Imagine this scenario: You have a credit card that you use to pay for your daily expenses. You have a limit on how much you can spend, but you can always ask your bank to raise it if you need more money. One day, you get a call from your bank saying that they won’t increase your limit unless you agree to their demands. They want you to cut your spending on food, health care, education, and other essential services. They also want you to pay them more interest and fees. If you don’t comply, they will stop processing your payments and ruin your credit score.
What would you do? Would you give in to their blackmail or would you stand up for yourself and find another way to pay your bills?
This is not a hypothetical situation. This is what the Republican Party is doing to President Biden and the American people right now. They are threatening to block the increase of the debt ceiling, which is the legal limit on how much the federal government can borrow to pay for its obligations. These obligations include interest on the debt, Social Security benefits, Medicare payments, military salaries, and many other programs that millions of Americans rely on.
If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling by October 18th, the Treasury Department will run out of money and default on its debt for the first time in history. This would have catastrophic consequences for the economy, the financial markets, and the global reputation of the United States. It would also violate the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which states that “the validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned.”
Why Biden should ignore the GOP’s debt ceiling threat
The GOP’s debt ceiling threat is not only irresponsible and reckless, but also hypocritical and dishonest. The Republicans are trying to blame Biden for the rising national debt, when in fact they are responsible for most of it. They voted to raise the debt ceiling multiple times under Trump, when they passed massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, increased military spending, and approved trillions of dollars in COVID-19 relief. They also supported raising the debt ceiling under Bush, when they started two wars and created Medicare Part D without paying for them.
Now that Biden is in office, they suddenly care about fiscal responsibility and want to use the debt ceiling as a weapon to sabotage his agenda. They are demanding that he cut spending on his Build Back Better plan, which would invest in infrastructure, clean energy, health care, education, child care, and other priorities that would benefit ordinary Americans and boost economic growth. They are also opposing his proposal to raise taxes on the rich and corporations to pay for his plan.
The GOP’s debt ceiling threat is not a legitimate negotiation tactic. It is a hostage-taking scheme that puts the country at risk for no good reason. Biden should not reward their bad behavior or give in to their unreasonable demands. He should ignore their threat and find a way to raise the debt ceiling without their cooperation.
How Biden can ignore the GOP’s debt suicide attempt
Fortunately, Biden has several options to bypass the GOP’s obstruction and raise the debt ceiling on his own. Here are some of them:
- Use executive authority under the 14th Amendment. As mentioned earlier, the 14th Amendment states that “the validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned.” Some legal scholars argue that this gives Biden the power to order the Treasury Department to continue borrowing money and paying its bills regardless of the statutory limit imposed by Congress. This would be a bold move that would likely face legal challenges from Republicans, but it would also send a clear message that Biden will not let them hold the country hostage.
- Use emergency powers under Section 4 of Article II. Another option is for Biden to invoke his emergency powers as commander-in-chief under Section 4 of Article II of the Constitution, which states that “the President shall take Care that
the Laws be faithfully executed.” Some legal scholars argue that this gives Biden
the authority to take any necessary action to protect national security and
prevent economic collapse in times of crisis. This could include ordering
the Treasury Department to issue new debt or prioritize certain payments over
- Use a loophole in a platinum coin law. A third option is for Biden
to use a loophole in a law that allows him to mint platinum coins with any
denomination he chooses. He could order the Treasury Department to mint a $1
trillion coin (or several) and deposit it at the Federal Reserve. The Fed could then credit
the Treasury’s account with $1 trillion (or more), which could be used to pay off
the existing debt or fund new spending.
These options may sound unconventional or even absurd, but they are better than
the alternative of defaulting on our debt and plunging into an economic disaster.
Biden should not hesitate to use any legal means available to him to raise
the debt ceiling and protect our country from harm.
The GOP’s debt ceiling threat is a dangerous game that puts our economy,
our democracy, and our future at stake. Biden can, and should,
ignore their threat and raise
the debt ceiling by himself using his executive authority or other creative
solutions. He should not let them sabotage his agenda or blackmail him into
cutting spending on vital programs that benefit millions of Americans.
He should stand up for himself
and for us.
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings