Debt Squealing

To avoid a default, all the chips are on the table. It's this week's news.

Debt Squealing

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Another ceiling we're approaching in June is the debt ceiling. Does Speaker McCarthy have the bargaining chips he needs to address it and accomplish his legislative agenda in the process?

I'll get to that in a minute...

But first, let's get to The News.

Hot Takes

Week 17 of 2023

Help Wanted: All Tuckered Out

Tucker Carlson is leaving Fox News, the network said on Monday, with later reports indicating he had been fired. In response to the announcement, one source said, "Glenn Beck Bill Oreilly is the undisputed king of cable news and can never be replaced." however forgot to update the name in the boilerplate. (more)

In similar news, CNN is making lemonade out of Don Lemon by squeezing him out of his role of 17 years on the news station after some controversial statements left a sour taste in some mouths. (more)

Now here's another twist (no lemon peel pun intended), both Lemon and Carlson hired the same lawyer to negotiate the terms of their exits. (more)

Finish The Job: As Soon As Possible

Many voters consider Joe Biden the President of the century, or at least 80% of one at the age of 80 years old. As the oldest sitting president (hopefully in a nice recliner at his age), Biden announced his bid for reelection, a run that will be up against headwinds from his approval ratings and his ability to live that long. Most pollsters would consider his prospects solid, even if his balance is less so. (more)

In Belgorod: Russia Blew It

Russia's air force accidentally bombed Belgorod, its own city, which lies 25 miles east of the Russia-Ukraine border. At least three people were injured. After countless setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine, experts consider this one of Russia's greatest successes in the war, which resulted in fewer casualties than most of Russia's offensives in Ukraine so far. (more)

Beer Can't: Transitioning to Other Brands

Bud Light's VP of marketing, Alissa Heinerscheid, and her boss Daniel Blake were both placed on a BYOB leave after both were involved in the marketing campaign with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Issues came to a head for the beer company when Kid Rock, the Redneck Paradise singer, shot up a couple of cases to protest the partnership, and other Paradise residents followed along. This Bud was for you, but since the controversy, the brand has lost billions in market value. But I suspect when the foam fizzles, our grandchildren will be consuming the brand as much or more than we ever did. (more)

Bankrupt: Three Sheets to the Wind

Bed, Bath, and Beyond filed bankruptcy — executives in an announcement said that while the news is not what they would have wanted, they still consider this one of the company’s most alliterative situations yet. (more)


  • Writer E. Jean Carroll Accused Trump of Rape in a civil trial that started on Wednesday.
  • Disney sued Desantis over control of its park, calling his actions to dissolve a tax district agreement punishment for Disney’s protected speech.

That's it for the news. Now here's The Gist.

Above The Ceiling

Ask The Lorem Ipsum

Hey Daniel,

Is Kevin McCarthy going to get this debt ceiling issue sorted before snack time, or will he just let the chips fall where they may?

Sincerely, F. Lay

In Washington, everything is a bargaining chip. Just ask Kevin McCarthy himself, who once provided President Trump with a selection of red and pink Starbursts, a delicacy to the real estate mogul and Criminal Defendant in Chief. McCarthy, who was Majority Leader at the time, sought to win political favor by being sweet to the President. Trump eventually returned the sweet nothings when he called him "My Kevin" and said in an interview that His Kevin had an "Inferiority complex."

On the subject of bargaining chips, McCarthy bucked against the actual chips of the semi-conductor variety, a deal which at least 24 House Republicans did opt to vote for, likely because of the bipartisan nature of the bill, which is friendly to both liberals and conservatives, even if less so Republicans only because it was introduced by the opposing party.

On the bill, McCarthy said, "The Senate passed a bill that took a small, discretionary program and turned it into a $280 billion blank check," which is notable mostly because most blank checks don't have amounts on them. He continues, criticizing the bill for "including $79 billion in mandatory spending on corporate welfare to be handed out to whoever President Biden wants,” a policy which, in layman's terms, is roughly translated to "corporate tax breaks like the ones Republicans live for."

McCarthy did not use the conservative-natured CHIPS bill as one of the bargaining variety, at least not that time. The bill passed anyway, with a strong 64-33 vote in the Senate, after which Biden signed it into law. I get that taxes are complicated, and it can be hard to process this, but if you have a bowl of potato chips, three chips given to you equal exactly the same amount as three chips you don't give back to me – especially if the conditions of the exchange are the same.

McCarthy didn't play his chips well at that time, even if the outcome wouldn't have changed, except to make a statement that the Democrat plan to expand microchip manufacturing in the US is bad because funding is coming from the government, but you have to have a chip to play it, and rhetoric was all he had.

Now, with McCarthy facing a debt ceiling crisis, he has proposed a bill that will accomplish what he wants. To cut federal spending by nearly 14 percent over a decade by undoing some of Mr. Biden’s clean energy tax credits, his student loan cancellation plan, and imposing stricter work requirements for federal nutrition and health programs. He put his chips on the table.

Today, McCarthy has two chips. One is the necessity of raising the debt ceiling to pay existing bills, and the other is Rep. Chip Roy, who pushed for more program cuts in McCarthy's plan. The situation at hand is that My Kevin is edging to reduce spending but can only do so by cutting spending in new bills rather than not paying for those Congress has already incurred. The first of them passed Wednesday night, but the Biden Administration had already signaled that McCarthy's current proposal would face a veto. His chip in play is to Force Biden to act. Currently, it looks like this is not a hand Biden is willing to play.

If a plan is not reached, the United States could default on its debts, which would cause economic turmoil. McCarthy says, "Let me be clear, defaulting on our debt is not an option. But nigh, there is a future of higher taxes. Higher interest rates."

Congress has until June-ish to resolve the debt ceiling problem, which means McCarthy has maybe 6-8 weeks to count his chip to see how far he can push things before he's left with an empty bag. As close as the house majority is, he'll need to have chips to appease his own party and the other side of the aisle. I suspect they'll figure it out, but not without some Ruffles.

Your Questions

Would you like to know which Starburst color is juiciest? Ask Kevin McCarthy. If you want the juicy details on any other topic, ask The Lorem Ipsum.

Send your questions to me at [email protected].

That's it for this week.

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