Posts Tagged ‘Unsustainable’
Welcome to the “new normal” under Obamanomics. In Europe, where Keynesian economics and Democratic Socialism has dominated for decades, unemployment rates are in the 20′s. For the younger generation, they’re even higher. Yet, instead of learning from their mistakes, Obama and the Democrats insist on repeating them. Millions of innocent people are being hurt in the process.
After a full year of fruitless job hunting, Natasha Baebler just gave up.
She’d already abandoned hope of getting work in her field, working with the disabled. But she couldn’t land anything else, either — not even a job interview at a telephone call center.
Until she feels confident enough to send out resumes again, she’ll get by on food stamps and disability checks from Social Security and live with her parents in St. Louis.
“I’m not proud of it,” says Baebler, who is in her mid-30s and is blind. “The only way I’m able to sustain any semblance of self-preservation is to rely on government programs that I have no desire to be on.”
Baebler’s frustrating experience has become all too common nearly four years after the Great Recession ended: Many Americans are still so discouraged that they’ve given up on the job market.
Older Americans have retired early. Younger ones have enrolled in school. Others have suspended their job hunt until the employment landscape brightens. Some, like Baebler, are collecting disability checks.
It isn’t supposed to be this way. After a recession, an improving economy is supposed to bring people back into the job market.
Sadly, until we get rid of Obamanomics, the jobs won’t be coming back. Business aren’t hiring because they never know when they’re going to be hit with a costly new regulation or tax. Entrepreneurs aren’t willing to take the risk to start a new business in such a hostile business climate.
Donald Lambro at Human Events predicts that we’re in for “Four More Years of Pain“:
President Obama heads into the third month of his second term, still unable to find a cure for a sluggish economy, weak employment numbers and his own slipping job approval scores.
Second terms are usually challenging for presidents who have won re-election without having the slightest idea about what they will do over the next four years. And that’s what we are witnessing now with Obama, whose biggest problem is the anemic, job-challenged economy.
[...] The depressing headlines of the past few days tell a sad tale of what the economy is like under his presidency:
– “Weekly Jobless Claims Get Weaker as Outlook Dims” was the gloomy headline over a Reuters news wire story Thursday morning on the CNBC website.
“The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose to its highest level in four months last week, suggesting the labor market recovery lost some steam in March,” Reuters reported.
– “Hiring Is Weaker at Private Companies,” a Washington Post headline blared Thursday.
“Companies hired at the weakest pace in five months in March as recent strong demand for construction jobs evaporated and growth in the vast services sector slowed, signs that the economic recovery could be hitting a soft patch,” the newspaper reported.
That’s the conclusion of the ADP National Employment Report Wednesday, which showed “that private employers added 158,000 jobs last month.” The ADP job survey said “the gain was the smallest since October.”
A separate report Wednesday on the services industry, the economy’s largest job sector, showed that employment growth “pulled back in March.”
You do not hear any of these reports on the nightly TV news because the networks cherry-pick reports that feed the White House line of a continuing economic recovery.
[...] Thankfully, there are economic reporters who resist touting the White House line that everything is rosier under Obama’s policies.
“We’re approaching the four-year anniversary of the economic recovery, and it still doesn’t feel like much of one, what with the unemployment rate at 7.7 percent and wages stagnant over the past five years,” Neil Irwin, the Post’s veteran economic analyst, recently reported.
Obama is so blinded by ideology that the tragic results of his policies on display all around him aren’t enough to convince him that his policies need to change.
Even as the Obama White House prepares for a star-studded White House concert featuring Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, and Justin Timberlake, figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that roughly 50 million Americans—one in six—now live below the poverty line.
Additionally, one in five American children have fallen below the poverty line; the last time poverty levels were this high, Lyndon Baines Johnson was president.
“In the last three years, there’s been a great change in the kinds of people we are serving,” said Director of Community Services at Catholic Charities of Baltimore Mary Anne O’Donnell. “There are increasing numbers of people who owned a home, lost their jobs, end up living in their car and are coming with children to our soup kitchen.”
The U.S. government defines a family of four earning under $23,021 as living in poverty. Income used to compute poverty status does not include non-cash benefits, such as food stamps and housing subsidies.
Welfare program enrollments have exploded under President Barack Obama. Americans on food stamps now outnumber the combined populations of 24 U.S. states, costing taxpayers more than double the amount spent on food stamps five years ago. In January 2009, 31.9 million Americans received food stamps. Today, that figure is 47.79 million.
Four years of stalling on a budget (which is required annually, per the constitution), and THIS is the best they can come up with?
An exhausted Senate gave pre-dawn approval Saturday to a Democratic $3.7 trillion budget for next year that embraces nearly $1 trillion in tax increases over the coming decade but shelters domestic programs targeted for cuts by House Republicans.
While their victory was by a razor-thin 50-49 vote, it allowed Democrats to tout their priorities. Yet it doesn’t resolve the deep differences the two parties have over deficits and the size of government.
Joining all Republicans voting no were four Democrats who face re-election next year in potentially difficult races: Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., did not vote.
So what made them finally decide to pass a budget? Arnold Ahlert has a theory:
The impetus for passing a budget for the first time in four years was likely the passage of the “No Budget, No Pay” bill which suspended the current debt limit until May 18th, so the federal government could continue to pay its bills. One of the bill’s provisions prohibits legislators from getting paid if Congress doesn’t pass a budget by April 15. Salaries will either be held in escrow until they do, or resume being paid in January 15, when the current congressional session ends.
Considering the vast differences between this legislation and the House budget passed last Thursday that brings the budget into balance by 2023, but changes the nature of entitlement programs in ways completely anathema to Democrats, it is virtually certain that no budget will be reconciled before the debt ceiling showdown. On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) revived a rule ignored in January, stating that any increase in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by commensurate spending cuts.
Yet even leaving that rule aside, passing a budget by May 18 is still overly optimistic. Thus, the House also passed a continuing resolution to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, which lasts through September. The Senate approved that resolution, and it is expected that the president will sign it once he gets back from his trip to Israel.
In other words, the more things seemingly change, the more they remain the same: barring a miraculous spasm of bipartisanship, government will likely be funded piecemeal–and our unsustainable fiscal trajectory will remain unaltered.
After waiting four years to release a budget (a violation of their constitutional duties), THIS Is the best they could come up with?
Senator Patty Murray, the Democratic chair of the Senate Budget Committee, finally released a budget today. Year over year, in this proposed budget, spending jumps dramatically.
For instance, from this year’s budget to next year’s proposed budget, spending would increase by $162 billion. This year, the federal government will spend $3.599 trillion; under Murray’s budget, the federal government would be on track to spend even more.
Over the next decade, spending under Murray’s budget would increase by 62 percent.
How do they propose paying for all of this out-of-control spending? By trying to squeeze blood from a stone, apparently.
The 10-year budget plan drafted by Senate Democrats includes a $1.5 trillion tax-hike, according to GOP staffers who combed through the long document as soon as it was released.
The “budget would raise taxes on Americans by $1.5 trillion to pay for increased spending … on top of the $1.7 trillion in tax increases already signed into law during the Obama administration,” said a statement from Sen. John Thune, the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.
“The policies of big spending and big government have led to a dismal average economic growth rate of just 0.8 percent over the past four years. It’s time to grow the economy, not the government,” he added.
President Barack Obama quickly endorsed the plan, which will help him continue an aggressive public-relations campaign against GOP budget maven, Rep. Paul Ryan, and his budget plan, in the long run-up to the 2014 mid-term election.
This is national suicide, and they know it.
What on earth is WRONG with these people?! Don’t they know what happens when a legislative body cedes power to the executive? Haven’t they ever read a history book? Haven’t they read the constitution?
With budget sequestration looming and no deal to avert it in sight, Senate Republicans, eager to avoid blame for any cuts, have devised a strategy that is as unconstitutional as it is ill-advised: Let the president decide what to cut.
According to Politico, Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), with “the tacit support of Senate GOP leaders,” have been circulating a draft bill that would suspend the $85 billion in spending cuts required by the sequester. Instead, it would give President Barack Obama until March 8 to come up with an alternative that achieves the same level of savings in the same proportions: Fifty percent from domestic discretionary spending and 50 percent from defense spending. Once Obama laid out his plan, Congress could either allow the plan to become law or pass a resolution of disapproval, by simple majority vote of both houses, by March 22.
Congressional disapproval would not, however, be the end of the story. The president could sign the resolution, thereby deep-sixing his own plan in favor of the sequestration. On the other hand, he could veto the resolution, and then the usual two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress would be required to override his veto, restoring the sequestration.
The plan, which Politico aptly describes as an “elaborate, almost Rube Goldberg construct,” is supported by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said, “The goal isn’t to hand over congressional authority. It’s to make sure these cuts actually happen.”
Of course, if McConnell really wants to ensure that the cuts take place, there is a much simpler way of going about it. All Republicans have to do is not offer a plan of their own and then filibuster any bills the Democrats advance. Voila! The sequester takes effect.
Clearly, then, there is more to this move than simply ensuring that budget cuts occur. If Congress does nothing, or if it puts forth its own plan to avoid sequestration, Congress will get the blame for whatever cuts take place. But if the president is given carte blanche to decide what will be cut, he will become the scapegoat.
“It’s a game,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told MSNBC’s Jansing & Co. “The president himself becomes the bad guy; he owns the sequestration. He’s the guy who’s blamed for cutting defense or Head Start.”
It’s an incredibly dangerous game to play. Obama will find a way to blame it on Republicans no matter what, and the media will help him. But once granted more powers, he will NEVER give it back.
Sacrificing what few powers the legislative branch has to hold this out-of-control president in check is NOT a solution!
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” ~ Colossians 2:8
The Government has washed our nation out to a sea of debt to other nations. They have created a culture of falsely believing that all life choices should equal the same financial outcome for everyone, and that everyone who believes they are due material wealth ought to have it. Children have become an “expensive burden” we seek to avoid, but debt for personal expenditures and entitlement programs are not offensive today. The common idea is that “Children are soooo Expensive!”
In our culture, we have chosen lifestyle of debt, life-long entitlement mentality and lavish living. Frugality of past generations is largely gone. Some of the poorest people appear to be able to afford Smart Phones. Priorities are definitely skewed.
There is certainly nothing wrong with nice things, beautiful homes, etc. In fact, having ambition to succeed is inherently American. However there is something decidedly different about the last two generations of Americans. The last two generations have decided to pursue these material and temporal possessions at the expense of their children, and their eternal Christian inheritance. The other problem is that very few families can actually afford to live this lifestyle, regardless of how many children they have. Most people, right out of the gate into adulthood, begin their lives in debt. They begin either in debt themselves for college, or living a lifestyle sustained by the help or debt of their own parents.
This has left a huge societal impact, because Christian families are simply not having children anymore, because of the misguided belief that their single most important contribution to their children is what they can give to them materially speaking. With fewer Christians raising their children in an intact Christian home, fewer responsible, hard working, and freedom-loving adults are being set out into society. We can clearly see the impact on our freedoms and our government and society since the nation began forfeiting children in favor of debt.
Since this has culturally become the norm, there are several societal prerequisites to qualifying to have children. Notice none of them are of eternal benefit for others, or for ourselves. This means that what society deems of value, God has spoken and said is largely worthless..even the vast educations..etc. Again, goals and accomplishment are not worthless or evil. Parents inherently want a good future for their children, and often will sacrifice to help obtain that. However, if parents put more stock into ensuring their children have all their whims met, rather than raising solidly grounded, disciplined and responsible children, we have products of their misguided efforts abounding. The pursuit of these idols of wealth above eternal perspectives, or if they are pitted against raising any children for the Kingdom, then they limit the ability of people to raise children fully for the Lord and to stand on principle in his or her nation.
What are they THINKING? NO politician, NO party is above the law! ANY public servant that violates the Constitution – the ultimate law of the land – needs to be tossed out on their rear ends, regardless of party!
In legislation filed yesterday, the House GOP Leadership made an important twist in their plan to pass a short-term increase in the debt ceiling. Rather than increase the debt ceiling by a few hundred billion dollars, buying them time for further talks on the budget, they have opted to “suspend” the debt ceiling. Its a blatant abdication of their constitutional authority. It’s an ominous sign of the talks to come.
Article 1 of the US Constitution gives Congress the exclusive authority to borrow money to fund the government. Up until World War I, Congress would approve every bond issuance. The borrowing demands of the war made this impractical, so Congress authorized a “debt ceiling,” where the government could freely borrow up to a statutory limit and then go back to Congress to approve additional borrowing. Think of it as giving your teenager a pre-paid debit card.
With this measure, the government had more flexibility to manage its affairs while preserving the Constitutional principle that Congress controlled the purse strings.
“Suspending” the debt ceiling until May upends this principle. Upon enactment, the government’s borrowing authority would be unlimited until May. Presumably, the government could borrow trillions in this window, providing either the markets or the Fed would meet the new supply of debt.
Worse, however, is that the GOP move establishes a very slippery precedent. The left has been agitating to simply eliminate the idea of a debt ceiling entirely. For all its flaws, the ceiling at least guarantees we will have some debate about government spending. The left finds this annoying. Unfortunately, the GOP plan to “suspend” the ceiling provides at least partial support to this argument. If we can “suspend” it for three months, why not a year? Once you’ve surrendered the constitutional principle behind the ceiling where and how can you draw a line?
Last week, FreedomWorks launched the website, www.DCDoYourJob.com, to combat the pressure for a clean debt ceiling raise and to give grassroots America a platform to take back its voice in the secretive, closed-door budgeting process. The message from taxpayers is clear: There should be no debt ceiling increases until Washington returns to regular order and passes a budget.
FreedomWorks is urging all members to demand that Congress resist raising the debt ceiling clean, and instead return to regular order, do their jobs, and pass a budget as required by law.
Every single Republican that votes for a debt ceiling increase needs to be primaried in 2014. EVERY LAST ONE.
So House Republicans will vote next week on a bill that would raise the nation’s debt ceiling for three months. The catch? It will feature a provision that would stop all pay for members of Congress if the Senate doesn’t pass a budget. When we consider that the median wealth for a senator in 2009 was almost $2.38 million; well, this clause isn’t the most effective threat available to snap Harry Reid (worth between $3-$10 million) into action. The chances of the Senate passing it? Zero.
Strategically speaking, this is obviously another attempt to shift the public’s ire from Republicans to Senate Democrats on the ongoing cliff battles. I’m not sure it’s exactly a bad idea, but more than likely it is an ineffective one. The problem with this stuff is that it’s small ball and transparently political. It sounds like a stunt. (UPDATE: Not to mention, probably unconstitutional.)
In a statement released from Republican retreat in Virginia, Eric Cantor said: “The first step to fixing this problem is to pass a budget that reduces spending. The House has done so, and will again. The Democratic Senate has not passed a budget in almost four years, which is unfair to hardworking taxpayers who expect more from their representatives. That ends this year.”
Well, the last time the Senate passed a budget was April of 2009. And the habit is probably not going end this year.
Cantor might be right in substance, but everyone understands: 1 – Republicans were going to vote to raise the debt ceiling. All kinds of Republicans have openly said they’d do it. Whether you agree with taking a stand on the debt ceiling or not, to extract concessions from a president who offers so little, you have to be prepared to take the dive. 2 – Republicans aren’t making compelling big-picture arguments so there’s no way to win the small ones. Even if you believe, like I do, that conservatives are right on these budgetary issues, they’re not very convincing.
I’d like to know how many of them run their personal finances this way: unlimited spending on credit cards and no budget.
Oh, wait – that’s only for when you’re spending OTHER PEOPLE’S money. Sorry, my bad.
A group of House Democrats accused Republicans of having “weaponized” the debt ceiling Wednesday, and are pushing to abolish it.
The lawmakers blasted GOP members as taking the economic wellbeing of the nation hostage to achieve political victory, and are hoping to scrap the debt limit once and for all as a danger looming over the economy.
Notice the violent, fear-mongering language they use: “weaponized,” “hostage.”
They insist that it’s the limit on their credit card – not the insurmountable $16 Trillion debt burden they’ve piled on our children and grandchildren’s backs – that threatens the economy.
If it weren’t for their accomplices in the propagandist media keeping the public ignorant of the REAL danger of this situation, their game would be up.
Over a month to do before the next Debt Ceiling face-off, and Republicans are already waving the white flag.
There is nothing “short term” about bending over and giving up the fight over and over again!
In a briefing with reporters today at House Republicans’ retreat in Williamsburg, Va., Rep. Paul Ryan said that the House GOP is discussing a possible “short-term debt limit extension,” but that the “worst thing for the economy” would be a lift in the debt ceiling without any spending cuts.
Ryan suggested the lift in the debt ceiling could be extremely short, so that it could be addressed with another fiscal battle — the sequester — in March.
Ryan also urged President Barack Obama to prioritize payments under the debt limit to ensure there is no default on the country’s obligations.
Bend over Republicans, here they come again.
Phil Klein is out with a column that I can only assume comes from House Republican Leadership talking points. I can only assume that because House Republican leaders and those close to them have been whispering about this scenario for about a month now to as many Republican strategists, pundits, and others as would listen.
They want to move on.
They want the next fight. So desperate are they to move on, in January of 2013, House Republicans want their base to know they think they’ll lose the House in November of 2014 unless they cave now so please let them cave.
[...] What is the next fight? “Entitlements,” you say! Hey, we had that fight before. It was called Paul Ryan’s budget. It went nowhere.
“Spending,” you say. Hey, we had that fight too and the GOP folded.
In fact, time and time again, the GOP has spent more time wanting to seem reasonable to the Washington press corps than actually do anything. They bluster, pound their chests, and then they cave. We can move on to the next fight if that makes you feel better, but you would be foolish to think the GOP will not cave again. They’ll say things like:
- “We only have one House so there is only so much we can do;” and,
- “We did get meaningful concessions, trust us;” and,
- “We have to appear reasonable;” and,
- “Spending will be cut over ten years while taxes go up tomorrow;” and,
- “If we fight too hard, we’ll wind up getting a worse deal;” and,
- “I know, let’s move on to the next fight. We’ll be on better ground on that fight.”
The only fight the GOP extracted meaningful concessions from the Democrats on was the 2011 debt ceiling fight. And how did they do that? They refused to do a clean debt limit without something. They got more Democrats voting for a package that put the sequester into law, and it is now set to hit. The President had to give in. Ironically, now some want to get rid of sequester, the one major spending cut the GOP got the last time.
Right now all the bluster in Washington is about the Democrats accusing the GOP of starving kids and killing old people. They know the GOP will cave. This maneuver X B.S. is exactly what they are hoping for. And then we can move to the next fight and watch the GOP cave again and again and again all in the name of looking like the reasonable party.
Perhaps it is time to stop looking reasonable and start, metaphorically, shooting the hostages. If House Republicans lose in November of 2014, it won’t be because they fought the good fight. It’ll be because they left John Boehner as Speaker who decided to rely routinely on a bunch of Democrats to help him sell out so he wouldn’t have to fight.
He’s a master bullsh****r. I’ll give him that.
The president now refuses to take responsibility for $5 trillion in deficits racked up in his first four years. That’s a stretch even for him. How dumb does he think we are?
We have to hand it to Barack Obama: He understands the power of repetition. People will believe all kinds of things if their president says it over and over.
Such is his strategy for the coming fight with Republicans over raising the debt ceiling.
Obama wants the public to believe huge deficits of recent years are all the work of Congress, and that Congress now must take responsibility for the mess it made.
On Saturday, for instance, the White House declared that “there are only two options to deal with the debt limit: Congress can pay its bills or it can fail to act and put the nation into default.”
Obama returned to the theme at his Monday press conference: “Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending, it simply allows the country to pay for spending that Congress has already committed to.”
In other words, I didn’t load $5 trillion in future taxes on our children and grandchildren. Congress did it.
It’s important to note that when Obama says “Congress,” he’s talking about Republicans — specifically the Republicans who have controlled the House of Representatives for the past two years. The GOP has not held the Senate during any part of Obama’s time in office.
And it did not hold the House in Obama’s key first two years, when spending exploded with his blessing. In other words, most of the responsibility in Congress for the Obama deficits sits with members of his own party.
[T]he “threat of default,” as Obama called it, is a red herring.
“Suggesting that the United States might default on its debt is factually wrong and shameful behavior on the President’s part,” Heritage’s J.D. Foster, the Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy, said yesterday.
The U.S. is not going to default on its interest payments, Foster said, and “this assurancerests not on congressional action to raise the debt ceiling, but on the simple fact that the Treasury has far more than enough funds to pay all interest as it comes due.”
Of course, the media is his biggest accomplice in this disinformation campaign:
Joel Pollack at Breitbart pointed out 5 questions that liberal reporters refused to pose to the Liar-in-Chief:
1. Mr. President, in four years, have you ever proposed a budget that reduced government spending and debt?
2. If you are concerned about our debt, why did you sign a fiscal cliff deal that adds $4 trillion to our deficits?
3. Is “Congress” as a whole is the problem, why has the Democratic Senate not passed a budget since 2009?
4. As a member of Congress, serving four years in the Senate, why did you vote for increased spending?
5. If raising the debt ceiling is an imperative for our nation’s economy, why did you vote against raising it?
GOP leadership, this is the part where you hold a press conference setting the record straight on the debt ceiling. Own the arguments by being on offense, not defense. Haven’t you learned that it’s a bad idea to let the President win public opinion on an issue by allowing him to repeat false information over and over unchallenged?
LONG PAST time for impeachment, in my opinion.
Obama has violated his oath of office and the constitution repeatedly with his unconstitutional “recess” appointments, his unilateral action to legalize illegal immigrants, by using the EPA and other federal agencies to implement his agenda without going through the proper legislative channels, by sending forces into Libya without congressional authorization, by gun-running to Mexican drug cartels and Al Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria and Libya, and on and on.
So why should Obama be afraid to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling, when congress has proven to be absolutely toothless thus far?
On his Monday radio show, conservative talker Mark Levin said that if President Barack Obama sidesteps Congress on the debt ceiling fight and attacks the Congress’ constitutionally enumerated “core power” – that is control over spending and taxing — through executive action, Congress will have “no choice” but impeachment.
Levin explained that if unilateral action by the White House — which White House spokesman Jay Carney ruled out — were to happen, it would infringe on Congress’ “core power” and should be punished with impeachment.
“Now, if Obama unilaterally acts — and I think there’s a fan-dance going on here where his spokes-idiot [Jay] Carney is out there saying, ‘No, we’ve decided we’re not going to do this’ — if Obama, though, plays the role of Hamlet and in the end says ‘I have no choice: The Republicans are going to destroy our economy, our debt rating, all this that and the other, therefore I must unilaterally act,’ he should be impeached,” Levin declared. “Because that means Congress’ core power — in addition to declaring war — Congress’ core power, that is control over spending and taxing, will have been seized by the president of the United States in one executive order.”
“No Congress would tolerate this from any president,” Levin continued. “I don’t care if the president was Abraham Lincoln. This Congress would not have tolerated it from Richard Nixon. No Congress can tolerate such a complete and brazen frontal assault on its enumerated power. No Congress. No twisting of the language in the 14th Amendment or any way else, because we will cease to be a federal government of three coequal branches. We will cease to be that.”
It really chaps his hide that our system of checks and balances requires him to work with other branches (and gives them the power to stop him if he goes too far). What he wants is absolute power to do as he likes with no accountability. And sadly, our spineless congress is likely to give it to him.
President Obama on Monday warned congressional Republicans again that he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling, saying Washington must increase the limit to pay its bills and that such brinksmanship would be “absurd” and “irresponsible.”
“The issue here is whether Washington will pay its bills,” Obama said in the final press conference of his first term. “We are not a deadbeat nation.”
[...] The president used the press conference to attempt to frame the debt limit issue to the American public as one about the perils of not paying past debts – not about future spending.
“Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending,” he said. “These are bills that have already been racked up.”
Republicans leaders responded by saying the debit limit debate is connected to spending, suggesting another round of intense negotiations when Congress returns later this month.
“The American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time,” said House Speaker John Boehner. “The House will do its job and pass responsible legislation that controls spending, meets our nation’s obligations and keeps the government running, and we will insist that the Democratic majority in Washington do the same.”
As the Heritage Foundation points out, the idea that not raising the debt ceiling means that America will not be able to pay its bills is a straw man:
Default. The only way the federal government would default on its debt in the event the debt ceiling remains unchanged is for the Treasury to choose to default—an utterly implausible eventuality. Suggestions to the contrary in the press and elsewhere are simply inaccurate and shameful.
The amount of debt the federal government is allowed to issue is set by statute. Federal spending is similarly established by law. Treasury is at once prohibited by law from issuing additional debt above the limit and obligated by law to spend certain amounts for designated purposes. The Treasury has certain tools it can use to muddle through once the debt ceiling is reached, but these terms are limited and are expected to be exhausted toward the end of February.
If the federal government exhausted its financial management tools, then government spending would be limited to incoming receipts. At that point, the law setting a debt limit and the laws in place directing government spending would conflict—something would have to give.
The legal prohibition on selling additional debt because government borrowing has reached the statutory limit does not translate into an inability to spend (because tax money is still coming in). Thus, the consequences of reaching the debt limit are quite different from the consequences of a “government shutdown” as a result of the inability of Congress and the President to agree on spending.
Government Shutdown. This means certain governmental functions are suspended because the Treasury lacks the authority to spend, not because it lacks the means to spend. Further, a government shutdown applies primarily to those activities funded by what is called “discretionary” spending, essentially the day-to-day operations of the government, as opposed to entitlement spending such as Social Security and Medicare.
Very simply, reaching the debt limit means spending is limited by revenue arriving at the Treasury and is guided by prioritization among the government’s obligations. How the government would decide to meet these obligations under the circumstances is a matter of some conjecture. Certainly, vast inflows of federal tax receipts—inflows that far exceed amounts needed to pay monthly interest costs on debt—would continue. Thus, the government would never be forced to default on its debt because of a lack of income.
Democrats must be pretty confident that their party is going to be permanently in power from now on, if they’re willing to cede this much of their own power to the Executive branch. That’s a VERY scary thought.
Top Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate have reportedly told the executive branch they won’t object if the president simply declares he has the power to impose even greater financial debts on Americans.
The announcement, leaked Jan. 10 by a Democratic aide to The Washington Post, would effectively give the White House the unprecedented power to borrow and spend as much money as it wishes — unless the Supreme Court intervenes.
If allowed to stand by the court, the decision by Senate Democrats would effectively gut the authority of Congress’ two bodies — the Senate and House of Representatives — to jointly govern borrowing by the executive branch.
[...] Congress’ sole authority over the nation’s debt is enshrined in Section 8 of Article 1 the Constitution, which says “Congress shall have the power to … borrow money on the credit of the United States.”
The Constitution does not give the executive branch any legal authority to borrow money from outsides sources.
Reid and Pelosi each favor having Obama raise the debt ceiling unilaterally under the 14th Amendment, a move that’s more legally dubious than the trillion-dollar coin, so pay no mind to his caveat in the excerpt about “lawful steps.” He doesn’t care about the law. Obama could issue a decree stating that he’s canceling the debt ceiling on grounds that “Article II is awesome” and Reid would defend it as within the executive’s purview. The idea of “checks and balances” is that each branch will restrain the others by competing vigorously with them for power; what you’re seeing here is the opposite, an attempt by the leadership of the Senate to enlarge the power of the presidency at its own expense. Rather than protect Congress’s prerogatives and trust voters to punish House Republicans if they overreach, they’re encouraging a sort of very limited coup.
It’s more than a “limited coup.” They’re effectively eliminating the checks and balances provided in the constitution to prevent any of the three co-equal branches from accumulating too much power.
With Republican leadership as spineless as it us, Obama unfortunately has nothing to fear from pulling an audacious, unconstitutional stunt like this, and he knows it.
House Democrats want President Obama to take a new approach to Republican resistance over raising the debt ceiling — by simply ignoring it.
More than 20 Democratic members of Congress have signed onto a letter urging the president use an obscure constitutional provision to attempt to circumvent any resistance in Congress to raising the debt ceiling. They claim the 14th Amendment, which contains a section stating that “the validity of the public debt of the United States…shall not be questioned,” would allow Obama to raise the debt limit by himself.
[...] There is no legal precedent for applying the 14th Amendment to circumvent a congressional vote and such an action would be certain to result in legal challenges.
The Heritage Foundation explains why 14th Amendment doesn’t permit the dictatorial actions that Democrats are demanding:
This clause simply means that Congress and the President cannot question the validity of debt that is already incurred, but it in no way requires the nation to incur more debt. Even if it precludes temporary default—which is far from clear—it could not authorize the President to incur additional debt.
[...] At most, this clause might require the federal government to prioritize debt payments on existing debt, but no one doubts there is enough tax revenue to cover service on existing debt—without incurring more debt. Besides, the President’s unilateral action to add new debt in violation of a debt limit would not be “authorized by law” and so would be the opposite of what the clause requires.
In addition, unilateral action by the President to take on additional debt would be a clear violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers. After all, the Constitution vests in Congress—and withholds from the Executive—the power to commit to spending, to raise revenue by enacting taxes, and to incur public debt. The Fourteenth Amendment did not alter this. Congressional control of borrowing, through the debt limit, and section four of the amendment are in unison, not tension.