The US Debt Ceiling Drama

What an undignifying spectacle is playing out in front of our eyes. Maybe some of our American friends can explain to me:

  1. What is so terrible about taking the US tax levels back to where they were under Clinton when the economy was doing very well and the US had a budget surplus?

  2. How can Republicans hijack the debt ceiling issue when they in fact already voted for the current US budget and thereby in fact approved the funds that they are now denying.

  3. How can Republicans take the US to the brink in their anti tax crusade when this brinkmanship will in fact result in higher taxes for everyone (in the form of higher interest rates)?

  4. How can Republicans deny the consensus view of economists saying that the long term solution to the US fiscal crisis must also include tax increases?

I am simply amazed at what is happening in Washington. I would have never thought it would come to this. What a dysfunctional political system.

I don’t really know about that Friedemann but as our resident doomsday alarmist what do you have to say about this

In answer to the original post, we are witnessing a struggle between two different policy options, between representatives elected by the population of the US. I do not know why this is dysfunctional, other than the fact that democracy is usually messy. Dictatorship is easier to understand.

I suspect the debt deadline is no more real than Y2K and other over-hyped, “the sky is falling in” doomsday scenarios conjured up by politicians and other elites, and fueled by an alarmist loving press, again all messy attributes of free societies.

You should probably hear what Rush Limbaugh says about this. He is usually right about these kinds of things

I find Rush Limbaugh extremely irritating and if he comes on the radio while I am driving in the US, I immediately turn him off. But to each his own. We should get some of his stuff at LingQ.

I can understand why you would think he’s irritiating. (Sometimes I think he does it on purpose). You are also absolutely right! HIs stuff would be great here at lingq

“…Friedemann but as our resident doomsday alarmist…”

C’mon Mark, why do you keep on labelling me like that?

I am really no expert on global warming so I listen to what the scientific consensus is and we all know the Heartland Institute (who wrote the article you linked to) is not a fan of that. I have not read the original paper the article is referring to and even if I could I am not sure I would fully understand it. The author of that paper, Mr. Spencer however is known as an outspoken critic of the mainstream view.


am not sure I would compare the prospect of the world’s largest economy defaulting to Y2K. I am sure though that you personally and your family will be just fine come next Tuesday.


Agree with Friedemann’s response.

Rather than asking Friedemann for his views on atmospheric science you should perhaps just try asking atmospheric scientists (as opposed to, say, geographers).

I am skeptical of all climate scientists who, at the end of the day, are all supported by someone with a conscious or subconscious agenda. I don’t differentiate between geographers and atmospheric scientists. Pro-climate change scientists set out to prove climate change exists just as opponents set out to prove the opposite. Then, because the models are so imprecise they both manage to do so. I do agree that the paper appears slanted with the frequent use of the word alarmist. It takes something away from the message for sure.

The reason I was teasing Friedemann is because he always fears the worst and worries about things that scientists “predict” will happen. I tend to do the opposite which is to deal with issues that are real now like smog for instance. To me, smog is far better reason to reduce emissions because it’s a real problem that I can see. The sky will fall on our head stuff I leave to others…


there is nothing alarmist about recognizing that humanity faces some serious challenges. In layman’s terms we are simply way too many people, using too much stuff, way too fast. If you want to know more, you might want to have look at this excellent article:

Later you can tell us where we got it wrong.

“we are simply way too many people, using too much stuff, way too fast” I do not agree.

We will become many more, many billions more, and we will manage just fine.

Whom do you suggest we kill off? What are you denying yourself? Do you eat, travel, buy clothes, and live a normal life? Yes you are a doomsayer, “sky is falling in” alarmist. You would have had the same opinion if there were 1 billion people on the planet instead of seven. You want to believe in the doomsday scenario. Now relax, and go and eat a nice Chinese meal.


I don’t really understand why you comment when we both know that you refuse to have an exchange of arguments.

Definitely, the global warNing has been scientifically proven.

Note: I’m not angry when debating, this tone is completely friendly. xD

Actually, it works now because the majority of the 7 billion of us live in poverty. When India industrializes like China has been doing, it’ll have dire consequences for the environment. The Rest of Asia, Africa. Without the cleaner technology this will multiply the world’s output of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

The overpopulation of regions is the issue.
Keep in mind that 30% of the world’s population is under

The Americas for example has 900 Million people. That’s less than a billion people on this entire side of the planet. Meanwhile Asia contains 4.1 billion, some 60% of the human population.
There are almost 7 billion of us now, there will be (according to demographers and their complex math equations, U.S census bureau) about 9 billion in 2050.
Africa will rise from approximately 1 billion today, over 2 billion in 2050. That’s your first billion.
Asia will rise to 5.1 billion. There is your 2nd billion.
The Americas will grow to 1.2 Billion.
Europe will drop. Along with some other regions.
(obviously a margin of error of a few 100 million here and there)

Of the billion new souls in Asia, about half of all these come from India alone.
China’s population will begin to fall around the 2020’s once the older generations reach the end of their lives.

Countries like Bangladesh, which has the area of Britain has 3x the population of Britain crammed into it.
Because It’s poor illiterate population have very high birthrates.

Africa is a big place, and some growth is owed to them, fill it out be my guest. but Ethiopia growing from 80 million today to over 250 Million is just insane. Uganda from 27 million to 120 million, Rwanda and Burundi from 8 million to 27 million.
Those 3 are farr too small to contain those, so I can tell you those numbers will never be reached.

The last thing the world needs are more small villages becoming the world’s largest metropolitan areas, see: Shanghai, Shenzhen.

The rare earth metals that make your computer screen possible isn’t going to show up in your backyard.
Resources are the problem too, it takes a lot to run a first world nation with high living standards, advanced technology, modern medicine.

The atmosphere isn’t something that is stable and consistent. It’s delicate chemical balance. And with chemistry, when you pour more of something into the mix, it changes how it behaves.
We are systematically killing ecosystems, the loss of biodiversity, we are creating an accidental genocide of our only companions in the universe.
We are taking and taking, and using and using. and what’s left over is just thrown aside. We throw the pollution into the air, we throw the garbage into a landfill.

Our primate minds will not notice the problem until it’s in our faces, we are designed to overreach, and we adapt too quickly to be able to notice gradual changes.
To be blunt, shit’s gonna blow up in our face.

What am I doing to help the world? Besides preparing for zombie apocalypse…
I’m 20. I didn’t let the world get this way, and I didn’t create a problem. I just showed up to the problem.
I don’t control the funding for green technology, clean energy, or alternative fuels… and right now I don’t even pay the taxes that is used to pay them.
Nor do I pay bills or have income at this moment.

I juuuuuuussssttt dont waant a horribly stressful future, where these lovely pleasures I enjoy to be denied to my future children, because we can no longer offer them.

If only… we could take what we need from these other places…
Sound like a good idea? It’s the idea i’m sure will be common in the future. Certainty been popular enough in the past.

About scientists and predictions, here an interesting article of Newsweek of 1975 about climate change. Curiously enough, scientists were quite sure there was a global…COOLING!!!

It’s shocking to find out the the scientists considered to do things like: “melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers” in order to warm artificially the planet.

I find it interesting how so many debates here turn into arguments over global warming!

Just one point, I don’t think scientists “try” to prove this or that. “Pro-climate change scientists” are not out there trying to prove that climate change exists for ideological or financial reasons. Scientists follow the evidence. They hold the positions they hold because that is where the evidence has led them.

I can’t argue much more about this other than to say that there is a consensus amongst climate scientists (people who actually study the climate full-time) that the climate is changing rapidly, that human activity is the main cause of this, and that this rapid change in the climate will have a major disruptive effect on the lives of many in the future - not to mention the many non-human animal species which may go extinct. This consensus wasn’t dreamed up over night, but developed after many years of studying the evidence. This position does not negate the fact that the climate is, and has been, naturally in flux, and it doesn’t mean that every single climate scientist in the world supports the consensus.

Several sources have been provided on this forum to support the “anti-global warming” position, but like the article above, they don’t seem to be very good. That paper, which was submitted to a geography journal, seems to have been pretty quickly and thoroughly shot down, but of course it makes the rounds anyway. And, of course, an article in Forbes is not the actual paper. So, you have a poor-quality paper in a non-atmospheric science journal being written about by a non-scientist in a non-scientific mainstream publication. And that is supposed to counter the consensus poistion held by the vast majority of the world’s climate scientists? I’m sorry, but it’s just not good enough for me.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that most people who deny either that the climate is changing rapidly and significantly, or that human activity is a major contributor to this change, do so for reasons other than evidence. They hold that position already and then grasp at whatever articles or websites seem to give them support. I don’t hold the position I hold for any ideological or financial reasons. I hold it because there is a long-standing and well-developed consensus position amongst the professional scientists who study the climate.

As for the debt ceiling debate (the original topic!), I very much understand Friedemann’s feelings. But I also understand Steve’s point that it’s just democracy in action.

I don’t understand the political culture in the US. I also feel like asking Friedemann’s questions.

I don’t see why the debt deadline would be like Y2K. Y2K was a potential disaster and a lot of time and effort was spent trying to prevent any problems from occurring. But from the beginning nobody knew if, or to what extent, Y2K would even be a problem.

The debt ceiling is a real thing, and the financial obligations of the US government are real things.

I am not in a position to know whether or not the US government has enough money to meet its immediate obligations if the debt ceiling is not raised. It seems impossible to me that the Congress would allow the US government to fail to meet its financial obligations. But I suppose that stranger things have happened. It’s just difficult to imagine the government failing to pay its employees, or failing to make social security payments, or failing to pay its international creditors.

Obviously the US can’t keep borrowing and spending indefinitely, but it’s difficult for me to imagine how the US can manage to have the low tax rates that people seem to want, the medical and social services that people seem to expect, and the giant military force deployed around the world that people seem to think is both necessary and a good idea.

I read an article about the budget issue that explained a few things. Basically the Tea-party supported Republicans hold the assumption that if they hold their ground then they will win eventually. Old school republicans are more open to compromise, but the news boys think that compromise created the mess in the first place.

If nobody compromised then not an awful lot would get done.