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Tiger yawns on rock
No matter how hard I try, I just can't get worked up about this:
President Barack Obama made a demand of House Speaker John Boehner near the end of their first White House meeting on the fiscal cliff: Raise the debt limit before year’s end.

Boehner responded: “There is a price for everything.”

And with that exchange, described by sources familiar with the Nov. 16 session, an issue that has been overshadowed by the fiscal cliff showdown moved to the forefront of already complicated negotiations to avert more than $500 billion in spending cuts and tax increases by the new year. With bitter memories of the 2011 debt-limit standoff still fresh, both sides are engaged in another aggressive round of hardball.

Yes, I know how badly the debt ceiling debate turned out last time around. Everything about it was terrible—not just the deal itself, but also the process of getting the deal. Nobody ended up looking good, and even though John Boehner said he got 98 percent of what he wanted, nobody was really happy about the final outcome.

But the key thing about the debt limit—and the reason that I'm not freaked out about it now—is that the debt limit will only be a crisis if congressional Republicans and the White House want it to be a crisis. Sure, Republicans might be crazy enough to try to relive the crisis, but President Obama doesn't appear to have any desire to do so—and he has it within his power to avert the crisis entirely—without a single act of Congress.

Remember, the debt limit is simply a statutory cap on the total amount of debt held by the United States government. Assuming Congress doesn't lift the cap, we'll eventually hit the cap because Congress is spending more than we're taking in. When that happens, we'll find ourselves in a situation where congressionally mandated spending is in conflict with the congressionally mandated debt limit. The general assumption has been that in such a scenario, the debt limit should be the controlling law, but that's an arbitrary assumption.

As Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin argued last year, with two conflicting statutes, both of which have a constitutional basis, the president must decide which one of them is unconstitutional. President Obama is nothing if not rational and while he certainly doesn't want to face that choice, it's clear that the best and most logical option would be to obey congressional legislation on spending by continuing to issue debt beyond the debt limit. Balkin also suggested another option: the trillion dollar coin. The president has the legal power to issue an unlimited amount of coinage in whatever denomination he sees fit. He could simply mint a trillion dollar coin and deposit it in the Federal Reserve, giving the government the funds it needs to make good on spending authorized by Congress.

Neither of these scenarios are ideal, but they are vastly preferable to a repeat of the 2011 debt limit crisis, and as long as the president agrees, there's nothing Republicans can do to stop him, at least not before the fact. As Balkin points out, Congress could respond by trying to impeach the president or by suing him, but given that his actions would have just saved the economy from collapse, the public would not have much patience for such actions. The real point of leverage for congressional Republicans would come at the end of the fiscal year when discretionary spending laws expire, but that's a point of leverage they already have.

The only way the debt ceiling will become another economic crisis is if both the White House and Republicans decide to make it one. That's exactly what happened in the summer of 2011, but so far the White House hasn't given any indication that it wants to see a replay of that debacle. And as long as they maintain the option of bypassing the debt limit with one of Balkin's strategies (or some other legal maneuver) the debt limit shouldn't be a big deal in 2013.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 09:59 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's beginning to feel a lot like Debtmas. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny, PSzymeczek, bontemps2012

    What do you wanna do, Marty?

    I dunno, what do you wanna do, Angie?

    Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

    by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 10:17:43 AM PST

  •  If the president did this: (12+ / 0-)
    Balkin also suggested another option: the trillion dollar coin. The president has the legal power to issue an unlimited amount of coinage in whatever denomination he sees fit. He could simply mint a trillion dollar coin and deposit it in the Federal Reserve, giving the government the funds it needs to make good on spending authorized by Congress.
    the Freeps, CTers and wingnuts would go absolutely bonkers.

    BONKERS.

    It would be like nothing we have seen before.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 10:36:39 AM PST

  •  Ah, the joys of a fiat currency. (9+ / 0-)
    The only way the debt ceiling will become another economic crisis is if both the White House and Republicans decide to make it one.
    This "crisis" is boring and depressing because it is entirely a crisis of choice.
    We have real problems(climate change, oligarchy, poverty, healthcare, energy, excessive defense spending, too many people in prison, etc., etc...)that require real attention.

    -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

    by pat bunny on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 10:40:20 AM PST

  •  Bill Clinton showed the way. (15+ / 0-)

    Simply refuse to negotiate over the debt ceiling. Period.

  •  Fiscal matters (7+ / 0-)

    Nothing of substance should be attempted by this lame duck congress - not on the debt ceiling, not on taxes, not on the budget, not on the deficit.  Several of the members either retired or were put out of office by their constitutents.  Their only responsibility should be to adjourn sine die so their soon-to-be-former members can find honest work.

    "The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little. " --Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by jg6544 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:20:34 AM PST

  •  Obama should ignore the debt limit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012, deepeco, Mr MadAsHell

    Make an Exec Order, and make them go to the SCOTUS-

    let's test the constitutionality of the debt ceiling once and for all

    If Congress appropriates money or creates programs, isn't the debt 'ceiling' irrelevant?

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

    by jgkojak on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:20:53 AM PST

  •  I want that coin (7+ / 0-)

    That would make the best heist movie EVER

    "The president was committed; elected on the basis that he was not Romney and Romney was a poopy head and you should vote against Romney and he won by two points." The increasingly irrelevant Grover Norquist

    by Wolfox on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:21:51 AM PST

  •  There's a price for everything (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero

    so how much will you pay me NOT to shoot myself in my foot?  C'mon, pay up or I'll maim myself!

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:24:32 AM PST

  •  Just mint the $1T coins and tell the House to go (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluehawk, katiec

    pound sand.

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

    by polecat on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:25:40 AM PST

  •  AHEM...we could, y'know, RAISE TAXES (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, blueoasis, roadbear

    on the rich in order to get more money. You know, the people that pull maneuvers to defer taxes indefinitely. The people that put money offshore so as to not pay taxes.  The people that can apparently afford to pay people like Paris Hilton $30k a pop just to show up at a party. Or pay their housekeepers enough money to obtain Oxycontin for them to the point where they go deaf from it. The people that can afford to spend millions anonymously in order to try (and fail thankfully) to influence the outcome of a presidential election.

    These people have enough money to do stuff like this, they have enough to pay a little more in taxes. Or any taxes at all for that matter. Cheap bastards.

    •  All tax legislation has to originate in the House. (3+ / 0-)

      Of course it has to pass the Senate too. So we really need to control both bodies to redo the tax code.

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

      by Bluehawk on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:35:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two questions (0+ / 0-)

      How much do you think you can squeeze from the rich?

      How does that amount compare to either the yearly deficit, or the total debt?

      •  Every little bit helps (0+ / 0-)

        A few tens of billions per year from returning to the Clinton era rate for high incomes.  A few tens of billions more per year from making the capital gains rate the same as the regular income rate.  A bit more from a financial transaction tax.

        Hell, just out of sheer vindictiveness I'd tax "carried interest" at an extra-high rate as a big "fuck you" to hedge fund managers.

        And the main point is (contrary to Republican claims) this wouldn't hurt jobs at all.

        “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

        by jrooth on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:11:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Trillion dollar coin? (0+ / 0-)

    That seems like a stretch.  What is ludicrous must be inadvisable.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:29:17 AM PST

      •  Obviously a misuse of the intended power (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sneakers563, bena

        and as such, an action that could rightfully be characterized as an over-reach and an unjustified power grab.   Or so it strikes this reader.

        Think for a moment how we would feel if a Republican president utilized such a dramatic end-run to circumvent normal legislative channels.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:42:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not a stretch. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, TheDuckManCometh, Sylv, roadbear

      Lincoln printed money to finance the Civil War.
      The Revolutionary War was in part about weather the country could issue its own currency.
      Right now in this country we let private banks create most of the money through letting them loan out 50 times their capitol and a multiple of their deposits, so when people take out a loan the money supply increases and when they  pay off their debts, the money supply falls.  However because of compound interest in this scheme there will never be enough money to pay off the debts. Throughout history  at some point either a jubliee has to be called where debts were forgiven (usually the first year of the reign of each new king) or the government had to issue some form of currency to make up the difference.
      Take a look at the "Secret of Oz" on you-tube for monetary theory lite. As long as a country has unused human and industrial capacity and closely  controls the quantity of its currency and takes steps to see the currency goes into productive real enterprise and not speculation, it is not inflationary.  
       

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

      by Bluehawk on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:49:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not a stretch at all... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, jrooth, TheDuckManCometh

      it's absolutely legal and specifically authorized by legislation. It's basically an accounting gimmick just like the whole debt and deficit silliness is for a sovereign country like ours with a fiat currency. The coin would not circulate so it would not cause any inflation. Before you poo-poo the idea, you ought to read up on the solid arguments behind it.

      Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

      by Ian S on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:57:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll try to take another look (0+ / 0-)
        It's basically an accounting gimmick just like the whole debt and deficit silliness is
        but on the face of it, tit-for-tat gimmickry isn't overly appealing.  The optics of it strike me as appalling.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:03:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Keep in mind ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lgmcp, roadbear

          that we are only proposing this in the context of the truly appalling Republican threat to destroy our economy if they don't get everything they want.

          “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

          by jrooth on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:15:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Even Balkin doesn't seem so sure it's legal. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgmcp

        From the linked article:

        The government has not discussed either option publicly. There are three reasons for this. First, there may be other legal obstacles to using these options that we don't know about. [...]
        From a practical matter it would be a disaster.

        Markets, investors, and consumers don't take kindly to the prospect of runaway inflation that could result from this if it were utilized (note how hard the Fed is working to avoid even a sniff of excessive inflation). If this were done, the obvious fear would be that every Administration from that day on would utilize this trick - indeed perhaps just "pay off" the entire debt one day with inflated dollars - with no checks and balances.

        We really need the Chinese and Japanese (especially) to continue to invest in US securities. They are the two largest foreign investors in our debt and hold almost $2.3T. To put this in some perspective, this is about 1/7th of our current national debt, it's about $7300 for every resident of the US including newborns (does your family of four have $30K that is currently in cash in hand to invest in treasuries to help out if the Chinese and Japanese lose their appetite for US treasury securities?), it's about 40% of all foreign held treasury debt.

        •  I have a question then... (0+ / 0-)
          Markets, investors, and consumers don't take kindly to the prospect of runaway inflation that could result from this if it were utilized
          Can you explain to me how it would cause inflation if the coin never circulates? Before you answer, you may want to read this.

          Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

          by Ian S on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 05:23:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Note first... (0+ / 0-)

            ...that my next sentence that you chose not to excerpt focuses on making regular rather than "one time" use of this. I am more skeptical than you, it appears, that once this technique were used that short sighted politicians who care about reelection would show much concern about "minting" more coins instead of raising taxes (unpopular) or not increasing services (which would also be unpopular) - even if that act caused long term high inflation.

            However, more to your point, the argument that the "coin never circulates" is flawed. It's true that the specific piece of metal does not. However, it is exchanged for money that DOES then circulate rather than being sequestered.

            Consider, since you linked an article that contains this flaw in this context, if we just used the coins to pay off the debt owned by the SS trust fund.

            Under the current system, as SS begins to call in their debt, the government is forced to borrow that money elsewhere (both domestic and foreign, but the effect is more obvious WRT the portion that is borrowed from domestic sources). All that money that is then loaned to the government is taken OUT of circulation (as long as the debt is not paid off with taxes -- in which case the tax money was instead taken out of circulation!). However, if the SS trust fund debt is simply retired with this trick via "minted money", that money would not then need to be borrowed so all that money that would have been loaned to the government remains in circulation -- i.e., more money chasing the same supply of goods and services. This would result in inflation for classic reasons.

            As an aside, if the SS trust fund debt were paid off, what would the trust fund do with the cash? Legally, they are only allowed to invest in (special) US treasury debt (to reduce risk - although that very notion ignores systemic risk much like that which caused the mortgage meltdown). Simply storing it in a vault would give no return - not even covering inflation. This would bring accelerate the date of reckoning for the trust fund.

            If they kept loaning it to the general government who then minted a coin to pay the debt off, eventually (delayed only by the maturity of outstanding Federal securities which could only be converted to the special treasuries that the SS is allowed to hold) the entire debt would be paid off and the SS trust fund would have nowhere to invest. (Hopefully, this latter case makes it clear that this would also cause inflation as ALL money sequestered by being loaned to the Federal government would flow back into circulation).

  •  eh - it's a few months out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    never forget 2000

    but the automatic expiration of the Bush tax cuts happens in January?

    Fine - just let them happen - problen solved.

    Sucks having no leverage, Johnny boy, doesn't it?

    •  Debt limit is one kettle of fish (0+ / 0-)

      and end of the Bush tax cuts is another, and the automatic "sequestration" budget cuts is yet a third.  

      They're all getting mushed up together, but are in fact distinct and independent items.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:48:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Markets and world finances are my concern (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BeloitDem, Sylv

      None of this happens in a vacuum. And while it is well and good to tell the GOP to pound sand, confidence in the US will plummet and put us back into recession. Johnny knows Obama is no fanatic and while he might risk expiration of the Bush tax cuts, he won't risk default.

      When do we get to call the GOP unpatriotic and seditious?

      "I feel like I'm still waiting to meet my true self. I'm assuming it's gonna be in a dark alley and there's gonna be a fight." ---Rachel Maddow

      by never forget 2000 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 01:06:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who is Richard Parker... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012, Upper West

    ...in this scenario, and who has the fish?

    Do you not see that it is the grossest idolatry to speak of the market as though it were the rival of God?

    by kismet on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:30:16 AM PST

    •  Damn! Beat me to it. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cocinero, never forget 2000

      In my preferred view, Obama is Richard Parker, the Senate is Pi, and the House is a collection of Hyenas. (the latter being pretty close to the truth, if you've ever heard Steve King, Michelle Bachmann Louis Gohmert or any one of them.)

      The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

      by Upper West on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:59:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Constitution says... (6+ / 0-)
    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
    And the 14th amendment says
    Section. 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
    So... in summary... the constitution says that congress has the power to tax and spend and that the public debt of the nation is not to be questioned.

    The constitution does not say that Congress has the right to limit debt. It doesn't say it doesn't either but it only specifically says it has the right to spend.

    Therefore in a constitutional clash between congressionally authorized spending and congressionally limited debt... it seems clear to me that congressionally authorized spending wins as it is directly supported by the constitution while limiting debt is not.

    The only caveat I would make to that very simple conclusion is the brief phrase in the 14th amendment... authorized by law... as in...

    The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law...
    ... in conjunction with a congressional law limiting the debt could be taken to say that debt beyond that limit is not constitutional since it is... Not authorized by law.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:36:51 AM PST

    •  I meant to include... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify, liberte, WillR

      Article I, Section 7, of the Constitution of the United States provides as follows:

      All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
      Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 imposes accountability on Congressional spending:
      No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
      Taxing and revenue originate in the House. Spending comes from legislation. Nowhere does it say anything specific about limiting spending that has been authorized.

      "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

      by Andrew C White on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:43:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So, the USA can't default — (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew C White, jrooth, liberte, Sylv

      it must continue to service its debt, no matter what Congress does — but if Congress has limited new debt, then that could force a government shutdown.

      Now, given that Congress has passed new spending laws after it passed the debt ceiling law, there's a strong argument that the spending law voided the debt ceiling, by an arcane Constitutional that goes something like, "Money doesn't grow on trees."

      It's significant to note that that bit of the 14th Amendment was there to make sure that those who loaned the USA money for the Civil War would have confidence they'd get paid back.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:51:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  14th amendment (0+ / 0-)

      If congress authorizes an expenditure it would seem that would cover the debt incurred. Having another vote on the debt limit is two bites of the apple. In effect a current Congress would be negating valid laws passed previously without need of presidential concurrence. I always thought that the debt limit is quackery and should be ignored by the President by taking the position that the 14th overrides it.

  •  Funny the reaction to the trillion dollar coin. I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian S

    personally think it's a great idea.  Among other things, it would require every person to finally come to grips with the reality of our fiat currency system.

    •  I suspect the powers that be would not (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jrooth, cocinero, katiec, TheDuckManCometh

      want the public to find out that the federal government is not at all like a family when it comes to fiscal matters. They might actually start to realize that austerity is really a scheme to screw the middle class in favor of the rich.

      Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

      by Ian S on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:02:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Trillion Dollar Coin (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, cocinero

    I'd really love to see one of those puppies.  How long before Glen Beck hawks one on his radio show?  Will they be offered on eBay?  
    Seriously, Mr. Obama should give Boehner an opportunity to cooperate, then bypass him without a moment's thought.  Republican intransigence is becoming boring.  We'll have an excellent opportunity to get rid of many more in 2014.   And a few Republican governors in 2013.  

  •  that would require a spine--something the Dems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth

    lost long ago and haven't found yet.

    My assumption? The Grand Bargain will include raising the debt limit, and Boehner will once again get 98% of what he wants.

  •  No problemo. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    limpidglass, liberte

    Only requires the Republicans to not be nuts and Obama to not be all bipartisan.

    We're boned.

    •  we have seen this movie before, (0+ / 0-)

      a little over a year ago, and it didn't end well. Get ready for the sequel: louder, more violent, more expensive, leaving even more senseless carnage in its wake.

      'Cuz this time, they will demand that we hand over what remains of the New Deal safety net in order to reach a "compromise."

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:55:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  NULLIFICATION!!! (0+ / 0-)
    As Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin argued last year, with two conflicting statutes, both of which have a constitutional basis, the president must decide which one of them is unconstitutional.
    Now that would be a case of constitutional nullification. Only it isn't the states that have the authority but rather the President... and eventually the Supreme Court.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:50:32 AM PST

  •  Yeah, there's a price for everything, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth, TheDuckManCometh, bmcphail

    apparently they only present the bill during Democratic administrations. Funny how that works.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:50:37 AM PST

  •  Boehner is in a game that is way over his head. (3+ / 0-)

    The only worse example of a national leader not knowing what he was doing -- at least for the last 30 years -- was Ronald Reagan playing at Commander in Chief in 1983.

    Bush43 knew what he was doing. It was evil, but he understood the nature of his lies. He also wanted to be a "War President."

    Reagan's follies with the military produced this at the embassy in Beirut:

    And the Marine barracks, which was not defended:

    The Republicans are now "The Party of Reagan" as they try to live down Bush43 and daily axxholery from Limbaugh.

    So why did Reagan get 392 people killed and then surrender to the terrorists ???

    Why is Boehner trying to crash the credit rating of the federal government?

    Same difference. Reagan/Boehner/bull_hockey_for_policy_decisions.

    Reagan was a genius at politics, but he never really grew up. Boehner just never grew up.

  •  Boehner is bluffing (5+ / 0-)

    The debt ceiling stand off ended being a disaster for the GOP.  Their congressional ratings plummeted; Obama retooled and soared; the Democrats got the edge over the GOP by highlighting their extremism.  Obama also screwed them on the budget control act and is now in the driver's seat on the tax issue.

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:52:44 AM PST

    •  Congressional ratings plummeted, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WillR

      most of the House Republicans were re-elected. Steve (Krazy) King is still my congressman. Congressional approval polls don't seem to have much impact on individual races, especially with so many gerrymandered districts.

  •  Let's design the coin! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zwoof, Ian S, roadbear

    How about the presidential seal for the front of the trillion dollar baby, and the ass end of an elepant for the back?

    Please supply your suggestions kids!

  •  Has anyone in the Obama adm. (0+ / 0-)

    ever given a hint that they would consider either of these proposals?

    The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

    by Upper West on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:01:38 PM PST

  •  A trillion... dollar... coin... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian S

    a) Still trying to wrap my head around it

    b) Can they mint two of 'em?  One for them and one for me? :)

     Or at least us? A Trillion bucks is over $3000 for every man, woman, and child in the US.  It'd be one hell of a stimulus (though I wonder about inflation)

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:03:32 PM PST

  •  I no longer remember why but I recall being (0+ / 0-)

    decidedly skeptical of all of these "Constitutional" solutions to the debt ceiling, particularly the one based on the 14a, which is the "Constitutional" solution that I do remember and appears to be positively delusional being that it requires one to willfully disregard a lot of things.

    Having said that, I just cannot see us re-fighting the debt ceiling fight.  It's quite possible that it could get looped into the fiscal speed bump and be taken totally off the table.

    "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

    by auron renouille on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:06:06 PM PST

    •  The Big Dog thought 14th Amendment was the way to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sylv

      go. We'll see...

      "I feel like I'm still waiting to meet my true self. I'm assuming it's gonna be in a dark alley and there's gonna be a fight." ---Rachel Maddow

      by never forget 2000 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 01:15:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are other Constitutional arguments that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sylv

        may have merit but I did some quick research to remind myself and the 14a provision very, very, very clearly means that the United States will not disclaim valid debts.  It prevented the US from saying that its Civil War debts were worthless and issuing a New American Dollar or something as it was, at the time (and currently, in some countries) one way to avoid a debt to simply mandate that all debts as of "x" date are collectable in currency A and then declaring currency A worthless and reissuing currency B.  No major economic power could do that today (it's still common in Africa iirc) but, in the civil war era, the US could have possibly done so, albeit becoming an international pariah in the process.

        Two-sentence answer: The 14a debt provision prevents a president from saying "Those debts you hold? Hahaha, we ain't paying."  It neither allows nor blesses the issuance of new debt, only prevents the US from repudiating current debt.

        Anyhow, I doubt we'll be talking about this after today, the debt limit is going to be subsumed into the rest of the negotiations, thankfully.

        "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

        by auron renouille on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 02:34:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The trillion dollar coin is a bit drastic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheDuckManCometh, Sylv

    but the underlying truth is that we can print as much money as we need.
    I keep pointing back to this diary: http://www.dailykos.com/...
    It's a bit wonky but it's worth spending some Q time with. One of Bunnygirl's points:

    One of the most interesting things about fiat currency is that taxes are not actually a requirement. Neither is there a need to sell bonds or borrow currency. Do you know what happens when you pay your bill to the IRS in cash? They shred it. No joke. They make a note in their computers next to your account and then that cash is gone. Poof. The only real purpose of taxes is to drive value into the economy (see Sectors, below). Taxes are a way to move value back from the private sector into the public sector. Deficits are the opposite. Deficits are a way to leave value in the private sector.
    And she also posits that deficits are a good thing, read her explanation so I don't have to butcher it.
    From a completely different angle, I also believe that Obama should end his term with a healthy deficit. The last time we handed over a surplus budget and a strong Army, look what happened. Better to leave a manageable deficit and a reduced military, just in case the next President is another Bush.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:18:07 PM PST

  •  Sorry...I don't do appeasement... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roadbear

    you guys told me not to...

    peace out...

    .....

    at least that is what I would have said...

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:21:37 PM PST

  •  wait...people took this seriously? (0+ / 0-)

    tell them to kick rocks and move on....act like you forgot about it...

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:28:35 PM PST

  •  Would just love to hear... (0+ / 0-)

    Republicans whining: "We offered the President $10 of tax increases for every $1 in spending reduction. ....And he took it!"

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by deebee on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:39:49 PM PST

  •  An opportunity missed. (0+ / 0-)

      During the campaign, if the president had mentioned a couple few times that it was his intention to avoid any sort of show down (hostage taking) with congress that threatens further damage to our bond rating or other measures of confidence in federal government, he could claim the mandate to eliminate the debt ceiling.

       Ideally congress would act and eliminate it, and ideally they still could, but I think the opportunity was lost.

    You can trust me to be objective, I've been attacked by both sides.

    by Marcellus Shale on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:41:27 PM PST

  •  How to play hardball (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bmcphail, roadbear

    What an arrogant twirp:

    Boehner responded: “There is a price for everything.”
    Ok, here's the price, John. The executive branch has a lot of discretion over federal contracts. Most federal contracts are issued with a clause that the contract can be cancelled at any time, at the discretion of the government.

    You say we have a debt problem? Ok, fine.

    We're going to cancel every contract in every Republican district. Starting now. Sure, we'll keep the ones related to health, safety, and immediate national security. But every other contract gets nuked as of right now.

    Just think. The Department of Energy spends 1.8 billion dollars a year in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. That's 150 million dollars a month going into this one small county in East Tennessee. Most of it goes to salaries.

    What if 150 million a month suddenly turned into 50 million? Go explain to your buddies from red, red Tennessee why they are suddenly short 100 million dollars a month. That's what'll happen in every red state and every red district in the country.

    Everything has a price, John.

    “Americans are fighters. We're tough, resourceful and creative, and if we have the chance to fight on a level playing field, where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot, then no one - no one - can stop us. ”-- Elizabeth Warren

    by Positronicus on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 12:46:37 PM PST

  •  The coin should be something special (though I (0+ / 0-)

    suggest it should be worth $1 Billion) but the kicker is that at its core should be a gram of Americium-241.  Put too much of it together and it becomes unstable :) and it is too dangerous for anyone to hold in their hand so would be very difficult to steal or store for very long.  Plus, given the rate of decay, before too long it would automatically lose much of its value (snark).

    Good Sense is Seldom Common

  •  I can't believe this stupid shit is being... (0+ / 0-)

    Suggested again.

    Besides, we need to forced these guys to do necessary, but politically atrocious things to themselves.  This little gimmick would relieve them of that obligation, while giving them a nice opportunity to have themselves an Obama Impeachment.

    The public already thinks by a majority that any breakdown in negotiations over all the little messes the GOP created ought to be blamed on them.  Why not hold their dumbasses hostage?

    Simple question: In the years since Republicans successfully urged the disempowering of workers and unions in the Midwest, what has happened to those states economies?

    by Stephen Daugherty on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 02:13:36 PM PST

  •  If Dems push filibuster reform they can do (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bmcphail

    some payback. The can threaten to fill all the vacant federal judiciary post with very young very ultra liberal judges. Conservative really care about the courts, packing the courts this way would really affect them.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 02:19:53 PM PST

  •  If spending is stopped... (0+ / 0-)

    ...then the first thing not to be paid is Congressional salaries. Half of them are already millionaires, so start there.

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

    by rreabold on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 03:12:39 PM PST

  •  Why they didn't go with this last time (0+ / 0-)

    The Balkin argument about two sets of laws being in conflict is valid.  My understanding of the situation is a bit different, in that I don't believe that someone who finds himself subject to contradictory laws gets to decide which law is constitutional, and therefore to be followed while the other law is set aside.  We don't have judicial review by all and sundry.  My understanding of what is to be done in such situations is that the individual who finds himself subject to contradictory laws is obliged to interpret them in a way that makes them compatible.

    In this particualar case, the morning that the debt ceiling was reached, Treasury would have been obligated to continue to spend as directed by law, and to interpret the debt ceiling as a restriction Congress placed on itself, to force itself to review the debt position of the US when the ceiling was reached, and not a restriction on Treasury, not something that would froce Treasury to disobey all the laws obligating US spending.  The result is the same, Treasury obeys the laws obligating spending and does not follow the ceiling law, the rationale is just stated somewhat differently.

    But if this idea is sound, under either my formulation or Jed Lewison's, why all the huhu a bit over a year ago?  Why did our side agree to the sequester nonsense?  Why didn't the administration just let them follow through on their threat, then just have the Treasury continue as before after the ceiling was breached?  Why not announce this understanding, that Treasury would be obligated to keep on spending even if the ceiling were breached, as the administration's policy in case that happened?

    Well, I'm not privy to WH strategy sessions, but the obvious reason for them not to publicly back this theory, is that it would have taken all pressure off the House Rs to avoid letting the debt ceiling be breached.  The Rs could have gone ahead and forced Obama to very publicly dismiss the apparent legal obligation to follow the debt ceiling law and force Treasury to live in sin, spending beyond the legal limit indefinitely.  They had to believe that Obama would not take this dodge, legal though it might be, and would instead insist on following the debt ceiling law over the cliff of US repudiation of its just debts, so the Rs better not let the ceiling be breached.

    How is the situation different now?  If Obama wasn't willing to call their bluff then, wasn't willing to do the work of educating the public about the legality and prudence of interpreting the ceiling law away in case the Rs refuse to accept their responsibility of raising the ceiling to fund the spending that they themselves approved, why would you think he's up for that now?  He gave in to hostage-takers before, why shouldn't they assume that he'll do so again?  There's a price for everything, and only a sap lets a hostage go for free.  

    We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

    by gtomkins on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 06:53:39 PM PST

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