Getting “Tough” in the Debt Ceiling Debate Means More Than Words
I must say, I’m getting tired of the hand-wringing on the left about how unreasonable Republicans are being and how “strong” Obama was yesterday. Of course Republicans are being unreasonable: they’re threatening to blow up the global economy rather than raise taxes on rich people in an era of historically-low taxes for rich people.
Does anyone expect crazy people to act any other way but crazy?
And I’m sorry, I don’t think stating the obvious — that Republicans would rather take money out of the mouths of hungry children so that rich people can buy a few more baubles — is “tough.”
What I want to start seeing is what Obama should do. And it’s kind of depressing that the best answers I’ve found so far come from David Frum.
3) Why for that matter is Obama surrendering to the demand to change the subject from jobs to deficits? Surely Obama believes that rapid budget-cutting will be deflationary? And therefore irresponsible in the context of 10% unemployment, near-zero inflation, and 1% interest rates on federal debt? Why has he allowed himself to be pushed into measures he regards as irresponsible?
4) Beyond that why isn’t he yelling his head off about the Republican default threat? Why isn’t he being specific about what it could mean? And why isn’t he doing what Lyndon Johnson would do – making it clear that if H-Hour does arrive, he’ll use disbursement power just as politically as Republicans are using the power of the debt ceiling: eg, paying Medicaid bills from Blue states first, Red states later? Paying farmers and other Republican constituencies with IOUs, while hoarding cash for Democratic voters?
Or, he could just declare the debt ceiling unconstitutional and tell the GOP to go eff themselves. Now that would be “tough.”
Can’t anyone in the White House play this game?