A friend of mine made an interesting observation about President Obama’s claim that there may not be money for Social Security checks to be sent if a debt ceiling deal is not reached by August 3: Social Security checks are sent at the end of July.
That doesn’t mean a default would not be a catastrophe. It would. It also does not mean that Social Security checks due to go out at the end of August absolutely would be sent (though it’s hard to imagine the country remaining in default for more than a month!). But it does mean that the President of the United States is using tactics unworthy of his office.
While the president is getting good press from the mainstream media, the House GOP has come in for a barrage of criticism from the same sources for standing firm on not raising taxes. As much as I was pulling for a victory and speaking only for myself, I have become an ardent fan of the Mitch McConnell deal which would allow Republicans to not vote for tax increases while permitting the president to raise the debt ceiling.
If you are in maneuvers with a wily opponent-and Obama is one of the best when it comes to pure politics-then you have to engage in maneuvers, too. You cannot adopt a battle plan that simply ignores the other side. You can pretent the other side just doesn’t exist. You can stand firm and be mowed down but that is not the best way to fight a war. The McConnell deal is an imperfect response that would allow the anti-tax side to live to fight another day.
Writing for the Daily Caller, Dorian Davis says that the McConnell plan “sucks.” Davis notes:
McConnell’s plan – giving the president power to raise the debt ceiling three times between now and next summer without a tax hike but without spending cuts either – is perplexing. Even with the $1.5 trillion in guaranteed budget cuts that some Democrats have suggested adding, it’s based on more bad judgment calls than Snookie’s latest Sudoku.
For one thing, it exacerbates the problem – not the debt itself but the spending that got us here. It took the federal government from 1791 to 1981 to run up $1 trillion in debt. But the debt has tripled in the past decade, rising $4 trillion under Obama alone. If it got much bigger, Stedman would date it. …
Fred Barnes writes at The Weekly Standard that Obama “outmaneuvered” Republicans on this issue, and there’s something to that. The government is in no danger of imminent default, per MarketWatch.com’s Kurt Brouwer, because it brings in enough revenue to cover the $15-20 billion per month interest on the debt. And Reuters has reported that the Treasury Department might not be able to stop its computers from sending out three million checks worth $49 billion on August 3, even if it wants to, unless it reprograms them completely. But the White House is predicting Carmageddon – more or less without a GOP rebuttal. Obama told CBS News last Tuesday that Social Security checks might get held up next month if Congress doesn’t reach a deal. If he can scare GOP leaders into backing McConnell’s scheme, he can claim in his re-election bid that he protected the public from potential raids on Medicare and Social Security.
This is the battle of our time: Which way will the country go? More towards President Obama’s transformation of the country into one whose economy operates by government fiat or a return to a market-based economy? This is a fight that is just beginning-not ending. Yes, McConnell’s plan sucks. But it will allow the GOP to stand and fight another day. One day, the GOP just may win. But not if the GOP goes all George Armstrong Custer.