Shoot It Down, Burn It Down

Now that the famous Chinese spy balloon is no more, whatever will we talk about?

“A senior defense official has said there have been four previous known Chinese balloon incursions over the continental United States: one early in the Biden administration and three during the Trump administration,” it says here.

I do want to talk more about the debt ceiling. WaPo has an article that lists seven proposals for budget cuts that the Republicans are considering. It’s a bit wordy, but to sum:

One. Big cuts to discretionary spending, “which includes funding for the Defense Department and other federal agencies.”

These cuts would hit politically popular programs such as spending on energy assistance for low-income Americans; K-12 education; Pell Grants for college students; the National Institutes of Health; NASA; and others. There are other, potentially less dramatic options, such as freezing future increases in non-Pentagon spending or just cutting spending by less, Riedl said. Another idea being batted around is to demand $3 of spending cuts for every $1 increase in the debt ceiling, although that still leaves the all-important question of what to cut.

Two. Cuts to Social Security and Medicare. In recent days a lot of Congress Critters have backed away from this, but they haven’t given up on it entirely.

Three. Undo the IRS Increase. A lot of them want to reverse last year’s $80 billion funding increase for the Internal Revenue Service. This would actually increase the debt considerably, but they’re too stupid to understand that. Or they understand it and want to do it anyway.

Four. Claw Back Covid Aid. There isn’t enough of it yet unspent to make that much difference.

Five. Various Anti-Immigrant Proposals. Some of them want to hold the debt ceiling hostage until there is a commitment to finish Trump’s moronic border wall. Some of them want to block all undocumented immigrants at the borders, including asylum seekers.

Six. Work Requirements to Receive Aid. Or, let’s force the destitute into indentured servitude or, even better, sharecropping. Some guy from the Manhattan Institute points out that as much fun as this proposal is, a lot of states have already done it.  “There aren’t that many places to go with work requirements that we have not gone already,” he said.

Seven. Let It Burn. Some of them want to push past the debt ceiling last days, figuring the economic chaos would give them even more leverage to cut spending they don’t like. Some of them are still talking about a “prioritization plan” would specify what payments Treasury should prioritize over other payments. That would still screw with the nation’s credit score and drive up the cost of borrowing.

In brief, they don’t have a real plan at all. They just have fantasies.