Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jack Balkin — How Obama Can Prevent Another Debt-Ceiling Crisis

Some Democrats want the president to raise it by himself. But the 14th amendment offers him a much better strategy....

The moral of the story is simple: The best way for Obama to head off Republican threats of another debt ceiling crisis is to make his position clear at the outset. First, he should explain that he won't bargain with hostage takers. Second, he should make clear that he won't let Congress off the hook by raising the debt ceiling himself. Obama has now made both of these statements publicly. Third, he should state clearly that if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling he will continue to pay all of the nation's debts as required by the Constitution. Fourth, he should make clear that he will continue to do so even if this means curtailing or shutting down government functions until Congress comes to its senses.

If Obama does all these things, he will be in the strongest possible bargaining position. And he will also be following the Constitution.
The Atlantic
How Obama Can Prevent Another Debt-Ceiling Crisis
Jack M. Balkin | Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School
(h/t Kevin Fathi via email)


Dan Kervick said...

So in other words, if Congress holds firm on the debt ceiling, Obama should respond by shutting down the necessary amount of government spending - which is exactly what Congress wants. This is the Democratic Party version of a President being "strong".

This is just the same strategy they followed last time. There was never going to be a default. Geithner was going to make all the debt payments but develop a prioritized list of the other spending, and then slash from the bottom as necessary.

Clonal said...

I find it interesting that Balkin does not mention the TDC. Given what Beo has turned up on the accounting of the $1 coins, I think that this is deliberate, laying the groundwork for strengthening the legal position of the TDC

Letsgetitdone said...

Balkin still holds the view that PCS is illegal; but he says it's irrelevant because it is likely to put the Rs on the offensive and stimulate law suits. I cover that with links to his post here: