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Saturday, July 23, 2011

America's going Galt

by folkbum

I found this list of things that will happen immediately upon passing the debt ceiling deadline August 2 interesting, as it apparently comprises the full list of what makes Ayn Rand's America great:
• You just cut the IRS and all the accountants at Treasury, which means that the actual revenue you have to spend is $0.
• The nation's nuclear arsenal is no longer being watched or maintained
• The doors of federal prisons have been thrown open, because none of the guards will work without being paid, and the vendors will not deliver food, medical supplies, electricity, etc.
• The border control stations are entirely unmanned, so anyone who can buy a plane ticket, or stroll across the Mexican border, is entering the country. All the illegal immigrants currently in detention are released, since we don't have the money to put them on a plane, and we cannot actually simply leave them in a cell without electricity, sanitation, or food to see what happens.
• All of our troops stationed abroad quickly run out of electricity or fuel. Many of them are sitting in a desert with billions worth of equipment, and no way to get themselves or their equipment back to the US.
• Our embassies are no longer operating, which will make things difficult for foreign travelers
• No federal emergency assistance, or help fighting things like wildfires or floods. Sorry, tornado people! Sorry, wildfire victims! Try to live in the northeast next time!
• Housing projects shut down, and Section 8 vouchers are not paid. Families hit the streets.
• The money your local school district was expecting at the October 1 commencement of the 2012 fiscal year does not materialize, making it unclear who's going to be teaching your kids without a special property tax assessment.
• The market for guaranteed student loans plunges into chaos. Hope your kid wasn't going to college this year!
• The mortgage market evaporates. Hope you didn't need to buy or sell a house!
• The FDIC and the PBGC suddenly don't have a government backstop for their funds, which has all sorts of interesting implications for your bank account.
• The TSA shuts down. Yay! But don't worry about terrorist attacks, you TSA-lovers, because air traffic control shut down too. Hope you don't have a vacation planned in August, much less any work travel.
• Unemployment money is no longer going to the states, which means that pretty soon, it won't be going to the unemployed people.
And, even better, Ayn Rand's America stops sending all aid to states, so within a month or so after the shutdown, everything from schools to hospitals to public safety folds up, too. It will be awesome!

The easy answer, obviously, is the kind of clean debt-ceiling vote that has happened 80-something times in the last 90 years, including many times that Eric Cantor, John Boehner, Paul Ryan and the rest of the GOP Randroid caucus uncomplainingly approved. It would take five minutes.

The less easy answer is to take advantage of the fact that real interest on government debt right now is negative: We can more than take a clean vote, but do a whole additional stimulus, which can simply be a big payday to struggling states (or interest-free loans to struggling states). This is also a no-brainer, which make it kind of ironic that the GOP will never let it happen.

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