A Really Big Can, on a Very Long Road

My CongressCritter is always irritating, but he really got under my skin with a recent tweet:

Think of the veterans!

Pappas is touting his vote against H.R.2811, the "Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023". A summary from the Dispatch:

The House voted 217-215 Wednesday to pass a bill that would raise the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion or through March 2024, cut discretionary spending to 2022 levels and add a 1 percent yearly growth cap, claw back unspent COVID-19 aid, and block President Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan, among other measures. The bill won’t pass the Democratic-controlled Senate—and Biden has vowed to veto the act if it did—but its passage was a victory for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who has struggled to unite his fractious conference and goad Biden to the negotiating table.

Every Democrat voted against it. I wouldn't get irritated by Pappas (yet again) demonstrating his fecklessness and subservience; it's par for the course. But I went down that rabbit hole a bit by clicking on that press release he offered.

The word "veteran" shows up 13 times in that short release. Please, Congressman. All you need to provide is a simple syllogism:

All Democrats voted against this.
I am a Democrat.
Therefore, I voted against this.

We don't need the "Gee, I woulda voted for it, except veterans" bullshit.

But this stuck out at the tail end:

Pappas is a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which last week proposed a framework to avoid defaulting on the national debt and advancing a sustainable budget.

Problem Solvers Caucus! Dedicated to solving problems! Who could be against that? Why aren't all CongressCritters members of the Problem Solvers Caucus? Then all our problems would be solved!

Ahem. So following that link takes you to another press release: Problem Solvers Caucus Endorses Bipartisan Debt Ceiling Framework. It's bipartisan! Another good word!

But the press release is light on details, instead urging the reader:

The full framework can be reviewed here.

Background guidance on the debt ceiling framework can be found here.

Sigh. OK. No doubt following those links will finally reveal a complete list of concrete proposals to put the country on a path to a "sustainable budget". A solution from the Problem Solvers! Just click, and all will be…

Nope. It's not a solution. It's a framework.

The first link: a one-page Microsoft Word document.

The second link: a different one-page Microsoft Word document.

A summary of the framework: suspend the debt limit; set up a commission; task that commision with producing a report; that report must recommend a package; Congress must vote up-or-down on that package.

And that vote must happen by February 28, 2025.


Perhaps the "Problem Solvers Caucus" should change their name to the "Kicking the Can Down the Road Caucus" Maybe the "Evading Responsibility Caucus". Or "Avoiding Doing Anything Until the 2024 Elections Are Safely Past Caucus".

Constitution 101: Despite the "framework", our current Congress can't require the next Congress to do anything whatsoever. (See this 13-year-old Slate article.) They're perfectly free to evade taking possibly unpopular votes, and it's safe to assume they'll do just that.

No surprises, I guess. The voters of my district should have seen this coming.

Briefly noted:

  • Can you stand more about the debt ceiling debate? Sure you can. Veronique de Rugy provides: What You Need to Know About the Debt-Ceiling Debate.

    If you read news coverage about the brewing battle over raising the debt ceiling, you might think it's a fight between demons and angels. On one side, you have Republicans who are willing to risk a default on the government's debt unless they get spending cuts that will starve people. On the other side, you have Democrats who, guarding the interests of ordinary Americans, want a "clean" increase in the debt ceiling with no cuts in spending.

    None of this is accurate. The concessions sought by Republicans are relatively small compared to what needs to be done. In fact, the truly problematic position is the one that blindly insists that we shouldn't cut spending or worry about government debt.

    Does the debt ceiling supply the right moment to seek commitments to cut spending? I think so, if only because this year's negotiation might offer a rare window of opportunity that usually only happens during a financial crisis, something nobody wants. Republicans might do a bit more than merely pay lip service to fiscal responsibility and force Democrats to consider spending cuts. Yet, let's face it: These negotiations were never going to produce any kind of meaningful and broad fiscal reform.

    Vero is appropriately scornful of both parties in the debate,

  • You don't have to be crazy to be a kid. We'll train you. Noah Rothman reveals: Campaign to Make Kids into Neurotics.

    The results of a national poll released this week by the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School confirms a growing suspicion that America’s young adults are rapidly dissolving into a bundle of nerves. Nearly half of all young Americans between the ages of 18 and 29, Institute of Politics director John Della Volpe told the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, “are under this constant threat of fear.”

    A disturbingly high number of young adults reported experiencing existential dread just leaving the house — at the shopping mall, in school, or on campus, riding public transportation, or simply navigating their own neighborhoods. Thirty-six percent of young people fear they will be a victim of gun violence. Thirty-five percent worry about being caught up in a mass-shooting incident or becoming a victim of crime. Twenty-eight percent worry about their risk of sexual assault, and just under one quarter of this demographic fear the prospect of being targeted in a hate crime.

    Kids are fed a steady diet of fear: if the mass shooters don't get you, the sexual assaulters will. Or a pandemic. And if you avoid those icebergs… woops, there's always Greta Thunberg telling you about catastrophic climate change.

  • Show me where the meritocracy hurt you, child. Jerry Coyne and Anna Krylov take to the WSJ to gripe about The ‘Hurtful’ Idea of Scientific Merit.

    Until a few months ago, we’d never heard of the Journal of Controversial Ideas, a peer-reviewed publication whose aim is to promote “free inquiry on controversial topics.” Our research typically didn’t fit that description. We finally learned of the journal’s existence, however, when we tried to publish a commentary about how modern science is being compromised by a de-emphasis on merit. Apparently, what was once anodyne and unobjectionable is now contentious and outré, even in the hard sciences.

    Merit isn’t much in vogue anywhere these days. We’ve seen this in the trend among scientists to judge scientific research by its adherence to dominant progressive orthodoxies and in the growing reluctance of our institutions to hire and fund scientists based on their ability to propose and conduct exciting projects. Our intent was to defend established and effective practices of judging science based on its merit alone.

    It's not as if they're some right-wing cranks typing from their basement. (Um, like me.) Coyne is at the University of Chicago, Krylov is in chemistry at USC.

  • Debunking a gun controller lie. Earlier this month, I fisked an op-ed from the Chair of the Portsmouth (NH) Police Commission, Stefany Shaheen. One of her claims:


    Yes, uppercase screaming. I did a little pushback then, but here's David Harsanyi with a fuller response: No, Gun Violence Isn't The Leading Cause Of Death Among Children.

    Gun violence is the number one cause of death of children in America. Virtually every media outlet and Democrat repeats this contention — including, recently, the vice president. The claim is meant to conjure up distressing images of frolicking kids in parks and schools being gunned down by assault weapons.

    And horrific events certainly happen in the country. We need not gloss over the evil of mass school shootings, even if they’re rarer than gun-control types would have you believe. But that does not give people license to make things up.

    We don’t really know which study Harris based her comments on, if any. And different sources come to different conclusions. None of them, however, are grounded in our familiar understanding of “children.” These studies count adults who are 18 and 19, and sometimes up to 25, years of age. Americans under 18 can’t purchase guns legally. That age seems, at the very least, the most obvious divide between adults and children. Because when you take 18- and 19-year-old adults out of the equation, the number of gun-related deaths among kids plummets considerably.

    And more at the link, of course.

Last Modified 2023-05-31 4:57 AM EDT