DAYS OF THE COIN: Major Dem leaders instruct Obama!


But what are they talking about: What should Obama do about the impending expiration of the debt limit?

More specifically, what should he do if Republicans refuse to extend the debt limit? Yesterday, Congressional Democratic leaders issued a statement about that.

In this morning’s New York Times, Jonathan Weisman reported what they said. We highlight one key point:
WEISMAN (1/12/13): The Democratic leadership in the Senate asked President Obama on Friday to take “any lawful steps” available to avoid a default on the nation’s debt if Republicans continue to press their demand that an increase in the government’s borrowing limit be accompanied by spending cuts of the same magnitude.

“In the event that Republicans make good on their threat by failing to act, or by moving unilaterally to pass a debt-limit extension only as part of unbalanced or unreasonable legislation, we believe you must be willing to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global economic crisis—without Congressional approval, if necessary,” wrote Senators Harry Reid of Nevada, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Charles E. Schumer of New York and Patty Murray of Washington.
We note that these leaders picture “default on the nation’s debt” if the debt limit doesn’t get raised. Beyond that, they picture “a global economic crisis” resulting from such a refusal.

Our question: Have we liberals even tried to explain these points to the public? In what way would “a global crisis” be triggered by the failure to raise the debt limit?

Do liberals know how to talk to the people? It doesn’t seem to be part of our culture. Nor have we ever created forums to which people pay attention.

Do liberals know how to talk to the people? It doesn’t seem to enter our minds that we can or should.


  1. IMHO an honest coversation about the debt limit would also address the national debt itself and the annual federal deficit. The Republicans can be criticized for holding up the debt limit increase, but the high deficit and high debt reflect badly on the President. E.g., an honest conversation would acknowledge that the recent tax increase is supposed to produce only around $60 billion/year or increased revenue. That may be too small to even get the deficit below a trillion dollars.

    1. Yeah. Why didn't Obama get more revenue. Dummy! (David, not Obama, duh!)

    2. Obama got most of what he wanted. He increased taxes on the upper 2% and he didn't cut spending. His main compromise was that the tax rate increase started at $450,000 for a married couple, rather than the $250,000, which he had proposed. But, the difference between these two starting points wasn't that much. (BTW he actually did increase taxes for people below this level. The tax law phases out deductions starting at $300,000 for married filing jointly and down to $150,000 for single filers.)

      Let's face it. Neither party offered a plan that would really lead to an end of the deficit. But IMHO the continuing deficit reflects more on Obama simply because the President generally gets the blame or credit for whatever happens on his watch.

    3. I was answering your foolish implication about revenue. It has to be voted by the Congress, not the President.

      Continuing to address the ravings of a troll:

      We shouldn't "end the deficit" -- definitely not now, you idiot. Everyone sane actually agrees on that -- or else they wouldn't have (quite correctly) worried so about the "cliff."

      Are you not at all embarrassed by your frequent lapses, David? Wasn't it only the other day you were assuring us that a platinum coin's denomination had to, just had to, be linked to its platinum content, because you'd read it on a blog?

    4. Evidently the Treasury Dept. and the Federal Reserve agree with that blog and disagree with Paul Krugman. Ezra Klein writes:

      The Treasury Department will not mint a trillion-dollar platinum coin to get around the debt ceiling. If they did, the Federal Reserve would not accept it.

      That’s the bottom line of the statement that Anthony Coley, a spokesman for the Treasury Department, gave me today. “Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit,” he said.

      Sadly, it's all to common that the New York Time is less insightful than some blogger.

    5. Always lying aren't you David. That article doesn't address your error, which was to insist that denomination and metal content were linked. You were wrong. Do you have the cojones to admit it, or will you continue dissembling?

    6. Also keep in mind that the deficit is only a problem/crisis when a Democrat lives in the Oval Office. when DinC's goombahs Reagan, Bush, and Shrub were reacking up huge deficits, it was all good.

  2. Jay Carney, a month ago, with a reasonably clear and effective message :
    " ... Let's remember what a vote to raise the debt ceiling is. It is a vote to pay the bills that Congress has incurred. The President doesn’t control the purse strings -- the President of either party. Congress passes bills that appropriate money. Congress says, we're building this bridge or funding that defense project, and they cost this much. And because it is the United States, those bills have always been paid.

    So when Congress raises the debt ceiling, this is not about spending in the future; it's about paying bills that Congress has incurred. So it would be the height of irresponsibility for Congress not to do its job and not to pay the bills that it racked up."

    I think I heard Obama saying the same thing recently. Very straightforward and no-nonsense while supporting a no-negotiation position.

    But if the House does not raise the debt ceiling, there will be a wide variety of artful, loophole-exploiting and legally untried strategies that the Executive will use to operate the government. I don't know how TDH thinks liberals should talk to people about doesn't even seem to be a liberal/conservative issue. It is an issue of parliamentary tactics which fewer than 2% of voters will ever follow or understand (it's largely a waste of their time).

    1. I don't see how it could be explained any more simply, nor, in this age of information, disseminated more widely.

      But Bob will find somebody on MSNBC who doesn't explain it to his satisfaction to us dummies (probably used too many big words), then conclude that nobody has explained it simply enough.