Days from Crashing into the Debt Ceiling?
Plus: The grossness of Rudy Giuliani.
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Tim Miller: Will this debt ceiling showdown make the economy go soft? If so, Rudy’s got some Viagra for that.
Bob Kelso (Ken Jenkins on Scrubs): Now just soak in that image for a while.
Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. Okay, so I feel obligated to address the potential economic apocalypse that’s in front of us.
Homer Simpson (from The Simpsons): This is not good! This is not good!
Miller: But anytime someone says “debt ceiling,” I notice eyes start to get a little heavy.
Beast Boy (from Teen Titans Go!): Ugh, so boring!
Miller: So for dessert, if you stick around, I’m gonna dish out the wildest Rudy Giuliani gossip breaking the internet.
Rand Ridley (from Inside Job): Deal!
Miller: Trigger warning: It’s just about the most disgusting slew of allegations I’ve ever seen in politics.
Aaron ‘Double A’ Anderson (Michael McMillian on Silicon Valley): It’s pretty gnarly.
Miller: But first, what’s the deal with the debt ceiling? In short, the debt limit is the total amount of money that the government is allowed to borrow in order to pay off its obligations. The ceiling was raised to 31.4 trillion in 2021, and we’re about to cross that Rubicon in the not-too-distant future. According to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, it happens on June 1st, but others think there’s a little bit of wiggle room.
Austin Dickinson (Adrian Enscoe on Dickinson): But soon, very soon.
Miller: If we are unable to raise the debt ceiling before we cross that line, the United States will become a deadbeat dad that doesn’t pay our existing legal obligations. And if you can’t pay your bills, you go into default.
Rocky Rhodes (from Chicken Run): That doesn’t sound good.
Miller: What does default mean? Well, for starters, people will begin to miss out on their benefits. For example, veterans and federal employees might not get their paychecks. The stock market would likely tank, and our borrowing costs would go up.
Peter Venkman (Bill Murray in Ghostbusters): Dogs and cats living together! Mass Hysteria!
Miller: Now, let’s be real. The only reason the debt ceiling is not getting raised is because House Republicans are using it as leverage to try to get spending cuts out of the Biden administration. It’s worth noting they never did this the three times the debt ceiling was raised during the Trump administration.
Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier on Entourage): It’s a principle thing.
Miller: For most of the year, Biden’s position was, basically, I won’t negotiate with terrorists, in the hope that he could strong-arm the divided Republican Congress.
Nick Campbell (Owen Wilson in The Internship): And how’d that work out?
Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo on Grey’s Anatomy): Not great.
Miller: Last week he invited McCarthy to the White House to open talks. McCarthy said—
Kevin McCarthy: I don’t think we’re in a good place. I know we’re not.
Miller: While I understand the terrorist principle, I think Biden’s strategy was a mistake. He lost leverage he could have had by sending McCarthy a popular deal that reduces some spending and then sitting back as the insane parts of the GOP House Conference kill it, leaving them with all the blame.
Debbie Hyman (from American Dad): Don’t stoop to their level.
Miller: But we are where we are. So as the clock ticks, here are three ways I think this might play out. One, Biden and McCarthy actually reach a deal. The wishful rumor is that the deal would claw back unused COVID relief money and cut the red tape out of infrastructure costs. Good policy, but I’m not seeing it. I assume anything Biden would agree to, the GOP conference would kill for political reasons.
Brett Hand (from Inside Job): The system works!
Serena Ryan (from Beavis and Butthead Do the Universe): Are you sure about that?
Miller: Two, no deal, and we go over the limit. I think McCarthy is calculating that this is better for him politically, even if the economy tanks, because he can pin the blame on Biden.
Olenna Tyrell (Dianna Rigg on Game of Thrones): A man of the people.
Miller: Number three, no deal, but Biden uses a creative legal tool to keep paying our bills. Some people say the president could avoid the limit by minting a trillion-dollar coin.
Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossum on Shameless): That’s a thing?
Miller: Others say he could cite the Fourteenth Amendment, which they argue sets a precedent that the government has an obligation to pay their debts. (Google it for more, nerds.) But if Biden boldly invokes one of these more creative solutions, then expect a legal challenge, which the Republicans will then use for more leverage.
Q (John de Lancie on Star Trek: The Next Generation): Why these games?
Miller: I’m hoping that Dealin’ Joe prevails and we land on option one, but think it’s more likely that we’re headed straight down the barrel of a crisis that won’t be resolved without some economic pain.
Phil Ohlmyer (Jerry O’Connell in Mission to Mars): Great, great, great, great, great, great.
Miller: Okay, you’ve made it this far, so here’s your candy—try not to get sick. Drunk Rudy Giuliani was sued by a former staffer this week who said that he sold pardons, forced her to work naked and give blowies during phone calls so he could feel like Bill Clinton, took tons of Viagra, got wasted starting at 10:00 a.m., would talk about how Jewish guys have small dicks, and called his female staffers “bitch,” the c-word, and “Rudy’s slut.” Can you believe that guy was the top adviser for the last president?
The Duke (from Solar Opposites): Man, what a piece of shit.
Miller: We’ll see you guys next week for more “Not My Party.” Jokić is king.