Lindsey Graham is a stand-up guy who’s there for his country when it counts.

I’ve said this in the past. It remains true.

My friends here on the blog love to abuse Lindsey, for one of the very things I admire him for — his refusal to go along with either herd. (And when I say “either,” I refer to the only two that our pathetically inadequate modern political vocabulary allow as conceivable possibilities.)

We know how the right despises him — to the extent that “right” adequately describes those who despise him. I refuse to use the word “conservative,” because these destructive bomb-throwers don’t deserve it. They care for nothing but purity — a kind of purity produced by a distillation process like that of moonshine: It, too, will make you go blind.

My friends on the left love to applaud him when he is infuriating those on the right the most. Then, when he acts like what he is — an actual conservative — they talk about how disappointed they are in him. Even though he is the best, by their own lights, that they are ever likely to see representing South Carolina in the U.S. Senate.

Since I don’t subscribe to either of these temples of purity, I like him most of the time — probably most of all when he’s alienating both extremes of the spectrum.

Do I strongly disagree with him? Yes, frequently. But I expect that. There’s no one on the planet with whom I agree all of the time. That’s the way it is among people who think, rather than buying their positions on political issues off the shelf, as a package, all from column A and none from column B.

Anyway, bottom line, he’s a stand-up guy because he’s there when his country needs him, as it did earlier this week:

WASHINGTON — Sen. Lindsey Graham was the only Republican in South Carolina’s GOP-dominated congressional delegation who voted for the deal that reopened the federal government.

President Barack Obama signed the shutdown bill into law late Wednesday after the Senate passed it by an 81-18 vote and the House approved it by a 285-144 margin. Three-fifths of the Senate’s 46 Republicans voted for the legislation, while a similar share of the House’s 232 Republicans opposed it.

Graham, a second-term senator facing a contested re-election campaign, broke with Sen. Tim Scott, a North Charleston Republican in his first year as a senator.

“This agreement is far from great news, but it brings to an end, at least temporarily, a disaster” Graham said….

A lot of folks, particularly those of the liberal persuasion, have been bemoaning how Graham is “running to the right” as he faces re-election next year. But is it really wrong to emphasize the things on which you agree with your base, as you face a primary?

But at this dramatic moment, when the “purity” caucus is looking to you for a purely symbolic vote, but voting that way will push the U.S. and global economies down the stairs, what does he do? He does the right thing, for the country and the world.

That’s being a stand-up guy.

67 thoughts on “Lindsey Graham is a stand-up guy who’s there for his country when it counts.

  1. Doug Ross

    The best analogy for Lindsey Graham is a sailboat. He goes wherever the wind takes him. He’s consistently inconsistent depending on where we are in the election cycle. He loves the limelight more than actually getting something done. I think he was more bothered by the media’s attention given to Ted Cruz than what Cruz was saying.

    What role did he have in any part of the shutdown or the resolution of the shutdown? Cheerleader? Didn’t sound like anyone was seeking his advice or participation.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      It will be interesting to track Lindsey’s rhetoric on illegal immigration if Obama pushes that bill next. He’s probably hoping he doesn’t have to start calling a large segment of his voting base racists again.

      Reply
      1. Juan Caruso

        Yes, indeed his rhetoric would be very interesting. With his upcoming re-election looming, however, I fully expect Lindsey’s public appearances to be less frequent, and meaningful immigration talk rather nonexistent.

        Will Lindsey suffer an exculpatory fall like Hillary had around Benghazi? What else would keep our popular senator incommunicado with the very public he despises? Perhaps he and McCain will go back to Afghanistan to monitor human rights abuses.

        Reply
    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      “He goes wherever the wind takes him.”

      That is completely untrue. I find him entirely consistent.

      The problem comes when people think (and most people DO think this, because they’ve been brainwashed by media, the parties, and almost everything they’re exposed to) that “consistent” means you always agree with either the left or the right.

      I would think you’d know better, Doug, because you’re an iconoclastic guy yourself. You don’t adhere slavishly to the views of left or right — far from it.

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        Lindsey’s rhetoric changes from season to season. Right now, because he’s approaching a primary, he has ramped up the anti-Obama talk. As soon as he wins, he’ll tone it down and start talking about working with Obama again.

        Reply
        1. Barry

          As usual, disagree with Doug.

          Lindsey “ramped up his anti Obama talk” about 4 years ago. Watched him many times rail on Obama.

          That’s why Sean Hannity had him on about 2 dozen times leading up to the passage of ObamaCare.

          Reply
    3. Ralph Hightower

      Doug,

      Joe Wilson has absolutely no leadership quality about him. Joe is a follower. He follows the prevailing herd that he thinks will get him reelected.

      Reply
  2. tired old man

    Yes, I have kicked Lindsey, mostly for abandoning his statesman principles that judge issues by the merits of the facts rather than the politics of the votes.

    But, I would much, much more prefer Lindsey than Tim Scott or Sen. Carnival Cruz or Sen. Jim Demented.

    The trouble is, we have six congressmen who are eagerly trying to get to the furthest fringes to the right of the above mentioned three stooges.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Speaking of DeMint… he had an op-ed piece in the WSJ this morning headlined, “We Won’t Back Down on ObamaCare.”

      My response to that, on Twitter, was “Jim DeMint won’t change his mind. I’m shocked, shocked!

      Interesting how you don’t hear that many Republicans who are still in office saying that very loudly at the moment, seeing as how they just, you know, backed down on Obamacare.

      But DeMint doesn’t care about that. He gets paid very well now to say stuff like this, no matter what is happening in the real world…

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        Only some Republicans backed down on Obamacare. Those who did will regret it six months from now when the real problems with the exchanges are exposed, not just the shoddy implementation.

        Reply
        1. Kathryn Fenner

          Few people are actually signing up because you have to pay the premium. They can keep their money until closer to January….

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            You think people who are eligible for insurance for the first time are going to want to fork over several hundred dollars at Christmas time? I am really skeptically about the number of people who don’t have insurance but will be able to budget several thousand dollars they haven’t had to use in the past.

            Reply
          2. Kathryn Fenner

            That is what folks who know about this say. I have insurance. I have always had top quality, employer-provided insurance. my whole life. It’s great. I wish everybody could experience it!

            Reply
          3. Mark Stewart

            I have never had subsidized health insurance. Must be nice. Sort of like people complaining their pensions just don’t go very far.

            The crux of the issue is decoupling insurance coverage from big business / government coverage. It’s about unshackling people to be their most productive.

            I guess it is easier to look for bogeymen (politicians and the “others”) and rail against the uncertainty of structural societal change than to look into an uncertain, ill-defined future and embrace it. But that’s what it is. That’s reality. Life is about building, and rebuilding yet again, under uncertainty. That’s embracing reality. Clinging to the 20th Century healthcare model today is as strange as if people in 1920 pinned for the surgeon’s saw of 1865. And yet that is what many appear to be doing today – granted that’ s presented with a bit of hyperbole…

            Reply
          4. Doug Ross

            I stick with my point – there are people who won’t qualify for subsidies who will have to find an extra $4-6,000 per year that they have never had to budget for before. That first payment for a lot of those families will come right around Christmas if they want coverage on January 1. For families just above the subsidy limit, that first payment is likely the equivalent of what they would spend on Christmas presents. I’m just looking at reality – it’s a big expense they may have never had before. It’s like buying a new car.

            Then throw in all the young, healthy people who are absolutely necessary to make the system work. How many of them do you think are going to pay for that insurance?

            We’re already seeing just how botched the rollout has been. And its not just technical issues. We haven’t even got to the point yet where people are actually trying to buy insurance.

            The predictions of a train wreck by Max Baucus have proven to be true.

            Reply
          5. Kathryn Fenner

            Subsidized health insurance is offset by lower take home pay. Group policies work like unions to equalize the negotiations with big insurance. It is thought by experts that similar savings are to be realized with the ACA marketplace.

            Agreed that decoupling is called for! Single payer!

            Reply
      2. Ralph Hightower

        Demint’s still around? I thought he quit the Senate when he met his Waterloo with the Affordable Care Act.

        Reply
      3. Barry

        Demint couldn’t get anything done as a US Senator- and certainly couldn’t get enough of his own side to follow him.

        That’s why he quit.

        Reply
  3. Phillip

    Graham has frequently had moments of clarity on domestic issues; his refreshing and frank admission in the wake of last November’s election about there not being enough “angry white men” out there to make the GOP a truly national party on its current course was one such moment. His interest in reaching some kind of agreement on immigration reform is another. The cultural/demographic anger and resentment out there which I think REALLY was at the heart of this whole recent shenanigans (since there never was any real hope of stopping Obamacare or achieving anything, really, legislatively) is not the thing that floats Lindsey’s boat, and that’s also the real reason why he’s viewed as suspect by the far right in his home state.

    However, on foreign policy, I find Graham’s views mostly repugnant, and as I’ve said earlier, my guess they’re formed in large part by a provincial worldview and highly-militarist outlook. His behavior in the Hagel hearings was especially disgraceful. He’s like many neo-cons and imperialists who would dictate the behavior of everyone else in the world but exempt the US (and Israel) from observing the same principles, whenever it is convenient. Because we’re, you know, um, the greatest force for good in the world, so therefore anything we do must be good, right?

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, you’re right that we are the greatest force for good in the world, but wrong that anything we do must be good.

      Of course, one of the things I like best about Lindsey is his view of our role in the world. And I don’t accept service on being provincial.

      Nor is it right to call him “militaristic,” just because he doesn’t count out military options, which you’d like him to do (I gather). He is one of the foremost advocates in the Senate of every kind of international engagement, including the never-popular “foreign aid,” which doesn’t buy him any love among the know-nothings.

      Take Iraq, for instance (here we go again, right?). He was always far, far from the antiwar left’s caricature of the blind, jingoistic, “let’s go kick some ass” prowar types. He understood, and clearly said out loud from the beginning, that this was an immense undertaking with tremendous odds to overcome. He talked particularly about the challenge of fostering civil institutions in Iraq, particularly respect for the rule of law. He never, ever said it would be easy; it was definitely a long-haul kind of deal.

      I know you disagree with him. But I believe you’re being unfair to him.

      As for the Hagel thing — I took issue with Graham’s performance in that. I didn’t like it at all. Of course, I didn’t much like Hagel for SecDef, either. Still don’t. I miss Robert Gates, the thorough professional. For that matter, bring back Leon Panetta…

      Reply
    2. Doug Ross

      I wish people would stop saying “They hate Obama because he’s black” unless they name a specific person who has that view. The mythical Tea Party racist politician is like Sasquatch. You haven’t seen him, but you know he’s out there.

      Is Ted Cruz opposed to Obama because he is black? Rand Paul? Jim DeMint?

      Speak their names. They aren’t Voldemort. Who are the most racist members of Congress right now? I mean besides Chuck Rangel?

      Reply
      1. Barry

        YOu need to get on Facebook and read what – sadly- seems to be the majority of the posts that are made on some of these wannabe Tea Party candidates when President Obama’s name is mentioned.

        That doesn’t make the candidate responsible – but those comments are rarely deleted- and there are a lot of racial type comments made.

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          So there aren’t racist politicians, just racists lunatics who post on their Facebook pages, That’s likely. It doesn’t make the politician racist any more than my Facebook friends who post ultra-left wing drivel on my page makes me a liberal.

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            You’re not going to find anyone in public life who is openly a racist. But legislatures are filled with people who have lots of folks in their base who are less careful and less sophisticated in the ways they express themselves, and racist sentiments do come out.

            And yes, social media provide an outlet for that. Remove the old MSM barriers to publication, and a lot of ugly stuff rises to the surface.

            The Republican Party rose to majority status in the South by communicating through various means that it was the new White Man’s Party, taking that role away from the Democrats after LBJ and the Civil Rights Act. This message was seldom overt — if it had been, it would have been less effective, as most white people want to believe that they are not racist. But gradually, over the course of a generation, it was fully communicated to white Southerners that this is the party for white folks, and the other party is for black folks.

            That rough dichotomy involves a tangle of race-based resentments. Just as Democrats play on black voters’ continuing sense of aggrievement, the GOP plays on white voters’ being fed up with black folks feeling aggrieved — which is a pretty powerful political motivator, as it turns out.

            Reply
          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            To elaborate…

            No one ever has to say, “I’m voting this way for the white folks (or the black folks).”

            But lawmakers know the demographic makeup of their districts. Most Republicans (there are a few exceptions, such as John Courson) know that their districts are overwhelmingly white.

            There are voting patterns that are generally perceived as “white” and “black,” rightly or wrongly. Look at the ways Democrats and Republicans vote, and you’ll see it divide roughly along those lines. The elected reps don’t have to have a single racist bone in their bodies for this to happen. They’re just voting as they believe their constituents want them to.

            The culprit here is race-based districting…

            Reply
          3. Doug Ross

            So just name one Tea Party politician who you think follows that pattern… which politicians meet that background?

            Tim Scott? Mark Sanford? Joe Wilson?

            It’s so easy to throw around the “they hate him because he’s black” meme except when you have to identify who “they” is.

            Reply
          4. Doug Ross

            And can you explain how the same state that put Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint into office with roughly the same percentage of voters (57%, 54%) somehow is based on racist voters in one case and not the other? Or do you believe that Graham also caters to the racist sentiment in the state?

            The whole racist issue is vastly overstated. It’s not 1963. That was 50 years ago.

            Reply
          5. Barry

            No, but it’s interesting that certain politicians seem to attract a lot of people that make veiled racial type comments over and over again.

            Your facebook page and a politician’s page are two different things.

            There is something head scratch worthy when certain candidates and politicians seem to have large numbers of people posting things on their page that have strong racial overtones- and those messages aren’t deleted or challenged by the candidate or their staff.

            Reply
          6. Doug Ross

            What percentage of the voting base would you say those posters represent? Less than 1% most likely.

            Just like I never thought Reverand Wright or Al Sharpton spoke for Obama, I don’t think racists drive the political actions of Tea Party candidates.

            Reply
        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          Responding to this…

          It’s so easy to throw around the “they hate him because he’s black” meme except when you have to identify who “they” is.

          I didn’t know I had thrown around such a meme.

          I’m generally the guy who says Obama (assuming that is whom we’re talking about) isn’t actually “black.” I have a more nuanced way of describing the Tea Party’s visceral dislike of the president, which I set out just the other day in a comment.

          But I think what the people who DO say Tea Partisans are “racist” are reacting to is the general emotional tone of what they’re seeing and hearing.

          You may think real racism is something that disappeared in 1963, but as a longtime newspaper editor, I’ve had quite a bit of exposure to the real thing. Not from politicians; they know better. It comes from people who call on the phone or write letters to complain about what they’re seeing in the newspaper (a traditional favorite: complaining about all the pictures of black people in the paper).

          Here’s what racism looks like in our time: For years, I wrote pretty strongly-worded editorials and columns calling for the Confederate flag to come down. And I got my share of angry mail and phone calls.

          But then, in the late 90s, Warren Bolton joined me in writing about it. Suddenly, there was a dramatic change in tone in the complaints. People got WAY angrier when a black man dared to say such things, however mildly he said them. Here’s an extremely offensive (you are forewarned) example of what I’m talking about.

          You get exposed to enough of that sort of thing, you recognize the tone. And yes, I hear that tone sometimes in what the angriest Obama-haters have to say.

          I know that won’t satisfy you. But I’m telling you why I know what people are talking about when they say they perceive racism in a lot of the anti-Obama feeling out there…

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            The people who write letters to editors do not represent the general public. And would you suggest that the level of the complaints had you been around to hire Warren in 1963 would have been more, less, or the same?

            I have never said there is no racism, particularly in South Carolina. Just that the politicians aren’t racists (except Clyburn who talks about it the most) and that the majority of policy decisions they make are based on economic issues rather than race.

            Reply
          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            Clyburn talks about race more because 1) he’s black, and black folks have more permission/more reason (take your pick) to do so in our society; and 2) his district is the one most clearly drawn to elect a person of a particular race, which would tend to make a guy talk about it more.

            The white guys in the other districts owe their safe GOP seats to the exact same process of racial gerrymandering that ensured Clyburn’s lengthy tenure. They’re just not as overtly aware of it. Most people aren’t. Everyone’s consciously aware that black voters were pulled from hither and yon to make up Clyburn’s district, but people tend to conveniently ignore the fact that you can’t do that without making the surrounding districts unnaturally white.

            The process that gave the GOP control of the SC House in the 90s was this: Black Democrats teamed up with Republicans against white Democrats, in order to create a few more black-majority districts. That gerrymandering led directly to the creation of more GOP districts (the ones from which the black voters were taken), and presto! GOP majority…

            Reply
          3. Doug Ross

            Can you explain how race plays an issue in the elections of Graham and DeMint? Same population. Graham got 3% more votes. I would guess that 90% of the same people voted for each of them both times.

            Reply
          4. Phillip

            It’s a lot more complicated than racism against Obama per se, which I wouldn’t necessarily accuse most Tea Partiers of having, nor is that a feature of pure economic libertarianism. Although I will say that it’s Obama’s exoticism more than the blackness of his skin that is part of a larger discomfort some Americans seem to feel with the increasing pluralism of our nation. (This is why you continue to hear things at the rallies last week at the veterans’ memorials about “looks just like Kenya” when the police arrived, and the continuing “Obama is an anti-Christian Muslim” theme running through some of the speeches, and now even endorsed by such Tea Party loons as Michele Bachmann.)

            But the question of “us vs. them” is more complex than the matter of Obama per se. It’s much more prevalent in the general discussion of who receives benefits, the “makers vs. takers” meme so popular among Tea Partiers (even though of course the image of benefit-receivers as primarily African-Americans is not always correct, depending on the benefit). Then, there’s the obvious evidence of the overwhelming whiteness of the Tea Party at every rally. Finally, there are the issues of states’ rights, nullification, and even secession, arise in the context of Tea Party rhetoric. As Andrew Sullivan puts it, “those issues have a history.” No, not every Tea Partier is a racist, but it’s naive to think that race and identity and the dramatic changes in America in recent years do not play a major, major role in the dynamics of much of the popular support (such at it is…remember, most of America actively dislikes the Tea Party) of the Tea Party, as distinguished from pure libertarianism.

            Reply
          5. Doug Ross

            According to a graphic I saw the other day (will have to find the source), 25-30% of the Tea Party was non-white… 4% black, I think.

            I agree that the Tea Party is about makers-takers but I don’t think that necessarily translates to black-white animosity…

            Reply
          6. Doug Ross

            This link from Gallup in 2010 shows a fairly close demographic breakdown of Tea Party members compared to the U.S. population as a whole.

            http://www.gallup.com/poll/127181/tea-partiers-fairly-mainstream-demographics.aspx

            6% black versus 11% U.S. doesn’t seem racist to me.

            The only big difference is between the people who self identify as conservative versus liberal. What’s the demographic breakdown of the NAACP or Moveon.org or the Occupiers? Here’s an image of the Occupiers in New York:

            http://a.abcnews.com/images/International/epa_may_day_protest_new_york_thg_120503_wg.jpg

            I see one black face in the crowd.

            Reply
          7. Mark Stewart

            The Tea Party perceives itself to be about Makers vs Takers. These people often perceive themselves as being on the side of the takers while they appear to less jaundiced eyes to more often be deeply entrenched among the takers.

            If one i) lives in the South, ii) works for, or has worked for, any branch of government, iii) is a recipient of Medicare, or iiv) receives a pension of any kind, then while one may not necessarily be a taker through and through, one is most definitely not a pure maker. The Tea Party is about wallowing in self delusion. It is about giving voice to deep-seated feelings of uneasiness about being left behind.

            Is there any wonder it is strongest as a movement in the South and the Midwest?

            Reply
          8. Doug Ross

            I live in South Carolina and I am definitely not a taker. Aggregating the net receipts paid by the Federal Government to South Carolina and claiming that makes a resident of the state a taker is lazy math. We have a higher percentage of uneducated people – the primary takers – plus Savannah River and several military bases. We also have a large number of retirees who I assume are considered takers for taking back the Social Security money they paid into a broken system.

            Reply
          9. Doug Ross

            A taker is someone who receives something he did not earn. A Social Security or Medicare recipient is not a taker nor are are military personnel.

            Reply
  4. Karen McLeod

    My problem has become that he has been all too willing to engage In the heated rhetoric that’s making it difficult for the folks in either party to speak to the folks in the other. This behavior has to stop. If we continue acting that way it will become impossible to get anything done. He supported the stance Sen. Cruz and his group had taken up until the last moment. I’m sure it’s noble that he decided not to push us off the cliff; but why did he encourage us to go to the edge?

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      You’ve got it, Karen. Lindsey plays l word games.

      “I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it but I have to vote for it, I voted for it for the good of the country”

      Pick a side, Lindsey, and have some principles.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Do you really think that a responsible leader should refuse to vote for something that ends a government shutdown and avoids global economic disaster simply because there are things in the bill that he “hates?”

        If people voted that way, we’d never get anything done. Oh, wait… that’s kinda where we are now, isn’t it?

        Reply
      2. bud

        Doug, would you have voted to end the government shutdown/raise the debt ceiling? If not and your side had won what do you think would have happened?

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          There would not been a catastrophe. Nobody knows for sure what would happen. Its pure speculation. Considering how poorly the Obamacare rollout is going, a delay tied to increasing the debt limit seems like a good idea.

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            Isn’t it just slightly disturbing that the entire global economy supposedly depends solely on an artificial debt ceiling that allows the U.S. government to borrow more money than it takes in in revenues? Would the world economy collapse if we didn’t exceed the limit?

            Reply
          2. Scout

            It is a little disturbing, but it is certainly not unbelievable, Doug.

            It’s really not pure speculation. There are precedents. This would set in motion similar conditions to the conditions that were present when Lehman Brothers failed within a very short amount of time.

            When a really big player in the global economy abruptly ceases it’s money flow, how can you doubt that it would have huge effects on the larger system. If you damned up the Mississippi river, would it not have huge effects on everything downstream. If you have a blockage in your aorta, does it not have huge effects on the rest of your body.

            You say, “There would not been a catastrophe. Nobody knows for sure what would happen.” You contradict yourself, right there. If nobody knows for sure what would happen, then you can’t say outright there would not have been a catastrophe.

            I heard a report on Marketplace on NPR, I think, that the crisis has already had effects simply because we went so close to the edge. Interest rates on T bonds have gone up. T bonds have been traditionally safe and low interest, and now they are not. Interest rates went up because investors now know that our Congress might actually do this crazy thing, which makes them no longer safe.

            What I find more disturbing is the number of intelligent people out there, like you, who inexplicably don’t accept reason on some things. You and others seem willing to reject what experts in a field say and take a risk that would jeopardize life for millions of others, because you think “there would not have been a catastrophe” even though you acknowledge “nobody knows for sure what would happen”.

            How do you justify putting so much at risk?

            Do you watch Downton Abbey? Sybil died.

            Reply
          3. Brad Warthen Post author

            Scout, usually you make perfect sense to me, but I didn’t understand what the Sybil reference had to do with what you were saying.

            Just dense today, I guess…

            Reply
          4. Doug Ross

            @Scout

            I wouldn’t watch Dowtown Abbey if you paid me. Those show bore me to tears.

            Until we actually don’t pass a debt ceiling bill, NOBODY knows for sure what would happen if we didn’t. It is pure speculation. Money would still be coming into the government, money would still be going out. At a certain point, the government might be forced to prioritize its spending to keep things going. It would be far from a catastrophe.

            Are we just supposed to borrow and borrow indefinitely with no limits? Seems like a strategy that has a long history of toppling governments.

            Reply
          5. Scout

            It was obscure, I admit. I was tired and didn’t fully explain. The doctor from the city who didn’t know Sybil was just sure that everything was fine – and dismissed all of the family doctor’s concerns that a catastrophe was eminent. Doug is reminding me of the doctor from the city. Sometimes the catastrophe happens.

            Reply
          6. Doug Ross

            I have never watched Dr. Who, Fawlty Towers, or Monty Python (much) either. U.K. Office, yes. Benny Hill, yes.

            These same economists who predict a catastrophe didn’t seem to have any idea the recession of 2008 was coming. Ron Paul did. And he was ridiculed for even suggesting the economy was tanking by the brilliant John McClain and Rudy Guilianni.

            Reply
          7. Doug Ross

            I read this statement by Ron Paul on the debt ceiling after writing the above post:

            “Congress should have ignored the hysterics. A failure to increase government’s borrowing authority would not lead to a default any more that an individual’s failure to get a credit card limit increase in would mean they would have to declare bankruptcy. Instead, the failure of either an individual or a government to obtain new borrowing authority would force the individual or the government to live within their means, and may even force them to finally reduce their spending. Most people would say it is irresponsible to give a spendthrift, debit-ridden individual a credit increase. Why then is it responsible to give an irresponsible spendthrift government an increase in borrowing authority?\”

            Ron Paul has forgotten more about economics than everyone on this blog knows combined.

            Reply
          8. Mark Stewart

            Clearly Scout has a better grasp on the difference between personal finance and international monetary finance than does Ron Paul – just going by Doug’s last quote of his views.

            There is often a false logic in extrapolating one’s personal experiences to higher and greater levels; the more complex the system, the different the structure, the interactions and the purpose.

            At it’s most basic, “me” and “us” are completely different constructs.

            Reply
          9. Silence

            I for one don’t think anything bad would have happened. Remember how the media and big government figures screamed and whined and yelled that the sequester was going to be the end of the world and it wasn’t? Not lifiting the debt limit would have been a lot more of the same.

            I did find some common ground with Obama, though. Congress needs to pay the bills for the money it spends, as Obama said. Therefore, they need to cut spendin’, rather than just cut payin’.

            Reply
          10. Doug Ross

            @mark

            Do you even know Ron Paul’s background? Your statement suggests you don’t. He has spent more time studying economics than you, Scout, or I have. He’s written several books about the Federal Reserve System and economics.

            Here’s three of them:
            http://www.amazon.com/Mises-Austrian-Economics-Personal-View/dp/B001BEX38U/ref=as_li_wdgt_ex?&linkCode=wey&tag=rpcom-20

            http://www.amazon.com/End-Fed-Ron-Paul/dp/0446549193/ref=la_B001I9TTX6_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382443722&sr=1-3

            http://www.amazon.com/Case-Gold-Ron-Paul/dp/1469971801/ref=la_B001I9TTX6_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382443722&sr=1-6

            Maybe he finds it useful to use common analogies to help out those of us who are not as well educated on the subject.

            For me, I approach problems like these like a programmer: what are the steps? If you want to walk me through the catastrophe, I’d appreciate it. Let’s say the debt limit was not increased. What happens next? Then what? At what point does it reach catastrophic proportions? And even before you do that, define catastrophe? Is it a 10% drop in the stock market? Is it 10% unemployment? Is it a X% drop in GDP? Because we’ve had those before and come back from them every time… most times even stronger.

            When Senator Barack Obama fought against increasing the debt limit was he being risky and foolish? What’s different now?

            Reply
  5. bud

    Conservatives and Libertarians argue that we cannot increase the national debt indefinitely. I would argue that we can’t sustain economic growth indefinitely. I’ve always marveled at how folks on both sides of the political divide fail to understand the very basic concept of compounding. If you increase anything (people, oil, economic output) by a given annual rate of increase, 3% is typically suggested for economic growth, you eventually run up against unsustainibility. It’s just a fact of arithmetic. Ultimately our GDP will reach a level that cannot be exceeded. Our population WILL peak at some point where the resources of the planet simply can sustain no more.

    Do this simple exercise. Get out your calculator and enter any number. Then repeatidly multiply it by 1.03. It won’t be long before you end up with numbers in the quintillions.

    Reply

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