"The fact that we're here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means 'The buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit."~ Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), 2006
Best described as petulant and bullying, President Obama presided over a press conference with the White House reporters Monday, billed as the last of his first term.
So we’ve got to pay our bills. And Republicans in Congress have two choices here. They can act responsibly, and pay America’s bills, or they can act irresponsibly and put America through another economic crisis. But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The financial well being of the American people is not leverage to be used. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip. And they better choose quickly, because time is running short.
President Obama equates Republican opposition to his never ending tax and spend mentality to hostage taking and uses the word "ransom" to conjure up that mental image. Apparently, Republicans are terrorists in Obamaworld.
Lapdog media member extraordinaire, NBC's Chuck Todd, asked about using the 14th Amendment since some Democrats like the scholarly Nancy Pelosi think it covers Obama's back if he uses it to handle the debt ceiling.
QUESTION: Thank you, sir. As you know, Senate Democrats -- Harry Reid sent you a letter begging you, essentially, to take -- consider some sort of executive action on this debt ceiling issue. I know you’ve said you’re not negotiating on it. Your administration has ruled out the various ideas that have been out there, the 14th Amendment, but just this morning, House -- one of the House Democratic leaders, Jim Clyburn, asked you to use the 14th Amendment and even said sometimes that’s what it takes. He brought up the Emancipation Proclamation as saying they took executive action when Congress wouldn’t act, and he compared the debt ceiling to that. So are you considering a Plan B? And if not, why not?Ah, yes. The standard slavery reference from the race-baiters in the Congressional Black Caucus.
OBAMA: Well, Chuck, the issue here is whether or not America pays its bills. We are not a deadbeat nation. And so there’s a very simple solution to this: Congress authorizes us to pay our bills. Now, if the House and the Senate want to give me the authority so that they don’t have to take these tough votes, if they want to put the responsibility on me to raise the debt ceiling, I’m happy to take it. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, had a proposal like that last year. And I’m happy to accept it.
But if they want to keep this responsibility, then they need to go ahead and get it done. And, you know, there are no magic tricks here. There are no loopholes. There are no, you know, easy outs. This is a matter of Congress authorizes spending. They order me to spend. They tell me, you need to fund our Defense Department at such- and-such a level, you need to send out Social Security checks, you need to make sure that you are paying to care for our veterans. They lay all this out for me, and -- because they have the spending power. And so I am required by law to go ahead and pay these bills.
And, during his answer on the same subject to Major Garrett, Obama felt the need to yet again state that he won the election:
If we want to have a conversation about how to reduce our deficit, let’s have that. We’ve been having that for the last two years. We just had an entire campaign about it. And by the way, the American people agreed with me, that we should reduce our deficits in a balanced way, that also takes into account the need for us to grow this economy, and put people back to work.
And despite that conversation, and despite the election results, the position that’s been taken, on the part of some House republicans, is that, “Nope, we gotta do it our way. And if we don’t, we simply won’t pay America’s bills.”
Well, you know, that -- that can’t be -- that can’t be a position that is sustainable over time. It’s not one that’s good for the economy now. It’s certainly not going to be the kind of precedent that I want to establish, not just for my presidency, but for future presidents. Even if it was on the other side.
Democrats don’t like voting for the debt ceiling when a Republican’s president. And yet, you -- you -- but you never saw a situation in which Democrats suggested somehow that we would go ahead and default if we didn’t get 100 percent of our way. That’s just not how it’s supposed to work.
So, President Obama now feels empowered to declare he is no longer going to compromise and even though he's been nice, in his mind, to Republicans, those big meanies still bad mouth him as they debate on the floors of the House and Senate.
What a whiner.
This is Speaker of the House Boehner today in a press release:
President Obama says “America cannot afford another debate” over the debt limit. In one respect he’s right, the debate is over – we need to cut spending. Fitch Ratings made it clear today that America’s national debt is undermining our economy, and that raising the debt limit without making serious spending cuts and reforms could result in another credit downgrade for the United States:
- “The United States risks losing its AAA credit rating from Fitch if any deal to raise the legal borrowing limit does not include a plan to put public finances on a more sustainable footing.” (CNN Money)
- “The agency said that even if a deal on the debt ceiling was agreed, if the government did not implement a credible plan to cut its deficit, it was likely to downgrade US debt later this year in any case.” (BBC)
- “Fitch also warned that fundamental strengths in the US economy were being undermined by the weight of debt and associated strains.” (AFP)
Ratings agency S&P made a similar warning in 2011 when it downgraded the U.S., noting that reforming and preserving our entitlement programs is the “key to long-term fiscal sustainability.”
And, that's where we are.