If Obama invokes the 14th Amendment to avoid default, he might be impeached — but so what?

Part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads as follows: 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. Could President Obama invoke that passage to save the federal government from defaulting on its debts? Hendrik Hertzberg, by way of a comparison with certain problems faced by Abraham Lincoln, PONDERS the situation in which Obama currently finds himself:...

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Raising the debt ceiling does not increase the national debt, but congressional wrangling over it does

HERE are a few facts some folks seem not to understand: Raising the debt ceiling does not raise the national debt, but fighting over it does. The perverse outcome of the GOP’s 2011 fight over the ceiling was a nearly $19 billion increase in costs to taxpayers over the coming years due to increased borrowing costs stemming from the credit downgrade. Over the 50 years prior to 2011, the cap on borrowing had been raised nearly 80 separate times as necessary to allow the government to continue paying its debts. Nineteen of those hikes came with...

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Defaulting on the national debt would be far worse than shutting down the federal government

Ezra Klein COMPARES two looming deadlines facing Congress and finds one more scary than the other: There are two fiscal crack-ups on offer this fall. One is a government shutdown. That’s bad, but it’s not a catastrophe. The other is breaching the debt ceiling. That’s a complete and utter catastrophe. The timeline here is cold and unforgiving: Absent action, the government shutdown will happen at the end of this month. The debt ceiling could collapse as soon as Oct. 18. If the GOP needs to lose a giant showdown in order to...

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New poll shows that many Americans still don’t know the real meaning of raising the debt ceiling

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released this morning shows that 44 percent of Americans are opposed to raising the federal debt ceiling (see HERE), which comes as no surprise given the political dynamics of the situation. This issue has arisen again with a deadline looming next month, after which the government would default on its debts if the ceiling is not raised. In that event, a fiscal disaster would ensue. But, as was the case the last time we faced this problem, lots of Americans simply don’t understand the fundamentals of the...

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Here’s proof that the GOP is the party of debt

The story accompanying the charts above is...

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