Debt Ceiling Solutions

There has been kind of a crowd sourcing of ideas for how to solve to the debt ceiling crisis, and the ideas include substantive policy ideas and purely political ideas. A few of the ideas I found particularly interesting, and I think the way forward for the Obama Administration is to use a combination of a few. Below are a few ideas that the President should use in some form or another beginning with his remarks tonight.

The New York Times editorial board argues that President Obama should threaten to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally, and not based on the 14th Amendment but on “president’s role as the ultimate guardian of the constitutional order.”

“A deadlocked Congress has become incapable of acting consistently; it commits to entitlements it will not reduce, appropriates funds it does not have, borrows money it cannot repay and then imposes a debt ceiling it will not raise. One of those things must give; in reality, that means that the conflicting laws will have to be reconciled by the only actor who combines the power to act with a willingness to shoulder responsibility — the president.”

Elizabeth Drew writes at Politico that the President should demand a clean bill raising the debt limit, and that he should “veto any bill encumbered by amendments, and emphasize that if the Congress does not comply he will take the issue to the American people.”

“It’s come time, perhaps long-since come time, for Obama to take charge, show some strength and commit an act of political jujitsu that will leave the Republicans gasping for air. In a short speech to the nation, Obama might remind his fellow citizens of the patience he has shown, of the fact that time is running out for the drafting and passage of a bill to increase the debt ceiling. He could make it clear that to lift the debt ceiling does not, as many people seem to think, sanction the spending of one more dime than the Congress has not already agreed to.”

David Callahan at the Policy Shop says the Democrats could agree to the large spending cuts that the Republicans are demanding, and then simply obstruct an extension of the Bush tax cuts.

“Democrats agree to $2.5 trillion in spending cuts now and reserve another $1 trillion in cuts for future hostage-taking episodes — for a grand total of $3.5 trillion in cuts. Ending the Bush tax cuts then brings in another $3.7 trillion in revenues over the next decade. That’s a big deficit reduction plan with a 1-1 ratio of revenue hikes to spending cuts, which is far more progressive than what the White House has been offering and more progressive than the Simpson-Bowles plan.”

Join me on Twitter to live-tweet during the President’s remarks tonight.

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