Senator DeMint: Looming Economic Disruptions Okay for Long-Term Debt Fix

Thursday, July 07, 2011

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint repeated his threat again that he’s willing to confront “economic disruptions” as a consequence of raising the debt ceiling, but that doesn’t mean default is certain.

DeMint repeated his charge that Treasury Secretary Geithner has irresponsible for implying that the U.S. would default, because current revenue levels would cover debt payments, Social Security and payments to troops.

But he acknowledged the money would run out in other areas.

“We talk about it’s disruptive and it would be. We’ve made a lot of commitments to contractors, government employees, and if we start delaying those payments, it is disruptive.” DeMint said on The Brian Lehrer Show. “We don’t have a good decision here because if we just raise the debt limit again without serious permanent structural reform, I think the disruption economically into the value of our dollar could actually be worse.”

Geithner and DeMint have been trading letters and insults. In a letter late last month, Geithner criticized DeMint’s his premise that covering debt payments alone would forestall a major market disruption. “This idea is starkly at odds with the judgment of every previous Administration, regardless of party, that has faced debt limit impasses.”

He continued, “The fantasy that ‘market participants’ would stand by and watch such the U.S. government commit fiscal suicide without running for the hills screaming in holy terror represents new heights in GOP ludicrousness.”

For DeMint, though, it’s clear that he sees this as a moment to stand up for the diffuse, diverse Tea Party activists who he has stoked with his organization and his campaign fundraising.

“What a lot of people are wondering, including myself, is is the energy still there,” DeMint said. “Will it build or will it die out?”

Standing firm and organizing around this debt ceiling issue, he said, is the way to find out.


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Comments [23]

Nick from Tarrytown

I understand that Sen. DeMint was a guest, but I am frankly stunned that he was allowed to go on and on so long without a single challenge to his rhetoric. On the Tea Party... how can he claim that Liberals are so involved with the movement when he himself admits to his own goal to put more Conservatives into the Senate. Where is his reach out to Liberals? On the Debt Limit... The Debt Limit was RAISED 7 times during the Bush Administration (he practically cited this number himself during the interview). Each raise passed without fanfare or controversy. What was his personal voting history on this? What has changed (other than the obvious answer being that there is a Democrat in the White House now)?

Jul. 07 2011 11:03 AM
John A. from The United States of America

When I hear Tea party "principles" and politicians that wish to serve them, I think of the rise of the self throughout recent history (1980-present) and politics becoming service of this self. Call it buying votes if you want. I think of G.H.W. Bush's mini-rants on not raising taxes and further, not eating his broccoli while he's at it. I'm not seeing the proper maturity and "greater good" in any of this. Tea _Party_ yes. Children wanting what they want and not paying the bills.
The sound I Wish to hear is government giving the people what they Need and not what they want. Lead past and do not follow this selfish revolution, more fundamental than the one 'Tea Party' label might indicate.

Jul. 07 2011 10:57 AM

Here we have DeMint making a populist appeal by expressing outrage at the bailing out of the top 1%, but he's doing that while sticking with supply-side support of just that 1% by refusing the raising of taxes. If the specter of higher taxes disturbs the bottom 99%, that's only because we've been reduced to treading water relative to the standard of living and are thus able to be the consumers our economy needs us to be only on credit, so far behind inflation have our wages fallen in the last 30 years. That's the result of just the policies DeMint is insisting on. The money is there; the top 1% have been making money hand over fist. It's just not circulating: it's not in the pockets of those whose wages have been reduced by pro-business, anti-worker policies. Where's the wherewithal to be an entrepreneur in these conditions? Where's the freedom of mobility and choice? Taxes are a red herring: if our spending power had grown with the economy our state and federal governments would not be facing the current revenue crisis. Talk of jobs puts the cart before the horse: there's no demand for new jobs because we don't have money to spend on the services they'd be providing. Someone please talk about wages or you're dodging or elephant in the room.

Jul. 07 2011 10:55 AM

Mr. DeMint, if you're so concerned about our debt, why are you prepared to add hundreds of billions of dollars in interest costs to federal obligations, which a raise in treasury interest rates would do which is almost guaranteed if we run up against the debt limit.

Jul. 07 2011 10:53 AM
Amy from Manhattan

We have to keep our commitments to "seniors & the defense of our country"? No mention of poor/working class people?

Jul. 07 2011 10:53 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Someone asked, where are the Jobs the very wealthy were supposed to create in response to Bush's tax cuts!? SImple. They're in China and India and other places the wealthy chose to invest in because of higher returns there.

It was nearly impossible for the very rich to invest in Red China, the old Soviet Union, or socialist Indian, but once Reagan turned them all into capitalists, the rush was on!

Yes, the more we cut taxes on the rich, the more they will be able to create jobs for Chinese, Indians and illegal immigrants. For sure. And bring down real wages for everyone else to boot.

Jul. 07 2011 10:53 AM
RLewis from the bowery

not a single question from us here. just softballs from Jamie. I guess you thought this approach would secure your future funding. sad.

Jul. 07 2011 10:51 AM

For years, decade, republicans (DeMint included) have not cared about the debt. What changed?

Jul. 07 2011 10:48 AM

It will be fun once the cutting starts, since the red states get the most federal aid it will hurt them the most

Jul. 07 2011 10:47 AM

Can you please silence this economic nonsense? Mr. DeMint might be able to convince a few million macroeconomic illiterates of his vision. That doesn't make it sound analysis.

Also, failing to pay our contractors is just as much a default as failing to pay our bondholders.

Jul. 07 2011 10:47 AM
Mr. Bad from IL

DeMint is 100% right, we need to balance the budget on the back of the wealthy, the well-to-do and the filthy stinking rich ! START TODAY! A new "super rich" tax tier with a rate of 60% sounds about right? How about it Demint? Put your daddy's $ where your mouth is!

This Libertarian nonsense is just another scam to dupe middle class dunderheads into voting themselves into poverty! They want to destroy the social safety net, medicare and SS! How can anyone be so stupid to buy into the libertarian garbage?

Jul. 07 2011 10:47 AM
RJ from prospect hts

I find "Tea Party Movement" an interesting phrase. Given the various descriptions Sen. De Mint is using--very grassroots, made up of liberals, conservatives, libertarians, some influx of big money--how is "Movement" defined? We had an anti-Vietnam War movement with a primary goal. We have a labor movement, a civil rights, feminist, a gay rights movement with primary goals. But clearly libertarians and liberals, for example, have different goals.

So is the term "Movement" being used too loosely? Have we diluted the term so profoundly that we have no true concept of, or way of describing, what it means for communities to work together?

Jul. 07 2011 10:46 AM
Abby from Brooklyn

When was the Tea Party ever a "pure, grassroots" movement? From the start, these protests have come from places like Dick Armey's astroturfing. I was surprised by the guest host's question which perpetuates a common misconception about this being a movement from below rather one funded by traditional conservative elements.

Jul. 07 2011 10:46 AM
Amy from Manhattan

The Koch brothers are funding a "grassroots group"? If it's funded by billionaires, it's not grassroots! Does DeMint know the meaning of the word?

Jul. 07 2011 10:45 AM
Matt from Brooklyn

Senator DeMint,

Please tell us where was the concern about fiscal responsibility when we were spending hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush Administration. I didn't hear a peep from conservatives then. It's hard to take this argument seriously now, just sounds like politics.

Jul. 07 2011 10:43 AM
moo from manhattan

also, maybe part of the reason we can't pay our debts back is because we aren't taking in the right amount in taxes. why don't republicans understand this?

Jul. 07 2011 10:40 AM
moo from manhattan

I think just as many americans are concerned about the overreach of corporations.

why is it that as the wage gap has increased, and the wealthy have gotten much more wealthy, more jobs have not been created? people who get rich on wall street generally don't create jobs other than hiring household help.

Jul. 07 2011 10:38 AM
Joe from NYC

I find it interesting that Senator DeMint, who last October introduced a bill to defund NPR, would now come to NPR to plug his book. If he had his way WNYC and other public radio stations would disappear. Hypocrite.

Jul. 07 2011 10:34 AM
jb from NYC

Ask him This:

If tax breaks for the exceptionally rich are our hope for job creation, then where are the jobs??

The tax breaks and incentives are the same now (and more!!) as they were before the recession.

Since the "job creation" isnt happening, then the position is false.

Tax the Rich appropriately. According to "who has the most to lose??"

thank you.

Jul. 07 2011 10:34 AM
RLewis from the bowery

It's no secret that not all Americans believe the same things, but somehow we have to come together to get things done. Please ask the senator what obligation does the Tea Party have to compromise on solutions with the rest of us?

Jul. 07 2011 10:31 AM
Tom from Upper West Side

How does Sen. DeMint square his belief that the Bible teaches we cannot serve both God and government?

Jul. 07 2011 10:29 AM
eligit from astoria

Tea party alchemy: how to transform the simple concept of not thinking into a significant political movement. Add vehement anti compassion, a touch of semi covert racism, some superficial know-nothing patriotic slogans, and you are off and running.
In a sad way my hat is off to them.

Jul. 07 2011 10:29 AM
Robert Atwood from home

A question for Senator DeMint. When I see the things Republicans think are not government responsibility and should be cut, it adds up to a social policy of "let the poor die off." That WILL be the result of those cuts being executed. My question, how does the Senator square his "pro-Life" beliefs with an approach to social policy that is essentially "let the poor die off."

Jul. 07 2011 07:15 AM

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