Well that didn’t take long. Just days after a months-long, hard-fought battle to avert the fiscal cliff, President Obama is already posturing on the next big negotiation: raising the debt limit.
“One thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they’ve already racked up,” Obama said in his weekly address. “If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic.”
That’s rich coming from the leader of Democrats – the party who “racked up” the tab he now laments. And it’s not as if Obama’s hands are clean either. It was under his leadership that Democrats pushed an $800 billion deficit-financed stimulus package (whose costly provisions continue to be extended); it was under his guidance that the big-ticket Obamacare bill became law and it’s his stubborn belief in big government that has prevented entitlements from being sensibly reformed.
This is his tab. And now he’s demanding that Republicans help him pay for it.
Not only that, he’s demanding that Republicans help him continue to raise taxes so he can spend more in the future.
“Spending cuts must be balanced with more reforms to our tax code,” Obama said, somehow equating tax reform with tax hikes. “The wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations shouldn’t be able to take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans.”
Yes, we’re already back to that old trope. The class warfare angle worked once. President Obama successfully raised taxes by around $600 billion over the next ten years without giving up any—zero, zip, zilch—cuts to federal spending. But he campaigned on a “balanced approach,” which he himself defined as a spending cut-to-tax hike ratio of 2.5-to-1.
Obama got his tax hikes. Now, in the name of balance (and fiscal sanity), it’s time to reduce Washington’s unsustainable spending levels.
“The president may not want to have a fight about government spending over the next few months,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote in an op-ed Thursday, “but it’s the fight he is going to have, because it’s a debate the country needs.”
“Over the next two months they need to deliver the same kind of bipartisan resolution to the spending problem we have now achieved on revenue – before the eleventh hour,” McConnell wrote.
Unfortunately, Democrats are already searching for ways to avoid negotiating altogether.
One harebrained idea being tossed around by Democrats is to avoid raising the debt limit altogether by simply creating and depositing a trillion dollar coin in the Federal Reserve?
“There is specific statutory authority that says that the Federal Reserve can mint any non-gold or –silver coin in any denomination, so all you do is tell the Federal Reserve to make a platinum coin for one trillion dollars, and then deposit it in the Treasury account, and you pay your bills,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler said in an interview.”
This scheme gets around the United States’ limit on how much new money it can print, because the statute only limits paper currency, not coinage. But frankly, this is ridiculous as it sounds. As conservative blogger Allahpundit writes for HotAirec:
“If you’re looking for a way to convince the public that the left has no interest whatsoever in reducing spending before we face a fiscal meltdown, you can’t do better than having Obama and Geithner respond to the GOP’s demand for cuts by producing a de facto handful of magic beans.”
Another ploy being tossed around by Democrats is to read the 14th Amendment in such a way that the debt limit is unconstitutional.
“I’ve made my view very clear on that subject: I would do it in a second,” Nancy Pelosi said on Friday. “But I’m not the president of the United States.”
Never mind that this is a dubious understanding of the 14th Amendment (it attempts to read the words “authorized by law” out of the Constitution altogether), it would once again prove just how unserious Democrats are about reducing our debt.
With the debt limit looming, Democrats need to think long and hard about ways to get control of their out of control spending habits, not waste that time searching for excuses and schemes.