July 13, 2011

Look What We Made the Obamacle Do, Part Two

Hatched by Dafydd

I seem to have dropped a casual bombshell in the sister-post to this, and I ought to cite a source.

After writing the following --

Money comes into the American treasury all the time: quarterly tax payments, corporate taxes, employee withholding, sales of government property, fees, licenses, and so forth. I understand that such continuous income greatly exceeds the bare-bones payment obligations of the United States government -- entitlement payments and debt service. In other words, we have enough revenue to meet those obligations; just not enough to meet them in addition to all the other expensive projects that the Obamunists want to fund at the same time...

-- I received a comment from a frequent commenter who raised the obvious question: Was my back-of-the-thumbnail guesstimate about income and outgo correct? MikeR asked,

You made a claim that there is enough money to cover our bare-bones obligations. I have heard otherwise: That in the month of August, we would essentially have to choose between paying our soldiers, Social Security, and debt service. Did you have a source?

Ask and ye shall receive. I found this on the American Spectator blog, posted today:

But, assuming the debt limit is reached and the Treasury has the power to privilege certain bills over others, there's no doubt that it's within it's power to pay Social Security recipients. The federal government will take in about $172 billion in August, and owe roughly $307 billion. It will have no problem paying the interest on the debt (about $30 billion) and Social Security recipients (about $50 billion).

But what about "paying our soldiers?" The author of the Spectator blogpost, Joseph Lawler, digs deeper:

Bloomberg Businessweek has created a debt ceiling prioritization calculator, using figures from the Bipartisan Policy Center. Using broad categories, it shows which items the government could continue to fund past the deadline while avoiding a default on the debt. By BPC's calculations, it would be possible to continue paying not only for Social Security and the interest on the debt, but also Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, active duty military pay, TANF [welfare], food stamps, and Homeland Security emergency preparation and response, with billions left over just in case.

Joseph Lawler is the managing editor of the American Spectator; Bloomberg L.P., which publishes Bloomberg Buisinessweek (formerly BusinessWeek), is nearly entirely owned (88%) by Michael Bloomberg, the current Mayor of New York City and a flaming Democrat, for all that he ran for the mayorship as a "Republican." He, his company, and the magazine are hardly likely to tilt towards tea partiers, conservatives, or actual Republicans. I think it safe to trust them all on this point, which constitutes an admission against the Left's interest.

(To be a compleat completist, another commenter, LarryD, posted much of this same information in a comment to the previous post; and MikeR himself found a similar story here.)

Just remember: When in doubt, always trust Big Lizards; we may not always be right, but we're never wrong. (And Power Line. And Patterico's Puntifications, of course; trust them too. And even Beldar, when you can scrape the crust off'n him; but that's a whole 'nuther box of fish.)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 13, 2011, at the time of 4:59 PM


The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Interesting to play with the Bloomberg calculator mentioned in the article. I'm sure the point of the author is that no one in his right mind would consider shutting all these things down. Rand Paul and I, on the other hand, think of a lot of them as a waste of good office space.

On the other hand, as I mentioned before, that is one heck of a government shutdown. After you pay off Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., there isn't that much left. I pretty quickly found it hard to keep the parts of the government I did think were useful, and of course the useless parts probably have some useful parts inside them.

I don't like this. It could be that conservatives are more emotionally prepared to say, Great, shut the whole putrid thing down! But I don't think that most of us mean to go that far, or that it would be wise to crash into it on such a tremendous scale. I really wish we had just settled for a nice government shutdown a couple of months ago.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 13, 2011 6:52 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dishman

What he's really saying is that the Social Security Trust Fund is a lie. Social Security is, in his mind, not a separate entity, but simply part of the general fund.

Fine. Let's zero out the trust fund, and index the retirement age such that it remains zero.

The above hissed in response by: Dishman [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 13, 2011 8:01 PM

The following hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel

Mark Levin and a number of other (local) talkk show hosts have raised the same point. However, it also may turn out that once this happens, the Obamacle will be able to order the "Tax Cheat" to prioritize the outgo in what ever way that he chooses. Mr Levin suggested that the House pass a spending bill giving the priority order that you state (or something similar) in order to prevent his deliberately shutting down Social Security so that the money could go to ACORN or Planned Parenthood. If Harry Reid blocks it in the Senate or the President vetoes it, then they will be cutting their own throats in 2012.

The above hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 14, 2011 2:36 AM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Dafydd, why does the Blog button in the top navigation (along with Home, Article, etc...) not work, even when I'm here in Blog Archive, or looking at a particular blog post (such as
That button should be active, to take me up to

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 14, 2011 7:25 AM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

More or less what I was saying:

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 14, 2011 12:42 PM

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