🇺🇸 Yellen is Yellin’

Plus, get paid to complete Dry January.

The Flag

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FLAG POLLS

📉 January 17, 2023: President Biden Job Approval: Approve 46, Disapprove 52 (Rasmussen Reports)

📉 January 16, 2023: Direction of Country: Right Direction 32, Wrong Track 61 (Rasmussen Reports)

📈 January 11, 2023: President Biden Job Approval: Approve 50, Disapprove 47 (Economist/YouGov)

📉 January 11, 2023: Congressional Job Approval: Approve 21, Disapprove 54 (Economist/YouGov)


TRENDING

Left: Why Special Counsel Could End Up Helping Biden Michael Tomasky, The New Republic

Left: The Court Justices Do Not Seem To Be Getting Along Steven Mazie, The Atlantic

Left: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Lessons in Resistance Chauncey DeVega, Salon

Right: The Week Everything Changed for the Biden White House Maegan Vazquez, CNN

Right: Democrats Mull Whether Biden's Their Best 2024 Bet W. James Antle III, Washington Examiner

Right: The Rise of the Single Woke Female Joel Kotkin & Samuel J. Abrams, RealClearInvestigations


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QUICK CLICKS

Pedestrians in El Paso, China's Contraction, Tom's Uncertain Timeline

US: Signs warning of ‘unexpected pedestrians’ appear in El Paso amid migrant surge (Fox News)

World: China's zero-covid policies led to a near-record slowdown in economic growth (Quartz) + Here's why China's population dropped for the first time in decades (NPR)

US: Obama ethics chief blasts Biden's 'inexcusable neglect' of classified documents (Washington Examiner) + White House charges GOP with hypocrisy on Trump, Biden (The Hill)

World: Royal Mail CEO confirms cyberattack downed UK postal service (TechCrunch)

Sports: Tom Brady Offers No Timeline on Future Plans Following Playoff Defeat (People)

Tech: Fastest Corvette ever is all-wheel-drive gas-electric hybrid (AP)


ECONOMICS

Yellen is Yellin’

Last week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Congressional leaders the US federal government is likely to hit its debt limit tomorrow. She said this means the Treasury will have to take “extraordinary measures” in order to avoid defaulting on payments owed to bondholders.

Reporting from the Right: ‘Going to Be A Knife Fight’: House GOP Fighting Biden Administration On Raising Debt Ceiling (Daily Wire)

Reporting from the Left: What is the debt ceiling deadline and will Republicans pass it? (NBC News)

From The Flag: This fight has been brewing since the GOP won the House majority, with many Republican leaders arguing government spending must be curtailed first. Meanwhile, many Democrats argue failing to raise the debt limit would cause financial chaos. Here’s more from both sides.


LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Republicans Play Political Games To Satisfy Donors and Class Warfare

  • If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, Congress will be at risk of defaulting on its past obligations, which could be catastrophic.
  • Even though right-wing culture wars are modern Republicans’ lifeblood, they can’t help but fall back on old economic tropes.
  • The GOP should want the IRS to be properly funded, as their working class base doesn’t care if rich people get audited.

“The GOP is wrongly trying to blame Democrats for a debt ceiling blowup” Catherine Rampell, Washington Post Opinion: “Imagine if Republican lawmakers threatened to blow up the Washington Monument unless Democrats agreed to cut Social Security. … Pretty much the same form of extortion is happening right now, only the bomb is aimed at a different target: the global economy. And Republicans are already trying to blame Democrats for any carnage that might result. … For months, Republicans have openly threatened to take the debt limit hostage unless they get spending cuts and other pet projects. … To be clear: Refusing to raise the debt limit, or even coming close to default, would be catastrophic. … It doesn’t authorize any new spending. But it does enable the federal government to pay off existing obligations that past Congresses had committed to… The consequences of reneging on past bills could be dire.”

“Why Republican Politicians Still Hate Medicare” Paul Krugman, New York Times Opinion: “The Republicans who now control the House will soon try to slash Social Security and Medicare… by refusing to raise the federal debt ceiling. … given that it appears politically suicidal … Where is the push to gut Social Security and Medicare coming from? Ronald Reagan left the White House 34 years ago. The modern GOP seems much less animated by small-government ideology than by the desire to wage culture war. … Here’s what I think is going on: Even now, many — perhaps most — Republicans in Congress aren’t culture-war zealots. Instead, they’re careerists who depend, both for campaign contributions and for post-Congress career prospects, on the same billionaires who have supported right-wing economic ideology for decades. They won’t stand up to the crazies and conspiracy theorists, but their own agenda is still tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the poor and middle class.”

One more opinion piece from the LeftWhy Republicans’ debt ceiling games will likely backfire Michael A. Cohen, MSNBC Opinion


RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

It’s the Spending, Stupid – Whether or Not the Debt Ceiling Is Raised

  • Democrats and their media allies are acting hysterical about the debt ceiling, but nothing important would happen if it weren’t raised.
  • House Republicans need to put up a unified front in the face of intense media scrutiny as they look to rein in spending.
  • If Congress agrees to raise the debt ceiling without securing reforms to limit spending, that will be truly devastating to the US economy.

“The Debt Ceiling is a Farce, Not a Crisis” James K. Galbraith, MarketWatch Opinion: “In his bid to become speaker of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy apparently agreed to a demand… that he commit to ‘shut down the government rather than raise the debt ceiling.’ There is firm bipartisan agreement on what this would mean. Crisis looms. For the Republican extremists, the impending crisis is their chance to remake America. For Democrats (and a few surviving mainstream Republicans), the threat of catastrophe justifies a politically dangerous vote to raise the ceiling. For the media—left, right, and center—it’s the drama, stupid. … First, a failure to raise the debt ceiling does not override any legal obligation to spend. True, the debt ceiling is written into law. But so are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, interest payments, and every other mandated or appropriated form of spending. The US Treasury must follow the law. Debt ceiling or no, it cannot legally default on any obligation.”

“The Hard Reality of a Debt-Ceiling Showdown” Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal: “Something or someone has to give because the debt limit has to be raised. The US has already borrowed and spent the money, and debt held by the public is a contract. Nobody sane in Washington wants to be blamed for triggering a default… which means it almost certainly won’t happen. Republicans are right to want to stop the reckless spending trends of the last four years. … Spendthrifts should pay their debts, but they should also have their credit card pulled… This is the sensible principle that most of Washington has abandoned in recent years. It’s good for the country that someone in power wants to rein it in. … Republicans will have to pick their spending targets carefully, explain their goals in reasonable terms so they don’t look like they want a default, and then sell this to the public as a united team.”

One more opinion piece from the Right: Debt ceiling vote could save America if House Republicans are willing to stand up to Democrats Steve Moore, Fox News


FLAG THIS

Raise the Roof? Mixed Opinions and a Clear Partisan Divide

Polling conducted last month found 38% of respondents say Congress should not raise the debt ceiling, compared with 33% who say they should.

A majority of Democrats (52%) say the debt limit should be raised, while the majority of Republicans (62%) said it shouldn’t be (YouGov).

In a separate survey, 49% supported raising the debt ceiling, while 39% were opposed. Just over 6 in 10 Democrats said it should be raised, while just under 4 in 10 Republicans said the opposite (Data For Progress).

This past fall, a poll found if the debt ceiling was not raised, respondents would most worry about social security and the job market (Navigator).


FLAG FINDS

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WATERCOOLER

In Paris for Peace, Art and Science of Spending, Billion-Dollar Side Hustles

Left to right: David Lloyd George of Britain, Vittorio Orlando of Italy, Georges Clemenceau of France, Woodrow Wilson of the U.S.

On January 18, 1919, in Paris, France, some of the most powerful people in the world meet to begin the long, complicated negotiations that would officially mark the end of the First World War.

Collab Fund: The art and science of spending money

Aleksandr Volodarsky: 11 billion-dollar companies that started as side hustles

BBC: Why comfort food varies across the world

Today I Learned Hiroshima, Japan is one of the few places outside of the US that celebrates MLK Day, due to his outspoken views on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.