The Dance Of The Debt Limit Deadline, Continued

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

Related Post Roulette

121 Responses

  1. Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    This whole episode has to be viewed as a political attack by McConnell on the Democrats’ reconciliation package. Chaos helps derail the Democrats’ agenda.

    Anyone paying attention will have concluded this about McConnell years ago. He has one aim, which is to derail Democrats at every turn so that he and Republicans can point to themselves as the Party of Stability and Competence (Trump not withstanding), and thus convince Americans that permanent one party rule is a good thing (albeit minority rule)

    It also helps that McConnell truly can’t be shamed. He doesn’t care what people say about him. Furthermore, McConnell world seems completely certain that Republicans won’t be blamed for an economic meltdown since Democrats control the White House and Congress.

    File this under “yes, and . . .” Again, anyone watching McConnell since the start of the Obama Administration could see this on clear display.

    McConnell’s demand for reconciliation versus an up-or-down vote under regular order is a meaningless parliamentary distinction that 99.99% of Americans won’t care about if this crisis leads to a recession.

    While true, I doubt that this is going to mean much the next two weeks. Just like Republicans have successfully sold their tax cuts using the baseless Trickle Down lie for four decades, the nature of this trick is just not something most Americans pay attention to. And also like the trickle down debacle, most Americans will be deflected from Republican agency and complicity in the aftermath by a feckless, corporate controlled media who are unwilling to call this spade what it is.

    The undertone of the letter was that McConnell is being misjudged: he’s dead serious about forcing Democrats to do this on their own.

    And this is domestic political terrorism at its finest. I suspect that Schumer, Pelosi and Biden know all this, but as institutionalists they can’t quite accept it emotionally. Were I advising them, I’d tell them to fold it into the reconciliation bill, tell Manchin and Sinema to suck it up and vote for it since they don’t want to be the authors of economic disaster, and schedule floor votes on Manchin’s voting rights bill immediately after so as to placate him. Sadly I am fairly certain their staff don’t read my comments here.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Philip H
      Ignored
      says:

      Is your sense of entitlement to other people’s money really so strong that you’re willing to risk blowing up the economy to take it?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg
        Ignored
        says:

        The Ultimatum Game gets played sub-optimally by most players.

        I have no idea why proposers keep being surprised by this.Report

      • CJColucci in reply to Brandon Berg
        Ignored
        says:

        The debt limit has exactly nothing to do with an entitlement to other people’s money. We collected taxes, appropriated funds, and spent the damn money. The only question is whether we will pay the bill. And the mechanism for paying it is to ask folks if they are willing to lend Uncle Sam money, which they plainly are, except that the government’s borrowing authority has run out, prevent willing lenders from lending to the world’s most creditworthy borrower.Report

        • Philip H in reply to CJColucci
          Ignored
          says:

          exactly. This is debt incurred prior to today, which includes Trump’s tax cuts.Report

          • DensityDuck in reply to Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            How far back does it go? Can we blame it on Obama too? Can we blame it on Clinton?Report

            • CJColucci in reply to DensityDuck
              Ignored
              says:

              Blame for what? The existence of the debt? The existence of the debt is the result of taxing and spending policies as far back as you care to look. We bought the merchandise. Now we have to pay for it. The debt ceiling shenanigans have no effect on debt already incurred, just the mechanics of paying the bill when it comes due. And once the shenanigans are over, our debt will, again, be the result of taxing and spending decisions we make without regard to the debt ceiling. Until it becomes time to play games again.Report

            • Brent F in reply to DensityDuck
              Ignored
              says:

              You can probably blame it on Alexander Hamilton if that’s your bag.

              The United States government has a largely normal amount of debt for an advanced economy of its size. Having stupid fights about authorizing payment of said debt appears to be a uniquely American way of playing catch with hand grenades, which reflects some unfortunate pathologies in your political culture.Report

      • Philip H in reply to Brandon Berg
        Ignored
        says:

        As opposed to Mitch McConnell’s sense of entitlement to have Republicans rule America permanently?

        Because Republicans paid for Trump’s tax cuts with other people’s money in as much as the amount going back to corporations and billionaires exceeds their contributions in taxes.Report

  2. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    This is what I’ve been commenting on for a long while, that the Republican Party is a revolutionary faction that is willing to burn America to the ground rather than accede power to the other side.

    They have no goals here, no position which can be compromised with or negotiated. The only goal is to destroy the existing order, and hoping to reap power from the resulting chaos.Report

  3. Pinky
    Ignored
    says:

    I wonder what the Punchbowl authors think about the issue. There’s no way to tell.Report

  4. Marchmaine
    Ignored
    says:

    The Debt Ceiling is as stupid as all reality shows… the drama is self-created and ultimately meaningless.

    As a reminder, we’re just iterating on the Public Debt Act of 1939… there’s no constitutional crisis; we have whatever debt management system we want to have. And by ‘we’ I mean the producers and screenwriters that pretend to be legislators.

    Congress likes this drama for ratings purposes. It could (tactical) nuke the filibuster for this and re-write how Public Debt is financed and incorporate explicit references to the 14th Amendment (if it wished).

    One group of screenwriters thinks there’s an ‘albatross’ to hang around one of the contestants necks… there’s no albatross; and I’m surprised at how dumb the contestants are to think there is.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine
      Ignored
      says:

      “Congress”.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        Yes?

        Do you really believe your nonsense that McConnel is the issue here? Possibly McConnel is doing the Dems a favor by obscuring the fact that they don’t have 50 D votes even if they nuked the filibuster.

        So… Dems in Disarray?Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine
          Ignored
          says:

          Murc’s Law is a helluva thing.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            Shrug… Dems in Disarray it is then.

            McConnell isn’t even hard to read on this – from 2011:

            Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, on the GOP: “I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting. Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this – it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done.”

            Ransom if you want to trade for bi-partisan support, or Nuke if you don’t trust your negotiating partner.

            Sometimes the Agency just lies with the people who have the Agency to do what they need to to.Report

        • North in reply to Marchmaine
          Ignored
          says:

          Err, they had 50 Dem votes plus the VP’s vote. Then the GOP filibustered. Now it’s a question as to if they have 50 Dem votes plus the VP’s vote to change the rules so a debt limit increase can’t be filibustered or some other change. Somewhat different question. Manchin would no doubt prefer it to be bipartisan (as would they all) and Sinema wants to grandstand and pretend to be a maverick some more.Report

          • Philip H in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            I really hope Biden reads them both the riot act, followed by Schumer doing something meaningful to tank their agendas. They are just being a-holes at this point – though Sinema being primaried from the left might get her attention.Report

            • North in reply to Philip H
              Ignored
              says:

              Manchin is untouchable. The only thing that can be done politically is to collegially figure out the leftmost margin of what he’ll accept and then bank that. Manchini’s too old and in too rightward a state for any other options. Push too hard and you’ll be saying hello to Senate Majority leader Turtle. Assuaging the lefts blood pressure is not worth all the appointments and judges it’d cost to do so.

              Sinema is out of her fishing mind. A primary should be in the works and leadership should make it abundantly clear that her options are to pull her head out of her posterior and start being coherent or to get ready for a future as a one term has-been on some right wing media rag along side Tulsi Gabbard and Glen Greenwald. If she keeps this stuff up she won’t even be able to get a perch as a lobbyist- lobbyists have to be able to at least get Senators and Congressfolk to listen to them. Who the heck would listen to SInema?Report

              • Philip H in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Well he’s made clear its $1.5 Trillion. Said so for several months. That and getting his allegedly bipartisan watered down voting rights bill approved. He won’t get the second one because no matter what he was told in private no Republican will vote for any bill that hamstrings Republican states in their quest to actively and legally suppress the vote. Plus Republicans will probably filibuster it just cause. And thats with Biden having a plan to pay for the $3.5 Trillion version, which Manchin also insisted on.

                But none of that means he’s untouchable. He needs the DNC to get reelected as he’s nowhere near right side enough for the RNC to support him. He needs to save face, and he needs to bring federal pork home to WVa. There are ways for Democrats to effect both things and thus move him.

                As to Sinema – “Arizona Democrats this week launched the Primary Sinema PAC, with the expressed goal of “[laying] the foundation for a successful primary campaign when a strong challenger emerges.” That group was started with the backing of Way to Win, a network of donors that injected $110 million in the 2020 election.”

                https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/574969-arizona-democrats-frustration-with-sinema-comes-to-a-headReport

              • North in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s not whistle past the graveyard with Manchin. He doesn’t need (and nothing says he can get) reelection to that Senate seat and everything he does to cause headaches for the Dems probably helps him back home (hey Sinema; pro-tip: McCain, when he went maverick, went maverick over things that were popular with his voters). Manchin could run for Governor again. He could retire. If we make life too difficult for him then he could do either and absolutely fish the party. If he isn’t untouchable then he’s damn near. It is hard to push a politician in his position and at his age around. If he can’t be jawboned up to 2 then they should Take his 1.5 trillion and call it a day. Even with 1.5 that would still be a historic accomplishment when paired with the infrastructure bill. With Manchin we can’t forget that half a loaf is better than nothing.

                With Sinema, I just don’t fishing know. Green party lunatic egotist is my running theory. I hope the state Party lays a mountain of bleeding horseheads on her doorstep and she has the brains to notice. Otherwise I honestly don’t know how they get her in line.Report

              • Philip H in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Where you and i disagree is that $1.5 Billion is half a loaf. At that level a great deal of what’s in the proposal from the WH (which fully run out was $7T) isn’t feasible. It’s not even worth considering, and so it looses its transformational possibilities – plus the companion infrastructure bill is of the same size and that is just making up for a lack of investment. All this rest against a pentagon spend plan over the same period of over $7T. if you want transformation you have to be in that territory.

                Manchin is a politician. Play politics with him, not tiddlywinks.Report

              • InMD in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                If the alternative is going into 2022 empty handed you take what you can get.Report

              • Philip H in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                We already passed a Covid relief bill that’s made a difference. We have the companion Infrastructure bill which will make a difference. By next year we may well have a voting right bill that will make a difference. We aren’t and won’t be empty handed.Report

              • North in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                So why not bank an extra 1.5 trillion on our priorities too? Especially if it includes improving the tax code.Report

              • Philip H in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Democrats got the keys for two years to do things. Proposing 7 trillion and ending up at 1.5 – especially since it will have to spread thin to placate as many people as possible – doesn’t do things. At that low level the tax code rewrite probably vanish too, since the administration can claim completely straight faced that all they need to do to pay for it is enforce the existing tax code.

                And then what? What’s Manchin’s price going to be when he shockingly discovers there aren’t 10 Republicans to support his watered down voting bill? What’s he going to do next year or the year after or the year after when addressing the climate crisis is even more expensive? Where does the appeasement end? And how do Democrats fight to keep the House and Senate next year in the face of that sort of loss? All it does is reinforce the stereo type that they don’t care and won’t fight for ordinary folks. Caving to Manchin and Sinema on this is an express on ramp back to Trump.

                No thanks.Report

              • North in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Seeking genuine transformational numbers on a micron wide majority has always struck me as goofy.

                It’s been an illustrative experience. A good number of moderates have beclowned themselves and damaged the moderate wings standing (especially in congress, oi). They should be targeted and pressured. Manchin isn’t one of them.

                That being said, rejecting incremental because it’s not transformational is just nuts. Take what you can get and then campaign on it and push for more. Why the fish would you want to accept nothing and campaign on unicorns instead?Report

              • Philip H in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Democrats are no good at campaigning on incrementals. If we were the ACA wouldn’t have been an electoral millstone.Report

              • North in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Perhaps not. But we got the ACA and it’s no longer a millstone for us. It’s the status quos and it ain’t going anywhere.Report

              • North in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh dear, now I have to revisit my priors.Report

  5. North
    Ignored
    says:

    This is one area I’d definitely like to grumble about Obama. Arguably one of the worst decisions he ever made as President was letting the right get something out of him from holding a debt limit increase hostage. He was a good President over all but that professorial above politics idealism burned him something awful in his first term.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      We can blame Obama.
      We can blame Manchin.
      We can blame Schumer, Pelosi, Biden and The Squad.

      But we must not ever, under any circumstances, blame the hostage-takers, or expect them to behave as responsible stewards of the public trust.

      This, must never be allowed.Report

      • North in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        For fish’s sake Chip, I’m on record on the GOP. I am no above it all BSDI chin stroker. I’m a yellow dog Democratic Partisan and say so openly. The GOP isn’t in this conversation- they’re in the corner, caked in feces, grinning and having a ball but with no clue what the heck they want beyond owning the libs.

        We can blame Obama because, in his idealism, he didn’t realize soon enough how bad what he was dealing with was. We can blame him because the buck stops with him. It’s not like that means Obama was a terrible president but calling a mistake a mistake is useful in the present. It informs us, contra Marchmaine, that we absolutely must not try and trade some policy concession to the GOP in exchange for a debt limit increase. It’s a valuable lessons.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          The fact that we are discussing a guy who hasn’t held office in 5 years, and not the chaos agents in the Republican Party is exactly the problem.

          Why not talk about them, exclusively?

          Talk about how they, and they alone have created this problem and how they are banking on the reflexive deference accorded them to where they are like the creature in It, always present but never acknowledged?

          There are 50 Republican Senators. If only 2 of those 50 behaved like responsible and trustworthy servants of the people, none of this would be happening.

          People like Mitt Romney and Susan Collins who are forever being lauded as Reasonable Republicans, are happy to destroy America.

          But no one dares point that out, that there is no difference between Romney and McConnell or between Collins and Boebert.

          They are all equally deranged and hostile to democracy.Report

          • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            What would it cost you to grant that there are people who disagree with you in good faith?Report

            • Philip H in reply to Pinky
              Ignored
              says:

              show us some and then we can talk. McConnell certainly isn’t acting on good faith.Report

            • InMD in reply to Pinky
              Ignored
              says:

              What principle is at stake here though? Blowing up the recovery just because a Democrat is in the White House? It’s not like the GOP has any leg to stand on with respect to fiscal stewardship.

              It’s telling that no Republican can or even tries to defend this on the merits.Report

              • Philip H in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                The principal at stake is and has always been cementing white, male conservative minority rule by any means necessary. That’s it. That’s their end game. Pinky knows this. But he can’t quite admit it to himself or to us because then all his trolling is too cute by about 2/3rds.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                No, Philip, I disagree with you. You can’t pretend that everyone who disagrees with you is being disingenuous. You’re not exactly in the mainstream, so you should be used to it. (I don’t mean that in a nasty way. I know you realize you’re not in the mainstream; you’re not even in the mainstream of this site’s dominant liberal streak. If you’re going to declare that anyone who disagrees with you is a troll, you’re accusing >95% of the population.)Report

              • Pinky in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                #1 – The US is in serious debt. Many on the right have been complaining about this during all the recent administrations. I know you’ve been on this site long enough to know that’s true. The ultimate principle in any budgetary conversation is that income must match outflow.

                #2 – Governmental debt crowds out private sector debt. It creates a distortion that has to be relieved by extreme surpluses, inflation, or national default. Economists can argue about the first statement, but any Keynesian would agree with the latter statement.

                #3 – As a logical matter, debt is tied to the budget. As a practical matter, at this particular moment, it makes sense to tie debt considerations to expensive funding packages. I don’t know what all is negotiable, but no one else does either, and they won’t until they start negotiating. It’s entirely in line with conservative principles to fight these spending bills.

                #4 – The federal government wouldn’t need to default if it reached its debt limit. It only has to pay the debt, which as noted elsewhere is a small portion of federal spending. The federal government receives revenue every day. For many people, a federal government able to spend only its revenue would approximate the ideal range of government activity more closely than the federal government spending money in the amounts and ways the Democrats would want.Report

              • InMD in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Why should anyone take any of those explanations seriously when last time the Republicans had a trifecta 2016-2018 the one thing they did was tax cuts that themselves are major drivers of the debt situation? It isn’t a principle if it’s only held when in opposition.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Not to mention simply suspending the debt limit law in toto during the Trump admin.

                McConnell isn’t guarding the debt, he’s just making the Dems play a difficult hand.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                the $3.5T proposal has two tax related offsets that cover the cost. Always has. One fully funds the IRS, and the other requires rolling back some of Trump’s tax cuts. both are anathema to Republican politicians.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                You know how the costs are covered, right? Create a new program for 2022-2028, increase fees in 2025-2031. We both know that the program isn’t going to disappear in 7 years, and the fees aren’t going to happen at all. But it makes the plan look revenue-neutral over 10 years.Report

        • Marchmaine in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          Point of order contra Marchmaine… I explicitly pointed out that you only have to negotiate with McConnell if you don’t have the votes for reconciliation or tactical filibuster nuke.

          *I* wouldn’t negotiate with McConnell… I’d negotiate with Manchin/Sinema to negotiate with McConnell… and once Manchin/Sinema were happy, it doesn’t matter what McConnell does.

          Now, if the left bolts after that?… well, you know, disarray etc, etc.Report

          • North in reply to Marchmaine
            Ignored
            says:

            Sure, but the left isn’t bolting on lifting the debt limit. There isn’t really any disarray. I dare say what we’re looking at is exactly the midpoint of the process you just described. The pressure is on Manchin and any other marginals as well as McConnell. At some point either McConnell folds and stops the filibustering (or provides the votes for cloture) or else the remaining hold outs (who Manchin represents publicly) fold and a carve out rule to the filibuster is inked. The danger, of course, is that the players miscalculate and we blow over the limit. I’m relatively sanguine on the matter because Treasury has a lot of strings they can fiddle with and at some point the plutocrats will get scared and will start calling their bought Senators to heel.Report

            • Marchmaine in reply to North
              Ignored
              says:

              Right… that’s my point… it’s all theater. That was my original post.

              I get trying to score some political points (I guess)… but my sub-point is that no-one cares… there are no points being scored. So not only is it theater, it’s bad theater no-one is watching and no-one is scoring.

              The one cogent thing I’ve seen is that the Dems are reluctant to suspend the filibuster recognizing that the Senate is probably being borrowed for the moment. And the filibuster is something Dems will want when they are in the minority. And, if they suspend (or more) the filibuster for this, it will play out like the escalation around judges.

              But the moral of the Judges story isn’t that ending the filibuster for the circuits led to the end of the filibuster for supremes; it’s just that McConnell will use whatever ‘agency’ he has when he has it. Which is what he’s doing now.

              He’d prefer the Dems suspend the filibuster so he can nuke it later and ‘blame’ the Dems… but honestly folks, you heard it here first, the filibuster is already gone.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                I get trying to score some political points (I guess)… but my sub-point is that no-one cares… there are no points being scored. So not only is it theater, it’s bad theater no-one is watching and no-one is scoring.

                Hardly. The base is very much watching, and making decisions on primary support based in no small measure on how much theatre is done by whom.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                The base that is going to primary Manchin and Sinema in 3 years after the upcoming election they aren’t in is over?

                The amount of leverage in that statement is so small that a Senator would rather be filmed taking a piss than worry about it.Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Sinema is likely in deep at this point and a primary challenge is pretty much assured (and well deserved) but I doubt anyone would even try to lay a finger on Manchin assuming he tries to run again.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s her numbers.

                As many as 30% of registered Dems disapprove of her.

                Which makes her primaryable, I guess.

                But that 56% favorable among Dems makes her less so.Report

              • North in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yup, and this is with her just being incoherent, racking up ill will with leadership and the party and causing headaches. If something goes down and she gets blamed it’ll be even worse. It’s not like she’s not replaceable, Arizona isn’t West Virginia (though, granted, it ain’t California either).Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Thanks for clarifying. The one area I disagree with you on is the desirability of axing the filibuster. The filibuster, as currently constituted, deeply favors the rights policy preferences (what few threadbare ones they have). It lets them block most policy while allowing them to deliver the tax cuts their paymasters want nearly unencumbered.

                From a Democratic standpoint I’d say axing the filibuster would be the best thing that could happen to the left. It’s primarily used by the Dems to protect moderates from having to take uncomfortable votes and by the right as an excuse to stop everything but tax cuts from getting through.Report

              • Nik Pawdry in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Sigh. I used to be like you, and cared about the fillibuster. That was before they decided to cross the Rubicon.

                Due Process only matters when jury tampering isn’t considered a Public Good.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Nik Pawdry
                Ignored
                says:

                Fabulous analogy:

                Due Process only matters when jury tampering isn’t considered a Public Good.

                Clearly Republican politicians consider it a public good.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Are we disagreeing on Filibuster?

                My pithy game theory position is you can either have:

                Single-track with a filibuster
                Two-track with no filibuster

                Pick one.

                The current game of two-track with filibuster is broken. That’s my position.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Single-track with a filibuster was broken badly enough that the Senate gave it up for what we have today. At that time, the Dixiecrats demonstrated they were willing to bring the Senate to a standstill for months if that was what it took to prevent passing any additional civil rights bills. We didn’t have reconciliation then, which might change the dynamics.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                It was broken on a different axis.

                But it exerted costs on all parties proportional to the issue being filibustered. That’s preferable to no cost filibusters.

                We may not like that the Dixiecrats filibustered the Civil Rights Act… but when sufficient support built-up the process forced them to hold the floor for 75 days stopping all business… and eventually there was enough pressure and horse-trading to invoke cloture.

                Counterfactually, in that example, the Two-track system might have made it easier to filibuster well into the 70s because the cost to do so would have been much less.

                Or… we can abandon the filibuster altogether… it is nothing more than a parliamentary practice.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Or… we can abandon the filibuster altogether… it is nothing more than a parliamentary practice.

                As someone who has, once upon a time, read Robert’s Rules of Order, it’s worth pointing out how the Senate behaves is an _explicitly bad_ parliamentary practice, literally called out in the rules of order. (I think I’ve mentioned this before, a long time ago, but you peeps get it again.)

                I don’t mean the 60-vote threshold, although that is called out in Robert’s too as something that should be rare and basically only exist in ‘constitutional’ issues, aka, an organization trying to change its own bylaws.

                But even in circumstances where there is a supermajority requirement, Robert’s says, very clearly, that any such requirement around that should never be created that applies to _discussion_ or _voting_, that in fact a meeting should always err towards allowing discussion and voting.

                If a supermajority for something is required, it should be required at the end…the discussion happens, the vote happens, and if it does not get a supermajority, it simply fails.

                The Senate, of course, and the House, both predate Robert’s Rules of Order by a few decades, so do not follow them, but my point isn’t they aren’t following the actual rules, but that Robert’s actually get somewhat philosophical about how meetings ‘should’ work, and the US’s government legislature is, weirdly, a very good example of _why_ certain things in Roberts are the way they are.

                Because allowing people to squash _discussion_ and _voting_ actually breaks the entire premise of a voting body, and you quickly have people rules-lawyering away any discussion they don’t want.

                It’s funny how people try to justify the fillibuster as ‘keep people from trampling on the rights of the party in the minority’, but the definitive text on this sort of thing says a much worse problem is letting a minority trample on the ability of the majority to actually do things they want. (And it’s right.)Report

              • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                I kinda wonder what would happen if the fillibuster existed, but it happened _after_ everything.

                Like, the vote happened, but then it took 60 people to write down that they ‘agree’ the numbers showed which side had won, or something stupid. (Which sounds dumb, but so is the current fillibuster.)

                And so to fillibuster something, you had to let people go through the entire process and then basically veto that vote _afterward_.

                Think about how that would change things. It make what was happening much more obviously unfair and invalid, wouldn’t it?

                But it wouldn’t actually be ‘more’ unfair, would it? It’d be basically the same.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Think about how that would change things. It make what was happening much more obviously unfair and invalid, wouldn’t it?

                No. The filibuster is functionally a supermajority requirement. It’s kind of like a legislative equivalent of stare decisis, in that it privileges the status quo, all else being equal. Yes, those things are different in many ways. You don’t need to list them—that’s just how analogies work.

                There’s nothing unfair or invalid about requiring more than a one-vote majority to change the law. The way we do it is kind of a kludge, but I would definitely support a Constitutional amendment formalizing a supermajority requirement for both houses. Both parties are crap, and I like the way their crapitude cancels out most of the time. Laws still get passed, but only when there’s a broad consensus rather than a narrow majority. That’s a valid and non-stupid way of doing things.Report

              • InMD in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s only been under the existing rules/norms surrounding them for ~12 years and the specific ones they’re working with for arguably only 6. In practice all its doing is stacking more and more power in the hands of the executive and putting more tough decisions in the hands of the courts.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                There’s nothing unfair or invalid about requiring more than a one-vote majority to change the law.

                There already is more than one-vote majority built into the constitution. Either a majority of the House, a majority of the Senate, and a majority of Presidents have to vote for a law, or a supermajority of the House and a supermajority of the Senate have to vote for a law.

                That’s at least two steps beyond a majority, a supersupermajority, for lack of a better term: It’s either it a majority and two other majorities, or a supermajority, and supermajority of something other.

                Republicans want to make that absurdly difficult process even harder.

                And, yes, it is invalid. Our system is supposed to operate by the consent of the governed, not by having the status quo fixed in stone.

                …although I will point out it’s not even _that_ here. Defaulting on our debt is not, in fact, the status quo.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                The obvious compromise is to adduce new legislative paths/categories such that more things are deemed procedural and hence not subject to filibuster while other things deemed ‘legislative’ are still filibuster eligible.

                Theoretically everything is a legislative act, but we’ve already separated out judges and non-cabinet level appointments… all parliamentary rules are polite fictions, so the fight would be where the fiction starts and ends… but there’s a way to potentially preserve the principle for legislation that isn’t more than performing duties.

                The Debt ceiling would still be an edge case… could argue that the creation of the law (or repealing) might be legislation but the act of updating/extending might be procedural. But as I say… a fight on the boundaries. If we want to keep the filibuster in principle for ‘sweeping’ legislation.Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                I think we agree on what the filibuster should be (one track or buried in a grave). I only disagree on if the right should want it there- I doubt they do.Report

              • North in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Hmmmm and now Mitch has offered a short term increase. Definitely not what he’d do if he wanted the filibuster gone.

                My personal guess: Mitch realized there was a serious risk that Manchin and Sinema would acquiesce to blowing a debt limit hole through the filibuster rather than default and he moved to reduce the pressure on them to head off that outcome.

                It’s only kicking the can down the road a couple months. But then again no one seriously thinks that in a couple of months it won’t be raised again.Report

              • Philip H in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Something, Something, debt limit is a hostage worth taking, something something …Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Seems a win for McConnell… basically he translates the issue two months into the future without the Dems resolving the fundamental problem at hand which seems to be there aren’t anywhere near 50 votes for the $3.5T bill.

                Seems McConnell’s wins look like this:
                * Get the bi-partisan $1.5T ‘infrastructure’ bill
                * Scuttle or curtail the $3.5T reconciliation legislation
                * Bonus force Dems to tactically nuke filibuster so he has a ‘pocket nuke’ for when he wants to use it later.

                I bet there’s a whole lot of other things McConnell might want or like to see (or frankly might trade for) that I have no idea about… but the above seems fairly straight forward.

                We all know there won’t be a default (or a meaningful default) … it’s pretty clear to me at this point that McConnell is just forcing the Dems to reckon with the dissention within their own caucus.

                That could backfire with dissention turning into sention and comity… but I think it’s a fair bet that comity arrives at a price tag significantly less than $3.5T and changes to priorities on what’s in/out.

                Now, two elections and 3-years from now when the Dems have everyone primaried and total alignment on priorities… well, then McConnel will be in trouble.Report

              • InMD in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                He’s using it tactically but also defending the filibuster. He’s really the architect of the way it currently works and it’s his most important weapon not only against Democrats but also for holding onto his leadership job. The second cloture can be ended with less than 60 votes is the second any Republicans feeling vulnerable have an incentive to defect on this or that.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure, he understands the power of filibuster (especially as he sits in a tie) … but as many folks here like to point out, the Senate has some, er, natural advantages for the Rs and the moment… so the prospect of narrowing the scope – esp if he can get the Dems to pull the trigger first, benefits him in the long run.

                I guess I’m just surprised that folks think that this current phase of politics is going to follow precedent set by Aaron Burr; in my reading the Dems are more loath to break the glass than McConnell is to see them do it. The error, IMO, is the Dems thinking that if the shoe were on McConnell’s flipper he’d hesitate to nuke the filibuster to get a $3.5T package that he thought was ‘transformative’ through the senate (if he could).

                I’m chuckling at the idea that people think that McConnell would bind himself that way… but I understand the concern that breaking the glass is still a ‘win’ for McConnell… so just complicated iteration of pick-your-poison.Report

              • InMD in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                He’d 100% do it if he felt like it was in the way of getting something he wanted. But this is where the dynamics of the GOP and Dems are IMO quite different. I don’t think the GOP leadership* really wants anything the Senate can provide except for judges, where the filibuster has been taken off the table, and tax cuts, which can be done through reconciliation. There was no real attempt at ‘big legislation’ during the Trump trifecta. The last big idea I can think of where the GOP really tried to legislate was Social Security privatization. So if you don’t really care about legislation in the normal sense of course you trade your ability to pass any for the ability to stop the other side from passing any.

                Where team D has some real inner tension is between its own identity and its actual desire to accomplish things with legislation. If the glass were to be broken then they really will be the party of Manchin and Sinema. And I think there may be a lot of insiders and important players in the coalition who loathe that more than they like getting actual things passed, especially where those things are a bunch of mushy compromises.

                *note, individual GOP Senators may in fact want things, they just aren’t in charge.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I take your point that the Republicans under Trump have demonstrated by (in-)action that they do not have a legislative agenda.

                I don’t mean to imply that McConnell setting them up for some sort of Grand Legislative sweep in the future. It’s more simple:

                The debt will be raised. Period.
                1. Dems will do it via reconciliation and it impacts what that bill looks like.
                *McConnell likes the trajectory on what the Debt forces Dems to do here.

                2. Dems suspend filibuster, raise debt.
                *McConnell pockets get-out-of-filibuster free card… gets what he wanted, which is raised debt ceiling, no default.
                *Dems still have to negotiate with their caucus the size/nature of $3.5T reconciliation… no help to them on this front.

                3. Dems offer something McConnell wants
                *What does he want? I can’t plumb the depths of his heart… but I assume he’d be happy if he forced Pelosi to hold the vote on the $1.5T infrastructure bill without the Reconciliation bill completed.

                So consider that… in #3 he gets the bill he’s already passed but is being held ‘hostage’ by the House… while simultaneously throwing the Dems into Disarray over the reconciliation package.

                Because, as we all know, once Manchin/Sinema get the $1.5T infrastructure bill… the rest they are negotiating on full bellies.

                Like all of us, I’m trying to keep up with the process (which I might have wrong) and guess at motives (which, at best, we only capture the surface motives) for what seems to be a pretty straight forward negotiation among multiple parties with multiple agendas and constituencies.

                I understand why one team wants to turn the negotiation into a moral obligation not to default… but we aren’t going to default. So multi-party negotiation it is. McConnell’s going to get ‘something’ just not sure what Dem leadership wants to or can reasonably give.Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s just that the only thing McConnell has ever been willing to stick his neck out on, and pretty much the only thing the GOP is united on, is deficit financed tax cuts and judges. Both of which can be done without sweating the filibuster.

                *edit* InMD and you beat me to that point.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Heh… Electoral Reform 2025.

                C’mon folks… what’s the case today isn’t deterministically the case tomorrow.Report

              • InMD in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                In fairness I said he’s defending the weapon that empowers him as leader that the Democrats themselves can take away if they have the guts, no electoral reform required, but they don’t.Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Well sure but the 3.5 trillion bill is incidental to the debt limit question. I suppose he’s raising more issues and trying to cloud the Dems ability to negotiate among themselves. I wouldn’t call this particular move a win so much as a tactical withdrawal. Mitch doesn’t want to put on so much pressure that the Dems put a hole through the filibuster for debt limit increases and I think this move confirms that.

                A win for Mitch would be getting some kind of policy concession in return for a debt limit increase (like what Obama foolishly agreed to back in the aughts). If the “Build Back” bill sinks entirely I’d count it as a win for him too.

                I’m also very amused that the infrastructure bill passing is now considered a win for the GOP. I like the direction that Overton window is shifting.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                I admit that I can easily lose the procedural plot when it comes to how the sausage is made, but it is my understanding that the $3.5T reconciliation bill is the ‘reconciliation’ that people are referring to when discussing by-passing the filibuster to raise the debt limit.

                Dem leadership would like to keep it separate, McConnell is disinclined to acquiesce.

                It complicates things for the Dem agenda… which means Manchin/Sinema have more leverage and after them, McConnell… it’s up to the Dem leadership *who* they’d like to grant the policy concession they will need to grant… I’d bet that going to go to Manchin/Sinema and as far as McConnell is concerned that’s pulling in his direction… even if not a direct concession to his agenda.

                Regarding the overton window… I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read people pointing out that Biden is executing Trump’s agenda better than Trump.

                Less snarky: the $1.5T is being spent in a way R’s can run on… the $3.5T less so.

                Now, if Trump were an actual Politician with any sort of Agenda other than aggrandizing Trump… there’d be a [Neo-]Republican plan on how to spend $3.5T. I don’t think McConnell himself is a [Neo-]Republican… but my main point is that politically the [Neo-]Republican overton window is way past old notions of Republican concerns.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Less snarky: the $1.5T is being spent in a way R’s can run on… the $3.5T less so.

                There was a time when that would have made for near universal support in the Senate . . . and when the $3.5T passes I expect there will be a LOT of Republicans running on parts of it. Our senior senator has been crowing about all the COVID relief money coming to Mississippi from the Biden bill – after having voted against it.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure, they will say… we support giving you $XX in benefits… in fact if you’d vote for us we’ll increase it to $XX+X in benefits becuase we won’t waste on reducing bovine flatulence that the Dems put in the deal.

                So vote for us and we’ll give you more of what you want a less of what you don’t want.

                Now *that’s* fiscal responsibility: spending smart money on my constituencies and not dumb money on their constituencies.Report

              • North in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Politicians are gonna politic. It bears remembering that the Infrastructure bill remains an utterly unexpected political gift. No one would have guessed it’d have rolled out of the Senate the way it did. If the Dems can hammer out their own reconciliation deal among themselves, no matter how much they have to cut it down to do so, it’ll be an astonishing accomplishment.Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s an area I am cloudy on as well. The read I’ve gotten is that putting a debt limit increase into the “Build Back” reconciliation bill would be very difficult and, if the debt limit is increased done via reconciliation, it’d be via a separate reconciliation bill. I could easily be incorrect on that part though; the intricacies of these maneuvers are dizzying.

                It seems plausible to me that Mitch is trying to increase Manchin and Sinema’s leverage but I doubt even he thinks that anyone would be delusional enough to believe for even a second that even a single Republican vote is obtainable under his leadership. The GOP is entirely in opposition and no one is entertaining any delusions that McConnell would permit Republican support for this bill no matter what policy concession was offered- not much point in trying.

                Much like the debt ceiling, though, the stark unambiguous fact is that everything hinges on Manchin. Whatever number he’s willing to tolerate and whatever policy parameters he can accept is where the action will be. Sinema is an infuriating and vague cipher but I can only assume that if/when Dem leadership hammers out where the line is with Manchin that she’d fall into line along similar parameters. Unlike Manchin she is replaceable and thus has a lot to lose and can be threatened.

                Heh, yeah, the idea that Biden is enacting Trumps agenda better than Trump ever could would elicit laughs from me. Trump didn’t have an agenda outside of advancing the interests of Trump and parroting whoever he spoke to last. There is, if you squint hard, an agenda that Trump sort of campaigned on and that he allowed people to project onto him and that spectral agenda has some commonalities with what Biden is perusing in that it was a kind of right-wing populism that ditched libertarian shibboleths and Biden is likewise trying to go populist and certainly has no fealty to libertarian nostrums. I agree with you that the right remains in a pre-neo-Republican phase. It’ll be very interesting to see how that shakes out in the next cycle or so.Report

  6. DavidTC
    Ignored
    says:

    Biden needs to just blow up the debt limit.

    He could point out it’s unconstitutional under the 14th amendment to not pay debt authorized by law, and just ignore it, but that might be a bad idea, as the Supreme Court has been completely hijacked and the ‘textualists’ on the court will misread the clear text that explicitly says ‘The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned.’

    Instead, I think he should point out that it’s unconstitutional under the 14th amendment to not pay debt authorized by law, and thus he _has to_ prioritize paying debts, and also he will not be incurring new debt that he cannot see a way to pay.

    And so he sends everyone on the government payroll home, so the US government stops incurring new debts in the form of payroll.

    Everyone.

    Air traffic controllers. (All planes are grounded.)

    Federal corrections officers. (But not before everyone in Federal custody is released, because you can’t keep people locked up without staff.)

    The people managing nuclear power plants and nuclear waste. (With the plants first being shutdown.)

    The people who operate customs at ports. (Which means nothing coming in.)

    EVERYONE. US government over, no one works here anymore, everyone is to lock the doors and walk away from their job.

    (Well, except the people who exist to redeem treasury bonds and send out social security checks and other debts the US government has, because that HAS to keep being done, under the 14th.)

    Just make it extremely clear that is where the story is going if Republicans continue to block things.

    Oh, and for those who point out that there are existing rules for a ‘shutdown’…yes, but those rules are for _lack of funding_ . This is an entirely different situation where the government is fully funded by law, but the Treasury is not authorized to issue more debt. It’s not ‘President has not been told to buy things’, it is ‘He was told to buy things, but the checking account is empty.’.

    There are no laws that cover that.

    And, even if there were laws, the 14th amendment trumps the law. The president should make the argument that Congress can’t actually decide where the not-enough money is spent…or, rather that they did decide already by creating debts under the law, and under the 14th they have no right to prioritize those debts! (Because that ‘questions’ any debt they deprioritize!)

    Again, I would actually argue the president has the right to flatly ignore the nonsensical debt limit under the 14th, but I think a stronger claim in court is Biden saying ‘The government cannot place the country in an unconstitutional situation of creating debts to someone that it cannot pay off, so we can no longer employ people and create such debts, despite any laws to the contrary.’.Report

    • Philip H in reply to DavidTC
      Ignored
      says:

      gee thanks for the support . . . the problem with your approach is the federal budget splits out in three ways – Net Interest on the debt (8%); discretionary (the people) 30%, and Mandatory (social security etc, mandatory defense spending etc) 62%. Republicans have been jonesing for four or five decades to run that last one into the ground, and what you propose gives them the opening if they got power back. I for one don’t want to give them that kind of opportunity.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        No it doesn’t.

        Mandatory spending laws create debt by law, which is exactly what the 14th amendment requires we pay back: The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned.

        I guess the president could stop _accepting_ new people into Social Security or whatever, if he has any power to do that, but if they are already in it, Social Security law constantly creates new debt obligations he has to pay back, and he can’t do anything about that.

        He can’t change _any_ of the laws that say we owe someone money, that’s literally my point: Laws explicitly say ‘We will pay someone X dollars’ are more important than laws saying ‘We have X people working at the FBI’, as the former is a constitutional issue, and they are completely inviolable. The US government cannot repudiate its debt, or even temporarily hold off paying it.

        We cannot do things that would even cause the validity of the debt to be _questioned_. Not just actual violated, QUESTIONED. We cannot come even vaguely close to breaching our debt obligations.

        So we _have to_ fire people at the FBI if their employment is going to result in more debt we cannot pay off. Or, say, Senate staffers. Or air traffic controllers.

        Even if the law says he cannot do that, says he cannot lay off employees, say the position must be filled: He still can let those people go, constitutionally, if there is not enough money to pay both the amount we will owe them for working for us _plus_ the existing debt.

        Although, again, he cannot let go of employees that are servicing debt. Which means the entire social security administration is still there. The military, however, is gone.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
          Ignored
          says:

          Oh, incidentally, I would also argue that the current way we operate under the more traditional (The one where we don’t allocate the money, as opposed to what we’re talking about here, where we allocate the money and then don’t have it.) shutdown is probably also unconstitutional, as we have people working for us, for free, under the vague promise we will make up their back pay when we fund the government again.

          I’m not 100% sure on that, because we might have slipped through the ‘authorized by law’ loophole there…the US government is promising to pay a debt it might not pay, but I’m not sure we technically promised it _by law_. It’s still somewhat dubious, though, and I’d be happy if the courts cracked down on it also.Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to DavidTC
          Ignored
          says:

          Mandatory spending laws create debt by law, which is exactly what the 14th amendment requires we pay back: The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned.

          That’s an argument that could be made in court, I guess. You can also argue that debt refers to debts incurred through borrowing, and that “authorized by law” just means that debts incurred through borrowing money without legal authorization can be questioned. The text is unclear here, so you’d have to go to contemporary commentary to see if there’s any discussion of what was actually meant, or if it’s truly ambiguous leave it to the judgment of the Supreme Court.

          Given that most of the things the Federal Government spends its money on is pretty clearly unconstitutional, arguing that there’s a constitutional obligation to continue handing out money for those programs puts one solidly in the “People who do not have a strong need for intellectual consistency” section of the Venn diagram. Don’t worry, though. You won’t be lonely.Report

  7. LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    Mint the Coin or invoke the 14th Amendment.Report

  8. LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    America seems to be in a hypernormalization phase. Nearly everybody political aware across the spectrum knows that things can’t go on as they are and a collapse can happen at anytime. Yet things go on as they are because there is no agreement on what has to be done or should be done. So we just go on and everything feels like something big and awful can happen at any time.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      Dude, I have been thinking about this all night. We totally are.

      It’s infecting a whole lot of places.

      Look at public education.
      Look at policing.

      My gosh, I’m terrified to look at other places.

      But we don’t know how to stop.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Speaking of “infecting”, look at public health.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
          Ignored
          says:

          Hypernormal public health.

          People don’t seem to realize that if you die of Covid, you die in real life.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            “Natural immunity is stronger than vaccine-base immunity” means that the best way to avoid Covid is to catch Covid, right?Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
              Ignored
              says:

              I don’t know whether it’s stronger or weaker or what.

              Have there been any studies? I’ve heard stories of people getting covid twice but I’ve also heard stories of vaccinated people getting it.

              I know what the narrative is, of course, but I don’t know what the numbers are.

              I have an acquaintance that got the Covid already and now he doesn’t want the vaccine unless it’s the J&J (and Colorado apparently only has Pfizer and Moderna).

              While that doesn’t make sense to me (I pushed an old lady out of the way to get my mRNA shot), I can understand wanting to know the numbers of “Natural Immunity” versus what he describes as “gene therapy”.

              I mean, while I think it’s silly, I don’t think it’s so silly that the numbers ought not be provided before we start firing people for not getting the shot.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The thing is, for any given individual who has Covid and recovers, no one knows what parts of the virus their immune system has learned to recognize. If it’s some part that can change but still leave the virus functional, there may be variants that their immune system doesn’t recognize at all. If they had the original variant, they may have excellent protection from the delta strain, or they may have no protection from it.

                The people who did the mRNA vaccines didn’t choose the portion of the spike protein to target at random. They did their best to choose a portion that, if it were to change, the spikes no longer do their job of attaching to cells and tricking them into opening up. A virus that can’t infect human cells isn’t dangerous (to humans).Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, I think I get the gist of the theory behind the vaccine.

                I worry about unintended consequences but, hey, I don’t have kids and am not planning to so my worries are smaller than those of others.

                (I am irritated that the vaccines don’t fully protect from Delta. I kinda wish they would. Or, at least, protect enough that I can wander around maskless again.)Report

              • JS in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                A third of patients who contract COVID never actually develop antibodies to COVID. Those who do produce antibodies rarely produce as robust a response as to a vaccine, and one that’s not guaranteed to be well targeted.

                https://www.nebraskamed.com/COVID/covid-19-studies-natural-immunity-versus-vaccination

                Strangely, it’s like the experts already thought of that and looked into it a long, long time ago.

                Something you could have found with 20 seconds of googling, but…strangely didn’t bother? Weird.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                I remember reading a lot of stuff about antibodies and how people who get the shot might not make enough antibodies to get tested. Like, from doctors and stuff. Not homeopathic ones, either.

                So antibodies aren’t quite as interesting to me as immunity… which we know that the vaccines do not provide (and nobody ever argued that they would).

                While “natural immunity” isn’t as good as the vaccine, do we even know if it’s better than “diddly”?

                And if it is, how much better? Negligible? Merely half as good as a vaccine? (Are some vaccines better than others? I know that the AZ was never accepted for use in the US. Is natural immunity only as good as the AZ shot?)Report

              • JS in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “So antibodies aren’t quite as interesting to me as immunity”

                What….what do you think “immunity” is? How do you think it works?

                What do you think “natural” immunity is? What’s “unnatural immunity” and how do they differ?

                You’re treating the same thing as if it’s multiple different things. Immunity IS antibodies. If you have enough of them, the infection can’t get a foothold and you are “immune”.

                I’m immune to MMR right now. If you expose me to measles, I WILL get infected. It’ll get strangled before it infects more than a handful of cells, because I have active antibodies against it. They’ll clump up and strangle the virus, all while signaling to pump out more antibodies to my memory b cells, to clean up any that managed to replicate. I will never show symptoms. I won’t pop positive on a measles test. I won’t be contagious, because my viral load is virtually undetectable.

                You’re tiptoeing around the notion of a ‘sterilizing vaccine’ which is a myth. Vaccines don’t make you immune to an illness. Getting an illness doesn’t make you immune to it, either! Your immune system just learns how to fight it off, and retains a memory of that.

                “While “natural immunity” isn’t as good as the vaccine, do we even know if it’s better than “diddly”?”

                Um, yes? 2/3rds of those who got COVID develop antibodies. They’re likely not as well targeted as those who got vaccines, nor are their antibody levels likely as high (your body does not do it’s best work when you’re seriously ill), but it’s better than nothing.

                But that IS why it’s recommended you get vaccinated against COVID even if you’re had COVID. The vaccine is better targeted, simulates a MUCH higher viral load, and generates better results.

                None of this is esoteric rocket science here. It’s in FAQs and CDC pamphlets and a million news articles and is incredibly easy to find.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                Thank God Facebook is up and running again, or else we will never learn the answers to these questions.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                What….what do you think “immunity” is? How do you think it works?

                Well, here is a webpage that explains why antibody tests don’t test whether you’ve been vaccinated.

                So, as I understand it, “immunity” is the body’s ability to fight back against a particular foreign agent while “antibodies” are the deployed cells that are ready Right Freaking Now to attack.

                Like, I don’t expect that I have Polio antibodies wandering around my bloodstream right now. But I have been vaccinated.

                I imagine that one of the smarter people on the site could go into greater detail for me.

                Um, yes? 2/3rds of those who got COVID develop antibodies. They’re likely not as well targeted as those who got vaccines, nor are their antibody levels likely as high (your body does not do it’s best work when you’re seriously ill), but it’s better than nothing.

                So now we’re discussing risk and acceptable levels of it.

                Is that sort of thing quantifiable? (Or if we don’t want to get into sorites issues, can we compare risks and risk budgets in broad strokes?)Report

              • JS in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “Well, here is a webpage that explains why antibody tests don’t test whether you’ve been vaccinated.”

                Did you even read it? I mean it literally points out that the serology tests for COVID-19 are designed to spot active infections, not vaccinations. That’s literally the whole point of the article.

                Literally first line:

                “Many COVID-19 antibody tests are not designed to specifically detect antibodies that develop as a result of vaccination, and thus cannot show whether antibodies are of the right quantity or quality for protection against infection or illness.”

                Are we supposed to be shocked and awed and maybe questioning everything we’re told that a test designed for one thing doesn’t accurately measure something else?

                “So, as I understand it, “immunity” is the body’s ability to fight back against a particular foreign agent while “antibodies” are the deployed cells that are ready Right Freaking Now to attack.”

                Well, there’s problem one. Antibodies are how your immune system fights off infection. Everything else is about how they are generated, remembered, manufactured, etc.

                “Like, I don’t expect that I have Polio antibodies wandering around my bloodstream right now. But I have been vaccinated.”

                If you were exposed to polio, your memory b cells would start pumping out polio antibodies by the truckload to prevent you from, you know, getting polio. It would neutralize the initial viral load, stop replication, and basically end the threat.

                You might even feel sick — headache, sore throat, etc, as polio began to progress before your body pumped out enough to overwhelm it. But you wouldn’t progress to the acute stages (you know, the fun paralysis)

                “So now we’re discussing risk and acceptable levels of it.”

                Oh god I wish, but we’re not. What we’re doing is trying to cut through the random words you’re using, without understanding them, to try to figure out what the hell you’re asking. because so far all we’ve learned is you have a fun personal definition of “immunity” and “antibodies”. Which is confusing you, because that’s not how everyone else uses them.

                Because again, the facts are pretty simple: You get a better, more robust, and more targeted response to vaccines. And — and this is critical — you don’t have to get COVID either.

                So what are we weighing here? Whether to go with “Get COVID, get sick, maybe die, and end up with a weaker immune response — or none at all in a 1/3rd of all cases” or “Get a vaccine and have a robust immune response, and also you don’t get COVID”

                What risks and rewards are we balancing here again?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                Are we supposed to be shocked and awed and maybe questioning everything we’re told that a test designed for one thing doesn’t accurately measure something else?

                If you think that I’m arguing for shock and awe by talking about this stuff, you misunderstand.

                “Like, I don’t expect that I have Polio antibodies wandering around my bloodstream right now. But I have been vaccinated.”

                If you were exposed to polio, your memory b cells would start pumping out polio antibodies by the truckload to prevent you from, you know, getting polio. It would neutralize the initial viral load, stop replication, and basically end the threat.

                You might even feel sick — headache, sore throat, etc, as polio began to progress before your body pumped out enough to overwhelm it. But you wouldn’t progress to the acute stages (you know, the fun paralysis)

                Is that arguing that I was wrong? I can’t tell.

                So what are we weighing here? Whether to go with “Get COVID, get sick, maybe die, and end up with a weaker immune response — or none at all in a 1/3rd of all cases” or “Get a vaccine and have a robust immune response, and also you don’t get COVID”

                What risks and rewards are we balancing here again?

                My questions have to do with the difference between “antibodies” and “immunity” for people who have had the ‘vid in the first place and people are telling me that some people don’t have measurable antibodies after having Covid. And when it’s pointed out that people don’t have measurable antibodies after getting vaccinated, I’m told “that’s significantly different” without really getting into the significance.

                And I’m pretty sure that we’re not talking about acceptable risks (and acceptable to whom) because the risks change and get all sorts of crazy.

                (We got into this when we discussed the whole issue of whether celebrities need to mask up at celebrity functions.)Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                What risks and rewards are we balancing here again?

                You’re being too kind. JB wants things to go back to “normal”; he’s said so*. We know exactly one way to get there: fully vaccinate everyone unless medically contraindicated**, with boosters for those at risk. It worked for smallpox; it worked for two of the three polio variants; it worked for measles in the US except where we (improperly) tolerate unvaccinated kids.

                * Full disclosure… I want things back to normal before my wife disappears down the dementia-associated memory-loss hole she’s suffering.

                ** I am, I admit, further out on the fringe than many/most people on this. I say that any doctor who says, “The vaccine is contraindicated for this patient” should be prepared to go in front of a medical board and justify that opinion, with loss of license on the line.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Like, I don’t expect that I have Polio antibodies wandering around my bloodstream right now. But I have been vaccinated.

                You might be surprised. Some studies have found that >95% of people who finished the full set of shots still have antibodies at some level >30 years later. Apparently four doses convinces your body to take this seriously.

                So, shouldn’t we all just get four doses of the Covid vaccine(s)? Not the same thing. Covid mutates relatively easily, where polio mutates hardly at all. Protein chemistry is hard.Report

              • JS in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                Worth noting that the timing and amount of boosters is the one bit of this that’s really hard to do in a pandemic.

                Some people got vaccinated then got challenged (exposed to the virus) routinely, which is akin to a lot of boosters.

                Others got jabbed and never got exposed for months.

                It’s weird what it takes. HepA is three shots (first dose, 30 days, then six months) but HepB is two (first, 30 days). Real similar viruses, but you need that six month dose for one and not the other.

                I’d honestly not be surprised to find that a six month booster is appropriate for COVID-19, if only to cut down on breakthroughs.

                If we didn’t have Delta, which is really contagious and tends to transmit really hefty viral loads, we might not need boosters at all. Those breakthrough cases are so much milder because the body DOES mount a swift immune response, but has a lower overall antibody level after six or eight months of not being challenged. So you get sick, but only mildly so, and get better swiftly.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                I think I would like a booster.

                But I don’t know whether a booster would be useful.

                I understand that they’re useful for especially vulnerable populations and I know that Biden was promising that we’d be able to get boosters after 8 months, then 5 months, then 8 months, and then the FDA declined to approve boosters for anybody but especially vulnerable populations.

                I understand that the CDC is pro-booster though.

                I have a lot more issues with the FDA than with the CDC so I am thinking that I probably should get one.

                But it’d be nice to not feel like I was picking and choosing the evidence that supported my personal inclinations.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “My questions have to do with the difference between “antibodies” and “immunity” for people who have had the ‘vid in the first place.”

                The immune response derived from natural infection varies a lot, and I believe the operating assumption is that its a matter of dosage. Some people were exposed a little, some a lot. Vaccines optimize the dosage at essentially the strongest levels without creating significant adverse health risks.

                Immunity from natural infection also appears to be inferior relative to variants, most likely for the reasons Michael Cain gave above (the vaccines are optimized to the prominent, stable spike protein). But that may be less an issue going forward if Delta has essentially won out.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                …while “antibodies” are the deployed cells that are ready Right Freaking Now to attack.

                Just to clarify, antibodies are not cells. They are protein molecules. Specialized immune cells produce antibodies by the truckload as soon as other specialized immune cells report back* what proteins are currently on the invader. Those proteins, the anti-bodies, flood your blood stream and are designed to specifically attach to the proteins on the virus and clog them up, as it where. Additionally, your white blood cells are primed to look for anything with antibodies stuck to it and catch them, preventing them from invading other cells while heading to your kidneys for a swift exit.

                The key thing to note is that bacteria and viruses are covered in proteins. Some of those proteins are key to invading human cells, and some aren’t. Your immune system doesn’t always pick the best protein to attack. So while the ABs still stick to the invaders and act as flares for WBCs, if the invader can dodge the WBCs long enough, they can still find a cell to invade, if those key proteins are clear.

                This is why the mRNA vaccine is superior, because we are slightly smarter than our immune system, and we chose a key protein to target, one that, if fouled with an AB, renders the virus inert.

                At lest, that’s how I understand it.

                *If we go with a war analogy, your immune system has scouts that encounter the enemy and radio back to base what kind of enemy it is. So if it’s massed infantry, the base starts rolling out artillery loaded with anti-personnel shells, whereas if it’s tanks, the base launches A-10s with anti-armor missiles.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s an awesome explanation! Thank you!

                I will use it when speaking to vax-hesitant friends.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Now complicate it further. In the case of upper respiratory viral infections, your immune system may not bother with antibodies. Instead, it kicks off coughs, runny nose, and a mild fever. There’s evidence that many of the people who suffered mild Covid symptoms and recovered dealt with the virus this way and didn’t produce antibodies.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                Would that explain vaccinated people getting it and having mild (asymptomatic, even!) cases and being able to spread it?Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Maybe. Put “breakthrough infection” into Google Scholar and it will show you hundreds of papers on the topic, for lots of diseases and lots of mechanisms.

                Everyone wants this to be simple and deterministic. The big bags of protein chemistry that we are don’t do simple and deterministic.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                “Protein chemistry is hard.”

                But what if I’ve done my own research?

                I mean like really researched it, spending an entire afternoon watching YouTube videos and Facebook groups?Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                It has been a bad day with my wife’s dementia. Since you use first person… I will happily hit you over the head with a 2×4 and hold you down while someone vaccinates you.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t either, but even stipulating the premise, it’s idiotic.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                There’s idiocy that requires state action and idiocy that does not.

                I am in no hurry to give whichever Republican wins in 2024 more power.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *