AFD 61 – Non-Functioning Democracy

Latest Episode:
“AFD 61 – Non-Functioning Democracy”
Posted: Tues, 29 October 2013

What is a democracy? Bill and Sasha talk Texas voting laws, then Bill critiques the DC fiscal paralysis and comments on guns in America.

Additional links:

AFD 60 – Furlough

Latest Episode:
“AFD 60 – Furlough”
Posted: Tues, 15 October 2013

Guest commentator Melanie joins Bill to talk about the impact of having most Federal workers on unpaid leave from their jobs during the shutdown. Then Bill looks at food inspection problems in the U.S. Guest commentator Sarah discusses a court decision in Nebraska. Bill examines political mirroring between France and a former African colony.

Additional links:

AFD 59: Health Reform History, UN News

Latest Episode:
“AFD 59 – Health Reform History, UN News”
Posted: Tues, 08 October 2013

Guest Luke Vargas reports from the United Nations. Then Bill examines the history of health reform in the U.S. and explains the Affordable Care Act and current shutdown.

Shutdown Myth 2: The Debt Ceiling Can Stop Spending

Reality: The debt ceiling is a limitation set by Congress (originally in World War I) on the executive branch’s ability to borrow money to pay for expenses Congress has already authorized. Failure to raise the debt limit does not prevent these authorized expenditures happening because the executive branch is constitutionally required to spend the money Congress has ordered to be spent. Instead the executive branch is forced to attempt to borrow more money while halting re-payments on existing debt. This wouldn’t work very well and the world financial markets would go into a panic, since it’s tantamount to the government of the largest economy filing for bankruptcy, i.e. inability to pay creditors (while still trying to buy things!). Again, no new money is being spent when the ceiling is raised so this doesn’t somehow rein in the spending. It’s merely a cap on the ability to borrow to pay for expenditures Congress already directed the executive branch to make. It’s an idiotic device to have in place outside of the wartime blank-check appropriation context for which it was created. But as long as it exists, Congress needs to vote to raise it. It shouldn’t be subject to negotiation, because there’s nothing to negotiate.

Shutdown Myth 1: It’s about Obamacare costs

Reality: The Affordable Care Act has 10 years worth of self-contained funding and existing appropriations in it. It has no direct impact on the government shutdown, nor does the government shutdown affect it. Republicans have only linked the two by holding the shutdown as a hostage to try to force renegotiation on the ACA. It’s frustrating reading uninformed comments of people insisting that the problem here is the President and Senate Dems being unwilling to compromise on an unrelated program that is already paid for. The actual problem centers on agreeing on new spending for other things, so there’s no functional need to bring up the ACA at all. It’s purely a political connection, not a fiscal one.

AFD 58 – Yet Another Shutdown Showdown

Latest Episode:
“AFD 58 – Yet Another Shutdown Showdown”
Posted: Tues, 23 September 2013

Bill and guest host Sarah discuss health insurance exchanges, government shutdown, default, John Boehner, and Ted Cruz. Then we look at New Mexico’s legal battles over marriage equality. Finally, Bill argues in favor of diplomacy with Iran.