Historians agree empires and presidencies die from imperial overreach. Now Barack Obama’s closest allies in the Democratic Party, the far-Left, and the media are encouraging him to take actions that will lead inexorably to his impeachment. The president’s hubris and lawlessness seem destined to collide with Washington’s tense polemical atmosphere in a showdown that will put his presidency on the chopping block.
The leaders of the House Democratic Caucus this week urged the president to usurp Congressional authority and order the government to continue borrowing money, (mis)using the 14th Amendment. Caucus Chairman John Larson of Connecticut called the provision “the fail-safe option” to assure Republicans do not hold the American people hostage.” Larson added House Democrats are “prepared to stand behind” Obama all the way.
Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina played the race card in justifying his call for an executive power grab:
I was joking to my staff the other day: “Tell me the bill number for the Emancipation Proclamation.” It was an executive order. We integrated the armed services by executive order. We integrated the public schools by executive order. Sometimes executives must order that things get done…If the president gets up to August 2 without a piece of legislation, he should not allow this country to go into default. He should sign an executive order invoking the 14th Amendment and send that to all the governmental agencies for us to continue to pay our bills.
This, Clyburn said, would “calm to the American people.”
He added, almost as an afterthought, “discussion about the legality of that can continue.”
Xavier Becerra, D-CA, went further. He said Obama had to raise the debt ceiling “just as the president took out Osama bin Laden in a way that some presidents wouldn’t have done it.” Thus, preserving big government spending from Republicans takes on the same moral urgency as saving America from al-Qaeda. Becerra sidestepped the legal issue altogether, saying, “The Republicans through their failure have given you license to do whatever it takes.”
The press conference was the most assertive lobbying for this dangerous course of action, which is enjoying increasingly broad support in both houses of Congress. Earlier this week Connecticut’s Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who defeated wrestling executive Linda McMahon in 2010, said the measure “might be something that arguably could be done in the face of genuine crisis, in the face of catastrophe.”
Other prominent party leaders have lent their rhetorical support, however dissembling. Bill Clinton lied that, if were he ever faced with an imminent government shutdown, he would act unilaterally “without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me.” (What was this, “Tweet to my 49-year-old self”?)
Ironically, as these Congressmen encouraged Obama to take unprecedented (and unconstitutional) power over the nation’s purse, Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz accused House Republicans of trying to impose a “dictatorship.”
The Democrats’ allies in the media have done their share to keep talk of this political crime alive. The Sunday New York Times ran an extended analysis, which had been taken off the table.
Predictably, the left-wing fringe has pushed Obama to sink the Great Satan’s economy by any means necessary. Robert Kuttner took to Politico Thursday to say, “Bring on the 14th Amendment.” Like Clyburn, he prodded “Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment and announce that Washington will make good on its debt while Republicans and Democrats continue to negotiate the budget” — and the legality of his actions. Kuttner is no mere blogger. The editor of The American Prospect, has longstanding ties to Barack Obama and the American socialist movement. He has written numerous pamphlets for the Democratic Socialists of America, which in turn describes him as a “socialist.” He is a “distinguished senior fellow” at the left-wing institute Demos, which was organized in 1999-2000 with the help of one Barack Hussein Obama. Kuttner is also one of the founding member of the George Soros-funded Campaign for America’s Future, whose “Take Back America” conference Obama has addressed.
Congress brings pressure from a lateral branch of government; Kuttner presses from the Astroturf Left “below”; and the media continue to provide popular cover among the segment of the population at large that still reads this fish wrap.
These pleas to assume royal powers over the treasury have reached the president’s itching ears. Obama, who seemed to back down after Rep. Tim Scott, R-SC, threatened impeachment, is testing the waters once again. The president appeared to rule out use of the 14th amendment last Friday, when he told a town hall meeting at the University of Maryland the concept was “not a winning argument.” Spokesman Jay Carney went further on Tuesday, rightly stating “only Congress has the legal authority to extend that borrowing authority. That’s our position.”
But Carney changed his tune on MSNBC two days later, saying if Congress does not agree to Obama’s “grand bargain,” then “we have no other alternative, we have to take action to ensure that we do not default, and we have to take action to reduce our deficit.”
Mr. Carney would do well to remember Newton’s third law of motion: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” That reaction will be Barack Obama’s impeachment.
Tea Party leader Michele Bachmann has said impeachment would follow “within seconds” of such a move. When asked about the possibility of the president borrowing federal funds on his own authority, Bachmann stated it “would be clearly unconstitutional, because if that were so Article I of the Constitution would be irrelevant.”
If he had the power to do that, he would effectively be a dictator. There would be no reason for Congress to even come into Washington, D.C. He would be making the spending decisions. He would be making the taxing decisions. Clearly, that’s unconstitutional. It’s never happened before. It will not happen now. If it happened, there would be a call for the president’s impeachment within seconds. And it’s not going to happen. (Emphasis added.)
Since the renewed push to grant President Obama fascistic debt ceiling powers, Rep. Steve King has said he would support impeachment, as well. In addition to Tim Scott, Texas Congressman Pete Olson confirmed to ThinkProgress.org that Scott “is not a lonely voice” among House Republicans.
The message from (some) Congressional leaders is clear: Cross this line, and we will defeat Joe Biden in the 2012 election.
Faced with such uncharacteristic backbone, the media have tried to run interference, coaxing, pleading, soothing, and assuring the president they, too, are “prepared to stand behind” him. Adam Liptak wrote in his aforementioned NYT piece:
Another possible reaction to unilateral action from Mr. Obama is impeachment. Professor [Laurence] Tribe [of Harvard] said that was “not politically a very plausible scenario.”
Professor [Sanford] Levinson [of the University of Texas] was less certain. Impeachment by the House of Representatives “seems to me quite likely.” But, he added, “it is also literally unimaginable that the Senate would convict.”
The Times added, “The meaning of the Constitution, these professors say, is in the end what the public believes it to be.”
CNN gave Yale Law School professor Jack Balkin a forum to weigh in on 3 Ways Obama Could Bypass Congress. (This author cannot remember the network posting a commentary during the Bush administration on, say, “How GWB Could Sidestep Congress to Cut Abortion Funding.” Curious that.) Balkin balked:
An angry Congress may respond by impeaching the president. However, if the president’s actions end the government shutdown, stabilize the markets and prevent an economic catastrophe, this reduces the chances that he will be impeached by the House. (After all, he saved the country.) Perhaps more important, the chances that he will be convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Senate, which has a Democratic majority, are virtually zero.
But wait – there’s more! Like the throngs of grateful Iraqis, the American people will greet Obama as a liberator and hero:
The public may regard an impeachment trial as a waste of time, since the ultimate result is clear. In addition, the president will point to the shutdown and the impeachment when he runs against his political opponents in the 2012 election, arguing that they did nothing to save the country from calamity while he has risked impeachment to protect the republic.
Translation: Just do it!
The confluence of Democratic politicians, socialists, and the mainstream media is hardly new, but they are using their diminishing political capital to push Obama onto a path that will lead to his impeachment. Democrats will fall in line; elite spinmeisters will demonize Republicans more than usual; and the extreme Left will step up its role as “bad-cop” in a concerted effort to position Obama as a centrist. But there is one salient fact that is lost on no one outside the Beltway: Obama is not a centrist. He is an ideologically polarized spendthrift whose superficial charm and scripted speaking ability vaulted him well beyond his competence. And as he soared higher, America sank lower, until it reached its present low ebb. The American people are sick of him. They are, to use his phrase, “bone tired” of nine percent unemployment, “necessarily” skyrocketing food and gasoline prices, trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see to bail out Obama’s political allies — and speeches dripping with blame-shifting, arrogance, and condescension that tell them how grateful they should be for his brilliant leadership. They want this movie to end, and impeachment is as good a way as any. Does he really want a parliamentary-style referendum on his politics at 31 months in?
Yet as Obama heads toward his own Little Big Horn, his closest allies are spurring on the horses and crying full speed ahead.
RUSH: I think we’ve been played for a bunch of saps, I mean not us exclusively, I just mean the whole country, the Republican Party, ruling class. I’ll explain as uncomfortable as it is and as grading as it is, I’ll explain as the program unfolds it’s great to have you here as always telephone number if you want to be on the program. 800-282-2882. The e-mail address ElRushbo@eibnet.com.
Where are we on the debt deal? I suspect that most of the people, and this is what a lot of people are relying on, “Just finish it!” A lot of people are sick and tired of hearing about it, let’s move on to something else. “I’m tired of talking about it. Can’t we do something that’s fun? What the hell is going on?” I understand the sentiment. Yesterday or last night the Republican leadership succeeded in getting Allen West to flip and vote for the Boehner plan or to commit to it. The same thing with Paul Ryan, and I’ve had a lot of e-mails: “What’s Allen West doing? I can’t believe Allen West, of all people.” These Democrats, folks, you have to understand who we’re dealing with here. This whole thing with Debbie “Blabbermouth” Schultz going on the House floor and accusing West of wanting to cut Medicare and Social Security and all that in the south Florida district, and you remember the contretemps that begin with West responding to it and so forth. They have put his re-election into play and, of course, they’ve got the media on their side down here in south Florida.
So all over the media is the allegation that Allen West wants to do all this damage to senior citizens and so forth so that’s how his vote gets — I’m guessing. I haven’t spoken to him. But I think that’s a large part of it. Now, as we all know the Boehner bill is not ideal. It’s another one of these eight hundred, nine hundred, I don’t even think it gets to a trillion, but let’s say it does, a trillion dollars in cuts over 10 years, the debt limit raised immediately so the spending occurs immediately, but it re-invites the debt limit debate all over again in a few short few months and in fact there is from the Daily Caller today a story that says the GOP is stealing Christmas. The Democrats are going back to the Gingrich that stole Christmas theme from the Clinton days. And here’s the story from the Daily Caller: “GOP Aims to Gut Christmas, White House Alleges — House Speaker and national grinch John Boehner is planning to spoil Christmas, White House officials are claiming, as they try to head off passage of Boehner’s two-stage debt ceiling bill.”
They don’t want to head off passage of the Boehner bill. They want the Boehner bill to pass in the house. There’s a trap essentially that’s being set, and I noticed that there’s an AP story, and way down at the AP story: “In fact, Boehner’s plan has enough in common with Reid’s — including the establishment of a special congressional panel to recommend additional spending cuts this fall — that Reid hinted a compromise could be easy to snap together,” between his nonexistent bill and the Boehner bill. What does that mean? What it means is that over in the Senate Reid really doesn’t have a bill. He’s got an idea, but he doesn’t have a bill. And what he’s put forth as an idea hasn’t gotten all that much support. But here comes, let’s say the House, and Boehner doesn’t have the votes in the House yet according to Politico. And this is key. That was as of 9:30 this morning and they’re going to be working the Republican caucus all day long before the vote tonight. But, as of now, Boehner doesn’t have the votes for his bill. But let’s assume he gets the votes. The Boehner bill then goes to the Senate where it’s dead on arrival. There are 58 senators that are going to vote against it, by design. However, they’ve got a bill over there now.
So Dingy Harry can take the Boehner bill and tweak it and rewrite it, make additions to it, take some things out of it, play with it however he wants, and get enough votes from Democrats since it becomes the Reid bill, and then it gets sent back to Boehner in the House looking nothing like his bill, but the rationale for passing the Boehner bill in the House is we’ve got to do this, the time is up, we’re not going to get blamed. So if Reid monkeys around with the bill that he gets from Boehner, and it passes in the Senate, with whatever changes that are not favorable to us, of course, they throw it back in Boehner’s lap, and then the pressure is going to be back on Boehner. Okay, do you sign the Reid bill? Do you pass it? Do you get your guys to vote for it and send it to Obama, basically a Democrat bill. That is what a lot of people — and I sign on to the theory, too — this is one of the traps that’s being set. The Boehner bill is essentially being used to be a foundation for a nonexistent as of yet Reid bill. And thereby the Boehner bill becomes the Reid bill, therefore Democrat bill all in the absence of an Obama plan. No Obama plan at all in this.
On the heels of the tragic massacre in Norway, the internet and media have been abuzz with warnings about the potential threat of “Christian extremists.” Typical is an article from domestic terrorism expert Daryl Johnson entitled, “Christian Extremism from Timothy McVeigh to Anders Breivik.” (Yes, you read that title correctly.) He begins by stating, “Those two jihadists—two right-wing reactionaries, two terrorists, two anti-government white supremacists, two Christians—have a lot in common. . . .” Two Christians?
Johnson alleges that, “[McVeigh’s] idealism of a golden-age white America was the Christian translation of al-Qaeda’s idealized caliphate.” He further claims that, “Islamists who may want us harm need only sit back and enjoy the view. They might as well have outsourced the job to their Christian brethren, with plenty of assists from mainstream conservatives.” And this is meant to be taken seriously. Indeed, it is meant to serve as a warning.
Of course, we have known for years that Christianity played no role at all in Timothy McVeigh’s demented, murderous mind (he was, in fact, a self-professed agnostic), while it is becoming increasingly clear that a living, Christian faith (as opposed to a European, cultural Christianity, completely unrelated to faith) was something of no real importance to Anders Breivik. And Christian thinking or ideology certainly did not fuel his savagery.
But falsely branding McVeigh and Breivik as “Christians” is not the real problem. The problem is when people of genuine Christian faith are labeled “Christianists,” the semantic equivalent of “Islamists,” the current way of describing Islamic terrorists who allegedly distort and pervert Islam. We are now the perverters of the Christian faith, not Christians but “Christianists.” Apparently, if you take your faith seriously enough to allow it to influence your worldview, and if you seek to live in accordance with that worldview, you are a Christianist.
In keeping with this, the JoeMyGod, gay activist website posted a link to my recent Townhall article about Anders Breivik with the heading, “Michael Brown: American Christianists Will Suffer Because Of The Norway Killer.” Similarly, my article drew the attention of RightWingWatch.com, a website which also warns of dangerous “Christianists” like me.
Read More at Townhall.com By Michael Brown, Townhall.com
Photo Credit: John H. Wright (Creative Commons)
CBS’ SCHIEFFER PARROTS AL SHARPTON ON SOCIAL SECURITY: CLAIMS AMERICANS MAY ‘NOT GET THEIR NEXT CHECK IF DEBT CEILING CRISIS NOT RESOLVED’
In what appears to be lock-step with the Democratic talking points on Social Security as it relates to the debt ceiling crisis, CBS news anchor Bob Scheiffer made the rather brazen, and, rather inaccurate statement that millions of Americans ”may not get their next [Social Security] check if the debt ceiling crisis is not resolved.”
Now where have we heard that before? Earlier today, The Blaze reported that Rev. Al Sharpton went ballistic when he was criticized by a caller on his radio program for misleading the public to believe they might not receive their Social Security payments if the government defaults on its debts.
Now, ever the alarmist, Scheiffer has reportedly made the same assertions on air three separate times between July 22 and July 26.
Contrary to the CBS host’s sky-is-falling rhetoric, however, NewsBusters alleges that there is enough federal revenues and authorized expenditures to pay for the entitlement:
Fear mongering notwithstanding, there is actually enough money to pay the checks to those who depend on Social Security. On July 8, The Weekly Standard cited a study from the Bipartisan Study Center which “projects there will be $172 billion in federal revenues in August and $307 billion in authorized expenditures. That means there’s enough money to pay for, say, interest on the debt ($29 billion), Social Security ($49.2 billion), Medicare and Medicaid ($50 billion), active duty troop pay ($2.9 billion), veterans affairs programs ($2.9 billion).”
But why let data like that get in the way of a good narrative?
Read More at the Blaze By Tiffany Gabbay, The Blaze
By Joe Guzzardi
When it comes to what Democrats call comprehensive immigration reform, Senator Chuck Schumer lives in his own little world.
Schumer, obsessed with passing an immigration bill that would grant amnesty to more than 10 million illegal aliens, has a new wrinkle he hopes will fool an American public that has for more than a decade rejected rewarding law breakers.
According to Schumer, immigration creates jobs. He recently stated “We [his Senate allies] decided we ought to start highlighting the fact that immigration creates jobs rather than takes them away.”
Schumer, the Senate’s third ranking member and the Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security held a hearing Tuesday titled “The Economic Imperative for Enacting Immigration Reform” with the typical witness list that included only those who support more immigration.
With the Obama administration’s all-consuming emphasis on the economy and the pathetic employment reports, Schumer would like to portray immigration, especially through H-1B visas for so called high skilled workers, as vital to job growth.
On at least two counts, Schumer is whistling past the graveyard. First, even though Schumer claims that the immigration talks “are not dead,” they could not be deader. The enforcement-minded House is solidly opposed to amnesty. And any bill that might come out of Schumer’s committee would also have the tough, if not impossible, task of getting Senate approval.
Second, immigration doesn’t create jobs; it takes them. Recent immigrants either need jobs or social services to survive. The U.S. unemployment rate is 9.2 percent. Cities and states are broke and cannot afford to dole out more welfare benefits.
My compassion is for unemployed Americans, those who would obviously be displaced by recently arrived immigrants.
While immigration does in some sense grow the economy — more people equal a bigger economy — a decade of high immigration has hurt American workers. Every year for the last decade, the federal government has issued more than one million permanent green cards. As a result of that largess, fewer native-born workers were employed in 2010 than in 2000. The net employment gains went to foreign-born.
For native employment to return to its 2000 level, 12 million jobs would have to be created. Considering that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ June analysis, the economy created only 18,000 new jobs. So, at this rate, getting to 12 million would take several lifetimes. Even the liberal, global policy think tank RAND confirms that there is no work shortage in Schumer’s area of keenest interest, the science, technical, mathematical and engineering fields.
Schumer and his cry wolf strategy is doomed. His job shortage claims and similar appeals based on the unproven theory that the nation needs more immigration were non-starters during the two booming George W. Bush administrations. With the nation in the grips of the greatest jobs crisis since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, why isn’t Schumer more concerned with the millions of unemployed Americans?
For Schumer to hold rigged hearings designed to deceive the public about immigration as a solution to unemployment when the country has so many more pressing problems represents dereliction of his sworn duties. Schumer’s responsibility is to work on behalf of all the American people and not just special interest groups.
Unfortunately, Schumer is simply conducting business as usual on Capitol Hill.
Joe Guzzardi, a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow has been writing syndicated editorials about immigration and other social issues since 1986. Contact him at email@example.com.
by Michael Oberndorf
The mind boggles. In March 2006, the liar-in-chief was a do-nothing Senator from Illinois who said this:
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” (Congressional Record, p. S2237 [March 2006])
His tune now is that without raising the debt limit to heights hitherto inconceivable, old people will die, children will die, Thumper and Bambi will die, the entire planet will die. And this incompetent, knee-jerk Marxist fool thinks no one will notice his complete, unabashed reversal.
The country is literally on the brink of complete economic collapse, a collapse that likely will bring on a global crash, throwing the world into apocalyptic chaos, and what is the reaction of our “leaders” in Washington? Smoke-and-mirrors, dithering-and-caving.
In November 2010, a crystal clear, unequivocal message was sent from the American people to the political class. It told them a) Taxed Enough Already; b) reduce the size of government; c) drastically reduce spending; and d) honor your oath of office: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
Obviously, the message is being ignored by all but about 100 of the 537 elected supposed servants of We, the People. Around 435 senators, congressmen, and the “President” and Vice President, have, with malice aforethought, betrayed us and chosen to continue headlong down a path that they are completely aware will lead to the destruction of America as a free, capitalist nation. This can only be viewed as willful sabotage.
Thus, with annihilation of our country impending and government in the hands of criminals, we are left with the question, “What can we, the citizens who will suffer the consequences of this dereliction, do about it?” It’s clear that we can’t wait until January 21, 2013, to constitutionally right these wrongs. By then, America will be a Third World dictatorship. So what do we do?
I suggest we turn to the Declaration of Independence, the statement of our country’s founding principles, for guidance:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Indeed, Thomas Jefferson, the author of these words, our third President and hero of many liberals, also said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
I am not advocating armed rebellion. However, I am strongly urging conservatives to take to the streets. We need, as we had in 2009 and 2010, mass demonstrations, not just in Washington, but in every city and town in the country. We need to engage in civil disobedience – throng welfare give-away centers, IRS and EPA offices, any and all of the wasteful, unconstitutional institutions that the neo-fascists and Marxists have saddled us with over the years. We need to demand the resignation and/or arrest of the 437 criminals, and their replacement by people elected in an emergency election, run not by our clearly corrupt and out-of-control government, but by We, the People.
This is no longer a matter of politics. This is a matter of national survival. We must act decisively and act now.
by Dr. Mark W. Hendricksen
Some have called August 2 “Financial D-Day.” That is the date, according to Treasury Secretary Geithner, by which either Congress raises the debt ceiling or some government disbursements will cease.
Multiple proposals have been floated for budgetary reforms to be made in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. A partial list includes: Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to add $4.4 trillion less to the national debt than current trends project; the GOP “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan, which aims for $6 trillion of future spending cuts; and the so-called “Gang of Six” Plan that proposes $3.7 trillion less debt than now projected.
Whatever compromise is eventually adopted, you should be aware that the national debt will continue to grow and that the vast majority of promised spending cuts will be scheduled for after the next election, when those promises can easily be forgotten. None of the proposed reforms would reduce debt; they would merely increase it less than now planned.
Also, notice how fishy the numbers seem to be. For example, the press release for the GOP “Cut, Cap, and Balance” stipulated $111 billion of spending cuts in Fiscal Year 2012 and to cut next year’s projected $1.1-trillion deficit in half. This is the best they can do?
Democrats resist spending cuts, but massive cuts are imperative. Last year, the U.S. Treasury incurred $3.3 trillion of new debt to finance the government’s on-budget and off-budget spending. This $3.3-trillion deficit cannot be closed with taxes. The total income of Americans above the $250,000 threshold that President Obama uses to designate “rich Americans” amounts to approximately $1.4 trillion. If the government taxed it all, we would still be around $2 trillion short. There literally is no other way to close the deficit than to slash federal spending drastically.
The Democrats have been particularly irresponsible in their handling of this issue. (For the record: I publicly criticized Republicans for their overspending during the Bush-Hastert years, and I opposed both the Bush stimulus plan and Bush’s Big Bailout.) As other commentators have observed, despite controlling both houses of Congress during President Obama’s first two years in office, the Democrats (in defiance of the law) failed to pass a budget that funded their ambitious spending plans. President Obama himself proposed a budget earlier this year that was so out-of-touch that the Democrat-controlled Senate rejected it 97–0. Since then, the president has not proposed a single specific spending cut. In fact, at his press conference on July 11, President Obama announced, “I’d rather be talking about…new [spending] programs” than deficit reduction.
On July 13, the president angrily told Republicans, “This [his willingness to scuttle any deal] may bring my presidency down, but I won’t yield.”
One would hope that, instead of couching this in terms of re-election prospects, the president of the United States would spare the American people a wrenching economic upheaval.
Obama knows that no president can spend funds that Congress has not raised by taxes or authorized the Treasury to borrow. As president, he should have in place contingency plans with clearly defined priorities (e.g., interest on the national debt so there is no default; Social Security, defense, whatever) for deciding what federal spending would be continued or discontinued if Congress said “Enough!” to runaway spending and refused to raise the debt ceiling. Whenever the debt-ceiling issue is temporarily patched over in the coming days or weeks, Congress should hold hearings to ferret out the truth. Did President Obama have a contingency plan in place? If he didn’t, he was derelict in duty; if he did, his plan could prove useful in identifying what federal spending is nonessential. And was cutting off Social Security payments really near the top of his list, as the president implied when he raised the prospect of those checks not going out on August 3, or was that a cynical attempt to scare senior citizens?
Another unseemly aspect of this ongoing drama is how the administration managed to postpone “Financial D-Day” to August 2, even though the debt ceiling was first reached in May. Secretary Geithner tapped the retirement funds of federal employees. Naturally, those funds (over $100 billion) will have to be repaid. As he did by tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the president’s administration has misused important reserves set aside for future needs for (in my view) political advantage.
Bottom line: Whatever deal is struck now will not solve our long-term fiscal problems. The ongoing political maneuvering has given us glimpses of how sick our political system is.