This is something that's been bugging me lately.
Apparently, President Obama's advisers have informed him that the president doesn't have the power to override the debt ceiling law, and Republicans has informed him that they will not raise it unless the ACA is “defunded”. Logically, that leaves the president with only one alternative, and he is the only one that can do it: he must make cuts and raise revenue by other sources in order to continue to pay what we owe and what we have promised to pay. If you read the law, there is no alternative to this. In fact, several Republicans have been calling for it specifically: it's a no-brainer, according to them (and they should know).
In fact, it is kind of a no-brainer. As leading GOP leaders such as Rand Paul have pointed out, we're a rich country, so why would we default?
There are many things a president can do to keep from exceeding the debt ceiling. Some are risky, some are cruel, but politics is an adult game.
When it comes to raising money, there are immense resources controlled by the government. Land: Camp Pendleton and St. John Island come to mind. The former could be developed into a new city in the critical LA-SD corridor, and St. John could be the most amazing private resort complex in the world. And that's just two out of hundreds of possibilities.
And there are many more resources: how much could we get for a nuclear aircraft carrier filled with top-of-the-line combat airplanes? I have no idea, but I bet it's a lot.
Another suggestion: the American military could be rented out. It's a fabulous fighting force, and we could charge top dollar and get it easily. I feel quite confident there are plenty of individuals, groups, nations, and even continents that would pay plenty to get, say, the US Marines to wipe out one of their long-time pesky uprisings or annoying minorities. This could easily amount to hundreds of billions of dollars in non-tax income, and it could be accomplished easily even as we retire and sell off most of the military's personnel and resources.
There are a number of companies that currently use government-owned land and other resources for very little in return. This would have to be changed: people using government resources should be required to pay market rates. This would be a slow but steady stream of very useful revenue.
The other side of this coin is how to save money. Well, of course the military is important there too. We should bring home the troops not only from Afghanistan, but from around the world, and immediately lay them off. If we're lucky, we'd also be able to get something for selling the buildings, equipment, and buildings we'd be leaving behind. We would also permanently dock most of the Navy, park most of the Air Force, and lay off their crews. This alone would save a considerable amount of money, but we would also be able to put the ships and planes right on the market (see above).
The other main way to reduce spending is to stop sending so much money to the states. There is no reason this can't be done selectively: the states whose voters elected people to Congress to shut down the government and clamp down the debt ceiling have obviously volunteered to be first, and the government should give high priority to fulfilling their request.
Most of the above would take some time to have an effect; that is the principle weakness. However, the cuts to Red State money could take effect almost instantly, and so that is probably the highest priority. The other elements of the program would take longer to implement, but would be likely to have a very long-lasting effect.
It's really not rocket science to stay within the debt ceiling limits. Any experienced Monopoly player has done exactly the same thing toward the end of the game when they land on their brother's Park Place with all the hotels on it. You just have to sell your stuff for whatever you can get. Who knows, maybe your brother will land on your railroads about 20 times and you could still beat him. Stop worrying people, the debt ceiling's just another game, at least that's what some of our elected representatives apparently think.