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A lot of Republicans are comforting themselves over their complete rout in the debt ceiling negotiations last night with the fact that they can do this all over again when the debt ceiling has to be raised sometime next month. The thinking is, of course, that the leverage in the negotiations will shift from the Democrats to the Republicans, and Obama will be forced to give up massive cuts to entitlements like Medicare and Social Security to get the debt ceiling raised, all the goodies Obama avoided giving away in this round. It worked like a charm in the summer of 2011 to get trillions of dollars in spending cuts, so why wouldn't it work this time?

President Obama, however, has been clear that he won't play that game with him this time.

"I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they've already racked up," he said. "If Congress refuses to give the U.S. government the ability to repay these bills on time, the consdequences for the global economy would be catastrophic—far worse than a fiscall cliff."
This is exactly the correct sentiment by Obama, but the question on my mind is how exactly will he avoid having that debate?

Federal law requires Congress to authorize the government to borrow any money that is needed to pay for the programs that Congress has passed. And the authority to borrow that money expired two days ago. The Treasury Department has a slate of gimmicks it can use to pay its bills for the next month or two, but there's no avoiding having another nasty fight over raising the debt ceiling when those tricks run out. Congress would have to vote to raise the debt ceiling to avoid all the nasty consequences of not paying our bills you've doubtless read about in the media, from having our credit rating lowered, to not being able to cut checks for entitlements and military pay. Nobody (with the exception of some hard core libertarians who tend to have even wackier ideas and shouldn't be listened to under any circumstance) wants to see us default on the national debt.

But Congress, and specifically the House GOP, are determined not to give Obama and the Democrats a clean vote on raising the debt ceiling, much less voting yes to raising it. They'll need to save face, after allowing a vote that broke the Hastert Rule and allowed taxes on the wealthy to rise with no appreciable cuts to show for it. There is no reason to think that the attitude of the House Republicans will be any different than it was a year and a half ago - in fact, with more extreme, more entrenched Republicans from heavily gerrymandered districts in the 113th Congress, they will probably have even more resolve to make Obama pay for anything he tries to push through.

A popular solution to the dilemma is a "14th Amendment solution", invoking the clause from that amendment that says "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law...shall not be questioned. " The argument asserts that this gives the executive branch the power and duty to override Congress and take other actions to raise the debt ceiling on their own, including such exotic ideas as minting a trillion dollar coin to artifically give Treasury the funds it needs to pay its obligations indefinitely. However, Obama's Justice Department has already advised against this kind of strategy:

Obama and others in his administration have said they will not rely on the 14th Amendment. At a town hall last week, Obama said that he has “talked to my lawyers” and “they are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.”

At his daily briefing Wednesday afternoon, White House press secretary Jay Carney knocked down any suggestion that the president would reconsider.

“Our position hasn’t changed. There are not off-ramps, there’s no way around this, there’s no escape,” Carney said. “You know, having an esoteric constitutional argument won’t reduce the fact that the borrowing authority is due to expire on August 2nd and Congress has the legal authority and only Congress has the legal authority to extend that borrowing authority.”

“The president stood here and told you,” Carney added. “We consulted to see what this was about, but this is not an option.”

So, just as there's no realistic chance that Republicans attitude towards a clean debt ceiling increase has changed since 2011, there's also no realistic chance that the Justice Department has changed their attitude towards using the 14th Amendment as an end-around to the problem since 2011.

In light of all this, what alternative does Obama have but to negotiate to get the debt ceiling raised? He's demonstrated that he's not willing to let the economy go down in flames to make a political point about Republican intransigence. He's not going to use the 14th Amendment to get around dealing with Congress. And he's not going to get a clean debt ceiling increase from Congress.

Unless they have some other strategy that nobody knows about, it seems like Obama has promised something he can't deliver on.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin

    by CaptUnderpants on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:20:15 AM PST

  •  He has to negotiate (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Losty, MPociask, VClib

    over the sequestration cuts (which likely could cause a economic dip or possibly a recession) and the expiration of the continuing resolution, all of which happen within a few weeks of the debt limit.  My suspicion is that they will all be rolled together into a package of cuts to replace the sequestration cuts, while authorizing raising the debt limit for some period of time and passing another continuing resolution for some period of time.  

    •  definitely possible (5+ / 0-)

      But that's pretty much the definition of negotiating to get the debt ceiling raised. If he agrees to spending and entitlement cuts to get the debt ceiling raised, the sequestration cuts delayed, and the CR renewed, that's functionally no different from spending and entitlement cuts just to get the debt ceiling raised. It's just (arguably) a better negotiation result.

      "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin

      by CaptUnderpants on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:30:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama stepped in it with that statement (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mookins, RFK Lives, MPociask
        I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they've already racked up
        He failed to realize there is no budget in place.  There can be no spending - i.e. no "bills racked up" - for the rest of the year without a Continuing Resolution (as coffeetalk mentioned above).

        The GOP can simply tell him "Ok.  We won't pass the CR until you deal with the spending cuts."

        The only question is: Does the GOP have the cajones to shut everything down?  That is what will happen without a CR.  But Obama's line-in-the-sand has basically told the GOP that is their only option.

        He's not very good at these negotiations.  His bluster gets him into water way over his head.

        •  Was "GOP cojones" question rhetorical? (3+ / 0-)

          They shut govt down mid-90's (in part b/c Newt didn't like seating arrangements on AF I).  They were visibly saner (or, at least, visibly less crazy) then.    Asking whether GOP is willing to shut down a govt they despise is like asking whether Boehner has a tannning bed.

          Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

          by RFK Lives on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:00:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Chained cpi is coming. (7+ / 0-)

      Rs will only support this if they can cause pain to Dems and make Obama look bad.  

      The Southern Rs are driven by racism underneath this.  We are seeing a split between Northern and Southern Rs in the vote yesterday.

      I suspect that Big Business will make demands on Rs to agree to a deal, and may influence some Northern Rs.  But the South is working on destroying our nation, and the Koch Brothers will finance that destruction.

      It wil take massive financial support by Wall Street and others to get Northern Rs to vote for any deal.  

      Big Business has to decide if they want to be ruled by the Koch Brothers libertarian/Bircherism.  

      I think they do not.  So a class collaborationist coalition between Obama, Wall Street, most Dems, and Northern Rs could pass a deal that most progressives will hate, but that does not gut the social welfare state.    

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:34:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  unless you think (0+ / 0-)

        those Northern Republicans could be persuaded by Big Business to vote for a clean debt ceiling increase, incur the wrath of their Tea Party base that would follow, and deal with a primary challenge, then we're looking at negotiations.

        And yeah, I think chained CPI is probably the bargaining chip the WH likes best and would be willing to offer up first.

        "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin

        by CaptUnderpants on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:42:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  chained CPI is slow death for Social Security. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JamieG from Md

        It's another step in dismantling the social safety net. It's a signal that the Dems have jumped the shark.

        •  I think it is a bad thing. I would not go so far (0+ / 0-)

          as to portray it as you do.  Of course, there's always raising the medicare age.  Any deal to avoid default will cost dearly.  All the things they will deamnd will be terrible.  We will see if public pressure matters.

          Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

          by TomP on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:12:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Chained CPI (0+ / 0-)

        and I would add a raise in medicare age as well.  I'm not sure what they will do with medicaid but I would be worried about that as well.

    •  Sequestration will not cause a recession (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grrr, elmo, librarisingnsf, Bon Temps, MPociask

      Ignoring the impact sequestration would have from reducing existing programs that hurt those paid by these programs for the moment.

      Total government spending across Federal, State and Local still increases year over year with sequestration.  In addition, the sequestration is less than $100 billion this year out of about $5,900 billion.  So government spending is still higher than last year, but reduced by less than 2% from what it would be otherwise.

      As half the sequestration is for military spending, this is one of the best opportunities to reduce military spending we will ever see.  In addition, as defense spending is disproportionately spent outside the US, if spending cuts were focused on foreign spending, the secondary impacts of the spending cuts would be extremely small.

      Cutting US defense spending in Europe, Japan and Korea are long overdue, and do little to stimulate the US economy.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:49:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Turn that around (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan, JamieG from Md

      Republicans have to negotiate over their sequestration cuts because they and their defense contractor lobby simply can't tolerate them. The cuts on are side are, comparatively, bearable.

      So we have the wind at our backs there.

      With respect to the debt ceiling, Obama will use public opinion against Republicans again as he did on the fiscal cliff. He'll go out on the road and ask Americans if they really would like to see the U.S. default on our debt because Republicans insist on cutting popular programs like Social Security and Medicare.

      •  Going on the road will help public opinion (0+ / 0-)

        ...but it doesn't provide for a strategy for avoiding negotiating over the debt ceiling increase at some point. The GOP doesn't roll over in the face of bad press like that.

        "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin

        by CaptUnderpants on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:47:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  With no tax cuts to hold as leverage? Fat chance.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scandalous One

      The GOP will demand cuts to the Big 3 in exchange for raising the debt ceiling...and Obama will cave on, ay minimum, SS.

      With regards to the endgame, do you really think the GOP gives a rat's ass about a recession? They'll roll those dice right into the 2014 and 2016 elections. At this stage, all they have is an impotent House majority that is currently in shambles. They have next to nothing to lose.

  •  The blockquote taking 14th off the table (8+ / 0-)

    is from July 2011. I do hope and wish they'd revisit that.

    It was said before we saw the House GOP REALLY IS THAT CRAZY. They really will blow up the US economy to reach their goals.

    And ultimately, that is not playing fair. It's a cycle of hostage taking that must be broken for the good of all administrations going forward.

    Or hey, how about Democrats demand Single Payer Healthcare or no debt ceiling raise? (I know, never going to happen.)

    "The marriage fight is over when we say it's over, and it's over when we win."—Dan Savage

    by Scott Wooledge on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:30:52 AM PST

    •  I hope they revisit it too (3+ / 0-)

      But I don't see any reason to think they will. What has changed about the constitutionality of, say, a trillion dollar coin between 2011 and now?

      I would love to see them change their minds on the 14th Amendment, but that would be a lot less likely than changing their minds on negotiating over the debt ceiling.

      "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin

      by CaptUnderpants on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:33:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  granted, there's no reason (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CaptUnderpants, homo neurotic

        to believe they will. The lines in the sand are only erased on one side of the political spectrum.

        "The marriage fight is over when we say it's over, and it's over when we win."—Dan Savage

        by Scott Wooledge on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:34:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If Obama tries to use the 14th Amendment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Scandalous One

          His presidency will be over, and he knows it.  That is why he/they took it off the table.  They are trying to kill the idea in advance so that the Left stops clamoring for it.

          The GOP would like nothing better than for Obama to create a constitutional crisis (re:  Scandal) early in his second term.  However you read the Amendment, objectively, there is enough legal theory saying that the 14th Amendment does not apply here to give them cover to say the President is directly violating his oath of office to defend the Constitution.

          Armed with that claim, I am 99% sure they would impeach him in the House.  Doubt me?  Look how hard it was to get the GOP House to accept a clear victory in the fiscal cliff deal.  The Tea Party was fully prepared to drive the car right off the bridge when they didn't get 100% of what they wanted.  A much saner House impeached Bill Clinton over a lie under oath.  And, if Obama were impeached, even if acquitted in the Senate, his presidency would, for all intents and purposes, be over.  Like Clinton, he'd still serve out his term, but he'd become the lamest of  ducks instantly.  

          Bill Clinton was a happy warrior of sorts.  He could live with impeachment.  Obama is the great compromiser.  He is also the great bi-partisan.    For Obama, it would be his worst personal nightmare.  And, imagine the spectacle of the nation impeaching the first black president?

          Obama's "line in the sand" about not negotiating on the debt ceiling is a joke,...unless he doesn't plan to negotiate because he is already going to give away the store.  

    •  They reiterated it on Dec. 6, 2012, and (5+ / 0-)

      were even more emphatic:

       

      Q    Okay.  And secondly, can we quickly revisit the debt ceiling question?  You were asked yesterday about whether the President would invoke executive power and the 14th Amendment.  Can you say that --

      MR. CARNEY:  And Peter, with lightning speed, dug up a quote that I thought would take at least a few hours to find.  (Laughter.)  Let me --

      Q    Have you found another one?  (Laughter.)  

      Q    Can you say that the President has ruled that out as an option, or can you say whether there are discussions or studies underway?

      MR. CARNEY:  Let me give you your answer.  I can say that this administration does not believe that the 14th Amendment gives the President the power to ignore the debt ceiling -- period.
       

      Were he to go the 14th Amendment route after that, he arguably would be taking steps that he believes to be beyond his Constitutional authority, in violation of his oath of office.  
      •  Exactly. (0+ / 0-)

        That's pretty Shermanesque.

        The right could quote Carney himself as proving Obama is acting as a dictator.

        "The marriage fight is over when we say it's over, and it's over when we win."—Dan Savage

        by Scott Wooledge on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:53:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That doesn't rule out the $1T coin, though. /nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MPociask

        Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
        I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
        —Spike Milligan

        by polecat on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:59:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um, yeah, pretty much it does. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Scott Wooledge, VClib

          That  clearly would be seen as a trick to try to avoid the debt ceiling.  

          It's not going to happen.  

          •  $1T coin has nothing to do with the 14th, but (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MPociask

            rather the ability to mint coinage of any value.

            Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
            I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
            —Spike Milligan

            by polecat on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:24:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  yes, but (3+ / 0-)

              Using that coin to avoid going through Congress for a debt ceiling vote is predicated on a 14th Amendment argument, since by law, Congress must currently approve all increases to the debt ceiling. The only justification for breaking the debt ceiling law is to say it is unconstitutional as per the 14th Amendment.

              "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin

              by CaptUnderpants on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:40:41 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, it's not (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                polecat, AmericanAnt, Scandalous One

                You don't go through the debt ceiling if you get 2 trillion dollars in free money.  The 14th amendment is not implicated, at all.

                The government can raise two money in two ways.  1) Issue debt.  This is subject to the debt ceiling.  2) Print money.  This is subject to Congressional approval, EXCEPT FOR the minting of platinum coins.  The President has clear constitutional authority to do the trillion dollar coin, and the diarist is wrong when he confuses the 14th amendment solution with the platinum coin solution.

                The debt ceiling conflicts with laws Congress has passed to spend that money, anyway.  The President should just ignore it, and say that if Congress didn't want to spend the money, it shouldn't have passed laws saying it should be spent.  Who would even have standing to sue?

                •  One word: Impeachment (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  VClib

                  The House would impeach him just as quickly for minting the $1T coin as they would for trying some 14th Amendment scheme.

                  Let's face it,...they have him in a box on the debt ceiling.  He is going to have to negotiate.  And, after he forced them to allow taxes to increase on somebody, they are goingt o demand a VERY large pound of flesh.  Maybe several pounds...

                  And, for all of you who think Dems "won" just because this deal had no spending cuts, you're going to find out how big a pound of flesh really is.

                  •  Impeach him for what? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Scandalous One

                    What high crime or misdemeanor would it be to use his constitutional, statutory authority to mint two coins, to ensure that the United States pays its bills?  

                    Even if he was impeached, so what?  The House can impeach him, but the trial would happen in the Democratically controlled Senate.  You think a Democratic Senate is going to convict a Democratic President?  

        •  The expected crash in the value of dollar, and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          polecat

          collapse of the US economy precludes the $1 T tricks.

          In order for a fiat currency to work, the market needs to expect that the government will restrain the growth of money to slightly above real economic growth.  The $1 T coin trick, undermines confidence in the dollar to a massive degree.

          There are an infinite number of bad policies that are permitted by law, the $1 T coin is one of them.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:21:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The guy with a kill list (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Scott Wooledge

        Who has authorized the assassination of American citizens, and sends American soldiers to war without a Congressional declaration, is suddenly supposed to worry about the limits of his Constitutional authority?

    •  The problem with the 14th Amendment option is that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grrr, CaptUnderpants

      the House (and perhaps Senate) GOP would then likely bring lawsuits challenging the lawfulness of the administration's decision to invoke said option, and although such a lawsuit should fail, given the current makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court anything is possible.  And if the U.S. Supreme Court found the President's action unlawful, we would then be looking at a Constitutional crisis like we haven't seen in this nation since the Civil War.

      What people on this site don't realize is that like it or not, the Nation elected a GOP House majority, and a result in order for our government to function our President doesn't have a choice but to make compromises.  He simply doesn't have dictatorial powers as some on this site seem to believe.

      We have nothing to fear but fear itself

      by bhouston79 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:54:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  By threatening to let all the Bush tax cuts lapse (4+ / 0-)

    Oh . . . wait.

    Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary

    by Paleo on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:31:49 AM PST

  •  I think the hostages were returned last night, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, vcmvo2, Deep Texan, Beetwasher

    contributors to the R's were fleeced out a billion dollars during the general election convincing themselves that crazy could win. It can't.

    Boehner nutted the baggers last night.

    Business will now go on as usual, across a table and not at the muzzle of a gun.

     

    "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

    by durrati on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:37:01 AM PST

    •  Hope you are right. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan, Beetwasher

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:39:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Me too, Tom (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan, TomP

        Me too....

        "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

        by durrati on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:46:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  except (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP

        There were 169 representatives who indicated they were perfectly willing to do business at gunpoint last night. And there will be more during the debt ceiling fight next month, when they are widely perceived to have the leverage and will have an easier time keeping party unity.

        "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin

        by CaptUnderpants on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:47:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Two points (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TomP, edwardssl, CaptUnderpants

          1. 169 is not a House majority, and the composition of the House changes slightly.

          2. Some of those 169 were safe voting "no" given that there were 40 extra votes for passage. They were able to put on their Tea Party theater for back home. Not sure that means they won't blink if it seems default will be blamed on them.

          Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

          by fenway49 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:04:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  both true (0+ / 0-)

            However, we didn't have 218 votes for a clean debt ceiling increase in the House even on the eve of default back in August 2011. Almost all of those 169 who voted no last night, on the brink of going over the fiscal cliff, would be also voting against a debt ceiling increase when we are on the brink of going over in a month or so. And that number will certainly increase for the reasons I stated above.

            "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin

            by CaptUnderpants on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:44:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The big question (0+ / 0-)

              is whether Obama will call their bluff or force them to do it.  I think that, if the GOP causes default due to unreasonable demands, the medium-term damage to the GOP brand will exceed the damage to the economy by a lot.

              If I'm Obama and I want to accomplish anything at all during my second term, I use the State of the Union to warn the nation about their nonsense, and get ready for a televised speech in late February. I would explain the issue, the long history of routine debt ceiling increases, and ask Americans to bring the political wrath of God down on these guys.

              There's plenty of evidence for your theory that he'll cave. But I don't think political dynamics are the same now as in August 2011, and I don't think all who claimed they were ready to default, rather than take a clean bill, then will actually do it.

              Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

              by fenway49 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:23:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

                There's plenty of evidence for your theory that he'll cave. But I don't think political dynamics are the same now as in August 2011

                You are right,...they are worse.  For the first time in 12 years, republicans don't have to worry about extending the Bush Tax Cuts.  It now takes a vote to recind them, not the other way around.  With that albatross off their backs, and since all republicans really ever care about is taxes, there simply is no leverage on the GOP.  Even in 2011, they had the looming threat of the presidential election.  

                And, before you ask, they aren't all that worried about 2014.  Hell will freeze over before a minority party takes over the House in their own president's second midterm.  My guess is that by summer 2014, Dems will be so embarassed, dejected, and demoralized by the previous 18 months, that just keeping the Senate will be a challenge.

                •  We'll see (0+ / 0-)

                  Dems picked up a few seats, though didn't quite take the House, in 1998 because the GOP jumped the shark. As tawdry as their Lewinsky-mongering was, default would be much worse.

                  I could see it going either way. What you say is true. But the political dynamics also are changed, I think, in that Obama does not need to worry about re-election anymore (I think he was much more worried than the GOP about the 2012 election in August 2011). And the country is more clearly down on the radical element of the House GOP than it was in August 2011.

                  Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

                  by fenway49 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:31:43 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  He just has to say (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dallasdunlap, grrr, Deep Texan, elmo, fenway49

    "We will not begin to negotiate until the debt ceiling is raised."

    the last time the republicans held this particular hostage, the country's credit rating was downgraded.

    THEY. WILL. FLINCH.

    •  there's no history (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MPociask, AmericanAnt

      ...of Obama's willingness to ever do that so far in his four years in office. I just have a hard time thinking it's in his nature to let the economy crater and have all of those millions of people hurt in the global fallout to prove a political point (even if it is a point highly worth proving).

      "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin

      by CaptUnderpants on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:50:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He knows as I know and as Republicans know (0+ / 0-)

        that when it comes to it, they are not going to tank the economy to demand cuts to popular programs like Social Security and Medicare. They just won't do it. I suspect Boehner will have to offer another "up or down" vote and let the debt ceiling be increased with another bipartisan vote.

  •  My cynical prediction (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CaptUnderpants, MPociask

    The debt ceiling can will be kicked down the road to resurface sufficiently prior to the 2014 elections to give the Tea Party fodder to get mobilized.

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:42:37 AM PST

    •  I think that's a pretty good prediction, actually (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elmo, War on Error

      the President has to negotiate over the other two big events, the sequestration cuts going into effect, and the expiration of the continuing resolution funding the government on March 27.  If they do raise the debt ceiling, they will certainly only do it for a year, setting up another show down in the summer of 2014, before the mid-terms.  

      •  Don't forget UI Insurance (0+ / 0-)

        That expires this time next year.  They have set these up nicely, so that the GOP gets to legislate their priorities every six months despite only controlling one of three lawmaking branches.  Neat, huh?

        And, you call them dumb?

        The only way out is for Obama to let them shoot a hostage.  Sucks if that hostage is you or me, though.

  •  Ways not to negotiate: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grrr, mikeVA, MPociask

    Use a strained interpretation of the 14th Amendment anyway.

    Or, mint some trillion dollar face value platinum coins.

    Or, announce that the debt ceiling is in contradiction to the Congressionally appropiated expenditures, and that since the approprations came after the debt ceiling vote last year, the appropriations de facto repeal the debt ceiling.

    Or, refuse to sign anything other than a clean debt ceiling bill and start closing things down when the limit is reached. Start with the FAA and air traffic controllers so that the richies can't fly anyplace. Then, target federal installations within the districts of unfriendly Congresspeople. And then, start suspending contracts on defense weapons programs.

    Wil he do any of that? No, because he's Barack Obama and he's playing 11th Dimensional chess. Which is to say, he has a U. of Chicago view of the economy and he wants to pretend to negotiate with the wingnuts in order to get the spending cuts he really wants.

    •  wish I could give you a zillion recs for this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MPociask
      Or, refuse to sign anything other than a clean debt ceiling bill and start closing things down when the limit is reached. Start with the FAA and air traffic controllers so that the richies can't fly anyplace. Then, target federal installations within the districts of unfriendly Congresspeople. And then, start suspending contracts on defense weapons programs.

      Dems in swing districts: INSIST your republican rep incr tax on the wealthy -gerrymandering makes rep vulnerable...swing district list: http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1162387/48457188

      by grrr on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:59:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  this article concurs (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MPociask, grrr

        Obama has to make sure bondholders get paid and will shut down federal agencies one at a time and furlough government employees, all of which will be on GOP's head.

        Excellent article on this from The Atlantic:

        http://www.nationaljournal.com

        pertinent quote:

        If congressional Republicans are threatening to let the nation default on its debts if Obama doesn't agree to their demands, they are violating the Constitution. And the president should call them out for such an outrageous demand.

        mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

        by wewantthetruth on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:46:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There's one major difference, O is lame duck (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grrr, elmo, librarisingnsf

    the real reason why he bowed down to their insane pressure with the last debt ceiling crisis is because Obama determined the GOPers in Congress were crazy enough to yes, destroy the US economy and the world economy, have a double dip recession, to get him out of office.  Now that he's been reelected, I think Obama is willing to hold the line on the debt ceiling, and use the bully pulpit and say how abnormal it is that Congress is refusing to pay its past bills, how it's always been raised, etc.  Even though he himself I think voted no in a previous vote (and I'm sure potential nominees like Rubio will vote no) he can argue that there can still be a straight up and down vote on the debt limit, and see whether GOP congresspersons and their corporate masters really want to destroy the US economy.

    I like Michelle more than Barack.

    by duha on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:54:29 AM PST

    •  sorry, lame duck stuff is nonsense (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Beetwasher, AmericanAnt

      and a right wing talking point.

      mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

      by wewantthetruth on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:47:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But again ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MPociask

      ... he has never done this.  He always says that something is off limits and then, introduces it as a sweeter, generally about half-way through the negotiations.

      And if he decided to grow a backbone, he would have used it in the cliff debate, and hammered out a deal with the new, incoming Congress instead of allowing tax rates to go up on 77% of Americans while preventing estate tax increases on all but the top 0.3%.

  •  ugh- send a drone in to hellfire congress? (0+ / 0-)

    ouch
    totally stupid and uncalled for

  •  he has already won the argument (4+ / 0-)

    they caved.

    the united states will pay its bills.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:05:29 AM PST

  •  Thanks for this exceptionally well written and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CaptUnderpants, MPociask

    argued post CaptUnderpants.

    Your constructive future forward way of expressing demonstrates diplomatic skills I aspire to but fall short of.

    Indeed, we need to put together a new strategy for this challenge after making the Bush tax cuts permanent, not a two year extention, and without having used them to negotiated more progressive alternative tax revenues to replace the 2% of GDP of tax revenues just lost.

    Jeffrey Sachs asserts that these tax cuts now peg government tax revenues at 18% of GDP, while current spending is 23% and he seems like a credible fellow. If his numbers are off by a bit, his basic point remains.

    Democrats appear to have just implemented the GOP "starve the beast" plan unsuccessfully launched by Ronald Reagan, temporarily extended by Bush, and now successfully implemented by Obama and Democrats.

    Until we regain control of the House, while keeping the Senate and WhiteHouse we will need to develop a new strategy for the year ritual to reduce government spending to 18% of GDP.  

    John Boehner is now ready for revenge and is reported to have told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to "F*ck yourself," and he has promised Republicans he will demand a dollar of cuts to government spending for each dollar of one year debt ceiling extensions. From the Republican statement on the day of the Senate vote, when they took chained CPI out, it was clear they believe Obama has already signaled his willingness to put it back in these debt-ceiling "negotiations.'  Expect Medicare eligibility, and other cuts that add up to $1.2 trillion will be their demand.

    I look foward to hearing what our negotiating strategy to oppose these will be.  This year and every future year until we win back the House or totally run out of social spending to cut, which looks like it may happen first.

    So far the "best" strategy I've heard is the "Depending on the Kindness of Stranger Republicans," approach where we appeal to their compassion, wisdom, and common sense not to explode an austerity bomb of cuts all at once that would throw our economy into a major recession.

    But, I'm sure we will think of others, hopefully soon.  

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:47:40 AM PST

  •  Don't negotiate (0+ / 0-)

    It's not that hard. Raising the debt ceiling is Congress's job, and there's absolutely no way they won't do it -- they owe too much to corporations. So the proper response to "What will you give us for raising the ceiling?" is "Go fuck yourself. That's your headache, it doesn't concern me one bit, and furthermore, I don't believe that you won't raise it."

    And that's exactly what Obama is telling them, and what he'll continue to tell them.

    matthewborgard.com ~ @MatthewBorgard

    by zegota on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:59:03 AM PST

  •  Selective Shutdown (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask

    Hopefully he will use his executive powers-  to determine which parts of the government get shut down when the money runs out - strategically to bring the GOP back in line.  I think thery will be unable to hold out once things start shutting down - much like '94.   I'm just not sure Obama is willing to stand behind that line like Clinton did

    What he won't do - but I would love - is just turn the whole thing around. "OK, Congress there is no debt ceiling increase without my signature - I'm gonna take it hostage and YOU are going to pay the ransom!".   Even if just for a day or two to make the public point that that is what they are doing....

  •  Obama doesn't have to do a thing. (0+ / 0-)

    Let the Republicans ruin their party even more.... Obama is no longer running for ANYTHING  they are.  If I was Obama I would simply say ... It is not in my hands it is up to Republicans to do the right thing.  End of story.

  •  You've asked the crucial question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask

    in the coming debt ceiling battle.

    I'm actually the tiniest bit optimistic that the President and the Dems have learned something from the last debt ceiling "crisis." I think they were genuinely blind-sided in 2010; that at least won't happen this time around.

    Mr. Obama's response to the coming fight will tell us a lot about what to expect for the next two years. I don't doubt that the President sees through this issue as the manufactured "crisis" it obviously is. The question is how he intends to meet the challenge this time around.

    The debt ceiling fight is going to reemerge in 60 days. That's a given. If Mr. Obama will then invoke the 14th Amendment, authorize an admittedly gimmicky trillion dollar coin, or utilize some other innovative method of stopping the "crisis" in its tracks, that's all well and good.

    Great, in fact.

    Even better might be to do nothing at all.

    A refusal to even discuss the debt ceiling is a winning strategy. The debt ceiling is a made-up issue; mirrors and smoke. The ones hurt most by an actual refusal to raise the ceiling are the bankers and the rest of the 1%. They're content to keep their powder dry while it's all just teabagger bluster, but they will NEVER allow a real-world default on the American debt.

    I'm not sanguine that Mr. Obama sees the coming "crisis" the same way, but I badly want to be proven wrong on this.

    If though he hopes to defuse it through normal legislative horse-trading, he once again will make the mistake of confusing his opponents with rational human beings. That's counter-factual. Today's GOP is dominated by terrorists, as fanatical and nihilistic as any Jihadist in the mountains of Pakistan.

    Whatever solution he adopts, the GOP-as-terrorists is the working assumption Mr. Obama needs to start from. Otherwise, he has no real leverage to raise the debt ceiling without giving up cuts to social spending in return...

    especially since he's already on record that the cuts to the military budget required by sequestration will never be allowed to stand.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:00:35 PM PST

  •  Spending is up to Congress (0+ / 0-)

    Congress is responsible for approving all spending and revenue for the country - the President is required to enforce those regulations, but cannot unilaterally introduce new taxes nor spend money without authorization. He can refuse to sign bills sent to him by Congress, but that's about all his direct influence on spending.

    Congress, on the other hand, is in fact responsible for figuring out how to fund the government, and for making the numbers balance. If they decide not to give the Treasury the ability to cut checks, that isn't really the President's fault, since he can neither sign nor veto legislation that never reaches his desk.

    I realize that this is the Civics 101 version of reality, but I'd like to see the President start telling it like it is rather than buying into the notion that he's somehow holding up progress. If necessary, force Congress to pass a bill with unacceptable provisions and veto it as a means to highlight what the Republicans are trying to pull.

  •  The past is prologue (0+ / 0-)

    He will give the GOP any thing it desires (and helpfully offer up some things that those of little imagination failed to demand initially). Then, many here can twist their pretzel logic to convince us (1) it was an absolutely brilliant move, as he just set them up for total destruction in the 2076 election, (2) well, at least we got some windmills and a few unemployment checks earlier, and (3)what do you expect him to do? These people oppose his policies, so one has to capitulate everytime they scream "boo".

  •  I hate to be late to a thread, but.. (0+ / 0-)

    IMHO the diarist is incorrect to group the platinum coin option with the 14th Amendment option.  They are entirely different strategies, with different legal consequences.

    I see that it's been pointed out elsewhere in this thread, but it should be made clear that the Justice department ruled out the 14th amendment option, NOT the platinum coin option.

    And really, its not hard to see why.  I think it is true that the President could invoke the 14th Amendment and issue new debt, but its also true that  there would be a ton of lawsuits, and any debt sold this way would have a big asterisk on it until the courts resolved the situation.  

    Nobody like to buy hundreds of billions of dollars in debt that has asterisks next to it.  The result would be market chaos that might be nearly as bad as a default, and potentially worse if court rulings came down against the president.

    The Platinum Coin option on the other hand is entirely legal, and bypasses the debt ceiling entirely.  The President just deposits a coin with the Fed and buys back some of the trillions in Treasuries that the Fed is holding.  

    The President can then re-issue this debt because the debt is effectively paid off.  So where we had 16T in obligations and a 16T debt ceiling, now we have 14T in obligations and 2T in space under the debt ceiling, which allows the government to issue new debt.

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