By Webster G. Tarpley Ph.D.
Washington DC, August 1, 2011— As the twilight descends over the nation’s capital today, more and more members of Congress from both the Tea Party right and the Progressive left, as well as intelligent moderates of all types, are demonstrating an increasing willingness to vote down the dangerous and reckless deal on the federal budget announced yesterday evening by the Obama White House as a means of avoiding default. In reality, this wretched piece of legislation makes the nation pay far too high a price – in terms of damage to the Constitution, and in terms of a fatal gutting of our economic rights won under the New Deal and Great Society – to make it acceptable.
All the more so, since widespread awareness that the XIV Amendment to the Constitution has made it common knowledge that neither default nor killer cuts need result from rejecting Obama’s sellout, since the president has ample power to order the Secretary of the Treasury to carry on borrowing to protect the full faith and credit of the United States – even if Congress fails to authorize any increase in the debt ceiling.
The Obama-Reid-McConnell-Boehner accord is full of deal-breakers for everyone. Because of the well-known polarization of the Congress, it is necessary to summarize the arguments against this package from the Tea Party point of view, and then from the progressive Democrat point of view.
For the Tea Party
If you are a Tea Party Republican, you must consider the following. Your supporters hate Big Government and take their stand on the Constitution of the United States. This rotten deal is an attack on both of these ideas. People who hate Big Government are not likely to be happy with the creation of Harry Reid’s Supercommittee, now called the Supercongress. This amounts to a new, third House of Congress, as if the people were not already disgusted enough with the two existing houses. It will be a kind of Star Chamber, with six members representing what your constituents would recognize as the forces of Big Government, banksters, and the New World order. It will be a step towards dictatorship by the bankers and by Wall Street. You do not know the names of the six members who will be named to this Supercongress, but they are sure to be Washington insiders and elitists. There is absolutely nothing to prevent the Supercongress from coming up with a long list of tax increases – and when they do, you’ll be on the hook in the eyes of your constituents, who will start asking you why you gave away so much legislative power to this secretive and unaccountable committee, while getting nowhere on the balanced budget amendment.
The Supercommittee or Supercongress is blatantly unconstitutional.
When the Supercongress comes forward with its fast-track recommendation, you will have to take it or leave it, and the media pressure on you to cave in will be overwhelming, right before Christmas. If you reject the demands of the Supercongress, you will be primaried and ousted by national security conservatives accusing you of destroying the Pentagon budget in exchange for the wonderful privilege of raising the debt ceiling – which your constituents do not want to be raised under any circumstances. Military families and veterans in your district will take a hit, including if the Democrats decide that they cannot accept the Supercongress. Do you really want to put your head in this noose?
Why take all this heat in order to rescue Obama from the hole he has dug for himself? Senator Lee has threatened to filibuster the entire package. Where are Rand Paul, Rubio, Toomey, and the other fire-breathing budget cutters of last year’s campaign? It is time for them to come forward and stop this dirty deal in its tracks.
You have been blackmailed by the media because of the catastrophic effects of a US government default and bankruptcy. But now, thanks to the public’s greater understanding of the XIV Amendment, that issue is effectively off the table. You should feel free to vote down this wretched package without any fear of a downside. There will be no world financial catastrophe, because if the package fails, Obama’s Wall Street friends will quickly convince him then that he must preserve their ongoing rackets by using his XIV Amendment powers, without reference to what Congress will do or not do.
Once Obama has been forced by Wall Street to do that, you can pillory him for raising the debt ceiling unilaterally, flaunting the will of Congress, and riding roughshod over the people. If you want to, you can impeach him for it. You can appeal to the Supreme Court, where you might well win. And all the time, your hands will be clean.
In short, if you vote for this package, you will not be able to get elected dog catcher in the next cycle. But vote against it, and you will be a hero, without any danger whatsoever of being blamed for a world financial panic and rising unemployment. You’ll will have stood your ground and kept the faith. So go for it.
For Progressive Democrats
If you are a progressive Democrat, you have undoubtedly noticed that Obama has been taking your support for granted, scorning your advice, and shafting you on every major issue. He forced the Democratic Party to share in the guilt for the October 2008 TARP bailout for the big banks, getting nothing in return. His stimulus was misdirected and much too small. He denied you the single-payer and the public option for the health-care bill. He insisted on gouging half a trillion out of Medicare as part of that bill, and your departed colleagues paid the price last year. He has done nothing for card check. He made sure that the Dodd-Frank FinReg was a total triumph for Wall Street and an obscene joke on the American people. He has done absolutely nothing to fulfill his promise of comprehensive immigration reform. He sold you out on the critical issue of perpetuating the Bush tax cuts. He has done nothing to stop fraudclosures on American homeowners. He even refused to give Elizabeth Warren a recess appointment to take over the new consumer financial protection agency.
The pattern is clear: Obama thinks he can betray his left-wing base while paying absolutely no price. So now the time has come for you to force him to pay such a price. And you will be doing it on an issue of high principle that involves the life and death of millions of Americans.
In the week after July 4, Obama came forward on his own power to announce that he was unilaterally placing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on the chopping block in his haggling with Boehner. If these programs get the ax, what is left of the Democratic Party? If Democrats allow the destruction of the New Deal and Great Society, the party is not long for this world. Obama is much worse than Jimmy Carter.
The only hope of making him respect his base is to teach him a lesson. He could have accepted the Mitch McConnell plan for a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling, but he rebuffed McConnell because in this case Obama himself would have had to assume the responsibility for raising the debt ceiling. Since Obama is counting on fussy independents to make up for the loss of the Democrats he has scorned, Obama put his own political needs first and refused the McConnell proposal. Now, it is up to you to make Obama step up to the plate.
Democrats must defeat Obama’s rotten sellout. The Supercongress is a big step towards dictatorship and emergency rule which is sure to marginalize Progressive Democrats and the Black Caucus even more than the current arrangements. We can be sure that neither Kucinich, nor DeFazio, nor Kaptur, nor Grijalva, nor Cleaver, nor Barbara Lee will be invited.
The Supercommittee or Supercongress guarantees entitlement cuts of genocidal proportions.
So, feel free to vote to scuttle the package you hate anyway. The only reason you might ever have voted for it was because of the justified fear of the catastrophic consequences of a US default and bankruptcy. But now that everybody knows about the XIV Amendment, it is clear that Obama has ample constitutional power to continue borrowing as long as necessary to prevent default. After all, default is illegal under the XIV Amendment. The debt ceiling is unconstitutional, so Obama is free to ignore it – as a matter of fact, he is required to ignore it, since the XIV Amendment is neither an option nor an off ramp, but rather a binding provision of constitutional law which Obama must obey whether he likes it or not.
Once the compromise package has been defeated at the eleventh hour, Obama’s Wall Street friends will be the first to demand that he act unilaterally under the XIV Amendment. They will do the arm-twisting for you.
Structurally, such an outcome has many advantages. By raising the debt ceiling on his own power, Obama will be deprived of his appeal to the independents, and will have to pay much more attention to his Democratic Party base, especially in the House. The debt ceiling will be permanently obliterated, depriving the Republicans of a tool they clearly mean to use repeatedly to crush social spending. Finally, the entire Tea Party policy of blackmail, extortion, and putting the federal government under duress will have been defeated.
All of this is the upside of a no vote. And what is the downside? For Democrats, virtually nothing. The party will have preserved its brand of FDR and JFK, and Obama will be on a short leash.
Vote No on this Turkey
For Tea Party Republicans, progressive Democrats, and most of all for the American people, a no vote on this rotten package is therefore imperative. Members of Congress should feel free to vote down this turkey, sure in the knowledge that no catastrophic default need occur.
Obamas wanted to be president. Now, for once, let him face up to the responsibilities that come with the job. Let him stop passing the buck for his re-election to the poor, the sick, the defenseless, and the elderly. Let him obey the XIV Amendment and raise the debt ceiling with the stroke of a pen. Let us force him to give the country a profile in courage.