Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 5 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/15/13

Why Obama's Gamble on the Debt Ceiling Depends on the GOP Being More Sane Than It Is

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
(# of views)   4 comments
Author 47089
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Robert Reich
Become a Fan
  (128 fans)


(Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA

A week before his inaugural, President Obama says he won't negotiate with Republicans over raising the debt limit. 

At an unexpected news conference on Monday he said he won't trade cuts in government spending in exchange for raising the borrowing limit. 

"If the goal is to make sure that we are being responsible about our debt and our deficit -- if that's the conversation we're having, I'm happy to have that conversation," Obama said. "What I will not do is to have that negotiation with a gun at the head of the American people."

Well and good. But what, exactly, is the President's strategy when the debt ceiling has to be raised, if the GOP hasn't relented?

He's ruled out an end-run around the GOP. 

The White House said over the weekend that the President won't rely on the Fourteenth Amendment, which arguably gives him authority to raise the debt ceiling on his own. 

And his Treasury Department has nixed the idea of issuing a $1 trillion platinum coin that could be deposited with the Fed, instantly creating more money to pay the nation's bills.

In a pinch, the Treasury could issue IOUs to the nation's creditors -- guarantees they'll be paid eventually. But there's no indication that's Obama's game plan, either. 

So it must be that he's counting on public pressure -- especially from the GOP's patrons on Wall Street and big business -- to force Republicans into submission. 

That's probably the reason for the unexpected news conference, coming at least a month before the nation is likely to have difficulty paying its bills.

The timing may be right. President is riding a wave of post-election popularity. Gallup  shows him with a 56 percent approval rating, the highest in three years. 

By contrast, Republicans are in the pits. John Boehner has a 21% approval and 60% disapproval. And Mitch McConnell's approval is at 24%. Not even GOP voters seem to like Republican lawmakers in Washington, with 25% approving and 61% disapproving. 

And Americans remember the summer of 2011 when the GOP held hostage the debt ceiling, bringing the nation close to a default and resulting in a credit-rating downgrade and financial turmoil that slowed the recovery. The haggling hurt the GOP more than it did Democrats or the President. 

But Obama's strategy depends on there being enough sane voices left in the GOP to influence others. That's far from clear. 

Just moments after the President's Tuesday news conference, McConnell called on the President to get "serious about spending," adding that "the debt limit is the perfect time for it."  And Boehner said "the American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time."

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Well Said 1   Interesting 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Robert Reich Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Trump Cornered

The Republican's Big Lies About Jobs (And Why Obama Must Repudiate Them)

Paul Ryan Still Doesn't Get It

What Mitt Romney Really Represents

What to Do About Disloyal Corporations

The Gas Wars

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: