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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Sunday on Meet the Press, responding to a question from David Gregory about whether he'd be willing to once again hold the United States and world economy hostage by refusing to raise the debt limit without severe spending cuts:
It's a shame that we have to use whatever leverage we have in Congress to get the president to deal with the biggest problem confronting our future. And that's our excessive spending.
It's obvious that McConnell wanted his answer to sound really tough and teabaggery. When a GOP politician wants to get his base excited, there's nothing like chest-thumping about how Republicans are going to punish President Obama for being a bad boy—preferably while simultaneously blaming the president for forcing them into meting out the punishment.

But beyond his rhetoric, there's still a question of what exactly McConnell meant by "whatever leverage we have in Congress." Based on his past statements and those by John Boehner, you'd think he was saying that he is willing to hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage, and clearly that's what he wanted to imply, but the interesting thing about the interview is that McConnell wasn't willing to come out and say that explicitly.

By my count, David Gregory asked McConnell five times to get more specific, and the quote at the top of the post was as close as McConnell came to endorsing another hostage crisis. For the most part, McConnell dodged by turning his rhetorical focus to the president, saying things like "Now the question is will the president lead? Why should we have to be bringing him to the table?" It was a similar story on CBS, where Bob Schieffer asked the same question three times and McConnell dodged getting specific three times. And on ABC, George Stephanopoulos asked five times without getting a clear answer.

To be clear, McConnell wasn't renouncing the threat of holding another hostage crisis, a position taken last week by The Wall Street Journal, Newt Gingrich, or Judd Gregg, each of whom said the GOP would ultimately cave on the debt limit and would be ill-served by making empty threats. But by refusing to explicitly say he'd be willing to "shoot the hostage," McConnell was at the very least trying to avoid the hostage-taker label. And that's an implicit acknowledgment that the politics of the debt limit really aren't as favorable to the GOP as its leadership has been claiming.

Sure, Republicans have the power to block a debt limit increase if Democrats don't agree to cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. But if they do that, it will be a political disaster for them. Not only will they put President Obama in the position of being able to save the economy with the trillion dollar coin, they'll be doing it over a refusal to cut benefits to the most popular public programs in America.

And they can't say that Democrats weren't willing to support cuts, because President Obama has repeatedly made clear that he is willing to support such cuts—as long as there is an equal amount of revenue. With Republicans refusing to entertain the notion of a balanced deal, they would be on extraordinarily weak ground demanding benefit cuts in exchange for paying the bills on debt we've already incurred—so weak that I'm convinced they wouldn't follow through on their threat. But even if they actually are willing to follow through, it doesn't impact how they should be handled.

As long as Republicans refuse to accept new tax revenue, there's two ways to look at their negotiating posture: either they are bluffing, in which case the correct move is to call their bluff, or they are serious about blowing up the economy, in which case the correct move is to refuse to negotiate with terrorists while simultaneously strengthening our defenses against them (in other words, getting moving on the trillion dollar coin idea). And no matter what scenario unfolds, there is no reason to appease them—and there's plenty of reason to not fear them.

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Comment Preferences

  •  McConnell really is a sleazy character. (27+ / 0-)


    Good post, Jed.

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

    by TomP on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:32:31 AM PST

  •  Wasnt his wife the Labor Secretary under W? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, blue aardvark, TomP

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:37:28 AM PST

  •  Sen. Turtle and Sen Hucklebery Hound will continue (9+ / 0-)

    to descend into madness well into 2014 due to the threat of a teahadist primary

    As the Elites Come Together to Rise Above to Find a Third Way to do Rude things to the 99%

    by JML9999 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:37:55 AM PST

  •  So if he's been a an asshole, (5+ / 0-)

    can I call him turtle head?

    Too early for toilet humor?  Sorry.

    Lawrence, KS - From ashes to immortality

    by MisterOpus1 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:38:09 AM PST

  •  i don't see this playing out the same way (15+ / 0-)

    all Obama needs to do is say "Remember when the US lost its AAA rating? Do we want that to happen again?"  They can't keep pointing an empty gun at this and think it's going to get the same play.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:38:43 AM PST

  •  I wish Democrats in 2007 (7+ / 0-)

    Would have used similiar tactics dealing with
    Iraq and Afghanistan Wars - told Bush to either get out or cut the funds.  We could have ended these wars and had a much better fiscal outlook today.

  •  I prefer referring to opponents by their name (5+ / 0-)

    for the same reason I dislike it when those on our side are called pejorative terms.

  •  I'm sick of hearing this (21+ / 0-)
    . . .with the biggest problem confronting our future. And that's our excessive spending.
    Should be, "the biggest problem confronting our future is lack of jobs, lack of investment and climate change."
    I wish the Democrats would repeat that over and over and over again to at least counter the god-damn Republican (and conserva-dem) lies we here over and over and over again.
    Hey, a guy can wish can't he?

    "When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. My life is a movement between these two." - Nisargadatta Maharaj.

    by mkor7 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:49:15 AM PST

    •  Spending includes Corp/Rich write offs, deductions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Azubia

      & loopholes.  So let's cut them.  This is a set up for 2014. Ok, Mr Speaker, you cut $1 of oil subsidies and we'll cut $1 of farm subsidies.  Deal?

      GOP Wars against: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Immigrants, Mexicans, Blacks, Gays, Women, Unions, Workers, Unemployed, Voters, Elderly, Kids, Poor, Sick, Disabled, Dying, Lovers, Kindness, Rationalism, Science, Sanity, Reality.

      by SGWM on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:43:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What I don't get (7+ / 0-)

      is why the next questions don't go like this:

      If Republicans believe that the biggest problem confronting our future is excessive spending, why do they keep approving spending?  Isn't the time to cut spending before you make the purchases?  You don't cut spending by refusing to pay your bills, do you?

      They control the purse strings, as they love to remind us.  So why are we in debt?  

  •  Trillion Dollar coins (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, Amber6541

    won't happen.

    And Republicans did accept new tax revenue in the fiscal kerb deal.

    I think Obama will have to give some cuts. Hopefully we can get some defense cuts in addition to modest social program cuts, that is, not entitlements.

    It's tough to negotiate with psychopaths.

    If you aren't outraged, you are an idiot

    by indefinitelee on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:51:59 AM PST

    •  not even if they put (5+ / 0-)

      Reagan's picture on the trillion dollar coin?

      Stephanie Miller suggested that this morning

      "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."

      by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:56:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But a few thousand $10,000,000 coins might work (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wendys Wink

      If I were a member of Congress, having just sworn to support this same Constitution that has a 14th amendment, I would not want to have to explain how I'm at once questioning the payment of the debt and threatening to stop payments, after having just been arrested for treason.

      Serious questions of patriotism must be raised, having serious consequences for the answer.

      Why isn't this going to the courts? Hey courts, if these guys say they're defending the Constitution when they aren't, can we bust them for treason?

      If you are in Congress, can you do just anything, no matter how much it threatens everyone?

      •  If you want to get technical (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cocinero, Smoh

        refusing to authorize the debt limit increase, and thusly refusing to pay the debts would be against the 14th amendment, and thereby treason.  Treason would remove every one who voted against it from office.

        A man can dream.

        95% of all life forms that once existed on earth are now extinct. It is only a matter of time until the Republicans follow suit.

        by PRRedlin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:49:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  There should be no consideration or debate (0+ / 0-)

      on cuts unless the Repubs offer further revenue. The cuts enacted in the past year (750 billion in Medicare for just one example) are worth more than double the tax breaks enacted. Considering the Repubs "one to one" cuts to revenue demand, they still owe bringing more revenue to the table. Trying to force cuts alone going forward should be an absolute non-starter in any case. Repubs are trying to push the idea that taxes were already dealt with and are finished with the revenue increases going forward is pure bullshit. They know that they undercut revenues in the fiscal cliff deal and they know that the Preident expects more in any negotiation with cuts. Call their bluff Mr. president. Congress needs to pay the bills on the money they allocated. The debt ceiling deals with last years spending and Congress needs to fulfill its Constitutional obligation to recognize the debt they enacted through legislation. Cut and dry. Raise the ceiling and THEN let the negotiations begin.

      •  what $750 billion cut? (0+ / 0-)


        the issue with increasing revenue is that the discussion to this point has been on letting the Bush tax cuts expire and now they basically have for the highest income earners.
        they aren't going to increase marginal rates at this point and eliminating the tax cuts for everyone else is a tax hike on people who can afford it less.

        If you aren't outraged, you are an idiot

        by indefinitelee on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:19:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nancy Pelosi (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      had an answer yesterday on Face the Nation.

      In fact, if I were president, I'd use the 14th Amendment, which says that the debt of the United States will always be paid.
  •  We're seeing unmistakable signs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, FiredUpInCA, Mimikatz

    of Republican weakness, going into the debt-ceiling talks this spring.

    Something tells me they aren't just bluffing.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:53:17 AM PST

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

    There's some difference of opinion on whether Obama could use the coin idea to "solve" the crisis.  That would obviously be followed up with a challenge to the SCOTUS.  But there's almost no argument that increasing currency circulation by a trillion overnight would have other disasterous results.

    In other words, we should probably give up on that tactic around these parts.  

    •  Not any different than QE. No disasterous results (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wolf10, ferg, DSPS owl

      from any of the QE programs, even if people are shouting "OMG inflation."   No inflation.  Treasuries are at effective 0% interest out to 10 years and the world keeps buying as a safe haven.  In this econ environment (recession bordering on depression) you want economic stimulus , not austerity.  See Krugman,  Forbes magazine,  IMF Euro report.

      •  exactly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        inflation only occurs when the cost of borrowing rises.  With the cost of borrowing free, $1 trillion is unlikely to cause more than a blip in inflation rates, considering our entire economy is upwards of 50 trillion.  That would a mild 2% inflation.  Current rates are 1.76%...  the typical healthy inflation is between 2-4.5%.  Hell, mint an extra trillion and invest in public works while your at it mr. president!

        95% of all life forms that once existed on earth are now extinct. It is only a matter of time until the Republicans follow suit.

        by PRRedlin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:52:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Obama may not be a dyed-in-the-wool liberal (5+ / 0-)

    But he is performing a service to every liberal in the country every time he gives Grover Norquist a sad.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:53:50 AM PST

  •  There's More To This Than Meets The eye (7+ / 0-)

    There is one aspect to this whole debt-crisis thing that I don't recall seeing it addressed.  As I understand it, the ceiling involves debt that has already been incurred.  Thus this involves United States' promises being kept.  And if the United States does not honor its financial commitments, then its credibility goes down the tubes.

    What the Republicans conveniently forget is that, as I recall, their boy W sold some American paper to China.  Now, if the United States reneges on its debts to any degree, then I believe that China would be in the right if it started to ship the American IOUs that it holds to this country to be cashed in or redeemed.

    Republicans love to bloviate that the United States is the greatest country in the world. Well, in my book, one of the signs of a great country is to honor its commitments.  And that means its financial commitments as well as its military commitments.

    To put the United States in a position to default is an act of treason in my opinion, because it puts the country at risk.  And this point should be driven home to the Republicans.  But Democrats can't and won't do it because to bring up the treason angle would require a backbone of steel, and the Democrats aren't known for having that kind of courage.

    In any event, I believe that the proper course of action, lacking the treason idea, is to call their bluff, draw a line in the sand, and dare them to cross it -- AND MEAN IT THIS TIME!!!

    •  Yes, but what you fail to understand (0+ / 0-)

      is that these people are in favor of china becoming the super power in this century, and will gladly move their at first sign of this, being part of the upper upper class.

      95% of all life forms that once existed on earth are now extinct. It is only a matter of time until the Republicans follow suit.

      by PRRedlin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:54:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  i resemble that remark (11+ / 0-)

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:55:24 AM PST

  •  Rec Rec Rec (12+ / 0-)

    Agree 100%. Democrats need to stop agreeing that spending is the biggest problem.

    Jobs. Infrastructure. Climate Change. Those are the issues Dems need to be talking about. Cutting spending does nothing to help any of those.

    I'd love to hear Bob Shieffer ask McConnell how cutting S/S and Medicare creates jobs.

    Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

    by bear83 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:55:24 AM PST

  •  Great. If there is "no reason to appease them", (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    then we can be certain that the Dems and our President will not yield and will not agree to take funds from Medicare and Social Security.

    I feel much better about the situation.

    "She was very young,he thought,...she did not understand that to push an inconvenient person over a cliff solves nothing." -1984

    by aggressiveprogressive on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:56:00 AM PST

  •  I agree with mcconnell...cut spending (16+ / 0-)

    30% defense
    oil subsidies
    farm subsidies
    corporate tax loopholes
    prescription drug prices

    $379 billion a year, $3.79 trillion over ten years.

    while at it, increase capital gains for companies that hang on to cash rather than reinvest in their own companies to create jobs.

    please proceed.

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

    by wewantthetruth on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:57:02 AM PST

    •  Farm subsidies are small potatoes. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Most of the money in the Farm Bill goes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). Some goes to worthwhile conservation programs. The Senate farm bill that was blocked in the House in cut some of the most egregious subsidies.

      The other things on your list are much bigger potential sources of spending cuts, especially defense.

      •  understood (0+ / 0-)

        general statement but get it.

        avg farm income is over 11k annually than rest of avg income BEFORE subsidies.

        I am against cutting food stamps and conservation cuts (and likely some other programs) but $30 billion is $30 billion and with other cuts, adds up.

        Not my call, just suggesting that there are spending cuts beyond thinking about any changes to earned benefits IMHO.

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

        by wewantthetruth on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 11:21:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Trillion dollar coins (0+ / 0-)

    Here's the problem with that approach.  It's not macroeconomic: you're not really printing (or in this case minting) money, you're just doing an end-run around the law -- at a macroeconomic level, that coin is basically a high denomination bearer debt instrument.

    The problem is that it makes things worse.  Here's why.  If Obama and Bernake do this, the Republican base is going to go ballistic.  This will be tied up in the courts for years.  That would do more damage to the marketability of U.S. debt than anything that would happen if McConnell and Cantor decide to shoot macroeconomic hostages.  Why?  Because the secondary market will continue to trade U.S. debt instruments.  It is, to be sure, a very recessionary tactic (practically speaking, the U.S. has to curtail autonomous spending, and interest rates will go up because the secondary market will take a premium for stepping in) but it won't sink the full faith and credit of the government.

    And it's politically a loser for the Republicans.  (Terrorists who shoot hostages rarely garner public support for whatever cause they're trying to promote.)  This puts an upper limit on how long this will go on and further exacerbates the internal friction in the Republican party between the hard right and the loony right.  The Turtle Man gets this, and enough R's will get cold feet to end it.  The current trading in the bond market reflects this: if the markets thought there were going to be a long stalemate, interest rates on long term debt would be soaring.

    It would be neat, though, to see exactly how one goes about securely transporting a trillion dollar coin that fits in one's pocket.

    •  but the other option is a 40% immediate cut (0+ / 0-)

      in all government spending, which would severely hurt the economy.

    •  so make a bunch of smaller ones (0+ / 0-)

      If you make a thousand ten million dollar coins, you'll have the ultimate collector's item. You'll draw attention to the fact that there are indeed quite a few people who can afford these.

      And if the R's did go ballistic, how would we be able to see anything different going on in that cloud of wet ape feces?

      •  also (0+ / 0-)

        More bearer debt instruments is all either side has to throw at this, at the end of the day, anyways.

        And I'm not so sure we'd see this "tied up in the courts for years." How any court can go ahead in the face of both the law that allows the minting, and the 14th amendment is not clear. From my amateur armchair perspective, the "tied up in courts" scenario for any length of time is no better than 50:50.

      •  The issue... (0+ / 0-)

        ...isn't the R's hurling ape feces; they'll do that no matter what.

        The issue is their ability to litigate the process.  They may lose the litigation (but don't forget that five of the SCOTUS are doctrinaire right wingers) but they can stretch it out for years.  And it's easier for them to put a favorable spin on it.  This creates massive uncertainty.  If there is a ten-day technical default, the markets (and Federal vendors) will deal with that.

        Oh, yes.  The major reason for bringing either the constitutional option (which is subject to the same limitations I described above) or the Platinum Turtle (sounds better than "trillion dollar coin" if you ask me) is to put pressure on the R's.   McConnell, Boehner, and Cantor are fundamentalist fools who don't understand this issue at all -- they will fear that it might just happen and that they will lose all their leverage (even while they're consulting their lawyers about how to litigate it).

    •  It doesn't make sense (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kazoo of the north

      to a large portion of the population, I think.

      There is a chance that a solution that is not widely understood and/or seen as "magical" would not be supported or believed in.

      If you aren't outraged, you are an idiot

      by indefinitelee on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:14:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I for one would love for rates to go up (0+ / 0-)

      as a working individual, this would mean that interests rates would rize not only on loans, but also on savings.  Perhaps I could earn more than $20 a year again?

      More so, if this drives inflation, fantastic.  I'd love for inflation to hit at 1000%.  Would make my 100k mortgage much easier to pay!

      95% of all life forms that once existed on earth are now extinct. It is only a matter of time until the Republicans follow suit.

      by PRRedlin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:57:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I notice we've got the PC sensitivity meme (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, JeffW

    going again whenever the DLCorporate/Third Way bunch of garbage gets criticized. Tough. I survive on SSDI And Medicare so I have a BIG DOG aka survival in this class war.

    Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

    by orlbucfan on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:57:35 AM PST

  •  Does the senator own a composting company? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, JeffW

    Because everything that came out of his mouth was methane or organic bull byproduct. He is bluffing. Tapdance, soft shoe, ballet and jazz he danced all around the question put to him five times. After he retires he could go on dancing with the stars. Of course getting anyone of those ladies to dance with him would be more challenging than getting the republicans to do what is right for the country.

    Give blood. Play hockey.

    by flycaster on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:58:09 AM PST

  •  Republicans have no leverage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The repugs have no real leverage whatsoever but there will still be compromise..  The rich are spending too much money to get nothing...

  •  No, you don't FEAR, you STEW the turtle..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    some nice chicken broth, a little garlic, sautee some onion and celery until transparent, add a little sherry to carmelize, a 14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes, fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt . . . . mmmmmmmmmmmm

    Simme long and slow and even a crusty old turtle will wind up tender and tasty.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by bobdevo on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:05:01 AM PST

  •  Why is this NOT Treason? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winsock, Aythem

    If the Republicans are intent on taking the 'full faith and credit' of the United States hostage, why are they not arrested for acts of Treason?  Seems to me that they are sabotaging the entire federal government that they swore to uphold when they took office.  If they try that crap again, they should be arrested and incarcerated.

    •  Not really but .... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've had similar thoughts.  Treason?  Sedition?  I share your sentiment but it would be a slippery slope.  Anything that does "harm" to the country could be treachery -- depending on what is deemed harm and who is doing the deeming.

      It should be illegal for congress to willfully default on our debts -- and I think it is, according to the 14th Amendment.

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:45:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't have time right now to read this BUT (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, SoCalSal, JeffW

    I can't stand this man, his voice and what he has to say. He's so repellent, so rigid and backward. He's one of those "I may not always be right but i'm always certain".

    Wake Up Everybody!

    by slc215 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:06:01 AM PST

  •   "dragged kicking and screaming..." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalSal, Amber6541

    now there's a portrayal of President Obama that just don't fit

    simply ludicrous, mrturtle

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:06:24 AM PST

  •  Why doesn't PBO invoke the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    midwesterner, Aythem, winsock, cocinero

    14th Amendment if these Repuke clowns play economic treason? He's not running for re-election. I don't get it.

    Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

    by orlbucfan on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:06:35 AM PST

    •  There is no "14th Amendment solution" (5+ / 0-)

      any more than there is legal authority to mint a trillion dollar platinum coin. These are ridiculous ideas, sorry.

      No, the reason that Republicans will fold on their threats over the debt ceiling is public opinion will not sustain them in tanking the economy because they insist on cuts to popular programs like Social Security and Medicare.  Everybody knows this, in and out of Washington. Only a few people are saying in publicly, for what reason I can't quite fathom. It's perfectly obvious.

      •  Ok (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        What is the maximum denomination of platinum coin allowed by law?  It may be a screwy idea, but there is, in fact, legal authority for the Treasurer to mint platinum coins in whatever denomination s/he sees fit.  Call it a loophole, but it's nevertheless the law.

        Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

        by winsock on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:56:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The statute that the platinum coin advocates (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          point to is one that was meant to allow the minting of commemorative coins for collectors.

          The argument that this statute allows the minting of a coin to "fix" the debt ceiling problem is right on up there on a par with Orly Taitz's legal theories.

          •  Well, it would be commemorable, (0+ / 0-)

            alright, if Obama were to attempt such a stunt.  I can hardly imagine the legal and political and fiscal ramifications, but they would be plentiful.

            Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

            by winsock on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 10:05:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Odds are, you're correct. IMO. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        winsock, elmo

        Boehner will again ignore the Hastert rule and allow a vote by the House. The debt limit will be raised.

        That will happen after McConnell, Boehner, Cantor, et al try to create lots of drama, and look increasingly foolish in the process. But I state the obvious.

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

        by SoCalSal on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:06:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  if the filibuster is changed (0+ / 0-)

          it won't matter what mr turtle says or does anyway

          95% of all life forms that once existed on earth are now extinct. It is only a matter of time until the Republicans follow suit.

          by PRRedlin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:16:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Mr. Turtle isn't about to tank the economy, either (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            He won't filibuster raising the debt ceiling even if the filibuster rules aren't changed.

            •  i think ultimately (0+ / 0-)

              R's got caught with their pants around their ankles.  They didnt' expect a credit rating drop (one that increased the cost of our interest service).

              95% of all life forms that once existed on earth are now extinct. It is only a matter of time until the Republicans follow suit.

              by PRRedlin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 11:09:24 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  How about a $25 trillion coin instead? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Pay off all the debt and have enough excess left over to cover the budget shortfalls of the next 4 years.

    If you're going to do this, may as well "Go Large".

  •  Question! (0+ / 0-)

    Is it wrong to pray for people's death?

  •  As the fiscal curb vote shows, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, SoCalSal, cocinero

    enough Republicans fold to make a difference.  So yes, I'd say it's a bluff that they should be called out on.

  •  If Republicans want to stop "excessive" spending, (5+ / 0-)

    all that they have to do is NOT pass "excessive spending" appropriations.  McConnell's is simply trying to avoid GOP fingerprints on the cuts that would be necessary.  Sorry, Mitch, you don't get to do that!  It's your job.  Own it!

  •  Obama should say please proceed senator (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In his state of the union address he should say I will not be blackmailed and if you want to talk spending we will talk like adults. Also if you want to destroy our economy it will be   your responsibility that the American people will hold you accountable.

  •  These guys really do need... (0+ / 0-) be charged with treason against America. I'd be fired by now if this was the type of work I did (didn't do).

    Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

    by rreabold on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:13:44 AM PST

  •  So basically McConnell wants to punish Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for the massive spending racked up during or necessitated by the malfeasance of the Bush administration, by massively cutting spending...that predated and had nothing to do with the Bush administration or the deficit, like Medicare and Social Security? Do I have that right? This is sort of like punching you in the face because my wife won't sleep with me on account of my being so ugly.

    Hey Mitch, you're ugly, and if your wife won't sleep with you, that's your fault, not ours. Get some counseling, or a mistress (or mister), but leave us out of it.

    Also, it's so typical of Repubs to do this, this negotiation bluffing, threatening to do something terrible they have no intention of doing, and trying to get the other side to propose what you want done to avoid having to take the blame for proposing it. They want Obama to lead, but only in the way that they want him to "lead", by taking the fall for them, politically.

    I hope that by now, he sees their play and calls it. It's so obvious. They've got nothing but empty threats and clever maneuvering. Call their bluff, Obama!

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

    by kovie on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:15:01 AM PST

  •  FC FAIL: Pork ate "new revenue" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    Well this is embarrassing.

    While President Obama pretended raising taxes on those earning $250,000 $450,000 a year and making the rest of the Bush tax cuts permanent was some kind of achievement in fiscal discipline, he spent more than the revenue those taxes will bring in giving welfare to some of the richest corporations in the world.

    The Joint Committee On Taxation estimates the Corporate Welfare or “tax extenders” included in the bill will cost $68 billion in 2013. The tax increases on those making over $450,000 are projected to raise $620 billion over 10 years – meaning in 2013 the restored rate on $450,000 and up will raise roughly $62 billion. So the deal is at best a wash if not a net loss due to the Corporate Welfare inserted into the deal.

    The only significant increase in revenues from the “fiscal cliff” deal will come from raising the payroll tax on middle class workers.

    Why would Turtle be upset with a deal like this?  Of course, elections have results!
    •  More from Matt Stoller! (0+ / 0-)

      Why Subsidies in FC Deal Matter:

      Three days ago, Naked Capitalism published a story, Eight Corporate Subsidies in the Fiscal Cliff Bill, From Goldman Sachs to Disney to NASCAR. Basically, when everyone else was focused on taxes for the wealthy or spending cuts, we actually looked at the underlying bill. And loh and behold, the corporate extenders were egregious and included cash for NASCAR, Hollywood, mining companies, GE, Citigroup, and so on.

      The reaction has been swift, and is useful to understand, because it points to an underlying political dynamic. And that is, change is possible, and “the system” isn’t inherently dirty. We can make a difference, if we try.

      Here is the Link to Matt's original article describing the pork.
  •  According to Mitch the President is responsible (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, SoCalSal, JeffW

    for honoring the debts that Congress approves.

    They place the blame of expenditures solely on the President at at every debt ceiling "crisis" and the media does not call them out on this.

    They completely buy and sell the anti-government, anti-spending rhetoric from the group that held government jobs as they drove us into debt during W's spending spree.

    The choice of our lifetime: Mitt Romney, It Takes A Pillage or President Barack Obama, Forward Together.

    by FiredUpInCA on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:19:05 AM PST

  •  Americans for Tax Reform in the arbiter????? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can't believe the minority leader in the senate can really get away with the following statement on MTP:

    "And the arbiter of whether something is a tax increase or not is Americans for Tax Reform. The head of Americans for Tax Reform said it was not a tax increase. And he had been a senator he would have voted for it. Look, this was not a tax increase."

    Really?  The US Senate and Government has to look to the Americans for Tax reform to determine is something is a tax increase?  Exactly how anti-democratic is that statement from the lead Repub senator???????

    Working together to save the world

    by CaseyK24 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:26:30 AM PST

  •  I WANT MY LOLLIPOP!!!! (0+ / 0-)

    It's a shame our parents wont give us our lollipop, so we will just scream and cry and stomp out feet until they do.... give us our lollipop.


    Sometimes, a spanking is justified.

  •  He looks like a turtle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Free Jazz at High Noon


    But he also looks like Aunt Bea's long lost brother.  Am I the only one who sees that?

    The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief. -- Shakespeare

    by not2plato on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:33:19 AM PST

  •  Republican media machine (0+ / 0-)

    I'm past tired of the Republican media machine dragging the under-informed masses by the nose.  Unfortunately, one good antidote to their lies is blogs like this one that call them out. It's getting more obvious that Republican values stop at keeping rich white people wealthy.

    Austerity begins at the top: bring back the 90% tax rate.

  •  Clarity on the coin (0+ / 0-)

    For starters, the 1996 law concerning platinum coinage was very clearly not intended to allow trillion dollar coins.  That law concerned the trade in coinage, and allowed for the US to make some small profit therefrom.  Why let the Frankin Mint corner that market?  The law was clearly not intended to allow the president to add a trillion to the Treasury entirely at his pleasure, without Congressional approval.

    The attempt to use laws in ways that they were not intended to be used can end poorly for any number of reasons.  Even if this doesn't get slapped down by the courts as an unusable misuse of the law (and the courts may not become involved in this case for reasons of standing), playing fast and loose with the law is likely to appear to public opinion to be playing fast and loose with the law.  If the House is misusing the ceiling law to force the US into default, the correct response is to not go along with the misuse, not to come up with some offsetting illegality.

    Much worse than being a distortion of the coin law, having the president mint a trillion dollar coin to add to the Treasury violates the fundamental structure of the federal govt set down in the Constitution.  Money goes into the Treasury from taxes and borrowing only by public law, and it goes out of the Treasury as spending only by public law.  While it is true that the president would have to usurp both ends of that equation, and we would need to add to this ability the platinum coin gives him to control revenue without Congress, the power to spend without Congress, before we had a complete presidential dictatorship -- going "only" half-way to dictatorship is still about as monumentlally unacceptable a power play as you could come up with.

    Direct legal or political consequences aside, none of us should even consider givng the president even just one end of the power of the purse.  Only think of giving Obama this power if you would be happy to see the next Dubya enjoy the freedom to add trillions to the Treasury at his sole pleasure, for whatever purpose he might have in mind.  

    But of course, there would be very prompt and direct consequences, disastrous consequences, to trying the coin.

    Slapping down this egregiously unconstitutional power grab is perhaps the only scenario which sees SCOTUS willing to touch this whole debt ceiling mess with a ten foot pole.  They would not want to get involved with the status of the ceiling law itself, and what it entails, but this coin thing could be shot down as a a clearly severable issue that wouldn't drag them into the wider issues of the ceiling law mess.  D-friendly justices on the Court might be inclined to not get involved so as not to hurt our side, but the R-firiendly majority can force the SCOTUS to hear the case.  And once forced to issue an opinion, even the D-friendliest among them will vote the coin down as clearly unconstitutional.  The decision would be 9-0, so we wouldn't even be able to blame it on the Federalist Society, as we can with Citizens United and Bush v Gore.

    Caught red-handed trying to usurp half of Congress's power of the purse, and slapped down by a 9-0 decision, our side would then be maximally vulnerable to whatever the other side wanted to demand.  We would only be saved from total public policy disaster insofar as the Rs don't really want any public policy out of this, they really only want to see the Ds humiliated.  They would get plenty of that if we tried this coin gimmick.

    Think of it this way.  At the end of the day, whatever our side does has to be made to seem fair and reasonable to the electorate.  That should be doable even if our response to a breach of the ceiling is that Treasury keeps on borrowing enough to pay all of our legal obligations.  

    It's common sense that you can't use laws in ways that were not intended.  Our side needs to hammer away at this in respect to what the House is doing with the ceiling law.  Yes, the ceiling law presents the appearance of forbidding Treasury to go on borrowing after the ceiling is reached.  And perhaps when the first such ceiling was passed, when that ceiling was the only Congressional limit on borrowing by the Treasury, the ceiling actually did have the force of law blocking borrowing that exceeded the ceiling.  But we have since started consolidating our revenue and spending into the annual budget process.  The real debt limit now is whatever Treasury has to borrow to meet all US obligations created by the annual budget laws.

    What the Rs are doing now is trying to use the outdated, ceremonial, debt limit, a limit since replaced as the real limit by the budget process, to let just one chamber of Congress usurp the power to repeal spending committments that only the full Congress possesses.  This very same House has already voted, when it approved the budget we're working under right now, for all the spending  that they now claim they have the right to unilaterally force the US to renege on.  That's obviously wrong.  The law -- and we have to consider all the statutes together when we talk about the law, because the ceiling statute doesn't make all the statutes obligating spending go away -- doesn't just allow Treasury to borrow beyond this obsolete formal ceiling, it requires Treasury to borrow as much as it has to to meet the true debt limit of the US in 2013, which is whatever borrowing is needed to meet all of our legal obligations.

    The administration, understandably, would rather not be put in a position of even seeming lawlessness by having to ignore the ceremonial ceiling.  So they trumpet to the skies that default will happen if the ceiling is breached, they reject all alternatives.  They cannot, until the breach is upon us, relent on that line, that ceiling breach means default, because to do so would allow the House to just go for a no-cost breach.  The Rs would know that there would be no US default arising from a breach, and therefore would have no downside to putting the admnistration into a position of seeming lawlessness when Obama orders Treasury to keep on issuing debt.  And, in all probability, this strategy will work, the House will not follow through and refuse to pass a clean rise in the ceiling.

    But our side needs to be ready for war in case deterrence  doesn't work.  And we win that war for public acceptance of the Treasury simply ignoring the ceiling, by educating the public.  It is inherently difficult, under most circumstances, to educate the public about such matters as the annual budget process, much less the history of federal budget practices, because they really could care less about the details of something that, however important, is working well enough without their attention.  Most people could care less about the details of how the sun produces all that heat and light, however much they depend on that bounty continuing, because astrophysics seems to manage quite welll on its own producing that bounty without any care from any of us.  But if the House makes the public care by threatening them with the  immediate disastrous real-world consequences of default, that will be one of those rare teachable moments, and I for one trust that the public will rise to the occasion.

    Will we rise to the occasion?  Somebody is going to have to be there explaining the budget process to the public if this is to have a happy ending, if the public is to be educated and reject this attempted coup by the House.  Are we going to be trying our own pathetic coup with this platinum coin gimmick, or are we going to be clear of mind ourselves about this issue, so that we can help the public get clear on it?

    We're understandably worried right now.  We have an administration that offers as its only plan for dealing with House thuggery on the ceiling the hope that the other side will back down rather than send the US into default.  That might work -- with reasonable people, but that's not what we're up against, is it?  We fear that our leaders wlll once again give in because our side is the more reasable, the less willing to see the hostage killed.

    Don't let those fears stampede you into muddled thinking, into placing your faith in miracle cures and legal gimmicks like the platinum coin.  You and I need to remain clear-headed in this crisis.  Let the other side use up all the panic in the room.  In the end, the administration will do the right thing, it will not default, it will have Treasury ignore the ceiling.  We need to be ready to do the right thing, get behind that solution, be ready to explain that outcome.    

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:27:53 AM PST

  •  Fear him? No. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle

    I just hate chinless old bigot.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:32:08 AM PST

  •  A "trillion dollar coin" is truly a hokey notion. (0+ / 0-)

    The debt ceiling is a third check on Congressional spending after authorizations and appropriations, a belt-and-suspenders-and-another-belt approach. Congress legislated it with the notion that it implemented the Full Faith and Credit of the United States, not as a THIRD check on Congress itself.

    Minting a very valuable coin is frivolous and trivial, cosmetic, a science fiction notion that would be demeaning to a sensible presidency. It will be seen by those in a sentient world as a bat-crazy slick scheme to sidestep a one-branch debacle with another branch's desperation.

    I believe President Obama has a better choice. Re-think the opinion he supposedly got a year or more ago that Congress's debt ceiling is unconstitutional, challenge the debt ceiling legislation in a formal address to Congress and at the same time, take the case to the Supreme Court. The House will threaten impeachment, so relying on the Judicial Branch ought to undercut that. It will take time, it will stall other legislation and Congress can consider the matter at its leisure. Will credit be affected? Probably, but at least it's not because the solution is as nutty as a Big Chunk 'O Money.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 10:09:49 AM PST

  •  This reminds me of Lincoln's Cooper Union speech (0+ / 0-)
    ...preferably while simultaneously blaming the president for forcing them into meting out the punishment.
    specifically, one of my favorite parts:
    "...That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, 'Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!'...."

    "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

    by bartcopfan on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 10:33:29 AM PST

  •  14th amendment before coinage (0+ / 0-)

    the trillion dollar coin thing would require 2 very dependent things

    1= the rest of the world having faith in its value which is dependent on

    2= all messures taken before hand like the 14th amendment

    the coinage thing is a doomsday trick relient on the faith of other countries in our currency

  •  The future? (0+ / 0-)

    If Mitch McConnell thinks excessive spending is the biggest threat to our future, he obviously has never heard of things like disease, hunger, homelessness, violent crime or war.  I understand the appeal of having a balanced budget, but can he honestly say that balancing the federal budget is more important than the lives and welfare of millions of men, women and children?

    Damnit Mitch, that question was rhetorical!

    "O mulier, magna est fides tua. Fiat tibi sicut vis."

    by rujoking on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:06:09 AM PST

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