Raising the Debt Ceiling is Irrelevant if We Don’t Stop Spending More than We Earn

We’ve talked with several people over the past week and all agree on a few things:

  • Everyone should be voted out of office
  • Legislators are only interested in the debt situation to the extent that they can act without getting blamed for anything
  • No matter what they do, it won’t work
  • Raising the debt ceiling isn’t the same as asking for a higher credit limit on your credit cards because people don’t raise their credit limit in order to borrow money to pay off their credit card debt, which is what the government is doing
  • (And a true universal regardless of any other considerations) Raising the debt ceiling is irrelevant if we don’t stop spending more than we earn

It’s worth noting that the last item above often is closely followed by “And xxxx them if they think they’re going to raise my taxes to do it!” One fellow, enjoying an ice cream cone at one of our favorite icecreameries located in Amherst, NH, was very eloquent in describing why things will get worse for different groups, specifically armed forces, welfare, medicare and medicaid recipients, retirees, students, … The list was quite extensive and none of them will be paid, receive their benefits, get their medicine, meet their tuition bills, … Mail won’t be delivered, border crossings will be unguarded and you get the gest.

I have no idea how accurate any of it was, only that the opinions were quite strong and all in one direction regardless of political affiliation — Get Them Out!

Many readers know we maintain a joke list and that it’s a very eclectic crew who contribute. That recognized, when we start receiving things like this as jokes:

What we should really be concerned about regarding the debt

you know people are paying attention.

Our opinion (and based on nothing except history) was that some kind of compromise would be in place before midnightET, 2 Aug 11 (just checked and it seems to be there) and for one reason and one reason only — nobody currently in office wants to face an election with anything but a “victory” hanging over their heads.

What’s a “victory” in this case? Grandma got her meds, Private Lee got his paycheck, Uncle Harry got his social security check, Aunt Betty got her … You get the idea.

But it gets better. Some kind of compromise will be in place and it won’t actually solve anything, merely prolong everything. It’s more than the astronomically partisan Washington culture, it’s that nobody wants to lead (it seems to us). Any attempt at leadership is the equivalent of placing a bullseye on your back and the current Washington metaphysic is to knock things down rather than build things up. Great if you’re in the salvage business and not if you’re running a government (do I repeat myself?).

So why was the deal reached?

Because the last thing anybody wants is a angry population pointing their finger at everybody in office.

What amazes me most is that with all the money the government spends, you’d think they’d put some aside for good marketing/PR.

Ah, but to do that right, you’d need everybody singing the same song and that requires at least harmony if not sharing lead vocals once in a while.

Right now there are two if not three governments; Democratic, Republican and Tea Party. Statements coming out of Washington over the past few weeks seem to follow closely the adage about psycho-social distance as demonstrated by personal pronouns; I’m steadfast, you’re stubborn, he/she/they are too stupid to know any better.

In any case, here we analyze some speeches and collected statements from Boehner (25 July 2011 and 1 Aug 2011), Obama (25 July 2011 and 1 Aug 2011) and Reid (1 Aug 2011) with various tools to determine who’s thinking what and who wants you to believe what. (Readers, feel free to send us pointers to other speeches and excerpts from various government folks. We’re genuinely curious what these folks are thinking about things right now. Aren’t you?)

Do They Believe What They’re Saying?

First, we used NextStage’s Political Analyzer (and check out the new center image graphics supplied by Skolenimation‘s John Scullin. They gave us a hoot) to get a Confidence-BlueSky read on what these notables have been saying.

Basically, nobody has much confidence in what they’re doing, what they’re saying, that anything will get done or that things will be better. John Boehner was being very careful (low BS level) in what he was saying and as of yesterday (1 Aug 2011) both Boehner and President Obama don’t think any amount of fact-checking is going to be useful. Most amusing is Harry Reid’s amazingly low Confidence value, literally -100%. We rarely see anything that extreme.

Who’s Willing to Be a Good Corporate Citizen?

NextStage's Resume Rater tool helps companies and individuals know who they should hireHere we used NextStage’s Resume Rater to determine who’s willing to work with others to get this done (along with other work related qualities).

Is anyone surprised that the only area where government leadership is above average is “Requires Supervision”? By the way and just to be clear on the point, the supervision required needs to come from voters, nobody else.

What Kind of People Are They?

NextStage Compatibility GaugeAlso from NextStage’s Resume Rater comes a determination of the individual’s psychological makeup, their drivers and motivators. This information can also be learned from NextStage’s PersonaScope Tool (although in much greater detail). What we learn is:

  • Reid 110801 – K11
    • Makes final decisions based on negative outcomes in the recent past
    • Is convinced by arguments which invoke a memory of a past failure or unpleasurable experience
    • Makes decisions based on first hand experiences
    • Prefers to get involved and be hands-on, especially in group situations, although he will rarely take on a leadership role
  • Obama 110725 – V9
    • Is moved by what he sees
    • Is drawn to the negative of things
    • Tends to be process oriented
    • Tend to be confused by “what if this happens?” type of questions
  • Obama 110801 – V13
    • Is moved by what he sees
    • Readily acts upon information which directs his attention to present problems and challenges
    • Largely ignores appeals to past or future events when forming opinions
    • Is happiest when he has something to do
  • Boehner 110725 – V13 (see above)
  • Boehner 110801 – V9 (see above)

I can’t help but be amused by this. Obama started communicating like Boehner and Boehner started communicating like Obama. No wonder a deal was struck.

Who’s Doing Politics As Usual?

We switch back to NextStage’s Political Analyzer to determine who’s simply doing politics as usual. This is determined by seeing which of the nine political messages are greatly varied from the norm as documented elsewhere in this blog.

There are several items noteworthy here.

Both Obama and Boehner are thinking more about their electability in future races as today’s deadline approached than they were a week ago, and while both have Visions only Obama’s Vision for the Country is strengthened by the compromise, Boehner’s is weakened.

Very interesting are the jumps in both Obama’s and Boehner’s Listening versus “Listening to You” values. Obama is paying less attention to the voters than he was a week ago while Boehner is paying more attention to what other members of Congress and the Senate are saying than what the people are saying, perhaps due to his need to create some kind of compromise the Republicans and the Tea Party subgroup will get behind.

The great variation here is in John Boehner’s “I Am a Man of the People” value, at 100%. It is rare that that message dominates. Granted, the “I Can Leader Us to a Better Place” is 96%, simply not 100% which is what one would expect.

The answer is found in the “I Am Leadership Material” change over one week’s time. For “Man of the People” to be that strong while Leadership Material drops ten points and all other messages remain the we can guess that Boehner believes he acted in the best interests of his congressional peers (if not the voters) and by doing so, he (self-image wise) gave up some of his leadership ethos.