We Didn't Really Dodge a Bullet

Friday, October 18, 2013

Transcript

This round of budget clashes are over (for now), but how should we assess the damage done by these regular crises? Bob talks with Reuters financial blogger Felix Salmon who says that the real story of these political battles is the slow motion, irreversible damage they're doing to America's financial standing. 

Guests:

Felix Salmon

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [8]

David Steele from Cincinnati, Ohio

I'm bothered by a lack of balance in this story. For instance, at one point Mr. Salmon said that the way to stop 'kicking the can down the road' - the way to step up and to stop deferring our problems - involves simply removing the debt ceiling.

The statement went unchallenged. Given that debt is approaching GDP, and that the deficit shows no signs of abating, I believe this shows a colossal lack of perspective.

There are valid reasons for people to conclude that raising the debt ceiling should remain a painful process.

Oct. 24 2013 01:34 PM
David Steele from Cincinnati, Ohio

I'm bothered by a lack of balance in this story. For instance, at one point Mr. Salmon said that the way to stop 'kicking the can down the road' - the way to step up and to stop deferring our problems - involves simply removing the debt ceiling.

The statement went unchallenged. Given that debt is approaching GDP, and that the deficit shows no signs of abating, I believe this shows a colossal lack of perspective.

There are valid reasons for people to conclude that raising the debt ceiling should remain a painful process.

Oct. 24 2013 01:34 PM
Scott

What is the song that starts playing just before 11:30?

-Scott

Oct. 22 2013 03:48 PM
David Hoffman from NYC

Oh Bob, you did it too, you were distracted by the shinny object and you missed the same point that you criticized the main stream media for missing. It's not the tea party that’s the problem; it’s the Speakership. Not Speaker Boehner, but the office of Speaker itself. Please bear with me, don't go TLDR, I deserve better. I'm a WNYC sustaining member, not a member of any political party, and I frequently call in to the Brian Lehrer show, even though I rarely get picked to go on the air.

From the beginning of the “crisis” there were enough votes to pass the CR and lift the debt ceiling. We know that with the benefit of hindsight (very few people changed their minds on this one), but there was no way for the bipartisan majority in the House to get a bill that accomplished those two goals to the floor for a vote. Why, because of the Speaker. He got his job from the majority of the house members who happen, at the moment, to be Republicans (disclosure: my best friend is a republican). And for no particularly good reason he has the sole authority to let a bill get to the floor of the house. That, and only that, is the crux of the problem, and you missed it. Shame on you.

But you have a chance to redeem yourself. All across the country about half the people ( progressives, like me) are sitting around the proverbial kitchen table, asking how can I vote to abolish the debt limit (something your report did cover) and stop the crazy people from shutting down the government, which your guest did point out is a type of default itself. The answer of course is you can't. Any such vote would break along party lines and it would fail, for the same demographic reason the republicans control the house in the first place.

But if the "litmus test" (there I said it) applied to all house candidates in 2014 was a firm position on restricting the power of the speaker to act as gatekeeper, every incumbent would have to take a position on the principle of majority rule, providing a simple way to make sure that the recent insanity "never happens again".

One solution could be this: any bill that is co-sponsored by a majority of House members would automatically go to the floor for a vote. That would force all these republicans who said they didn't support the shut down to put up or shut up. Any member who declines to co-sponsor the mythic "clean CR" would have to answer to the voters in his or her district, the only people that house members really care about.

I for one will not be voting for any candidate for congress, Democrat or Republican, who does not support this, or another 'bypass procedure" that enables the House of Representatives to function as a representative legislative body. I think it will be good for our democracy, and, I think Speaker Boehner will thank everyone for getting him off this particular hook.

This is the story you should have told. Go for it.

Oct. 22 2013 10:11 AM
Alex Chaffee

“Should it not be a staple of coverage to remind listeners and viewers more or less every step along the way that this whole ongoing catastrophe is premised on political rhetoric that is fundamentally untrue?”

Thank you, Bob.

Oct. 20 2013 02:21 PM
Charles

OTM missed this one; the study by the proudly conservative Media Research Center, showing that the three broadcast television networks "invariably" blamed Republicans alone for the federal government shutdown:

"MRC analysts reviewed each broadcast network evening newscast from the first day of the shutdown (October 1) through the last night before a deal was announced (October 15). Of the 124 full stories and brief items about the shutdown or the pending debt ceiling deadline, 41 blamed Republicans or conservatives for the impasse, 17 blamed both sides, and none specifically blamed Democrats."

http://www.mrc.org/media-reality-check/mrc-study-how-broadcast-networks-spun-shutdown-obamas-way

The MRC's survey was probably the most prescient "on the media" story of the week. Naturally, having demonstrated left-wing media bias, public radio's "On the Media" ignored it.

So when Bob talks about "we" journalists doing "our" job, it might be that the media is already doing what Bob suggests, and what Bob did himself, in this segment; blaming Republicans, exclusively, for the shutdown.

And just maybe, Bob is correct! His exact words were, "...as long as congressional Republicans can use routine debt limit approval to sue for Democratic concessions, there is every possibility we will be back in the nightmare in four months as the next deadline approaches..."

So if we agree that Republicans are solely responsible for government shutdowns, can we agree that Democrats are solely resposnsible for the exploding federal debt?

Oct. 20 2013 01:08 PM

Thanks for having Mr. Salmon add some sanity to the conversation about the real damage done by the DC political bomb-throwers - GOP-TP.

Oct. 20 2013 10:14 AM
Kathy from Brooklyn, NY

I was listening to this segment with my 12 year-old son. He asked what "kicking the can down the road" meant. I told him it meant putting something off until another day. His comment: "is that like kicking the bucket?" Funny, but it kind of is in this case.

Oct. 18 2013 10:02 PM

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