Republicans seem willing to go to any lengths to get their way. They tried in the courts, and failed. They tried at the polls and were rejected, despite their best attempts at election theft. They went to the court of public opinion and have been opposed two to one. It appears that their only way forward is to commit economic terrorism against the American people. The last time, they succeeded, although it was a pyrrhic victory, because exposing themselves cost them dearly politically. Nevertheless, they appear willing to try again.
Republicans clearly sense that they are being outmaneuvered in the fiscal talks by the Obama administration, unable to stop the inevitable rise in tax rates for the rich. But they have one last card to play and they intend to use it, knowing it will endanger economic progress: They are threatening once again to default on the credit of the United States if President Obama doesn’t do their bidding.Party officials say that if they do not reach an acceptable deal with the White House this month, they will wait until the country reaches the debt ceiling early next year, then refuse to lift it until they get their way on cuts to spending and taxes, The Times reported on Wednesday.
Apparently, they learned nothing from the debacle of 2011, when they first tried this extortionate tactic. The nation lost its AAA credit rating, stock values plunged, and the approval rating of Congress sank to historically low levels. Republicans portray themselves as spending hawks, but that episode cost the Treasury $1.3 billion in higher borrowing costs in 2011, according to the Government Accountability Office. Last week, the Bipartisan Policy Center estimated that the 10-year cost of higher interest rates was $18.9 billion.
Republicans savor that potential catastrophe, caring only that the threat won them $2 trillion in spending cuts over a decade from Mr. Obama. Now they want to do it again, and this time they want something the last agreement missed: big cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that primarily benefit middle- and low-income people. Grover Norquist, who leads the party’s anti-tax cult, even suggested that the debt limit be raised only enough to get through a month at a time, so that Republicans can maximize their blackmail power… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <NY Times>
Chris Hayes discussed the problem along with one rather extreme solution.
I don’t know, if a $1 trillion coin is the answer, but the author of the Times article did make reference to the Fourteenth Amendment, so I followed it up. Here is the text of 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… [emphasis added]
In fact, Republican refusal to raise the debt limit is unconstitutional, because it clearly violates Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment. If Republicans do attempt to terrorize America again, Obama should claim emergency power to raise the debt limit over Congressional objection by executive order, because he is obligated by oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.