Barack Obama And The Debt Ceiling Crisis: A Moment Of Presidential Assertiveness Needed!

President Barack Obama has done his best to avoid antagonizing opponents with his use of Presidential powers.

He has shown willingness to negotiate and make deals, but the Republican House has refused to do anything, other than threaten to have the good faith and credit of the United States destroyed, a calamity that could lead to a Second Great Depression and harm to the world wide economy.

The Republican Party in the House refuses to help create jobs through federal funding, or to work on building an infrastructure repair and expansion.

The Republicans have made it clear that they are willing to hold all Americans hostage, as they promote their extreme right wing ideology, and work to take America back to the Gilded Age and the 1920s.

So therefore, it is time for action soon by President Obama, a moment of Presidential courage, to refuse to allow the destruction of our economy!

So he has two alternatives.

Invoke the 14th Amendment, which includes language on the payment of government debts.

Use the concept of a trillion dollar coin minted by the US Treasury to cover all debts already incurred and more in the future.

The point is that it was the Republican Congress which built up most of the massive debt we now face, and yet they are ready to refuse to pay the government bonds when due, unless they are able to destroy the social safety net of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

This cannot be allowed, and although Obama is highly reluctant to take controversial action in either direction mentioned above, he owes it to the nation at large to do so if no alternative is available at that time, which seems likely to be the case!

What is the worst that would happen if Obama took unilateral action?

He would be bitterly condemned by the right wing, called every name in the book, so what else is new?

There might be greater death threats against him, but there are already more than ever before as it is.

The realization is that there would be the likelihood of the Republican House choosing to impeach President Obama for “high crimes and misdemeanors” in office.

But has Obama committed such crimes, or is about to do so?

No more than Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, or Franklin D. Roosevelt arranging the Destroyers for Bases Deal with Great Britain, or thousands of executive orders utilized by many of our Presidents!

And even were he to be impeached, the odds of Obama being removed from office with a Senate of 55 Democrats is totally out of the question, since 67 Senators would be needed to remove him from office, and there are only 45 Republicans!

Would an impeachment besmirch the reputation of Barack Obama? It would certainly be part of his obituary, as with Bill Clinton, but Clinton has survived very well from the impeachment, and his popularity went up during the impeachment crisis, and the Republican reputation suffered great harm.

The Republican Party would only be putting nails in its own coffin, if it decided that our economy should be destroyed and the President impeached.

The nation and the President would be the winners in such a scenario, so it is soon time for Obama to show guts and courage and do what is necessary, knowing the consequences are something he can deal with, although regrettable that he has to go through those consequences!

19 comments on “Barack Obama And The Debt Ceiling Crisis: A Moment Of Presidential Assertiveness Needed!

  1. Bob January 12, 2013 1:40 pm

    The Republican Congress built up most of the debt? Wasn’t Pelosi leading the way when our deficit exploded to over a trillion dollars? Besides, there’s no way that the debt ceiling won’t be raised, it will just come with spending and tax changes as part of the compromise.

  2. Ronald January 12, 2013 4:30 pm

    Sorry to inform you of what you do not wish to hear, but most of the debt in the Bush Administration was built up under the GOP controlled Congress for the first six years, and the lack of regulation led to the economic crisis of 2008, where the then Democratic Congress cooperated with the Treasury Department and the President, to save their rear ends with the total collapse going on in the last months of the Bush Presidency.
    It was Republican Congresses that voted to have unlimited spending on Iraq and Afghanistan and a prescription drug plan not paid for by increase in taxes, but instead adding to the national debt. It is under the Republican Presidents that most of our national debt developed, particularly Reagan and the second Bush, while Carter added very little, and Clinton even was able to have a few balanced budgets, and in any case, added far less to the national debt.
    Much of the debt since 2009 is the outgrowth of what Bush and the GOP brought about earlier, and keeps on feeding on itself, adding to the national debt! Those are the facts, whether you choose to believe them or not!

  3. Bob January 12, 2013 5:08 pm

    Wow. All of these are “facts”? I didn’t think college professors were so biased. You raise a lot of additional topics and it would be difficult to discuss each of your “facts”. But it’s funny how all the deficits under GOP are their fault (even if they might have been brought on by 9/11 or the ensuing economic downturn) but Pelosi and Reed’s spending was all due to what Bush and the GOP brought on. But you also attribute the debt to the person in the White House, when he is only part of the equation and Congress has a lot of influence too, so which one is it? (and by the way, the GOP didn’t control both houses Congress until 2003)

    And I find it odd that you think it’s a “fact” that lack of regulation caused the economic downturn. Are you saying that the GOP is to blame for the housing bubble, credit bubble, credit derivatives, etc.? What did they do to cause that?

  4. Ronald January 13, 2013 12:35 am

    Pelosi and Reid did not have control of their chambers until 2007. The Republicans controlled both houses from 1995-2001, continued to control the House from 2001-2003, had a tie in the Senate those two years, and then Democratic control, and then GOP control of both houses from 2003-2007.

    No one is saying that the Democrats had no role in the economic crisis, but it is a fact that the Republicans controlled the House until 2007 undivided, and were reckless in spending, including Paul Ryan and others who became deficit oriented ONLY when Obama took over. And Dick Cheney was infamous for saying deficits do not matter!

    And if the President vetoes legislation, it is very hard for Congress to override the veto, with only a 4 percent chance historically, although on any bill, of course, a veto can be overridden. So the President does have a major role to play in budget and other battles.

    Economic regulation was lessened, as it always is under Republicans, and now, if it was left up to them, they would lessen economic regulation again, which would be a massive mistake, indicating nothing had been learned from past mistakes.

  5. Bob January 13, 2013 2:49 am

    So are you giving the GOP credit for the boom years and surpluses at the end of the Clinton era when they controlled Congress?

    And how is it a “fact” that the GOP is responsible for the recent economic downturn through lack of regulation?

  6. Ronald January 13, 2013 9:08 am

    I give both Bill Clinton AND the GOP Congress credit for the surpluses and better economy of the 1990s.

    But once we had a Congress and President of the same party, and believers in cutting back on regulation, the economy suffered, even before 2008, with the lack of job creation notable before 2008. The collapse of the economy is complex, but experts say the lessened regulation in the 2000s allowed that to happen, with some Democrats joining the Republicans in that direction, a major mistake.

    No one is saying that the Democrats have no fault, but the Republicans controlled the House for 12 years, and the Senate for ten plus years from 1995-2007 plus the Presidency under George W. Bush, and to blame two years of Pelosi and Reid from 2007-2009 for everything that went wrong in 2008 is propaganda.

  7. Hoopster January 13, 2013 9:17 am

    And here’s the actual data.

    When you look at it year by year, there’s very few years where the Republicans or the Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. Therefore to say that it’s the Republicans who built up most of the massive debt we now face is a stretch. That would imply that the Democrats didn’t have a role in the deficits during the 1980’s despite their control of the House. And despite Clinton having a Republican controlled Congress for 6 of his 8 years, his “success” that you claim about not adding a lot to the national debt had nothing to do with the Congress at the time? And saying it’s mainly the Republicans fault for the trillion dollar deficits of 2009 and beyond would blame them for the economic downturn, which is also a stretch. But you seem to already have made up your mind since you assert everything you say is a “fact”.

  8. Ronald January 13, 2013 9:33 am

    Thank you for the very useful and interesting link.

    No one, including myself, is saying that Democrats are blameless, but the point being made is that the Republicans have not seen a problem with deficits, so as to make it an issue, until Barack Obama became President in 2009. And the debt ceiling was raised 17 times under Ronald Reagan, and there was no debate about it by Republicans, and the same under both Bushes.

    I guess what it comes down to is that there is a lack of consistency by politicians generally, but to hear Paul Ryan and others in the House, and to hear Mitch McConnell and others in the Senate Republican caucus, suddenly become deficit hawks belatedly, is an issue that shows it is pure politics, and that now their only answer is to harm the social safety net.

  9. Hoopster January 13, 2013 10:04 am

    Sorry if you think I said that Pelosi and Reid are to blame for everything that went wrong in 2008. They are not. (Nor do I think I said this).

    But if you’re going to assign “credit” for spending, deficits and debt, you cannot ignore their leadership. Nor can you ignore Democrats controlling both Houses from ’87 thru ’94.

    What I AM saying is that when somebody says that one party is mostly to blame for our debt/deficits like you claimed, that is (to use your term) “propaganda”

    Just like it’s propaganda to say that less regulation or deregulation causes the housing and credit bubbles or their ensuing collapses. You don’t give any specifics but I’m thinking you might be thinking of the GLB Act, even though firms like Lehman and Merrill were already allowed to do credit derivatives, CMBS, CDO’s, CLO’s, etc. before that was passed.

  10. Hoopster January 13, 2013 10:16 am

    OK, so I’m glad that you now agree that Republicans aren’t more to blame than Democrats for our current deficit and debt. So I hope you stop spreading that propaganda.

    As for your new point – that there’s a lack of “consistency”. I’ll ask you the question – are all deficits created equally? Prior to the 2008 crisis, we were running deficits around 1-3% of GDP, but now they are in 8-10% since 2009. In 2007, for example, the deficit was only $160 billion, or 1.2% of GDP.

    Is it “inconsistent” to not “worry” about small deficits in the 1-3% of GDP range but be concerned when they grow to 8-10% of GDP?

    My view is it’s not “inconsistent” – not all deficits are created equally. No one should be screaming equally as loud about 1-3% GDP deficits vs 8-10% GDP deficits.

  11. Ronald January 13, 2013 11:11 am

    I must say, Hoopster, that you are quite the debater! 🙂

    I will agree that “propaganda” should not be spread, and should not be the goal of any blogger, and if I seemed too intense in my statements, I plead guilty, and am willing to concede that higher deficits are a major problem, more than smaller deficits. But there needs to be a system that prevents constant crises over the debt limit, which was never a political issue until now.

    The point is that I do not think the answer is to do harm to the social safety net, other than to work against the old term of “waste, fraud and abuse”,as it harms those less fortunate much more than those who are well to do. So I believe in lessening benefits to those who are higher income, but I do not believe in raising the retirement age for Medicare, although Social Security is a different matter, and has already been raised in 1983 by the Reagan-O’Neill deal, with lower benefits still available at age 62. I think having the payroll tax on Social Security to be unlimited on income, just as it is on Medicare, would solve that issue long term, and yet the Republicans refuse to accept such an idea.

    And to cut Medicaid for the poor, the elderly, and the disabled is totally unconscionable!

  12. Bob January 14, 2013 7:42 am

    If the payroll tax cap was lifted and let’s assume I make $250,000 a year, would my future benefits increase proportionately? Or am I just giving that money to somebody else?

  13. Ronald January 14, 2013 7:47 am

    I feel that benefits should increase proportionately as it is now, that if you make a higher income, you receive more Social Security benefits. A person who makes $100,000 now receives more monthly benefits than one who earns $50,000 for example.

  14. Bob January 14, 2013 7:28 pm

    If the benefits are proportionate, then how will this change address the structural issues that Social Security faces?

  15. Ronald January 14, 2013 9:39 pm

    Those with higher income gain more, but proportionately less than those at the bottom. That would continue, and there could be the development of some means testing to make Social Security amounts be more favoring average incomes, while not totally penalizing those who contribute more.

  16. Bob January 14, 2013 10:46 pm

    Right. That’s my problem with Social Security. If they’re going to force me to contribute more, ie x times more than I want x times the benefit. Otherwise i am subsidizing others and i dont think that’s fair. But unfortunately the benefit amount I get is totally at the whim of politicians. Social Security was never meant to be a form of private savings. If they want to insure I have enough for basic food and shelter, the cost of that’s the same no matter how much my salary might be today. Whether I make $50,000 today or $500,000 today you should only withold $x to ensure I don’t rot in the sewers when I get older. Beyond some core amount, like 6% of the first $100,000 of salary, I’d rather have my savings in a private account where I know the politicians can’t play with the future value of it.

  17. Ronald January 14, 2013 11:33 pm

    I understand what you are saying, but I, for instance, now get Social Security, more than most, but know that if it was based on contributions, I should gain even more. But I have accepted that my good fortune requires some sacrifice for the improvement of others, since we live in a society in which those who have more accept that they are somewhat subsidizing those who have less. But you certainly have a right to feel differently, that you would rather use a private account. But it is government which will decide that, as you well know!

  18. Bob January 15, 2013 10:03 pm

    I’d be happy to give my money directly to someone less fortunate than me and in serious need. Send me their address and I will mail them a big check. Rather do that than give more of my money to the government and pray in vain they know how to spend it wisely. And it’s not as if my SS witholdings go into some type of lockbox separate account. They’re not. But rather commingled with the rest of the government funds. You raise the witholding limit and you know those impacted by it will barely see much of any type of proportionate benefit when they get older. The sources and uses will be so out of whack by then and my benefits are at the whims of politicians. Instead just withold whatever I need to get those bare minimum future benefits and let me keep the rest in a pirate account. At least I know it will be mine 40 years from now.

  19. Ronald January 15, 2013 10:24 pm

    I understand your thoughts, Bob, but that is not going to happen, as much as you, or even I, might wish!

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