Economics, Taxes and Spending

Hostage-taker in chief

Image Credit: Nick Knupffer (Flickr) (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Image Credit: Nick Knupffer (Flickr) (CC BY-SA 2.0)

At his press conference yesterday, Barack Obama declared that he will not agree to  spending cuts in exchange for raising the federal debt limit, accusing Republicans of taking the economy hostage. Obama declared:

Republicans in Congress have two choices here: They can act responsibly, and pay America’s bills; or they can act irresponsibly, and put America through another economic crisis. But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The financial well-being of the American people is not leverage to be used.

Excuse me?

Give the president this much: he is absolutely shameless. Just two weeks ago, Obama used “the financial well-being of the American people” as “leverage” to force Republicans to break their no tax pledge. In the fiscal cliff stand-off, Obama made clear that was willing to “put America through another economic crisis” and allow a new recession if he did not get his way on taxes. He got his way. Afraid of being blamed for a massive tax increase on every American, Republicans caved — allowing Obama to “collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy.”

Now Obama stands before the country and declares that if Republicans do on the debt limit what he just did on the fiscal cliff, they would be acting “irresponsibly.”

Obama’s bluster is nothing more than a sign of weakness — and evidence that leverage has shifted to Republicans in the debt-limit stand-off. Obama might have been willing to go over the fiscal cliff, but he cannot default. He needs Republicans to raise the debt limit. So he is bluffing — insisting he will not negotiate. He will negotiate. He will make spending concessions. He has to compromise. He has no choice. The consequences are too great.

In the fiscal cliff stand-off, Obama used his leverage — the threat of an economic crisis — without hesitation. Now Republicans have the leverage. Let’s see if they use it, or capitulate once again.

6 thoughts on “Hostage-taker in chief

  1. The Republicans voted FOR the INCREASED SPENDING on 13 Sept 2012.

    http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2012/roll579.xml

    how can they vote FOR increased spending and then say they will not raise the debt limit?

    this is the kabuki theater that the GOP is playing these days.

    The only GOP members that have a legitimate right to vote against the debt limit increase are the ones who DID vote against the CR on 13 Sept 2012 – and there were 70 of them but 165 of them including folks like Cantor voted to continue the INCREASED spending.

    The GOP has turned into a two-year old brat…. and the American people need to spank them good.

    • Pretty faulty logic there. By that same logic, Democrats should have no legitimate reason to want to reduce the deficit seeing as how they voted in favor of spending as well.

      You’re also being a tad disingenuous because clearly policymakers vote more than just on principle; the bill you cite was to continue funding the government — voting no on it would likely have put republicans in a tactical bind. Using the debt ceiling as leverage, however, allows the GOP to combine principle with tactics.

      Further, the debt ceiling issue deals with a much more structural, and long-term problem than continued funding for government operations.

      • re: ” Democrats should have no legitimate reason to want to reduce the deficit seeing as how they voted in favor of spending as well.”

        they did – but they do not claim to be fiscal conservatives and they are not the ones who say we have a “spending” problem.

        “You’re also being a tad disingenuous because clearly policymakers vote more than just on principle; the bill you cite was to continue funding the government — voting no on it would likely have put republicans in a tactical bind.”

        really? what are they doing right now?

        ” Using the debt ceiling as leverage, however, allows the GOP to combine principle with tactics.”

        what are they going to do ? threaten to let the sequester go forward if Obama does not cave?

        you call that “tactics”?

        re: principle.

        the folks who voted FOR the CR when 70 of them voted against it – you say they have “principles”? I don’t think so. 70 of them do have principles.

        that 70 voted to not spend more before they ever got to the debt ceiling.

        you can disagree with them but they were right on principles and did not suffer a “tactical” loss. I admire those who have principles.

        “Further, the debt ceiling issue deals with a much more structural, and long-term problem than continued funding for government operations.”

        not when you were the one to vote for increased spending.. at that point you lack credibility and look hypocritical.

  2. The Republicans have put themselves in the position of having compromised on everything else and now suddenly want to negotiate on an obscurity while Obama holds all the chips. Are they just stupid or what?

  3. Normally, I hate the GOP as much as I do the Dems, but after reading this line from Obama this morning, I’m kinda rooting for the GOP.

    If I were them, I’d say “F- it. You need our votes to raise the limit, we will not allow it. We’ll hit the limit, and then you will have to decide what bills to pay and which to bounce. Everything will be on your head.”

    • ” If I were them, I’d say “F- it. You need our votes to raise the limit, we will not allow it. We’ll hit the limit, and then you will have to decide what bills to pay and which to bounce. Everything will be on your head.””

      so they say “F” it and Obama let the sequester take effect.

      how does that help the GOP when the entire country becomes a hornets nest?

      The GOP has become the party of clowns…. IMHO.

      if they truly cared about the spending – they would admit that they are the ones who approved it – not Obama.

      The POTUS does not sign a CR.

      The CR does not pass unless there is a majority vote.

      When you vote against the CR – you vote against spending and by direct action – remove the need to increase the debt ceiling.

      People who have principles vote to stop the spending especially when they are the ones who say we have a spending problem to start with.

      this is just plain ordinary hypocrisy.

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