These are my links for July 13th from 08:26 to 08:32:
- Can President Obama keep paying Social Security benefits even if the debt ceiling is reached? – The president obviously does not want to show all of his cards in this high-stakes game of poker. Raising the specter of not issuing Social Security checks is designed to raise pressure on Republicans, but could also cause angst among the elderly.
At this point the answer is unclear but we become suspicious when politicians begin to use “may,” rather than speak in definitive sentences. If Treasury has the ability to keep paying Social Security benefits, even if the debt limit is reached, the Obama administration should make that clear. The Treasury Department’s new statement begins to add some clarity. We will keep watching how the president speaks about this issue.
Answer is perhaps….
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- The McConnell Plan’s Pitfalls – Shortly after Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell unveiled his “contingency” plan for a debt limit increase, the Associated Press bulletin read: “GOP Leader McConnell proposes giving Obama new power for automatic debt limit increase.”
It’s surely not the headline McConnell wanted, but unlike much of the media coverage of the debt fight, it’s accurate. And that’s a problem.
It is not, however, the main problem with the McConnell plan. Far worse, in my view, is that the plan isolates House Republicans, it undercuts their (tentative) plan to offer an aggressive debt limit proposal of their own, it turns their principled intransigence from a possible strength to a certain liability, and it virtually ensures that, in the event of default, Republicans – not the White House – will be blamed.
McConnell’s plan gives the president the ability to raise the debt ceiling through 2012, in three separate increments, by requiring Obama to propose spending cuts greater than each request. Its main virtue is that these hikes would have to pass largely with Democratic support – something that McConnell and others believe will redound to Republicans’ benefit heading into the 2012 election cycle. And, the theory goes, if President Obama offers phony spending cuts, as he almost certain to do, his posturing as the “adult in the room” on entitlements and spending will be exposed as unserious.
But there’s the catch, too: the spending cuts do not have to be real or even implemented in order for the president to get his debt ceiling increases. McConnell acknowledged this at the press conference to announce the plan Tuesday afternoon. ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked: “Does it guarantee you’ll get your spending cuts or not?” McConnell responded: “No, it doesn’t.”
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A different perspective than the Wall Street Journal
- Debt-Limit Harakiri or Why McConnell’s Plan is Not So Bad – The tea party/talk-radio expectations for what Republicans can accomplish over the debt-limit showdown have always been unrealistic. As former Senator Phil Gramm once told us, never take a hostage you're not prepared to shoot. Republicans aren't prepared to stop a debt-limit increase because the political costs are unbearable. Republicans might have played this game better, but the truth is that Mr. Obama has more cards to play.
The entitlement state can't be reformed by one house of Congress in one year against a determined President and Senate held by the other party. It requires more than one election. The Obama Democrats have staged a spending blowout to 24% of GDP and rising, and now they want to find a way to finance it to make it permanent. Those are the real stakes of 2012.
Even if Mr. Obama gets his debt-limit increase without any spending cuts, he will pay a price for the privilege. He'll have reinforced his well-earned reputation as a spender with no modern peer. He'll own the record deficits and fast-rising debt. And he'll own the U.S. credit-rating downgrade to AA if Standard & Poor's so decides.
We'd far prefer a bipartisan deal to cut spending and reform entitlements without a tax increase. But if Mr. Obama won't go along, there's no reason Republicans should help him dodge the political consequences by committing debt-limit harakiri.
Read it all…..
An interesting perspective…..