Skip to main content

Photobucket

Here are two articles reporting that both Senate Majority Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have signaled President Obama that they will support him if he decides to remain true to his promise not to negotiate with Republicans over the debt-ceiling, although it is not entirely clear what exactly this means into terms of what would be done to avoid defaults.  

In Harry Reid Would Back Obama If He Bucks GOP On Debt Ceiling: Source


WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has privately told other Democrats, including President Obama, that if the administration used its constitutional and executive authority to continue paying its debts in the face of House Republican opposition, he would support the approach, according to a source familiar with Reid's message to the president.

The simplest escape route out of the debt ceiling impasse is for the president to direct the Treasury to find a legal way to pay its debts. The Treasury then has a variety of options. One gaining particular attention relies on a law that allows the Treasury to mint a coin of unspecified value and deposit it with the Federal Reserve. Those funds could then be used legally to pay debts.

It would be possible, however, for that statement to be true and for the president to pay the debts by citing 14th Amendment powers. If the president went the route of the so-called "platinum coin," he could use the 14th Amendment to tell Congress that the constitution gives him no choice but to find all legal ways to honor the "validity of the public debt." The Treasury could legally mint a coin worth enough to cover debts for several years and deposit that coin with the Federal Reserve. The funds would not be used for spending that isn't authorized and appropriated by Congress, but only to pay debts. The president, therefore, would not be ignoring the debt ceiling, because there would be no new debt subject to the limit.

While in the past presidential advisors have said the President will not pursue the platinum coins, the other major option to maintain operations would be a partial shut-down of government operations using just tax revenues.

The president has not gone in to any details of what his plan would be, other than to say he will not negotiate the debt ceiling.

Photobucket

In Pelosi on Raising Debt Ceiling Unilaterally: ‘I Would Do It in a Second, But I’m Not the President' reports:

(CNSNews.com) – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday that she would raise the debt limit unilaterally “in a second” if she were president of the United States.

Pelosi and other Democrats have suggested that the president could bypass Congress and unilaterally raise the debt ceiling by invoking the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which states, “The validity of the public debt of the United States…shall not be questioned.” ...

“I would do it in a second,” she said. “But I’m not the president of the United States.”

The forth section of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution states:

“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

So some, including former President Clinton, believe this could empower the President just to unilaterally raise it without even using PCS coinage or some other mechanism.

The hard deadline on the debt-limit is reported to be February 28. The delayed sequestration hits March 2, and a new continuing resolution to extend budget funding is due late March.  

Given how much fun everyone seems to be having with this continuous emergency, perhaps one solution would be for Congress and the President to agree to extend all fiscal clliff 60 more days.  But, by that time we should probably call it the permanent fiscal roller coaster?  

7:20 PM PT: Thanks to ferg and several others who helped advance my thinking on this by creating a list of options. Since it's late Friday night I'm invoking the "Now For Something Completely Different" rule that late evening humor trumps decorum, that allow me to set copy this silly comment, intended to be humorous, instead of rewriting it for affect congruence with the post above. Anyone concerned about this can read the comments to discern the evolution of my mood, which is substantially improved. from the previous despair and anxiety about this.

So this makes three scenarios for what might (0+ / 0-)
happen.

1) Partially shut down the government and run the core operations on the 88% of budget that can be sustained on tax revenues.

2) Tell Treasury and maybe also the Federal Reserve to continue issuing debt in defiance of the Congressional debt limit, or,

3) Use PCS coinage to raise deposits in Treasury to continue paying bills with no increase in debt.

Sorry, I realize this now obvious set of options so clearly before, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

BTW I really like listing and numbering things as if we understand "truth" in such solid ways that we can assign numbers to our insights.  lol

"And, low, let it be heard! The President has declared that the number of the options for not negotiating with Congress over the debt-limit shall be 3!"  "And, so 3 shall be the number of the options. And, the advisors shall now go and discuss and evaluate these options and make recommendations!"

This really makes me feel so happy. I'm serious. I know it makes me look silly, but this has been the source of a week-long depression, that only needed another week to be clinically significant with my history.

But, not I'm relieved.  We have three perfectly good options any one of which could work fine for me, as long as President Obama choses one and sticks to it without backing down.

And, this list of three options now makes so many other things make sense. I usually find it depressing if I can't understand all things after concentrating enough on them. So, this "I will not negotiate over the debt thing was starting to get me down"  But, now I'm fine. Better than fine.  This would explain why Harry Reid gives such as curiously worded, but non-specific endorsement would it not?  He saying to the president, we have not idea which of these you are thinking about, but we do not care which it is, we will support you in any of these options.

Nancy Pelosi too, but in a slightly different style that may appear to option 2. But, she also probably means any of the others if he choses. That's why she not flustered by the reporter saying advisors already said he wouldn't do option two, because in back of her mind, she's thinking, no problem, then he must be thinking of 1, or 3.  

Because if it took us, (me) this long to make a list of three options, when before we thought there were less than three and maybe zero, then it is perfectly plausible to think there might very well be 4, or some unknown additional options we don't even know about yet.

See, this is why I like making numbered lists of options because we can say, if our list is growing by a new option every hour of discussion, then sampling theory might suggest others may be on there way.

What a great conversation.  I am really pleased not.  Thanks to everyone who help me advance my understanding and thinking about this.

So 3 shall be be the current numbers of options. Ha! Most excellent, indeed.

"Let the kingdom rejoice for we have 3 options! Each one even better than the others."

 

7:23 PM PT: There are much greater insights in these comment discussions than the above, but this is the most succinct way of me to organize them in my mind. You will see many observations in the comments about the constitutionality, liklihood, etc of each one, which I will eventually put in a matrix which is even better than a list. But, until I get some kind of framework to keep things organized I find it more taxing to think about complexity.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Constitutionally if He Does This, Can the House (17+ / 0-)

    go to the Court? And what weight does a potential ruling carry?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:39:21 PM PST

    •  The platinum coin option, you mean? (7+ / 0-)

      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

      by Addison on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:42:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd be very surprised (17+ / 0-)

      if any court would want to step into a balance of powers fight like that. I'm not even sure a private citizen would have standing to sue.

      I think the only constitutional option would be impeachment, and with Reid signing off on executive action in advance, conviction on Articles of Impeachment would be impossible.

      When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

      by litho on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:47:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great question Gooserock. I don't know. We may (12+ / 0-)

      need to hear from constitutional scholars.

      The 14th Amendment would seem to require both the Executive and Legislative branches to take whatever measures necessary to pat the debts of the U.S.

      But it also gives the House power to initiate budgets.

      And, there is a law giving the House the power to control the debt-ceiling.

      A counter-argument I read today on RedState was that the President can legally pay the debt, as welll as government salaries, veterans, Social Security an all other "vital operations' with the incoming tax revenue of 88% of the current buidget, so there is no need, nor justification for the President to invoke the 14th Amendment since he could shut down 12% of the government operations, canceling travel, training, regulatory visits, hiring, purchases etc. and still pay the debt on incoming tax revenues.

      I'm not a constitutional scholar.

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

      by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:49:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Even Con-Law scholars would be guessing: (11+ / 0-)

        There simply is no direct precedent and anyone who says otherwise is over confident.

        There is a doctrine of Constitutional law known as the "Political Question" doctrine which, to me, seems the most applicable.  The Political Question doctrine is based upon a situation which brings a question that is so "political" in nature that the courts will not address it and leave it to the elected branches to determine.

        In other words, even with standing (should Congress sue) the court can punt it out without ruling by determining it to be wholly political in nature.

        If I were a judge, that is what I would say, "y'all figure it out. . . don't leave it to me to be your whipping horse."

        Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

        by 4CasandChlo on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:55:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  now paging Adam B! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog, Lujane

          but yes, no one would know, and there are a bunch of different possible readings, which would come down to the Supreme court, ultimately.  God only knows how they'd slip the noose.  I'm pretty sure they would, though.

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:59:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Later, elsewhere someone suggested that the (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lujane, DerAmi, Bluehawk

            Supreme Court would be unlikely to insert itself in between such a dispute between the other two branches of government, so impeachment would be the only option for the House which the Senate will not approve so President Obama wins by default but then proposes the Resolution I propose elsewhere trading off PCS coinage for the elimination of the debt limit being applied to debt and spending already authorized.

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

            by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:14:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  politically that makes sense (0+ / 0-)

              however, legally, I'm not sure that the court could avoid it, if one of the branches called on it.  HEre, we've got a matter of constitutional interpretation which I'd guess the courts would have a hard time shrugging off with political question doctrine.  

              Interesting times.  We could live with the consequences of this for a while.

              Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

              by Mindful Nature on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 11:52:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  The power to spend ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sharman, Lujane

        Only Congress has the power to authorize spending and cuts.

        Cutting travel or training in the military for instance, may shut down entire programs.

        Does the president have the right to decide spending unilaterally?

        •  I don't think so (6+ / 0-)

          The line-item veto got struck down, right?

          Power of the purse lies with the Congress. Of course, if they've approved the spending and tax revenue levels, isn't that the same as approving the debt?

          Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

          by bear83 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:34:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  no (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lunachickie, Lujane, Bronxist

          but remember, government spending was also approved by Congress in the budget enactments. We have a deficit because Congress authorizes spending and taxation, but has'nt reconciled them.  

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:00:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  He'd issue IOUs. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bronxist

          There would be no casting the validity of the government's debts "into question" ... they'd just issue scrip to be redeemed later, once the whole mess is cleared up.

          I'm sure the law that's applied is different in many respects, but California went through a bill-paying crisis a couple of years ago.

          •  And who would buy this scrip? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bronxist

            That'd work real well on the world markets. A bond is already a form of IOU--a promise to pay a certain amount of money on a certain date.

            So we'd be paying IOUs with IOUs. I'm sure investors who use Treasuries because they are secure and liquid won't have any problems with that. Because surely their creditors will just take that scrip as payment too, right?

            Sure, we can do it. And we can kiss the days of paying virtually zero in real interest on our debt goodbye. And maybe the benefits of having the dollar as the world's reserve currency, too.

            •  Ah, it would be paychecks and contractors paid... (0+ / 0-)

              The redemption of bonds and payment of financial obligations would proceed paid in cash from collected taxes.  It would only be government workers and payment for goods & services that would get issued the I.O.U.s.  Banks may or may not accept these government obligations as money in depositors' accounts -- I suspect the Fed would assure them that the I.O.U.s would be negotiable in some way or another (maybe credit the institutions with a like amount of dollars "on account".

              In any case, there would be a major constriction in economic activity; there'd be a recession.

        •  But all he's doing is paying debts on spending (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aviate, Bronxist

          that Congress has already authorized. He's not actually authorizing spending.

          •  Right ... (0+ / 0-)

            But if Congress has not authorized borrowing then there is no way to pay for that spending.

            Once the debt ceiling is reached, and no more Tbills can be issued to raise new debt, the President has to decide which bills not to pay, or which programs to axe. That means deciding what to spend on and what not to spend on: for instance, can he decide not to send social security checks to congressional districts that did not vote for him? What governs his authority?

            That is the power allocated to Congress?

      •  Why would (0+ / 0-)

        the Legislative Branch have standing? This is an enumerated power in the Constitution for the President alone, isn't it?

        The 14th Amendment would seem to require both the Executive and Legislative branches to take whatever measures necessary to pat the debts of the U.S.

        It is time to #Occupy Media.

        by lunachickie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:36:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They'd have to show harm, wouldn't they? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lunachickie

          Not a lawyer, here, but similar questions of standing have been tossed out when the party bringing the action (Republicans in Congress) couldn't establish that they've sustained any harm by the executive's action.  It'd be hard for Boehner to argue that his paycheck being paid constitutes "harm" to him.

          •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

            they can't show harm if the prescribed Constitutional Remedy fixes the problem.

            They would have no standing. The beauty of this thing is that a President does not need Congress for this--that's why it's a unilateral power.

            It is time to #Occupy Media.

            by lunachickie on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:24:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  The House can go (15+ / 0-)

      to court and add to the debt by using the tax payer's dime for more lawyers -- and then see if the Supremes will grab it immediately from the D.C. District Court.  

      Part of the the debt is paying the fucking Congress, past Congressional pensions and the Supreme Court.  I'd like to see how that would go.

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:54:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The House would probably impeach Obama (6+ / 0-)

      but the Senate wouldn't.  So overall he wouldn't be impeached.  

      President Obama, January 9, 2012: "Change is hard, but it is possible. I've Seen it. I've Lived it."

      by Drdemocrat on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:59:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, this is encouraging. We may have more power (9+ / 0-)

        here than I realized.  

        I was really surprised to see the quote of Bill Clinton suggesting President Obama has the power to just order the Treasury Department to ignore Congress.  Would this include the Federal Reserve as well?  If so they could just defy congress without any weird PCS stuff and tell the Congress to stuff it.

        The House obstructionists will not only look like hostage taking terrorists but impotent ones as well.

        This would probably be very bad for their public relations.

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

        by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:08:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hah! Maybe this was why President Obama was so (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bear83, msmacgyver, Noor B, markthshark, Lujane

        adamant on New Years Eve when he defiantly and even to seemed to flash anger when he reminded the House Republicans that he will not negotiate over debt they have already authorized!

        This makes sense finally.  I asked several places here, "What does this mean?" How can he say he is not going to negotiate? What is the other option?

        But, this could be the secret ace up his sleeve causing him not to be as concerned about "loss of leverage" as many of us were at the time.

        He may already have this in mind, and know he is prepared to stand off the house and win on debt ceiling, knowing that the GOP will want to negotiate to make the sequestration cuts less onerous  - especially to the military.

        With control of the Senate the House does not appear to be able to pass an alternative budget so is it true that means there only option there is to pass a continuing budget resolution?

        If so the President would seen to hold a vastly stronger hand than I imagined.  And, is may be ready to play hardball.

        Which is great because the alternative of conceding at tax revenues at 18% of GDP would be a disaster.

        But, if we have the option of financing the current 5% of GDP gap with unilaterally debt extension we do in fact have negotiating leverage.

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

        by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:17:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Impeachment from this House would (13+ / 0-)

        be a Badge of Honor.

        When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

        by msmacgyver on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:28:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  "impeached" but not "convicted" (9+ / 0-)

        "Impeachment" is like indictment -- charges against you. That's what the House does.

        Then there's a trial in the Senate.

        So Bill Clinton was impeached -- but not convicted or removed from office.

        I would not be eager to bring this on, as it was a huge distraction in 1998-99.

        •  If the House does attempt impeachment, (10+ / 0-)

          republicans would face an even greater public backlash than with Clinton's impeachment.

          I think that republicans will fold on this one, as they just did on the "fiscal cliff".

          The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

          by SoCalSal on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:11:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bingo! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eztempo, Williston Barrett, SoCalSal

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

            by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:06:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  This is why I'm so upbeat now. Every scenario (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lujane, eztempo, Aviate, SoCalSal

            we are analyzing seems to end in total failure for the House GOP and tremendous damage to the reputation and image of the Tea Party.

            These are some of the strongest "auto-delegitimazation" scenarios I've seen. Like shoot themselves in the foot over and over and then moving up their legs and then they keep going right out to their more important parts.

            Self implosion of credibility.

             

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

            by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:10:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Really. I'm sure some of their nuts would (0+ / 0-)

            salivate over the opportunity for impeachment.  But this would be significantly less defensible particularly with people expecting to be paid for debts owed by the government.  I would assume they'd be unable to pay for Sandy relief if they were unable to come up with funds.

            "Forever is composed of nows." Emily Dickinson

            by Leftovers on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:43:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Backlash, right. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SoCalSal

            I keep hearing about his "backlash" that the Republican's suffered after their farce of an impeachment against Clinton in '98.

            So, this backlash, that would be the one that put the White House, the Senate, AND the House in Republican hands solidly for the next decade, right?

            Except the House, which was only until 2006 Republican.

            Backlash?  Gawd, lash MY back like that, baby!  

            If that was the price the Republican's paid for their impeachment of Clinton you can BET they'll try it again with every Democratic president ever elected, forever, and who could blame them?

            *The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. - Kos 8/31/10*

            by Rick Aucoin on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 11:15:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You made me LOL. Good comment! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rick Aucoin

              But Clinton left office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. president since World War II, so the impeachment was unlikely the cause of subsequent republican wins.

              I do believe the public majority would disapprove of an attempt at impeachment over the debt limit. House republicans would be stupid to try it... but they might try anyway.

              The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

              by SoCalSal on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:21:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Distractions are about all Republicans (0+ / 0-)

          really do.

          And they look really stupid, yet still get elected. How does that make the Republican voters look?

          /yeah, I am getting frustrated with some of my fellow Americans... sigh.

          This better be good. Because it is not going away.

          by DerAmi on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:55:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The House Impeaches, the Senate Convicts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Williston Barrett

        The Senate Tries the case.

        Impeachment = Indictment (like a Grand Jury)

        If the House impeaches Obama -- the trial is held by the Senate, and IIRC the Chief Justice presides...

        •  Does the Senate have the right to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aviate

          refuse to hear the case...i.e. dismiss the case?  I know even  Trent Lott and company weren't exactly thrilled to have the House impeachment turd dumped in their lap.  I seem to remember something about they went through with it because they felt they owed it to their fellow Repubs in the House.

          "Forever is composed of nows." Emily Dickinson

          by Leftovers on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:48:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If the House votes to impeach (0+ / 0-)

            The Senate HAS to hold the trial -- in Clinton's case the Senate did not vote to convict him.

            Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment -- it was a pretty good bet that the Senate WOULD have convicted him.

    •  It seems to me that any taxpayer could sue in (12+ / 0-)

      federal court and claim that this was unconstitutional, but I am not a lawyer.

      The other thing the House Republicans could do is to impeach Obama. Of course that would have zero chance of resulting in a conviction in the Senate.

      Since impeachment would be a totally futile waste of time, increase the partisan divide, and prevent anything useful from getting done for months, I would say it is their most likely course of action.

      •  You're a character, Andrew. So the new method of (4+ / 0-)

        predicting GOP behavior is to imagine the "totally futile waste of time, increase the partisan divide, and prevent anything useful from getting done for months" add in some extra spite and vindictiveness?  

        This is a good one. But dang, in the grocery store tonight I had just decided to not say anymore unkind things about the GOP while I worked on a true bipartisan advocacy for them not to destroy Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on the basis of wisdom, compassion, and true concern for the common good and best interest of our nation, as a last resort because I couldn't imagine this or anything else we could do.  

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

        by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:22:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  /chuckle (6+ / 0-)

        One can never go wrong suspecting House Republicans of doing something moronic.  

        Who knows?  Maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised this time.  Or not.  Anyway, pass the popcorn, please -- I'll take mine with a smidgeon of butter and some sea salt.

        "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, v3, n18 (-8.50, -7.23)

        by Noor B on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:34:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Like "executive privilege" the president's... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, HoundDog, SoCalSal

      authority described in section 4 of the 14th Amendment has been largely untested in the SCOTUS.

      I think the Republicans taking this to court [for them] is a huge risk. There's a better than even chance they'd lose even with the court structured the way it is now.

      I mean, think about it; do they really want to give the president whom they hate with the passion of 1000 burning suns... even more executive power? Especially when gutting the social safety net is so unpopular that it could marginalize the party for a generation when they get all the blame?

      As much disdain I hold for the GOP and as much as I would like to see them fail -- I would advise them to not go down this road. It's a waste of precious time that could instead be used to tackle jobs, gun control, immigration reform and a host of other major problems we're facing.

      But... if you insist... please proceed, governor.

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:35:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is a FOURTH option, that would be the best (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bluehawk, TheDuckManCometh

      When Congress passes two laws that clearly conflict, there are a series of ways to analyze how to resolve the conflict. The President, just as the judiciary, is entitled to interpret the laws the executive implements.  The President would then interpret the Congressional enactments in a way to be able to pay the debts.  This gives rise to two variants of Option 4:

      Option 4A: would be for the President to interpret the later enacted statute to trump the earlier one, and to declare that by appropriating funds in the budget and various spending bills, Congress impliedly repealed the debt limit.
      Option 4B: A slight variant is for the President to develop another subtler legal theory that this conflict must be interpreted in a way that does not implicate a Constitutional violation.  Given the 14th amendment, clearly the debt limit must be interpreted in a way that does not cause the debt to be questioned.  

      Either way, the President can pay the debts and dare the House to impeach him or take him to court.  

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:55:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, the judiciary can rule against the executive (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eztempo, Bluehawk, TheDuckManCometh

      and order the Treasury NOT to pay the debts and then join Salman Rushdie in hiding as the people storm the Supreme COurt with pitchforks in the ensuing depression.

      I can think of no better way to discredit the judiciary permanently, though Scalia and friends are far more creative than I in this area.

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:57:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah: how do Boehner/McConnell enforce the 'Limit' (0+ / 0-)

      I guess they'd have to pass a strongly worded letter to AG Eric Holder instructing him to send an FBI agent over to the White House to arrest the President?  Book 'im into the Capital basement jail along with Tim Geithner?

      Nah, Michele Bachmann would draw up Articles of Impeachment and Lindsay Graham would prosecute in the Senate (he's got experience) to no effect.  That's it...the traditional Republican 2nd Term strategy for dealing with a Democratic President: two-and-a-half years of Impeachment Drama, the whole second term covered by continuing resolutions and Treasury defiance of Congress.

  •  Drama, drama, drama. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Mnemosyne, msmacgyver

    Our nation seems addicted to it.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:41:45 PM PST

  •  Shorter Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rick Aucoin

    "If a leprechaun suddenly pops out of the president's left nostril  - we'll vote to have all its gold given to the poor!"

    Does anyone believe this is the least bit likely?

  •  well... (10+ / 0-)

    this is a nice way of saying to the GOP that the adults are in charge so sit down and shut up.

    There will always be someone gauging you with a tolerance meter. Deeming you acceptable or evil. They're the best to offend.

    by jbou on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:54:53 PM PST

  •  The administration believes it would be (14+ / 0-)

    unconstitutional  to use the 14th Amendment route suggested by Rep. Pelosi.  

    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.
     

    After that unequivocal statement, if the President did use the 14th Amendment to unilaterally ignore the debt ceiling, he would be accused of knowingly acting beyond the scope of his constitutional authority and violating his oath of office.  

    I don't know that the administration has expressed any such unequivocal opinion on the trillion dollar coin thing, but frankly, it seems like such a gimmick to me that I can't imagine that it would not cause some kind of constitutional crisis with the executive branch again being accused of trying to circumvent Congress' power under Article I, section 8.  

    •  coffeetalk--Spot on. I "heard" Carney say this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, FindingMyVoice, Gooserock

      while listening to Julie Mason's radio show, Press Pool, on XM radio.

      Excellent point.  Probably just another "look at the shiny object over there" story.

      Mollie

      “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:59:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've read the appropriate section (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, Williston Barrett

        of the 14th Amendment several times and I just cannot see how the President could be seen as doing something unconstitutional by making good on the debt.

        In fact, I think his oath of office compels him to invoke the 14th Amendment.

        I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
        •  AtoF - well the POTUS knows a lot about the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eztempo

          Constitution and he, along with most legal scholars, doesn't agree with you or Nancy Pelosi.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:41:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Which legal scholars? (0+ / 0-)

            Those I have read simply say that the issue has never come up because the Congress has raised always raised the debt ceiling before as a matter of housekeeping. There is NO precedent on this matter but from the Constitutional language it is certainly arguable that Congress would be acting unconstitutionally if is refuses to raise the debt ceiling and pay the debts of the United States.

            To Goldman Sachs in according to their desires, From us in accordance with the IRS.

            by Bluehawk on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:23:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  the platinum coin is a delegated power (9+ / 0-)

      It's authorized by Congress already.

      31 USC § 5112 - Denominations, specifications, and design of coins

      (k) The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time
      Note, this only applies to platinum. All other coins and their values are specified with great detail.
      (b) The half dollar, quarter dollar, and dime coins are clad coins with 3 layers of metal. The 2 identical outer layers are an alloy of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel. The inner layer is copper. The outer layers are metallurgically bonded to the inner layer and weigh at least 30 percent of the weight of the coin.... In minting 5-cent coins, the Secretary shall use bars that vary not more than 2.5 percent from the percent of nickel required.... The specifications for alloys are by weight.
      The platinum coin is cheezy, but what other choice does the President have?

      1) He's not authorized to issue new debt ("authorized by law")

      2) He's not authorized to raise taxes.

      3) He's not authorized to spend less than Congress requests.

      What's left? At least the coin is authority that he does have.

      Maybe

      4) Pawn the Official Reagan Portrait to the Federal Reserve for $1 trillion.

      •  I've read that new coins cannot be minted (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg, HoundDog

        without Congressional approval of the design of the coin (who's portrayed on the coin, etc.)

        So this doesn't sound like it would work.

        •  that's the statue that I linked (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog, Williston Barrett

          You should go ahead and skim it. The crazy detail is pretty amusing.

          All coins are strictly regulated.... except platinum, which has an explicit delegation to the Treasury.

          Obama hasn't said what he's planning to do. I'd guess he'll stop payment on non-essential spending, even though he doesn't have that authority.

          •  So this make three scenarios for what might (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ferg, wwjjd, Williston Barrett

            happen.

            1) Partially shut down the government and run the core operations on the 88% of budget that can be sustained on tax revenues.

            2) Tell Treasury and maybe also the Federal Reserve to continue issuing debt in defiance of the Congressional debt limit, or,

            3) Use PCS coinage to raise deposits in Treasury to continue paying bills with no increase in debt.

            Sorry, I realize this is obvious, I just really like listing and numbering things as if we understand "truth" in such solid ways that we have numbers.  lol

            "And, low be it heard! The President has declared that the number of the options for not negotiating with Congress over the debt-limit shall be 3!"  "And, so 3 shall be the number of the options. And, the advisors shall now go and discuss and evaluate this options and make recommendations!"

            This really makes me feel so happy. I'm serious. I know it makes me look silly, but this has been the source of a week-long depression, that only needed another week to be clinically significant with my history.

            But, not I'm relieved.  We have three perfectly good options any one of which could work fine for me, as long as President Obama choses one and sticks to it without backing down.

            And, this list of three options now makes so many other things make sense, and I always find it depressing if I can't understand things.  But, this would explain why Harry Reid gives such as curiously worded, but non-specific endorsement would it not?  He saying to the president, we have not idea which of these you are thinking about, but we do not care which it is, we will support you in any of these options.

            Nancy Pelosi too, but in a slightly different style that may appear to option 2. But, she also probably means any of the others if he choses. That's why she not flustered by the reporter saying advisors already said he wouldn't do option two, because in back of her mind, she's thinking, no problem, then he must be thinking of 1, or 3.  

            Because if it took us, (me) this long to make a list of three options, when before we thought there were less than three and maybe zero, then it is perfectly plausible to think there might very well be 4, or some unknown additional options we don't even know about yet.

            See, this is why I like making numbered lists of options because we can say, if our list is growing by a new option every hour of discussion, then sampling theory might suggest others may be on there way.

            What a great conversation.  I am really pleased not.  Thanks to everyone who help me advance my understanding and thinking about this.

            So 3 shall be be the current numbers of options. Ha! Most excellent, indeed.

             

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

            by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:10:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sherlock Holmes (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HoundDog
              When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?
              Yep, exactly. I like these kinds of lists because they help focus on what you might be missing. Suppose you knew there was a #4, what would it be?

              Good points about Reid and Pelosi: "We don't know how Obama's planning on dealing with it, but whatever it is, we'll support him."

              •  They are really putting themselves way out on a (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ferg, wwjjd

                limb doing this. I hope President Obama appreciate this and give them and the rest of us a clue as to which of these, or whatever else he has in mind. PDQ.

                This is extraordinary loyalty, compared to the alternatives of just standing back and saying "Good luck, I hope that not negotiating thing works out for you."  And the sustaining the New Deal and 23% of existing GDP spending on 18% GDP revenues.  Good luck with that too.

                These are team players going all in to support the leader. He should reciprocate quickly.

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

                by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:53:44 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Option 4. The GOP backs down & it gets cleanly (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HoundDog

              raised. lol

              •  Good this is the best one yet. In fact this should (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wwjjd

                be our goal!

                Hey, what about this plan.  What if we get some conspicuous liberal bloggers to write out numerous numbered scenarios on the many completely different ways they could find themselves totally destroyed and crushed if they persist in trying to blackmail the American people by taking the full faith and credit of the the US hostage, and cause Social Security recipients, and  soldiers and their dependents to miss checks so they can give their billionaire friends even more outrageous tax break.

                And, we started leaving these around where they could see them and realize what a enormous strategic blunders they are about to make and how much damage to our nation, financial markets, and people they are about to do for a cruel and hopeless lost cause.

                And, we also get Wall Street CEO to call them and send this same message to theme from all directions. Even have some of their leaders like Newt Gingrich spell it out for them.

                And, then extend some reasonable but more moderate compromise ways forward as an alternative so they could save face.

                Where could we find such people wwjjd.  This is a great idea.  

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

                by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:01:13 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Lol. You do a great job. I read you just about (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  HoundDog

                  every day/night. I know looking at this today, trying to figure out what's what has been, wow! I'm with you in wishing the admin would give everybody a few more clues on strategy so we can either get: 1) the messaging out early and consistently; or 2) the pitchforks if we don't like the plan.

      •  This is sort of my line of thinking too. It was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg

        not intended for this purpose but if the Congress is so irresponsible as to cut off funding for debts and spending it has already authorized, and the President is required by the 14th amendment to make sure debts and obligations are payed and this is the only option it would seem to be a strong argument and maybe even constitutionally required.

        But, only in an emergency, and only for debt and spending authorized by Congress.  And, probably even under the declaration that as soon as the crisis is resolved the coin will be payed off and destroyed.

        One writer this morning proposed that after this crisis evolves President Obama offer the resolution that he would trade the right for the Executive branch to use PCS coinage in the future, in return for the Congress to agree to give up the right to unilaterally use the debt ceiling to freeze payments on debts and spending obligations already incurred.

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

        by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:31:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's hard to argue that's what (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, SoCalSal, FG

        Congress meant when they included that section in that law.  It was clearly meant to apply to commemorative type coins.  

        So, you might actually have a court challenge over whether Congress in that act actually gave the Secretary of the Treasury unilateral authority to mint a single coin to circumvent Congress' unilateral authority to borrow money under Article I, section 8.

        •  If Obama goes the $ Trillion Coin route (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ferg, 2dot, Yamara

          can he have the Mint put Reagan on it? After all, it was Reagan who really got us going on deficit spending to begin with.

          Plus, it might make the Republicans feel all warm and happy inside.

          Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

          by bear83 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:45:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  sure, but what can he do? (0+ / 0-)

          Pick one.

          All the options, including doing nothing, are beyond his legal authority.

          He has to pick something he's not allowed to do.

          When it's the Constitution vs math, math wins.

          •  Well, here's where there is some disagreement (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib, FG
            He has to pick something he's not allowed to do.
            I'm not sure that the country agrees that the President can do things he's constitutionally not allowed to do if he thinks those things are good for the country.
            •  it's about math, not "good for the country" (0+ / 0-)

              Read my list again. What happens when the debt limit is hit in March? What can the President legally do?

              •  ferg - pay about 2//3rds of the bills (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                coffeetalk, nextstep, ferg

                starting with interest on the debt and prioritizing the rest. Maturing Treasury securities can be rolled over because that doesn't increase the net debt limit. The President's team would have to negotiate with people we owe money to on the late fees, just like thousands of other organizations that are short of cash. Some legal experts opine that SocSec, because it has its own funding source, would not be impacted.

                In any event the US will not default on the interest or principle of its notes and bonds. It will never happen.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:59:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree, that's what he's most likely to do (0+ / 0-)

                  but my understanding is that he'd be exceeding his Constitutional authority if he does that.

                  •  ferg - why? (0+ / 0-)

                    It makes no sense to stop paying all the bills when you have the cash to pay some of them.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:09:14 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  He doesn't have the authority, as I understand (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      VClib

                      Like the line-item veto, which was unconstitutional, the President can't pick and choose what to fund. (Clinton vs New York, Impoundment Control Act 1974, Train vs City of New York).

                      Although, after Googling, it looks like Presidents did have that power ("Impoundment of Appropriated Funds) before Nixon abused it, and it was rule unconstitutional. So maybe it would be allowed in this scenario.

                      Title X of the law, also known as the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, specifies that the President may propose to Congress that funds be rescinded. If both the Senate and the House of Representatives have not approved a rescission proposal (by passing legislation) within 45 days of continuous session, any funds being withheld must be made available for obligation. Congress is not required to vote on such a proposal and has ignored most Presidential requests.[4] In response, some have called for a line item veto to strengthen the rescission power and force Congress to vote on the disputed funds. The Act was passed in response to Congressional feelings that President Nixon was abusing his ability to impound the funding of programs he opposed, and effectively removed the historical Presidential power of impoundment.
              •  Legally and constituionally, not much (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib, ferg

                it seems to me.  Congress is the one that  has the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States, not the President.  

                If Congress does not authorize more debt, it seems to me that constitutionally, the President is not empowered to do much except point out what he thinks of what Congress is doing.  Congress then lives with the consequences of what Congress did, or failed to do.  

            •  But the PCS coinage is legal, and he is required (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bluehawk, TheDuckManCometh

              by the constitution to pay the debts and spending already authorized by congress.

              His argument would be that it is unconstitutional, invalid, and inappropriate for Congress to try to abrogate the responsibilities, legal obligations, and constitutional powers of the Executive branch, by imposing misuse the debt-ceiling law on debt and spending they have already authorized.

              Additionally, it would be a separation of powers violation that the SCOTUS shouldn't get involved in.  The only recourse for Congress would be impeachment, which the Senate will not approve -- so case closed. And, it never even gets heard if the President invoke this argument and sticks to it.

              Then in a brilliant stroke of constitutional genius he proposes a "grand resolution" of this constitutional crisis by suggesting that the Congress and President cooperate with new laws changing the debt-limit law to that strange change of default the President proposed last month which seemed absurdly improbable at the time, but now makes sense, that the Congress could propose a debt ceiling but if he vetoed it they need a 2/3 majority to override.

              In return he would cooperate in changing the PCS coinage to put limits on its use for this purpose.

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

              by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:34:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  And it wouldn't be a matter of the President (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            taking actions that would be unconstitutional if the trillion dollar coin thing happened.  It would be the Secretary of the Treasury taking action contrary to law, if the law was not intended to give the Secretary the authority to do what the Secretary is doing.  

            •  Not contrary to law. Contrary to your opinion. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TheDuckManCometh

              Construing the law would be a question of fact that could be argued either way.
              However the 14th amendment is more clear.
              It would be easy to argue that Congress would be acting unconstitutionally if its actions or inaction calls the debt of the United States into question.

              To Goldman Sachs in according to their desires, From us in accordance with the IRS.

              by Bluehawk on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:32:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  The former head of the US Mint opined today that (5+ / 0-)

          he thinks it's "perfectly legal" to use for this. http://politicalwire.com/...

          He added: "One of the ironies in this story is that a GOP Congress passed the legislation over the objections of a Democratic Treasury, and now, today, Treasury may well be in a position to use the law as leverage to neutralize the GOP's threat to hold the debt limit hostage."
          •  One can argue that it is not only legal but it is (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wwjjd, Bluehawk

            constitutionally required by the 14th amendment to requiring that all legal means be used to pay the debts and obligations of the U.S. government.  They House has already exercised its constitutional role authorizing it.

            Any law that would impede this legal and legally required functions, such as trying to over-extend the debt-limit law in violation of the separation of powers would be unconstitutional.

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

            by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:39:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  True. It was clearly meant to be used for (0+ / 0-)

          commemorative coins. But, they put no limits on it.  In worse case they could make them just a $billion each and make a 1,000 of them and advertise in coin magazines and late night TV to make sure its clear they are real commemorative coins.

          I don't think it would be the first time laws end up getting used in innovative ways, not originally imagined.

          Just as an example, apparently the way the Federal government  justified drug laws such as the Harrison Act, was to invoke the Commerce Clause saying because it is possible for drugs to be sold across state lines the federal government could tax it. So technically when drug pushers are arrested and sent to prison it is for selling drugs without a special tax stamp.

          And, they have been able to even arrest those who grow marijuana in their back yard for private use, because it is conceivable that that dope could have been sold.

          Under the same logic we could probably make masturbation illegal under the premise that you could have paid for it, which would be illegal prostitution.

          So, I don't see how original intent would necessarily be an impediment.  

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

          by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:25:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Who would have standing to challenge in court? eom (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ferg

          Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

          by Ian S on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:13:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  this is how i see it too (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Garrett, HoundDog, TheDuckManCometh

        The President's job is to see that the laws are followed and enforced; if the laws seem inconsistent, the president is supposed to figure out a way to interpret and implement all the laws (or as many of them as possible) so that they are not in conflict. If the debt ceiling becomes a binding constraint and the laws requiring the government to do things that cost money (or to transfer money to those in need, or contractors) cannot be followed, then the President needs to figure out what to do. The Treasury cannot issue more debt, because the Congress has the power to prevent this through the debt ceiling.  Yet the spending has been authorized and appropriated by Congress.  Unless the Treasury coins its own money, the laws requiring the government to do things that cost money (or to transfer money to those in need, or contractors) cannot be followed. So the president has to tell the Treasury to coin its own money. There is no other lawful option.

        •  Agreed, nieman. I think you just articulated the (0+ / 0-)

          winning argument. Compelling in its simplicity, and bolstered by the violation of the separation of powers, undermining the foundation for the application of the debt limit compared to the President's 14th amendment obligation to pursue every legal means to pay the existing debt and spending obligations already authorized by Congress.

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

          by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:42:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Have the Fed front Rick Harrison a $Trillion (0+ / 0-)

        (outta their secret Magic Window, y'know)...then the POTUS can pawn that Reagan portrait in Las Vegas for your $trillion, deposit it in the Treasury, and redeem it later!

        Thanks ferg for an elegant option #4!

      •  Put W's portrait on the coin (0+ / 0-)

        He's the one who created this mess in the first place.

        And a Gadsden flag on the reverse, just to fuck with the teabaggers...

    •  Well, that would seem to settle that. I saw that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Little

      paragraph but was not sure if it meant the sovereign coin thing or ordering Treasury to continue operations.

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

      by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:26:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  At first I was annoyed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheDuckManCometh

      that the president rejected that option so unambigously. But then I decided that leaving that option open could be a trap. Republicans could dare him to do it, then, if he did, they could turn it into a scandal about the president's abuse of power, rather than the malfeasance of Congress, putting the president on the defensive, and attempting impeachment. They could milk it for years.

      "It is easier to fool people, than to convince them they've been fooled" - Mark Twain

      by Sarge in Seattle on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:50:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When do we get the edit comment function? (0+ / 0-)

        "unambiguously"

        "It is easier to fool people, than to convince them they've been fooled" - Mark Twain

        by Sarge in Seattle on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:51:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  At the cost of their own self-destruction. The (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheDuckManCometh

        President's argument is stronger and will win.  Any House GOP member who voted for impeachment would be thrown out just as happened with Clinton, when he actually had a much worse case.  No case at all really. Even then people thought it was wrong. This case is a no-brainer win by the comparison.

        The President would be acting with honor and nobility to to the right thing for the nation, Social Security recipients, and carrying out his Constitutional obligation of the 14th Amendment to pay the debt, with a perfectly legal PCS coinage law.

        On the other hand, the terrorists in the House GOP is trying to over step the separation of powers, to hold the President of the United State and the American people hostage in order to accomplish the goal of harming the American people and our nations cut credit and reputation to give tax breaks to their billionaire cronies.

        This is the only scenario I can imagine where we could win back the House in 2014 by an overwhelming margin even given the 7% gerrymander hurdle.

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

        by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:49:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Link please where Obama said he wouldn't (6+ / 0-)

    use the platinum coin option.   I read where he said he wouldn't use the 14th amendment but I haven't read that Obama himself said that he wouldn't use the platinum coin option.

    President Obama, January 9, 2012: "Change is hard, but it is possible. I've Seen it. I've Lived it."

    by Drdemocrat on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:57:24 PM PST

    •  I haven't seen him make any remark on it. A few (0+ / 0-)

      weeks ago, an anonymous source leaked a story saying his legal advisors examined it a few months ago, and decided it wouldn't hold up to a constitutional challenge.

      But it was vague and long before so many more credible people are supporting the idea as a lost resort under the "extreme challenges justify extreme measures" theory.

      As in it may seem "unsavory," gimmicky and sneaky, but no where near as bad as the alternative of giving into to terrorist like demands of House GOP holding entitlement cuts hostage to threat to destroy the "full faith and credit of the U.S. government."

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

      by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:36:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, it's questionable whether that (0+ / 0-)

        statute was meant to give the Secretary unilateral authority to mind trillion dollar platinum coins or - as seems a more reasonable interpretation -- was meant to give the Secretary unilateral authority to mint commemorative type coins.  

        •  True but the intent does matter in this case. The (0+ / 0-)

          14th Amendments requiring the President to instruct the Treasury Department to find and pursue any and every legal means of paying the debt overrides any original intent concern.

          Which doesn't have to be worried about in any case as the case will not be heard. Impeachment is the only option the House has  and it will not happen as we control the Senate.

          The President just has to say he is not part of that "original intent cult" some Justices like to pontificate about.  Instead he believes as a majority of constitutional scholars, and anyone with common sense, and I modern worldview that the Constitution is a living and breath document that evolves to the needs of the day, which is why we have amendments.

          I don't see how the original intent of the PCS even comes up, as it is not one of the foundation constitutional issues here, such as the 14th Amendment and separation of powers, but just a legal mechanism providing that the Treasury Department can mint platinum in any denominations it want to, with any limits.

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

          by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:56:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  You can look at it this way: (11+ / 0-)

    Congress has ALREADY authorized the money to be spent.  Therefore it has authorized the money to be borrowed.

    How about the Senate introduce legislation that EVERY appropriation includes an authorization to raise the debt limit by that amount.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:04:29 PM PST

  •  If I was an eleventy dimensional chess player, I (4+ / 0-)

    would implement the 14th amendment option the second after the debt ceiling is reached. Make sure we go over, make sure it is clearly the GOP to blame, and then take credit for saving the day.

    I would DARE the GOP into getting into going to the Supreme court over making sure that the USA cant' pay its debts.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

    by CTMET on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:25:34 PM PST

  •  More Kabuki (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SouthernLiberalinMD

    First, does anyone really think Obama is going to challenge the GOP much on the debt ceiling?

    Second, when Obama and Reid admit in public that they know austerity does not nor never will fix the economy, I'll begin to think they're serious about any of this.

    They're reading a script written by the K-Street lobbyists and "centrist" think tanks.  

    Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

    by Betty Pinson on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:34:02 PM PST

  •  I've been doing a bit of reading today trying to (10+ / 0-)

    figure out where Democrats expect this to go. I started at Greg Sargent's place after he tweeted

    His article's good and he frames the issue perfectly

    ....what “not negotiating” on the debt ceiling looks like has a simpler answer than you might think: The White House just treats this as Congress’ problem. You can see that framing already in this comment from the White House today (emphasis mine): ”It is quite clear that the economy will be better if Congress does its job and does what it routinely has done historically which is raise the debt limit without problem.” 
    Then, Greg followed up with coments he rcvd in an email from Walter Dellinger, Clinton's former solicitor general
    I understand why the debt ceiling is a problem. What I don’t understand [is] why it’s Obama’s problem. The debts that will come due are the debts of the United States, not the debts of Obama family and not even the debts of the executive branch…

    ....I don’t see why either political party or either branch of government should gain any leverage by threatening economic harm to the United States of America whose financial management is the mutual responsibility of each of them.

    The whole thing reminds me of the great moment in “Blazing Saddles” when Sheriff Bart takes himself hostage by pointing a gun at his own head. The simple townsfolk of Rock Ridge were dumb enough to fall for it. Are we?

    Hostage scene starts at 2:43. Warning: The N word is used.
    .

    Later comments from Shumer to TPM appear to show that this may indeed be the route the Democrats take...

    "Anyone who wants to come and negotiate, and say ‘we will raise the debt ceiling only if you do A, B, C’ will not have a negotiating partner. And if then they don’t want to raise the debt ceiling, it’ll be on their shoulders. I would bet that they would not go forward with that.”
    Democrats (hopefully) To the GOP: You're gonna raise the debt ceiling. Period.
    •  While this is a fine sentiment I agree with (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wwjjd

      I don't see how this gets carried out.  The Executive branch is the one that has to write checks.  What does it do when the money runs out?  

      Continue to write checks or not?

      How can it write checks if no money is in the accounts?

      My understanding of the two option: is that they put money in the Treasury accounts.  

      Option 1: Mint the $1.2 Trillion coin (now Harry Reids people seem to be saying $2 Trillion) and deposit it meaning they can write checks without violating the ceiling which seem cleaner as no laws are broken.  (The President ordering people to violate the law seems problematic, though not unprecedented)

      Option 2: Order the Treasury and Federal Reserve to continue selling Treasury bonds as if the debt-ceiling law did not exist.  Is this what you mean ignore Congress and say it is not his problem?  Because ordering Executive branch employees to violate a Federal law seems like it becomes a problem for the President really quickly.  Maybe even conspiracy as well?

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

      by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:44:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yep (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wwjjd, HoundDog, TheDuckManCometh

      The GOP will not default. Simply not gonna happen. It's a bluff intended get Obama to back down on entitlement cuts. He can respond to these demands in one of two ways. Either say that he won't cut them and dare them to default (which they won't). Or he can say sure, tell me what you want to cut and I'll consider it. They won't, because they don't want to be seen as the ones who proposed these cuts. And then they really can't default, because they look reckless AND stupid. They're dug themselves a hole and all Obama has to do is point down at it and maybe throw in some rope.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:28:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dirt lets see at one penny a ton it would take (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    100 Trillion Tons to make 1 Trillion dollars so at 1 ton per 20 cubic feet it would take around 2500 miles by 2500 miles by 12-13 feet thick to back the Coin with something Tangible an that's just around the size of the US sorta and for a 10 Trillion Coin well it'd be 120-130 feet thick,Of course my math could be off.So just think of all the things that could be used to back that Coin up if the way they want to do it by just saying it's worth 1 Trillion Dollars is to upsetting for many in the Country.

    •  The amount of platinum in the coin would not be (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, Garrett, defluxion10

      equivalent defluxion10.   It wouldn't be like a return to the gold standard.  It could be like a few dollars of platinum and a denomination printed on it.  Like a fancy poker chip.

      If we had to buy $1 trillion of platinum then it wouldn't be worth it.  

      But, we'd have to be really careful the president didn't lose it or let it slip down a grating or something as it would be really embarrassing to have to announce "we've lost the trillion dollar coin" if found please call the White House.

      I imagine they would probably get one of the attractive looking fancy boxes, or chests with either black or red felt lining and a little platform holder.  And, then lock in in a special vault at Treasury, with maybe even a guard.  Or, at least a special sign "Do not misplace this box"

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

      by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:29:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    Could the Federal Reserve just loan the government money? It "prints" the money and it can create it on its own authority. Its job is to keep the economy humming.

    Many an insightful opinion and observation can be found on my blog Occam's Razor. UID: 875

    by Guy Noir on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:16:42 PM PST

  •  Wingnut Nation is threatening impeachment (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Gooserock, wwjjd

    ... if Obama does this, on the grounds that his action would be "unconstitutional."

    Bring it on.

    Of course, Obama's main crime in the eyes of Wingnut Nation is BWB -- Breathing While Black.

    •  oh good, that means this idea is spreading and the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wwjjd, Williston Barrett

      GOP is aware of the scenario.  Some of them have the intellectual capacity to realize how catastrophic this scenario will be for them.

      Newt Gingrich already did this morning without even calculating the whole making them look impotent and irrelevant added angles we've developed here.

      He could see the political optic going bad for them just under the premise that they would like terrorists take the nation hostage demanding cuts to Social Security, Medicare, the elderly, sick and poor, salaries for the military at war, veterans, disabled veterans, and their surviving spouses in order to fight for tax cuts for billionaires and mega-corporations with record profits while workers have falling real wages.  Yes,  Newt is observant like this.  But, the only thing Americans hate worst than terrorists who take the common good of American hostage are impotent terrorists who think they can and then turn out to be incompetent destructive fools.  Even some of those RedState folks have sufficient intellect to figure this out if we give them a few weeks.  And, explain the details repeated through back channels.

      So we might then soon see some movement from national leadership.

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

      by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:38:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So? Dem Majority Won't Convict and Expel nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, Williston Barrett

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:53:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Teabags would be threatening to impeach.... (0+ / 0-)

        Obama if he actually directed the nation to PAY FOR EXPENDITURES ALREADY AUTHORIZED BY CONGRESS.

        It would reveal the GOP as nothing more than domestic terrorists, perfectly willing to shove the nation into the economic abyss in order to protect their billionaire sugar daddies.

  •  You forget the best option of all (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, wwjjd

    Call their bluff, because they WILL NOT default.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:24:57 PM PST

    •  But are not all of these options calling their (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wwjjd

      bluff?  But, these are specific scenarios of how we could imagine it playing it out.

      Previously I was wondering, supposed President Obama says I refuse to negotiate and call you bluff.  And, they say, go to heck, no we call your bluff.  Then what actually happens if you can't pay the bills? You just sit there and say to American, "but I called their bluff, first," while soldiers and their spouses, and Social Security recipients don't get their checks, and financial markets collapse?  

      Just saying, "Nope, not my problem, I told them I wouldn't negotiate." doesn't seem like and adequate response.

      So, Congress and the President both just sit there refusing to talk to each other while people suffer and markets are in chaos?

      Flight controllers turn off the radar and go home? Because the electric company shuts off their electricity?  

      I've never understood how just saying, "But, I called their bluff first, or I warned them" is sufficient.  We need a back-up plan to keep things going.

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

      by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:44:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're making it way too complicated (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog

        The financial and corporate sector can't afford a default and won't let them do this. It's the mother of all bluffs. This isn't a hostage-taking situation. It's a suicide bombing. And they're not that crazy. I suppose that it doesn't hurt to have a backup plan, but I don't believe we'll need it.

        Obama just needs to say "Then do it. I dare you.".

        That's IT.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:28:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good news! If the President (4+ / 0-)

    is resolved on this course, then it might well be time for at least us bloggulators to start the "Republicans will destroy America if we don't hurt the most vulnerable people!" messaging to the world at large.


    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:27:06 PM PST

  •  This I the way to go (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Williston Barrett, mwm341

    Let he republicans take it to the Supreme Court.  By the time it is heard, the country will be so disgusted with their bullshit that they will be voted out.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:30:58 PM PST

    •  As long as we have options to keep righting the (0+ / 0-)

      checks.  I like the two options that keep the government running at 100% better than the partial shut - down.

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

      by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:49:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, Pelosi and Reid are not the issue. It's how (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SouthernLiberalinMD

    fast and when Obama will undercut them.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:46:59 PM PST

  •  Getting through this without blinking (5+ / 0-)

    Would go a long way in showing that the president isn't allowing yet another GOP manufactured crisis to agree to deep cuts to SS and Medicare that he would rather not own.

    The president has called for cuts, its no secret, but Obama has gone much closer to GOP demands in negotiations in general than vice versa.  That's why I'm concerned about what a final deal would look like if the president blinked again.

    If he blinks this time its going to be interesting to read the excuses for yet another capitulation. I hope he proves the skeptics wrong, including myself.

    •  Ditto. That makes two of us that hopes he proves (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quasimodal, HoundDog

      skeptics wrong.

      For the life of me, I can't even imagine what excuses will be offered up, if he signs onto the Chained CPI, "means testing" Social Security and/or Medicare, and raising the age of eligibility of Social Security and/or Medicare.

      I have a feeling that I'll wish that I were on another planet, LOL!

      Mollie

      “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:02:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog

        I don't want to see any cuts to these programs but at the same time if cuts are made I certainly don't want them deep enough for the GOP to sign off on them.  

        Republicans signing off on the severity of those cuts will be a good indicator of how damaging they will be to the poor and middle class.

  •  He won't (0+ / 0-)

    Obama will not defy the GOP on the debt ceiling. He will "agree" to cut SS , probably through a chained CPI.

    ( I am writing this on Jan 4th 2013. ) Mark my words.

    How anyone doesn't see this is beyond me. I'm glad he beat Rmoney, but the man is ideologically a Rockefeller Republican.  The corptocrats that he raised billions from (and control our gov't) will allow nothing less.

  •  put paul ryan's mugshot on coin (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    hell...let's call the coin a ryan

  •  Let's hope. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Williston Barrett

    Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will back President Obama.  But, will President Obama back himself?

    Loud doesn't make you right.

    by molunkusmol on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:54:10 PM PST

  •  I’ve thought of another option (0+ / 0-)

    Call their bluff. The President could come up with a list of things the government will stop paying for:

    He would announce that, even though Congress has authorized spending the money, the Republican members of Congress have refused to increase the debt ceiling.

    -- On Monday, we suspend paychecks for Members of Congress and all of their staffers.
    -- On Tuesday, we stop paying our military officers.
    -- On Wednesday we suspend Social Security checks, including direct deposits to banks.
    -- On Thursday we shut down Yellowstone and all of the other national parks.
    -- On Friday we shut down airports when we stop paying TSA security screeners and air flight controllers.
    -- This could continue for a couple of weeks.
    The outrage, the uproar, would be enormous. It’s probably too draconian, but it’s an idea.

    “If you misspell some words, it’s not plagiarism.” – Some Writer

    by Dbug on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:56:15 PM PST

  •  What a change (0+ / 0-)

    Six months hath wrought!  Just goes to show that if you hang around long enough, a million monkeys really can turn out Shakespeare.

    Last August, it looked like Obama, IF he got re-elected, would have only two options, neither very appealing: go out on a limb with the 14th Amendment interpretation, basically defying Congress and enacted law (the kind of thing a Roosevelt might do, but unlikely from our Very Cautious President), or shut down the government in some way or form.

    Enter Beowulf, a blogger on monetary/economic forums, who researched and came up with the Platinum Coin concept.  Follow on with a dozen, then a hundred other bloggers who picked up the idea and took it viral.  Now the President has a completely legal option that not only CAN he use; there's a good constitutional argument that he MUST use if Congress continues to obstruct the basic functions of government.  Before, he had to expect yet another bruising negotiation in which the Republicans would refuse to allow government not in their image to continue to exist upon this earth.  Now, he can basically give them the finger.

    Chalk one up for the Internet Age and the power of crowdsourcing.  A million minds IS better than a couple of hundred, even when those couple of hundred are carefully selected, brilliant Congressional and White House staffers.  Up to this point the internet has helped us to do pretty much what we did before in politics, only faster and better.  But truly innovative problem-solving only emerges from the same old box once in a millenium or so.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site