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U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a bipartisan meeting with Congressional leaders in the Roosevelt Room of White House to discuss the economy, November 16, 2012. Left of President Obama is Speaker of the House John Boehner.                             REU
President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner.
As Gary Norton noted earlier this week, President Obama has said about the debt ceiling that:
"There are no magic tricks here, there are no loopholes."
The president may be right, but I'm not sure it was wise to say so now, especially if House Republicans do not raise the debt ceiling. What then? Norton argues that:
[T]hese determinations made clear he will not circumvent the debt limit law by the use of one of several tactics that, while arguably legal, would be viewed by some as gimmicks, or that could develop into a significant Constitutional crisis. Moreover, he understands that the use of any of those options would merely delay the final day of reckoning. The debt limit must be increased and it is Congress' responsibility to do so.
This sounds nice but again, what if the moment comes and the debt ceiling is not lifted? Will the president merely allow an economic catastrophe to unfold just to be able to say he did not use a gimmick or a loophole? I would hope not.

The argument goes that by not providing House Republicans an escape hatch, they will be left no choice but to raise the debt ceiling. Norton presents the argument as follows:

The President did not choose the first two options because, whether or not one thinks he has the legal authority to issue a platinum coin or issue script, the President knew that both internationally and domestically taking either of those actions would be viewed as a gimmick, a magic trick. More importantly, either of those actions would merely be kicking the can down the road. They would be giving the Congress an excuse to not raise the debt limit because the President would have continued to keep the country operating and the Republicans would have been let loose to fight the President in the courts and through impeachment hearings.
This is reasonable and logical. But reason and logic do not always help us predict how the House Republicans will behave. Admittedly the signs have been good—many Republicans are already shying away from the debt ceiling fight. But certainly there won't be enough of them to satisfy the Hastert Rule.  So this solution posits that the Republican House leadership will break the Hastert Rule for the third time in 2 months in order to raise the debt ceiling. This could very well happen. But can we count on it?

I'll discuss this scenario and other "magic tricks" and "loopholes" related to the debt ceiling, a government shutdown, Congressional appropriations, entitlement payments and much more on the other side.

The federal government is fast approaching a sort of triple witching hour. The following events are moving fast upon them (and us): (1) The debt ceiling has been reached and very soon, certain Treasury "gimmicks and loopholes" (like not funding federal employee pensions) will run their course to the point that direct out of pocket payments will have to be foregone if Treasury is not permitted to raise more debt. (2) The continuing resolution appropriating federal government spending is scheduled to expire in March 2013. (3) The spending cuts from the sequester will kick in on March 1, 2013.

To avoid these economically detrimental results (yes, an understatement to be sure), the president and the Congress must reach agreement on (1) Congress' willingness to raise the debt ceiling without condition, (2) eliminating the automatic sequester (even if replaced by some other type of more modest and targetted spending cuts) and (3) agreement on the continued funding and appropriation of federal spending to replace the expiring continuing resolution.

If the president does not change his mind on "gimmicks" and "loopholes" with regard to the debt ceiling, then we must count on House Republicans permitting a vote to raise the debt ceiling. (For the record, I do not agree that acting to be in compliance with section 4 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution is a "gimmick" or a "loophole." For more detailed reasoning, see this and this.)

For now, let's assume the debt ceiling gets raised (even if for a short period), what of the other two pending events—the expiration of the continuing resolution and the sequester? How do these get resolved? And if they do not, what then?

Let's first discuss the sequester. If no agreement is reached, then the spending cuts, at least in terms of categories, are specified. Half of the cuts, $600 billion over 10 years ($60 billion in the coming year), go to defense. The other $600 billion comes from Medicare (though limited), Medicaid and other social safety net programs. Social Security is exempt from the sequester.

House Republicans are now signalling that this will be a line in the sand for them:

Republicans appear to be willing to avoid a showdown over the debt limit and instead use the sequester as their main negotiating lever in upcoming fiscal fights with the White House and Senate Democrats.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Republicans at a closed-door retreat in Williamsburg were weighing a short-term increase in the country’s borrowing limit, giving all sides time to work on a broader fiscal plan in March that would include substantial spending cuts.

This appears to be a signal that the sequester and the continuing resolution issues will be rolled together. However, these two events do not have the same drop dead dates. The sequester will kick in on March 1 and the continuing resolution provides for government funding through the end of the March. I suspect the sequester could be rolled over to the end of March 2013.

So now, let's consider what the president's options and responsibilities would be if no deal is reached by the end of March. This part seems pretty simple—the government shuts down. What does that mean? It depends.

If we look to our previous experiences in 1995 and 1996, when President Clinton vetoed Republican passed budgets (the Republicans controlled the House and the Senate at the time) we can get some clues:

The United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996 was the result of conflicts between Democratic President Bill Clinton and the Congress over funding for Medicare, education, the environment, and public health in the 1996 federal budget. The government shut down after Clinton vetoed the spending bill the Republican Party-controlled Congress sent him. The federal government of the United States put non-essential government workers on furlough and suspended non-essential services from November 14 through November 19, 1995 and from December 16, 1995 to January 6, 1996, for a total of 28 days.
What "non-essential" services were shut down?` Here is Congressional Research Services' 1999 report on the subject:
There have been Attorney General opinions holding that the Antideficiency Act (31 U.S.C. 1341, et seq.), as amended, prohibits the federal government from spending during lapsed appropriations, entering into contracts or other obligations, and providing government services and employees beyond those essential "to emergency situations, where the failure to perform those functions would result in an imminent threat to the safety of human life or the protection of property."(3) Emergency situations under which federal employees may work, without compensation, do not include ongoing, regular functions of government, the suspension of which would not imminently threaten the safety of human life or the protection of property (31 U.S.C. 1342).
That explains why the government shut down. Now what parts of the government were considered "essential"?
Essential Services and Personnel

A 1980 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memorandum defines "essential" government services and "essential" employees as those:

    providing for the national security, including the conduct of foreign relations essential to the national security or the safety of life and property;
    providing for benefit payments and the performance of contract obligations under no-year or multi-year or other funds remaining available for those purposes;
    conducting essential activities to the extent that they protect life and property, including:

-- medical care of inpatients and emergency outpatient care;

-- activities essential to ensure continued public health and safety, including safe use of food, drugs, and hazardous materials;

-- continuance of air traffic control and other transportation safety functions and the protection of transport property;

-- border and coastal protection and surveillance;

-- protection of federal lands, buildings, waterways, equipment and other property owned by the United States;

-- care of prisoners and other persons in the custody of the United States;

-- law enforcement and criminal investigations;

-- emergency and disaster assistance;

-- activities that ensure production of power and maintenance of the power distribution system;

-- activities essential to the preservation of the essential elements of the money and banking system of the United States, including borrowing and tax collection activities of the Treasury; and

-- activities necessary to maintain protection of research property.(5)

During the 1995-1996 shutdown experience, policymakers substantially followed these definitions. Pursuant to that memorandum and White House directions to agencies through OMB, agencies are required to determine which jobs fit these definitions and enumerate them in agency shutdown plans. Those employees rated "essential," although guaranteed to be paid retroactively, did not receive compensation until funding for their agencies was enacted.

What was considered "non-essential"?
The long shutdown that began in December 1995 had ripple effects through all sectors of the economy. A few examples, taken from congressional hearings, press and agency accounts, follow:

    Health. New patients were not accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ceased disease surveillance (information about the spread of diseases, such as AIDS and flu, were unavailable); hotline calls to NIH concerning diseases were not answered; and toxic waste clean-up work at 609 sites stopped, resulting in 2,400 "Superfund" workers being sent home.

    Law Enforcement/Public Safety. Delays occurred in the processing of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives applications by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; work on more than 3,500 bankruptcy cases was suspended; cancellation of the recruitment and testing of federal law-enforcement officials occurred, including the hiring of 400 border patrol agents; and delinquent child-support cases were suspended.

    Parks/Museums/Monuments. Closure of 368 National Park Service sites (loss of 7 million visitors) occurred, with local communities near national parks losing an estimated $14.2 million per day in tourism revenues; and closure of national museums and monuments (estimated loss of 2 million visitors) occurred.

    Visas/Passports. 20,000-30,000 applications by foreigners for visas went unprocessed each day; 200,000 U.S. applications for passports went unprocessed; and U.S. tourist industries and airlines sustained millions of dollars in losses.

    American Indian/other Native Americans. All 13,500 Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) employees were furloughed; general assistance payments for basic needs to 53,000 BIA benefit recipients were delayed; and estimated 25,000 American Indians did not receive timely payment of oil and gas royalties.

    American Veterans. Major curtailment in services, ranging from health and welfare to finance and travel was experienced.

    Federal Contractors. Of $18 billion in Washington area contracts, $3.7 billion (over 20%) were managed by agencies affected by the funding lapse;(6) the National Institute of Standards, was unable to issue a new standard for lights and lamps, scheduled to be effective January 1, 1996; and employees of federal contractors were furloughed without pay.

If the debt ceiling is taken off the table, as all indications seem to point, we are in fact going to be dealing with a more "conventional" showdown—one involving a government shutdown of "non-essential" functions. This should not place U.S. debt obligations in peril, though some delivery of pension payments, Social Security, Medicare reimbursements and other payments that require processing would be affected.

This scenario does not appear to threaten violation of Section 4 of the 14th Amendment or any existing federal laws.

What it would be is a major political showdown.

In 1996, President Clinton, with seemingly less favorable political terrain, won the standoff. President Obama though has much less favorable economic terrain. Unlike in 1996, the economy today is very fragile. A government shutdown of the duration of the late 1995-early 1996 shutdown would threaten a recession.

In any event, it appears that all the discussion about platinum coins, the 14th Amendment and the debt ceiling is probably now moot.

Instead, it is time to consider the potential government shutdown of 2013.

 

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hey.. I've got an idea.. (6+ / 0-)

    Perhaps the House and Senate should actually hammer out a budget.. a real bona fide budget..  you know.. kinda like they did in 1996?

    And this..

    In 1996, President Clinton, with seemingly less favorable political terrain, won the standoff.
    I wouldn't exactly say "won the standoff".  Clinton came out better in public opinion, most defintely.  But, Gingrich got a lot of the concessions (cuts) he was looking for.  And a few months later, Bill Clinton declared  "the era of big government is over."
    •  I think you are wrong about 1996 (14+ / 0-)

      Gingrich got very few concession especially when you consider the fact that the GOP controlled the Congress by large margins.

      It would be revisionist history to claim Gingrich won the standoff either politically or substantively. In fact, it would be factually incorrect imo.

      •  Absolutely. This was a major defeat for (12+ / 0-)

        Gingrich and was the beginning of his downward slide.

        Further, affiant sayeth not.

        by Gary Norton on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:39:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hmmm.. I'll grant you "politically" (0+ / 0-)

        but substantively, it was at best a draw.  

        (And please don't misconstrue my comment as being anti-Clinton.  I think he was brilliant.)

        First off, the first shutdown (lasting 5 days from Nov 14th thru 19th) ended when Clinton agreed to a balanced budget within 7 years.

        Commitment to a seven-year balanced budget

        I'm not sure how many would call that a decisive Clinton victory..

        Throughout the negotiations that followed, Clinton's budget proposals did things like lower the CPI to lower Soc. Sec. payments  to "save" over 10 years.  That and a CBO announcement that the economy was doing better made negotiations easier.

        But, in the end, both won.. Gingrich came out looking like a dog but won in terms of policy.  Let's see how the NY Times put it in April of 1996:

        Who Won the Budget War?

        After 13 stopgap measures, 2 Government shutdowns, several vetoes and seven months of bickering, the White House and Congress have finally agreed to a budget. The political victory belongs to President Clinton, who was clearly on the defensive after the G.O.P.'s midterm triumphs in 1994 but in the end won major concessions from Republicans on the environment and other issues like abortion and homosexuals in the military. He also won the public relations war. Even though Republicans achieved big cuts in total spending, the President persuaded them to pump $5 billion into a few high-profile programs popular with voters.

        Along the way, both the House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, and the Senate majority leader, Bob Dole, lost traction. But for all Mr. Clinton's deft maneuvering around the Republican-controlled Congress, he did not win the policy war. Victory there went to the Republicans. They knocked more than $25 billion out of discretionary spending from levels approved by Congress when it was controlled by Democrats. Mr. Clinton fought hard to protect low-income families, but the budget deal sprinkles only a few extra dollars around the margins.

        Mr. Clinton rejected every previous Republican budget offer because none protected key domestic programs. The impasse led to a series of temporary spending bills that kept some domestic programs limping along with 25 percent less money. But under the final compromise agreement, Mr. Clinton managed to win back $5 billion for programs at the center of his domestic agenda.

        As I said.. at best a draw, policy-wise.

        But.. and I want to be very clear here.. that's a really good thing.. it's politics.  Clinton knew how to deal.. how to compromise to get what was important to him, while necessarily giving concessions to the other side.  It's called leadership.  It bears no resemblance to the fumbling we see today in Washington, both from the White House and Congress.

    •  Now I know why my VA perscriptons are not (0+ / 0-)

      being filled? I sure hope that is not why but I have requested several perscriptions (We can request a refill on active ones online and they mail them to us.) and not received some of them.

      I hope this is not what is delaying them. Since I have diabetes taking medication for it is not optional.

      Our money system is not what we have been led to believe. The creation of money has been "privatized," or taken over by private money lenders. Thomas Jefferson called them “bold and bankrupt adventurers just pretending to have money.” webofdebt

      by arealniceguy on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 11:27:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How do you know what Obama is planning? (7+ / 0-)

    There are strong political reasons for Obama not to publicly declare his course of action if Republicans don't extend the debt limit.  Why assume that he really has no plans?  Why would he reveal them in advance if he did have them?

    •  There are many here at DK... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fou, Bon Temps

      who believe they can read Obama's mind and tease out his actual feelings on any issue...without ever having met the man.  Amazingly, these are also usually the same folks who think Obama is a secret conservative, corporatist, etc.

      Nothing worth noting at the moment.

      by Bonsai66 on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:22:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm going on what he said (10+ / 0-)

      I guess he could be lying about that, but why tell that lie if you don't mean it?

      Anway, it's probably moot based on what we are hearing on the debt ceiling from Republicans.

      But as to your critique "Why would he reveal them in advance if he did have them?"

      That was my point on the "magic tricks and loopholes." Why reveal your thinking on that?

      You make my point.

      •  probably not so bad (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, Creosote

        Considering the shape of the eurozone, our lapses won't really impact as much as we think.  With an interest rate approaching zero on treasury notes, the world knowingly estimates that we won't default--in fact, are less likely to default than any other large entity.  
        The Rs want the government shut down under the guidelines you enumerate --  it's the beast.  FOXNEWS is stronger today with the crazies, and this is the wet dream.  I would love to see the president declare vulnerable much of Defense spending on weapons/research.  That would force certain lobbyists to swing over to our side.

        Apres Bush, le deluge.

        by melvynny on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:32:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Defense spending and the sequester (6+ / 0-)

          This is an important point.

          How committed is the Obama Administration to standing strong on the sequester if the GOP will not agree to a reasonable deal?

          •  This is key, because in addition to the government (6+ / 0-)

            services that would not be funded under a shut down that you listed, the sequester would kick in a the same time.  That would put pressure on defense contractors and others who would not otherwise be inconvenienced by the shutdown.  I believe that gives Obama leverage, if he chooses to use it, that many (republicans, pundits and some folks here) don't think he has.  The sequester bites just about everybody, but it bites corporate America particularly hard and they will not be pleased.

            Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

            by ratcityreprobate on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:25:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Defense spending has added over $29.7 trillion (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens, oculus, Creosote

            in new debt in 12 years for Iraq/Afghanistan.  

          •  GOP will claim that every Defense dollar is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            midwesterner

            "providing for the national security, including the conduct of foreign relations essential to the national security or the safety of life and property."

            Democrats have to vigorousely challenge this notion and really focus on what is truly "essential."

            I'm not too optomistic on that happening right now.

          •  10/23/2012 during Foreign Policy (0+ / 0-)

            debate - Obama on sequester

            Obama responded by saying that sequestration happened because of Congress, not through his administration, and that it would not happen.

            "First of all, the sequester is not something that I've proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen," Obama said. link

            Seems that he has laid the foundations for a strong stand against letting the sequester happen.

            No courage = No $$$ for Dems

            by MO Blue on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:27:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Public relations not public policy... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Creosote
        Anway, it's probably moot based on what we are hearing on the debt ceiling from Republicans.
        I'm not sure why so many people buy the GOP's attempt at a PR move to shift the focus from the debt ceiling to the budget with their new focus-grouped "plan". It's a PR fog, not a plan.

        Multiple Democratic leaders (post plan announcement) have said that if it's not a clean bill they won't support it, and the GOP's plan is not a clean bill. Seems straightforward enough.

        So it likely won't happen. So it's not actually something that will avoid the debt ceiling thing. And even if it was, it'd only be for three months.

        Is there something I'm missing regarding the substantive importance of this latest doomed GOP PR stunt plan, compared with all the failed GOP PR stunt plans of the past? When it fails, will the GOP really raise the debt ceiling cleanly?

        it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

        by Addison on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 10:51:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It isn't what OBAMA is planning (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, offgrid, Gary Norton, Creosote

      When there is a possibility of a shutdown there are certain steps that must be taken prior to that shutdown. These are "known knowns." Agencies MUST give employees who are considered non-essential some warning of when they will be furloughed, usually 60 days.

      The interesting thing this time, is that only Defense has had an appropriation bill passed by Congress. The other twelve appropriation bills are in limbo, and the majority of the government is being financed through a continuing resolution.

      Note -- "passing a budget" is nothing. It Does Not Fund the Government. What we're talking about here are "spending" bills, i.e., appropriations -- these are the vehicles of finance that allow the agencies to pay their bills.

      What the Senate has been doing, what the House Republicans call "not passing a budget" -- is passing the appropriation bills in place of a budget. IOW, they've followed the rule that spending bills must arise in the House -- in some cases they make changes, but those changes have to be agreed on by the House.

      And just to be clear -- EVERY agency prepares a budget request every fiscal year, which is sent up to their Secretary,* who then sends it to the Office of Management and Budget, and eventually it reaches the House Committee which prepares the appropriation bill based on those budget requests.

      *Note -- at any level, cuts and changes can be made to that agency budget request, you can't always get what you want...

      •  This has already gone out (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gary Norton, Creosote

        To DoD employees and contract workers.  
        Furlough of up to one day a week if not more.
        At a minimum of 32 hours of non pay for the month.

        In the dc region this could be hugh to federal employees capacity to met basic personal overhead, such as mortage payments, etc...  I know we're gonna be in a world of hurt if it happens.  

        Takin it to the Streets! time to GOTV

        by totallynext on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 10:53:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Is there anyone who still thinks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton

      Republicans aren't going to raise the debt ceiling?

      Seriously?

  •  Yes, it is now pretty much... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton, FistJab, kat68

    moot, to the odd disappointment of many here.  

    How anti-climatic of the House Republicans to inadvertently take the wind out of the platinum coin idea.

    Some folks here were so, so, so invested in the coin that they seem almost upset that this confrontation will not happen.  

    Weird.  The coin was a temporary solution to an artificial problem, yet many here embraced it as if it were the answer to all our prayers.

    The whole idea just fizzled out, as it should have.

    Nothing worth noting at the moment.

    by Bonsai66 on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:18:31 AM PST

    •  My own thoughts are (13+ / 0-)

      that counting on the Republicans to be rational is risky business.

      I think the Administration should have played its cards close to the vest.

      But, as you say, apparently a moot point now.

      And when it comes to government shutdowns, counting on GOP rationality is not the prudent choice imo.

      •  Seems that Obama knows the situation... (0+ / 0-)

        better than you do:

        http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/...

        White House adviser David Plouffe suggested Sunday that Republicans had given up on the idea of holding the debt limit hostage in order to extract spending and entitlement cuts.

        "We don't think short term is the way to go about this," Plouffe said on ABC's "This Week" in reference to House Republicans' new plan to raise the debt limit for three months.

        "But on the other hand, this is a big departure for them, you know?  They were saying, the only way they were going to pay the bills they've racked up is to basically hold the…"

        Asked by host George Stephanopoulos if he thinks Republicans have "caved," Plouffe replied, "yeah, I think they have, on this principle, and that's very important."

        Isn't this what we really wanted all along?  Seems like a pretty aggressive statement for the WH to put out there if they felt that hadn't gotten what they wanted.

        Time will tell of course...

        Nothing worth noting at the moment.

        by Bonsai66 on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:40:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hope they know the situation better than I do (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bonsai66, chuckvw

          I am not confident that you read my post though.

        •  what some of us want (10+ / 0-)

          is to ensure that social security, medicare and medicaid aren't cut, and that the age of retirement isn't raised. we shall see what happens.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:50:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Interestingly, those comments by Plouffe (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          midwesterner, 3goldens, chuckvw, Creosote

          are contradicted by Obama's comment, less than a week ago, responding to reports that the GOP were going to go for a 3 month extension:

          "I'm not going to have a monthly or every-three-months conversation about whether or not we pay our bills," Obama said. "Because that in and of itself does severe damage. Even the threat of default hurts our economy. It's hurting our economy as we speak. We shouldn't be having that debate."
          So to answer your question, "No. This isn't what we've really wanted all along.  What we really want is for Congress to quit using threats to get what they can't get otherwise."  

           Just because the WH makes a statement doesn't mean it's consistent with their other statements or that it makes good strategic sense.  When you compare the blockquotes in our two posts, the juxtaposition only makes Obama look like he's backtracking from a duel with the house, using Plouffe as his second.

          Also note that this extension was made following the GOP strategy retreat last week where (same link as above):

          At one of the closed door sessions at the retreat, rank and file members viewed a slide show that highlighted how one of the last major deficit reduction packages – known as Gramm-Rudman – was preceded by a series of short term extensions in the debt ceiling.

          Fleming said many conservatives backed the idea.

          "I think we're all pretty much on board," Fleming (R-LA) said, and noted that impetus behind it was to keep the pressure on for reaching a broader deal to cut spending.

          When you said "Isn't this really what we wanted all along," I'm left wondering who the "we" is?

          "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

          by nailbender on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:23:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Your thoughts were wrong (0+ / 0-)

        and so are you. There is no back up plan whether republicans were reasonable or not.

        You were also wrong on the fiscal cliff deal and what it meant for the debt ceiling fight. Reverse the trend there buddy.

    •  Do you think? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NWTerriD

      I wish I were so sanguine.

      After all, they have already committed to reexamining the debt ceiling every three months, assuming they lift it at all (which is still hardly certain). One of the major reasons that they're making gestures in the direction of raising the debt ceiling at all is almost certainly because they think that they can get everything they want out of the sequester and the threat of government shutdown.

      But if we've learned anything from the past 40 years, it's that they never get everything they want. Even if Obama hands them everything they ask for on a silver platter, three months later they'll have a whole new set of 'urgent priorities'. And if, by some wild chance, Obama comes out ahead in those negotiations (by which I mean 'the Republicans get somewhere between nothing and ALMOST everything they want, but don't get EVERYTHING') then they are going to be really, really mad.

      You are seeing that they appear not to be crazy enough to drop an atomic bomb on our economy today (when they have a whole bunch of conventional ammunition to use against the president). And you are taking this as evidence that, three months later, once they've run through all their conventional stuff, they won't be insane enough to use it, even if they've won, but especially if they 'lose'.

      I wish I believed you were correct.

  •  Leaving this much in the hands of John Boehner (7+ / 0-)

    ..is a recipe for disaster.

    Is he a rational actor, or does he go full-on bomb-thrower in order to hang on to his precious gavel?

    DC is so broken. Corrupt, too. Red States aren't far behind either.

    The Aggressively Ignorant Caucus is getting aggressively ignorant again.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:21:01 AM PST

  •  The Clinton solution to let the morons shut down (21+ / 0-)

    the government for a short, ridiculous little stunt will do more to bankrupt their arguments about how we don't really need government than all the speeches and campaign commercials in the world. I think of it like a child who says if you don't give him candy he'll hold his breath until he passes out. You can try to stop him up to a certain point because you're a responsible adult. But, if reasoning with him doesn't work, at some point you just have to say: "Go ahead, you little shit. Knock yourself out."

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:23:50 AM PST

    •  I agree with one caveat (9+ / 0-)

      Unlike Clinton., Obama faces a fragile economy.

      He has a tougher balancing act imo.

      •  Yes. But if the Republicans want to crash the (10+ / 0-)

        economy, Obama may not have the power to stop them. Magic tricks and such won't work. So, if Obama says ahead of time that he doesn't think he has the power to stop Congress from behaving like morons, then whatever happens as a result of their actions is all on them. If he tries heroically to issue script and mint coins, not only will it not work (and make him look weak and desperate in the process), but it will actually save Republicans from suffering from the full effect of their own stupidity. At this point, the only way out is to force them to own up to their bankrupt ideology and back down. They've got nothing and they're going to have to work with him eventually. The longer they put it off, the more likely it is they will lose the House in 2014.

        Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

        by tekno2600 on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:42:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No magic tricks (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tekno2600, alice kleeman, Creosote

          on budgets, appropriations and the sequester.

          We are now in a 1995/1996 situation with the complication that Obama has a fragile economy to consider.

          •  I know, but giving up the illusion of control is (5+ / 0-)

            really important and therapeutic to do in certain situations. Obama doesn't hold all the cards. There are people who don't want a deal with him no matter what. They've tried this game before of trying to hurt the economy and thinking Obama will be blamed. Instead, people blamed them and re-elected him. Now they seem poised to try that again. Clearly, Obama does not want the economy to suffer, but just like the little kid holding his breath, you can't always stop somebody from doing dumb things to themselves. With no other good options out there, I think you just have to call the bluff.

            Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

            by tekno2600 on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:54:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  He holds his cards (7+ / 0-)

              A veto.

              And a Democratic Senate.

              Clinton only had the veto and he had to veto a number of Congressionally approved budgets during the 1995-1996 budget standoff.

              Obama has more cards in that sense (also Obama has won reelection and Clinton FACED reelection) but Clinton had something Obama does not have - a strong economy.

              •  None of those things can stop the House from (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                3goldens, Creosote

                defaulting if they really want to. So, I think he needs to be more hands off here. If the Republicans want to hang themselves, he needs to stop pulling the rope away. And call me cynical, but if the wingnuts eff-up the economy (which would probably just be minor and short-term), then that's a great time to push for more stimulus.

                Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

                by tekno2600 on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:10:35 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You're talking about the debt ceiling (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tekno2600, chuckvw

                  I think the President does have tools for the debt ceiling but it appears the issue is now likely moot.

                  I'm referencing where I believe the confrontation will come - the CR/sequester.

                  •  I don't think the debt ceiling is permanently (5+ / 0-)

                    solved, just delayed.
                    The sequester has multiple aspects. The anti-stimulative cuts and the potential to shut down government if a budget deal or continuing resolution cannot be agreed to. But, again, Obama does not have full control over this. If people want to see the bad effects of slashing spending in a weak economy, then that's probably where were headed. Obama might be able to soften the blow a little, but I doubt he'll stop it all. The important thing, however, is to let people know ahead of time that he thinks the cuts are a mistake and to blame the shit out of the Republicans for any bad effects that result from it.

                    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

                    by tekno2600 on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:20:59 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  he does hold all the cards... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                chuckvw

                I agree that President Obama holds all the cards.  The Constitution flat-out guarantees that America will pay for all the debts it incurs; it does not say, "if we feel like it, or if we can negotiate away something else that we don't like."  Thus, if the Republicans refuse to authorize the debt ceiling, they can be arrested for treason -- refusing to uphold the Constitution.  

                Haul Bawl-Baby Boehner and his minions off to jail, without bail, or just threaten to, and they will all turn on a dime and vote to authorize whatever it is they need to authorize.  

                In truth, Mr. Boehner needn't worry -- his face would blend in with his jumpsuit, and people might not recognize that he has been incarcerated -- but Mr. Cantor and Mr. Ryan and the other fools don't want to be photographed  in prison garb.  

    •  American voters need a reminder (5+ / 0-)

      that no matter what Republicans claim in their 30-second campaign ads, they SUCK at running the government.

      A government shutdown would be that reminder.

      Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

      by bear83 on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:31:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What will happen: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, Creosote

    The House, of course, will pass something onerous and despicable.  The Senate, as usual will try for a "grand bargain" thing that someone like Conrad and Coburn would go for.  Still onerous.

    Although we may get lucky and get a GOOD center left CR or budget resolution through because of filibuster reform.  Then it will go to conference.

    IF Boehner appoints a committee.

    "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 Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:31:25 AM PST

  •  enough with the hastert rule crap already (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, 3goldens, Eric Nelson, Creosote

    the republicans need to put things to a vote on the floor.

    No more games.  No more blackmail.

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

    by noofsh on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:34:08 AM PST

  •  House Republicans aren't what they used to be.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, Gary Norton, Eric Nelson, kat68

    they are a mess.....they'll be deferring to the Senate on big issues.....not that the Senate rethugs are much better.

  •  The president is clearly gambling (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton, Eric Nelson, kat68, Creosote

    that he can win a showdown with House Republicans.  Either they cave now, he seems to believe, or they lose their majority in 2014.

    In the best of all worlds, both.

    Reading tea leaves, the president's major objective at this point is to break the lockgrip the Tea Party has had on the government, opening up mechanisms which will permit a return to functional governance.

    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 Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:36:00 AM PST

    •  Lose their majority in 2014 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens

      This is almost impossible.

      •  Just wait till they shut down the government (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gary Norton, greenbell, Creosote

        Gun control was impossible until Newtown.  Disasters have a way of focusing people's attention on what's going wrong.

        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 Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:45:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dems won the popular House vote (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ItsSimpleSimon, 3goldens

          by 3 or 4% in 2012. And still did not win the House.

          I don;t see how they can win it in 2014.

          •  My experience is that demography... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eric Nelson, kat68

            ...overwhelms neatly drawn district lines faster than the line drawers will admit. The continued low level revolt in the GOP House and actions by state legislatures will contribute as well. In short, what looks insurmountable now may look like a difficult but navigable pass through the mountains in 15 months.

            That's my bit of Pollyanna, and I'm sticking to it  ;-)

            When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

            by Egalitare on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 10:28:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Depending on vote distribution... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chuckvw

          ...the Democrats could conceivably win 55% of the votes for House members in the US, and still lose the House. (Which is to say, we could win the popular House vote by TEN PERCENT, and still not control the House.

          In fact, that distribution is more likely than them winning 53% of the votes for House members in the US and winning the House. If we only (!) win the country by 6%, we have essentially no chance of retaking the House.

          Which is to say, in order to win the House, we would need a landslide bigger than any since Reagan/Mondale. If you only include non-presidential years, there has not been an election 'swingy' enough in the last 50 years (if I am interpreting the numbers correctly) to have swung the House to the Democrats. And people have only become more polarized, and less willing to even consider voting across party lines. Certainly not less.

          All this 'focus on the House in 2014' stuff is taking resources away from the state races that we should be focusing on. But instead, the Democratic party isn't even talking about them. If this continues, not only will we be stuck with a Republican House after 2020 and the next redistricting, we will also probably be stuck with a Republican president too. (Assuming they are able to pass the 'allocate presidential votes by congressional district' laws that they're showing every sign of being able to pass.)

          Well, if we let them keep those state houses, at this point, knowing what they can do with them, then we deserve what we get.

          •  Speak for yourself, kemosabe (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Gary Norton, Eric Nelson, Creosote

            because my union is prioritizing elections at all levels.  We basically swept in November, and we're keeping our campaign machinery polished and ready.

            I recommend progressives throughout the country do the same.

            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 Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 10:26:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  It's tough but not impossible. If we equal the (5+ / 0-)

        gains in 2012, we'll be in the majority. That is partially why we saw Boehner take the Cliff and Sandy votes. I think he knows that the party faces a real risk if they continue their obstructionism. Also, he reads the tea leaves that the tea party is on the wane.

        Further, affiant sayeth not.

        by Gary Norton on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:51:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If we win as we did in 2006, we will take (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gary Norton

          the House.

          In hindsight, it's kind of amazing that we were able to do that.

          Ok, so I read the polls.

          by andgarden on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:23:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not true (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bailey2001, chuckvw

            If we only win the same percentage of votes that we did in 2006, we don't take the House.

            In fact, we would have to do a LOT better. The gerrymandering is dramatically more effective this time around.

            •  Many people said the same thing (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Gary Norton, Eric Nelson

              after the 2000 redistricting.

              Yes, I do think they did a better job this time, but political terrain can shift in unpredictable ways. North Carolina put a lot of seats out of reach, but I am not prepared to say that PA, OH, and MI did.

              Ok, so I read the polls.

              by andgarden on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 10:32:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  No, this is not correct. We would need a higher (0+ / 0-)

            percentage to gain the House in 2014 as compared to our take in 2006. Quite a bit higher, in fact.

            •  State your assumptions clearly please (0+ / 0-)

              If one of them is an even swing, then you are quite possibly "not correct" yourself.

              Ok, so I read the polls.

              by andgarden on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 12:01:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  We would need at least a 7 point swing in our (0+ / 0-)

                direction and some state as high as 9.  With the current gerrymandering and district layouts, the likelihood of accomplishing even 2006 levels is a tough mountain to climb even if we are indeed in favorable conditions come election time.  This doesn't even consider our very usual disadvantage of turning out our base in midterms nor any political fall out that may come with the debt and/or gun proposals.

                We must GOTV like it's an election year now.

                •  Assuming a uniform swing? Yes or no? (0+ / 0-)

                  Ok, so I read the polls.

                  by andgarden on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 01:22:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Most likely with those predicting, yes...and your (0+ / 0-)

                    thoughts, how do you see a realistic 2014 victory for the House majority?  I am curious, as most are predicting this to close to impossible although gains are quite likely.

                    •  I will take that as a yes (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      oculus

                      The point is, swings are rarely uniform.

                      I am not predicting that we will take back the House in 2014. Rather, I am saying that it would take a wave of the same nature as 2006. I was not making (or intending to make, anyway) a quantitative point about the magnitude of the swing necessary.

                      I am hardly ignorant of redistricting and what it can do. On the contrary, I am cognizant of its limitations. Tide doesn't always get the stain out, and gerrymandering doesn't always preserve the partisan balance you expect it to.

                      Ok, so I read the polls.

                      by andgarden on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 03:05:09 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice article. Thanks. You are correct that the (12+ / 0-)

    continuing resolution (CR) is going to be the real fault line. The sequester is a very slow moving thing that most agencies can cope with easily for most of the year, if not longer. The R's are going to raise the debt limit with probably a majority vote of Ds an fifty or so Rs passing it.

    That leaves the CR which is the tried and true vehicle for Republican obstructionism. This time the Rs are really chastened and seem to understand their minority role unlike in the last Congress.

    One thing to point out is that this is well beyond the Hastert rule. That rule basically states that a bill will not be voted on unless a majority of Republicans support it. In the last Congress Boehner took that rule to a totally different level, saying that no bill would be voted on unless there were enough Republican votes to pass it without any Democratic support. That basically required virtually all of the Republicans to support the measure to be voted on.

    He has completely ditched that idea twice now in addition to breaking the Hastert rule since far fewer than a majority of Republicans voted on the Cliff Bill and the Sandy Bill. It will be interesting to see if he continues to bring bills to the floor that can only pass because of Democratic votes.

    Further, affiant sayeth not.

    by Gary Norton on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:37:58 AM PST

    •  Thanks (5+ / 0-)

      Hastert Rule and the CR/Sequester is where the rubber will meet the road.

    •  I think Speaker Boehner has convinced... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton, 3goldens, elmo

      ...his TEA Caucus that they have been conducting a "strategic withdrawal to a more favorable and sustainable defensive position" to this point.

      I'm not certain he can continue ditching the Hastert rule without some very serious consequences. Has a Speaker been deposed in mid-Congress? What is the threshold for triggering a "no confidence vote" on the Speaker after the session is underway?

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:22:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the sequester (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton, Eric Nelson

      I agree with your analysis.

      The sequester is most likely going to happen, possibly with a few tweaks. I don't see them delaying or dropping it, and I can't see any big changes that anyone would agree to. It's not anyone's ideal proposal, but it's a least-bad result.

      The continuing resolution/budget is a whole different story.

      Although, even there, the Republicans have been so vague on the specific demands. That gives them a weaker position than if they had specific, popular demans.

    •  Makes sense, the CR is the GOP's likely choice.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton, Creosote

      ..of vehicles to move on a shutdown. But if the deficit continues to shrink at the rate it has been, and that fact is brought out during their attempts, a shut down may prove too costly for them.
      From business insider - Jan. 20, 2013, 5:58 AM:

      But some of the best economists are predicting a rapid diminishing of the deficit.

      In his 10 Questions For 2013 note, Goldman's Jan Hatzius wrote:
       

      By 2015, we expect the federal deficit to be down to $500bn, or just under 3% of GDP. If this forecast is correct, concerns about the federal deficit are likely to diminish over the next few years.

      Why will the deficit fall in half like this?  Because of what we've been writing about a lot, lately: Deficits aren't about spending and taxes. They're about growth or lack thereof. For decades deficits as a % of GDP have been closely correlated with economic improvement
      The economics don't seem to favor the republicans timing on any tact they take. So while this following statement (from Armando's diary) is true, how much the current economy is at risk is lessening:
      President Obama though has much less favorable economic terrain. Unlike in 1996, the economy today is very fragile. A government shutdown of the duration of the late 1995-early 1996 shutdown would threaten a recession. - Armando
      And if the shrinking deficit is repeatedly/forcefully pointed out and made an issue during "negotiations" as reported by (conservative) the business world, it takes away much of the deficit hawks arguments right from the start imo.
  •  It seems to me (5+ / 0-)

    ...that the President is putting a lot of pressure on the business community to use its ties to the GOP to bring them to their senses.

    But it also seems to me that the business community is too addicted to tax cuts, special tax privileges, and the idea of not having a government to be accountable to to actually do that.

    The shock treatment of the 2011 rating downgrade apparently didn't affect the business-as-normal thinking.

    Maybe someone can make a determination that Congress are personnel that are in the must work now and get paid later group of people like some emergency personnel.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:40:42 AM PST

  •  In the short run it looks bad, but not in the long (6+ / 0-)

    run.

    I've been a critic of the way Obama has (or hasn't) done certain things. However, I think I see him actually painting the republians in a corner in this instance. In essense I think he is calling their bluff. He is letting them run with it to expose them to the American people as the frauds that they truly are.

    In the short term, if the debt ceiling drama doesn't get resolved, some folks are going to suffer and that is unfortunate but probably necessary. In the long term I think the Republican's stranglehold on getting policy passed will be deminshed for a very very long time.

    When I cannot sing my heart. I can only speak my mind.

    by Unbozo on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:40:59 AM PST

    •  I think the debt ceiling drama (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Unbozo, Gary Norton

      has basically been resolved.

      I think the confrontation comes on the sequester and the budget and, probably, a government shutdown.

      •  Why? (0+ / 0-)
        I think the debt ceiling drama has basically been resolved.
        Why?

        it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

        by Addison on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 11:03:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  GOP has come up with their 3 month fix (0+ / 0-)

          after that comes gov't shutdown.

          •  Yes, but... (0+ / 0-)

            But if the WH and other Democratic leaders are to be believed, the 3-month fix won't pass, as it's not even remotely a clean bill.

            And even if it does pass, it requires a passed budget that comes out of the House.

            Likewise, even if it does pass, the whole debt ceiling thing comes up again before Independence Day. That not backing down, that's a can-kicking for tactical reasons with a miniscule real effect on the debt ceiling as leverage.

            I'm not sure why we're treating this doomed GOP focus-grouped PR proposal any different from the doomed focus-grouped PR proposals that have come and gone in the past.

            it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

            by Addison on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 11:29:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, if Obama really holds firm, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, 3goldens, Capt Crunch, Creosote

      this is the strategy for how it goes down.  The Republicans will be under massive pressure from their corporate masters when the economy begins to tank. But the key to it all is Obama holding firm and not being seduced by visions of a "grand bargain." In a way Obama is painted into a corner too -- he has to stand firm or be rolled and lose massive amounts of political credibility.  There's no other way out and the stakes are enormous.

      •  If the economy 'begins to tank'... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chuckvw, Creosote

        ...then it's already too late to save the economy.

        The economy is a really, really big boat. If you, from your vantage point on shore, can see that it's heading towards a bridge piling, it's probably too late to keep it from hitting. And if you, from on shore, can see that it's beginning to sink, then it is just plain totally fucked.

        On the other hand, it's really easy to sink a big boat. Some explosives in the hold, and bam. As with anything useful, it's a lot easier to destroy it than it is to save it.

        •  This Country Needs a Cattle Prod (0+ / 0-)

          Our democracy works at a glacial pace until the shit hits the fan. Then things can happen very quickly if enough people become personally involved.

          I'm afraid it may have to come down to letting the sequester/shutdown happen and then let the public determine what's more important: restoring basic services that most citizens need or spending needless defense dollars that impact a relatively few workers in the M/I complex.

          I think/hope most people will focus on getting a return for their tax dollars as opposed to throwing billions into the M/I sinkhole. People also have to ask themselves if we are really face such a dire existential threat to justify spending on this level.

      •  The Republican brand is already damaged (0+ / 0-)

        More important than their corporate masters is the lose of credibility from the public. If things play out the way I envision (abet I could be wrong) not only will the Republican's brandd be damaged, but their main propagada machine ( aka FOXNEWS) will go down with them.

        I think we're already seeing early signs of this, but I'm not ready to breakout the champagne and declair VR-Day (Victory over the Republican's Day) jujst yet.

        Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping Obama doesn't pull the rug out from under me.

        YMMV

        When I cannot sing my heart. I can only speak my mind.

        by Unbozo on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 11:38:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I thought the GOP had already agreed (4+ / 0-)

    to raise the debt ceiling, albeit for only 3 months, but everyone seems to think that that means for good (or at least for another year or two), because they realized that it would be a huge political loser for them if they didn't.

    I actually agree with Obama on this one. He's calling their bluff--and it is and always has been a bluff, even if they didn't think it was at the time, because there is ZERO chance that the financial and corporate powers that still own the GOP's ass would let them do it--and doing so in the simplest way possible.

    It's almost Marbury v. Madison in its simplicity:

    Raise the debt ceiling or else face the consequences. This is your responsibility and obligation, I'm just acknowledging that and in so doing asserting our respective constitutional roles and spheres of responsibility, and don't expect me to help you out here.
    It's obviously a really ballsy in your face play by Obama (apologies for violating the gonad rule), and it's the right play IMO. They caved, he won, we won.

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

    by kovie on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:43:29 AM PST

    •  I think the GOP (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton, Eric Nelson, Creosote

      was ridiculous to decide the debt ceiling was the choke point when they have two better choke points - CR expiration and sequester.

      They just wised up on where the best ground lay for them.

      •  I agree (4+ / 0-)

        Their having done so (or having appeared to have done so) was either their own version of 11DC (hah and as if), or else indicative that they're not quite as politically smart and united as we give them credit for.

        Fault lines in the GOP, within and between each chamber, and on the whole. Obama's getting smarter at seeing and, more importantly, exploiting them.

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

        by kovie on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:05:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The sequester is not framed in terms (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gary Norton, Eric Nelson, Creosote

        favorable to Republicans either; the cuts on their side are much more painful than the cuts on our side (thanks, Jake Lew!).

        The CR is a better rallying point for them. Shutting down the government is not particularly popular, but it's more popular than crashing the economy and more popular with defense lobbyists than those defense cuts.

    •  the backup is also this (0+ / 0-)

      IF they somehow fail to raise the debt ceiling, then Obama can say, well I have two incongruous orders from Congress, spend this appropriated money, and don't spend any appropriated money.

      since he cant constitutionally ignore either order, but has to follow one or the other, he will pick the one to ignore that does more damage to our economy.

      Doesn't speak to a government shutdown, but the level of stupid that is and the way it would be tied around the Republicans suggests to me that smarter heads will prevail on their side, even if barely.

      •  The point was to not let there be a backup (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gary Norton, kat68

        so as to let the GOP off the hook. It may appear to have been a really high stakes play on Obama's part, and perhaps it was, but it put ALL the onus on the GOP in case they were insane enough to do it. And they blinked. Which I always expected them to, making it less high stakes than it appeared IMO.

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

        by kovie on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:58:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  there always has to be a backup (0+ / 0-)

          when your plan depends on other people.

          It makes it as you say less high stakes than it appears because he has outs.

          •  It has to be a viable and necessary backup (0+ / 0-)

            And these measures would have been neither, unnecessary because the GOP was never going to do it, and unviable because they wouldn't have prevented the markets and economy from tanking.

            This was Obama's only play, and he played it well.

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

            by kovie on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:30:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  why wouldnt it be viable or necessary? (0+ / 0-)

              I think the GOP wasn't going to do it is not supported simply because they've decided not to do it.

              I think Obama deciding to continue honoring our obligations would have prevented markets from tanking.

              •  Markets would have doubted the legitimacy of such (0+ / 0-)

                backups and reacted harshly. But Repubs were never going to do it because they're not THAT stupid and their corporate and financial overlords would never have let them do it. Despite appearances there is a method to their madness and I think that Obama's finally clued onto it.

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

                by kovie on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 03:33:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  have to agree to disagree (0+ / 0-)

                  I dont think Repubs were never going to do it because many in the Tea Party are that stupid and they aren't beholden to corporations at all.

                  I also don't think the markets would have doubted the legitimacy of it.

                  •  There simply aren't enough teabaggers (0+ / 0-)

                    There was always a majority of house members to avoid this, provided that the Hastert rule be broken. Which is just was, yet again.

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

                    by kovie on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 09:27:39 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  realistically (5+ / 0-)

    it would take months to trigger a recession. the gop won't hold together that long.

    clinton saved his presidency. after 1994, the pundits were asking if he was still relevant, which was stupid at face value, given that he was president, but he was in big trouble. gingrich over-played his hand, clinton stood his ground and saved social security, and his popularity has remained high since.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:46:57 AM PST

  •  "This is reasonable and logical. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, skillet, 3goldens, Eric Nelson

    But reason and logic do not always help us predict how the House Republicans will behave."

    I think that we may have the understatement of the year here. And it's still only January.

  •  GOP needs this (5+ / 0-)

    It seems to me that, as was quoted from a GOP source in Politico last week, the GOPers have to have some kind of shutdown "just to get it out of their system." The leadership seems to have decided on a shutdown by not passing a new CR that can get through both houses. I think that the House leadership knows that until the crazies have their primal scream moment that the party can't begin to recreate itself. In my judgment this is not only a possibilty but is the leadership's plan. Until the nuttos taste what will happen and the non-nuttos get some cover from being primaried thru a shutdown and it's aftermath I can't see how the leadership can get a CR that can pass the Senate using only R votes-and that's the only way they will get one thru the House until after a shut down. But I disagree that Obama is not in a much better position than Clinton in 95-96. Then the Rs actually passed an appropriations bill and Clinton had to veto it. Now these guys won't even get one out of the Senate. Thus O just needs to point right at the House which won't be able to get its act together to even get a CR up to him.

  •  Congress voted themselves the debt limit. Obama's (5+ / 0-)

    refusal to resort to tricks to circumvent that power clarifies who will be responsible for a shutdown and its consequences. It is time to quit playing all these political games and let it be clear who is damaging the economy.

    The Republicans are gaming the system in order to hang onto power. From voting, abortion, the electoral college, filibuster, and the economy all they have are dirty, little tricks to try and get their way. They can do damage but, in the end, will lose more power. They must be fought but not with gamesmanship.  

  •  To deal with nuts (6+ / 0-)

    To deal with nuts (crazies) you have to lead them to believe that you are actually crazier that they are. No other method works!

    There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

    by taonow on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:26:12 AM PST

  •  He Might Just Do That (0+ / 0-)

    "Will the president merely allow an economic catastrophe to unfold just to be able to say he did not use a gimmick or a loophole? I would hope not."

    I hope not too, but I am smart enough to realize that Obama is capable of doing just that.  Don't forget; the Democrats have no track record in standing up to and staring down the Republicans.  Since Barak's been in office, the situation has been, to paraphrase the song from "Damn Yankees," "Whatever the Republicans want, the Republicans get."

    The Republican Party is no longer rational, so using rational means to oppose them won't work.  Barak must muster up the guts to be willing to use the Constitution or the platinum coin to beat the thugs at their own game.  Fighting the thugs takes guts and the willingness to use such means as will bring them to defeat.  I'm hoping for all of our sakes that Barak is not found wanting in this area.

  •  This is concern trolling (0+ / 0-)

    I have to say. I don't like the fact that President Obama has ruled out the tricks that are available. But, it really is the responsibility of Congress to raise the debt limit and if the economy is going to be crashed by the GOP's intransigence, this country will ultimately be better off because the GOP will cease to be a party in the aftermath. Wringing your hands months in advance about a crisis that was delayed at the last minute is exactly what the MSM have been doing. I don't think it is appropriate or helpful. I also don't think Rep. Boehner is so stupid that he will enforce the Hastert rule and destroy not only the USA's economy but throw the entire world's economy into chaos. That is what they are telegraphing. And if it is a fake, good riddance to the Republican Party because they are not pro-America. They are pro-plutocracy.

    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. ~ Hunter S. Thompson

    by plh225 on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:50:55 AM PST

    •  Ridculous (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wigwam, Capt Crunch

      Now any divergence from Obama's line is concern trolling.

      What a ridiculous comment.

      So infantile.

    •  When I hear the term "concern trolling" (0+ / 0-)

      99% of the time there is nothing of substance following it.
      This post is an excellent example of that.

      Wringing your hands months in advance about a crisis that was delayed at the last minute is exactly what the MSM have been doing. I don't think it is appropriate or helpful.
      Completely and totally wrong. That is not how the world works. A crisis requires being addressed months in advance to facilitate a decent solution.
      if the economy is going to be crashed by the GOP's intransigence, this country will ultimately be better off because the GOP will cease to be a party in the aftermath.
      Wrong again -  the couple of generations of people who have their lives ruined will disagree with you.
      Finally, this term "concern trolling" implies that we should not be concerned. That communicates to me a true lack of living in the material world - much like Mr. Rove on election night.
  •  Obama is right to stand firm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bdop4, Creosote

    I believe he will capitulate, but he's talking a good game now and if he follows through then that's the man I voted for back in 2008.

    Magic coins are not a solution.  This is our chance to break the GOP by forcing them to own a national default if it comes to that.  Obama's words are pitch perfect:  congress spent the money, now they must pay the bill.

    If Obama had governed like this since 2008, we probably wouldn't even have a GOP house right now.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:54:17 AM PST

    •  Obama has an obligation to pay the bills (0+ / 0-)

      The Treasury is part of the executive branch and ultimately reports to the President.  Per it web page:

      The basic functions of the Department of the Treasury include:
      • Managing Federal finances;
      • Collecting taxes, duties and monies paid to and due to the U.S. and paying all bills of the U.S.;
      • Currency and coinage;
      • Managing Government accounts and the public debt;
      • Supervising national banks and thrift institutions;
      • Advising on domestic and international financial, monetary, economic, trade and tax policy;
      • Enforcing Federal finance and tax laws;
      • Investigating and prosecuting tax evaders, counterfeiters, and forgers.
      If Congress prohibits Obama from borrowing money but has explicitly given him authority to mint it, where does he get the right to say: "I won't do my job of paying the bills unless I can do so with borrowed money."
      •  Congress has not given the President authority... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Subterranean

        ... to evade its debt ceiling law by minting ultra-valuable coins.

        Some argue Congress's seignorage laws could allow it. (Even a few respected scholars so argue, showing that with enough desperation, everything becomes arguable.) Some say that when the case reaches the Supreme Court, it will ignore the legislative history of coin-minting legislation, uphold The Coin Trick and abide by the strict language of the law. (I mention that only for the sake of fairness and advancing the argument, but I think that is ridiculous. This is an area where even J. Antonin Scalia will look to legislative intent, and rely on it!)

        Yes, the Magic Coin is one way of evading the consequences of Congress's artificial and irresponsible bargaining position. I believe it's likely that the markets will still react badly, ratings will go down and the cost of debt - looking for an excuse to rise! - will rise anyway.

        For me, it's responsible to go ahead and have the confrontation Congress seems to want if it doesn't address the debt ceiling. So, what are those choices?

        1. Cut-slash-and-burn budgeting for a while and hope the country puts the blame in the right place - the irresponsible Tea Party and its ilk. After all, this would accord with the will of a co-equal branch. To me, this is extreme in its own way.

        2. Ignore the debt ceiling. Regard it as incompatible with spending that Congress has authorized and appropriated. When challenged, point to the 4th Section of the 14th Amendment. Although it was passed to serve in a very different time, the circumstances (denial of debt obligations once validly incurred) are similar. Rely on being so very much more realistic and adult than many members of the Republican caucus in the House and the filiblusterated Senate.

        3. Let the sequester roll. Everyone dislikes it for their own reasons. A plague on both your houses, Congress, you passed that big plodge of stuff, too. What would you like to fix first? Now, the President can wait, watch and threaten a veto!

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

        by TRPChicago on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 12:15:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "[T]he legislative history of coin minting..." (0+ / 0-)
          Some say that when the case reaches the Supreme Court, it will ignore the legislative history of coin-minting legislation, uphold The Coin Trick and abide by the strict language of the law.
          Note that coins are the only dollars that are not bank-issued interest-bearing money.  For those interested in that history, I strongly recommend this recent article by Ellen Brown.
          •  There's not much legislative history on this. (0+ / 0-)

            The provision is Title 31 U.S.C. Sec. 5112 (k):

            (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.
            It is in a section of the law dealing with the physical specifications of coinage. It and earlier provisions have been passed by Congress as part of commemorative coin legislation such as the US quarter series, so the US mint could get some of the value captured by commemorative  coinage issued by private mints (like Danbury). That specific provision was part of an act passed to authorize the Treasury to produce American Platinum Eagle bullion and proof coins.

            As Reuters reported last week, "'Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit,' said Treasury spokesman Anthony Coley in a statement."

            And, it would not put market turmoil or a political confrontation to rest. Indeed, it is as likely to make them worse and escalate as much as any other alternative (e.g. relying on the 14th Amendment, which I prefer) other than starting to close down spending. Which Congress seems to want to pin on tis administration one way or another.

            I think the point is if all the Treasury needs to do to evade the debt ceiling is to mint a big valuable coin and put a lot more money in circulation, creditors will see it as a reactive ploy, just too easy an out. After all, President Obama wants to hold Congress's feet to the fire, a fire which Congress and Congress alone - with its predecessors - created.

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

            by TRPChicago on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 02:20:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You've missed a couple of things. (0+ / 0-)
              It is in a section of the law dealing with the physical specifications of coinage. It and earlier provisions have been passed by Congress as part of commemorative coin legislation such as the US quarter series, so the US mint could get some of the value captured by commemorative  coinage issued by private mints (like Danbury). That specific provision was part of an act passed to authorize the Treasury to produce American Platinum Eagle bullion and proof coins.

              The bill's coauthor, Philip Diehl, claims that he intended it as a blank check.

              Also, your wrote:

              As Reuters reported last week, "'Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit,' said Treasury spokesman Anthony Coley in a statement."
              But it is the GOP who have been "avoiding an increase in the debt limit."  

              The point is that  the Treasury has been paying a portion of the government's bills with coined money for over 220 years --- that can't be illegal.  And, 31USC5112(k) simply gives the Treasury permission to mint larger coins for the purpose of paying the government's bills, whether or not the debt limit gets raised.  

              Finally, Ellen Brown indicates that Congress did not impose limits on the amount of money the Treasury could mint until 1982, which she implies was a result of lobbying by the banks:

              That may have been true then, but in legislation initiated in 1982, Congress chose instead to impose limits on the amounts and denominations of most coins. The one exception was the platinum coin, which a special provision allowed to be minted in any amount for commemorative purposes.

              [...]

              Philip Diehl , former head of the U.S. Mint and co-author of the platinum coin law, confirmed that the coin would be legal tender:

              In minting the $1 trillion platinum coin, the Treasury Secretary would be exercising authority which Congress has granted routinely for more than 220 years. The Secretary authority is derived from an Act of Congress (in fact, a GOP Congress) under power expressly granted to Congress in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8).

              •  I can't find that Diehl was a member of Congress. (0+ / 0-)

                The quote about the debt limit was to the Treasury spokesman. And with respect, Ms. Brown's history, credible as I accept that it is, isn't legislative history, only lobbying history ... which would open a quagmire of analysis if courts started accepting that as part of the law.

                I respect your advocacy. But I don't think the Magic Coin is a viable legal, political or sensible idea (three potentially different things).

                I'd prefer straight out confrontation, with Congress being inconsistent with itself, based on the 14th Amendment (to continue spending) or the necessary cut back (so as not to save the willful GOP from itself).

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

                by TRPChicago on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:47:18 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  He was head of the Mint and "coauthor" of the bill (0+ / 0-)

                  Diehl is commonly cited as "coauthor" of 31USC5112(k). Per Reid Pillifant:

                  Diehl said ... he worked closely with Republican Rep. Mike Castle, who was chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee at the time, and eventually got the bill through the Republican-controlled House with what Diehl called a "blank check."
                  That quote from that Treasury spokesman is the only thing  from the Obama administration that I've seen construed as a claim that minting platinum to pay the nation's bills would be illegal.  Maybe they said something more direct elsewhere.  If so, I'd appreciate a reference.

                  I don't know about "viability."  What's clear is that for 220 years we have been minting money and paying bills with the proceeds.  And, although the denominations were specified, the quantities have been left to "the Secretary's discretion."  If I understand correctly, we minted about $10 billion in 2011.  For platinum coins, the denomination is also left to "the Secretary's discretion,"  and you're trying to tell me that Congress can't do that.  

                  Now you may thing that the amounts defy all legality, but note that using powers delegated to him by Congress, Ben Bernanke loaned seven trillion U.S. dollars, which are a liability of the United States to various banks around the world.  Why is that "viable" and the minting of a high-value platinum coin is not?

        •  Either 31USC5112(k) is constitutional or it's not (0+ / 0-)
          Yes, the Magic Coin is one way of evading the consequences of Congress's artificial and irresponsible bargaining position. I believe it's likely that the markets will still react badly, ratings will go down and the cost of debt - looking for an excuse to rise! - will rise anyway.
          If 31USC5112(k) is constitutional, we have no further need to borrow and can ignore "the cost of debt."

          As to the intent of USC5112(k), the then-head of the Treasury and coauthor of 31USC5112(k), Philip Diehl, said recently that his considers the platinum-coin option to be legal and that he was seeking a "blank check" with that law.  As Harvard law professor  Laurence Tribe  put it:

          I don’t think it makes sense to think about this as some sort of “loophole” issue. Using the statute this way doesn’t entail exploiting a loophole; it entails just reading the plain language that Congress used. The statute clearly does authorize the issuance of trillion-dollar coins. First, the statute itself doesn’t set any limit on coin value. Second, other clauses of 31 USC §5112 do set such limits, but §5112(k)—dealing with platinum coins—does not. So expressio unius strengthens the inference that there isn’t any limit here.

          Of course, Congress probably didn’t have trillion-dollar coins in mind, but there’s no textual or other legal basis for importing this probable intention into the statute. What 535 people might have had in their collective “mind” just can’t control the meaning of a law this clear.

          It’s also quite clear that the minting of such a coin couldn’t be challenged; I don’t see who would have standing.

          Bottom line: This is a situation where the political and economic considerations, not the legal considerations, have to drive the decision-making about this option. It’s certainly a lot better from just about every perspective than having the nation stuck on either horn of the very real dilemma you outlined below, which I agree offers no plausible way out as long as enough leaders in Congress insist on playing Russian Roulette with our economy and risking our full faith and credit by using the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip as they are threatening to do.

  •  the catfood commission was not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bdop4

    a loophole?  Neither was sequester I guess.  

    No matter what happens we are getting austerity for the poor's so that Richie Rich doesn's feel "uncertain".  This dance bores me.  

    "I'm a Republican from the 80s". - The most "liberal" president in my lifetime.

    by Nada Lemming on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:55:25 AM PST

  •  Here's my question: (0+ / 0-)

    When exactly did the Hastert Rule become an inviolable amendment to the Constitution of the United States?

  •  Pass it in the Senate and force it on the House (0+ / 0-)

    Force them to vote on default by the government for not paying the bills they've already approved. It could be a very bad p/r move.
    If they want to do it though, there's not much the gov't can do until We, the electorate, change representation away from those responsible for the current stagnation and economic depression.
    What is really getting tiresome however is the soap opera drama of every new cycle coming out of Washington. Its all being done by the R's and the media doesn't notice. What a revoltin' development. ( I wonder who recognizes that phrase?)

  •  There's no NEED to ever raise the debt ceiling (0+ / 0-)

    Article 1 Section 8 gives the government three ways to raise money: revenue (e.g., taxes) [Clause 1], borrowing [Clause 2], and coining of money [Clause 5].  For the past 220 years since the founding of the U.S. Mint, we've been covering our tax deficits through a combination of borrowing and coining --- coining covered about 1% of the deficit (roughly $10B) in 2011.

    The 1996 passage of 31USC5112(k) remove all limits on the amount of coining the Treasury could do:

    (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.
    And, that means that there is no legal NEED to borrow, i.e., the entire tax deficit can be covered through borrowing.

    Some have objected that it is irresponsible, absurd, inflationary, and/or immoral to cover our deficits with money created out of thin air.  They are obviously ignorant of the fact that all money other than coins is created out of thin air when someone borrows from a bank.

    That's not to say that there are not good reasons to continue some level of borrowing:

    • There should be a way for China to recycle their dollars other than spending them into our economy.
    • Pension funds, including SS, should have a safe interest-bearing investment.
    • Bonds lose value when interest rates go up, thereby taking net finacial assets out of the private sector in times of inflation.
    • The sale of bonds drives up interest rates thus discouraging further borrowing and the expansion of the money supply that it causes.

    But those are policy issues that should be handled by the Treasury and the Fed.  In any case, they are arguments as to why the debt limit SHOULD be raised.
    •  Do you realize that the Treasury's own lawyers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton, TRPChicago

      (who do this for a living, and thus are deeply familiar with all the applicable laws and regulations and not just a snip pulled out of context) are of the opinion that the magic coin is not legally authorized?

      •  Reference, please (n/t) (0+ / 0-)
      •  What I realize is that ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... per Ezra Klein:

        That’s the bottom line of the statement that Anthony Coley, a spokesman for the Treasury Department, gave me today. “Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit,” he said.
        But it is the GOP who have been "avoiding an increase in the debt limit."  

        The point is that  the Treasury has been paying a portion of the government's bills with coined money for over 220 years --- that can't be illegal.  And, 31USC5112(k) simply gives the Treasury permission to mint larger coins for the purpose of paying the government's bills, whether or not the debt limit gets raised.  

        •  The lawyers at the Treasury disagree with you (0+ / 0-)

          Subsection (k) was added to allow the Treasury to mint commemorative platinum coins.

          •  That the purpose of the law, and of course ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... the purpose of the coin would be to commemorate something -- there is no lack of thing worthy of commemoration.  And, I was speaking of the purpose to which the seignioriage derived from the minting of that coin would be put.  

            In any case, neither of those purposes are "avoiding an increase increase in the debt limit."  In fact, if we fail to avoid an increase in the debt limit and the debt limit does get increased, that seigniorage would not be needed to pay the nation's bills.  The case where that seigniorage would be particularly useful is the case where the GOP succeeds in avoiding an increase in the debt limit.

  •  Fear of 2008 events in Big Money Circles is real (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, Creosote

    and needs to be fed. Money is the Mothers Milk of politics
    and Republicans (unlike Dems) are completely reliant on rich donors who will not wish to repeat the economy of last 4 years.  If the message gets thru I except to see unprecedented caving.
    I am amazed at how complacent their trained media is acting.
    I saw Granholm on This Week and Axelrod on MTP and they were both more timid than they should 2 months before a government shutdown. The Repubs have been seek to decouple the 10% sequester from debt ceiling with Obama helping them a bit.
    We should be talking about not less than a grand bargain of $1 tax loophole closing for $1 spending cuts(reducing deficit by half?) and again Obama weakened on his advantage by extending Bush tax cuts.

    Where are the cliff fearmongers when you need them?

    Maybe Krugman could start the ball rolling.

    Instead the media is talking about a fake rumors of a fake girlfriend.

  •  Why did health care co-ops get abandoned with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw

    last fiscal cliff deal?   Did our Daily Kos miss that one?  Fail to warn us?  Do we have a path to restore that?

    Alaska, believe it or not, has some good people in it.  While our Governor Parnell is not one of them, others in the state had studied the coops and were all geared up to put them in place in Alaska--where many are uninsured and have only a few egregious and expensive private industry policies from which to choose.

    Met the end of the year deadline and all set to roll.  Then totally derailed by the fiscal cliff deal.

    Why did this happen?  What can be done about it?

  •  Scrip, not script (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Creosote

    The quotation ".. to issue a platinum coin or issue script..." should read "to issue a platinum coin or issue script (sic)..."

  •  Typical Poker play by Obama. Show his hand, allow (0+ / 0-)

    the GOP to bluff, then fold with a Royal Flush. That's my new analogy for Obama's political moves. Poor Poker player rather than excellent Chessmaster.

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