“As soon as Republicans took control of the House last November, it was obvious that they would try to take the economy hostage by refusing to raise the federal debt limit. After all, that’s what they did in 2011 — and hard as it may be to believe, the Tea Party Republicans were sober and sane compared to the MAGA crew. So it was also obvious that the Biden administration needed a strategy to head off the looming crisis.
More and more, however, it looks as if there never was a strategy beyond wishful thinking. I hope that I’m wrong about this — that President Biden will, at the last minute, unveil an effective counter to G.O.P. blackmail. He may even be forced to do so, as I’ll explain in a bit. But right now I have a sick feeling about all of this. What were they thinking? How can they have been caught so off-guard by something that everyone who’s paying attention saw coming?
For those somehow new to this, the United States has a weird and dysfunctional system in which Congress enacts legislation that determines federal spending and revenue, but then, if this legislation leads to a budget deficit, must vote a second time to authorize borrowing to cover the deficit. If even one house of Congress refuses to raise the debt limit, the U.S. government will go into default, with possibly catastrophic financial and economic effects.
This weird aspect of budgeting allows a party that is sufficiently ruthless, sufficiently indifferent to the havoc it might wreak, to attempt to impose through extortion policies it would never be able to enact through the normal legislative process.”
David Linday: I fear Krugman has panicked prematurely. I am very sympathetic to his reaction, but I like the commenters who remind us of little faith, that Biden isn’t as soft as likes to sound. Here is an excellent comment I approve:
Well, Paul is upset. But here is my idea of Biden’s plan. Speculation of course. Biden wants Americans in general to understand the GOP is ready to ruin the Country for no reason. No reason. So Biden is letting the clock run and letting McCarthy look more and more like a flailing victim of the GOP nut cases. When the situation is clear to most of us, Biden will state that there really is no alternative to the 14th Amendment solution. He must simply pay the bills and ignore McCarthy, because McCarthy cannot do a thing to compromise. Biden will have to make a speech clearly describing why this action is needed. He might also address the possibility of the Supreme Court being drawn into the fray. But probably that issue should be left to later. If the Supreme Court is enticed to rule that the 14th Amendment action is “unconstitutional” or some other objection is raised, Biden has one option, perhaps not the only one, but one option is open: ignore the Court. The Court and the GOP might fume, but the Court has no power to compel compliance, and Congress is incapacitated, and can do nothing either. So Biden will be free to pay the bills, and the naysayers can go take a walk.