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Repub Sen: We Can Crash Into Debt Limit "Because the Only People Buying Our Bonds Are the Fed Res"
Slate ^ | October 7, 2013 | David Weigel

Posted on 10/07/2013 11:29:25 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

My latest piece explains why the business world's expectations on the shutdown crisis -- that the backlash might make Republicans ready to deal on the debt limit -- was folly. Republicans believe that the sequestration fallout, and the shutdown fallout thus far, have been goosed by Barack Obama in an attempt to maximize the damage to their party. That makes them less likely, not more likely, to raise the debt limit in a hurry. The theory that the government could hit the limit then just prioritize spending on debt service, troops and entitlements is widely accepted, more than Democrats like to think.

[snip]

"You gotta take Jack Lew at his word, but from the standpoint of [whether] that puts us in default, technically, no," said North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr. "The federal government still has about 85 percent of the revenues we spend coming in, and all they have to do is prioritize that they're gonna pay debt service first. And that leaves some prioritization for federal programs. I'm not as concerned as the president is on the debt ceiling, because the only people buying our bonds right now is the Federal Reserve. So it's like scaring ourselves."

(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; Health/Medicine; Politics
KEYWORDS: debt; debtceiling; obamacare; shutdown
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(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. Treasury needed to pay off a record of approximately $7,546,726,000,000 in maturing Treasury securities in fiscal 2013, which ended last Monday, according to Treasury's official accounting.

During the same period, the Treasury turned around and issued another $8,323,949,000,000 in new Treasury securities.

The spread between the old debt held by the public that matured and was paid off during the fiscal year and the new debt that was sold to cover government spending over and above tax revenues, increased the net federal government debt held by the public by $777.223 billion during the fiscal year.

In the previous fiscal year, 2012, the Treasury had needed to redeem only $6,804,956,000,000 in Treasury securities, but then it needed to turn around and issue $7,924,651,000,000 in new securities—increasing the net debt held by the public by $1.119695 trillion......................."

1 posted on 10/07/2013 11:29:26 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

It’s a shell game and the joke is on us. This administration has far surpassed it’s predecessors for reckless spending and the American people are too stupid to understand what is really happening.

Obama has by far, hands down, been the best friend the banksters have ever seen in the White House. On top of that, he is firmly stuck on the academic dreams of socialism and his policies have further weakened the poor economy he inherited. The rats have not passed a budget for a reason and every year without a budget has seen government spending explode as entitlement spending is not capped. Obama even doubled down on entitlements by ramming a new one down our throats that will further tax the productive.

The joke is on our children because we are dumping this mess on young and future Americans. The left believes we have become more sophisticated than our ancestors, but future generations will view us as the most selfish. We have made quite a mess of things and soon the day of reckoning will be here. There are many scenarios about how it ends, but all of them suck.


2 posted on 10/07/2013 11:45:16 PM PDT by volunbeer (We must embrace austerity or austerity will embrace us)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
the only people buying our bonds right now is the Federal Reserve <<

and that my FRiends is all u need to know...

Think about it...who can write a bogus check to cover the last bogus check you wrote and get away with it?

3 posted on 10/07/2013 11:51:49 PM PDT by M-cubed
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Per month, federal government revenues are $250 billion and spending is $310 billion, resulting in a deficit of $60 billion, which the government must fund by increasing outstanding Treasuries. Since total outstanding Treasuries cannot be increased without a debt ceiling increase, how can the government pay its bills? Prioritizing won't work, since you must spend $310 billion per month. The only way would be to reduce spending by almost 20%: $60 billion per month. Many strategies have been proposed, but none are able to come up with $60 billion per month of cuts. Furloughs are a drop in the bucket. The vast majority is entitlements and the military.

So Senator Burr's comment is glib at best, in my view.

4 posted on 10/08/2013 12:01:45 AM PDT by Praxeologue
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To: Kennard

Eliminate DHS who has twice the budget of the USMC. Eliminate TSA. Stop these retarded wars. Stop foreign aid,, you don’t do charity work with borrowed money. Eliminate the dept of Education. Quit buying rifles for the Cartels. No billion dollar subs as a gift for Egypt. Quit NATO. Eliminate the DOE. Eliminate Obamacare. Build the damned pipeline. Stop 100% of green subsidies.
The list is almost endless,,,,


5 posted on 10/08/2013 12:16:36 AM PDT by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)
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To: DesertRhino
Eliminate DHS who has twice the budget of the USMC. Eliminate TSA. Stop these retarded wars. Stop foreign aid,, you don’t do charity work with borrowed money. Eliminate the dept of Education. Quit buying rifles for the Cartels. No billion dollar subs as a gift for Egypt. Quit NATO. Eliminate the DOE. Eliminate Obamacare. Build the damned pipeline. Stop 100% of green subsidies. The list is almost endless,,,,

Good strategy, when the Republicans control all three branches of government.

My question, however, is: what can we do this month?

6 posted on 10/08/2013 12:44:41 AM PDT by Praxeologue
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To: Kennard
My question, however, is: what can we do this month?

Get the public's attention.

7 posted on 10/08/2013 1:18:25 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Get the public's attention.

Ted Cruz and the House are doing that.

But how do we avoid default? (the topic of this thread)

8 posted on 10/08/2013 1:26:51 AM PDT by Praxeologue
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To: Kennard

If the Dems won’t cave, then bring on the default. Don’t raise the debt ceiling. Don’t hire back furloughed employees.

Keep the government shut down.

If the Dems never tire of the shutdown, then in a few years everyone will be accustomed to those 800,000 furloughed federal workers never coming back.


9 posted on 10/08/2013 1:37:39 AM PDT by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: Kennard
how can the government pay its bills? Prioritizing won't work, since you must spend $310 billion per month.

Default has a specific meaning, and it does not include total govt spending. It is only the servicing (interest) on the debt already accumulated.

If we don't pay salaries, benefits, etc, it is not technically default. obombers is trying to convice the liv otherwise.

10 posted on 10/08/2013 1:38:23 AM PDT by quimby
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To: volunbeer
but future generations will view us as the most selfish.

Future generations will be too much occupied with getting enough food and shelter to survive to be much concerned with what their grandparents left them. The history they are taught will be totally invented, anyway, as in the last Great Experiment in the old USSR.

11 posted on 10/08/2013 1:48:29 AM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson ONLINEhttp://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/)
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To: M-cubed
who can write a bogus check to cover the last bogus check you wrote and get away with it?

No one can, not even the Federal Reserve. It just catches up to that organization a little more slowly.

12 posted on 10/08/2013 1:49:57 AM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson ONLINEhttp://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/)
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To: Kennard
Good strategy, when the Republicans control all three branches of government.

When the Republicans control all three branches of government they will be, at best, Bush. There will be no improvement because of Republican control of the elected portion of the government. Republicans, including Tea Party Republicans, will not do a thing to eliminate EPA and Homeland Security or even TSA or any other Federal agency and those agenciess ARE the government. The elected portion provides a lot of fire and thunder but their influence is small, now and growing less.

13 posted on 10/08/2013 1:55:05 AM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson ONLINEhttp://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/)
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To: volunbeer
The left believes we have become more sophisticated than our ancestors . . . as if American history began with FDR.

Those evil white guys some 225+ years ago had just won a war, but were losing the peace. We had enormous debt without the means to repay. Calls to reestablish a monarchy were heard. The future looked bleak.

If there is a way out, it will once again require the diffused goodness of patriotic Americans to fix our problems.

Just as the congress of 1787 was incapable of reform, it is foolish to think solutions will emerge from today's congress. Then as now, a convention of the states to amend our governing document may be our only hope.

14 posted on 10/08/2013 1:59:00 AM PDT by Jacquerie (Obamacare forces slaves to buy their chains.)
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To: arthurus

The Congress and other elected officials DO NOT KNOW what the meaning of CUT THE BUDGET really is about. They don’t have the “backbone to even address it publicly”.


15 posted on 10/08/2013 2:02:01 AM PDT by princess leah
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To: Kennard

You are correct that not raising the debt ceiling will necessitate very large spending cuts. But it will not require a default because interest on the debt can be paid with only about 9% of what the government actually collects in taxes.


16 posted on 10/08/2013 3:49:38 AM PDT by Stingray51
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To: Kennard

There is no avoiding collapse... It is just a matter of when and that is up to the Fed and their can kicking.


17 posted on 10/08/2013 4:28:23 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!)
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To: quimby

No— the other issue is the US must redeem T-bills that mature this month— not sure how much that is, but it’s probably far more than the tax revenue coming in.


18 posted on 10/08/2013 7:36:41 AM PDT by pierrem15 (Claudius: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.")
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To: Kennard

“Good strategy, when the Republicans control all three branches of government.”

They did. And did nothing with the opportunity.
When they do again, they’ll squander that opportunity too.

The problem is systemic and cultural. Nobody wants to be the one to actually slash spending: others won’t let them, and they’ll be politically (if not metabolically) destroyed if they do. Republicans have no more incentive to stop spending than Democrats do. Won’t get fixed until the fire burns itself out. Only solution is individual: be self sufficient and teach your offspring the same.


19 posted on 10/08/2013 9:22:23 AM PDT by ctdonath2 (Making good people helpless doesn't make bad people harmless.)
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To: Stingray51; All
We spend $60B/month more than we take in and must fund that $60B gap with additional debt issuance, which we can't do unless we increase the debt limit. The only way to avoid increasing the debt limit is to reduce expenses by $60B/month. Prioritizing debt principal and interest payments doesn't avoid default if you cannot issue new debt because you've hit the debt ceiling ... and you must issue new debt to both replace existing debt falling due and fund the additional $60B/month ... unless you cut expenses by $60B/month. There is no way around it. Now there are half a dozen short-term schemes being discussed to avoid the grim reaper for a month or two, but they are either legally questionable or just won't work: 14th amendment, issuing high-coupon debt, etc. and even then it's only a short-term stop-gap and we're back to the wall in December.

There is so much confusion surrounding this issue, particularly conflating non-funding (CR) and the debt ceiling.

Bottom line: unless Congress increases the debt limit, the US will default on its obligations at some point, like a few weeks, after October 17th.

20 posted on 10/08/2013 9:26:26 AM PDT by Praxeologue
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To: Kennard

Don’t take my word for it: http://bipartisanpolicy.org/blog/2013/10/08/bpc%E2%80%99s-x-date-window-narrows-economic-risks-grow


21 posted on 10/08/2013 9:51:07 AM PDT by Praxeologue
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To: Kennard
Bottom line: unless Congress increases the debt limit, the US will default on its obligations at some point...

There you go again. You are using the exact language obomber wants you to use.

Do you really not see the difference between default on the debt and default on obligations ?

22 posted on 10/08/2013 9:54:06 AM PDT by quimby
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To: All
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23 posted on 10/08/2013 9:56:49 AM PDT by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: quimby
Do you really not see the difference between default on the debt and default on obligations?

No, there is no difference.

Don't shoot the messenger.

24 posted on 10/08/2013 10:00:23 AM PDT by Praxeologue
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To: pierrem15
No— the other issue is the US must redeem T-bills that mature this month— not sure how much that is, but it’s probably far more than the tax revenue coming in.

redeeming debt does not increase total debt, therefore, no debt limit problem. so, no, you've got it wrong.

25 posted on 10/08/2013 10:03:17 AM PDT by quimby
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To: Kennard
No, there is no difference. Don't shoot the messenger.

There may not be a difference in your mind, but there is in the 14th amendment. Plus, you aren't being shot, just your ideas.

26 posted on 10/08/2013 10:21:51 AM PDT by quimby
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To: quimby
After the transaction takes place, that's true-- but before the transaction takes place you have to come up with the money to pay off the notes that are due. Where does the US get the cash?

What you're saying is like this: I have balloon note of $10K due on my truck, but I will buy a new truck and owe $10K on that, so my total indebtedness will not rise. OK, but how do I pay off the the balloon note before I get my new truck without $10K?

Think cash flow, not total indebtedness: to get the cash to pay off the notes, the US would first _borrow_ the payoff amount, get it?

27 posted on 10/08/2013 10:25:16 AM PDT by pierrem15 (Claudius: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.")
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To: pierrem15
fter the transaction takes place, that's true-- but before the transaction takes place you have to come up with the money to pay off the notes that are due. Where does the US get the cash?

Try this analogy. You are buying a house. You get laid off, but get unemployment. You can no longer make your house payment and the electric bill. So, you pay the house payment, but n0t the electric bill. Did you default on the house loan ?

28 posted on 10/08/2013 10:38:21 AM PDT by quimby
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To: arthurus

You are right. It was that grand Republican Nixon who brought the EPA into existence. It was the Bush family Republicans who spoke the glories of the ‘new world order’. It is the likes of McCain and Norquist that remove the ordinary citizen from a Republican republic of the Founders.


29 posted on 10/08/2013 10:44:30 AM PDT by noinfringers2
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To: Kennard

My understanding is that debt interest payments require about 9% of what the government actually collects in taxes. Assuming that is correct, my point was that the government should have enough money to make these payments without taking on additional debt. But because, as you point out, there is a gap - you put the monthly number at 60b — some otherwise required expenditures would have to be held up in order to prioritize the interest payments (and presumably other life or death necessary expenses such as Social Security and defense....). The issue is whether the President has the authority to prioritize payments as necessary to avoid default and make other critical payments as he deems necessary. I think he does have that authority and some people do not think he does (which would presumably mean that if the government falls even one penny short, it cannot pay anything to anyone). Does this make sense to you or are you saying something else?


30 posted on 10/08/2013 11:15:40 AM PDT by Stingray51
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To: quimby
You will if the note comes due, you don't have cash on hand, and you can't refinance :-)

I think we're have some fundamentally different assumptions about the process here: I know that tax revenues in this month are more than enough to pay off the interest due on the national debt this month.

But T-Bills come with maturity dates-- that means not only the interest but the principal is also due that month, and that (I think) is where the problem lies-- if we can't borrow more money to pay off the principal on the notes due when they are due the we are in default.

Now, that doesn't particularly bother me, because most of the 6 trillion borrowed in Obama's term went to his political supporters and through the Fed to the Wall Street banksters. So I don't see why I'm obligated to pay back money borrowed in my name as part of a fraudulent conveyance.

31 posted on 10/08/2013 11:28:01 AM PDT by pierrem15 (Claudius: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.")
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To: pierrem15
T-Bills come with maturity dates-- that means not only the interest but the principal is also due that month, and that (I think) is where the problem lies-- if we can't borrow more money to pay off the principal on the notes due when they are due the we are in default.

Its called float. Ever send out a check before the paycheck comes in? Businesses, individuals and governments do it.

32 posted on 10/08/2013 11:38:55 AM PDT by quimby
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To: Stingray51
Does this make sense to you or are you saying something else?

Here is where our confusion lies: the interest payment that you refer to that is equal to 9% of revenues, is just that: interest only. On the principal side, you have redemptions of bonds and bills that fall due. These obligations must be replaced by an equivalent principal amount of new issuances, PLUS an extra $60 billion per month of new issuances to fund the ~$700 billion run rate on the current budget deficit. It is that additional $700B/year or $60B/month that cannot be issued unless the debt ceiling is increased. It's not like they can cut, say $10B/month. The Teasury cannot owe more than $15.* trillion under the current debt ceiling. Treasury indebtedness cannot legally exceed the debt ceiling by so much as one dollar.

A detailed, current explanation of this is located here

33 posted on 10/08/2013 11:40:15 AM PDT by Praxeologue
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To: quimby

They only way they could do that is to get the Fed to buy the T-Bill held by someone else first and then buy another T-Bill from the US once the first is “paid-off” with newly printed dollars.


34 posted on 10/08/2013 11:50:38 AM PDT by pierrem15 (Claudius: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.")
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To: Kennard
BTW, the BPC, from which these figures come, is somewhat of an amalgam of GOP-e and Dem. They estimate that the 2011 shutdown cost the Treasury $1B to $2B in additional interest payments since then and that the current showdown may cost more. I don't dispute that. I would add, however, that in the overall context, that is a small price to pay for liberty. Even if we just look at is as dollars and cents, there is no comparison. Consider that Medicare and Medicade cost three times as much (per capita, inflation-adjusted) as they were originally budgeted. That is government waste, price signalling destruction, etc. Now apply Obamacare's cold clammy authoritarian hand to the nation's $3 trillion health care industry. That will be an additional $3 trillion of annual cost for poorer quality health care. Capitalize that at 5% and you see that Obamacare will cost the nation $60 trillion for poorer health care. No one in Washington will admit that, but you and I know that is how it will turn out based on history.

So a few billion in cost to fight this monstrosity? You bet! That's an easy decision.

35 posted on 10/08/2013 11:53:18 AM PDT by Praxeologue
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To: Kennard

Thank you, I will look at the linked information. Yes, I am saying that the President would have to prioritize payments to the tune of tens of billions of dollars each month until the debt ceiling is increased. And yes, that would presumably have a massive effect on the economy. I don’t think he would have any choice in the matter except to determine which otherwise required expenditures not to pay. I am not sure this is matter of confusion more than just different views about whether a) the President has such authority, and/or b) whether this is at all practical or whether the numbers are so high that this would be catastrophic for the economy. But I don’t think that failing to pay anything other than interest or maturing securities would be a “default”. How much of the budget beyond this is actual bills (for example, the government entered into a contract to pay someone a certain amount on a certain date) as opposed to other required expenditures, such as for entitlements or running the government or funding a program...? I don’t know the answer to that, and that could be a difficult distinction to draw in some cases, but I think that one of the disconnects in the media and among politicians in discussing this involves the meaning of “default”.


36 posted on 10/08/2013 12:16:04 PM PDT by Stingray51
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To: Jacquerie
amend our governing document may be our only hope.

How does amending a document that is ignored help anything? A real new convention would try to dot all the eyes and cross all the teas and would look like the European "Constitution" with hundreds or thousands of pages.

37 posted on 10/08/2013 2:51:21 PM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson ONLINEhttp://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/)
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To: arthurus
I refer specifically to Mark Levin's Liberty Amendments.

The most important one restores a senate of the states, through repeal of the 17th Amendment.

His amendment proposals are structural. They cannot be gotten around through "living and breathing" nonsense.

Levin's Liberty Amendments, a Summary

38 posted on 10/08/2013 3:13:40 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Obamacare forces slaves to buy their chains.)
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To: Jacquerie
I don't think a Convention can be limited as to what it considers. I firmly believe that the 17th Amendment guaranteed the present all consuming because it eliminated states as sovereign entities with representation as States in the federal legislature. States cannot defend their interests. The 17th should be repealed or rather should never have been ratified. Seriously, I don't think anything done to the Constitution beyond repealing the 17th is relevant to the State as it exists. We are way past that point. A serious attempt to repeal would meet massive opposition by the entire DC establishment and might bring on the the actual formal scrapping of the Constitution.That said the 17th Amendment should be repealed. The sooner the shooting starts the more likely it is that the Patriots will win it.
39 posted on 10/08/2013 3:39:07 PM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson ONLINEhttp://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/)
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To: arthurus
There are safeguards as to the fear of an out of control convention. The primary one is that states will not send representatives, but rather delegates with commissions that define their powers; the other is the 3/4 ratification bar.

Considering our government is renegade now, there is little to lose with a convention. Our framers gave us peaceful means to correct our mistakes, one that all the bare-knuckle, raw power of the consolidated government cannot stop.


40 posted on 10/08/2013 4:19:59 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Obamacare forces slaves to buy their chains.)
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To: Jacquerie

Sure, go ahead and pass a bunch of amendments that the courts, congress and the executive will ignore. We are waaaay past amending our way out of this mess, boys and girls.


41 posted on 10/08/2013 4:23:22 PM PDT by Orangedog (An optimist is someone who tells you to 'cheer up' when things are going his way)
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To: Orangedog

Post #38. The amendments are structural.


42 posted on 10/08/2013 4:32:35 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Obamacare forces slaves to buy their chains.)
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To: Jacquerie
I don't think you're getting your hands around the scope and scale of the problem. If they are totally ignoring the entire bill of rights (with the possible exception of the 3rd amendment...so far), they they will ignore anything produced by anyone that isn't to their liking. It won't be a straight up "we don't care what you say!" It will be more like "the people and convention have spoken...and this is what we say they said!" The French had the right idea around the end of the 18th century. Too bad that level of recourse has been bred out of americans.
43 posted on 10/08/2013 4:42:47 PM PDT by Orangedog (An optimist is someone who tells you to 'cheer up' when things are going his way)
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To: Orangedog
Didn't read the summary, did you?

Oh, and spare your snark for someone who cares.

44 posted on 10/08/2013 4:47:26 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Obamacare forces slaves to buy their chains.)
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To: Southack
If the Dems never tire of the shutdown, then in a few years everyone will be accustomed to those 800,000 furloughed federal workers never coming back.

YES. WE HOLD ALL THE CARDS.

Can't say this enough. Call their damn bluff. And who knows, the LIVs might even learn something.

45 posted on 10/08/2013 4:57:50 PM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: Jacquerie

Yeah, I don’t need a summary of some carnival barker who’s show only gets on AM stations because they have to take him in order to get hannity’s show. Get back to me when that nasally little clown says he was wrong to support the creation of the patriot act, homeland security, TSA and all the other things he championed that are now the foundation of the police state.


46 posted on 10/08/2013 5:04:56 PM PDT by Orangedog (An optimist is someone who tells you to 'cheer up' when things are going his way)
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To: Orangedog
You’re too stupid to realize your ignorance.
47 posted on 10/08/2013 5:28:45 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Obamacare forces slaves to buy their chains.)
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To: Jacquerie

Says the broad who fellows some clown with his 76 trombones.


48 posted on 10/08/2013 5:32:04 PM PDT by Orangedog (An optimist is someone who tells you to 'cheer up' when things are going his way)
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To: volunbeer
the American people are too stupid to understand what is really happening.

Sums it up nicely. The worst tyranny is that which the citizens willfully elect.

49 posted on 10/08/2013 5:39:17 PM PDT by windsorknot (>>>)
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To: Orangedog

Ciao back to you, studmuffin.


50 posted on 10/08/2013 5:43:05 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Obamacare forces slaves to buy their chains.)
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