Obama Presser Open Thread

President Obama is holding a press conference right now. He opened by saying we’re poised for economic growth and reasonable deficit reduction…if the nutbags don’t crash the economy.

[Paraphrasing…]

Ooooh, calls out Republicans and Boehner — says they won’t collect a ransom for paying bills they already racked up.

On gun control: Will push for “meaningful” background checks, restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity mag clips.

Chuck Todd: Why won’t you use 14th Amendment to solve debt ceiling crisis? Obama: Congress needs to pay the bills. If they want to give me the authority to raise the debt ceiling, I’ll be happy to accept the responsibility. There are no magic tricks or easy outs.

Has used the phrase “we are not a deadbeat nation” twice.

Again with the hostage metaphor — “gun at the head of the American people.” He sounds serious to me, fellow citizens.

Says House GOP has “suspicions” about the role of government, including feeding poor children, keeping seniors out of poverty, etc. Their view was rejected by the American people. But if they want to shut the government down, that’s their prerogative. Hopes common sense prevails.

Shorter Obama on diversity of team: Chill the fuck out. I’ve got this.

Shorter on partisanship: Quit electing lunatics and we won’t have to operate in crisis mode 24/7.

And…that’s a wrap!

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259 replies
  1. 1
    BlueDWarrior says:

    Who are the people that are saying that saying, at this point and time, that he wouldn’t use the Platnium Coin or the 14th Amendment means he can’t ever use it again.

    I would think you save that for a “Break In Case of Emergency” situation. You don’t say you are going to break the glass until you actually need to break the glass.

    At least that is how I think of it…

  2. 2
    Nemo_N says:

    Class Warfare!

  3. 3
    BGinCHI says:

    The only solution to this is the 2014 elections.

    If the DCCC or anyone else in mgmt is taking a break someone needs to give them a kick in the ass.

  4. 4
    Elizabelle says:

    My goodness.

    The networks are covering this press conference.

    CBS, NBC, ABC.

    About damn time.

  5. 5
    General Stuck says:

    And that, ladies and germs, is how you skin a wingnut from the bully pulpit. “you will not collect a ransom” republicans. Love it.

  6. 6
    Feudalism Now! says:

    Time to look into that Idaho timeshare option, the Teahadis are all in on the crazy. They think world economic collapse is a viable strategy. The silent inanity will rise up from the ashes of civilization and forge a new Murika. Booze, bibles and guns for everyone!

  7. 7
    Elizabelle says:

    First question, from new AP WH correspondent, on gun control.

  8. 8
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    With enemies like these, the President doesn’t need friends. Congress truly is, the perfect foil for him. Where is the Bush Bund? The Globalists make Wall St look like a Homeless shelter when it comes to the almighty Petrodollar.

  9. 9
    Joey Maloney says:

    Oop, here comes the Toddler. Prepare for incoming stupidity!

  10. 10
    NotMax says:

    As members of Congress all take a public oath to uphold the Constitution as a condition of office, and as the 14th amendment states that

    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.

    how valid is the continuance in office of those who refuse to honor the public debt that has already been enumerated by laws appropriating expenditures?

  11. 11
    Elizabelle says:

    “Well, Chuck, the issue here is whether the US pays our bills.

    We are not a deadbeat nation.”

    As close to words of one syllable as PBO could manage.

    “If they want to keep this responsibility, they need to go and get it done.”

    That’s interesting. Could they lose the responsibility, other than by losing election.

    ETA: “Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize new spending.” and again, “we are not a deadbeat nation.”

    Glad PBO is speaking directly to the people.

  12. 12
    General Stuck says:

    “no magic tricks, no easy outs”. This time. You go BO.

  13. 13
    Emma says:

    Loradmercy. He just told Chuck Todd that if the Congress wanted to give him the authority to deal with the debt he would take it. But that would mean lifting the debt ceiling (implying ‘permanently’).

  14. 14
    👽 Martin says:

    If they want to give me the authority to raise the debt ceiling, I’ll be happy to accept the responsibility.

    It’s McConnell’s plan and it’s called a legislative veto. SCOTUS said it was unconstitutional back in the 70s. We still do it all the the time, though. I guess if everyone keeps quiet about it…

  15. 15
    SteveinSC says:

    I love the sound of hard kick into republican junk.

  16. 16
    Ted & Hellen says:

    But really…what was Michelle wearing?

  17. 17
    General Stuck says:

    There comes a time when you no longer negotiate with terrorists, and now is that time.

    Firebaggers and their magic coins, exposed as mouthy chickenshits at the end of the day.

  18. 18
    Sayne says:

    Watching the presser. Chuck Todd is a moron.

  19. 19
    Elizabelle says:

    “Everybody here understands this. This is not a complicated concept.”

    (except you, Chuck Todd).

    Although Todd is serving as the useful fool this time.

  20. 20
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Chuck Todd really is a colossal dick, isn’t he? Yes, I know that description is supposed to be reserved for Santorum, but surely there’s enough to spread around. So to speak.

  21. 21
    Anya says:

    POTUS is losing his patience with Chuck Todd.

  22. 22
    ruemara says:

    raging headache. I don’t know how President Obama Camacho does not mow down these fools with a machine gun. And then head to Congress. Now, that would be a presser.

  23. 23
    Elizabelle says:

    Major Garrett: “No one is talking to each other about how to resolve this.”

    I don’t believe that.

    Whether Republicans are trying to solve this is debatable, but enough of this pox on both your houses shit.

  24. 24
    👽 Martin says:

    @Emma:

    . But that would mean lifting the debt ceiling (implying ‘permanently’)

    No, it’s a reversal of the roles. Basically, Congress would grant the President the authority to raise the debt ceiling, and Congress would then have the option to vote to oppose it (which the GOP led chamber would do every time there was a Dem in the WH) and then the President could veto the opposition which Congress could not overturn without a ⅔ majority.

    Basically it’s a giant show in order for the GOP to pretend to vote against something that they all know goddamn well that they have to support – they just don’t want to take the political hit for doing the right thing. (Just think about how fucked up that is…)

  25. 25
    Tone in DC says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Oh look who’s here.

    Betty, John, I figure you won’t actually ban this fool… but, if you would, give it some thought, please.

    On the topic, even the M$M, owned as they are by major corporations who know this could fuxxor their short term and long term profits, want this teahadi shit exposed and stopped.

  26. 26
    General Stuck says:

    Major Garret, WATB GOP water carrier.

  27. 27
    Tone in DC says:

    @ruemara:

    LULz.
    Camacho? I’m still happy with Hussein, myself.

  28. 28
    Elizabelle says:

    @👽 Martin:

    That might work for the GOP with “both sides do it, because we say so” press coverage.

    POTUS very strong and resolute. I see “independents” being impressed by his remarks.

  29. 29
    MattR says:

    @General Stuck:

    And that, ladies and germs, is how you skin a wingnut from the bully pulpit.

    I am confused. Does the bully pulpit actually exist or not?

  30. 30
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    Todd Spengo and acolytes are most concerned about the lingering debate; 24 hr News cycles, and all. Plus, they fear Obama is not going to ‘cave’ creating yet more risible copy.

    If ever we needed SYG laws, this would be it.

  31. 31
    rachel says:

    But… But… But some guys over on GOS assured me he would cut SS down to nothing when push finally came to shove on the debt limit! That’s why we have to send the White House cans of cat food!

  32. 32
    GregB says:

    @General Stuck:

    Major Asswipe.

  33. 33
    Emma says:

    @👽 Martin: I don’t think so. He’s said a couple of times “set aside the debt ceiling” which implies to me, ‘permanently.” Mileages may vary.

    On another tangent: could the FSM please make sure Major Garrett does not reproduce? Or if he already has, that his children become doctors or painters or physicists? Please?

  34. 34
    👽 Martin says:

    @Elizabelle:

    No one is talking to each other about how to resolve this.

    There’s nothing to resolve. The agreement is the current budget. That’s when the talking happened. The agreement took place then. The debt limit is simply part of the implementation of that agreement, which the GOP now want to go back on. There’s nothing to talk about.

  35. 35
    CorbinDallasMultipass says:

    A few weeks ago mistermix posted this open thread with a video for DC Band Teen Mom: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....read-1513/

    Well, they’re playing tonight at DC9 in Washington DC.

    You can listen to their ep at their website.

    And if you’re wondering if they’re a band that could win over a Balloon Juicer’s heart, here’s a quote from an interview with them at Impose Magazine:

    … fuck Reagan.

  36. 36
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I want the platinum coin, dammit. When I left that voting booth in ’08 I said to myself “Now we’ve got our Bush. Bring on the executive orders! Let the signing statements fall like leaves in autumn. Let’s bust shit up!”

    Because when I make a University of Chicago law professor, that’s exactly what I expect.

  37. 37
    Roger Moore says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Yes, I know that description is supposed to be reserved for Santorum,

    Santorum is not “colossal dick”, he’s “frothy mixture”. Get your insults straight.

  38. 38
    hitchhiker says:

    “This is the United States of America, Major.”

    “Major, I’m happy to have a conversation about how we reduce our deficits. I’m not going to have a monthly or every 3 month conversation about whether we pay our bills.”

    “We just had an entire campaign about it, and the American people agreed with me.”

    “Despite that conversation, the Republicans have taken the position that they don’t care.”

  39. 39
    4tehlulz says:

    @Davis X. Machina: You made Obama? Damn, birthers gonna go nuts over that.

  40. 40
    ericblair says:

    @General Stuck:

    And that, ladies and germs, is how you skin a wingnut from the bully pulpit.

    Well, maybe it’s a bully pulpit, but it’s not The Real BullyPulpit. If Obama used The Real BullyPulpit he’d turn into HypnoToad and cast Control Person with -5 on save to all viewers. SoldUsOut!

    The trillion dollar coin is this season’s version of the public option: it’s the One Ring upon which the fate of the universe hinges. I don’t know why progressives get this reductionist, but it is.

  41. 41
    Mike E says:

    @Emma: you know who else was a painter? °~}

  42. 42
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    I also note POTUS tells, you know, micro-expressions which are universal. He is frequently showing contempt for the questions.

  43. 43
    General Stuck says:

    @MattR:

    Sure it exists. It doesn’t exist for unwisely bullying your own side, as was the case when democrats ran everything with a marginal filibuster proof senate. The first two years of O first term.

    It does exist for hammering the other side in a legislative battle, especially when the opposition is being insane and dangerous.

    It does exist during the stretch run for a 1st term president running in a campaign for a second term.

    It other words, it is a blunt force instrument, and does need some discretion about when it should be used, based on a bunch of factors.

    Obama hasn’t always had that figured out, but neither do other presidents new on the job. It is a learned skill, and only learned while presidenting. And Obama has learned much.

  44. 44
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @NotMax: Congress can impeach a president, but the president can’t call for new elections.

    So it’s like the public-policy exception to employment-at-will. Your boss cannot with impunity terminate you for failing to break the law at his behest, even if you are an at-will employee.

  45. 45
    👽 Martin says:

    @Emma:

    He’s said a couple of times “set aside the debt ceiling” which implies to me, ‘permanently.” Mileages may vary.

    Legally, they can’t do it permanently. It’s not some law by Congress which determines this, but Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

    I think he means ‘set aside as an issue’. What he’s suggested in the past is that Congress should automatically raise the debt limit when they pass the next budget to the level that the next budget would require. That way it no longer becomes an issue outside of budget negotiation.

    Congress could pass a law requiring that happen – that the budget isn’t complete until the debt limit is raised to a level to make it possible to be implemented.

  46. 46
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Davis X. Machina: for ‘make’ read ‘make president’ — something hinky with an HTML tag.

  47. 47
    gogol's wife says:

    @ericblair:

    Krugman encourages them. And he should know better.

  48. 48
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Santorum is not “colossal dick”, he’s “frothy mixture”. Get your insults straight.

    I go to Charles P. Pierce for many of my insults.

  49. 49
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Sayne:

    Chuck Todd is a moroan.

    Fixed. And this is news to anybody not a member of the courtier press?

  50. 50
    Emma says:

    @👽 Martin: I checked it out and you’re right. But I think it would have basically the same effect. No more debt fights. The “debt limit” would be meaningless.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ericblair:

    The trillion dollar coin is this season’s version of the public option: it’s the One Ring upon which the fate of the universe hinges. I don’t know why progressives get this reductionist, but it is.

    I don’t get it, either. I predict that this crisis is going to be resolved short of the US defaulting on its debt and will not require cuts to either Social Security or Medicare, but it wil be resolved in a different way than the ones that have been proposed by the blogosphere.

    And the very fact that the solution will be different than the ones that were proposed will be proof that it was the worst possible solution, because Obama didn’t do it their way.

  52. 52
    Tonal Crow says:

    @👽 Martin:

    It’s McConnell’s plan and it’s called a legislative veto. SCOTUS said it was unconstitutional back in the 70s. We still do it all the the time, though. I guess if everyone keeps quiet about it…

    What case was that? McConnell’s plan seems like a simple delegation of authority to me, which the Court has upheld on a vast range of topics.

  53. 53
    Emma says:

    “The Republicans have suspicions about Social Security. They have suspicions about whether kids can get enough to eat… the American people have rejected this view. But if they want to do it, they can. It’s the way the system is set up.” (paraphase)

    Go, Mr. President. Go!

  54. 54
    Fair Economist says:

    @BlueDWarrior:

    I would think you save that for a “Break In Case of Emergency” situation. You don’t say you are going to break the glass until you actually need to break the glass.

    It’s still there (platinum coinage is still law, and the 14th amendment interpretation is still possible). What Obama’s statement means is that Obama is going to make the (Republican-dominated) courts break the glass if it’s necessary.

  55. 55
    Elizabelle says:

    I love this “they have suspicions about” theme re GOP.

    He used it three or four times successively.

    We are dealing with too many GOP reps with suspicions and profound distrust of science and reality.

    Reminds me we’re living through “The Crucible” times.

  56. 56
    👽 Martin says:

    @Emma: Yeah, I believe the goal is to make the debt limit meaningless in the context of the budget. That said, you *don’t* want the debt limit power eliminated entirely. Had that been true in 1980, Reagan wouldn’t have needed to sell arms to Iran in order to fund the Sandinistas. He could have simply told the treasury to issue debt that we didn’t need and use those funds to fund the Sandinistas under his ‘national security’ authority. The debt limit is a very important hedge against the President using the Treasury as his own personal piggy bank.

    But in the context of the budget, there should be a dollar-for-dollar increase in the debt limit to match the anticipated deficit spending for the next year. That everyone needs to approve and sign off on the budget implies that everyone has given that authority – but no more.

  57. 57
    Anya says:

    Shorter WH press corps: “Why won’t you hand the Republicans the ransom they’re asking for?!?”

  58. 58

    @Feudalism Now!:

    Time to look into that Idaho timeshare option, the Teahadis are all in on the crazy. They think world economic collapse is a viable strategy.

    I’ve said this before, but they want their Apocalypse, and they want it NOW.

    Even if they have to make it happen, themselves.

  59. 59
    Tonal Crow says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Legally, they can’t do it permanently. It’s not some law by Congress which determines this, but Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

    Huh? Congress could effectively abolish the debt ceiling by passing a simple statute saying so. That would be a valid exercise of its Art.I s.8 cl.1-2 powers “to borrow money on the credit of the United States” and “to pay the Debts”, and would function as a delegation of unlimited debt-issuing power to the President.

  60. 60
    Tone in DC says:

    I truly hope he’s as pissed as some of the comments depict (can’t see the presser at work).
    The Prez NEEDS to be a little pissed off about this. These idiots have shown him nothing but barefaced contempt since 2008.

    And when this is over, and things go as I suspect they will… I want Barackman Hussein Overdrive to snatch the damn football from Lucy, spike it, then walk away.

  61. 61
    gene108 says:

    Obama and crew aren’t “sociable” whatever that means. I guess it hurts the White House press corps fee-fees to not get free food and stuff from White House parties.

  62. 62
    Elizabelle says:

    Oh Gawd.

    Last question, Jackie Calmes, the New York Times.

    “You and the White House are too insular. And your cabinet is not diverse enough.”

    Ironic, since presser is about not letting the GOP nuts tank the economy. They’re the very image of “too insular” and not diverse enough.

    Gah.

  63. 63
    AxelFoley says:

    PBO countering the lack of diversity in his Administration bullshit meme now.

  64. 64
    Emma says:

    @Judas Escargot, Bringer of Loaves and Fish Sandwiches: I’ve said this before, but they want their Apocalypse, and they want it NOW.

    I have a fairly devout friend who finds this attitude impossible to stomach. She says it comes from a basic distrust in God. The End will come on God’s own time, not ours, and she feels they are trying to screw with God’s agenda. In the most cliche’d of terms: this won’t end well.

  65. 65
    JPL says:

    I’m so disappointed with the President right now, it’s hard for me to type. He had the perfect opportunity to use Bath Salt Caucus and he passed.

  66. 66
    Emma says:

    @Tone in DC: Not so much pissed as “I’m weary of having to repeat this, but I will ad nauseam until you get it.” Someone upthread mentioned the tells, and honestly, there were a few moments where he was a damned semaphore.

  67. 67
    Fair Economist says:

    @👽 Martin:

    He could have simply told the treasury to issue debt that we didn’t need and use those funds to fund the Sandinistas under his ‘national security’ authority. The debt limit is a very important hedge against the President using the Treasury as his own personal piggy bank.

    Not true at all. In that particular case, the amounts were not nearly large enough for the debt ceiling to be an issue. Anyway, even his “national security” authority did not cover it. The funding had to be secret because the spending had to be secret – it wasn’t remotely legal, by any interpretation.

  68. 68
    f space that says:

    If new congress critters swear to uphold the Constitution, shouldn’t they be arrested for treason for not upholding the 14th amendment ? A person can dream can’t they ?

  69. 69
    Jon says:

    @GregB: Major Asshole. Bamz: I KNEW IT! I’m surrounded by assholes!

  70. 70
    jl says:

    I think the current debt ceiling law is a bad law, and unconstitutional law. We have a lot of laws, and conflicts in laws can always arise. But the debt limit ceiling comes with ‘Hello, I am an absurd walking automatic conflict of laws situation that can be used to give the president absurd incoherent instructions anytime Congress gets a wild hair up its ass.’ So, it needs to go. Why not take the opportunity the House GOP lunatics will present to try to get rid of it?

    I disagree with the declaration that the coin option is dead, as with the 14th amendment option. I don’t understand why the administration is unilaterally disarming.

    I also think to some extent, the coin option is frowned upon because it is a monetary experiment that threatens to produce too much evidence in favor of Keynesian theory. If the administration went the coin route, and the expansion continued, and real interest rates dropped and nominal stayed put, that would be too much evidence in favor of a liquidity trap situation, and seriously harm the debt fear mongers pitch. So, that is why I think a lot of old farts at the FED dislike the idea.

    I don’t buy the WH pitch that unilateral disarmament ‘strengthens their position’. Seems to me political posturing should stop when people’s lives and welfare are on the line, which they will be when social security and fed workers’ payments stop, even temporarily.

  71. 71
    ruemara says:

    160/115. for fuck’s sake. I took 4 medications nearly 2 hours ago and this is fucking down?! fuck medicine. no wonder my head and ears are hurting. I officially want to punch things.

  72. 72
    Emma says:

    @ruemara: I think watching the MSM try to trick/outsmart the president with their imbecile questions can give anyone agitas. So no more live watching of these events for you! :-)

  73. 73
    NCSteve says:

    @👽 Martin: Yes they can. We don’t have to have a debt limit separate from the appropriations process.

  74. 74
    scav says:

    All in all, a solid one to my eyes. I could see him getting pissed too, if from we’re taking a poll.
    wonder how they’ll manage to pitch it through the media glass, might have to use fewer actual clips because they were pretty understandable. Maybe they’ll be forced back into “he was meanie to pwess” play.

  75. 75
    Nemo_N says:

    CNN dolts are telling me that Obama’s rethoric will make negotiations with Republicans impossible.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jl:

    I don’t understand why the administration is unilaterally disarming.

    It’s “unilaterally disarming” when you step back and say to your opponent, “Fine, you go ahead and drive over the cliff. I won’t do anything to stop you”?

    Saying up-front that there is an escape hatch we can use if the Republicans don’t back down is basically sending a signal to the Republicans that they can act as crazy as they want and the Democrats will always bail them out. Since, unlike the tax situation, the debt ceiling can be fixed with a simple up-or-down vote, I don’t see how giving the Republicans an escape hatch from their own actions is unilaterally disarming.

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Nemo_N:

    Since the president has said over and over again that the debt ceiling is not up for negotiation, I think that’s kind of the point. I have always thought that the debt ceiling was the right place for “take it or leave it” rhetoric from PBO, not the tax fight.

  78. 78
    handsmile says:

    This disgusting performance by the hacks and stooges of the Village media should be the complete and definitive evidence anyone here needs as to why the “Platinum Coin” would have been a colossal political disaster for President Obama.

    To think of how much these halfwits and Heathers would distort and caricature both the economics and the law behind such an idea, as well as Obama himself, surpasses imagination.

    These are deeply stupid, deeply venal people. The American corporate media is profoundly responsible for the ignorance, cynicism and malaise of too many of this country’s citizens. And it will never ever be held accountable for its malfeasance.

  79. 79
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @ericblair:

    I don’t know why progressives get this reductionist, but it is.

    For the same reasons that the right believes that a $1T coin would sink the Titanic: A black and white, binary choice world, is much easier to understand than 50 shades of gray. I either get what I want, and I’m happy, or I don’t, and I’m unhappy.

  80. 80
    Jon says:

    @mnemosyne

    Right. If he really wants to break them, he can’t use a work around, he just has to make them own it. The press loves crisis so they don’t want to see it broke.

    Besides, the Republicans said the coin is bullshit. So, they own it. They own the default.

  81. 81
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    People have been spoiling for the big fight for a while. From what I am seeing here, it sounds like Obama is ready to go.

  82. 82
    MomSense says:

    @Roger Moore:

    How convenient. Do Todd and Santorum know each other?

  83. 83
    cmorenc says:

    Obama’s setting the stage for the Congressional GOP to attempt the classic pirate’s threat to make the hostage “walk the plank” unless he gives up the treasure, and find within a few weeks that it is themselves who are standing precariously at the end of the plank, while Captain Obama sits patiently waiting for them to either walk back off the plank or jump into the shark-filled ocean.

  84. 84
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The funniest part is, the people who were talking tough about going over the “fiscal cliff” with taxes are now wringing their hands and declaring that we can’t possibly call the Republicans’ bluff.

  85. 85
    Fair Economist says:

    @jl:

    I don’t buy the WH pitch that unilateral disarmament ‘strengthens their position’. Seems to me political posturing should stop when people’s lives and welfare are on the line, which they will be when social security and fed workers’ payments stop, even temporarily.

    There are many corporate interests who cannot survive, or at least aren’t sure they can survive, an extended time limited by the debt ceiling. They will not tolerate the debt ceiling stopping appropriations, and they will make either Congress or the Courts break it. Obama will let them fight that fight and collect the political benefits of pushing an ultra-reasonable position and avoiding any controversial ideas. In effect, he’s going to use the debt limit as a wedge issue between the corporatists and the tea party.

  86. 86
    Hill Dweller says:

    @AxelFoley:

    PBO countering the lack of diversity in his Administration bullshit meme now.

    Thankfully the President pointed out his administration was as or more diverse than any in US history, and women held the most important jobs(implementation of healthcare, homeland security, foreign policy).

    Also, too, while the President never raised his voice, his tone implied the entire trumped up controversy was stupid.

  87. 87
    jl says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Maybe there is fundamental difference in perspective. The administration wants to manage the crisis in a way that produces most political damage to the people who caused it, and minimize the damage produced by their irresponsible political terrorism, while taking as few risks as possible.

    I think the law is so bad, and likelihood of the GOP learning any lessons from another political PR disaster, that I would want to use this episode as an opportunity to get rid of the debt ceiling law, and I think benefits of avoiding any harm to people from a shutdown will be justify political risks of such an effort.

    Obama is president and I am sure ain’t.

    But look at what miserable lunatics these House GOPer are:

    Monday Facepalm

    ‘ House Speaker John Boehner “may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,” said a top GOP leadership adviser. “We might need to do that for member-management purposes – so they have an endgame and can show their constituents they’re fighting.” ‘

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/a.....cepalm.php

    The House GOP is a group of dangerous lunatics and I think need to take every opportunity to disarm them.

  88. 88

    @Emma:
    My wife’s lefty Christian friend (they do exist) would probably say much the same thing if I asked her.

    It would be difficult to find someone more acerbic, cynical and misanthropic than I am. But for all that, I can’t even begin to comprehend a mindset that so hates the world, that it wants to see its ending.

  89. 89
    jl says:

    @Fair Economist:

    Good points. But as I said, I want the stupid debt ceiling law dead dead dead… DEAD!.

    Debt ceiling limit law: wanted dead… or dead.

  90. 90
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The funniest part is, the people who were talking tough about going over the “fiscal cliff” with taxes are now wringing their hands and declaring that we can’t possibly call the Republicans’ bluff.

    Comparing the economic effects of going over the cliff with those of defaulting on the debt is to compare contracting the sniffles with being hit by an asteroid.

  91. 91
    chopper says:

    @NCSteve:

    wouldn’t it be as simple as a rule change? have a rule for both houses (the house primarily) that requires a bit added to every budget or spending/appropriations bill that says in effect “this law explicitly approves the borrowing on credit in order to fulfill the spending requirements thereof if needed” or some shit?

  92. 92
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Nemo_N:

    CNN dolts are telling me that Obama’s rethoric will make negotiations with Republicans impossible.

    The hacks in the Village have to rationalize the wingnuts’ behavior. Whether it is tone, lack of hand-holding or socializing, the Village always puts the blame on the President.

  93. 93
    RareSanity says:

    I don’t buy the WH pitch that unilateral disarmament ‘strengthens their position’.

    It absolutely does strengthen the WH position to remove all of the “creative remedies” from the table at this point.

    To continue to have them discussed as possible options gives the GOP, and the media, a shiny object to hold up and demand answers to why the WH and Dems aren’t trying to bargain, but are instead looking for an end-around solution. Not that it’s true, but it’s a narrative that the GOP and press would love to further.

    By taking them off the table, the President is not only taking away the shiny object, he’s not allowing the GOP to hide behind a ginned-up smokescreen and not have to answer for their crazy.

    Any distraction from the actual issue that the GOP is attempting to leverage the debt ceiling vote into forcing spending cuts, weakens the WH position on the matter. Removing it from discussion therefore strengthens the President’s position.

    If he doesn’t remove it from the discussion, he can’t make some of the statements he made today. Because if he says, “Republicans refuse to pay the bills”, idiots like Major Garrett say, “But Republicans are saying that you are refusing to address their concerns because you’ve said you’ll just mint a coin and raise the debt ceiling with or without them voting on anything…and that you are subverting the Constitution by doing it.”

    Removing it as an issue allows the WH to point at the GOP and say that they are trying to not pay bills they have already incurred.

  94. 94
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jl:

    But the point of that article is that the Republicans are already talking about backing down from their “burn it all down” position and would “only” shut down the government, not default on everything like they were threatening to do.

    Why is PBO supposed to capitulate now when he’s already gotten them to say, “Well, okay, maybe a full default isn’t the great idea we thought it was”?

  95. 95
    The Red Pen says:

    In case you’re wondering what you’re missing on Free Republic’s Open Thread:

    Why is there ‘division’ in Congress? BECAUSE DEMOCRATS HAVE BECOME MARXISTS AGAINST OUR CONSTITUTION, THAT’S WHY!!!! Why don’t people understand this. It’s VERY obvious at this point, sheesh!!!!!!

    Yes, why don’t people understand things that are totally made up and counter-factual!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    EditCouldn’t miss this contribution from the brain trust:

    He wants the debt to go up more because he wants to pay bulls congress gave him, IT;S HIS F-IN congress for the first two years which spent like mad, it;s Reid which has no done a budget and he has no concept how the economy works.

    There’s your base, Boehner.

  96. 96
    cmorenc says:

    @hitchhiker:

    “Major, I’m happy to have a conversation about how we reduce our deficits. I’m not going to have a monthly or every 3 month conversation about whether we pay our bills.”

    You’re referring to CBS correspondent “Major Garrett” who asked the most inane question of the entire press conference that amounted to: how are you (Mr. President) going to get any deal if you aren’t willing to negotiate with the GOP, which is how other Presidents (including Reagan) worked out other debt ceiling compromises”. (paraphrase, not a literal quote). AS IF the GOP was negotiating in good faith about future budgets, rather than taking the creditworthiness of debt obligations already incurred hostage.

  97. 97
  98. 98
    ruemara says:

    @The Red Pen: The extra exclamation points make it true.

    And I’m not even watching the presser. I just woke up feeling rotten.

  99. 99
    lamh35 says:

    Morning guys! First day of Orientation on my new job today. My last job was for a “faith-based” hospital, it was run by a Presbryterian organization. This one is a Catholic organization and I kinda feel indoctrinated already. It’s much more heavy-handed that the last place. It’s doesn’t matter to me, Im not Catholic, but I’m from a “Catholic” state (we have parishes instead of counties) in a Catholic heavy city so I’m used to it. I have cringed a little at moments though when I think about people who aren’t used to the overt-ness of the message.

    Anyway, I’m excited to start and get to the lab and start my training so I can get back to what I do best.

  100. 100
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Look at the article that jl linked to at #86. The Republicans have already started to back down from threatening a default and now are trying to decide if threatening a government shutdown would give them the same effect.

    Why, exactly, should we offer them to save them from themselves at this point?

  101. 101
    Fair Economist says:

    @jl:

    Good points. But as I said, I want the stupid debt ceiling law dead dead dead… DEAD!.

    A admirable goal, but Obama *is* running a plausible political strategy for killing it. Perhaps not the best strategy (although maybe it is), but it’s what we’re going to get, and it is pretty good.

  102. 102
    pat says:

    I thought President Obama was articulate, well-spoken, had all his arguments ready, in control enough that he didn’t start yelling and throwing stuff at Chuckles, and by far the smartest person in the room.

    And they will hate him for it and twist his meaning and take one or two sentences to make their own case, not his. It’s already starting, if you happened to watch Chuckles talking to Brian Williams.

  103. 103
    PeakVT says:

    @lamh35: Good news! And good luck with the job.

  104. 104
    Mnemosyne says:

    Well, boys and girls, much as I have enjoyed today’s argumentation, I have to go get a root canal now. I may see you again this afternoon when I will still be numbed to the eyebrow. (No laughing gas for me, though — the endodontist has some weird prejudice against giving me ether and then letting me drive 25 miles on the freeway.)

  105. 105
    Roger Moore says:

    @👽 Martin:

    He could have simply told the treasury to issue debt that we didn’t need and use those funds to fund the Sandinistas under his ‘national security’ authority.

    No, he couldn’t have. For one thing, there was a law that explicitly make giving money to the Contras illegal, which he was ignoring. For another, Article 1, Section 9 says that money can only be spent according to appropriations specifically passed by Congress:

    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.

  106. 106
    Maude says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    The big fight was the election in November. This is last gasp material by the GOP.

  107. 107
    gwangung says:

    @Mnemosyne: You’re making a wise decision.

  108. 108
    handsmile says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    “People have been spoiling for the big fight for a while…”

    That is so true. The presidential election was 69 days ago, after all.

    (ETA: oh i’m snarking here, btw. and deeply hoping your second sentence is true.)

  109. 109
    ruemara says:

    @lamh35: yay! good news! Happy First Day! I hope you wind up working with awesome people.

  110. 110
    scav says:

    can I add as an aside how I enjoyed the little profit motivation dragged into the gun debate moment?

  111. 111
    Hill Dweller says:

    I loved when the President rhetorically asked, “Is this really about deficit reduction?”. That was followed by him pointed out Republicans are “suspicious” of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. In other words, they’re using the threat of default to force through changes to entitlements that would be impossible during the normal legislative process.

  112. 112
    jl says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    ” I have to go get a root canal now. ”

    So, you are gloating, in front of poor us who have to put up with the insane political news, while you get some comfy muzak. rest, and some nice drugs for a few hours? For shame, for shame.

  113. 113
    aimai says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I am really sorry to hear that. I wish you well. I hd a root canal and an implant a few years ago–they stopped the root canal when they couldn’t figure out how to save the tooth. I far, far, far preferred the tooth pull and the implant.

    aimai

  114. 114
    Elizabelle says:

    @lamh35:

    Bonne chance, ma cherie.

    How exciting to be at a new job, and back home (well, sort of).

  115. 115
    Maude says:

    @ruemara:
    Have been thinking that applying for disability might just be a good idea for you. You can be working when you apply. The SSA site has all the info.
    If nothing else, it’s worth a try.
    If you got on, you can earn a certain amount every month and not lose benefits.
    Have adrenaline levels have anything to do with this b/p?

  116. 116
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Look at the article that jl linked to at #86. The Republicans have already started to back down from threatening a default and now are trying to decide if threatening a government shutdown would give them the same effect.

    Why, exactly, should we offer them to save them from themselves at this point?

    Keeping all options on the table is not offering to save them from themselves. BTW, did you notice that Obama has begun to walk back his earlier explicit opposition to using the coin and/or 14th Amendment? See the transcript at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01.....wanted=all . He’s telling them to do their job, but he’s not explicitly ruling out other alternatives, only “loopholes” and “magic tricks” (which is just rhetoric). As he said, “And so I am required by law to go ahead and pay these bills [which have already been incurred by appropriations measures].” That said, he left it ambiguous by also saying:

    So I understand the impulse to try to get around this in a simple way. But there’s one way to get around this. There’s one way to deal with it, and that is for Congress to authorize me to pay for those items of spending that they have already authorized.

    It’s an exercise in studied ambiguity. He took no options off the table.

  117. 117
    Elizabelle says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    Suspicious minds.

    Going with my inner Elvis.

  118. 118
    aimai says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    And yet the same fucking brinksmanship and hysteria were used by the notional left the last time–and yet we have survived a debt ceiling showdown before, too, you know. This is not in fact the first one. They are costly–it was costly–but not the end of the world.

    The Republicans have shown over and over and over again that they are not the brightest people in the room. They lack empathy and they lack imagination, they lack wisdom and they lack experience. Sometimes people like that can basically only learn by being hit upside the fucking head. Obama is standing back and letting their paymasters hit them upside the head. They may have to push us into default and then come into emergency session and vote the debt ceiling–sure–but its doubtful that this would take more than a few hours and like the fiscal cliff vote would probably result in no real harm to actual people or the economy. At any rate, as we have pointed out to you ad fucking nauseum, it is still possible for Obama to use one of several strategies to take the gun away from the toddler. But its important that the daddy party (boehner and the corporatists) end up agreeing that the gun goes bye bye or this just happens again and again.

    aimai

  119. 119
    gwangung says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Keeping all options on the table is not offering to save them from themselves.

    I think this is a silly statement. While this is not a universally true statement, I think in this case it increases pressure on the other side; it is not an unalloyed good option for the President as it has considerable good aspects for REPUBLICANS.

    You keep dismissing that. Why?

    In other words this is an option not just for the President, but for Republicans as well. Why are you insisting that Republicans have access to that option as well as the President?

  120. 120
    aimai says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Since you are basically repeating your arguments on the previous thread I think its a good time to put my comment back up here:

    Do you not get how silly you sound? Obama is exactly the same guy who took the 14th amendment and the coin “off the table”–one minute its a screamingly crazy tactical error!! Ohmygod now what. Now during a (gasp) nationally televised press conference he “seems to be putting them back on the table.” Seems? Ya think? Perhaps the difference is timing? Perhaps he’s trying to bring pressure to bear on different stakeholders at different times, and reassure other stakeholders at different times.
    You are like a child who splits the parent into “good mommy who gives me candy” and “bad mommy who tells me not to eat it before dinner.” For fuck’s sake its the same mommy–there aren’t two Obamas one of whom does the right thing and one of whom does the wrong thing. Its A SINGLE, EXTENDED, NEGOTIATION in which pieces get moved around quite a bit. Ever heard the expression “nothing is agreed on until everything is agreed on?” People make gestures, head feints, deceptive offers, and real offers all the time. Its a god damned dynamic system.

  121. 121
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @aimai:

    Indeed. They truly make Obama look good.

  122. 122
    catclub says:

    @Fair Economist: “A admirable goal, but Obama *is* running a plausible political strategy for killing it.”

    This reminded me of all the upset when DADT was not repealed on day one.

    So maybe there could be a DADT for the debt ceiling.

  123. 123
    aretino says:

    I love the sound of hard kick into republican junk.

    I enjoy the sound after a hard kick into Republican junk even better. Looking forward to the next 24 hours.

  124. 124
    Tonal Crow says:

    @aimai: Default, even a few hours of default, is not something we can easily recover from. It was narrowly averted in August 2011, but even so the carnage in the stock markets was substantial. For example, the S&P fell from ~1350 before the debacle to ~1122 at the depths — about 17%. If we had actually defaulted? I dunno, but actual default is a completely different thing than a 1-notch credit downgrade.

    I think you are badly underestimating the results of allowing Republicans to shoot the hostage, both substantively (economic damage) and politically.

  125. 125
    gwangung says:

    @catclub:

    This reminded me of all the upset when DADT was not repealed on day one.

    Yeah, another “Gotta be My Way or the Highway” type of autocrats. Or maybe “Not Invented Here” numbnuts. It seems like their ego makes it hard to accept there are more than one set of tactics that achieves their strategic goals.

  126. 126
    Tonal Crow says:

    @aimai: No kidding it’s an extended event. You seem to want to manufacture conflict here. I have merely said it was bad for market confidence and poor negotiating style for Obama to remove alternatives from the table. Now he’s begun to walk back that removal. I think that’s good. (Yeah, I praised Obama. I do that sometimes.) You seem to think it’s good, too, or at least not worth condemnation. So it seems we mostly agree. Do you still feel the need to talk about toddlers? Or can we move on to something more substantive?

  127. 127
    nemesis says:

    Thank you Mr President.

    Place their tiny little nuts in your vice and SQUEEZE.

  128. 128
    Aimai says:

    Yeah, I’m probably underestimating default. But you know who isn’t? Obama probably isn’t. Obama probably cares a fucktin more than you or I because it’s all on his watch. So stop posing and preening about how you would or would not know exactly what to do and your exquisite timing would be soooo perfect that you would juggle all the knives and everyone would go oooih! He’s a hero!! And then you would save the day!!

    I don’t think Obama is a perfect negotiator or even a great one but the level of bitchy back seat driving you are doing is just absurd. You act like the sky is falling every damned second and talk like if you wre in charge all these real world problems would dissapear. That is highly doubtful.

  129. 129
    Aimai says:

    Yeah, I’m probably underestimating default. But you know who isn’t? Obama probably isn’t. Obama probably cares a lot more than you or I because it’s all on his watch. So stop posing and preening about how you would or would not know exactly what to do and your exquisite timing would be soooo perfect that you would juggle all the knives and everyone would go oooih! He’s a hero!! And then you would save the day!!

    I don’t think Obama is a perfect negotiator or even a great one but the level of bitchy back seat driving you are doing is just absurd. You act like the sky is falling every damned second and talk like if you wre in charge all these real world problems would dissapear. That is highly doubtful.

  130. 130
    Tonal Crow says:

    @gwangung: You are ignoring the probable devastation of an actual default. This is not the fiscal cliff. The world financial system relies on the idea that U.S. debt is the closest thing to a “risk-free” asset. If that assumption is overturned, the results are certain to be horrid, and I think a “black swan” (e.g., immediate global credit freeze causing deep, long worldwide depression) is likely.

    That is, this is not an ordinary negotiation. It really is a hostage situation, and the hostage is someone we all value greatly.

  131. 131
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Aimai: How about discussing the policy, and laying off the strawmen and ad homs?

  132. 132
    Aimai says:

    Sorry for the double post. As for this weird ” praise him when he deserves it” line that’s like saying you understand narrative drama and you go to the theater all the time and yet standing up in the first act and screaming ” look out ! There’s a gun!” during a murder mystery.

  133. 133
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Aimai: Jesus, have some chamomile, then maybe we can have a productive conversation.

  134. 134
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    ZOMG! Just had an argument in my underwear with my dermatologist, who turns out to be a Boortz “fair tax” loving wingnut. Details later.

    ETA: I swear I have no idea how he got in my underwear.

  135. 135
    Marshall says:

    @NotMax:

    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.

    INAL, but I read this as meaning that US bonds, etc., could not be voided by Congress, but not that the President could issue debt on his own say so. (I.e., in my reading it limits the power to change debt once issued, not the power to issue debt.)

    I assume that Obama knows how to play chicken, and will win this. The notion that the part of big money would ignore the screams of big money for more than about one day is, shall we say, quaint.

  136. 136
    Elizabelle says:

    OT: Public service announcement:

    The Big Lebowski’s on Encore (East) now; and repeats tonight at 10:15 p.

    Just had the marmot in the bathtub scene.

  137. 137
    Aimai says:

    @Tonal Crow: Sorry for making fun of you. I mean that. I am sorry. But I do actually think your arguments are somewhat childish and confused, at this point since they resolve themselves into ” I see the dangers and benefits of a complicated, multiplayer, multiyear, trillion dollar, struggle more clearly and more sincerely than this particular twice elected president. I’m all kinds of arrogant but I’m not so arrogant that I think I would actually be in a position to back seat drive these negotiations–more than that although I am very concerned about everything I am not so solipsistic as to I
    Shine that the president doesn’t get how serious these negotiations are.

  138. 138
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Marshall:

    @NotMax:

    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.

    INAL, but I read this as meaning that US bonds, etc., could not be voided by Congress, but not that the President could issue debt on his own say so. (I.e., in my reading it limits the power to change debt once issued, not the power to issue debt.)

    But what if the President must incur additional debt to both service existing debt and to pay for already-appropriated programs?

  139. 139
    aimai says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Oh, I’m sorry, I thought we were on to a new, politer tone?

    aimai

  140. 140
    ericblair says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    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.

    Hey, it says bounties in there. I’d give up on the trillion dollar coin and issue some letters of marque and reprisal. Turn in a few million in US debt and get a license to bag a Teabagger. However, looks like Congress has to authorize them, and since they’d be the best targets, I’d say it’s a no go.

    Fun fact: Ron “Pot o’ Gold at the End of my Rainbow” Paul introduced a bill to issue letters of marque and reprisal on the 9/11 terrorists. Party like it’s 1799.

  141. 141
    Edith Marie says:

    Live Blogging well done, bravo!

  142. 142
    Punchy says:

    I don’t think Obama is a perfect negotiator or even a great one but the level of bitchy back seat driving you are doing is just absurd.

    But I’m pretty sure the Prez is not going to neggy, and even if he tried, easily half of the GOP reps in teh House are too far gone to do so. Actually, doing so looks like weakness to their primary challengers and almost guarentees a primary.

  143. 143
    Marshall says:

    @Tonal Crow: Note that shutting off new debt is not the same as a default on old debt. The Government has both revenues and ways to shuffle money around to legally make money available for spending (at least for the short term). Plus, if you shut down the Government, you make all the money spent on salaries and contracts available, without lowering the tax intake.

    Given all of that, I rather doubt that the Government defaults. You can be sure that Obama and company have run the numbers on this to the Nth degree, and know exactly what spigots to turn to achieve this with the least disruption.

  144. 144
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Aimai: I accept the apology. Thank you. I do think you’re personalizing this excessively. I can only comment on what I can see. Up to this point, I thought that Obama’s strategy created too much risk of collateral damage, and was insufficiently assertive of potential Presidential powers. He has changed it or, alternatively, done what he was planning to do all along; neither of us can know that. I think the change (or continuation, as you seem to prefer) is good.

    I don’t agree with your implication that it’s somehow arrogant to criticize the President’s handling of whatever issue; the next stop on that road is that we shouldn’t criticize the President at all. I do understand that many commenters here are upset that Obama has received so much criticism, with much of it unjustified and plenty of it just plain crazy (and often motivated by racism, also too). That shouldn’t, however, lead to the shunning of substantive criticism of the President’s actual policies and actions.

  145. 145
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Marshall: Yes, another alternative is to shut all programs in excess of current income. Republicans won’t like the fact that Obama will (for the most part, if not entirely) get to decide which programs those are.

  146. 146
    Marshall says:

    @Tonal Crow: Then, strictly speaking, he stops spending money on X so that he can continue to service the debt, where X is up to him, unless the Congress passes a new appropriations bill. I don’t see that the 14th gives him power to do more. (Again, IANAL, especially not a Constitutional lawyer. Obama, by the way, is.)

    Look, I suspect he does have a Plan B of some sort, held very, very close to his vest. Discussing it would weaken his negotiating power (which is immense in this case), so he won’t. Also, using any sort of Plan B would cause an immediate and profound constitutional crisis, and I can’t see him provoking that unless and until the Republican House demonstrates its total inability to fulfill its Constitutional obligations, and I really don’t think it is going to get anywhere near there. (In other words, if there is a shutdown, and if major parts of the economy are also simply shutting down, then you declare a national emergency and pull the plan B trigger, not before, and I don’t think we are going to get to that point.)

  147. 147
    Jim C. says:

    I love seeing this particular side of Obama emerge.

    Wish he’d let it out more often. On the other hand, it’s probably more effective if it has some shock value to our asinine press core when he deploys it sparingly.

  148. 148
    aimai says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    I disagree that choosing not to back seat drive is the same as choosing not to criticize the president. I criticize (d) the president plenty during his first term for what I (and lots of people) thought was “leaving money on the table” –in Nancy Pelosi’s famous phrase for what happened in the back door Pharma negotiations during the ACA–and I will happilly criticize him for being more imperialist and more militarist than I like. But your criticisms of this set of negotiations really seem to me to be carping and based on a kind of literalist interpretation of the Chinese Wall Posters. Take the “on again/off again” issue of the 14th amendment and the coin–both are untried, hypothetical, novel positions that may or may not work out well politically. Both are risky. Not doing anything is risky. Revealing your strategy has advantages, but also risks. The man who is playing the poker game, even if he’s playing with our money, has certain vantage points and certain duties that are not clear to the people who just gave him the money. You don’t have to have faith that he is going to win the pot but you could at least wait until a little closer to the end of the game before wailing that he threw the game because he didn’t play his hand exactly as you would have.

    I believe that Josh Marshall is making the same points w/r/t the coin and telegraphing that the President will save the Republicans no matter how crazy they get. I’m sure he’s doing it in a very measured way so perhaps you will like his explanationb etter than mine.

    aimai

  149. 149
    Fair Economist says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    But what if the President must incur additional debt to both service existing debt and to pay for already-appropriated programs?

    Everybody agrees the 14th covers t-bills. It would be interesting (pardon the pun) if the government’s primary revenues didn’t cover debt service and they really *had* to issue additional bonds. But in the current situation, they can keep rolling over existing debt (theoretically, practical issues below).

    The problem is what else counts as “debt”. Military contractor contracts? Social Security? Court settlements? Labor agreements? Appropriations in general? It’s not at all clear, and the courts have to rule before the markets would accept additional t-bills without an interest premium, so there’s a real cost to the questions. Plus, since t-bills aren’t separated into “under the limit” and “over the limit” the premium would hit the rollover debt too (well, they could try to separate them, but then you get *another* pile of lawsuits…)

    The practical issue is that the Federal Government’s systems have never had to prioritize and selectively withhold payments system-wide because of “not enough money”. It’s possible that the systems would fail, and a debt repayment check would bounce, even though the government theoretically should be able to pay every bond on time. There was, I believe, a “goof-up default” once, which the markets chose to ignore. But if it keeps happening, the markets can’t really ignore it. Maybe the Fed can figure out a way to use them as collateral for zero-interest loans to patch things up. Nobody’s really sure.

  150. 150
    jl says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Stop all federal payments to states whose majority of House reps do not vote to raise the debt ceiling.

    Why the hell not? The House is implicitly giving the president contradictory instructions on spending. So, they have implicitly given the administration authority to do as it damn pleases, as long as bond holders are paid. Maybe that will teach the House GOP loons not to try it again.

  151. 151
    aimai says:

    I disagree that choosing not to back seat drive is the same as choosing not to criticize the president. I criticize (d) the president plenty during his first term for what I (and lots of people) thought was “leaving money on the table” –in Nancy Pelosi’s famous phrase for what happened in the back door Pharma negotiations during the ACA–and I will happilly criticize him for being more imperialist and more militarist than I like. But your criticisms of this set of negotiations really seem to me to be carping and based on a kind of literalist interpretation of the Chinese Wall Posters. Take the “on again/off again” issue of the 14th amendment and the coin–both are untried, hypothetical, novel positions that may or may not work out well politically. Both are risky. Not doing anything is risky. Revealing your strategy has advantages, but also risks. The man who is playing the game, even if he’s playing with our money, has certain vantage points and certain duties that are not clear to the people who just gave him the money. You don’t have to have faith that he is going to win the pot but you could at least wait until a little closer to the end of the game before wailing that he threw the game because he didn’t play his hand exactly as you would have.
    I believe that Josh Marshall is making the same points w/r/t the coin and telegraphing that the President will save the Republicans no matter how crazy they get. I’m sure he’s doing it in a very measured way so perhaps you will like his explanationb etter than mine.
    aimai

  152. 152
    The Red Pen says:

    Haven’t heard the chorus that “Obama’s approval is tanking” for a while. It’s due for a reprise.

  153. 153
    Tonal Crow says:

    @jl:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Stop all federal payments to states whose majority of House reps do not vote to raise the debt ceiling.

    Why the hell not? The House is implicitly giving the president contradictory instructions on spending. So, they have implicitly given the administration authority to do as it damn pleases, as long as bond holders are paid. Maybe that will teach the House GOP loons not to try it again.

    Well said. I’d love to see it. The stuck-pig screaming and calls for impeachment would be epic. Also, I think it’s substantively a better alternative than cutting SS/Medicare payments.

    ETA: Hey John! You fixed multi-paragraph blockquotes! Yay!

  154. 154
    Roger Moore says:

    @Steeplejack (phone):

    I swear I have no idea how he got in my underwear.

    Was that where you were having skin problems?

  155. 155
    handsmile says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    You are precisely right on the global financial consequences, “the probable devastation,” should the US default on its debt obligations. There is widespread agreement among economists, across the ideological sprectrum, that it would be economically catastrophic.

    Apparently blithely ignorant of this forecast is both the GOP nihilists (surprise!) and the Village media (surprise!) who continue to present the matter of default as one that would result in perhaps a brief, mildly uncomfortable “government shutdown.”

    Among the calamities, interest rates would increase significantly on everything from US borrowing costs to individual’s credit cards and loans. The former balloons the US deficit, the latter deepens personal penury.

    The merest glimpse of what awaits was evidenced in the summer of 2011, simply by the protracted debate over raising the debt ceiling at that time.

    From Kaplan TPD 7/24/12: “How much did last year’s debt fight cost taxpayers?”

    “Months of political squabbling last summer between the White House and Congress over how to spend and save trillions of dollars cost taxpayers at least $1.3 billion, according to a new report.

    The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said Monday that the $1.3 billion in costs came as the result of increased borrowing costs for the Treasury Department. The final cost is expected to climb higher as multi-year obligations and other outstanding costs are added later.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/....._blog.html

    As to President Obama’s negotiating skills, I’m agnostic; hopeful albeit a little chary. I’m too stupid to understand “11th-dimensional chess,” but I do recognize that the opposing player is deranged.

  156. 156
    Tonal Crow says:

    @aimai: We’re going around in circles. I’m out of that particular conversation.

  157. 157
    Brachiator says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    I don’t agree with your implication that it’s somehow arrogant to criticize the President’s handling of whatever issue; the next stop on that road is that we shouldn’t criticize the President at all.

    No. This is not it at all. Too many people think that they are offering “substantive criticism” (e.g. 90% of the comments about the desirability of letting the Bush tax cuts expire) when they are only popping out gaseous, uninformed opinion and speculation. And even when there is some substance, few here (if any at all) know squat about any behind-the-scenes deals or background to any negotiations that go on between the president and the Congress.

    Shorter: whatever criticisms anyone makes here are irrelevant to what actually goes down, unless the commenter is one of the actual negotiation team members making a guest appearance. To suggest that anyone seeks to stifle criticism of the president is false and a waste of time.

    And just to be clear, I am not saying that any of your comments in this thread lack substance, so none of this is meant as a personal attack on your views in any way, shape or form.

  158. 158
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @ericblair:

    Fun fact: Ron “Pot o’ Gold at the End of my Rainbow” Paul introduced a bill to issue letters of marque and reprisal on the 9/11 terrorists. Party like it’s 1799.

    After 9/11, during the discussion about how to legally combat stateless terrorists like al-Qaeda, one serious proposal was to use the piracy laws, which were made to combat a different set of stateless terrorists centuries ago. It made sense to me.

  159. 159
    Eric U. says:

    with regards to the diversity issue I think it would have been a hoot if Obama had agreed that they had noticed a lack of diversity and that they were particularly troubled by the lack of African-Americans in leadership positions

  160. 160
    Jamey says:

    @Anya: Cue the “Reagan-and-Sam-Donaldson-were-sparring-partners” awesomeness in 3…2…1…

  161. 161
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    Nobody wants a default, least of all Obama, and if push honestly comes to shove, if the House GOP is honestly ready to set off an economic suicide bomb all the name of destroying the New Deal (and taking out an uppity n***er in the process), then he’ll do whatever he needs to do to prevent it (mint the fucking coin, invoke authority under the 14th amendment, whatever). But until that’s plainly the case (“plainly” meaning that even Chuck Todd should get it), all the pressure should be on the House GOP to do what the House has done countless times before without argument.

    Even hinting that he’d be willing to do these things before the absolute last second to prevent catastrophe just encourages the sociopaths.

  162. 162
    Brachiator says:

    @handsmile:

    You are precisely right on the global financial consequences, “the probable devastation,” should the US default on its debt obligations. There is widespread agreement among economists, across the ideological sprectrum, that it would be economically catastrophic.

    The sad thing is that the GOP doesn’t appear to care about the global economic consequences, and some Tea Party People seem to have no problem with shutting down the entire federal government, with the exception of defense, in order to continue their fatal obstructionism.

    Dr Strangelove was on TV the other day, and it was creepy satiric fun to watch George C Scott’s General Buck Turgidson gleefully exclaim that 20 to 40 milllion US dead would be an acceptable loss if it meant that we could get the drop on the Ruskies.

    The GOP appears to think that stopping Obama’s Marxist spending programs (maintaining Social Security and Medicare and establishing Obamacare) is worth killing the government, and maybe the entire economy.

  163. 163
    Raven says:

    @Elizabelle: Wasn’t a marmot it was a ferret.

  164. 164
    Raven says:

    @Brachiator: 40 million TOPS!

  165. 165
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @Brachiator:

    The GOP appears to think that stopping Obama’s Marxist spending programs (maintaining Social Security and Medicare and establishing Obamacare) is worth killing the government, and maybe the entire economy.

    I expect the GOP believes that they won’t actually kill the government and destroy the entire economy, because Obama or some deus ex machina will magically bail them out. For years I’ve been thinking: These people don’t fear enough. They don’t fear the President and they don’t fear the Democrats, fine. But they don’t seem to fear the consquences of their own actions either.

  166. 166
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @…now I try to be amused: They fear enough. They just fear the wrong things. They fear that Obama is going to take their guns. They fear Islamo-Socialism. They fear universal healthcare. Oh, they fear alright.

  167. 167
    Maude says:

    @…now I try to be amused:
    They don’t think it will hurt them.

  168. 168
    Roger Moore says:

    @…now I try to be amused:

    These people don’t fear enough.

    The problem isn’t that they don’t fear enough, it’s that they fear the wrong things. They have their own list of things to be afraid of (e.g. race war, the government taking away their guns, Sharia law) that have no bearing on reality and distract them from being afraid of stuff they really ought to fear (e.g. global warming, defaulting on the debt, gradual erosion of civil liberties in the name of fighting drugs).

  169. 169
    El Caganer says:

    @Brachiator: The Tea people are sufficiently crazy and ignorant that they’re probably assuming a default will be good for the economy. There doesn’t appear to be a deal to be made: either the President gives them 100% of what they want or they shut the whole thing down. Even if he’s got a few last-minute aces up his sleeve, I think he’s right in not showing them now.

  170. 170
    jl says:

    @Raven:

    ” 40 million TOPS! ”

    Glad to see some patriots aren’t afraid of getting their hair mussed a little.

  171. 171
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Roger Moore: Brilliant analysis.

  172. 172
    Brachiator says:

    @Raven:

    40 million TOPS!

    [Turgidson advocates a further nuclear attack to prevent a Soviet response to Ripper’s attack]

    General “Buck” Turgidson: Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless *distinguishable*, postwar environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed.

    President Merkin Muffley: You’re talking about mass murder, General, not war!

    General “Buck” Turgidson: Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.

    ETA: The GOP and the Tea Party are willing to entertain the idea of economic suicide. And I agree with the poster who notes:

    These people don’t fear enough. They don’t fear the President and they don’t fear the Democrats, fine. But they don’t seem to fear the consquences of their own actions either.

    They live in a fantasy land where they are “rescuing” the country by their actions, not killing it.

  173. 173
    raven says:

    @lamh35: YAY!

  174. 174
    johnny aquitard says:

    @Hill Dweller:They’re complaining to a black president about a lack of diversity…

    Jesus fucking christ people this stupid should be potted like a plant and watered once a week.

  175. 175
    raven says:

    @Brachiator: I was only off by 20 million, TOPS!

  176. 176
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @raven: Gastritis?

  177. 177
    raven says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Air burst.

  178. 178
    Keith G says:

    @General Stuck:

    Firebaggers and their magic coins…

    What?

    There was a herd of enthusiastic Obama supporters right here who were wildly rooting for the magic coin.

  179. 179
    xian says:

    @Tonal Crow: “his earlier explicit opposition to using the coin and/or 14th Amendment? See the transcript at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01…..wanted=all . He’s telling them to do their job, but he’s not explicitly ruling out other alternatives, only “loopholes” and “magic tricks”

    seriously? the loopholes and magic tricks clearly refer to the commemorative coin shenanigans and probably even the 14th amendment interp.

  180. 180
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @johnny aquitard:

    They’re complaining to a black president about a lack of diversity…

    A black president is so 2009. What has he done for diversity lately?

  181. 181
    Anna in PDX says:

    @ericblair: Um no, I don’t think the platinum coin is at all like the public option, or like other progressive litmus tests. It was floated because people are frustrated with the Republicans, and want to find some sort of out for the president, not because people think it is a good policy idea in its own right. AT least, I have not met or seen one single left/liberal American blog that is calling for it because it is just plain a great idea. It’s only the circumstances that call for something weird and drastic. If the Pres wants to face them down and make them look like idiots on the off chance they will drag us back into a recession, of course they still bear responsibility for it and it is not an easy out, and I actually think that’s a legit response and I am one of those litmus test types of people.

  182. 182
    Schlemizel says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You lucky bustid! A root canal! It could be so much worse.

    You could be the POTUS & have to deal with quisling Dems, insane goopers and moron press. You’d look forward to root canals

  183. 183
    handsmile says:

    @Brachiator:

    Just last Saturday night, one of the more obscure cable channels in the NYC market broadcast Dr. Strangelove, preceded by Fail-Safe. I had not realized that both films, similar in subject matter, utterly dissimilar in style and tone, were released in 1964. I made a mental note that it would be interesting (someday) to investigate the respective critical and popular receptions for each film and the likely contemporaneous comparisons.

    While by no means a favorite film, even within Kubrick’s oeuvre, Strangelove never loses its wicked elan for me.

    But in the context of the debt ceiling confrontation, which side do you think believes the other is in possession of the “Doomsday Machine”?

    @Raven:

    No idea if you saw it (or if you had the interest to do so), but would you have an answer to the question I posed to you late in this morning’s “Open Thread” (#45)? Just curious; NBD, of course.

  184. 184
    Roger Moore says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    I’m not sure I’d call it brilliant; I think it’s become rather obvious. They clearly fear a lot of things, to the point that fear is clearly a dominant feature of the wingnut psyche. The problem is that they’ve been fed all kinds of bullshit by people who want to exploit their basically fearful nature to the point that they fear whatever is politically or commercially profitable to the people who are providing them with their misinformation.

  185. 185
    Raven says:

    @handsmile: I missed it. The dude is Roger Bennett ESPN Soccer something. He’s usually pretty funny but I only know a bit more than Mika about the finer points of soccer so lots goes over my head.

  186. 186
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Roger Moore: Look two or three posts up from yours. You’ll see why I found it so brilliant.

  187. 187
    handsmile says:

    @Roger Moore:

    umm..see #166 above. The phrase “Great minds…” would seem appropriate here. And you’re both precisely right.

    ETA: Much obliged, Raven!

  188. 188
    schrodinger's cat says:

    The trillion dollar coin idea never made much sense to me it seemed to me like postponing an inevitable conflict. Also if Obama can mint a trillion dollar coin than why not a 10 trillion dollar coin and get rid of the debt once and for all.

  189. 189
    Tone in DC says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Good luck.

    I had a molar extracted early in December, so as my second favorite president put it, “I feel your pain”. They gave me three shots of Novocaine, BTW. The sound of the damn drill alone was enough to make me (or anyone) cringe.

  190. 190
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Mnemosyne: Can someone else drive you back? I hate driving after painful dental procedures. Good luck, I have had one too many root canals and one emergency one last year. Good luck.

  191. 191
    Brachiator says:

    @handsmile:

    But in the context of the debt ceiling confrontation, which side do you think believes the other is in possession of the “Doomsday Machine”?

    The nutcase Tea Party People clearly believe that Obama has a Doomsday Islamicist Marxist Doomsday Machine which will turn the country into a non-Christian Sozialest wasteland.

    The crazy thing in Dr Strangelove, of course, is that the Doomsday Machine was based on the mythical existence of a weapon of mass destruction “confirmed” by a dumbass mainstream media (where have we seen that one before?)

    [after learning of the Doomsday Machine]
    President Merkin Muffley: But this is absolute madness, Ambassador! Why should you build such a thing?

    Ambassador de Sadesky: There were those of us who fought against it, but in the end we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. At the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we had been spending on defense in a single year. The deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap.

    President Merkin Muffley: This is preposterous. I’ve never approved of anything like that.

    Ambassador de Sadesky: Our source was the New York Times. …

    General “Buck” Turgidson: Gee, I wish we had one of them doomsday machines.

    ETA: Turns out that Kubrick was a bit of a prophet. He was even pretty close to the idea that domestic fools, today the GOP, could be more dangerous than any foreign enemy. But even he couldn’t foresee that a Doomsday Machine might be one that brought about economic Armageddon rather than a nuclear one.

  192. 192
    bemused says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I’ve only had one root canal. The root canal was the easy part compared to the dry socket problem after, so damn painful, I still don’t like to remember it.

  193. 193
    Tonal Crow says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Sure it would have postponed conflict, perhaps allowing it to be resolved through some other means, such as by voters removing enough wingnuts from office. And sure, he could just as well mint a $10 trillion dollar coin, but the problem there is that you need eventually to back the liquidity out of the economy to prevent excess inflation. It’s one thing to back out $1T (less, really; $1T was just for illustration) and quite another to back out $10T (~= 60% of GDP).

  194. 194
    catclub says:

    @Roger Moore: Interestingly,
    the most memorable sermon I listened to in church emphasized that the most frequent thing Jesus says is “Fear not.”

    I went and looked, the winner was ‘verily’ ;)

    I am amazed and appalled at what some Christians have forgotten from their own tradition.

  195. 195
    Captain C says:

    @Mnemosyne: Please proceed, wingnuts…

  196. 196
    handsmile says:

    @Brachiator:

    Kubrick was far more than a “bit of a prophet,” I’d say!

    Think of 2001, A Clockwork Orange, perhaps even the Parris Island sequence of Full Metal Jacket.

    And that’s the reason that for years I’ve been asking New York City cocktail lounge pianists for a password.

    Always a pleasure, Mr. B.

  197. 197
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G:

    There were a few non firebaggers that ‘mildly’ supported it, at least in lieu of last option before actual default. But it has been the firebagging crew, led by Krugman across the nutroot universe that went all in, or Obama is once again a bad bad president. The knucklehead even attacked comedian Jon Stewart for making jokes about the sacred prog coin of deliverance. Which is why I suspect some die hard fans of his are still flogging it and making complete reactionary fools of themselves. yea you Tonal Crow.

  198. 198
    cmorenc says:

    Don’t assume that the financial heavyweights in the business component of the GOP will be able to reign in the radicals in the House from taking the country off the cliffs of default. Don’t underestimate the ideological ferocity of the more fanatical tea party faction in the GOP House, or the fear of the less fanatical that they’ll get successfully primaried by the true TP believers if they break rank, The problems, in a nutshell, are:

    1) The 2010 elections (and success in keeping control of the House due to gerrymandering enabled by 2010 state house election success) convinced the ideologues that they had a bona fide realistic once-in-several-generations chance of fatally uprooting the New Deal social and regulatory structure of government, such that it could be entirely killed over the next decade or two and the ground salted so that it would be forbiddingly difficult to resurrect it again. They are ardently convinced society took a dramatic wrong turn back in FDR’s presidency. In the wake of the 2012 elections, they sense that chance will slip away from them and not come again for an indefinitely long period, if ever again, unless they use their structural house majority to hold government hostage at as many opportunities as they can generate. For this faction, there *is no* acceptable “grand bargain”, because ANY deal which leaves most of the current structure of government intact long-term, even at modestly reduced budget levels and healthy paring of dead wood, represents permanent defeat in a zero-sum game. Yes, many of these same hard-core TP representatives are pork-whores who seek and protect projects (highway, military, etc) within their own districts as vigilantly and viciously as junkyard dogs, but trying to shame them over this hypocracy is about as effective as trying to shame a junkyard dog for licking his genitals in front of the human company.
    2) Their hatred of Barack Obama is not simply driven by racial or ideological contempt: it’s driven by intense fear that they’re up against a dangerously intelligent, effective opponent who has craftily out-maneuvered them far more times than the other way around. He also represents a repudiation by a majority of the country’s electorate of their vision of society and its traditional composition.

    It’s worth it to them to take the country over the cliffs of default to destroy Barack Obama and the vision of government and society he repreents, even if it takes a huge number of collateral innocent casualties with it. You’re not dealing with normal rational people here.

  199. 199
    General Stuck says:

    SO I would hope, that this event has clarified the motives of those that claim to be simply progressive critics of Obama with good faith criticism, are completely full of shit. And what they are doing is trying to run a shadow party from the left in direct opposition to the Obama presidency. You can fill in your own reasons for this. I know I have.

  200. 200
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @cmorenc: What is the solution then, bowing to their will and letting them dictate the terms of the national debate?

  201. 201
    aimai says:

    I’m proud of the President and I’d like to say that, officially. This is an incredibly complex negotiation because its not a negotiation and you have no honest counterparties. The only pressure that can be brought to bear on the Republicans is extreme negative consequences and those are not the usual consequences for a political party. They are indifferent to shame, to reason, and to the actual harm their policies will bring about (whether that is crashing the world economy or destroying the social safety net). They are willful about that. In addition they do not respect the office of the President, the Senate, the House Speaker or any of the other usual negotiators and counterparties. In addition to that they are coming off an election and so they individually feel they have two years free of electoral pressure.

    What will they respond to? Nothing. Wall Street has to either bring enough financial and social pressure to bear on these assholes to destroy their confidence in their ability to withstand pressure or to gain a sinecure after congress or Boehner has to break. These are the only options.

    Obama can only hasten the process by pointedly telling Wall Street and the World Markets that he refuses to save the Republican party from its terroristic fringe and by playing the hardest of hard ball. Which he is doing.

    I don’t think it matters what Krugman or Jon Stewart said about the wisdom of minting the coin or saying you’d mint the coin. Both are simply tactics in a complicated battle–we won’t ever know, probably, what was the “right” tactic we will only know what comes of the wager the President is putting on his own bet because we’ll see whether the Republicans flinch or not.

    aimai

  202. 202
    Recall says:

    @Tonal Crow: You wouldn’t even need to do that. It’s all just internal accounting. None of it is going to have any effect on the economy.

  203. 203
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @aimai:

    I’m proud of the President and I’d like to say that, officially.

    Wow.

    Coming from you, that IS a shocker. You have really learned to step outside your comfort zone, aimai.

  204. 204
    Paul says:

    @Brachiator:

    The GOP appears to think that stopping Obama’s Marxist spending programs (maintaining Social Security and Medicare and establishing Obamacare) is worth killing the government, and maybe the entire economy.

    Without old white folks, the GOP wouldn’t have a majority in the House. The biggest beneficiaries of Social Security and Medicare are white old folks. And the GOP can’t be much clearer in their mission to eliminate Social Security and Medicare.

    One has to wonder when these old white folks will wake the hell up. Instead, these old white folks are screaming about Obama spending like crazy and running up the deficit. Yet, they had no problem with Bush’s spending habits and unfunded wars.

  205. 205
    Tonal Crow says:

    @cmorenc: That clarifies things. I suspect that you’re correct that Republicans see their current House majority as their only chance to kill the New Deal, and that that’s a major factor driving their hardline crazy on the debt ceiling. Also corroborating this hypothesis is the fact that Republicans want to *increase* the defense budget, rather than cut it, as they would do if they truly were concerned about debt.

  206. 206
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @General Stuck:

    And what they are doing is trying to run a shadow party from the left in direct opposition to the Obama presidency.

    hahahahahahahaha…lolololol…

    Oh STucky, you are hilarious. And SO melodramatic.

    Yes, it’s past time that I reveal I am indeed the Deputy Chairman for the EmoProg Democratic Shadow Party.

    Man…no one could even make up crazier shit than you come up with. Congrats.

  207. 207
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Recall:

    @Tonal Crow: You wouldn’t even need to do that. It’s all just internal accounting. None of it is going to have any effect on the economy.

    It’s true that simply minting the coin has no direct economic effect. However, spending the money that would be issued against the coin does have an economic effect; because it’s not balanced by incurring further debt, it represents maturity-free liquidity that has eventually to be reduced in order to prevent excess inflation.

  208. 208
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Paul:

    One has to wonder when these old white folks will wake the hell up. Instead, these old white folks are screaming about Obama spending like crazy and running up the deficit. Yet, they had no problem with Bush’s spending habits and unfunded wars.

    Maybe if Obama and the Dems would hammer this home publicly and explicitly a few hundred times, as the Repukes do with their memes, they WOULD catch on to this dichotomy.

    But he doesn’t do that. Instead he plays along and talks about deficits as the crushing issue of the day.

  209. 209
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Tonal Crow: Honestly, I think a bit of inflation would not come amiss right now.

  210. 210
    General Stuck says:

    @aimai:

    I don’t think it matters what Krugman or Jon Stewart said about the wisdom of minting the coin or saying you’d mint the coin

    Sure it matters what these people say about the coin. Both are influential pundits on the left side of things, along with their day jobs. It matters, like it has always mattered that the noise from blogs and other unconventional means of punditry, do often serve as fodder for the msm, and ultimately our national political dialogue.

    And the field of play is certainly complex in this newest battle, at least the consequences, but the solution from democrats is quite simple, as it should be the only response. The republicans have gone way off the reservation by using these tactics, with the simple proposition that if it works, they will keep doing it until they get the quasi fascist state they desire by circumventing the democratic process.

    You simply cannot run a country this way for very long, and the cold truth is, until the voters take it away, the republicans have the power to destroy it all. If not this time, then the next. It really is serious cold war we are having, and the GOP seem oblivious at the prospect of turning into a hot one with nihilistic brinkmanship, unless they get their way via some kind of doomsday device. Which is what not paying the national debt is.

  211. 211
    aimai says:

    @General Stuck:

    I don’t think it matters because neither one of them has the slightest influence on the real players who are Obama and the House Republicans. I mean: I wish the left and Krugman and Stewart would admit that there is no sure fire way to bring the Republicans to heel and we may have to try a lot of different things to do so. But I don’t think it matters to the current negotiations that Obama doesn’t have a strong and supportive left flank. I doubt that it matters at all.

    aimai

  212. 212
    jl says:

    @cmorenc:

    ” Don’t assume that the financial heavyweights in the business component of the GOP will be able to reign in the radicals in the House from taking the country off the cliffs of default. ”

    The financial heavyweights will tell the recalcitrant idiotards that they will package and finance (aka astroturf) a ‘real’ and very ‘genuine” grass roots primary opponent who will be advertised to the rubes as being even more ‘ideologically committed’ and pure nutacse and kick their sorry a**es out of the House. Then the votes will come rolling in.

    That is my prediction.

    A large proportion of these ideologically committed teabaggers are astroturfed corporate hacks anyway. They won’t even need the threat, but will be merely timing their statements and actions with the signals from astroturf headquarters.

  213. 213
    Recall says:

    @Tonal Crow: You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  214. 214
    General Stuck says:

    @aimai:

    No, it won’t matter what Obama ends up doing, as he has pretty much been immune from the catterwalling of the left, and the same from the right. But it does matter with the ebb and flow of public opinion on what politicians are doing, or not doing, and the consequences on how the country is run, and how it affects the matrix of everyday life in this country. Especially Krugman, who has gravitas in a related profession, and a very high perch in the news and information world. Stewart less so, with his fake news show.

  215. 215
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    @Tonal Crow: Honestly, I think a bit of inflation would not come amiss right now.

    I agree. The problem is how you prevent it from getting out of control a few years down the road. That’s one reason to be cautious about just pumping out liquidity without a definite plan to reduce it. Getting cash by issuing bonds builds in a sort of counterbalance, because the cash gained by selling them came out of the economy in some sense. That’s not so when the government merely prints money.

    All that said, I agree that some amount of printing money now is a good idea, and especially so if Republicans really do take us to the brink of default.

  216. 216
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Paul:

    Instead, these old white folks are screaming about Obama spending like crazy and running up the deficit. Yet, they had no problem with Bush’s spending habits and unfunded wars.

    Because when old white folks, i.e. Republicans, say “spending” or “deficit” they mean “spending on Those People” and “borrowing money to spend on Those People.” And that’s what they will always think. The moment their own benefits get cut, they’re not going to blame Republicans, they’re going to blame Democrats for giving away so much money to Those People that good rule-abiding God-fearing white people got shafted when the bills came due. They’re never going to blame Republicans for cutting benefits. It will always be Democrats’ fault. So, you know, I’m running out of fucks to give about their plight. If Resentful Republican Grandma has to eat cat food, serves her right for electing a bunch of morons for the past 32 years.

  217. 217
    chopper says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I am indeed the Deputy Chairman for the EmoProg Democratic Shadow Party.

    are you kidding? you couldn’t run a taco stand. that was already closed cause it ran out of tacos.

  218. 218
    cmorenc says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    @cmorenc: What is the solution then, bowing to their will and letting them dictate the terms of the national debate?

    This is exactly why not just progressives, but sane people everywhere across the U.S. should be delighted with Obama’s tone and message at today’s press conference. Don’t negotiate with terrorists taking hostages.

  219. 219
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Recall:

    @Tonal Crow: You say that like it’s a bad thing.

    I said that the liquidity “eventually” needs to be reduced to avoid “excess” inflation, not that more inflation just now is bad. On the contrary, it’d be good. It’d effectively reduce peoples’ debt burdens and get them spending a bit faster, which would increase demand and tend to get businesses to hire more to satisfy it. Simple Keynesianism.

  220. 220
    Tone in DC says:

    @johnny aquitard:

    Give ’em the mushroom treatment. Keep ’em in the dark and feed ’em manure.

  221. 221
    Brachiator says:

    @General Stuck:

    No, it won’t matter what Obama ends up doing, as he has pretty much been immune from the catterwalling of the left, and the same from the right. But it does matter with the ebb and flow of public opinion on what politicians are doing, or not doing, and the consequences on how the country is run, and how it affects the matrix of everyday life in this country.

    I get the impression, based on some of the opinion polls, that the general public just wants to see something get done.

    However, I also think that the public is more on Obama’s side, and no longer accept the reflexive “both sides do it” or “why won’t Obama be more bipartisan and listen to the GOP” crap that the Village media and pundits keep shoving.

  222. 222
    Paul says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    So, you know, I’m running out of fucks to give about their plight. If Resentful Republican Grandma has to eat cat food, serves her right for electing a bunch of morons for the past 32 years.

    Amen. They made their own bed. They can only blame themselves. Good luck with the cat food, Republican grandma.

  223. 223
    redshirt says:

    @Paul: While true, the media does wonders to help Seniors forget that the Party of Granny Starvers would put them on the street. Case in point: Romney won Florida seniors, AND specifically on the issue of who would better protect Medicare. Remember the outright lies?

    I wish the truth was enough, but it’s not. It’s control of the damned “narrative”.

  224. 224
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @cmorenc: It would also help if the press did its job.

  225. 225
    Keith G says:

    @General Stuck: Methinks you and I have a bit of a different definition of the words few and mildly.

    No matter. That was then. Now, there are other needs.

    To the greater point, our polity needs Obama to engage this fight and complete it. It may be the case that the only way that we can get back toward a saner governance is for the President to do absolutely nothing until Congress does it’s job. We may well have to bare with some short term pain for a greater good.

  226. 226
    General Stuck says:

    @Brachiator:

    I agree, but this current support did not magically appear overnight. It has been carefully nurtured by Obama and staff for the past four years with competence, and quick study and course changes from mistakes. All of it done in the presence of a sick party as disloyal opposition. Balancing the need to demand majority governance earned at the voting booth, whilst also trying to keep lunatics in the other party from destroying it all.

    Practicing democracy is at its least for elections, it is its most between them while governing. With the ever present third eye behind public opinion that decides who gets to try their hands at governing, and whether they deserve another term. And after this dem president is done representing the core values of the democratic party, do the dems have a hand up on his successor. It all matters in the end, some ways more than others.

  227. 227
    Roger Moore says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    I understand feeling that way, but don’t think that damage to Social Security, Medicare, etc. would be limited to current recipients. If we let the Republicans gut those programs today, they sure as hell aren’t going to turn around and restore them when we’re the ones who need them. I’m willing to protect those programs even when the people taking advantage of them don’t appreciate what they have so that they’ll still be there for me when I need them. It sucks, but that’s life.

  228. 228
    Paul says:

    @redshirt:

    I disagree. It is the responsibility of each voter to figure out what the truth is. It really is not that difficult. Yes, the media can certainly do a better job. But in today’s information age, there just is no excuse for not learning the truth themselves. As such, the seniors of Florida did a bad job of educating themselves.

    As I said in the previous posting, I have no patience for older white folks if Medicare gets eliminated or cut. They voted to cut it!

  229. 229
    redshirt says:

    @Paul: If wishes were horses, we’d all have unicorns. The fact is no matter what the Repukes do, they will lie, and a significant percentage of the media will not only cover for them, but actively spin attacks against Obama.

    This has to be factored into any concept of “leverage”.

  230. 230
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G:

    Methinks you and I have a bit of a different definition of the words few and mildly.

    More like you live on Venus and I don’t live in Texas.

  231. 231
    Brachiator says:

    @Paul:

    Without old white folks, the GOP wouldn’t have a majority in the House. The biggest beneficiaries of Social Security and Medicare are white old folks. And the GOP can’t be much clearer in their mission to eliminate Social Security and Medicare.
    __
    One has to wonder when these old white folks will wake the hell up. Instead, these old white folks are screaming about Obama spending like crazy and running up the deficit. Yet, they had no problem with Bush’s spending habits and unfunded wars.

    Problem is that some old white folks think that they are the only ones who have ever worked and that it is only their money that is funding Social Security.

    They think that the mere existence of nonwhites means that there are a horde of poor moochers storming the gates of their citidels, coming to take everything that they have worked hard for, and that Obama is leading the charge.

    They think that Social Security and Medicare dropped from the heavens exclusively for them, and that any new programs, especially Obamacare, subjects them to a zero sum game in which they will lose if anyone else gets even a pittance.

    And most of all, they believe that if only blacks and Latinos would go away, then there would magically be more of everything for deserving Real White Americans(tm).

    They are so nuts that some of them believe that the only people asking for federal assistance in the wake of Hurricane Sandy are mooching blacks and Latinos, and lazy whites who have jumped on the Obama gravy train that Mitt Romney warned them about.

    Whipped up into such a frenzy, they just don’t hear it when the GOP says, loudly and firmly, “when we say we want to get rid of Social Security and Medicare, we mean you, you dumbass old white folks.”

    It’s a hell of a sleight-of-hand, and the Republican “faithful” fall for it every time.

  232. 232
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Okay, sure, fuck over resentful republican Grandma. But please figure a way to fuck her over without fuck over my parents and the other people who are 70+ and have voted sensibly and saved throughout their lives.

  233. 233
    Paul says:

    @Brachiator:

    They think that Social Security and Medicare dropped from the heavens exclusively for them, and that any new programs, especially Obamacare, subjects them to a zero sum game in which they will lose if anyone else gets even a pittance.

    Great posting! It brought to mind the classic “keep the government off my Medicare” sign that was seen at some tea part rally. They really are a sad bunch of racists, aren’t they?

  234. 234
    Ed Drone says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Legally, they can’t do it permanently. It’s not some law by Congress which determines this, but Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

    Not the debt limit! That section says bills obligating expenditures must originate in the House, but says nothing about the artificial, WWI-era law allowing Congress to put a lid on US borrowing. That’s a different kettle of fish. As the President says, they’ve already spent (obligated) the money, so they can’t go back on it now. The Congress has already done its Article One, Section Seven duty. What this is all about is “King’s-X: backsies.”

    Ed

  235. 235
    johnny aquitard says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    I think you are badly underestimating the results of allowing Republicans to shoot the hostage

    You are even more badly underestimating the results of stopping the Republicans from shooting the hostages. Yes, sometimes there are worse things.

    Obmama has to either get someone to wrench the gun from their hands and lock it up, which is what I think he is trying to do right now, or he has to watch them shoot the hostage. He can go after them with with extreme malice afterwards. But he will still be president, duly elected by the majority.

    It either must be someone gets the gun away for good, or they shoot the hostage and the rest of the nation then shoots the GOP. He can’t govern if there is any other outcome. The country can’t function with any other outcome. We won’t have a democracy without any other outcome.

    You do not seem to get this, that as terrible as it is and as much misery and grief it will cause, that shooting the hostage is not the worst outcome for the country, or even for the people directly harmed by this. The worst outcome is the GOP gets run the country regardless of the will of the majority.

    The people who are harmed now will be harmed 10x worse if the GOP succeeds. It isn’t just one shitbomb these teabagging fuckwads want to drop on the poors, teh blahs, women, science, education, or hell anything to do with reason, democracy, or the Enlightenment. It is a fucking war they want to bring.

  236. 236
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @chopper:

    you couldn’t run a taco stand. that was already closed cause it ran out of tacos.

    Which is why I am the DEPUTY chairman. HELLO?

  237. 237
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @johnny aquitard:

    It is a fucking war they want to bring.

    If it is, it’s a war of attrition, and they are Bonaparte approaching Moscow.

  238. 238
    Ed Drone says:

    @Emma:

    The End will come on God’s own time, not ours, and she feels they are trying to screw with God’s agenda. In the most cliche’d of terms: this won’t end well.

    Thou shalt not put the Lord thy God to the Test!

    I don’t want to stand next to them when they do that, you know? Lightning isn’t that exact a weapon.

    Ed

  239. 239
    chopper says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    HELLO?

    sorry, this taco stand is closed. we ran out of tacos. to leave a message for the deputy chairman, wait for the tone. however, i must warn you, he’s a fucking moron. a complete anklebiter. he’s the reason we’re in this mess. who orders only enough stuff to make 3 tacos?

  240. 240
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ed Drone:
    I think you’re missing this bit:

    To borrow Money on the credit of the United States

    That’s listed in the powers given to Congress, not the part granted to the Executive. The debt limit was actually a liberalization of the old system, in which Congress had to approve every separate bond issue.

  241. 241
    Brachiator says:

    @General Stuck:

    I agree, but this current support did not magically appear overnight. It has been carefully nurtured by Obama and staff for the past four years with competence, and quick study and course changes from mistakes. All of it done in the presence of a sick party as disloyal opposition. Balancing the need to demand majority governance earned at the voting booth, whilst also trying to keep lunatics in the other party from destroying it all.

    Totally agree. You could see the tide turning with the presidential election, where Obama’s tax proposals consistently won approval in the polls.

    And yeah, I think NJ Gov Christie bolting from GOP orthodoxy in the wake of Hurricane Sandy helped as well.

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Okay, sure, fuck over resentful republican Grandma. But please figure a way to fuck her over without fuck over my parents and the other people who are 70+ and have voted sensibly and saved throughout their lives.

    Of course, the idea is not to fuck over anybody. Social Security is not a reward for voting the right way, or (as the Republicans keep insisting) an “entitlement” giveaway to otherwise unworthy seniors too stupid to save for their own retirement.

    But the Republicans are playing their own long game. They are trying to cut these programs directly, but also see an advantage in a continuing weak economy, which undermines these programs by eroding the middle class wage and tax base that undergirds the entire economy and which makes any form of social safety net possible.

  242. 242
    General Stuck says:

    Here is a prediction. If it comes to it, and I don’t think it will, and this matter will be resolved by another Boehner cave for raising the ceiling. If it looks like there are no more options left with shuffling money around to keep up interest payments on our debt. Obama will submit a kind of lawsuit to the SCOTUS for clarification on the 14th amendment and the debt ceiling law being in conflict. Because at that time it will be a pressing matter of a bonafide constitutional crisis, and that is what the third branch of government is for, in part. If the SCOTUS take the wingnut side, then bend over and give you ass to jeevus, we are done.

  243. 243
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: It’s my fantasy version of “going over the cliff.” I kind of want there to be a massive, wide-ranging conversation about what we want in a social welfare safety net, and how to fund it. If we were starting the New Deal and Great Society from scratch, a total reboot, what would health insurance, retirement/pensions, and disability look like, and how could we keep them as generous as possible, and what would we be willing to do to ensure that they continue?

    Just as a for-instance, I know why politically Social Security is capped and paid out the way that it is — to prevent it from seeming like “welfare” — but it doesn’t really seem like the smartest use of scarce resources to give more generous retirement benefits to people who earned more in their working lives. That doesn’t square with progressive tenets in the slightest. But making Social Security as it currently exists sacrosanct also makes it impossible to do something more generally helpful with the money that goes into already-well-off people’s benefits. That bugs me. Like I said, I know why it’s the way things are, but it’s decidedly suboptimal from the standpoint of economic justice.

  244. 244
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @chopper: this taco stand is closed. they were the bestest tacos in the history of everything and made with only the best ingredients and they only cost a nickel and i bet you’re kicking yourself now that you lost your chance to have one, jerk, but that’s why you’re not clever enough to run an uncompromisingly awesome taco stand like mine was before it closed for some reason

  245. 245
    Rex Everything says:

    @aimai:

    I’m proud of the President and I’d like to say that, officially.

    Me too. I post quite a bit of criticism of him & should give credit where credit is due. Obama kicked some ass today.

  246. 246
    pat says:

    I thought it was telling that he several times said that we can not have this crisis every three months. He is aware what will happen if he gives in just a little to make it easier for the hostage takers to lower the gun. They will still have the gun.

    I wonder who sleeps better these days, Obama or Boner?

  247. 247
    Lojasmo says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    A doucheskin coat. Feeling a little tender, sweetheart?

  248. 248
    Tonal Crow says:

    @johnny aquitard:

    It either must be someone gets the gun away for good, or they shoot the hostage and the rest of the nation then shoots the GOP. He can’t govern if there is any other outcome. The country can’t function with any other outcome. We won’t have a democracy without [with?] any other outcome.

    You do not seem to get this, that as terrible as it is and as much misery and grief it will cause, that shooting the hostage is not the worst outcome for the country, or even for the people directly harmed by this. The worst outcome is the GOP gets run the country regardless of the will of the majority.

    I don’t follow this. First, there is no guarantee, given our horrid media, that “the nation shoots the GOP” after the GOP shoots the hostage (defaults). Second, by working around the GOP, the President might make them irrelevant, rather than giving them — as you seem to argue — unlimited power.

    Well, we shall see what happens. My bet is thus:

    1. Republicans will try to default.
    2. Obama will argue that the mandate from existing appropriations trumps the mandate of the debt limit, and will continue issuing debt.
    3. Republicans will sue to enjoin the additional debt.
    4. The courts will decline to hear the case under the “political question doctrine” (Google it).
    5. Republicans will appeal to the Supreme Court.
    6. Roberts will convince 4 other justices to spike the cert petition (remember what he did on the ACA).
    7. House Republicans will impeach Obama.
    8. The Senate will exonerate Obama, but all Republicans and at least one “blue dog” will vote to convict.
    9. Markets will be badly roiled for weeks, if not months, [ETA: as steps 1-6 play out] but nothing like what would happen if a default occurred.

    Your prediction?

  249. 249
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    Fucking mainstream media. The presser was mentioned, but to hear them talk, it was about gun control. Not one word about the debt ceiling comments.

  250. 250
    Brachiator says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    My bet is thus

    So, when does anything get resolved? Does the government shut down? Do any spending cuts kick in? Does all legislative activity cease while your guess about impeachment follies goes on?

    Does action on all cabinet and judicial nominees come to a halt?

    Markets badly roiled, what does this mean? Domestic and international markets, crisis for the euro and the dollar?

    How long is the impeachment trial?

    How does this play out in the 2014 midterms?

    Not really much of a prediction. And why bother? Why not just wait to see how this plays out?

    Might be more profitable to predict when the next iPhone will be released.

  251. 251
    Mnemosyne says:

    Root canal report in Tom’s Open Thread up top. Short version: my endodontist was his usual professional and novocaine-loving self, but the tooth was more inflamed than he expected and I have to go back in two weeks for him to complete it. Feh.

  252. 252
    NotMax says:

    @Davis X. Machina

    Duh. No sh*t, Sherlock. Who ever even vaguely suggested anything in the neighborhood of “new elections?”

  253. 253
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Brachiator: You’re asking for at least a demigod’s predictions, not those of a mortal. But as for which markets will be badly roiled, I think that’s pretty clear. It’ll be all securities markets worldwide, both equity and debt. And by “badly roiled”, I mean losing at least 20% for equities (the S&P 500 lost 17% the last time Republicans pulled this stunt) and credit becoming much harder to get for all but the largest borrowers, and even them having to pay substantially higher rates. We could even get a complete credit freeze. ‘Course, if we *do* default, an instant complete credit freeze is pretty much guaranteed, followed immediately by a worldwide great depression. Wheeeeeeeeee…splat!

  254. 254
    Brachiator says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    You’re asking for at least a demigod’s predictions, not those of a mortal.

    But the heart of your prediction should be when and how the debt issue gets resolved.

    Putting the government on hold while lawsuits and an impeachment circus happen still would, I think, logically mean that the government gets shut down.

    Shorter: I think your prediction is unlikely, and it leaves out all the juicy bits.

  255. 255
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Brachiator:

    But even he couldn’t foresee that a Doomsday Machine might be one that brought about economic Armageddon rather than a nuclear one.

    There was one of those in Goldfinger, though.

  256. 256
    Person of Choler says:

    Fearless leader predicts assured success of new 5 year plan unless wreckers, spies, and kulaks succeed in sabotaging workings of great engine of economic progress.

    Forward!

  257. 257
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Brachiator:

    But the heart of your prediction should be when and how the debt issue gets resolved.

    Please re-read my original predictions message. To re-iterate, it gets resolved by Obama assuming the power to continue issuing debt as a resolution of the conflict between his obligation to fund existing appropriations and his obligation to comply with the existing debt ceiling. He’s got to violate one obligation or the other, so he makes the better choice. The courts refuse to intervene. Republicans impeach, but lack the votes to convict. The End.

  258. 258
    liberal says:

    @Paul:

    But in today’s information age, there just is no excuse for not learning the truth themselves.

    A prominent German poet put it best (h/t I. Asimov): Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.

  259. 259
    J R in WV says:

    @handsmile:

    Well, this is a dead thread, but another movie made in that era was “Seven Days in May” – which was about an attempt at a military coup, right here in River City.

    Along with “Fail Safe” and “Dr. Strangelove” Seven Days made for a really scary aura in USAian politics.

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