The debt ceiling is a terrifying, confusing, amorphous monster. But there’s a slide show that can at least give you everything you need to know about it.
We’re not even totally in the clear on a shutdown over funding the government, but Congress is already onto the next fiscal crisis. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday saying that if Congress doesn’t act to raise the debt ceiling, the government will be left with just $30 billion in cash. “If we have insufficient cash on hand,” Lew wrote, “it would be impossible for the United States of America to meet all of its obligations for the first time in our history.”
This is something to be legitimately frightened about. House Republicans, while they look as if they are getting ready to retreat on the budget fight, are gearing up to go very, very hard on the debt limit. It’s impossible for congressional leadership to say how this will end, much less your humble media prognosticator.
But how exactly did we get here? And what exactly could we be looking at? The Bipartisan Policy Center has put together a slide show with literally anything you could possibly want to know about the mechanics of the debt limit, how the government has been able to hold off on “extraordinary measures” for this long, and why October could be a fiscal apocalypse.
The center, even after Lew’s letter, is predicting that the U.S. government will no longer be able to meet its financial obligations between October 18 and November 5. Here’s why.
- 1 Hillary Clinton Will Win the Nomination, But Then What?
- 2 Would Obama’s Paid Sick Leave Proposal Actually Work? Look to San Francisco.
- 3 Do Republicans Believe in Global Warming? Not if They’re in the Tea Party
- 4 In the Iowa caucuses, look for results that surprise you
- 5 Paul Ryan Would Be the Most Conservative House Speaker in Recent History
What We're Following See More »
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.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.