Last week, the CEO of Goldman Sachs emerged from a White House meeting with President Obama with a message to Congress: Don’t play around with the debt ceiling.
“You can re-litigate these policy issues in a political forum, but we shouldn’t use threats of causing the U.S. to fail on its obligations to repay its debt as a cudgel,” Lloyd Blankfein said.
Yet executives and others at Goldman Sachs and similar big financial firms have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to some of the very politicians who helped set the stage for the current showdown — and concerns over the debt ceiling.
For instance, Goldman Sachs was the fourth-largest donor to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2012 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations from individuals associated with the firm — where’s Cruz’s wife works — and the company PAC totaled almost $66,000.
Perhaps more than any other lawmaker, Cruz has insisted that a bill to keep the government funded be tied to measures that would weaken the Affordable Care Act, setting the stage for last week’s government shutdown. As lawmakers fight over how to pass a short-term measure to fund government agencies, the debate threatens to engulf discussions over whether to increase the debt ceiling.
Overall, people affiliated with Goldman Sachs donated roughly equal amounts to Republicans and Democrats in Congress. But the financial sector generally favors the GOP. Contributions in the current cycle total $64.4 million, 56 percent of which has gone to Republicans.
Moreover, there are several conservative Republicans who supported the strategy that led to the shutdown who count major business interests among their top donors.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has received $51,000 from the American Bankers Association’s PAC since 2010, making the group his second-largest donor. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., counted the PAC as his fourth-largest donor, at $22,000.
Association President Frank Keating, who is also a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force, penned an editorial last month in The Washington Post warning of grave consequences should the nation default on its debt. “Using the debt ceiling as leverage in the deficit debate is unwise and dangerous,” he wrote. “Citizens nationwide are frustrated with the political stalemate in Washington. But our nation’s financial integrity should not be used as a bargaining chip.”
Yet last week, Huelskamp told The Washington Times he would vote against raising the debt ceiling without a long-term fiscal plan that includes Obamacare restrictions.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”