The Debt Ceiling Scam

Surely, everyone has heard about the “policy debates” surrounding the debt ceiling.  They are a significant event in Washington where Biden’s administration has refused to negotiate, and the far-right refuses to give in. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has claimed it would be a market disaster. The whole scenario has been great theater for those watching on their televisions, listening to pundit after pundit giving their expert analysis. Still, it’s all performative – a phony exercise Washington and the mainstream media play out. The chief architect is the New York Times, our “state paper of record.”

Oligarchy Presumes Preordained

The recent debt ceiling drama in the United States has once again highlighted the power of the mainstream media in shaping public opinion and political discourse. While the media portrays the debate as a battle of ideologies between Democrats and Republicans, the reality is that the real power lies with the oligarchs who control the media and the political system. The result is a political theater that serves the interests of the wealthy and powerful while leaving ordinary Americans struggling to make ends meet. 

What you see on your television or in the newspapers is pure drama, just like we get from Hollywood. Like this example from today’s New York Times newsletter:

For months, the U.S. has been barreling toward a debt limit crisis. Democrats refused to negotiate, and Republicans insisted on a deal stocked with right-wing policy priorities. It was unclear how, or whether, they would avert catastrophe.
This week, the atmosphere in Washington shifted. The chances of getting a deal done now seem higher. Why? Because both sides budged: Democrats are negotiating, and more Republicans have suggested that they are willing to compromise. Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, said yesterday for the first time that he saw a “path that we could come to an agreement.”
New York Times Newsletter 5/19/23

The Role of Oligarchs in the Debt Ceiling Debate

Oligarchs have played a significant role in the debt ceiling debate, both in terms of their financial interests and their political influence. Many wealthy donors and corporations have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo regarding federal spending, as it benefits their bottom line. This can lead to pressure on politicians to maintain the debt ceiling, even if it harms the country as a whole.

Additionally, oligarchs often have significant political influence, which they can use to shape public policy. This can lead to a situation where the interests of the wealthy are prioritized over the needs of the general public as politicians seek to maintain their support and funding.

How Mainstream Media’s Coverage Affects Democracy

The mainstream media’s oligarchic coverage of the debt ceiling drama can seriously affect democracy. By prioritizing the interests of the wealthy and sensationalizing the issue, the media can shape public opinion in a way that benefits the oligarchs. This can lead to a situation where politicians are more concerned with pleasing their wealthy donors than with serving the needs of the general public.

Additionally, the media’s failure to provide accurate and comprehensive coverage of the issue can lead to a situation where the public is poorly informed and unable to make informed decisions. This can further erode democracy, as citizens cannot hold their elected officials accountable.


The debt ceiling drama is a complex issue with far-reaching implications for the United States and its citizens. However, it’s important to be aware of the oligarchic forces in the media coverage surrounding the issue. 


After the passage of the debt ceiling scam, the progressive caucus did their part by splitting their votes:

But the CPC members who joined Republicans in voting yes on the bill, including prominent progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), outnumbered those who opposed it.

Jayapal, the CPC chair, said Wednesday that she could not in good conscience be part of the Republican Party’s “extortion scheme” by voting for legislation that “rips food assistance away from poor people and disproportionately Black and brown women, pushes forward pro-corporate permitting policies and a pipeline in direct violation of the community’s input, and claws back nearly 25% of the funding Democrats allocated for the IRS to go after wealthy tax cheats.”

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.

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