Obama should invoke the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that states the following: 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.
First of all it will force the party of “personal responsibility” to pay their debts. Let me remind you that the debt ceiling needs to be raised not to expand government spending in the future as our far right folks think, but to pay for bills that already have been incurred in the past, mostly by the same personally responsible, fiscally conservative party, like paying for wars, Bush’s tax cuts, and interest on the existing debt. (Obamacare has not kicked in yet, just so you know).
Second, if someone will still question the legality of the move, he or she can take it to court. I can’t wait to see what sort of personal injury or loss of property they will claim to suffer from the event of NON-default. Well, I can imagine PIMCO folks or others who shorted Treasuries counting on default to have a monetary loss, but just picture them in front of US Supreme Court with this!
Third, I don’t think the Tea Partiers in Congress understand the whole seriousness of the situation. They are looking at the default as if it’s a tool to use against Obama and not something that will hurt them or their constituents in the end. Politicians who engage in political posturing to placate their caucus is one thing, everyone does it, but Tea Party block are true believers – they really do want US to default, all be damned. “That’ll show’em!” – they think. They need to get some education from some wily lawyers who used to run the show in Congress, but who also know what a compromise is. When grandma or some average Joe investor or some contractor doesn’t get paid – who cares! But when Wall Street gets nervous and when Tea Party financial spigots are scratching their heads at a bunch of hillbillies they sent to Congress – that’s a wake-up call. When Wall Street feels like it won’t get paid – they will make sure their message gets through. And that’s where, with all my antipathy towards lawmakers, I would prefer crafty lawyers to uneducated hacks. The hacks that love the Constitution so much they want to amend it. The same hacks that love America so much they want her to default.
And lastly, Bill Clinton says he would use this amendment “without hesitation” and “let them challenge me in court”. This alone would be enough for me!