Most of us know by now, usually through direct experience, what a Mafia inspired deal the student loan industry is. But I haven’t seen anything lay it out in detail quite like this graphic before.
When all of this first kicked off, I’m a little embarrassed to say that I had almost the same opinion of some of the younger Republicans. I didn’t know enough about the debt ceiling and how things work to feel like it’d be any big deal if we defaulted. Then, just because I started to get tired of people whining, I started to think we should just do it and see what happened.
Now, I’ve read more, watched news reports, and am coming to understand just how bad this could turn out. And the fact that it’s totally self inflicted makes it even worse. Part of why I have this time is that I’m unable to work. I thought I would pull together some learning resources for other folks who want to know more, but don’t have enough time to sift through millions of Google hits looking for good info.
The Muser’s Blog has a good page that discusses the National Debt and Social Security.
The Treasury Department’s home page has a page dedicated to the debt limit.
Propublica has put together an article that comes with a TON of links for further reading.
And the Congressional Research Service provides us with this 25 page report on what can happen:
This whole debt ceiling
show off showdown hostage situation has me furious, sad, worried, and a ton of other things. I think about this every single day. It feels like there’s not much any of us can do to stop it. We’re contacting our folks in D.C. in such droves that we crashed their systems. We call in to shows, talk to each other over social media, and make all the preparations we can out here in real world. And still, the Un-American brats in D.C. vow to steal from veterans, disabled people, and the elderly because the suffering of the rich would just be too much to bear. Impeachment for treason should be the order of the day, but somehow it’s not.
What are us real Americans to do? We’re the ones out here trying to build lives for ourselves, our friends and our families, no matter what ridiculous slaps in the face they give us. Our civil liberties have been eroded in the name of national “security”, those of us who are poor have been blamed for everything, and politicians across several states are doing their best to make sure that “undesirable” people cannot vote in the 2012 elections.
And then this afternoon, I saw something. A comment on a New York Times article that has some potential. Let me put it up for you:
“If the US defaults, guaranteeing interest rates go up, I give up. And by that I mean, if my own country is refusing to pay its bills, I’m refusing to pay mine. I’m declaring bankruptcy on August 3rd if they don’t raise the debt ceiling by August 2nd. I’ve been slowly and steadily paying my credit cards bills down, even as my bank has hiked my interest to 29.99% APR. It’s taken me five years to pay off half of my debt, and probably will take me another five years to finish paying it off. Believe me, it’s hard, but I thought it was the right thing to do. By why should I bother if my own government won’t pay its bills?
Also, if they’re going to put social security and medicare on the table, programs I’ve paid into for 20 years, and they’re not going to be there for me when I retire, I’m going to need to start saving for retirement right now. It might destroy my credit rating to declare bankruptcy, but… that won’t matter if I can’t ever afford to buy a house or a car anyway. I am sick and tired of politicians protecting the wealthy while income inequality gets worse, and the middle class struggles harder and harder with fewer and fewer safety nets. Middle class income has been flat for 30 years while the fruits of our labor were enjoyed by the wealthiest. Our protections against banks have been stripped away, and we’re losing unions, access to affordable healthcare, and benefits we paid for to be there for us.
I think we should all immediately contact our congress person and say if the US is defaulting on its bills, so are we. That might be the only way to get some pressure from Wall Street to raise the debt ceiling. If Republicans can threaten to ruin our economy, we can threaten to ruin the bankers’ profits. If that’s a fair negotiating strategy for Republicans, bring it on from the rest of us.”
So the basic idea is to drop our debt if our Congress thinks dropping their’s is such a great idea. I have to admit, as much as I’m for personal responsibility, this would be something I’m in favor of. After all it may only get harder to declare bankruptcy in the next few years anyway. We all saw how the laws allowing us to do that got tightened as things got harder financially.
Perhaps a complete reset is in order. I’m going to turn the comments back on so there can be discussion back and forth. But let’s have real talk about the costs and benefits of it ok? Not just basic superficial soundbites about “the need to be responsible not matter what” or “yeah, man *&%$ the GOP!”.
Tawk Amongst Y’selves, dawlings! 🙂
As the Republicans inch closer and closer to destroying our economy just because our black president won’t do what they tell him to do, the real Americans wonder what will happen to us if things melt down. Thanks to Rep. Jim McDermott and the Democratic Policy and Communications Center I have a two page document for your consideration. It says that everything from mortgage costs to utility prices and grocery costs could be affected.
Of course, most of those in Congress can posture, strut, and whine with no worries. They can continue their un-American game playing. After all, they don’t have to worry about the consequences. More expensive mortgage payments? Most of these folks likely own more than one property outright. Higher food and gas costs? There are plenty of donors willing to pay for them to go places, and I’m sure if things really get bad doggie bags from the $2,000/plate fundraising dinners will become the in thing to do. And their retirement? Paid for by us. So they can annihilate Social Security and every other safety net we have without any fear for their own future.
But out here, where the choices they make impact real Americans every single day, we deserve to know what we’re facing. Here’s the paper: