Every week on Monday morning, the Council and invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue in the news, the culture or pretty much whatever you could imagine! This week’s question: Is a reasonable solution possible on the upcoming debt ceiling controversy? What do you think such a solution would look like?
Bookworm Room: The only solution I can think of is to cut spending drastically. As that’s not going to happen, I don’t know what else anyone can or should do.
The Noisy Room: I have to agree with Bookworm on this one. There is no reasonable solution left.
The Razor: Afraid I agree with the ladies. A reasonable solution isn’t possible because Obama doesn’t accept we have a spending problem. It’s like expecting an alcoholic to stop drinking when he doesn’t think he has a drinking problem. Unless Obama hits bottom we have to wait until the next president I’m afraid…
Rhymes With Right: Is a reasonable solution possible? Well, I suppose that depends upon what one means by “a reasonable solution.”
If one means a principled solution that actually addresses the underlying issue of the national debt and the deficit that are destroying our economy, I would have to say that there is no possible chance. Obama has declared spending cuts to be off the table and that he will veto any that come his way. Obama’s minions in the Senate will stand by him and call the GOP uncompromising if they do attempt to pass such a principled solution. And the media will, of course, stand with Obama as they always do.
On the other hand, a “reasonable solution” in the form of moderate Republicans abandoning all principles and becoming Obama’s political catamites is always a possibility. We’ve seen such subservience in the past, as supposedly conservative Congressman submit to whatever degradation is demanded of them by the Democrats and the press corps. At that point the debt limit will be increased — or perhaps eliminated, and all pretense of the Congress having the primary role in exercising the appropriation and spending power will be gone. The media will consider that solution “reasonable” — and will credit Obama with a political victory while damning the GOP as spinelessly submissive and irredeemably irrelevant. I therefore have no use for such “reasonable solutions.”
JoshuaPundit: I think inserting ‘reasonable’ into the question was a nasty trick (heh)! Of course President Obama’s notion of what is ‘reasonable’ is going to differ from anyone who’s mastered elementary math. Even a crack dealer in South L.A. or Bed Sty has enough of his or her brains together to understand that you can’t stay in business if more continually goes out than comes in.
This president has arrogantly said that spending cuts are off the table. But Congress has a remedy to force an agreement, or at least a legitimate budget, something we haven’t had in years.
According to our Constitution, Article I, Section 8 says clearly that Congress and only Congress holds the purse strings. President Obama has no authority to borrow a dime. Telling the president and the American people publicly that the House will simply not authorize any new spending whatsoever until President Obama agrees to spending cuts in a reasonable fashion and OKs a realistic budget is the means our founders devised to force the president (or more likely, someone like VP Joe Biden) to come to the table and make a reasonable agreement, which should include cuts in defense as well as in entitlements and a number of President Obama’s more harebrained schemes, like the billions spent on ‘green energy’ companies run by well connected Obama campaign donors. Items like uncovering and ending MediCare fraud, reversing GM’s $450 billion tax break, examining the salaries and budgets of President Obama’s innumerable czars, social security reform and a decent line by line scrutiny of where outflow can be cut should also be included.
It has been argued that President Obama can bypass Congress by simply arguing that Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment gives him that authority. A careful reading of Section 4 makes that a dubious notion at best since it only refers to ‘debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion.’
President Obama’s attempt to skirt Congress would almost certainly be denied by the Supreme Court if the president tried it, under the Separation of Powers clause among other reasons as well as Article I, Section 8, which in clear wording gives Congress and only Congress the authority to borrow monies. Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the UC Irvine School of Law and a noted Constitutional scholar very much on the left end of the scale has some convincing legal and practical arguments on why a presidential attempt to expand executive power in this area would fail dismally.
The bottom line is that President Obama’s reckless financial propensities can be brought to a sharp halt by the adults in the room. But will the House stand firm and actually do it? That’s the question. If they are unable or unwilling to do so, not one of them, Republican or Democrat is worthy of the office he or she holds.
The Independent Sentinel: There is no point in racking my brain to come up with reasonable solutions. There should be equal spending cuts for every dollar increase but Obama has no interest in that.
President Obama has made it quite clear there will be no debt ceiling. Even with the debt ceiling, he piled up 6 trillion in debt and runs over a trillion dollars in deficits a year. Can’t wait until I see what he does without the debt ceiling.
Hey, this is what the people voted for, including those who voted two or three times. It’s what the people want apparently.
The Glittering Eye: Unfortunately, no deal is possible, at least no deal that actually solves the problems that we have. Both parties have agreed not to increase the taxes on 99% of the people in the country. That was the last deal.
You can’t get enough revenue just by taxing the top 1% of income earners. That leaves cutting expenditures. Republicans are resisting cutting spending on the military and Democrats are resisting cutting healthcare spending.
Those, Social Security, and interest on the debt are the major expenditures. If we don’t pay the interest on the debt, it will ruin the country and Social Security remains the third rail of American politics.
Bottom line: you can’t get enough revenue and there’s no agreement possible on cutting. No deal.
Well, there you have it.
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and believe me, you won’t want to miss it.