Today the MSM question of the morning for Congressional Progressive Caucus members is a variant of this:
“Which is worse, voting for a debt ceiling increase bill that doesn’t raise any revenue and that will lead to major cuts in discretionary programs, and in entitlements including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, or voting to defeat a bill that does that and causing the United States to go into a default.”
So, there it is: a false choice again, being used to make progressives look bad if they say they will vote against anything but a clean debt ceiling deal.
In replying to these questions, some progressives are saying, both are worse, and it’s completely illegitimate to tie the debt ceiling vote to deficit reduction. Deficit reduction should be discussed separately when it’s time to pass a budget. Of course, the progressives are right about what ought to happen. But the problem is that they will have to decide whether to vote for a bill that will grievously hurt their constituents, or to vote against it.
What they most need to know at this point is that they have to reject outright the framing given in the question above. The choice is not between voting for default and voting for a terrible deficit reduction bill. The choice should have been put this way:
“Which is worse, voting for a debt ceiling increase bill that doesn’t raise any revenue and that will lead to major cuts in discretionary programs, and in entitlements including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, or voting to defeat such a bill and placing the debt ceiling problem in the hands of President Obama to handle”
The answer to this properly framed question is that it is better to vote to defeat any such bill, and to leave the President to handle the problem. Make no mistake about it. The President can prevent the default himself. There are 6 options he can use, and he will have a constitutional duty to do whatever is in his power and authority to prevent default. Here are the 6 options:
– Challenging the debt ceiling based on the 14th Amendment Section 4
– Selective default
– Proof Platinum Coin Seigniorage (PPCS)
– Running an overdraft at the Fed
– The Fed burning its Treasury Bonds
– The “exploding option” plan
I’ve previously discussed them in some detail here and also analyzed and compared them.
I’ve also written many posts on PPCS, because I think it is the preferred alternative among the 6. I won’t repeat what I’ve already said, and urge you to read some of the posts at the link. Instead, all I want to do is to emphasize that a vote against a “compromise bill” that doesn’t compromise with progressives is NOT a vote for default.
It’s a vote for the President to use his powers to solve the problem without requiring harmful spending cuts in an economy that can afford absolutely no cuts without corresponding spending increases.
So, make the President do it! Make him solve the problem and avoid a default! That is the best thing that progressives in Congress can do now to save the economy and begin to kill the current austerity mania that will destroy the futures of our children and Grandchildren.
And for those of us outside of Congress, the best thing we can do is to ask our Representative and Senators to vote against anything except a clean debt ceiling deal, and to point out to them that they would not be voting for default; but only for placing the problem in the hands of the President who will have to handle it without making a big deal that hurts most Americans and that also, incidentally, forces them to walk the plank! Tell Bernie Sanders! Tell Sheldon Whitehouse! Tell Al Franken! Tell Dennis Kucinich! Tell Raul Grijalva! Tell Keith Ellison! Tell Barbara Lee! Tell Donna Edwards! Tell Louise Slaughter! Tell Marcy Kaptur! Tell them all!
Tell them to make no mistake! Tell them in no uncertain terms, that we will not forgive them in 2012 for giving away parts of the social safety net; when they easily could have avoided it by voting for the President to take care of the problem without making a deal. The President is dealing with the Republicans and going after our bread and butter! And Congressional progressives are aiding and abetting him by accepting false framings of the issue, and deluding themselves or trying to delude us into thinking they have no choice. Tell them that we do know they have a choice. Tell them to stop marching with the oligarchs, or we will find other Senators and Representative who will march with us!
Cross-posted from Correntewire.com.