No New Taxes!

Cantor Walks Out of Debt Ceiling Talks:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, said Thursday that he was quitting the debt ceiling negotiations being led by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. because of an impasse over the role of taxes in any final deal. “I believe that we have identified trillions in spending cuts, and to date, we have established a blueprint that could institute the fiscal reforms needed to start getting our fiscal house in order,” Mr. Cantor said in a prepared statement. “That said, each side came into these talks with certain orders, and as it stands the Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases. There is not support in the House for a tax increase, and I don’t believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation. Regardless of the progress that has been made, the tax issue must be resolved before discussions can continue.”

Let the caving begin! Actually, the President has a pretty strong legal argument that he actually does not need the debt ceiling raised. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution provides:

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.

Even according to right wing lawyers Rivkin and Casey, this means:

unlike most other sovereign states, the U.S. constitutionally cannot default on its financial obligations. In particular, it must continue to make payments, interest and principal, on its bonds, effectively requiring Congress to provide sufficient authority for that purpose.

Indeed, these two GOP lawyers urged the GOP House to:

Consistent with its obligations under Section Four, Congress should promptly increase the debt ceiling, but with one key caveat: The increase can be used only for borrowing to service existing obligations. By anchoring this action in a specific constitutional obligation, Congress would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the Obama administration to oppose this resolution of the debt-ceiling battle. At the same time, Congress should reclaim immediate control of the issuance of all other new debt obligations.

I'm all for that as well. Let Congress assert its authority over ALL matters. Of course this is no good for the GOP, as they have already appropriated spending for the fiscal year.

But even if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, the President, it seems to me, has a much more plausible case for saying he has the right to insure that this Constitutional provision is not violated than he does for, say, the Libya action.

And this legal creativity would actually serve the national interest.

Speaking for me only

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  • Display: Sort:
    Cantor's behavior is more evidence (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Buckeye on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 11:28:15 AM EST
    of the failure of The Deal.  Without that, none of this would be happening.

    Obama should direct Treasury to continue (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 11:53:15 AM EST
    to mkaepayments regardless of the debt ceiling. If Geithner does not  like it, he can resign. It is a win-win.

    Agreed (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Warren Terrer on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 12:23:17 PM EST
    If he can attack Libya without congressional approval surely he can do something USEFUL without congressional approval.

    Or...maybe it's really a case of... (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 12:04:00 PM EST
    "Cantor Kicks The Tax Issue to Boehner - Hits Him Squarely in the Nuts: `No way I'm getting the blame for taxes - Boehner's the Speaker - let him make that call!'"

    Fiddle, fiddle, burn, burn.

    Good point. And possibly your (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 01:48:43 PM EST
    most laconic post to date!

    Too disgusted by all the kabuki (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 01:51:47 PM EST
    to say more.

    a sad sign of the times (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by CST on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 12:06:55 PM EST
    is that I read this and thought ooh! "Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases".  Who knew they had so much spine.  Too bad they weren't also insisting that we not cut spending.

    Also, I know I shouldn't expect anything more from Republicans, but "I don't believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation" - really Cantor?  It is apparently the time to fire teachers and other government employees, cut medicaid, cut heating assistance for poor people, cut summer job funding, cut transportation funding, don't cut military funding, cut medicare, etc... etc...

    But raise taxes!!!!!  Blasphemy.  The economy can apparently handle all the poor people in the world getting f*cked, but cannot handle a little extra assistance from the rich.

    You'd think the millionaires, (none / 0) (#8)
    by nycstray on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 12:50:49 PM EST
    billionaires and those protecting them would be thoroughly embarrassed by now.

    Donations to art museums are up. (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 01:49:31 PM EST
    "Arts organizations" (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 01:57:53 PM EST
    one must be capable (none / 0) (#19)
    by cpinva on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 06:39:03 PM EST
    of being embarrassed first. the cadre you reference lacks that ability.

    Excellent, Smithers... (none / 0) (#10)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 01:24:16 PM EST
    Seriously brilliant. Stamp out some $10 billion coin, give it to whomever.

    There used to be $5,000 and $10,000 bills in circulation, they usually only travelled between the fed and the banks.

    Fantastic idea, CST!!!


    Warren Terror, (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 01:25:27 PM EST
    Sorry! I mis-attributed!

    (Head hanging in shame)

    I'll make you a pork schnitzel as a peace offering...


    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Warren Terrer on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 01:28:51 PM EST
    You don't even have to put these coins into circulation. Just deposit them into an account at the Fed and keep spending in the usual fashion.

    ha! (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by CST on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 01:42:43 PM EST
    no problem.  I'm full of other people's great ideas.  Ask me another one.  I'm sure someone will answer you.  That's how good I am.  I can delegate and use esp via the internet.

    There's also the coin seigneurage (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Warren Terrer on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 12:53:04 PM EST
    argument which goes something like this:

    The treasury has the authority to issue coins that don't count as part of the national debt because no borrowing mechanism is involved. All Obama has to do is mint some coins with high face value, say $1 billion each, deposit them in the Treasury's bank account at the Fed, then spend from the account in the usual fashion and voila problem solved.

    I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other whether this is feasible, and I know Obama would never do it, because he's not interested in getting around GOP obstruction, only in capitulating to it, but I thought it was an interesting idea for discussion.

    Warren (none / 0) (#18)
    by cal1942 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 06:05:07 PM EST
    love it.

    Isn't the (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 11:38:23 AM EST
    debt ceiling something that Gringrich et al brought back in the 90's? We seemed to live without it for quite a time if that was the case.

    It is an interesting and audacious (none / 0) (#4)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 11:58:14 AM EST
    argument that should be made given the stakes--the full faith and credit of the US, on the one hand, and cuts that will be suffered by individuals and devastating to the whole economy on the other.  However, using an innovative legal argument for this purpose will require fortitude and bracing for the Republican reaction---a controversy for which President Obama does not seem suited.  The Libyan legal contortion would be "bean bag" in comparison with him expecting reactions to be moderate, with Democrats mostly falling in and Republicans split at best.