Friday, June 23, 2023

RFK Jr.'s Chances

RFK Jr,'s Chances

Jim Kavanagh

Robert Kennedy, Jr. enters the 2024 presidential race as a figure in whom many people across the political spectrum invest their hope for a politics that is at least intelligent, articulate, and honest. He has shown a willingness to engage in reasonable discussion that is vanishingly rare in today's American political climate. Even those who reflexively bristle at the “anti-vaxxer” label applied to him recognize that he stood up for what he thought was important, in the face of ostracism and ridicule that—as a scion of American and Democratic Party royalty—he did not need.

Nothing exemplifies what makes him a pole of attraction in the current American situation better than this tweet from a self-identified libertarian podcaster:

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Debt Ceiling Nonsense

Debt Ceiling Nonsense

Jim Kavanagh

“Could the Treasury skip the rigamarole and pay its bills without bonds? Economically, sure. Why doesn't it? Well, the Fed has regulations governing “overdrafts” -- but apart from these, the answer is plain: to do so would expose the ‘public debt’ as a fiction, and the debt ceiling as a sham.” - James K. Galbraith

It is infuriating to watch this “debt ceiling” charade play out again, and terribly depressing to see so many self-identified leftists accepting, and bargaining within, the ridiculous, fictional framework that guarantees their perpetual defeat within a never-ending cycle of such nonsense.

Just about everybody—certainly everybody with any “progressive” inclinations—recognizes what a tiresome farce this is. We all know the “debt ceiling” is the atavistic remnant of a 1917 gold-standard-era law that was ignored until Newt Gingrich dug it up in 1995 to start the now-perennial stunt cycle; that it exists in no other country besides Denmark, where it is set astronomically high precisely to avoid making it a political weapon; that it is used hypocritically by Republicans as a political weapon against Democratic presidents, to cut social spending and attack “entitlements” (Social Security and Medicare); that it enables a ludicrous, blatantly unconstitutional “do-over” by which right-wing legislators, who were unable to get the social program cuts they want through normal Congressional votes, try to force the Executive to stop spending that the Congress has already authorized, etc.  (For a nice critique of the constitutional pretzel-twisting the Republicans are engaged in, see Robert Hockett’s Stop the Charade: The Federal Budget Is Its Own ‘Debt-Ceiling’.)

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