Again with the Debt Ceiling??!!

December 6th, 2012 at 10:58 pm

I know…I can’t bear to go into it either.  But just because we’re still flirting with the idea of going over the fiscal cliff doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start getting nervous about the next trap Congress is contemplating setting for the American economy.  Really, with policy makers like these, who needs national enemies?

I simply can’t bear to go back into this now–I posted a lot on it back in the day.

So, let me hand the reins over to Crystal Ball, who provided a wonderfully entertaining rant on this on the Cycle today, and to the NYT, which posted an excellent editorial on the debt ceiling’s increasingly nerve-wracking relation to the cliff debate.

Here’s some good advice from that piece:

Mr. Obama said firmly on Wednesday that he had no intention of playing the Republican debt ceiling game again. This time he might want to enlist the help of every American who holds federal, state or municipal bonds, investments that would be under threat in a debt crisis. If nothing else works, he should cite the 14th Amendment’s ban on questioning the public debt, and declare an end to the debt ceiling once and for all. The country can no longer tolerate government by brinkmanship and extortion.

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2 comments in reply to "Again with the Debt Ceiling??!!"

  1. urban legend says:

    I say he doesn’t get all legalistic about it, but simply declares that under no circumstances will he shrink from his Constitutional duties to pay the country’s bills, execute the laws and protect the Full Faith and Credit of the United States of America. Let others wrangle about the legal authority.

    What’s going to happen from there besides McConnell, Boehner and, of course, McCain hyperventilating, while hundreds of millions owed by the government keeps on getting paid and everyone with a government contract or an employee of a government contractor keeps on doing the work and keeps on getting paid? Besides, no matter what those three stooges say, the President’s approval just goes up the more they bloviate: How dare the President pay the country’s bills! Who cares about the Full Faith and Credit of the country!

    Presidents have been playing the debt ceiling fear card themselves to try to manage political pressure. They don’t want to give up having that card to play. It’s time, however, to end this absurd charade once and for all. It can be done with no cooperation from Congress. It’s a political question which the courts won’t touch — leaving impeachment, which immediately after an election and with a Democratic Senate, simply ain’t going to happen.

    Handwringing over legalistic perfection is an occupational hazard of liberals. We should learn at least something from Cheney and Bush — and this is action (actually, inaction by letting things go on as they should) — that unlike what they did would actually be for the good of the country. Under those circumstances, boldness to protect Americans from imminent harm will be rewarded. Considering the damage that could happen, this is getting close to Commander-in-Chief territory.

  2. Jake says:

    How do we end government by “brinkmanship and extortion”? My suggestion is to isolate the extremists by showing how extreme their position is, and giving everyone else an alternative that they can vote for as the pressure to do something as the damage to our financial order builds and builds. We show how extreme the position is by showing how much damage their refusal to raise the debt ceiling causes versus how much benefit their refusal produces. It’s destruction of credit markets versus an incremental slowing of the growth of the debt as a percentage of GDP. Pretty lopsided cost/benefit ratio. The question then becomes isn’t there a less destructive way to achieve the same ends such as actually offering bills the House can vote on until they have something that wins a majority. The alternative is created by the House Democrats offering a bill that can come close to a majority. As the pressue builds, and builds from financial breakdowns spreading through the economy, won’t such a bill look good enough to win the remaining few votes it will take to have a majority? I believe it would.