Paul Ryan’s legacy? Among other things, $22 trillion in debt

When they start up the talk of the coming debt calamity a few weeks from now, remember how we got here. Remember the role the leaders of “fiscal conservatism” played in all this.

When Paul Ryan became speaker of the House in 2015, the federal budget deficit was $438 billion. He blamed the “failed policies of President Obama” for budget deficits that had exploded to $1.4 trillion in 2009, the year after the Great Recession, though shortfalls began shrinking in the following years and were continuing to fall as Ryan took the gavel.

Today, with Ryan preparing to retire from Congress, the annual federal budget deficit is again approaching $1 trillion. Over his two decades in Congress, the total national debt increased from less than $6 trillion to nearly $22 trillion. Yet the years of his speakership saw no new foreign conflict or recession that forced the government to live beyond its means. The problem was a Republican-led Congress that pushed a small-government agenda only in part. When President Trump took office, he embraced tax cuts but rejected structural spending overhauls. But even he complained about the spending bill Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought him last year, which met Democrats’ demands for more domestic spending to keep up with the $716 billion Republicans pledged for defense in 2019 without imposing discipline in other areas to compensate.
— Read on

The Dam is Finally About to Burst

Marcy is going with the “walls collapsing” metaphor. I like the “bursting dam” metaphor myself. But either way, the point is the same. We are rapidly approaching the endgame, and everyone knows it. The people who have leverage over Trump recognize that the expiration date on what they’ve got is fast approaching, and so they’re starting to lean in on Trump and hard. That’s leading Trump to act even more erratically than usual, and more importantly, to cross some very serious red lines for the hawks that make up the backbone of the Republican establishment.

Trump is, on a dime and without warning our closest allies, rolling up the American Empire. And he’s doing it not because he’s a peacenik, but because ruthless, committed authoritarians have convinced him he needs their continued approval more than he needs the approval of even the Republican hawks in the Senate.

Source: The Moving Parts: The Walls Come Down around Trump | emptywheel

Mattis’ resignation today was the first visible crack in the dam. More resignations are undoubtedly going to follow over the next week, and each will mark another very visible sign that the dam is about to break. We have at most six weeks until Mueller delivers his report. I’d be willing to bet the dam holds until then. But after? No way,

A Real Master at Dealmaking

You wanna see a real master at work? Pelosi went to the White House, embarrassed the president, then locked up all the votes she needed to secure the Speakership by giving the holdouts something she was already planning on doing anyway. It’s a classic non-zero-sum win-win, and it’s the way all the best deals in DC are made. Non. Zero. Sum.

Disjunction Junction

Disjunctive presidents wake up after the midterms to discover they desperately need the establishment for their survival, only to discover that they’ve spent so much time pissing the establishment off with their style of rhetoric and governance that the establishment no longer wants or needs to protect them.

About that: