A Republican Ransom Note

The House leaders are threatening economic disaster with an absurd list of discredited demands.

Comments: 229

  1. Politics takes some strange turns and the fact that the clock is now running out on this current fiasco on Capitol Hill is the personal responsibility of Senator Reid. He has known for months that the day was fast approaching when Congress has to deal with the nations business and yet he did not properly prepare to conduct the nations business in a timely manner. He clearly showed this week that he is out of his depth in leading the Senate in the best interests of the country. It is past time for the Democrats to put a competent person in his place.

  2. "Strange" isn't the word I'd use to describe this latest attempt by the GOP to negotiate at gunpoint. I suspect it isn't a word you'd be using either if the roles were reversed and it was the Democrats doing it.

    Democrat or Republican, progressive or conservative, this is not the way to run a country. We need compromise and serious discussion, not a ransom note delivered at the 11th hour.

  3. What???!!!!

    The Senate can not consider a spending bill until the House sends it one. The Constitution defines the Senate's role as one of advising and consenting on spending matters. The Senate is not the originator of spending bills.

  4. Um, the Senate passed a budget resolution after Boehner challenged them to do so. At which point, Boehner decided his Republicans wouldn't negotiate with the Senate. BTW: if a hostage was executed during a bank robbery while the police were surrounding the bank would you be placing the onus on the cops or the robbers? Oh, that's right: you pretty much decided that it was Obama who was to blame for the death of four Americans in Libya, as opposed to the terrorists who actually fired the bullets...

  5. It is the long-standing and well-known policy of the United States government to not negotiate with hostage-takers; it sets a bad precedent.

    The Trillion$ coin(s) that we minted to use as necessary, have Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand on one side, with Mad magazine's Alfred E. Neuman and Dub-ya on the other.

    It's ridiculous for a group of people whose pay-checks cannot be stopped, to contemplate inaction which will shut down the government.

  6. No, what you do is mint Billion dollar platinum coins, and on the front, you have a picture of John Boehner. You call them 'Boehners'. As in "That new aircraft carrier is expected to cost the taxpayers 75 Boehners", just to properly give him credit for the fine job he's been doing.

    The mint then strikes as many coins are necessary, and that's that.

  7. I would be a whole different story is their paychecks stopped, as well as their health insurance. Oh, and while we're at it, draft the children of any senator that votes for war.

    It's time these men and women realize they're not the lords of the realm, but public servants.

  8. The Boehner list I do declare
    There is no better one to share,
    Surely we have misunderstood
    He wants these things which are so good.
    So let's agree to keep 'em all,
    To lose but one most would appall!

  9. Nice to see you back. I always look for your witty poems and have not found them in a while.

  10. Ransom note, indeed.

    That said, let it be noted that each of these House representatives is beholden to a Republican electorate more psychotic than can be imagined. They truly have no clue how advanced industrial economies prosper, and like it that way. Their ignorance is their bliss and our curse. If we eventually fall, they will be the agent of our destruction.

    This fish rots from the tail up.

  11. That reminds me....How to get through the next presidential gop primary campaign while keeping sane? It may be even more repugnant than the last. Imagine he chorus line of psychotic clowns as primary candidates the gop will trot out to top that last bunch? They have to keep moving Right. All to satisfy their fanatical GOP base. My blood runs cold at the thought. I may just give away my TV and ignore the headlines when walking past news stands.

    But wait, I'm giving way to fantasizing! That's a long time away. We must try to stay calm.

  12. We should be able to let them secede and create their own state of ignorance where no one believes in education or science.

  13. This "electorate" was made psychotic by clever plutocrats.

  14. President Obama will not negotiate with hostage takers. Senator Manchin appears to be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

    The President should invoke the 14th Amendment and move on.

  15. President Obama in all likelihood will invoke the 14th. As an incumbent there is little blowback

  16. The House would then vote to impeach. In that case, you can probably forget about Immigration Reform, major infrastructure spending, gun control legislation, and all the other issues that need to be addressed.

    I'm sure the Senate would not vote to convict, but if the Senate goes to the GOP in 2014...

  17. Manchin should be punished.

  18. Grover Norquist and other anti-tax conservatives who want to drown government in the bathtub must be proud of today’s GOP. There is one problem though for the anti-tax crowd. The GOP only wants to shrink government for ordinary citizens, not for the military-security-industrial complex, medical-insurance-industrial complex, big oil, big banks, big agra, and other beneficiaries of corporate welfare.

    The fiscal cliff, sequestration, and the GOP’s refusal to raise the debt ceiling – to pay for spending commitments that Congress has already made – are manufactured crises. This is what Naomi Klein wrote about in “The Shock Doctrine,” where the elites and political class exploit a crisis or manufacture one to exploit it.

  19. Exactly right from one manufactured crisis to the next. Neither party has presented an integrated plan that ends all these endless wars on all fronts, strictly regulates the financial industry and derivatives, changes ineffective policy, fixes the tax code debacle (throw out all 70,000+ pages), reforms and reduces government at every level starting at the top and balances the budget.

  20. I agree. The GOP goal all along has been to kill Social Security and Medicare. I even believe that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had a second purpose of running up our debt to such heights that we would have to get rid of the safety nets.

  21. " the military-security-industrial complex, medical-insurance-industrial complex, big oil, big banks, big agra, and other beneficiaries of corporate welfare" are the people that the GOP represents and works very hard to benefit, exclusively.

  22. Immediately, it's easy to realize Ted Cruz is national prototype that fits Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Allen West. The prototype loves to play dare, shames anyone who doesn't adopt its ideological and self-righteous line, and has no plan for progress. Its working models are extortioners and exhorters, They are empty of compassion and confuse fantasy and ideas. They are media masters. They lie easily, they feint outrage.

    They are not statesmen.

    It is their marginality that makes possible the outsized impact of their singular acts.

    Politics is only a public stage to explore the boundary between wonder and danger, the edge between curious and the disturbing--or chaos and dissolution.

    From the broader peer group we get Congress member Michael Burgess' observing pleasure capable fetuses, citing them in support of HR 1797.

    Or laws like Arizona's that treat fetuses as “rape evidence,” banning their abortion as “evidence tampering.” Or a Michigan law that would have permitted handguns in day care centers. Or the para-military legislative drill of the House's 42nd repeal of Obamacare.

    Cruz elevated his story reading to the level of the horrific cruelty of a death march to a concentration camp where 400 lives a day were lost to sickness, disease, hunger, and execution.

    The reality is Cruz, the others are the guards, "beating the stragglers" with a legislative stick.

  23. The cheiroballistra, onager, and trebuchet were seige weapons used by armies from the Roman era until the Middle Ages. Today's siege weapon is money, its power and damage more effective, as it hammers the electoral and legislative process inside and out.

    The consideration of minority rights doesn't permit a minority to become a mob of bullies, using threats of destruction to get their way.

    The GOP House under Speaker Boehner is using money to attack and micro-manage the executive and policy making process of government. They pick targets to smash by taking money away; they are demanding laws surrender to fiscal attacks. They demand a select agenda of programs and laws tied to special interests--without the broad deliberations, hearings, public debates, reviews, and citizen input that goes into sound policy decisions and legislation.

    For example, the XL--only 30 inches in diameter!--will move a slurry that at present has no refinery capacity available. The nation where it originates refused to build a port pipeline! Its production is likely to be shipped overseas. Is that sound US energy policy? Or profits for big oil? Yet it's a GOP's non-negotiable, undebated demand!

    Delaying Obamacare adds millions to government waste. This GOP idea doesn't pay for itself--as they demand of other legislation!

    If Congress shutters the government, it shuts down the security, diplomatic, legal, and humane domestic and global functions of the largest economy in the world.

  24. Brilliantly and sadly stated. Thank you.

  25. Cruz feels he is above the rest of us; he is one of the very elite. Also looking at the demands made by the House to "reform" Dodd/Frank, I see that his wife is a VP at Goldman Sachs, Is this another Ginni Thomas conflict of interest?

  26. Here's how Disaster Capitalism kabuki always works (unless the Tea Party crashes the party again.)

    The GOP submits its usual laundry list of impossibly outrageous demands. The Democrats, rather than countering with demands of their own, such as a Robin Hood transaction tax on Wall Street trades, a living wage bill, lifting the contribution cap on Social Security taxes -- whine and complain and waffle. And then, phony disaster looming, they begin to capitulate, bit by teensy bit. Because they're the adults in the room. Also because the plutocrats of Fix the Debt are back in town, clamoring for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

    Republicans want to slash $40 billion from SNAP? The Senate, bless their little adult hearts, already agreed to "snip" $4 billion, on top of the planned expiration of the increase in the program that was put into effect under the 2009 stimulus package and that nobody even dreamed of renewing. And the Dems are willing to cut even more. They haven't a clue or a care about the millions of people who might miss a few meals because of their grand bipartisan horse-trading.

    As Gore Vidal observed, this country boasts one political party with two right wings. And we're drifting ever closer to the bipartisan-manufactured, plutocrat-approved point of no return from de facto feudalism.

    It could be avoided if the president did his constitutional duty and invoked the 14th Amendment, simply ordering the government to pay the bills.

  27. It's pretty clear to me that if President Obama were to raise the debt ceiling on his own or to authorize a military strike on Syria on his own, we would be treated to kabuki impeachment proceedings. That, too, would distract us from paying attention to the issues that need attention.

  28. President Obama will invoke the 14th. There is no blowback as the incumbent

  29. I have suggestions for Dem demands:

    Repeal the very notion of a Debt Ceiling requiring a vote for expansion. The debt is created by Congress passing bills which require payment. The Repugs are essentially refusing to pay for the obligations that the Congress already incurred. That is fundamentally dishonest.

    Reinstate Glass-Steagal (sp) to protect us from irresponsible banking practices.

    Reinstate pay-as-you-go. A large part of the debt was created by two unfunded vanity wars and an unfunded Medicare Part D act, all under W. If an action is worth taking, it is worth funding. No more unfunded mandates!

    Repeal the Republican-based concept of the ACA and replace it with the Democratic-based concept of Medicare for All.

  30. Sell short on Monday, and be prepared for some good buys on Tuesday.

  31. Get ready for economic armageddon on Wednesday.

  32. Sadly, that is what the puppet masters have been doing in the last several years. And give some CEOs excuses to squeeze their workers

    To be clear, I have no qualm with shorting the market - preferably individual issues - when it deserves it. Pragmatic Darwinism on occasions is necessary but it is not to be equated with arms merchants inciting wars so they can sell their wares to both sides in the name of profits

  33. This whole charade may well be more about market manipulation than anything else. The plutocrats who own congress stand to rake in millions by shorting the market while they pull the strings on their little puppets to manufacture a crisis.

  34. As has been bipartisan U.S. policy for many years: The United States does not negotiate with terrorists.

    Corollary: Especially when they are duly elected Members of Congress.

    I hope that the Senate and the Administration continue to oppose these miscreants and that the American people do the same.

  35. Well, actually, Ronald Reagan, patron saint of the GOP *did* negotiate with terrorists. Maybe that's why the Tea Party loons who dominate the burned-out, hulking ruins of what was once the Grand Old Party think that their strategy of taking the Full Faith & Credit of the USA and the world economy hostage will actually work.

    Hostage taking is so much easier than actually winning elections (the ones you can't rig, that is...)

  36. Except the conservative hero Reagan who negotiated with Iran for the hostages after liberal Carter refused to do so and was called weak where Reagan is perceived to be strong.

  37. I think the two issues really are separate: the laughability of the extortion, together with its listing of demands, and the seriousness of a default. I think we do need to treat the extortion issue independently of the consequences of default. Not because it might be a clever move that might call the other side's bluff, but because that's where the heart of the matter seems to lie, to stand up to behavior that would undermine our society if we played along with it -- in which case, we would be complicit in the debacle ourselves, in my opinion.

  38. The Government Accountability Office estimated that simply by threatening to default in 2011, Republicans cost taxpayers $1.3 billion in higher interest payments because of that uncertainty"
    It's costing more than that - everyone with a 401k/403b is beginning to see the results of the Markets reacting to the uncertainty and the possibility of another severe downturn.

    In their way, the GOP folks may also hope that another financial crisis would win them back the White House as they could blame Obama for not "fixing" the economy in 8 years. They have no shame. Unfortunately, many voters have short attention spans. It might work. The fact that many would continue to suffer seems to be of no concern to the GOP, which long ago lost the 'compassionate' from its conservatism.

  39. This House gang of Republicans shows compassion only to fat cats who are saved from bankruptcy by government loans and then give themselves hundreds of millions in bonuses for their incompetence and greed in bringing our economy to its knees. What they've done to the House of Representatives compares to what was done by the Overlook hotel in Stephen King's "The Shining"-it's taxpayers being "shined on".

  40. Anne Marie post what you said every month on twitter and in your local newspapers in the counties near by you live DuPage Kane and in Cook Counties.

  41. What planet are you getting your market quotes from. The stock market remains near an all-time high. Bernanke's money pumping machine will insure that it stays that way.

  42. A dereliction of duty and failure to uphold oath of office, every Congressmen or Senator who would betray their oath, and be derelict in their duties as Congressmen or Senator needs to be impeached. It is time to hold these morons accountable for their stupid imbecilic behavior. Blackmail would count as all mentioned.

  43. The President took an oath to faithfully execute the laws of the United States. He's broken that oath a number of times. Don't call for impeachment of Congressmen who are merely representing their constituents, if you don't expect him to be the first one on the block.

  44. Please name the incidents where President Obama has been derelict in his oath of office. Names and dates I don't think you can !

  45. ITNJ obviously you are one of millions who have no idea what a democratic republic is. Elected representatives & senators under a democratic republic are not supposed to just vote constituent wishes, they are to vote for what is best for the entire population. Go learn what type of gov't we have

  46. What should be said over and over again is that the voters, very wisely as has become apparent, chose to have Democrats in charge of not only the Senate and the Presidency but also the House of Representatives,

    That the Republicans are running the House is only due to calculations to ignore the will of the voters and install Republican Congressmen by gerrymandering. They have no mandate for what they are doing. Who do they think they are? We have to call them on this, over and over. They were opposed by the majority of voters, they do not have a mandate, the American people rejected them, they are damaging our credit rating and our government without the authority of being chosen by the voters.

  47. Sorry Lynn, but the House is not elected by national popular vote, but by district. That's how the Constitution works, and for good reasons. Each member of the House was lawfully elected by the constituents in their districts and thereby has a mandate every bit as robust as Obama's.

  48. To DRS: Congressional districts in most states are established by state legislatures and are subject to the most anti-democracy instincts of the politicians. The mandates created have about as much legitimacy as the mandate of a legislator in Putin's Russia.

    It's time to take elections out of the hands of politicians to preserve the rights of voters. Look to CA where the citizens took the redistricting process away from the legslature and gave it to an independent commission. Both parties hate it, so it must be good. Then the people voted to allow open primaries and to allow the general election to be contested between the top two vote getters, sometimes two Dems, sometimes two from the GOP. This allows the voters to elect moderates instead of extremists. Both parties hate it, so it must be good.

    In fact, in Northern CA, a Democrat almost as annoying as the average Tea Party whacko was voted out of office after many terms, much seniority and lots of support by the State Democratic Party. He was defeated by a moderate Democrat.

  49. Right, Lyn, but there is no will by the American people to fire these imperial senators and representatives. The American people choose to be held hostage by the snake-oil salesmen they elect and who are supposed to be public servants. They're spoiled brats gorging themselves, like pigs, at the public trough, collecting welfare at the expense of their bosses, the clueless American people.

  50. Republicans are desperate because it is increasingly clear that the facts have turned against them.

    They have railed against the deficit (for which they have major responsibility) and erroneously blamed President Obama. But the deficit is falling at a faster rate than at any time since the end of WWII and will soon drop below its 40-year average.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/files/2013/09/deficits-2018...

    They have warned that health care costs will skyrocket under the Affordable Care Act, but health care costs are increasing at the slowest rate since records have been kept.

    They have argued that health insurance premiums under the ACA will be out of reach, but premiums are running 16% below projections and offered policies are providing consumers protection and choices never before available.

    Republicans set a stake in the ground before the Obama presidency even began--that he was a disaster and that they would oppose everything he tries to do. Their escalating obstructionist tactics and propaganda campaign have unnecessarily restrained economic growth and harmed millions of Americans, while offering no coherent program beyond being anti-Obama.

    They are a party without effective leadership or principles. We are about to find out how much damage they are willing to do in service of their deranged obsession.

  51. Republicans have no responsibility for the current deficit. In fact, the Republican House is the primary reason for the recent decline in the deficit.

  52. Without using euphemisms, the Republicans are simply liars.

    Why would any American voter want a Republican to represent him in
    the House or Senate?

  53. And their supporters seem to be lacking in critical thought skills.

  54. Typical republicans, penny wise and pound foolish. Making the government and the taxpayer pay more in the long run to satisfy only their base in the short run (or at least until the election next year). I, for one, am tired of paying the price for Republican political shenanigans. Other thinking taxpayers should be outraged as well.

  55. Some of us are tired of paying for decades of borrowing which this President has only accelerated well beyond what he himself called excessive.

  56. You don't negotiate with terrorists until they lay down their arms

  57. well said!

  58. Keep both sides off the air, out of the papers, and let's see what happens

  59. That's tempting but I think it's important to know what they're up to.

  60. Whatever happens in the next thirty days, if these domestic terrorists are indeed re-elected next November (as I sadly expect) then we can no longer consider this collection of states a nation in even the loosest defintion of the word, nor our system a democracy of anything but money.

  61. I have been thinking the same thing. The people who voted these hostage-takers into office seem to have very little in common with the people in my state and other states like mine. On many important issues, the views of the two sides seem to be impossible to reconcile. Rather than continually taking the country to the brink of default, maybe we should talk about how to split up into two nations. After all, didn't thousands of people in red states sign petitions to secede from the union after Obama's re-election?

  62. Michael, you might be young, and not know how government used to function. Our Congresses and administrations always had their disagreements, but, they negotiated--no one was truly happy, but everyone got something it wanted. This particular 'domestic terrorism' began when the Dems locked Repubs out of discussions on the ACA, and passed it with no Repub input. They could do it, and they did.

    Now, the Repubs have given some proposals, and are flexing their muscles, because they can. There is no blackmail or terrorism involved. The Dems were either too stupid or too myopic to see that their actions could come back to haunt them.

    Let it play out, accept what happens, and let the elections tell the story. That is how our government is supposed to work.

  63. President Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling when he was a senator as a way to change policies. Why is it suddenly different now that the Republicans are doing it???

  64. A couple could quarrel and give each other cold shoulder but it'd not be okay if one hurt their children to exact revenge

  65. It is very different when the vote has actual consequences. It is very common for senators to use a vote against raising the debt ceiling as a form of protest. But before Obama became president the only time that these votes ever amounted to anything was under Reagan, who told them, essentially, over my dead body. The Senate - senate Republicans - got the message, and under Reagan we never got nearly as close to the cliff as we are now. There is a difference between a common, ordinary, harmless protest vote and hostage taking. Do you understand now?

  66. For decades, raising the debt ceiling was considered to be the responsibility of the majority party in each chamber; members in the minority were able to take votes against it in protest against the majority enacting its program. What's suddenly different is that the Republicans are in the majority, and they are the ones threatening not to raise the debt ceiling. This is just one more way -- although probably the most damaging -- in which time-honored agreements that served to keep the country functioning are being jettisoned by people calling themselves conservative.

  67. The President needs forcefully to say 'enough' to the House Republicans. We are all tired of 40 House Members who rarely show up to work, determining the fate of our budgets, our military, our poor, our elderly and our environment.

    These mostly men represent a fraction of the American electorate, 'elected' only through gerrymandering. They do not speak for "the American People." They don't work at all, having taken approximately three of the last 8 months for vacation and recreation. How much time off have average Americans had for paid vacation in the last year?

    When they do show up, they re-litigate settled issues with positions not consistent with the country as a whole.

    So, box them in. They have no new ideas. They are loafers who don't work and yet collect taxpayer entitlements. They are extremists who deploy a language of violence toward women, toward the poor, toward our elderly. They are deviants in their obsessive attention to women's bodies. They are religious zealots akin to to the witch hunters of the 17th Century. Label them, use the same language and make it stick.

    Once Democrats are able to deploy such a skill (we are still waiting) they will marginalize the Republican Party.

    Just do it.

    Marylouise Markle
    State College, PA.

  68. I imagine that no matter what happens with the shutdown or the debt the members of both houses will still get paid and all their benefits as usual. Won't be any suffering or sacrifice on their part.

  69. The sad fact is that House Republicans don't really care about the items on their list of ransom demands. They just want to punish the federal government for imposing civil rights and integration on the Southern states fifty years ago. They have a dream that they can turn back the clock or at least vent their rage. What provision of Obamacare do they really object to, aside from the African name that pundits have attached to it? And the Keystone XL pipeline? Give me a break. Their constituents are not passionate about energy policy. They are passionate about race. I was born and raised in the South, and I know the code words: big government, takers, taxes. The present House Republican tantrum is a continuation of the Strom Thurmond fillibuster against civil rights legislation. but this time there is no real plan or hope of success. There is only the ability to inflict damage. How different is that from flying airplanes into buildings?

  70. The republicans are setting a dangerous precedent here that may in the future haunt them as the democrats, when not occupying the Whitehouse, could turn the table on them by demanding with some justification some of their pet projects as bargaining chips, such as raising taxes, stiffening EPA emission regulation or passing federal prohibition of the sale and private ownership of assault rifles. The republicans would scream foul, and vehemently deny their prior extortion demands, framing it as a necessary disaster prevention. I hope it never gets to this, but I remain baffled at their threats to bypass the democratic process through outright extortion and racketeering tactics. Unfortunately they don't realize that this is exactly what they are attempting to do.

  71. The President needs a strategy to accomplish what this editorial so wisely suggests ("simply say no"), and there's precedent for this. During the Eisenhower administration Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling in 1953. The Treasury then issued gold certificates based on US holdings, and then used the cash to bridge the period until Congress finally passed a bill raising the limit.

    http://www.aei-ideas.org/2011/07/the-government-debt-ceiling-what-did-ei...

    The President should take this step sooner rather than later, removing the threat the Republicans have posed. The world economy, not to mention our own, depends on our ability to pay our bills, and the answer to a national threat must be bold preemptive action.

  72. Obama says he won't negotiate over the debt limit. So he in effect is saying that Congress is obliged to raise the debt limit as necessary to enable the federal government to honor all of its obligations. But if that is the case what is the point of having a debt limit? There is obviously no poi nt and so it seems to me that if Obama is not going to negotiate he has an obligation to declare that if Congress doesn't raise it, he will order the Trreasury Department to ignore it and declare as well at least as far as the executive branch of the government is concerned, all debt issued whether in excess of the debt limit or not is entitled to the full faith and credit of the United States and let one of the other two branches of government declare that that is not so. And I would bet the ranch that neither one of them will do so. Congress surely won't, and the Supreme Court won't either. Indeed, if someone asks the court to issue such a ruling the Supreme Court will surely declare that such someone is not harmed in anyway by the Treasury exceeding the debt limit, and therefore doesn't even have standing to complain. Some will argue that the government is violating the Constitution but the fact of the matter is that the government arguably violates the Constitutuion in any number of ways but no harm, no foul.

    Because Obama can do that, he should do it if necessary. And the Republicans should force him to either negotiate or accept the heat for ignoring the limit.

  73. I see two ways of looking at this conundrum.

    The first is that the debt reflects prior decisions the government arrived at legally and therefore it's illegitimate to do anything but vote for the increase. Or, as some have pointed out, there shouldn't even be a vote, whether because of the Fourteenth Amendment clause or because allegedly no other country has such votes.

    The second, _pace_ The Times's heated language, is that the essence of politics is compromise, the Republicans control the House, and this is political business as usual.

    If (but only if) the latter view is correct, then one should proceed to the merits of the Republicans' demands. I would do this:

    1. Build the Keystone XL oil pipeline? Yes, before the next Lac-Mégantic takes place. The oil will be extracted with or without the pipeline.

    2. Offshore oil and gas production? Yes, unless one thinks Nigeria has better environmental safeguards. Norway extracts offshore oil; what are we afraid of? But keep Obama's fuel-efficiency standards in place.

    3. More energy exploration on federal land? Yes (see #2).

    4. Cutting funding for bank dissolutions and contributions to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? No.

    5. One-year delay of Obamacare? I'd prefer for the Republicans to try to fix the 30-hour-a-week job problem it may be creating rather than sabotage it. If Portugal can offer state health care, we're rich enough to do so. On this point, right-wing talk radio has been histrionic all summer long.

  74. Please show me the evidence for the alleged 30-hour-a-week problem. The actual data on involuntary part-time work shows a big jump during the recession and a secular decline since them. No serious economist believes the ACA has significantly influenced the number of part-time workers in the economy.

    My evidence comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/LNS12032197

  75. While I disagree with most of them, your points are calmly stated and warrant public debate.

    The point is, however, that the debate should not be conducted in a kamikaze plane screaming downward toward a populated region.

    Why do Republicans think this is acceptable?

  76. Hi, Peter — Thanks for replying. The reason I said the ACA "may be creating" a 30-hour-a-week job problem is that I've only heard allegations that it is. One of these appeared in the "The Economist," which is a generally (but not universally, of course) authoritative news source. But since I don't know this for a fact, I qualified my comment as described.

  77. The House is the originator of raising revenue. Article I, Section 7 says "All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills." The provision originated because The House of Commons in England was elected by the people and the House of Lords was not elected. In the U.S., both houses are elected by the people and the Senate can change the House bills significantly. In reality, a conference committee often takes a bill passed by the House and the Senate and rewrites it through compromises. Then it is voted on by both Houses and sent to the President for signing or veto. If the Congress does not like his veto, they can try to override it.

  78. If Mr. Boehner simply allows the House to vote on their own resolution minus the ACA defunding, once it returns from the Senate, the House would most certainly pass it --with perhaps as many as 2/3rds majority including as many as fifty or more Republican votes. With the debt limit, again, it is clear that the House, many Republicans included, would also pass a clean debt limit increase if Mr. Boehner allowed a clean extension to come up to the floor.

    Yet Mr. Boehner is not acting like a leader of the House, nor of the American People. Instead, he is following orders from radicals within his party and abusing his prerogatives as majority leader as he, in an act of supreme demagoguery and extortion that will be remembered across the ages, is threatening not only the closure of government, but default of US debt, unless the majority in the House, the majority in the Senate, and the electoral majorities of the country all kneel before the will of a minority wing of radicals that he wants to please so that he remains as Speaker.

    With his dereliction and lack of courage, with his newly found pseudo-fidelity to self-destructive fanaticism, Mr. Boehner is now a top competitor for the worst Speaker of all times. His unfathomably irresponsible and childish endangering of the US economy makes him under any standard, unfit for office. Given he was no Tea Party follower until it suited him, that he has chosen extortion to keep his speakership is crass beyond words.

  79. Should the government default on its obligations due to the Republicans' machinations, and the economic consequences prove to be anywhere near as dire as many experts predict, the President should instruct the Attorney General to charge every member of Congress who participated in this hostage-taking with sedition.

    Such a measure would, I think, command the attention of those members of Congress who have since January, 2011, behaved as though the House of Representatives were a sovereign nation answerable to no one but itself.

  80. The House of Representatives is half of the legislative branch of the government of the United State.

    As long as the House is acting within the Rules of the House of Representative, any charge that they are being terrorists is just down-right inflammator and without any reasonable or moral justification.

    Your remarks, A.L. Hern, show an absolutely stunning disregard if not lack of knowledge, of the political machinery that is governing this country.

    And for all those Democrats in SAFE SEATS in the House of Representatives (See L. J. Sabato's listings), many of their districts were gerrymandered to eliminate any and all Republican participation in governance.

    So much for government of the people, by the people, for the people when exclusion is the watchword for saving the seats of House members who couldn't be elected in a fair contest.

    And I won't even get into the hypocrisy of free elections that include a gerrymandered minority majority seats.

    I suspect that given your remarks, that is difficult for the Democrats to admit.

  81. Seems to be turning out that the Republican group is on its way to become a fanatical terrorist group. The only thing that is missing yet is rampage but from the looks of it I doubt it can be far off.

    You know, we pay these people. $174,000 annually for each one and $223,500 for the Speaker, Majority & Minority leader. They also receive an allowance that averaged $1,400,000 per member in 2011. This doesn't even to take into account that after 3 terms they become eligible to receive pension benefits from Social Security, and their 401K plan. They are eligible to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and The Federal Employees Life Insurance Program.

    We pay each of these jokers $1,574,000.00 annually to sabotage our rights, cut any and all federal aid to fellow citizens, and hold our country for ransom. Of course we pay the Honorable Speaker of the House a bit more. Good going Tea Party Members.

  82. What the Republicans couldn't achieve through conventional means at the ballot box they hope to obtain through extortion. Repeal of ObamaCare, building of the XL pipeline, defunding/underfunding of the consumer protection bureau and EPA etc.,were all parts of Mitt Romney's platform and were rejected last November when Preident Obama won with over 330 electoral votes. Additionally having gained seats in the Senate, and the House, with the minority party holding the majority only through Republican gerrymandering, having lost the popular vote by 1.4 million to the Democrats, it is clear that the electorate had spoken. If our democratic republic and the principle of majority rule is to survive and avoid an ultimate decent into chaos the blackmail coming from the political right must be resisted.

  83. I'm suffering a bad case of EFS these days. Extortion Fatigue Syndrome (EFS) is a psychological condition that predisposes one to challenge an extortionist to 'bring on the pain regardless of the consequences!'. It is an intensely visceral emotional response brought on by too many threats of force and adverse actions - over too long a period of time.

    My EFS was initiated by the numerous, mindless, endlessly repeated threats of certain Republican legislators in our Congress during the last 4-5 years. They want to achieve by bullying force of legislative violence what they cannot seem to do at the polls.

    Constant braying in front of the cameras, threats of government shutdown, default on our debts (which they themselves voted for!), threats to the poor and the jobless, threats to the environment and threats to the economy - have reached such a volume and pitch as to cause me to shout at the extortionists to "Bring it on!"

    Mr. President only you can help me, and those who suffer like me, by contacting the Republican leadership and and make clear that you will not negotiate on the CR budget and absolutely will not negotiate on the debt ceiling! Go to the airwaves every day. Show families and businesses affected by their actions.

    Only when they realize that their threats and bullying have no power over us any more - can we expect a change of behavior and a return to legislative sanity and civility in our Congress. Will you help me and those who suffer like me?

  84. Those "corrosive" sequester cuts were the best result to come out of Congress in the last decade. They are so un-corrosive that they have reduced the increase in the federal debt and have gone virtually unnoticed by the vast majority of Americans.

    The current "discredited" demands by Congress are both reasonable and necessary to help stimulate the economy from the worst slump since the great depression. Obama pays lip service to the economy and jobs but has done next to nothing to solve these problems as he is too busy demonizing his opponents. Meanwhile in foreign affairs, Obama rattles an empty sabre and lets Putin dance circles around him. Comparing Obama to Jimmy Carter would be appropriate but an insult to Jimmy Carter.

  85. Robert: You must feel unappreciated in Brattleboro, which is a wonderful town.

    I agree that the sequester started us toward understanding that we could start making huge cuts in our military/defense infrastructure; a very good thing in that respect, with much more to do.

    As to stimulating the economy in a downturn, there are two ways to do it: (1) increase government spending, hopefully on good things like infrastructure, education, and job training; and (2) impose higher taxes designed to motivate wealthy individuals and companies to reinvest more in their businesses; this heightens the multiplier effects from spending, rather than lower returns from savings and luxury spending; it also decreases the many types of damage wrought by economic inequality.

    Republicans, at every turn over the past 5 years, have opposed BOTH of these fundamental strategies for improving economic growth and stability. They have also opposed more thoughtful regulation, which helps prevent bubble-and-burst swings that damage our financial systems. History, research and logic all prove these measures to be effective - yet Republicans oppose them.

    One must wonder, who is behind the scenes directing these Republican oppositional strategies, and why do so many voters fall for the propaganda propping them up?

  86. I suspect the folks who remain unemployed by virtue of the drag on GDP the sequester has caused will not think very highly of your comments.

    http://www.boucheyfinancial.com/2013/the-bouchey-blog/sequestration-and-...

    Republican intransigence and the creation of constant crises have held back the recovery and thus the economy. It is obvious to the most casual of observers that the Republicans weren't installed to govern, they were installed to stop the machinery of government. If they can't or won't, they'll be "primaried" and replaced by someone who will.

  87. 31 U.S.C. 5112(k) as originally enacted by Public Law 104-208 in 1996:

    The Secretary may mint and issue bullion and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary's discretion, may prescribe from time to time.

    In 2000, the word "bullion" was replaced with "platinum bullion coins".[8]

    From Wikipedia.

    That's seems pretty clear to me. The denomination is up to " the Secretary's discretion." The Treasury could mint a coin large enough to pay our debts for the foreseeable future. It would not increase our debt. Who would we owe it to? It could be deposited at the FED, and funds drawn upon the account as necessary.

    I know the Treasury has said it won't do this, but, hay, times change.

    And it would add some much needed money to the economy.

  88. The U.S. won't default. The list of ridiculous demands shows John Boehner has conceded to his conference, but only temporarily and strategically so. Eventually, he will do what's right and allow a vote on an unencumbered bill to increase the debt ceiling.

    Boehner loses either way. He loses by standing with the Tea Party wing and not raising the debt ceiling, and he loses if he disassociates from them and negotiate in good faith with other House members and the Senate. The latter will occur, but not before this self-preservation tactic. John Boehner doesn't want the place in history as the Speaker who permitted the U.S. to default on its debts.

    He's aware that the nameless, faceless dunces of his caucus are recalcitrant only as long as they are not held individually responsible for the disastrous consequences of their malicious obstruction. Each member of Congress knows how catastrophic a default is and s/he votes no to an increase only if the vote is nondeterminative as to the outcome or doesn't identify him/her as singularly responsible for its failure.

    Plus the monied interest behind the Tea Party isn't going to take the chance of having their wealth threatened by a default. They don't care if the government shuts down; Mr. and Mrs. America suffer those ramifications. But nothing threatens their financial interest. That's what this is about.

    A shutdown, yes; default, I wouldn't worry about it. And you're right, it is time the president call their bluff.

  89. The debate about the debt ceiling is really a debate about the viability of democratic institutions in our country. A reactionary political movement would like to do away with what is clearly laid out in the constitution - legislation has to be passed in both houses of congress and signed by the president before it can become law.

    The path these reactionaries has taken is the same path taken by anti-democratic movements around the world and will have the same effect unless resisted. Abroad, our policy as a nation have been not to pay ransoms to terrorists. If we want to protect the Constitution and the American way of life, we should not pay ransoms to these anti-democratic thugs who are threatening a terrorist attack on the world economy if we do not subvert our democratic institutions.

  90. The President now needs to make a decisive move. He needs to put an end to the statutory debt limit once and for all.

    The Fourteenth Amendment states that the "validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law... shall not be questioned".

    The President has the constitutional duty to execute all laws passed by Congress. If Congress appropriates more money than it raises in tax revenue, the President must direct the Treasury to issue bonds to cover the difference. If Congress, by its revenue and spending policies, exceeds the so-called debt limit, it has implicitly raised the debt limit, whatever it says.

    The statutory debt limit creates a logical contradiction with respect to the duties of the President, because it requires the President not to enforce the law as enacted. It requires the President either to ignore US financial obligations or fail to enforce many laws on appropriations in order to enforce one (the debt limit). This contradiction means that the statute cannot have binding constitutional force.

    It is time for the President to simply declare that the so-called debt limit is advisory only. The courts will not intervene in what is clearly a political dispute between the two branches.

    In the past, though this path has been recommended, people have shrunk away from it because it would be startling and unprecedented. But so would be a default.

    Some think that a default can't happen. They said that about the sequester too. This must stop now.

  91. In their paranoid victimhood, which seems to make them positively orgasmic, Republicans and their surrogates have been proclaiming for years that the President will declare martial law (and then, of course, come and take all their guns, with which they intend to defend themselves and Freedom! from the socialist agenda).

    I don't know whether an executive order can override the recalcitrance of the kindergarten that has become of the House, but certainly all available measures should be considered before even giving the 80-odd Tea Party schism, representing about 18% of America (according to Ryan Lizza in the current New Yorker) the time of day.

    The faith and trust of the world (including a downgrade of our government bonds) has been shaken by previous Republican threats not to pay our bills. It's time to come up with a solution that doesn't require their approval.

    Let them howl. They'll howl anyway.

  92. The Republican lost the White House, it is natural that many federal rules and regulations leans toward the Democratic side. There are also more liberal leaning laws, including the Affordable Health Care Act, that has passed the full congress including the Republican controlled house. A minority of extreme Republicans holds the whole nation's economic future hostage because they see no hope of changing regulations that are established rightly within the executive power of the Presidency and see no hope of repealing some laws that the full congress passed. This is completely outrageous and the President and the senate must not give it to this demand. The Speaker of the House should show some backbone and put the budget and debt ceiling bills in front of the full house for the good of the country. Are we afraid of a democratic majority vote?

  93. This could be a watershed moment where, thanks to Mr. Cruz, the Tea Party's influence will significantly diminish. At that moment I will once again be able to vote Republican. The Party seems to be finally realizing that that they lost more votes than gained by allowing the Tea Party storm-troopers to take over.

    I am a free market conservative. I voted republican in every presidential election since 1968, except one. It is obvious that our government must live within its means and do so in a manner as not to interfere with a functioning free market economy. If we desire to take control of government, we must demand government carry out one of its primary functions; protecting free markets from tyranny, both public and private. We are vocal about defending it from public tyranny, but silent when it comes to tyranny in the private sector.

    “Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” Justice Louis Brandeis 1928

    Today our focus seems to be only on the tyranny of government when it comes to free markets. We need to find the right balance.... http://bit.ly/FF1106wrc2

  94. The US economy has been so manipulated and not by government, it no longer meets the criteria of a free market. There are mountains of examples, brought to you by the usual suspects (Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, etc), the most profound of course being the manipulation of the LIBOR. What the progressive movement would like to see is a return to capitalism by protecting the US economy from the tyranny of the manipulators. The Republican platform is to keep the same machinations that destroyed the US economy in 2008. In my humble opinion, the man of zeal is Cruz (representing the John Birch Society commonly referred to as the Tea Party) and his/their goal is to allow the continued destruction of capitalism in defiance of the true meaning ascribed to liberty by the Founding Fathers.

  95. This action is not only irresponsible, irrational, and terrorist — it is treason. These people who have come to their positions of power and been entrusted with sacred constitutional responsibility have defied the rule of law. While they sit in judgment of the State Department (read Hillary Clinton), leakers of secrets that "threaten our security," and impoverished people that have no food, no shelter, and no medical care coverage, they are threatening the economic stability of the entire world and paving the road to chaos and, surely, war.
    So many hopeful signs have appeared in recent weeks: Pope Francis' message of love, Russia's push toward destruction of vile weapons, Iran's attempts to join the world community, and today's UN resolution.
    Does this congress want to destroy U.S. influence and leadership at a time when, at least to this reader, there are a few glimmers of hope? And all for the cold-hearted cause of denting healthcare to those who cannot now afford it.
    I call this action treason.

  96. I wonder if one of the secret Republican agendas is their actual desire to provoke another major economic downturn and thereby to have the general public go through what we went through before which could benefit major banks, large corporations, and other "big money" groups and individuals. E.g., much higher interest rates would do just that. Our retirement funds and IRAs would once again disappear into some big pockets. Fundamentalist religious organizations could get public education funding seriously reduced thus resulting in more parochial and "home schooling" educational situations, thus inculcating many more kids into religions in the guise of "education". Of course, Medicaid would be cut and thus the poorest would get sicker and die off quicker. And Red State voters of the lesser educated type would just love the GOP even more. And so on. They know what they are doing.

  97. The Republicans came not to govern but to convince Americans that government doesn't work (Government IS the problem - Ronald Reagan). So far, they are winning the argument, the battle and the war. Republican voters didn't install these people to govern, they installed them to disrupt government at every level. Until the Independent and Democrat voters understand and then work to disrupt their agenda, the massacres will continue.

  98. Keep in mind that the Republican congress actually lost the vote in the last election. They are in power because of their carefully planned long term effort to put in place a national Gerrymandering system. The American principle - one citizen one vote was turned upon its head by that devious plan (not to say that the Democrats have not also done this but on no where near the scale). We need to return this country to democratic rule. Drawing the district maps will always be suspect. Why not apportion each states delegation based on the proportion of votes won in that state by each party? It would produce a more representative system responsive to the will of the people and there would no longer be seats that are safe in perpetuity for those that ignore the good of the nation.

  99. To the extent that one can attribute calculation to the extremists in this mess, the tea party Republicans are betting that either way this goes, they win. If they can help throw the economy back into recession, without a huge disruption around the world, then that can be blamed on Obama. If they were to get a major portion of their laundry list of dream legislation, then they would declare victory and tell their supporters that they had stood up to the president and won.

    These episodes of self created crisis are similar to stand-offs that have happened at the state level between governors and legislators over the years. It often happens when there is a new governor of one party, facing a legislature of another. Both sides lose. The state legislature winds up showing the governor what it can do and the governor shows the legislature what he will not allow. In this case, the stakes are much higher and the risks higher still.

    In order to have a functioning government over the four and a half year, and try to focus on matters other than artificial crisis, Obama has allowed major concessions, like extending most of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and allowing the sequestered spending to go forward. The Bush tax extension alone is expected to cost the treasury 4 trillion dollars over ten years. Government by blackmail is not working very well for anyone but the small tribe in the House who seem to be against all government anyway. This does not end well.

  100. Barring religious extremism where the other worldly is foremost in mind, staking a claim of mutually assured destruction is insane. As such, it can usually be ignored.

    It reminds me of Dr. Evil asking for "a kajillion bajillion dollars" in a flash forward in time in Austin Powers. While not quite so much, a default of US debt would throw domestic and global markets into chaos and cost Americans trillions in added debt service.

    Do Republicans want to go down in history as the party that cratered the global economy and added trillions in debt to generations of Americans? They may be evil but not (that) crazy.

  101. Let's not forget that Senator Obama in 2006 voted against raising the debt ceiling because he objected to policies of GWB. That is a fact. Perhaps instead of the dire scenario predicted above there will be agreement on an independent means of assessing the ecological effects of the Keystone pipeline, minor changes in frivolous malpractice lawsuits, small changes in the ACA since it remains unpopular and there is universal agreement that it needs fixing and funding of the Consumer Protection Bureau at a somewhat diminished level combined with raising the debt ceiling. This is called compromise and the country, except for zealots on the right and left, will applaud, the market will climb and we can turn our attention to the Holidays.

  102. Without parsing each demand, some of which even I regard as excessive, it's worth noting that this is what negotiations are all about: you demand everything, the other guy laughs and makes a counter-offer; and, sooner or later, if negotiations succeed, you arrive at mutual concessions and you have a deal. The Republican concession already is implicit and major: waiving their power to stop government from spending excessively, to allow government ... well, to spend excessively. The question is what concessions Mr. Obama is willing to make to close the deal.

    And, you know, if Republicans merely drop the ObamaCare deferral demand, which patently is a deal-killer, then any government shutdown as a consequence of NOT arriving at a deal will be owned by Barack Obama, not them. His current refusal to negotiate is only wearable by Americans because of the ObamaCare demand, which nobody expects him or congressional Democrats to buy. But eliminate that and accept that other demands will fall or be adjusted as part of a normal negotiating process, and he refuses to negotiate at his extreme peril -- and ours.

    The debt-limit was set by Congress in order to maintain a say in runaway automatic expenditures; and to suggest that hikes to it are administration gimmes is absurd: it's a real power, it has real effect, and, without a deal government will be partially shut down to immense damage. On Barack Obama's watch.

    Assuming no ObamaCare kicker, he might consider seriously negotiating.

  103. Richard - Republicans are free to pursue their policies just as Democrats are free to pursue theirs. As a Democrat, I waited decades for the ACA to be enacted - until the process moved the legislation through the House and Senate and President signed it into law. It was not really what I wanted either which was a single payer based system but that's politics. There is a concept of majority rule that has been in place for awhile. If Republicans don't like the policy then they can wait until they can change it via the mechanism we have. Or maybe Democrats should just say - we won't agree to a deficit limit increase until marginal tax rates on the wealthy are raised enough to bring the budget back into balance - maybe the problem with the President is that he isn't a tough negotiator. After all, Democrats have less skin in the game than the Republicans - so lets get on with it as they say. Still want to play the game?

  104. Payments on the national debt, viz-a-viz raising the debt ceiling is non-negotiable as the satisfaction of this obligation is specifically directed by the constitution. It is not a legislative or policy issue. All previous requests to raise the debt ceiling received a straight up-down vote with no preconditions attached. The republicans raise a serious precedent with their insistence that may justifiably be used by the democrats in the future to push their favorite programs and policies. It is a poorly disguised act of desperation by an inept subset of the republican party.

  105. You don't negotiate when it comes to paying your bills. Try it with the bank that holds your mortgage or your credit card company and see how well it works.

  106. I try not to be an alarmist, but this is one of many Republican attempts to sabotage the democratic process going back to the 90s and the original "shutdown" and the pointless impeachment of President Clinton. 

    Then came the Supreme Court's questionable selection of George W. Bush in 2000 and the prolonged war in Iraq under false pretenses. The party has refused to accept the legitimacy of the Obama presidency, and has gerrymandered Congressional districts to assure Republican dominance even in states with a majority of Democratic voters. And now they are creating legislative barriers threatening the voting process itself.

    It's time to ask if the U.S. Constitution really serves the needs of a functioning government in the 21st century.  

    Or is the agenda simply one of creating a third-world fascist dictatorship?

  107. Boehner is constantly reminded by his colleagues that defeat is the inevitable result of not being conservative enough and therefore failing to serve up what the American people really want. Here are a few more demands to add to a list that should guarantee victory: going back on the gold standard; getting rid of the Federal Reserve System; ending the fluoridation of drinking water; banning immunization against disease; reinstating Prohibition; a repeal of the income tax; repeal of all civil and voting rights legislation; closing anything with the word "public" in its title; requiring a market based solution to any and all questions of public policy; enshrining the Objectivist philosophy somewhere in the Constitution (the Preamble?); re-criminalizing any sexual activity between any persons except if conducted within a religious marriage between two persons of the opposite sex; ending any and all family planning and contraception; and renaming Hawaii "Ronald Reagan". Almost forgot the wall that needs to be completed between the US and Mexico (and Canada too?) plus deporting all those "illegals".

  108. Demands by the Tea Party has driven the GOP train off the rails, over the river, and through the woods, where it's currently careening wildly toward an abyss. But it still continues to think it's moving forward with reason and purpose. Never have I seen so many held hostage by the actions of so few with so much at stake. I'd be laughing if I wasn't crying.

  109. If there were not an enforceable agreement that momey loaned is to be repaid in accordance with the terms of the loan agreement, how many people would entrust their hard-earned savings to a stranger? If Republicans succeed in forcing our government to default on its debts to its seniors, to its employees, to its foreign creditors, apart from the billions of dollars of taxpayers' money in additional interest it would be liable to pay, who could ever trust that their assets were safe in Republican hands again? If these nutcases succeed, they may well destroy the bedrock of the system that allowed them to play out their delusional game for so long-a socially acceptable way of managing the economic games we all play that keep excessive greed in check and asset loss to a minimum.

  110. Republicans are economic terrorists, period. They hate the US government, and have absolutely no interest in seeing the country prosper. They wave the American flag and quote the second amendment and the bible, and tell us they are more patriotic and more Christian than the rest of us.
    I am reminded of that quote attributed to Sinclair Lewis;"When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross".

    I see more and more evidence of that as more and more conservative counties vote to secede from that very same US that thy claim to love more than then the rest us. They have no interest in governing.

  111. The editorial lacks specifics. President Obama should say no in explicit detail. He should announce that he will:

    1. Ignore the Republicans and continue to honor the debts of the United States.

    2. Punish Republican districts with suspensions of federal spending targeted at the constituents of blackmailing Republican congressmen.

    If the Republicans want to do it, they can impeach the President. He will be acquitted in the Senate, following a debate in which the Republican blackmailers will be exposed mercilessly as the fools that they are. The next election will punish Republicans at the polls, and this bizarre political tactic will pass into history. It has to be ended, and if that's what it takes, let's get on with it.

  112. It is both outrageous and complete hypocrisy that those who are the loudest about our "Founders" and "The Constitution" are violating both in inventing how the government works quite aside from willful ignorance of irrefutable facts. They are destroying our democracy. The elephants dancing in full view of the world in our living room, our Congress, are our own Mullahs with a theology quite frankly rooted in belief that our Obama is guilty of being black while serving as President, even ignoring that he is in fact half white, or that this should matter at all. Five percent of us or much less are holding America and the world hostage. Where were they on the deficit when when we launched a disastrous unnecessary war on a Chinese credit card? These debts they racked up are now a part of of the deficit they want to welsh on? How can we get the America we love back from this tyranny. If we don't, we can look at Syria as a model of what we will become.

  113. Sadly this points out that Congress is no longer a functioning body that uses public sentiment and feedback to create sensible and necessary legislation. This whole Tea Party effort is being driven by campaign cash and threats of blood-letting within the GOP by running new candidates against those who refuse to embrace this insanity. It points to how much the "people's" branch of government has been subverted by the expensive process of staying in office. We have let our most representative body become the tool of money. I can't imagine why any reflective citizen would not embrace public funding of elections after this debacle. It is a debacle whether the government shuts down or not, or whether we default or not. We have already lost what our founding fathers gave us and what thousands of average Americans have spilled blood for defending. It is depressing to watch.

  114. We should view and respond to this in the very same way that we responded to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the other great attacks and disasters that this nation has faced. Let them default on the debt. Let them vote to destroy the economy. Then they should be declared "Domestic Enemies", removed from office and dealt with as we dealt with those who have attacked us in the past. It may be painful but if it's what we must do to survive, then it is what we must do.
    We cannot and must not cave to what is nothing more than a kook's laundry list. No. No. No.
    We have faced challenges in the past and we have survived and thrived. We will weather any blow that they can dish out as we must.

  115. Yes, they should be "removed from office" but as far as I know, there's only one way to do that: vote them out. Tell all your GOP-minded friends...convince them their elected reps are fixing to destroy our economy. Pray.

  116. "After all, the chief business of the American people is business." - Calvin Coolidge.

    The Republicans, not the IRS and and not Affordable Care are threatening to turn America in to a third world economy by not paying it's bills after October 17. The Republican House is abusing it's power of the purse to harm individuals who have payed their honest share of Social Security, for even if the interest in the national debt is paid, there are countless programs that people have been paying into that will stop. The penalties for not paying one's bills have repercussions that radiate from the local families right through to the credibility of the nation's leadership in the global economy.

    Business have bills to pay, they need to borrow to replenish inventory, and they are supposed to pay their employees for the time they put into their jobs. The Republicans in the House are contradicting those basic pillars of our social contract.

    The Tea-Party's and Republican's intent to use innocent Americans in a grotesque display of their absolute power is disturbing and unAmerican.

  117. There is plenty of tax revenue to pay any financial obligation even in the event of a shutdown. This idea that the US would default is a red herring and the author of this article has made erroneous statements related to this issue. Obamacare will die sooner or later because the bureaucracy associated with it and the outrageous costs and taxes have created an opposing constituency that is the majority of the population. If Obama decides to shut the government, it will because he is a failure at leadership as demonstrated by his Syria debacle.

  118. Yes, many of us dislike the ACA because it is not single payer. That being said I certainly prefer it to the status quo of 48 million people without health insurance. Where is the GOP empathy?

  119. One can make the case for the exact opposite of what you and most commenters have: majority rule run amok. It so happens that Congress has the constitutional obligation to decide on levels of spending and allocation of funds. Obamacare was rammed down our throats in the middle of the night by one-party vote and procedural slight of hand. Once OC is fully implemented, there will still be 30 millions uninsured (CBO numbers) so all this fuss for meager benefits.

    Raising the debt ceiling is not automatic- senator Obama was against raising the ceiling in 2007. Republicans are the freedom fighters-literally. If we continue down this path with majority rule excesses -we will have tyranny. I suspect that most of you are okay with tyranny-as long as you control the levers of power. it's the natural progression from liberalism- collective improvement over individual rights. History proves it.
    Why can't you accept genuine difference of opinions and different ideology as the root of certain actions-rather than malevolence. Republicans are not evil-they just disagree with your policies.

  120. If we continue down this path with minority rule excesses -we will have tyranny. I suspect that most of you are okay with tyranny-as long as Republicans control the levers of power. it's the natural progression from conservatism- corporate improvement over individual rights. History proves it.

    See how easy that was! Completely false in the simplicity of its logic.

  121. I happen to oppose Obamacare (I'm for single-payer) but it was not 'rammed down our throats in the middle of the night by one-party vote and procedural sleight of hand'. Basically, what's wrong with Obamacare - and there is a lot wrong with it, and I believe ultimately it will not work - is the result of caving to the Republicans. Obama should have held out for a single-payer, Canada/UK/every other developed nation type system.

  122. And a handful of extremists controlling the nation against the will of the majority of its citizens is not tyranny? Then why bother with that expensive, time consuming and meaningless endeavor called voting, Bush v. Gore not withstanding?

  123. The GOP is a subversive political organization determined to undermine the US Constitution and the governance of the federal government in pursuit of its party goals. It's behavior calls to mind Jefferson's disdain and fear of established political parties using the legislative process to further their own sectarian interests at the expense of the nation.

    John Boehner has abrogated his duties to the nation which, as Speaker of the House is to oversee the legislative process for all Americans, not just the supporters of the GOP political agenda. The fact that he is second in line to the presidency is sobering given his party's willingness to subject the country to severe economic hardship just to placate the fringe elements of his party. This is a man and a party bereft of honor and respect for the country and the generations of Americans who have built this country.

    Can you imagine the founding fathers not willing to pay the debts that they themselves incurred? Not willing to support the laws that their own governance had put in place?

    At some point the voters of Ohio, Texas and other hotbeds of republican lunacy need to wake up to the fact that their representatives are Republicans first and Americans maybe second. Their attitude to the federal government and the Americans who disagree with their political & social agenda is evocative of the politicians who created the southern confederacy.

  124. Looks like the South did in fact rise again.

  125. Not only is their attitude toward the federal government evocative of those who created the Southern confederacy, it's actually the same group about four generations removed. The only difference is that the Koch brothers weren't around to bankroll the Confederacy.

  126. I worry. The President has let us down so consistently in the past when faced with such bullying -- the extension of the Bush tax cuts, the sequester -- that I have no confidence he won't cave, I mean compromise now.

    The GOP clearly announced its intention not to work with the President in 2008, and kept its word. He continued to try to "compromise" with them for his whole first term. Has he learned his lesson? These people despise him and will not work with him. There can be no compromise with such types.

    If the President caves, I mean compromises now we'll have government by gangsterism from here on out. The GOP can drive the agenda from a minority position.

    The new Republican motto: "NIce economy you got there. Shame if something happened to it."

  127. I'm not an attorney but it seems to me that if I incur bills and than don't pay them, I will be taken to court and, in extreme cases, can go to jail until I do. Since Congress, a continuing government body whose members change every two years, incurred the debts the current body is unwilling to pay, it seems that someone, perhaps the Judicial branch, should take them to court and, at the minimum, fine each of the members commensurate with the unpaid debts that previous bodies have incurred. . Perhaps this might have the sobering effects of telling these deadbeat morons that financial obligations incurred oblige that you honor those commitments.

  128. The days ahead will determine whether America can live up to its ideal: a government of, by, and for the people, or whether a small group of representatives can upset the balance of power outlined in our Constitution and usurp control over our government. Will the political ideology of the few dominate the hard fought and long-standing ideals of our constitutional democracy where power is shared by 3 coequal branches of government? Or will the balance of power be forever changed such that the majority will become subservient to a small, ruling class? This is what is at stake.

  129. President Obama didn't make a mistake by negotiating in 2011 when the economy was just beginning to emerge from the recession. If he hadn't taken the actions that he did, the country most certainly would have experienced a double-dip recession. The Republicans would have blamed it on "Obama's failed economics", and not on blowing past the debt ceiling. Unless 2011, there will be no doubt as to the cause of any financial turmoil if the debt ceiling is not raised in a few weeks.

  130. Mr Obama should use the "nuclear option" of the 14th amendment, claiming the US must pay it's debts, no matter if it's a legal option or not. Unlike ridding ourselves
    of the onerous, but sometimes useful (depending on who has the majority) filibuster,
    sane people will never object to requiring congress to raise the debt limit. Mr Obama and we the public who voted for him, are being held hostage. This requires
    smashing the "opposition" in the teeth. No holds barred. Waiting to announce this plan is as bad as the threat of defaulting.

  131. Down here on the northern Gulf coast, there are a number of military bases as well as defense contractors--nearby are two large shipbuilders working on Navy and Coast Guard ships. If they shut down the government, thousands of people--at least 40,000 to 60,000-- will be out of work. No only will they lose their incomes, but they will also lose their health insurance. I doubt if they qualify for Medicaid because they have too many assets. They'll probably get unemployment compensation eventually.

    What so many of these people will still have will be their rent or house payment, plus utilities, taxes and insurance, a vehicle payment and other bills made based on their pre-government shutdown income. They will not be pleased that people they voted for and sent to the House and Senate are the same people who voted to put them out of a job.

    The GOP, at least on the northern Gulf Coast, will be committing political suicide. But that's their choice.

  132. It seems to me that if the citizens of the Gulf coast should be displeased that their representatives are even threatening their livelihood. Are they paying attention? Is it that they cannot understand the implications of what their representatives are threatening to do until it actually happens?

    This is the mystery that I've often seen expressed: why do these people vote against their own economic interests in the first place.

  133. Their choice but they are taking us with them. Who suffers when the economy contracts? It is more than obvious to the most casual of observers that the Republicans have no interest whatsoever in the health of the economy. Some members of their own party are now voicing this concern, couching it of course in their ability to keep the party in power. Again, it's not about the economy or the general welfare of the American community, it's about their ability to hang onto power and control even in small amounts. Wake up, people!

  134. Unfortunately, many of those workers put those Republicans into office, thinking 'some other guy' would get hurt. If what you say happens, I truly and dearly hope that it is suicide for Republicans in that area and makes those voters think twice and thrice about voting for Republicans.

  135. Here's a revealing summary of the 80 House Republicans who demand a government shutdown/breach of the debt ceiling in order to impose their will on the nation:

    "These eighty members represent just eighteen per cent of the House and just a third of the two hundred and thirty-three House Republicans. They were elected with fourteen and a half million of the hundred and eighteen million votes cast in House elections last November, or twelve per cent of the total. In all, they represent fifty-eight million constituents. That may sound like a lot, but it’s just eighteen per cent of the population."

    This assessment from Ryan Lizza in the New Yorker clearly shows that so many are about to be betrayed by the imbalance, the ego and petulance of so few.

  136. Marital therapists working with dysfunctional couples generally try to separate the laundry list of complaints into individual problems to be addressed one at a time. The more abusive, dominating, bullying partner resists this method, always bringing up another issue to battle over - thus avoiding progress toward a solution for any one thing. This partner believes he thrives on winning the fight, defeating the other partner and maintaining total control of everything. If the bully cannot change, the relationship remain dysfunctional, abusive and ends
    in real harm and/or divorce. Reading about GOP style of [alleged] governing reminds me of these sick relationships. It's all about them and to he** with the partner.

  137. And naturally, the bully in the relationship NEVER ses themselves as a bully. No, not them. They're only doing what needs doing and being forced, yes FORCED, into doing what they do. If only the other party would see reason, everything would be fine. That's the mark of a true psychopath.

    Hopefully the American people can see things more clearly than the bully.

  138. Calling the latest economic showdown a "debt ceiling crisis" is an act of complicity on the part of the press. In their attempt to tell both sides of the story (regardless of how absurd one side of the story is) the press enable the more radical elements in the Republican party.

    The term "debt ceiling crisis" makes it sound as if an unavoidable disaster is about to blindside our economy. The only crisis is that half of the US government government is threatening to destabilize the worlds economy as a means of achieving their political aims.

    Let's call this what it is: The Republican Made Debt Ceiling Crisis.

  139. Mark Greenfield, thank you for your comment. Come on members and owners of the free press! Truth. Clarity. Informed electorate. There was vastly more coverage of an unpatriotic man reading a Dr. Seuss story in order to sabotage a law which had been passed by both houses, signed into law and upheld by the highest court of the land, than of the nation's current and former presidents explaining the same law.

  140. Exactly! and I would go even further and call it a "Republican extortion plot involving the debt ceiling"

  141. No, let's call it what it is. Economic terrorism. Or, just plain terrorism.

  142. While this article raises good points, the reeking order of partisanship provides no benefit. Pres. Obama was a joint participant in the 2011 negotiation and firmly embraced "sequester". Sequester arrived and Americans are better off - the media produced paranoia of "sequester" was wrong - not the agreement for it. Sequester has produced proper choices of "value" without inducing decay. A few more aircraft carriers and jets without fuel is a good thing.

  143. The problem with your supposition is that the sequestration doesn't just leave jets without fuel. The budget cuts leave non-profits without funding - particularly in states with lunatic republican governors, like my own. And lest you think these services are non-essential, they are programs like training and housing for homeless teenagers, services for the elderly and disabled, and social services for at risk children and families (i.e. families in danger of losing their children to health and human services). You really call that "value"?

  144. If this were the plot of a television show, critics would pan it as implausible. Yet here it is unfolding before us in all its absurdity. The republican party has gone one step farther to prove that that have no shame and lack an understanding of governance , responsibility, civility and real patriotism.

  145. This is what happens when the American public doesn't take their voting responsibilities seriously: a person (or people) with no qualifications whatsoever is literally plucked off the streets and put in a position of power.

    To all rational thinking Americans: next time, vote.

  146. Perhaps, if Mr. Boehner would function as the Speaker of the House, he might be able to gather enough votes from both sides of the aisle to solve this. His role as Speaker certainly puts him in a position to try. But if all he wants to be, along with Eric Cantor, is co-majority leader of the Republican caucus, then he must follow the "Hastert Rule" (don't bother, it's not in the Constitution). Since it doesn't serve the country's interest to have co-majority leaders, I hope that at some point he'll decide to become Speaker.

    I understand it's been a long cherished dream.

  147. Republicans have been skating close to the edge for so long that no one takes them seriously. But little by little, they have moved the dialogue far to the right. Even if they lose the battle, they are winning the war.

    Consider how the conversation would be going if the left was discussing a 60% marginal tax rate, doubling the minimum wage, expanding Medicare to cover long-term care and dental coverage, raising Social Security payments....

    but the left is recumbent while the right ascends. that's not the will of the country, but the will of the monied interests that dominate Washington.

  148. You're absolutely correct and I love your moniker. Occupy Wall Street helped move the dialogue to the left and Democrats should stop letting the Republicans' extreme positions be the topic of the day. The way to make them irrelevant is to make Democratic principles very relevant on a day-to-day basis.

  149. The American people are sick and tired of discussing Obamacare! This issue was debated ad nauseam during the first Obama administration, and in the 2012 election. Just 10 months ago the American people made their voices heard loud and clear: They rejected Mitt Romney, who very publicly and repeatedly promised that he would "repeal Obamacare on day one," and chose instead to re-elect the President. Furthermore, 1.4 million more Americans voted for Democratic candidates for the House than for Republican candidates. Thus, it's hard for many Americans to accept that the current U.S. House truly represents the People.

    Obamacare was duly and legally enacted into law, declared constitutional by a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives, and is on the verge of being implemented. Let the law take its course: If Obamacare really does turn out to be the "train wreck" the Republicans say it will be, the People will reward the GOP at the ballot box over the next few election cycles. Of course, the truth is, the Republicans fear Obamacare will succeed, and thus are resorting to the last-minute, desperate -- and truly unpatriotic -- measure of putting the full faith and credit of the United States at risk ... all so they can prevent tens of millions of Americans from getting health insurance!

    Let's get off the Obamacare debate, and get back to what the People are really most concerned about: Jobs!

  150. From a Dude in a very Tea Color district I 100% agree!

  151. ObamaCare was NOT debated until after it was passed by Congress. Remember that Nancy Pelosi said Congress would have to pass ObamaCare before we could see what was in the law. Lots of people didn't like what they saw after the law was passed. To suggest that the public knew what was in the ObamaCare legislation before it was enacted into law is simply revisionist history.

  152. Oh, Richard, you and your logical think and compassion for people. That's not what this is about! It is about...wait, what was this about? :-)

  153. Enough. If the Republicans want to change laws, the Constitution gives them three choices: either wait their turn and win back the Senate and Presidency, or win Congress with enough votes to override a veto, or persuade enough on the other side to vote with them.

    We may all differ about the political issues of our day, but let's agree that those differences need to be resolved within our system of government and not by irresponsible threats and blackmail.

  154. There really aren't words to describe this situation. That one party would tank the economy to satisfy uneducated "low information" voters who put them in power is the plot of more than one science fiction novel. One had assumed that this plot line was impossible--and yet here we are.

    How to solve it? The gloves need to come off. The educated people have to take back their government and country. Whether it was "peasants with pitchforks" or "tea party loyalists", we need to see them for what they are--selfish, foolish, cranky children with no idea of the real world--and we need to do it before they destroy us.

  155. I agree with you but many of my friends and family members are low information voters and just telling them they are wrong won't work.

    Listen to what they say, ask them questions, provide them with factual information and make it clear that you are on their side. If each of us can do this with just one voter we can make a real difference.

  156. It almost has me wondering if the Internet and social media strengthens or weakens democracy, and if we need a new form of government for the "low-information" age. The "peasants with pitchforks" have too much power.

  157. And these Republicans claim to be be fiscally conservative? Or "true patriots"?

    The hypocrisy is staggering. Enough is enough. President Obama should use the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling, and if the Republicans want to take him to court, good luck to them. The clause is pretty clear, and while the markets and the economy may suffer during a period of uncertainty, that is better than having the US default on its obligations or giving in to any of their list of absurd demands.

  158. It is one thing to talk about shrinking government until it is small enough to drown in a bath tub, but to act on this premise, especially but members sworn to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution, is treasonous. This is seditious behavior and I hope the president has the temerity to say so and to act on it.

  159. Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that there's no Constitutional requirement that Congress has to vote to raise the artifice of the debt ceiling. In that case, President Obama should just ignore Congress and fulfill all current financial obligations of the federal government, regardless of any ceiling. The Republicans will cry "foul" and move to impeach Obama, but there's no chance they could force him from office. It's unconsionable that the President and the nation are being blackmailed like this. Obama should hold firm, refuse to give in to any Republican demands, and ignore the debt ceiling if he has to.

  160. the Republicans are looking for an excuse to impeach and remove him. While they can impeach him(in the house), they can't remove him in the senate.

  161. The GOP needs to install an automated, high speed voting system in the House so Republicans can demonstrate to the Tea Party just how serious they are about ending Obamacare. This mechanism would not replace the current computers which simply records votes. Instead, it could be authorized to actually generate millions of slightly different versions of laws and then vote on each law.
    This system could run unattended, even while House members sleep. It could be programmed to generate Billions of votes each second to defund the Health Care Law.
    Imagine next year as proud House Members, running for re-election, announce to their constituents that they voted Over One Trillion times against ObamaCare. This kind of thing really impresses Tea Party Members.
    Over course, the Senate would need to install a similar system to respond to the torrent of laws passed the House.
    Such an automated system would free GOP House members to direct their attention to more important chores like attending trainings to hone their skills as robots.

  162. Hopefully the Stockholm syndrome can take over the the Dems will see the error of their ways, and do so quickly. Last moment converts are always welcome. The only way Washington government works is to wait until the last minute to settle anything, then kick the can down the road. We have seen this movie before, know its outcome and can't wait for the next sequel. Most American's, as they should, ignore these 'horror shows' and the sky is falling' routines, as they should. Please, send these bullies to their rooms so we can have a little peace and quite. .

  163. Why doesn't President Obama just bypass Congress and mint a platinum coin to pay the bills, as economist Paul Krugman has suggested? If House Republicans are determined to sabotage the economy, it's time the president beat them at their own game.

  164. This is like the husband saying to his wife, give into my demands or I will break our child's leg. The child has nothing to do with the fight and everybody suffers, but since the wife feels the pain, it must be a good strategy.

    These guys are worse than terrorists. Terrorists hurt innocent people, but they don't hurt their own family.

  165. Sen. Obama's vote against raising the debt ceiling when he was a senator was a matter of symbolism not "as a way to change policy." It's not difficult to understand the difference if you just pause and think about it momentarily.

  166. And you think the Republicans' votes against raising the debt ceiling are different?

  167. Right, he never did anything serious while he was in the senate.

  168. Republicans failed to defeat President Obama in two elections yet them expect him to behave like the president they always wanted, or else. Graceful losers, Republicans are not. Just Imagine how they must have mocked Al Gore on the night he did his best to show them how it's done.

  169. Indeed, Republicans failed to defeat Obama twice.

    But the Republicans did a House-cleaning in 2010 and only slipped a few seats in 2010.

    The Republicans were less successful with the Senate in 2010, but the did, indeed, eliminate some Democrats, and did it again in 2012.

    Seems to me that there is a mixed mandate being expressed by The People, and Democrats should be taking that into account as they hurl invective and hatred at the opposition.

    Which, in a way, suggests that The People are fine with the stagnation as neither party has a consensus as to where the future might lie.

  170. The majority of impossible demands in the Republican bill directly benefit the oil industry. Is there any clearer evidence that Cruz, Lee and their Tea Party cohorts are merely front men for the Koch brothers, who are really the ones holding America hostage in this GOP-manufactured crisis?

  171. I hope those folks on the Supreme Court are happy with how their Citizens United ruling has turned our legislative process upside down and where 40+ domestic terrorists in the House care more about their contributors than the country.

  172. This standoff reminds me of the great American Western, "High Noon," where sheriff Gary Cooper stands up to a gang of armed thugs. Obama needs to man up and stare down these Tea Party terrorists. He must NOT let this cabal of delusional extremists essentially take the entire government hostage. If that means refusing to negotiate with at the risk of a gov't shutdown or even a credit default, so be it; force the Tea Party-controlled House to take the blame. You don't negotiate with hostage takers and the majority of Americans will support Obama in this stand-off. My message to the president: Don't Give In.

  173. It is time for the "empty chair" at last year's GOP convention to respond with one of Clint Eastwood's trademark lines -
    "Go ahead punk, make my day."

  174. The democrats are the stonewallers here.

    Rouhani has been more flexible than Obama. There is nothing on which the Democrats have offered compromise since BO came to office. The Democrats claim they have a mandate to do what the American people want -- as if 51% is a mandate.

    No politician since Alcibiades has spouted more demagoguery than B. Obama. His clumsy blustering diplomacy against Syria that changed to timid "incredibly small" demonstration of his resolve was based on his sycophantic pursuit of popularity at all costs. And little good it has done him.

    The Republicans are doing the right thing. They should remain at the table. With time the Democrats' petulancy will diminish and their tantrum will end. Then some work will be done.

  175. "Rouhani has been more flexible than Obama." Please be specific.

  176. The last republican President claimed to have a mandate with much much less of a majority.

    The people elected the Democrats to fix the mess that last bunch made. Let's not lose sight of that. We are still recovering.

  177. The entire Obamacare bill is a compromise, and a bad one. The fact that the Republicans were permitted to gut it and use it as a gift to private insurers basically sums up what's wrong with it. And Obama's mandate is a few million votes wider than GW Bush's was in 2000 - Bush basically had a mandate of 'Anton Scalia'. (SCOTUS was so ashamed of that opinion that it specifically put in the opinion that it can't be cited as precedent!)

    As for your reference to Alcibiades, I'm not convinced you've read Thucydides - but hey', it'll impress the hoi polloi.

  178. I'm pretty sure that it is a federal crime to seek to undermine the full faith and credit of the United States.

  179. It is time to call their bluff. Let them shut down the government and default on the debt. Then let them take the blame and let us pick up the pieces. Delaying the ACA is a nasty tactic that is hoping they can use the 2014 election to get even more legislators howling for its repeal, and if they get a majority in the senate, that can get it passed, even though it will be vetoed. Then they have another issues for 2016. They are not as dumb as they appear.

  180. "Whatever happened to elections? We used to settle these issues in something called elections? Don't they matter any more? Can the people who happen to be in government now just push us around?"

    That could be a quote from a moderate German, sometime around 1935.

  181. It is unbelievable that the GOP can hold President Obama, the Democrats and the whole country for that matter hostage. The GOP clearly do not care one iota for the country. They only care for themselves, the very wealthy and big business. Democracy is a word that is no longer in their vocabulary.

  182. The House has seen better days! I consider hostage taking and gerrymandering forms of criminal behavior and should be treated as such. The president should call out the marines and lock the House members in their chamber without food or water until they begin to show some signs of maturity--like their hair and teeth falling out.

  183. Some "are working to try and make the plan fail [because they] are worried that it will succeed and make them look bad."
    Wasn't this the problem with FDR's "social insurance" -- the Social Security Act of 1935?

  184. The president should not negotiate with these crazy people. He MUST stand firm and continue to be the grown up in the room. I know he cares deeply about the country but he must not give in to Republican demands. The children in congress will never grow up if he tries to appease them. He should treat them just like grown ups treat a kid who is throwing a tantrum in the middle of the room. You never give the screaming child what they want. Once you give in, the little brats learn that throwing a tantrum really works. So next time they don't get their way they just throw another one. Let the Republicans cause whatever damage they decide to inflict on the country. The blame will fall to them. Get mad Mr. President and stand firm! Speak out against their stupidity but don't give in to their demands. Just keep telling us how irrational and irresponsible the Republicans have become. Republican irrational behavior is now becoming hard for the country to ignore. Very soon the depth of their lunacy will finally be understood by voters. The sane voices in the country must keep up the narrative and continually point out Republican obstructionism and childish behavior. At some point it will resonate at the ballot box, hopefully during the mid term election.

  185. Chris - I fully agree with your sentiments, but can we please stop referring to the Tea Party Republicans as tantrum-throwing kids? To do so is to disregard what this latest standoff in Washington is all about. At the core of the conservative Republican movement is power. Ever since Goldwater's coded declaration "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice!" conservative Republicans have been fueled by the conviction that they, and only they, are fit to occupy the White House and dominate the Supreme Court and Congress to generate maximum benefit to their interests, be it uncontrolled gun ownership, Wall Street, big agriculture, big oil, big military or big corporations. They're not "crazy," they're deadly serious, and out of unbridled selfishness they are willing to endanger the well-being of everyone else in America.

  186. Amen my Brother !! Sounds like something I have said time and time again.

    Stand firm in the face of the idiocy of the irrational Republicans, Mr President.

    This idiocy will, without doubt, resonate at the ballot box, Beaner !!

    And, again I say, Beaner, if folks like me don't get our Social Security checks, its going to high on to ugly soon.

  187. Barack Obama is a decent guy, whose heart is in the right place on many issues. He is also a very weak-willed individual. He has been rolled over and over and over again by the right-wing dog wagged by its tea party tail. This is unlikely to end any time soon. He hasn't got the guts FDR had in his little finger. Sad - so disappointing. Under his watch right wing has become the new center.

  188. Perhaps you should query one Osama bin Laden as to the depths of Mr Obama's will. He should be able to expect something better than terrorism from his Republican "colleagues."

  189. You're right, Obama doesn't make a very good king. On the contrary, I applaude his respect for our Constitution when it comes to how a bill becomes a law.

    The real jellyfish today are the Democratic leaders in both Houses of Congress! They are the ones who are not only constitutionally allowed to butt heads with the Tea Party, they are charged with the responsibility of doing so!!

    As for FDR, he had an incredibly powerful Democratic congress actually fighting for him during a time when TP style bullying was not tolerated by either party. So not a good comparison at all.

  190. ahhh, tell it to bin laden.

  191. From financial melt downs to mine explosions, to contamination from nuclear waste, to oil spills, to harmful drugs, to consumer fraud, the history of unregulated commerce is full of disasters. Yet, conservatives keep on demanding that reasonable regulations that protect lives and people's income be abolished. Now, what is more desirable than a consumers' protection agency or a food and drug agency that keeps us from ingesting harmful products? Yet Republicans are continually trying to hinder, defund, impede their work. We are not in the 19th century when industrial activity and population was a minimal component of daily life. The sources of contamination and pollution, like oil refineries, billions of cars spewing exhaust, air-conditioners, pesticides, are all around us and while we can't do totally without them, we certainly ought to try to regulate their adverse consequences. But don't tell it to the Republicans for whom damn the regulations, full steam ahead is their preferred way of life.

  192. Since local Republican congressman like King, Smith, and Frelinghuysen are not Tea Party fanatics, why are they supporting the madness of the extremists in their party, i.e., the 80 or so republicans elected in 2010?

  193. Hmmm, could be a good enough reason to retire them don't you think?

  194. Because their districts have been gerrymandered, and they're terrified of primary challenges back home. The fringe of the GOP is threatening to rain hellfire on anyone in the party who even whispers the word compromise.

  195. Treason, plain and simple.

    Done by the right wing at the behest of their paymasters led by the Koch brothers et al.

  196. You have no idea what treason is.

    And given the ritual blaming of the Koch brothers, it seem as though you are joining the Clinton out there in "vast, right-wing conspiracy" land...which sits right next to land occupied by the birthers and holocaust deniers.

    Suggestion, if I may... Look up what legally constitutes treason and see if you have enough evidence to obtain a conviction in a court of law.

  197. Republicans are playing poker, except they're not using their own money. Our money and livelihoods and well being is what's on the table. Tea Party Republicans profess to be conservative, but their methods and thinking are radical.

  198. radical conservative traitors.

    benedict arnold would be proud.

  199. The ransom demands are identical to Mitt Romney's 2012 economic plan. The fact that a major party could even propose anything like this is a display of astonishing contempt for democratic norms. Republicans ran on this plan and lost by 5 million votes. They also lost the Senate and received a million fewer votes in the House but held control owing to favorable district lines. Is there an example in American history of a losing party issuing threats to force the majority party to implement its rejected agenda?

    The chutzpah!

  200. "Is there an example in American history of a losing party issuing threats to force the majority party to implement its rejected agenda?"

    No. There is no precedent for the current situation. No previous Congress has been this reckless and defiant of the will of the people they purport to represent.

  201. The debt ceiling is being used as a weapon to empower crazy and should be eliminated. Since that isn't an option with the current House, making it irrelevant is the best possible outcome.

    Back in 2011, the idea of a platinum trillion dollar coin seemed like a loony idea that could damage American credibility. Today, it is a viable, legal rational plan to contain the madness emanating from the People's House.

  202. The executive branch of the United States' government does not negotiate with terrorists. It should also not negotiate with its homegrown Tea Party extremists.

  203. exactly!

  204. How is this mess Senator Reid's responsibility? Budget bills originate in the House, not the Senate. The House is controlled by certifiable lunatics who have less interest in good government than the average tapeworm. What is Reid supposed to do about that?

  205. The Democrats should insist that the debt limit law be repealed. It is a stupid law anyway, because the only reason the US incurs debt is to meet obligations that Congress authorized.

  206. Reduce boarder control funds and multinational corporation locations

  207. If the GOP was serious about governance in a divided government, it would not repeatedly go to the brink of disaster to attempt to slow or end a few programs they don't like. I don't believe they're interested in governance. They're interested in the power of government without the responsibility to use it wisely.

    I seriously hope President Obama just says No. The GOP just might reap the pain it sows come 2014 if he does--and let's face it, their extreme gerrymandering will not hold for more than another two cycles.

  208. If these legislators are extorting the government, and last I heard extortion is a crime, then why not arrest and charge them? Enough.

  209. EXTORTION - the practice of obtaining something through force or threats.

    The Republicans are clearly threatening the President and the American people - sounds like extortion to me - sounds criminal to me.

    It's going to get ugly when the ole grey beards don't get their Social Security checks.

  210. Boehner makes it clear there can be no discussion, nor should there be any on the part of the President. Now seems the time to have a purposeful discussion with Iran and Ruheimi and demonstrate what reasonable and intelligent individuals can accomplish.

  211. It is very interesting that the current Repubs have dug themselves a hole and can't stop digging. A major part of the debt is directly related to the Iraq war, which under Bush/Cheney was the first war in the history of this country that was not paid for IN FULL while it was being fought. In addition, the massive tax cut was also not paid for all resulting in the largest deficit in the history of the world.

    It is also interesting that the Repubs do not point out that major decreases in the debt have been made under the current administration through cuts in spending which reduces the debt that the Repubs caused.

    The Repubs have dug themselves a massive hole and do not know how to fill it in.

  212. Ignore the demands; it is theater, obviously. Yes, there is much at stake and it could cost but who's going to stand up and punch them out. Time for the President to use his creative ability. Well, first thing is lock the Congress in and surround the capital with troops to keep them there, if they want to be paid they should have to at least show up and do some work.

  213. The main problem is that Obama has caved to these lunatics before.

  214. Democracy includes the other side's view of the world and sometimes those ideas are ill advised and perilous. Nevertheless, democratic process is designed to be self-corrective and dynamic. Republician authoritarianism is a dying attitude and might be extinct after this (their) pending debacle. Hope springs eternal?.

  215. "Republican authoritarianism is a dying attitude and might be extinct".
    There are enough crazy voters in the south who
    keep giving majority to republicans. It is hard
    to understand those Texans who elected Ted Cruz.
    They must be extremist too.

  216. So if the Senate and the President give into any of these Tea Party Republican demands, we can only expect new Tea Party demands.

  217. Mr. President, it is time to put an end to this nonsense once and for all, for the sake of both the immediate future as well as the long-term health of the country. As a citizen and taxpayer, I urge you to claim authority under Section IV of the 14th Amendment ("The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned"), and declare the debt ceiling to have been raised. No doubt, the House will respond by voting to impeach you, but the Senate does not have the two-thirds majority needed to convict you on such a scurrilous charge. Explain your action fully to the American people in a prime time address before you proceed; explain the risks, both immediate in terms of the economy, and longer term in terms of the right of the American people not to be held hostage to a minority party's ransom, and I believe you will have the support, as well as the deep admiration, of a solid majority of Americans.

    I realize that battling an impeachment attempt was not how you envisioned spending the remainder of your time in office. But Mr. President, with all due respect, if you manage to put an end to this kind of minority rule-by-hostage-taking, you will leave a legacy that will be the envy of future Presidents for decades to come.

  218. Thank you for clarifying the issue. Any attempt by the Congress to avoid paying the debt is clearly unconstitutional.

    The President is under no obligation to stop paying our lawful debts, no matter what the Congess does. In fact, the Constitution clearly mandates that debts must be paid.

    I say, go for it. Tell the House you have no intention of defaulting, no matter what unconstitutional laws they pass. Then let the matter be decided by the Senate and the Supreme Court.

  219. Very well said, Mr Kessinger.

    Republicans are simply terrorists attempting to bring down the United States. Obama won't let it happen. He can't let it happen.

  220. We have all been held hostage by demented Republicans - Tea Party and rich One Percenters and uncompassionate conservatives - brewing scenarios of catastrophe with their insane demands. Put a stop to nutters like Ted Cruz and his horrible ilk pulling our chains.. President Obama would do well to just say no.

  221. Much of the reason why they are the rich One-Percenters is that they are more intelligent and risk tolerant than the rank-and-file.

    Smart people do better than mediocre, and mediocre people do better than dummies.

    And isn't ironic that Ms. Socolow is commenting from that land of the tax havens, the place where the one-percenters stash much of their wealth.

  222. The president will have no choice but to invokes a provision of the 14teenth amendment regardless of any problems associated with doing so. The Republican list of hostage demands will enhance his position when the case comes before the supreme court.

  223. Don't be too sure about this supreme court acting sensibly and impartialy. The conservative majority is part of the problem rather than the solution and their past (moronic) decisions (Citizens United etc.) gives much comfort and impetus to the Tea Party loonies inside and outside Congress.

  224. This may be what the Republicans actually want, in order to create an excuse for impeachment.

    Such a bill may very well pass in the House, but they won't get a conviction in the Senate. I say "bring it on."

    As has been said before, "the Constitution is not a suicide pact."

  225. The government could coin money, high value because it says it's high value. If it wants to increase the debt, why call it debt? I think Obama care is just an insurance plan from what you've told me of it. It can't cover long-term care, especially after so many government things have been privatized. What good is a global economy if it includes childish things like for-profit ambulances and hospitals?

  226. This terrible relentless and reckless behavior on the part of the Republicans stems from their psychotic hatred of Obama and their loss in 2012 and their bitterness that the American people actually preferred President Obama over Mitt Romney. It is nauseating to hear the Republicans state even now at every opportunity that they are "winning" and that they represent the interests of the American people. Hah. No sane person believes that. Joe Manchin is no loss. He is no democrat, small d or large D. I believe in evil and we are witnessing evil people who prefer anarchy to responsible government. President Obama must enlist support from every Democrat as well as every Republican who actually cares about the country. He must invoke the 14th amendment to save the country from these anarchists. He must also address the American people and call these people out as a danger to our country.

  227. Delay Obamacare? OK. In exchange to true campaign finance reform. No corporate or special interest money in politics at all. Only individual contributions capped at $1000 total per person per year on all candidates and propositions.

  228. Please, Mr. Obama, invoke the Fourteenth Amendment. We are so tired of the self-serving, obstruction, obfuscation and seventh-grade level squabbling. Re-manufacturing the same old financial crisis and making insane demands to "fix it" doesn't fix anything. It only makes things worse for American citizens, and diminishes the United States in the eyes of the world. Both parties share the blame for creating this situation. They should be able to grow up enough to accept that responsibility and then work toward real, practical, lasting remedies.

  229. Certainly, it wouldn't hurt the provision of healthcare services if there were in fact caps on many medical malpractice suits. Defensive medicine does exist and it is a major driver of medical treatment costs. And doing so might show a (small) willingness to being bipartisan.