Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Debt-Ceiling Drama Continues to Unfold

by Richard Crews
I hope you have been following the fascinating debt-ceiling "crisis" with interest and amusement. It is a wonderful study in the political maneuverings of our paralyzed, impacted federal government.

Notice that President Obama can claim to put everything, even entitlements, on the negotiating table--although to do so is astonishing, even infuriating, to much of his political base--because he is never going to have to negotiate a final deal anyway--and, as he has said, "nothing is final until everything is final."

Notice that, for the same reason, he can heroically go for the biggest deal--he can push for a four-trillion-dollar reworking of the entire tax-loopholes, subsidies, and revenues-disbursements paradigms of the federal government. He can heroically push past any smaller (one-, two-, or three-trillion-dollar) deal.

Notice that he can strenuously assert his leadership--he can preach and admonish Congress to "do their duty," knowing that they cannot, will not, and it is ultimately to his advantage that they do not do so. He gets to appear as a vigorous, courageous leader without any danger of getting his foot stuck in his mouth.

Won't it be exciting when, at the last moment, he eloquently abolishes the federal debt limit? When he points out that the Constitution's 14th amendment requires that "the validity of the public debt of the United States . . . shall not be questioned," and that his presidential oath of office requires him, "to the best of [his] ability, [to] preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States"?

Won't the Congress' outrage be stirring when they "discover" that raising the debt ceiling by legislation has always been irrelevant--it is, in fact, unconstitutional?

As I have said, this is kabuki theater at its finest.