The Trojan Coin: Greg Sargent notices that top Republicans have been toning down the macho brinkmanship around the debt ceiling. Boehner says it’s only “one point of leverage” for reducing spending. McConnell fudges too, going only so far as to say “there are some examples of leverage coming along, the debt ceiling is one of them …”
That may be because Boehner and McConnell realize they got burned in the last ceiling fight, effectively branded as irresponsible for being willing to put the nation’s credit rating at risk. Better for them to try to cut spending at the two less apocalyptic artificial crisis points coming up: the looming self-inflicted budget “sequester” on March 1 and the “continuing resolution” to keep the government funded later that month.
The problem for Boehner and McConnell is that the debt ceiling “cliff” comes first. They’d probably love to find a way to move past it to the sequester and shutdown talks.
Come now the Democrats with just such a solution: minting a huge-denomination dollar platinum coin, a fabulous gimmick now endorsed by Paul Krugman. Depending on value of the coin, it could postpone the ceiling deadline for months or years. Republicans could then ask for their spending cuts against the less irresponsible backdrop of … other spending cuts, or a standard, non-cataclysmic government shutdown, without being branded “terrorists.”
If that failed there would always be a ceiling fight down the road. But there are reasons to think it might succeed–Obama has called for a “balanced” approach, meaning spending cuts and tax increases–and he’s gotten his tax rate increases. So … ? Time to come across with the cuts, no? When Obama can’t charge “blackmail” his rhetorical advantage will almost vanish ….
Of course, if Republicans asked for a six month postponement of the ceiling, or tried to pass it, the Dems probably wouldn’t let them have it. But if they can trick the Dems into minting the coin ….
The much-derided “Chevy Runs Deep” slogan now sleeps with the fishes. … Remember, GM suckers, they’re ditching the slogan because that big drop in 2012 market share to 17.9% (from 19.6%) is nothing to worry about. …
Peter Beinart more or less declares victory in the Hagel confirmation fight, largely because AIPAC has chosen to sit it out. But AIPAC’s reasoning–they need to cooperate with Hagel if he’s confirmed, and they don’t want to be perceived as a “partisan Republican organization”–would apply even if Hagel’s chances were 50/50, or 20/80 against. Beinart’s post-triumph discussion (“It’s easy to exaggerate how big a defeat all this is for AIPAC … “) seems premature …
New Ricochet podcast with Jennifer Rubin. Accusations of accusations of “dual loyalty” are discussed–I claim they’re overblown. … Jennifer has an intriguing idea for dealing with the long term deficit by making any cuts boomer-specific. … I wonder if liberals have really decided that defending “universal” entitlements–i.e., a poor person gets the same check as Warren Buffett–is the hill they want to die on (as the D.C. lobbyists say). …