DESVARIEUX: So, Bob, we have a government shutdown now on Capitol Hill. There's yet another congressional battle looming ahead, the debt ceiling. Can you just give our viewers sort of a reminder of what exactly is the debt ceiling and what is going to happen to the U.S. Treasury if we don't raise the debt ceiling on October 17?
POLLIN: The debt ceiling is a legal limit as to how much the government is able to borrow. And the debt ceiling became an issue after the Great Recession, because the government had to borrow a lot of money to prevent the recession from turning into a depression. So the government borrowed a lot of money. We come up to a level that is close to the government's debt ceiling.
And what happens is: instead of the debt ceiling getting raised as it would be normally to cover all the government's obligations, the Republicans have used the debt ceiling and the budget more generally as a way to fight the Democrats and to prevent government spending on programs that have already been passed. The programs have been passed. For example, Obamacare has been passed into law, has been approved by the Supreme Court. But the Republicans are trying to stop these things on the premise that the American people hate government, and so that they want to destroy the government, they want to eviscerate the welfare state.
So the debt-ceiling debate is not really just about the debt ceiling. It is about the government providing means of well-being for people in the society. And the Republicans are trying to stop that.
DESVARIEUX: Is there anything resembling a debt crisis in the U.S.?
POLLIN: There is absolutely nothing resembling a debt crisis in the U.S. If we--and we've talked about this on previous editions, but it's important to reiterate. Let's be very specific. If we want to define a debt crisis in a way that one would typically define it, like with the government in Greece, or even a household, what we would be referring to is an inability of the person in debt or the entity in debt, the government in debt, to pay its obligations that are forthcoming, for the government to cover its interest payments next month, six months, over the next year. Right now the government's interest payments as a share of total government expenditure is actually at a historic low, not a historic high. It's at a historic low for the simple reason that the government is able to borrow money at nearly zero interest rates. So there is no debt crisis whatsoever.
The Chris Hayes interview with Bruce Bartlett, former Senior Policy Analyst in the Reagan White House and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy in the George H.W. Bush administration, and Michael Lofgren, a former staff member on the House and Senate Budget Committees is worth revisiting.
The GOP base have been convinced by elites within both parties that we have a debt crisis. That's why Michelle Nunn's campaign to hand over the keys to the people who crashed the economy is so dangerous. Dean Baker was polite enough to call it nonsense
It looks like even the Democrats in Georgia have to make up nonsense about out of control government spending http://t.co/jDykQzkr28
— Dean Baker (@DeanBaker13) October 5, 2013
As someone who has run for State Senate in Red America in 2010, someone campaigned hard to reach conservative voters on reality based economics; I can tell you that the elites in DC who have been preaching "debt crisis" and austerity are underming the honest efforts of activists within Red America to educate and empower their communities.
So, lets recap. In the middle of the Tea Party Tantrum, the primal Scream of the Children of the Dixiecrats, we have the 1% trying to win a Democratic Primary here in Georgia on bad economics. This both undermines the efforts of Obama to keep the GOP from killing the hostage because it feeds in to the disinformation campaign of the Koch Brothers and their crew; and also undermines activists and local politicians on the ground fighitng for real change in Georgia.
The Nunn campaign either know they are campaigninig on a lie and think you have to lie to win; or else they're being funded by liars and theifs who want to slash Social Security and are clueless enough to be taken for a ride and think once in DC they won't "owe" the Koch Brothers and company anything in terms of policy.
Things are so crazy right now that even Tyler Durden of Project Mayham fame is jumping into the Georgia Senate race to warn Nunn she is walking on thin ice.
So its up to us on the ground to push back on the elites and demand an answer.
So which is it Michelle, are you a liar or just confused? Voters deserve an answer. Protecting Social Security may depend on the answer.