Robert Kuttner, writes in the Huffington Post, that Obama Holds the Cards -- If He Will Play Them Well. Late last week former President Bill Clinton suggested that if he were in office he would invoke the 14th Amendment option to allow him to keep paying the Government debts.
President Obama said this weekend that he discussed it Friday with his lawyers and decided it wasn't a winning argument. But, Robert Kuttner and others, disagree.
Additionally, going beyond the Kuttner analysis, there is an additional strategic argument that can be made that President should play this option, for the good of the country, even if he strongly suspects he will lose the argument in the end. But, in buying time, and allowing public opinion to shift strongly against the GOP, he could change the political landscape, and create much better options for a way forward.
If the alternative, is default, global financial crisis, and devastating damage to the US economy, both in the short-term and the long-term, the President has a constitutional obligation to protect, and defend, our nation from the threat. Kuttner asks, is it really plausible that the GOP would sue a President heroically, saving the country from damage, and getting Social Security checks going out? And, checks to military family.
Kuttner doesn't believe there is enough time to work out a deal before the deadline, or reactions by the financial market.
At that point, there are only two basic choices. Either the Republicans and the White House agree to some kind of short- or medium-term increase in the debt ceiling, in exchange for some kind of deal with details to be supplied later. Or the president invokes the 14th Amendment and declares that the debts of the United States will be paid.
This seems to be what the GOP is aiming for, with the "Super-Congress" idea as the mechanism to work out the details later, and then get them past obstacles (Senate Democrats.) What Kuttner calls "The Simpson-Bowls Commission on steroids."
So, Kuttner makes a thought-provoking argument that some variation of the 14th Amendment option, or bluff of this pursuit, could be best for the country, and the Democrats.
I don't trust that end-game, because it gives too much power to all the forces of austerity that have been too dominant in this debate all year. And it creates too much risk of Democrats being stampeded to give up too much on Social Security and Medicare and get too little in the way of tax hikes on the rich in return.
The New York Times had a very instructive chart today, by the indispensable Teresa Tritch, showing that most of the budget shortfall going into the financial crisis was the result of the Bush tax cuts and wars -- and that most of the rest of it since 2008 was the consequence of lost revenues from the recession itself. ...
The 14th Amendment, in Section 4 provides that "The validity of the public debt of the United States.... shall not be questioned." The government can go on selling bonds to cover its costs as long as money markets accept them. ...
If President Obama were to invoke that emergency authority to prevent the economy from collapsing as money markets began shunning U.S. government bonds, it is hard to imagine Republican leaders suing the president... to demand what? That he let the economy go off a cliff? And it is even harder to imagine the Supreme Court, even a Court as partisan and corrupted as the Roberts Court, voting to tie Obama's hands in an economic emergency that -- keep in mind -- is entirely contrived.
Several Republicans have been quoted over the last few days saying the President will fold.
Well, if the GOP want to play a game of chicken with the national well being, perhaps, President Obama should put some new cards on the table?
One additional reason, I believe the President should reconsider this 14th Amendment option, is that the Republicans have been acting like terrorists, holding the President and our nation hostage.
One of our longest standing policies, is that we do not negotiate with terrorists. If the President gives into this blackmail, or even just appears to have given into to such blackmail, it could seriously damage his reputation, the Office of the Presidency, and our national secuirty.
GOP, foriegn leaders, and terrorists may assume our President is weak, and try to test them.
We need to quickly make the argument that it is an outrageous assualt on both our President, and our national security for the Republicans to exericise such an blackmail against our President and nation.
If we can orchestrate former Presidents, national secuirty advisers, former SOS, and SOD, to make this argument, and demand that the GOP give us a clean bill, with no cuts. Seperate the debt-ceiling from the budget balancing, see how quickly, the GOP converges on one of the deals already on the table. Maybe even with revenues.
Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 10:24 PM PT: I've added a stronger conclusion in the last five paragraphs, pointing out that this GOP blackmail, has the potential to damage President Obama, and our national security, as terrorists and others decide to see how much they can get out of our President.
We do not negotiate with terrorists.
If the President gives in to this GOP terrorist-like blackmail, he might damage himself, the Office of the Presidency, and our National Security.
He should admit the 14th Amendment option might not withstand a long court battle, but he has no choice but to pursue it for our national security, so he has time to bring the GOP to its' senses.
The President can make clear that this is just a short-term measure to prevent a disasterous default, and but time, to arrive at a negotiated settlement with Congress.
Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 11:34 PM PT: Tomorrow mornign before President Obama reasures the world that he will not let the US default, nor will he give in to Republican terrorists like blackmail, so unless he gets a reasonable deal from the GOP in 48 hours he will invoke the 14th Amendment he should watch this video to get in the right mood.
5:52 AM PT: Angela Moon, of Reuters write US STOCKS-Futures down on U.S. debt gridlock
Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:18am EDT
* Top U.S. official warns of "stressful" days ahead
* Moody's cuts Greek sovereign debt rating
* Futures down: S&P 10.1 pts, Dow 85 pts, Nasdaq 14 pts
NEW YORK, July 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell
on Monday as political brinkmanship in Washington over the U.S.
debt ceiling sparked fears of a U.S. rating downgrade, sending
world equities lower and pushing gold to a record high.
A divided U.S. Congress pursued rival budget plans that
appeared unlikely to win broad support, pushing the country
closer to a debt default. For details, see [ID:nN1E76M0B0]
While analysts still expected a deal to raise the debt
ceiling by Aug. 2, the United States moved one step closer to
losing its coveted triple-A credit rating as Democrats and
Republicans seemed unlikely to agree on a deal.
White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley warned there would be
a "few stressful days" ahead for financial markets. But
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was confident a deal would