Government Running Out Of Money After Trump's Tax Cuts For Super-Rich, So Kiss Grammy Goodbye

You cost too much, Meemaw!

There's this one "Calvin and Hobbes" Sunday strip with realistic drawings of several disasters all converging on one spot, the home of Farmer Brown, who "is unaware of a gas leak as he attempts to light his stove." The last panel shows Calvin holding a toy jet and a toy locomotive about to smash into a toy house, and Hobbes says, "Can't we play something else?"

Guess what's happening in the federal government? We've got the current short-term spending bill expiring a week from today, and no deal on fixing DACA, so we could be looking at a government shutdown. Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office issued a little ol' warning that, thanks to the GOP's Great Big Tax Cuts for Rich Fuckwads, the federal government needs to raise the debt ceiling -- the statutory limit on how much debt we can incur for existing budget commitments -- lest the whole government run out of money by the middle of March. Fun!

Now, Congress already voted to suspend the debt ceiling back in September; that suspension ended on December 12, 2017. When that suspension expired, the CBO explains,

the Secretary of the Treasury announced a “debt issuance suspension period” during which existing statutes allow the Treasury to take “extraordinary measures” to borrow additional funds without breaching the debt ceiling.

Unfortunately, those "extraordinary measures" will only go so far, and once they're exhausted,

the government would be unable to pay its obligations fully, and it would delay making payments for its activities, default on its debt obligations, or both.

Back in December, when the "extraordinary measures" kicked in, the CBO expected they'd keep the government afloat until at least late March or early April. Oh, but then there's those GOP tax cuts, which on paper went into effect immediately, but in reality won't show up in paychecks until the IRS prepares new tax tables. Those are supposed to start being used by the middle of February, which means less tax withheld by employers, which means an immediate loss of $10 billion to $15 billion per month. (The CBO doesn't account for any possible screwups by the IRS in rushing out the new tax withholding schemes, so the shortfall is based on the assumption everything transitions smoothly.) Oh, hey, that's all on top of a government deficit of $23 billion for December, where in normal budget years, deficits don't typically kick in until the second quarter of the fiscal year.

So now, all Congress has to do is take care of raising the debt limit, passing a short-or-long-term budget that reconciles Republicans' demands for huge new military spending with Democrats' insistence that domestic spending increase at the same level, and also fix DACA while Donald Trump insists that legal immigration be slashed. All while the administration is also trying to rip the guts out of the FBI and Department of Justice so they can fire or neuter Robert Mueller (possibly not metaphorically). Add in whatever fallout comes from the release of Devin Nunes's intelligence-nuking memo, and there are a just a few tiny things -- nothing to speak of, really! --

Congress needs to get taken care of by next Tuesday to avoid a second government shutdown while Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House.

Oh, yes, and what time of year is it, Washington Post?

Complicating factors for the U.S. government, the Treasury Department typically issues a large number of tax refunds in February and March, which could lead to a steeper than expected fall in cash reserves. CBO said last year Treasury paid $211 billion in tax refunds in February and March of last year.

Hmm. And then you need to remember that Republicans HATE raising the debt ceiling, and always demand big spending cuts in exchange, even though that doesn't actually affect the debt ceiling, which applies to spending Congress has already voted for. But that doesn't mean Rs won't use the "budget crisis" as an excuse to slash social services, because JUST LOOK AT ALL THAT DEBT.

Yep, lots of stuff on the ol' national plate. Remember how the Republicans said the tax cuts would pay for themselves? Good times, man.

We live in interesting times, Crom help us. Maybe Trump will tweet something really weird.

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[Congressional Budget Office / WaPo Image from the Calvin and Hobbes Wiki scan of Homicidal Jungle Cat]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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