Top Democrats are calling foul on Republicans for sabotaging the economy in a presidential election year. The latest example is John Boehner’s promise to bring about a repeat of last summers debt ceiling crisis. Which Republican created crisis, the reader may recall, led to the downgrading of the American credit rating by S&P.
Senator Chuck Schumer put it this way: “The last thing the country needs is a rerun of last summer’s debacle that nearly brought down our economy,”
Schumer also said: “I hope that the speaker is not doing this because he doesn’t want to see the economy improve, because what he said will certainly rattle the markets.”
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina wrote of Republicans during last years debate on the job bill: “Their strategy is to suffocate the economy for the sake of what they think will be a political victory,”
Gov. Martin O’Malley of Md., who chairs the Democratic Governors Association, said Republicans: ”through their intransigence, cleverly set up a situation for America’s economy to fail, either by needlessly driving us to default, or needlessly driving us into massive public-sector layoffs.”
Republicans are doing their level best to drive the economy into the ditch again. Goodness knows they have ample experience at economical ditch driving… just consider the role they played to lead us to where we are now.
The President has an ace up his sleeve if he has the cajones to play it. This option was discussed during the last debt ceiling debacle but Obama did not take advantage of it. Perhaps the results of that debacle will lead him to “plan b” if presented with the same Republican obstructionism this year.
Plan B, or the 14th amendment option, is for the President to rely upon the full faith and credit clause of the constitution to simply order the treasury to continue paying the legal obligations passed by congress and signed by the president.
The pertinent section of the 14th amendment reads: “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.”
Frankly the law by which the congress must vote to increase the debt limit is unconstitutional. I believe that invoking the 14th amendment to avoid the crisis would bring about another crisis, but one which would not lead to financial calamity and economic ruin. President Obama could rub the constitution in the faces of the tea partiers who claim to revere that document, while avoiding needless financial brinksmanship which very recent history proves has very damaging consequences for the economy. The president would look strong standing up to the crazy wingnuts in an election year and they would have to consider the wisdom of actually attacking the constitution in order to bring about a financial crisis.
Another lesson from last year is that the people, by and large, blamed Republicans in Congress for the crisis and the resulting damage to the economy. Maybe Boehner will recall the bitter fruit of that obstructionism and not plant those seeds again.