I haven’t been writing about the upcoming Debt Ceiling fight, but it hasn’t been far from my mind. The Republicans only pushed it off for a few months to allow them to regroup. They most definitely have not given up on the idea. In fact, their belief that they won the Sequester fight has only made them more aggressive. As I’ve noted many times before, the only way to negotiate with Republicans is from a position of strength. Any show of weakness or openness to compromise is met with ever greater demands.
On a recent radio interview with Sean Hannity, John Boehner said, “Do you want to risk the full faith and credit of the United States government over Obamacare?” Boehner seems to live in a land where it is always “opposite day.” He isn’t risking the full faith and credit of the US government; Obama is by not giving Boehner everything he wants. Mitch McConnell is saying much the same kinds of things.
Bruce Bartlett has an article on the Economix Blog arguing that Obama needs to be prepared to use the 14th Amendment clause, “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.” He provides the history of this clause and it is fascinating.
Basically, after the Civil War, a lot of Democrats wanted to just default on the loans the government had taken out to fund the war. Most of these loans were to average people who would have been hurt. The nation changed the Constitution to stop this from happening. Does this really apply to what is happening now? Bartlett thinks so:
The question is whether Obama will really do it. As I have documented before, Obama caved on his “No Debt Ceiling Negotiation” stance. At this point, we may have no other option.
I wrote this back in December: