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Post Partisan
Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 07/20/2011

Debt-ceiling drama: Rep. Joe Walsh (Tea Party-Obstinate)


No sooner had I blasted out my piece on the obstinacy of Tea Party Republicans in Congress than Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) showed up on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” last night to prove it. The interview is in the clip below. Matthews is his characteristic aggressive self. But watch Walsh give as good as he gets while spewing Tea Party talking points and falsehoods.

Now, here’s where Walsh exhibits the very know-it-all obstinacy Chuck Todd discussed on “Morning Joe.”

An excerpt:

MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you about the word “lying.” You’ve accused our president -- you’ve said he’s my president -- accused him of lying. Do you --

WALSH: Our president.

MATTHEWS: Do you like the word “lying”?

WALSH: When he speaks a mistruth, Chris, and he’s not truthful, he’s lying. And when he says on August 3rd that the lights in the country are going to turn out --

MATTHEWS: Right. OK.

WALSH: -- and he doesn’t know if he can guarantee Social Security checks, he’s lying because he’s -- knows that’s not the case, and he, Chris, has the discretion to make those payments.

In case you forgot or hadn’t heard, Walsh is the same guy who released a video last week calling President Obama a liar on this same issue. The blunt message was delivered with all the charm of a repo man.

“President Obama, quit lying,” Walsh demands in the video. “You know darn well that if August 2nd comes and goes there is plenty of money to pay off our debt and cover all social security obligations.”

While Walsh clearly is immune to facts, I hope you’re not. Thanks to the Debt Limit Analysis from the folks at the Bipartisan Policy Center, we know what they are. In August, the federal government will have $306 billion in expenses, but only $172 billion in hand to pay them. Coming up with the remaining $134 billion for the month will require some truly tough choices. Sure, if you count all the money due to be collected for August, there would be enough to cover Social Security payments ($49.2 billion) and interest payments on Treasury securities ($29 billion) with that $172 billion. The problem is that all that money doesn’t come in all at once.

The chart shows what could happen on Aug. 3 if the debt ceiling has not been raised. The Treasury will take in $12 billion that day. But it will have $32 billion in expenses. The 25 million Social Security checks amounting to $23 billion due out that day make up about 72 percent of the total. As The Post reported last week, “Obama could decide to pay half of the Social Security checks and ignore other bills coming due that day....Or he could decide not to make any Social Security payments and instead hoard tax revenues to pay investors in U.S. bonds.” Without the debt ceiling raised, Treasury will not be able to borrow the rest of the money it needs to pay its bills. Please remember, raising the debt ceiling is not -- NOT -- like giving Washington a blank check or adding more to the national credit card. Increasing the legal limit the federal government can borrow allows it to pay for things it has already bought. To not pay our bills is to destroy the full faith and credit of the United States.

Walsh asks Obama in his video harangue: “Have you no shame, sir?” Considering the first-term Tea Partyer willingly ignores the facts, the question is more appropriately addressed to him. But we already know the answer, don’t we?

By  |  06:00 AM ET, 07/20/2011

 
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