said, ‘If it feels good, do it.’ Now America is embracing a new ethic and a new creed: ‘Let’s default'” ~ george w bush
Hillary should punch her in the neck.
I neglected to note this is the Very Same Putz who
was fond of posting “Dude, where’s my recession?” during those halcyon days that were the G.W. Bush monarchy.
How much Fed Gov’t money does UT get? Idiot doesn’t realize he works for a “[email protected]” system, the public education system, that depends on the government.
he’s proud to to be a moron from UofT
a place where knoxville dipshits hang around
where being white
and being dumb
is never negative
and where no leftie critics
can be found
’cause he’s a UofT right wing welfare cheat
getting paid by tax dollars for his lies
there’s nothing like a tenured libertarian
praising free markets to the skies
Reynolds knows perfectly well what he’s about. after all, this little foray got him lots of traffic and chatter, no?
can i just suggest–politely–that y’all stop taking the bait? reacting to every imbecility/trolling gesture is the same kind of short-term thinking that’s dooming this country, and possibly the planet. why? because focussing on short-term fluff, while satisfying, obscures the need for long-term thinking. it also eviscerates the ability to contemplate, or to put it another way, the ability to think free of the noise of daily life.
Also, let’s rent a bulldozer and knock down America into a pile of rubble.
Leave the bulldozer in the pool.
@JGabriel: I don’t care if it is a plan.
It’s results I’m after!
He’s also one of the idiots that blamed the subprime crisis on poor people… Now he’s suggesting to his readers that maybe a default on Treasuries is not such a bad idea.
They got her title wrong.
It’s Lady Lynn Forester de Rothchild. How dare they disrespect a Duchess!
Classic clip The Duchess on CNN saying she won’t vote an elitist — toooooo funnny!
They got her title wrong.
It’s Lady Lynn Forester de Rothchild. How dare they disrespect a Duchess!
Classic clip The douchebag
Duchesson CNN saying she won’t vote an elitist — toooooo funnny!
I’m trying to understand the outrage against Reynolds. I’ve gone back and read most of the stuff at the various links, including comments. I could be missing something, but my take is that Reynolds simply asked a question: Could it be done, and what would happen if it did. Bartlett provided a fairly detailed analysis, which was great, but it was done in the supposition that Reynolds said we should default on the debt. Which he didn’t. Toma was right – Bartlett overreacted. But, he answered the question, which I found informative.
@rootless_e: It is obvious that you have never stepped foot on the University of Tennessee campus.
This is a test. This is only a test. This test will conclude at the end of this message.
@Church Lady: Henever asks questions- he pushes an agenda.
And there are ten links to Andrew Breitbart screaming at people on Instapundit’s home page right now, all with an endorsement or a “heh, indeedy.” The idea that Bartlett’s detailed smackdown of his idiocy was “intemperate” is hysterical.
Additionally, now that the default has been thoroughly debunked, you do know what is next, don’t you? I give it a week before Insty and company of wingnuts and maybe some glibertarians from Reason on PJTV claiming Bartlett is wrong and there is a way to default, just flat out making shit up in the same way they do climate science. Or maybe they will find out Bruce Bartlett once jaywalked, and then will outsource the trashing of Bartlett to his wingnut borg.
Attagirl, you just keep working on it.
I would almost never click on an instapundit link because they’re usually so dumb, but credit where credit is due, he also says he agrees that on the flip side the banks are at fault for giving the loans and shouldn’t be bailed out either.
Let’s call this a Reynolds Rap.
I wouldn’t expect Reynolds to know anything about economics, but he also doesn’t seem to have any familiarity with the US constitution.
His proposal is unconstitutional. I’m not saying it would be unconstitutional to default, I’m saying it is unconstitutional to even talk about it.
“What ?” you ask. Doesn’t the US constitution guarantee a right to free speach ? No. Not free speach about defaulting on the national debt. It hasn’t since the 14th amendment which partially repealed the first amendment was ratified.
I quote from the one and only US constitution Amendment 14 section 4
“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. ”
Look I know lots of you think you have the unlimited right to free speech even about default, but you’re not law professors.
Instadummy NEVER just ‘asks a question’. This is patented Reynolds passive-aggressive ‘This is what we should do, but I don’t dare actually make a positive statement’.
@Robert Waldmann: To split further legal hairs, and lord knows I hate to take that dumbass’s side, he didn’t question the validity of the debt, merely the ability or usefulness of repaying it.
I’ve seen this fourteenth amendment idea pushed a fair bit in Bruce’s (Bartlett not Webb) comments and my reading has always been the same as the one suggested in comment 70. In college I made this assertion and was informed I was incorrect by the well qualified Gerald Rosenberg. I didn’t understand his explanation then but would love to hear/read an explanation now.
Speaking of budget geekery the 538 is carrying bonddad’s stuff again and he has a pretty informative, if dull, piece up today on tax revenues and the budget,
“The validity of the public debt …shall not be questioned. ” could mean a couple of different things. It could mean you aren’t allowed to question it, I guess, but it could also be interpreted like “The debt will never fail to be repaid.”
It would take someone a lot more steeped in how political language was used back then than I am, to give a solid interpretation.
Ahem. That would be the Democrats.
Phoenician in a time of Romans
OT I was watching some on Ron Paul’s acceptance speech, cause i was interested to see how the crowd would react. At one point he said conservative to him means conserving the constitution and the good things about this country.
Conservatives are fighting for the actual constitution in the same way British soldiers fighting for Queen and Country are actually putting their lives at risk for a middle-aged slightly-overweight German housewife. It’s a matter of revering the symbol, and ignoring the reality.
Robert Waldmann, quoting the 14th Amendment:
Technically, I think it’s not illegal until it’s prosecutable. I don’t know of any statute specifying penalties for merely questioning the validity of the debt, though there are certainly penalties for not paying taxes.
I think that clause is primarily to foreclose arguments, as a legal defense, that taxes are not due because the US debt is illegal or not valid — if I remember correctly, primarily in the context of Southern states protesting taxes to pay for the Civil War.
I believe you’re overlooking the fact that for the masters of the universe, this is a feature, not a bug. In fact, its really the whole point of the thing.*
I mean, have you ever heard a conservative say a single bad word about walmart?
*As long as it’s the day to day existence of lots of little people and, you know, not them or any of their friends. It would of course be a great tragedy if the proper people had to suffer wage slavery. You and me, on the other hand… that’s just how economies work.
@Robert Waldmann: You can’t be serious. That sentence merely reaffirms the public debt’s general validity, and the following sentence qualifies it by invalidating debts that were incurred (or might be incurred) to facilitate the Confederate cause or were made to seek recompense for the losses resulting from Emancipation.
Sorry, but no. The Democratic Party fails to qualify. It is not run by adults. If it is “run,” in any meaningful sense, by anyone – which is open to question – it is run by people whose default mode of action is that of the self-centered, bratty three-year-old.
I dunno. Was the Balanced Budget Amendment meant to destroy the entire global economy and throw human history back into some sort of chaotic and war-for-resources epoch? Because if so- then yes. Default on treasuries would accomplish the same thing as the Balanced Budget Amendment. If destroying all of Western civilization by hauling down the world’s largest economy and burying the rest under its rubble is not the goal of the BBA, then no. It would not accomplish the same thing.
The guy must be a Charles Dickens fan. After all, the worst comparison to something totally worthless that Dickens could come up with — well, here it is:
“This [ the fact that people weren’t out in the street screaming that the Sun had failed to rise] was a great relief, because “three days after sight of this First of Exchange pay to Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge or his order,” and so forth, would have become a mere United States’ security if there were no days to count by.”
A mere United States’ security! What a disaster!
BTW, the United States, the actual nation and not states or cities or corporations, does not default on its debt. Has made a standing practice of not defaulting for longer than most national governments have existed. Why do the Republicans hate America so much?
Ammendment 14 Section 4.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
@Davis X. Machina:
“‘Tis better to rule in Hell, than serve in Heaven”, so says their lord and master.
I’m surprised nobody noticed the racist undertone in Glenn’s “response”:
Basically the analogy is Barack Obama is Robert Mugabe so if you’re White he’s going to take all your land.
While that is most likely unintentional, the only defense is that Glenn Reynolds, a law professor and political commentator, is both socially and politically ignorant and insensitive.
The irony amuses me with the obviousness of it all.