Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: Debt default, military service

Why a default's bad

I would like a straightforward explanation as to why it would be detrimental for our country to go into a default.

Most everyone agrees that the United States defaulting on its debt would be a bad thing. The Treasury Department recently issued this warning that, should the government default on its debt obligations, the economic impact could be widespread:

"Credit markets could freeze. The value of the dollar could plummet. Interest rates could skyrocket. And there might be a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse," the statement read.

Among other problems a default could cause:

• A loss of confidence in the United States by foreign governments, both as a world leader and as a country that pays its debts.

• A lower credit rating, which increases the costs of borrowing.

• The possibility of an interruption or suspension of payments by the government on such things as Social Security, interest owed to bondholders, payments to contractors, payments to states, and so on.

• A plunge in the stock market, erasing wealth for millions.

There would be more consequences, but you get the idea.

Tea party service

I'm just seeing a report that death benefits to families of Americans killed in action are in limbo due to the tea party-led government shutdown. How many members of the total in the congressional tea party caucus (House and Senate) have served in the military?

The congressional tea party caucus, which is chaired by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, has 49 members: 44 representatives and five senators. All are Republicans.

Ten have spent time in the military, according to their bios: Rep. Howard Coble, North Carolina (Coast Guard); Rep. John Fleming, Louisiana (Navy); Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas (Army); Rep. Gary Miller, California (Army); Rep. Richard Nugent, Florida's 11th District (Air National Guard); Rep. Steve Palazzo, Mississippi (Marines, National Guard); Rep. Steve Pearce, New Mexico (Air Force); Rep. Ted Poe, Texas (Air Force Reserves); Rep. Phil Roe, Tennessee (Army Medical Corps); and Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina (Army Reserve, Air National Guard).

Looking at Congress, 106 of the 541 members (voting and nonvoting) have served or are serving in the military. That's 19.6 percent. In 1971-72, 73 percent of the members of Congress had military experience. In 1981-82 it was 64 percent.

Neither President Barack Obama nor Vice President Joe Biden spent time in the military. Three members of the Cabinet have: Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki (Army), Secretary of State John Kerry (Navy) and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (Army).

Compiled from Times and wire reports. To submit a question, email answers@tampabay.com.

Q&A: Debt default, military service 10/10/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 10, 2013 4:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  2. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  3. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  4. South Korea military: North Korea fires unidentified projectile

    World

    SEOUL — North Korea launched a ballistic missile early today that flew 280 miles and landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, the South Korean military and the Japanese government said.

    S. Korean President Moon Jae-in is assessing the launch.
  5. Rays blow lead, rally, blow lead, rally again to beat Twins in 15 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays sure made it interesting Sunday, taking an early lead, watching their beleaguered bullpen blow it, rallying to tie in the ninth, battling the Twins to take a lead in the 14th then giving it up again.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 28: Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates scoring a run against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on May 28, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010990