President Obama has an interesting negotiating strategy when it comes to the “debt ceiling” — the point in time when the federal government has borrowed every cent Congress allows it to borrow. In a press conference yesterday, he declared he simply won’t negotiate with Republicans on the issue.
Congress authorized spending; in fact, he said, it ordered him to spend this money (by means of legislation that could only become law if he affixed his signature to it). Therefore, Congress simply must allow the Treasury Department to go out and get more. No preconditions.
In other words, in a tone of high dudgeon, the president has asserted that the exemplary moral behavior for the United States (with its $16 trillion debt and $1 trillion-plus in annual interest payments on that debt) is . . . to borrow more money.
He won’t let the country be “held hostage,” nor will he pay Republicans a “ransom.” They are putting “a gun to the head” of the American people.
What Obama is saying is simple: The United States has become Too Big To Fail.
By daring the GOP to risk default in February with his refusal to negotiate over spending cuts, the president is, in effect, holding the United States hostage against itself.