Monday, August 1, 2011

Partisan Politics and Raising the Debt Ceiling

Senator Reid has been complaining that Republican reluctance to raise the debt deciling is partisan politics.  Interesting article that reports on what a Congressional Research Service report found.
A look at Reid's record, however, shows that in the last decade his own voting on the issue of the debt ceiling is not only partisan but perfectly partisan. According to "The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases," a January 2010 report by the Congressional Research Service, the Senate has passed ten increases to the debt limit since 2000.  Reid never voted to increase the debt ceiling when Republicans were in control of the Senate, and he always voted to increase the debt ceiling when Democrats were in control.
Read more at the Washington Examiner:
That doesn't necessarily mean that Reid was in the wrong when he voted against and in the right when he voted for--but it does make me a bit skeptical of how much of Reid's whining now is public spirited, and much is just partisan politics.

That Congressional Research Service report also gives the history of the debt limit, and the arguments for and against its existence.  There's a nice graph on page 6 showing the (very) gross public debt as a percentage of the gross domestic product.  For fiscal year 2009, it was at the same level as in 1943--when the U.S. was engaged in an existential struggle with fascism.


  1. I'd argue they have all (both parties) been very darn partisan in all of this!

  2. I'm not sure that we were engaged in an "existential struggle with fascism" in the 40's

    Europe was. There was little the Germans could have done to us. A lot of pain, some bombing and shelling of our coastal cities, perhaps. Sinking our shipping, perhaps. (Though if we had taken the resources expended in Europe, we could have roundly defeated the U-Boats. Probably)

    I would also say that the National Socialists were not fascists. That was a name mainly used, along with Nazi, to disguise the fact that they were socialist.

    I would say that we are now in an existential struggle with fascism if we look at what fascism really is. Many call Obama a socialist but most are scared to say what kind of socialist. I'm not.

    If we look at what "Fascism" (note the capital) was, we see Obama trying to impose much the same socialist philosophies here. We may call them "crony capitalism" but they are really Mussolini style fascist socialism.

    John Henry

  3. The German plans for the follow-on to the V-2 were a two stage ICBM, intended to hit East Coast cities. When Germany declared war on the United States (which they were not required by treaty with Japan to do), there was a very real reason to believe that they were going to eventually starve out Britain, and use its resources to invade Canada.

    Strictly speaking, the ideology of National Socialism in 1930 was socialist. The purging of the Stroesser brothers faction turned them closer in practice to Italian Fascism, which was closer to crony capitalism in practice than it was in theory.

    And yes, Obama and friends are closer to Italian Fascism than they are to Communism or National Socialism. Genuine progressives and socialists are rip-roaring upset about this!

  4. Yes, in 1943 we were most definitely struggling with fascism within our own borders. Price controls, rationing, mandatory unionism, Wickard vs. Filburn, censoring, concentration camps, imprisonment of those who spoke against the war and the draft, and much much more.