Tim Huelskamp: Cut Medicare or Tea Party will default on America’s debt

Republican House member, and proud Tea Party-er, Tim Huelskamp, just admitted to CNN’s Erin Burnett that the only way he and the Tea Party are not going to let the US government default on its debt in a little over 24 hours is if we make cuts to Medicare.

Welcome yet another hostage to the ever-growing list of Americans the Republican party seems hell-bent on harming this upcoming holiday season.

CNN’s Erin Burnett: You would be willing to make cuts, I want to make it clear, to entitlements, things like Medicare, that’s what you’re asking for [in order to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default]?

GOP/Tea Party’s Tim Huelskamp: We have had those votes, we’ve had those votes on numerous things, yes I will.

Tim Huelskamp

Tea Party supporter and GOP Cong. Tim Huelskamp

It’s bad enough that the GOP, including Huelskamp during tonight’s segment, continue to deny that the imminent default will cause any harm to the US, when independent analysts have said it would have “catastrophic” consequences far worse than what happened in the Great Recession of the past several years.

Here’s what Bloomberg News said a week ago about a debt default – it’s a horrific story, go read the entire thing:

Anyone who remembers the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. little more than five years ago knows what a global financial disaster is. A U.S. government default, just weeks away if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling as it now threatens to do, will be an economic calamity like none the world has ever seen.

Failure by the world’s largest borrower to pay its debt — unprecedented in modern history — will devastate stock markets from Brazil to Zurich, halt a $5 trillion lending mechanism for investors who rely on Treasuries, blow up borrowing costs for billions of people and companies, ravage the dollar and throw the U.S. and world economies into a recession that probably would become a depression. Among the dozens of money managers, economists, bankers, traders and former government officials interviewed for this story, few view a U.S. default as anything but a financial apocalypse.

The $12 trillion of outstanding government debt is 23 times the $517 billion Lehman owed when it filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008. As politicians butt heads over raising the debt ceiling, executives from Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Warren Buffett to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Lloyd C. Blankfein have warned that going over the edge would be catastrophic.

And it’s bad enough that it was in part this denial of the consequences of default by the GOP the last time around that led S&P to downgrade the US credit rating.

But now the GOP hostage list keeps growing.

First it was Obamacare.  Well, Obamacare and the entire US (and world) economy, since the Republicans threatened to torpedo the economy, and all of our retirement plans, in addition to our jobs and mortgages, if we didn’t let them kill the Affordable Care Act.

Then the hostage became the budget overall – with an ixnay on the Obamacare-ay – when the GOP realized that the public wasn’t willing to send the world into a depression (by defaulting on the debt) over Obamacare.

Then today it became the President, the VP, and the Cabinet (via their health insurance).

Then tonight, Republicans in the House started talking about taking a whack at the healthcare plans of congressional staffers.

And now Huelskamp admits that the real target – or at least another one – is Medicare, and America’s seniors.

The thing is, if Medicare is expensive it’s because health care in America is expensive.  But Republicans like Huelskamp have no desire to actually fix healthcare in America, that’s why they’re trying to defund the Affordable Care Act.  Fixing problems isn’t why they came to Washington.  They came for the fat $174,000 a year salary, and the opportunity to do absolutely nothing but dismantle the entire federal government while getting paid gobs of money to do it.

The hostage list keeps going because these guys don’t know what they want.  As GOP congressman Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) admitted last week:

“We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

No one does.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • NZL72

    Is this the video of that interview?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hddyHIQM0X8

  • NZL72

    That’s because you met their demands without any compromise on their part, that means that the ‘middle ground’ wasn’t met yet and you had more to give – so they want more.

  • lynchie

    The same solution cures the deficit. Raise taxes, get rid of subsidies to the corporations, eliminate loopholes. Why should hedge fund managers who make literally billions pay 15% tax rate. The revenue generated pays down the deficit and provides money for roads, bridges, education, health care etc. But that is too simplistic. Not a single ass hole on either side of the aisle brought up increasing revenue. No one in the media brought up the Bush tax cuts, which O’highness extended along with sequestration. All I hear is go after the middle class and poor, make them share the pain, cut SS and Medicare. The Congress is an old, white group of entitled slave owners who are owned by the 1% and have no intention of making tough decisions.
    Running any business, which the GOP says is their expertise, you have to raise revenues if your costs go up. So Duh! do the right thing and raise revenue and don’t let people have loopholes and make the rest pick up the tab.

  • [email protected], please make your comments without using all caps henceforth. It amounts to internet shouting and is considered rude. Thank you.

  • ALL I HEAR IS IMPEACH OBAMA, WELL GET RID OF THIS SO CALLED TEA PARTY, AND KICK CONGRESS OUTOR OUR COUNTRY IS GOING DOWN FAST

  • I HAVE THOUGHT THAT FOR A VERY LONG TIME. GLAD TO HEAR SOMEONE ELSE SAY SAME THING. REMEMBER IT WAS THE CIA THAT TRAINED BIN LADEN WHO TRAINED AL QUAEDA AND GAVE THEM WEAPONS, UNBELIEVABLE

  • I AM RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. IF THEY DON’T PASS THIS DEBT CE ILING QUICKLY, I AM AFRAID WE ARE HEADED FOR THE DUMPSTER I

  • SO RIGHT. IF THEY WANT TO DO THIS, I WANT MY MONEY I PAID IN OVER THE YEARS BACK!

  • YOU BET THEY DO. IT IS MIND BOGGLING HOW SOME AMERICANS BELIEVE IN THESE FOOLS

  • Maybe those FEMA prison camps will come in handy after all.

  • bambam1948

    What can I say that hasn’t already been said? I agree that Tim Huelskamp is an absolute idiot! I think he’s very close to engaging in insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution and the people of the United States (a violation of the 14th Amendment as noted below) and should be removed from office.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Not if Obama gets his way.

  • @CamelotK

    Actually Tim, it will be none of the above, and you will shut up and go sit down until they fire you in November. Good day.

  • silas1898

    The wingnuts have done a great job convincing the rubes that Medicare and SS is free and these greedy old moochers are stealing their Chee-tos.

    It’s the big Goebbels lie that works through constant repetition. Sadly, these people believe what they want to believe and all facts to the contrary are ignored.

    Another big lie is the life expectancy numbers. Until penicillin, polio and smallpox vaccines, the average was much lower, however, for those who survived all of the usual childhood diseases, life expectancy was not very much less than it is today. All those early deaths dragged the average down.

  • Good catch, John! I haven’t seen any news outlets reporting this.

  • olandp

    Not to mention, how would he then brush his teeth?

  • olandp

    Getting every last thing they want isn’t enough for them. They are like children, if you give them what they want it sin’t enough, they want more. Does, “moving the goal posts,” sound familiar?

  • bejammin075

    The situation is like me wanting my son to brush his teeth twice a day, to prevent the eventual possibility of cavities. If his performance is less than desired, how far should I go to get what I want? How about I threaten to cut off both of his hands? If I were to follow through, the punishment would be infinitely worse than the perceived problem.

  • olandp

    And this comes as a surprise? The GOP has opposed Medicare since its inception and have tried everything they can to do away with it. Can there be any doubt that Social Security is next?

  • Bill_Perdue

    We’re powerless observers of the increasingly deadly power games played by the rich and their lap dogs in the WH and Congress.

    Working people will be their victims as Obama plays ‘leader of the free world’ and protector of insurance and pharmaceutical companies, defending Obamacare/Romneycare, a Republican plan, against spoilers in the Republican party. Republicans are crapping all over working people and will make things much, much worse if they don’t get their way. Tebaggers and the WH agree on one thing and that is that workers should pay for the ‘deficit’, the massive bills created by Bill Clintons depression(*) that are now due.

    The deficit could be wiped out by draconian taxes on the rich.

    (*) Clinton championed and then signed NAFTA and the deregulation bills of 1999 – Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLB), also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act – and 2000 – the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. NAFTA exported union jobs, as Reagan, Bush1 and Clinton intended and the deregulation bills unleashed predatory lenders who created an artificial housing bubble which burst throwing millions out of work for the last six years.

  • lynchie

    Especially the power our lending institutions and the Fed have over the world economy. The bailout was an example of who is running the country and Demint’s letter telling the house repubs what to do shows the power of the corporations. We the people are a bunch of shmucks who have no rights, no access to those in Congress we are flotsam on the top of the toilet bowl waiting to be flushed.

  • lynchie

    I agree. When faced with this type of insanity, which reaches new levels every hour or so, you get overload. I talked to a few TP neighbors last night and they really don’t have a clue. They started in on property taxes and paying for schools for the xxxxers and xxxics, the people on welfare driving cadillacs, people on Unemployment who have two homes and collect 3 checks and finally got to Obama and their pure venom and hatred was palpable. Usually I enjoy entering the battle but there is nothing to say, nothing you can educate them on. A steady diet of Rush and Fox has fried what little reasoning ability they have. I left them with this thought. You get your Medicare and SS every month that is the government. But I guess its so bad why don’t you all get in a car in your garage, start the engine and wait of Heaven’s Gate to open up for you. They are hopeless and I fear this group will do something drastic if they don’t get their demands met. So far no one has reacted to this group and looked closely at they threat it is to whatever is left of the ethical and moral codes most of us live by.

  • Indigo

    These insurgents are so focused on their fixation that I’m not persuaded that it will pass.

  • Indigo

    I need the smiley face doo-hickie for that one.

  • Indigo

    Yes, except that we’re already mired in the Second Great Depression, there’s no avoiding it.

  • Indigo

    That’s the whole story in a four words.

  • lynchie

    Well he makes $174K a year and can afford it. Plus he gets a gold plated retirement so both SS and Medicare are not a concern of his. What baffles me is there is never a follow up question to hold his feet to the fire. Just let cuts roll off his tongue instead of digging deeper. Of course the question reader only had one question on the subject. Far be it from her to ad lib a follow up.

  • HeartlandLiberal

    Same here. Paid into Medicare since it came into existence, and I was already working as a teenager when I was 15. I have paid into both programs, Medicare and Social Security, for that long.

    I also understand that these are pay forward programs. Most people do not realize that. Current population of workers keeps paying into the program, and keeping the trust fund solvent. And Medicare is an insurance program. No one pays enough into any insurance program to every save enough to cover catastrophic costs. Insurance is when we all pool our money, and those unlucky enough to experience catastrophic losses get covered, while the rest of us are glad we did not get sick. But we are not stupid enough not to have insurance.

    The whole problem is solved by lifting the tax cap off both programs and letting the wealthy contribute after the current cutoff points. Problem solved. Simple. Easy. And obvious.

  • Duke Woolworth

    Oldsters include vets and gunners. The combination could be lethal, Tim. Aren’t there enough stories about pets turning on and eating their owners? Employees going postal?
    Cross your supporters’ skinny wallets and find out about how the worm turns.

  • dula

    14th Amendment:

    Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

  • Bill_Perdue

    How does criticism of US terrorism inflict pain on anyone but war criminals? To repeat, defending the status of the US as a superpower is wrong.

  • ckg1

    Then it is high time we DESTROY THEM. Do it at the polls. Failing that, citizen’s arrests of every TP member of Congress.

  • goulo

    True, and I certainly join you in lamenting all the pain being caused by the
    idiotic destructive Republican shutdown and its damaging effect on the US & world economies… but why should anyone care about “the nation’s future as a superpower”? The US being a superpower doesn’t seem to be a good thing for the world, or even for US citizens, as superpowers tend to hypocritically arrogantly abuse their power.

    Well, I guess “the nation’s future as a superpower” could be a useful talking point for convincing nationalist “USA #1!” Republicans to consider the error of their shutdown ways… Probably they are the only ones strongly invested in the idea that the US should be the superpower policeman of the world.

  • FuzzyRabbit

    Me, too! I am 67, and have been paying into Social Security for more than 50 years now, and Medicare since 1965. I am still working and still paying into them both. My Medicare payments, deducted from my paycheck and SS, combined, are about $250 per month.

    Medicare is not free for me, that’s for sure. I wonder how much Huelskamp pays for his government health insurance policy.

  • I can’t wish that much pain on people, sorry, because nearly everyone who will suffer will be those without means.

    I’m not that hard-hearted.

  • Bill_Perdue

    “The nation’s future as a superpower.” The US is uncontrolled terrorist state and proved it in Vietnam and Iraq. It’s superpower status is something to be ashamed of and fought against.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The relevance is that others have lied and plotted to involve the US in wars of aggression and have committed war crimes. The Clintons, the Bushes and Obama and most of the cabinet members and the JCS for starters.

  • Hue-Man

    You said: “This guy needs to be arrested and brought up on charges of sedition and treason.” and cap said: “If only there was a Democrat with the balls to do it . . . . . . ”
    The Democrat AG and his Democrat boss (POTUS) have failed to carry out their duties in accordance with international treaties and U.S. laws to prosecute the Cheney/Bush and Co. war criminals. If they can’t prosecute admitted torturers and murderers, how can anyone expect them to prosecute Huelskamp whose “crimes” are not as blatant?

    I realize that sedition and treason are exceptions to “Freedom of Speech” but this seems to me to be more in the nature of “political speech” and therefore protected. (I’m not disagreeing with the sentiment – on a day with a discussion about POTUS impeachment, I don’t see a Huelskamp prosecution as any different from the impeachment polticial theater.)

  • Tony Mac

    Next they will come for the veterans and our “entitlements.” They want to destroy this country…believe it…

  • Badgerite

    Well, at least one of them ( the GOP) admits it, finally. That their targets are Medicare and Social Security. And they do not want to ‘save’ these programs or make them ‘solvent’. They want to cripple them or do away with them altogether. And they will use any excuse to do it. GW Bush still maintains that his only failure was that he didn’t manage to ‘privatize’ (read destroy) Social Security.

  • vickif

    It burns my butt everytime they mention SS or Medicare. I pay every month for medicare out of my SS. I and all the other seniors don’t get medicare for free and it is not an entitlement. Entitled to it yes as we have paid for it. Medicare is not free.

  • emjayay

    It’s just another American bizarro uprising and it will pass. Unlax.

  • kerryberger

    What war criminals are you talking about and how is that relevant to this discussion, Hue-Man?

  • I’ve decided to lose myself in work and in books. Truth be told, I may not blog much this week. My capacity for outrage has been exceeded.

  • Jim Olson

    I am genuinely afraid of what the world will be like on Friday morning.

  • Hue-Man

    Especially with all the admitted war criminals who have not been prosecuted.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    Some people just can’t think outside the walnut shell.

  • Monoceros Forth

    I know I’ve said this before but, really, why should the Republicans regard their impeachment attempt against Clinton as a failure? Yes, Gingrich himself did not do well out of the whole affair. But two years later the GOP was in the White House.

  • FLL

    “High crimes and misdemeanors” is a very subjective term, and certainly open to different interpretations. I don’t think impeachment was meant to be used so frivolously or for such obviously racist reasons. I’m sure the Founding Fathers didn’t imagine a day when Senator Lindsey Graham would say:

    “Mr. President, you were seen wearing a white jacket after Labor Day. That’s an impeachable offense! I’ll advise my Republican colleagues in the House to introduce a motion to impeach.”

    I have no idea what color combinations Sen. Graham thinks would clash, but beware!

  • emjayay

    They’ve been calling for impeachment all along, but never as far as I’ve seen for any purported high crimes and misdemeanors. For being president under false pretenses of being born in Kenya by a mother who was somehow not American but somehow got birth notices put in both Honolulu newspapers, even though those probably come from the Queens Hospital not from individuals, or something.
    Well actually, for Being President While Black.

  • caphillprof

    If only there was a Democrat with the balls to do it . . . . . . .

  • caphillprof

    Huelskamp is an idiot. You cannot reason with an idiot.

  • FLL

    The Republican radicals know that Obama can act without Congress. The “threat” they are using is impeachment. There comes a time when you have to call a bluff. But this bluff is easy to call because we’ve seen this movie before. Republicans impeached Bill Clinton with no hope of getting two-thirds of the Senate to convict, and Newt Gingrich and his cohorts became a laughing stock for their efforts.

  • nicho

    So why haven’t the TeBaggers been declared “enemy combatants?” Scoop them up, take them to a naval ship on the open sea, and “interrogate” them. They are more dangerous than Al Qaeda.

  • This is an attempted legislative coup on the part of House Republicans.

    These hard-core radical Tea Bagger Republicans believe the Democrats in the Senate and President Obama will surrender unconditionally. They truly believe they will win, because they have the biggest, most significant hostage conceivable: America’s economy. The world economy. The nation’s future as a superpower.

    Hence these extremists see no downside to beginning to load up the Christmas list of goodies. Far from accepting that there are demands Obama and the Dems won’t stand far, the House Republicans (and more than a few radical GOP Senators, led by Cruz), they now believe there’s nothing the Dems cannot be forced to accept.

    The only way this will ever come to an end is if the hostages are taken away from these political-economic terrorists and never allowed to come under their control again.

  • kerryberger

    Tim Huelskamp is committing an act of treason by holding the nation hostage to default. This guy needs to be arrested and brought up on charges of sedition and treason.

  • FLL

    Something has to be sacrificed, and I think I know what it is: the dignity of the constitutional impeachment process. In days of old, presidential impeachment was taken seriously, but starting in 1998, the obstructionist Republicans have turned impeachment into a child’s toy. They impeached Bill Clinton when it was universally understood that there was no chance of convicting Clinton in the Senate… and the country laughed. So yes, Obama can break a couple laws in order to uphold the 14th Amendment, which states that “the public debt of the United States…shall not be questioned.” If he does so, the Republicans will impeach him, knowing full well that there is no chance that a two-thirds majority in the Senate will convict Obama… and the country will laugh. I suppose the Founding Fathers would have looked askance at the era of frivolous Republican impeachment, but it’s a small price to pay in order to avoid a second Great Depression, don’t you think?

  • In my day it was trust fund Maoists.

  • usagi

    Because they want the same thing and don’t want the blame. I’m sure there are some who are just nervous about losing their jobs (welcome to reality, folks), but on the whole, they agree with the results and they’re not getting dirty with the methods.

  • NCMan

    They aren’t, or shouldn’t be, running half of one branch of government. They are a minority within the majority of one half of a branch of government. There are 40 – 60 radical Teabaggers according to the media reports. There are 232 republicans in the house. That means there are at least 170 NON baggers. Why won’t the non baggers check and see if they have any balls in their bags and start governing? Stop letting 40 radicals push them around already…..

  • usagi

    No, they do know what they want. Everything.
    Take them at their word.
    I’ve run into this phenomenon before when I’m completely up front and honest with someone who laughs politely and pretends that what I just said is a joke. No. Every single thing that they’ve said they want, they want. Even if by some miracle a “compromise” bill that could pass the House came up, there would be a teabagger back-bencher who stopped because it wasn’t exactly what he wanted down to the last tittle and jot.
    I really wish the conversation would start switching towards what is going to be done about these lunatics who are determined to burn down the United States to get their way.

  • MyrddinWilt

    There is a game used to show unstable equilibrium in economics class. People bid for a dollar bill, the catch being that the price paid will be the amount bid by the previous bidder to the last one.

    The ‘auction’ starts off simply enough, but then the price gets up to $1 and the people playing suddenly realize that they are in a jam. Because making another bid costs nothing but stopping bidding incurs a huge loss. So they keep on going.

    The Tea Party reps don’t want to be the ones to fold, they want others in their caucus to fold for them so that they can emerge with their credentials as tea party favorites burnished to a high shine.

    Its just like the Marxist poseurs we used to see on the left back in the day, the folk who prided themselves on being the no compromise purest of the pure. Only these folk are running half of one branch of the government.

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