14th Amendment a Serious Option?

President Barack Obama claims to have ruled out using the 14th amendment, and if you read the statements of his Press Secretary and the President’s own words, you’d be forgiven for believing that it’s not an option.

However, in politics you never look at just what the principles are saying, you look at what they are doing, and the potential impact of what they say.   For instance, President Obama clearly doesn’t want to invoke the 14th amendment.   But if he threatened to do so, the left wing of the Democratic party would mount a concerted effort to stop any negotiated settlement that includes significant debt reduction in the Senate.  Obama had to convince his own party that they did not have the 14th amendment as a fall back should negotiations fail.  That would be necessary to get them to vote for a last minute compromise.

This also suggests that Obama wanted to reach a “grand compromise” with significant budget cuts, and may still through back channels and secret talks be headed in that direction.   His public schedule has been empty, but full of private and unpublicized meetings.    Things are brewing, but we don’t know what.

The 14th amendment reads in part:  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.   The President could say that the constitution by stating that the validity of the public debt should not questioned, requires that it be paid.   The only way to do that, and continue spending money the Congress voted to spend, is to raise the debt ceiling.   The interpretation is plausible enough to not be “over the top,” even if weak.

I do not think it is a winning argument.  Article 1, Section 8 gives Congress the power to pay debts and borrow money.  One could argue that Amendment 14 altered this by adding to the President’s power by saying the validity of the debt should not be questioned.  An historical read of this amendment, however, clearly weakens that claim — it is focused on the Civil period and its aftermath.   Nonetheless a literal interpretation (e.g., just the text, not historical context) at least creates an opening for that argument.

Some people claim that President Truman invoked the 14th amendment to raise the debt ceiling.  That isn’t true.  He used the amendment to integrate the military, but during his Presidency there was no increase in the debt ceiling.   In fact, since the debt ceiling was created in 1939 Truman is the only President not to have raised it.    Most have raised it five to seven times, though Ronald Reagan’s years brought 17 debt ceiling increases – not surprising since the Reagan years saw the biggest relative growth in debt in US history.

But for politics the issue becomes murky.    First, President Obama knows the constitution well, having taught it.  He may believe that it is his duty not to violate the interpretation he believes correct, and thus he may have already completely ruled out using the 14th amendment.   That would make him a politician of rare integrity, since for most the question of legality gets replaced by one of political realism — will it work, and can I get away with it.

To the latter, despite Republican calls for impeachment should he go that route (something that might actually help Obama in 2012), he can get away with it legally.   The Senate will never convict him if impeached, and at least until the Supreme Court rules, he could do it.    Could it hurt him in 2012?   That’s harder to say, and separate from the legal issue.   The President would frame it as a matter of leadership and doing what is necessary to protect America from Republicans who would be accused of threatening to do more harm to the US than Osama Bin Laden did on 9-11.   The Republicans would frame as a power grab by a leader who wanted to do things his way, regardless of the rules.   If the country believes the President, he’d win in 2012.   If the GOP convince the public he was out of line, he loses.

The GOP position now is weak due to the reputation the House has of extremism and refusing to compromise.   The GOP is in danger of looking as they did back in 1999 against Clinton when their over the top attacks backfired and helped the President increase popularity.   Of course, Clinton had a booming economy going for him, something Obama lacks.   If the Court ruled against him (something I would consider likely) that would aid the GOP argument and send a weakened Obama into the election.   In fact, if things got that bad Obama might give an LBJ like shock speech, announcing he would not seek the nomination due to the divisiveness of economic battles, perhaps opening the door for Hillary.   (That is not a scenario likely at this point!)

However, looking at the possibilities, it comes down to this: how serious is the threat to the economy, and how well can the US handle either a default, government shut down (which would come from using the available money to avoid default — a huge chunk of the government could not be paid for), or downgrade in the bond rating.   If the threat is serious, the President might decide that it’s worth risking his re-election on doing whatever possible to avoid that outcome.    He could try to couple that with a renewed effort to get significant spending cuts passed to get a debt limit ceiling raised (for longer than six months — which would do no good, really).   If that got passed before the court ruled, it would be worth it.   But more things could go wrong for the President than right, under that scenario.

On the other hand, new voices calling for invocation of the 14th amendment might have a political aim.   If this option once again appears plausibly in the Presidents arsenal, House Republicans (especially moderate Republicans) would realize that their capacity to force the President to do their biding by holding the economy hostage declines.   This would create a real push for an alternative deal that saves face for everyone and avoids clear winner/loser scenario.

Politically, Speaker Boehner has staked everything on his plan, and the drama of getting his own party support it sends a message to the White House and Senate — this is as good as you can get, we had to work to get this!   President Obama has vehemently opposed setting a rehashing of this chaos six months from now.   If either one gets their way completely, one comes away wounded.   Neither will accept that, making a stand off likely.    However, if McConnell, Reid and other power brokers can figure out a face saving deal that can pass and cannot be seen as a clear victory for either side, that will resolve the crisis.

So is the 14th amendment a serious option?   Yes, but only as a last resort, and perhaps not even then.   If it comes to that, it’ll be a very entertaining year in politics coming up, but that would not be good for the country.

  1. #1 by renaissanceguy on July 28, 2011 - 11:46

    If he has ruled it out, then he shouldn’t use it. That much is obvious.

    The Constitution should always be interepreted in its historical context. That’s what proper interpretation is–discovering what the original writer or speaker meant.

    When you bring up Reagan, I am not sure what your intent is. Are you saying that his increasing the debt was good or bad? I get the impression that you like it when Democratic leaders increase debt and dislike it when Republican leaders do.

    Your discussion of “politics” is what distresses me most about our country. I wish we had more leaders who do what they believe is right (even if I disagree) rather than what is politically expedient. If Obama does so, as you suggest he might, I will admire him greatly, even if I disagree with him on many points.

    You threw the word “extremism” in. Why is it extremism for one side not to compromise but it is not extremism for the other side to hold their ground? By the way, it has only been one year since the American public ended the Democratic majority, don’t their votes mean something? It seems that in 2009, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress were saying, “We won. Get over it.” I should think that the Republicans, including the Tea Party Republicans, can say that now. The people who voted for them certainly want them to. They count, don’t they? After all, those Tea Party candidates would not be in the Congress now, except that they won a majority of the votes in their elections.

    I honestly don’t care which side “wins.” I wish it were not about winning. I wish that it were about what is truly best for the country. I wish that it were about what is right.

    • #2 by Scott Erb on July 28, 2011 - 12:06

      Obama has come a long way to try to compromise, angering his own base and promising historic cuts. The only price Republicans would have to pay is closing tax breaks that affect the wealthiest. But they won’t, that turned out to be a deal breaker. The House has a “our way or no way” mentality, refusing to compromise and even having to be pressured to accept Boehner’s unilateral plan. That’s extremism, that’s the kind of mentality that is poisonous to democracy.

      I don’t want either side to win. In a system like ours the best solution is a compromise where both sides are dissatisfied.

      • #3 by mikey on July 31, 2011 - 06:51

        “closing tax breaks” – they’re not tax breaks. Your money belongs to YOU, not the gov’t. Calling them ‘tax breaks’ implies that the gov’t owns everything and if you don’t have to give them everything, you’re getting a ‘break’. Gimme a break….

        ‘The wealthiest’ – hollow class warfare rhetoric- in any large American city 250k per anum is far from wealthy for a family with a few kids and parents who actually take care of them..

    • #4 by classicliberal2 on July 28, 2011 - 19:17

      “You threw the word ‘extremism’ in. Why is it extremism for one side not to compromise but it is not extremism for the other side to hold their ground?”

      I’m still baffled by how you come up with these sorts of remarks, and can’t help but wonder if you’ve even paid the slightest attention to what has actually been going on. A compromise requires that both sides be willing to give up something. A compromise can not be accomplished when it’s just Democrats making massive concessions and Republicans giving up nothing at all. The Democrats have repeatedly offered Boehner deep cuts, cuts that are EXTREMELY unpopular–hated by the Democratic base and by the overwhelming majority of the public, and they never would have been offered in the first place without this hostage situation regarding the debt ceiling–yet they were offered, and Boehner walked away because he’s unwilling to go along with any new revenue. He and his party are unwilling to compromise–they want, instead, to have their way about everything. The problem with that is that they don’t run the U.S. government. Which brings me to this:

      “By the way, it has only been one year since the American public ended the Democratic majority, don’t their votes mean something?”

      Yes, and their votes have given us a Demo president and a Demo majority in the Senate–by what logic does that amount to a license for Repubs, who control one body, to override the votes of everyone else and get their way about everything? That certainly wasn’t the case back in 2008, when the Demos captured the White House and huge majorities in both bodies of congress, yet saw everything they tried to do obstructed by the Repubs, who had no more concern with public sentiment then than they do now (every real poll has shown the public is overwhelmingly opposed to what Republicans are trying to do, here).

    • #5 by BGordon on July 29, 2011 - 03:38

      You say “I should think that the Republicans, including the Tea Party Republicans, can say that now. The people who voted for them certainly want them to. They count, don’t they? After all, those Tea Party candidates would not be in the Congress now, except that they won a majority of the votes in their elections.”

      But they didn’t win the majority of ALL the elections, hence the situation we still have. And there’s a reason why the Senate and President are not all elected at the same time, just because of wild mood swings like what happened in both 2008 and 2010.

      The GOP has become obsessed with doing everything in their power to help bring down Obama, regardless of the effect it has on America’s interests. And the minute the rest of America understands this, the GOP is dead. “That’s what they call treason, isn’t it daddy?”

      • #6 by mikey on July 30, 2011 - 23:34

        The Constitution requires both houses of congress and POTUS to sign off on any bill, and the GOP holds one of the houses under its control. Who won how many elections when and where is utterly irrelevant, dangerously subjective and suggests ruling by whim rather than by law.

        You have a problem with our Constitution – I suggest you go somewhere else and see if you can find a better one…

    • #7 by Michael on July 29, 2011 - 05:55

      If Obama does so, as you suggest he might, I will admire him greatly, even if I disagree with him on many points.

      There’s been a recent example of this: national health care reform. That debate was also ugly, full of false and misleading statements (thanks to both sides, but death panels remains my favorite), and much too long. People who did not like the bill had lots of company on both sides of the aisle. However, by funding the Act, the President deserves credit for standing behind his decision. It’s nearly impossible to make decisions about budgets, debt ceilings, health care in this toxic environment, but the President has been willing to compromise and I believe that is how we get to what is right. So true, it can never be about winning and still get to what is right.

      • #8 by mikey on July 30, 2011 - 23:33

        The Constitution requires both houses of congress and POTUS to sign off on any bill, and the GOP holds one of the houses under its control. Who won how many elections when and where is utterly irrelevant, dangerously subjective and suggests ruling by whim rather than by law.

        You have a problem with our Constitution – I suggest you go somewhere else and see if you can find a better one…

  2. #9 by Scott Erb on July 28, 2011 - 13:39

    On principle — even if in principle I believed the 14th amendment a wrong move, if in that position, realizing that people would lose their jobs, families would suffer, and Americans would have to endure needless hardship because politicians couldn’t do their jobs, I’d have to consider it. Vague principle is nice, but in reality the choices involve the conditions of real people, and sometimes the human principle trumps the abstract principle. I’m not sure I would do it, but I’d have to seriously consider it. I’d probably end up not doing it because of fear of what precedent it would set, but abstract principle alone isn’t enough when there are lives in the balance. In principle an execution of Osama Bin Laden without trial was wrong. Yet they did that to minimize potential harm to American citizens. Was it right to do that? It’s murky. Life is full of such dilemmas.

  3. #10 by Gerold on July 28, 2011 - 14:38

    I don’t see the 14th Amendment as an option. Section 5 of the 14th Amendment clearly states, in reference to it’s enforcement: “The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”. Doesn’t se to leave much wiggle room for Presidential action.

  4. #11 by renaissanceguy on July 28, 2011 - 16:13

    Scott, they signed a pledge to their constituents that they would not raise taxes. Do you want them to break that pledge?

    If they raise taxes, then in the next few years, they will consider the “extra” revenue a reason to pay for more programs. Then they will raise the debt ceiling again, raise taxes again, spend again, and raise the debt ceiling again.

    I think that they should abolish the debt ceiling altogether. It has allowed our legislators to spend like crazy with impunity. Now that they have brought us to this point, they can shine the spotlight on those nasty “extremists” who don’t want to raise the debt ceiling instead of on the ones who racked up so much debt in the first place.

    I would accept a tax increase, if it were across the board and coupled with a guarantee of lower spending. But how does the Congress gurantee lower spending? All they have to do is lower spending in one budget and then six months later increase spending again. (Oh, and the phony budget cuts that consist of not increasing the deficit as much as they were going to do not win me over. I am looking for actual spending cuts.)

    Is there any amount of debt or any ratio of debt to GDP that actually makes you uncomfortable? Or do you think that we should just keep raising the ceiling and increasing our debt? Is there some point at which you think we need to put the breaks on?

    The consequences you outline in #3 are terrible things indeed. That’s all the more reason that our leaders should not have taken us down the path all these years.

    • #12 by Scott Erb on July 28, 2011 - 16:22

      I’ve stated many times I am uncomfortable with any debt to GDP ratio over 60%, would prefer it at 30%, and thus think the current one is too high. Signing a pledge not to raise taxes is irresponsible. What if war broke out or a national crisis that required money — and where do you draw the line? I think if a legislator believes a “pledge” or promise made is actually bad for the country he or she should break it, and then let voters judge at the next election if that was the right thing to do. I believe the President is serious about real spending cuts; he will have problems getting his party to go along with this, which is one reason why tax increases have to be part of this (though it looks like the Bush cuts will expire, apparently the “pledge” writer says allowing them to expire does not break the pledge). Rather than make excuses why this won’t be done, the two sides need to get together and do it! Real compromise means people accept results they don’t like. It means people have to compromise on principle. That’s how our system was set up to work. Obama says he wants deep cuts — well, take him up on it! But playing with the debt ceiling is no way to do it, it’s holding the economy and the American people hostage. If Obama doesn’t follow through with cuts, then I’ll join you in criticizing him.

      • #13 by renaissanceguy on July 29, 2011 - 00:59

        Scott, fine. I accept everything that you wrote in the comment above.

      • #14 by classicliberal2 on July 29, 2011 - 17:17

        “apparently the ‘pledge’ writer says allowing them to expire does not break the pledge”

        To be clear about that, the “pledge” is NOT, as RG would have it “a pledge to their constituents”; it’s a pledge offered to a political boss (Grover Norquist) in exchange for his help in electing them.

  5. #15 by jimhillhouse on July 29, 2011 - 00:28

    My understanding is that the Debt Ceiling was created during the First World War, in 1917, not in 1939. The Republican Congress refused to raise the debt ceiling during the Korean War, so Truman paid for that war through tax receipts.

    We are between a rock and a hard place. The deficit curve definitely needs to be bent. So we are faced with two issues. Most economists have repeatedly stated that budgetary cuts will likely have a negative impact on what is nicely called a tepid, jobless recovery from the 2008 Recession.

    Additional tax reciepts would allow for less cuts, and possibly less harm to the economy, while achieving the needed decrease of the deficit. Conservatives say that tax increases will damage our economic recovery. Predictions of economic ruin from the Clinton tax increases in 1993 proved inaccurate and we can extrapolate that the same is likely the case should the Bush tax cuts for the top tax bracket expire.

    We do know that if the U.S. defaults upon its debt, the cost of capital will increase for all us. And additional capital costs will provide a negative impulse on a weak U.S. economy. Could it be enough to push our economy back into recession? Do we want to find out?

    It’s time for everyone to compromise. But none of us can expect the Dems. to acquiesce on entitlement cuts if members of the GOP will not do the same on revenue enhancements. And if that means a member of Congress must “violate” some silly pledge, then that’s the price of being a member.


    Click to access RL31967_20100128.pdf


  6. #16 by Ron Rouintree on July 29, 2011 - 02:52

    Good discussion. One point that is missing from the discussion seems to be that the debt limit has little to do with future spending. It is to cover money already authorized and spent by Congress. Isn;t the job of the President then to execute and assure those to whom were promised payment they will get paid? Isn’t the President supposed to carry out the laws and I would hope one of those rules is the US would honor their contracts and obligations. Would these same conservatives who continually say the government should work just like your own personal budget. Would they suggest we not pay our bills? That we skip our mortgage payments, our car payments, our charge cards. The debt limit is separate from “future” spending.

    • #17 by BGordon on July 29, 2011 - 03:43

      Good point! One of the most frustrating aspects of the Obama presidency is the degree to which he has refused to re-frame the arguments and memes of the Banana Republicans.

      If he would just get up there and repeat what you said, that the purpose of the debt negotiations is the HONOR the CONTRACTS AND OBLIGATIONS of the United States, public sentiment would shift immensely. It still might, but Obama so far has REFUSED to take his case to the people in a way the way that FDR, Kennedy or Reagan did.

      True, there’s the right-wing squawkbox that the other presidents didn’t have to contend with, but still his people seem feeble in carrying out the messaging that needs to be behind any successful presidency.

    • #18 by classicliberal2 on July 29, 2011 - 17:12

      That fact is almost inevitably lost in the shuffle, or, more often, intentionally left on the cutting-room floor in an effort to mislead. I was writing about it the other day on my own little corner of the internet. Raising the debt ceiling is a routine matter, done to cover already-committed appropriations. Republicans have intentionally chosen to take it hostage, and try to use it to blackmail the rest of the government into giving them things, with regard to future budgets, they’d never be able to get via the ordinary budgetary process (among other things, this makes them 100% responsible for this phony “crisis,” which they can end at any moment).

  7. #19 by BGordon on July 29, 2011 - 03:30

    Bravo! VERY well reasoned!!

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Personally, I expect Obama to do something to rescue Boehner. The GOP is at risk of an ideological political meltdown, and as nutty as it might sound, I think Obama will do everything he can to rescue the GOP from itself.

  8. #20 by Don D on July 29, 2011 - 04:04

    I love how on these pages Republicans are so defensive. I think it comes from guilt. They know that a big part of the debt is from Regan’s running start. But my Republican counterparts even Saint Reagan had the good sense to raise taxes after he realized how he had really screwed up. Todays Republicans seem to be much less intelligent.
    I believe the Tea Party Senators should hold true to their beliefs. In their state all Federal revenue should stop. Their wealthy should not pay a penny of tax. However the rest of the nation will receive much more modest cuts and the tax give away instituted by W shall be revoked.
    Just think how heroic they will be in their home state! People will know that THEY were the ones who stopped wasting your tax dollars on such crazy things as social security and medicare.
    Gee I wonder if this would give them a slight in-site into what a balanced approach means.. Probably not. After all they are Tea Party guys.

  9. #21 by VoiceOfReason on July 29, 2011 - 12:02

    Why is NO ONE talking about the elepant in the room? Out of control military spending? The Pentagon is the biggest monstrosity bleeding the coffers dry! Yes, the entitlement programs are another fatted, golden calf, and BOTH need to be placed on the altar of fiscal sacrifice.

  10. #22 by WASanford on July 29, 2011 - 16:53

    ” Some people claim that President Truman invoked the 14th amendment to raise the debt ceiling. That isn’t true. He used the amendment to integrate the military, but during his Presidency there was no increase in the debt ceiling. In fact, since the debt ceiling was created in 1939 Truman is the only President not to have raised it. Most have raised it five to seven times, though Ronald Reagan’s years brought 17 debt ceiling increases – not surprising since the Reagan years saw the biggest relative growth in debt in US history.”

    I’ve spent the whole morning trying to verify that claim. I would have been interested in the outcomes of Truman’s use of that argument. This is the kind of thing Truman might have done but sadly, it does seem to be myth and we are in uncharted territory. After all Truman did attempt to take over the steel industry during a strike!

    Given our past experience with President Obama, we are destined to default on our nation’s debt!

  11. #23 by thebigweasel on July 30, 2011 - 01:05

    Scott, I think you’re right on the money in your analysis on Obama and the 14th amendment. I would add that if he does use it to unilaterally raise or eliminate the debt limit, the House will certainly impeach him. It’s likely they will anyway in a desperate effort to save face.

    The question every opponent of the Republicans needs to be asking is why they took such a criminally irresponsible stance on the debt limit. It never was a good idea to try to attempt to attach their ideological drives to the debt limit bills, and was seen by much of the country as a naked attempt at extortion–which, in fact, is exactly what it was. A lot of the elements in Boennher’s bill today came from the Ryan Plan, which was soundly defeated in the Senate not three months ago, and much of the rest a GOP wish list of items they knew they never had the votes for even when they controlled both Houses and the White House.

  12. #24 by Magginkat on July 30, 2011 - 15:36

    At this stage Boehner’s bill was DOA in the Senate, the Republicans will not accept Reid’s bill in the Senate even though it seems to have everything they wanted in the beginning. So what’s left?

    Default and the 14th amendment. I hope Obama grows a pair and uses the 14th Amend. Of course that is hoping for a lot since Obama’s favorite past time seems to be bowing down to the corrupt republicans.

    In my dream world Obama would stand up with the charts that show that the Republicans and Bush are the ones who ran the debt off the chart, ask them if they really want to be the Deadbeat Party and announce that he has to pay their bills because the Constitution demands it. Then he can sign an executive order and ask them if they are going to impeach him for paying their bills.

    I’m still waiting for that Hope and Change bit.

    • #25 by Scott Erb on July 30, 2011 - 19:31

      The evidence out there is strong that not only have the Republicans rung up the debt (during the Reagan years we had ‘prosperity’ built on falling oil prices and debt going from 30% of GDP to 60% of GDP as the current account went into deficit and we had to borrow from abroad), but tax increases should be part of it. I have some charts here:

      A clear explanation of this crisis with a focus on some easy to grasp data would explain what’s happening and how the ‘don’t give Obama an open check book’ demagoguery is wrong and dishonest. I keep waiting…

  13. #26 by Ron Rouintree on July 30, 2011 - 15:46

    I agree that using the 14th amendment may not be technically legal, However, what is the penalty for the President not making good or executing the very expenditures already approved by Congress. I think I could make an equally valid case the President could be impeached for not carrying out his consitutional obligation to make sure the US Gov’t fulfills its legal and financial obligations which the Congress approved.

  14. #27 by Scott Erb on July 31, 2011 - 10:16

    Mikey, the tax war has been waged by the GOP, and I think it’s time to fight back:

  15. #28 by renaissanceguy on July 31, 2011 - 20:33

    Classic Liberal (#14)–You don’t think that the constituents of the new Republicans want them to hold the line on taxes?

    • #29 by classicliberal2 on July 31, 2011 - 21:19

      There’s a sparcity of available polling hat breaks down the results, on this, by party, but every reputable poll has, for weeks, shown 56-68% support for a compromise involving both cuts and taxes. The Reuters poll that was just released–the most recent poll of which I’m aware–pegs support for the cuts-only approach at only 19%. That’s lower than most polls, but it had a higher “discard” rate than other polls, and its not at all clear that’s any real shift. The real devil, as usual, is in the details–naming some of the suggested taxes reveals they’re quite popular. Ending the oil company subsidies, the Bush-era income taxes on the well-off, and the private jet thing poll at near or over 75% (and when, on the other hand, one actually starts naming specific programs to cut, support for cuts plummets–cuts to Social Security and Medicare barely make it out of single digits, and cuts to Medicaid don’t score much better). So while I can’t speak to the specific constituents of a given district, it is a fact that general public support for the House Republican no-taxes-under-any-circumstances position is very weak.

    • #30 by Scott Erb on July 31, 2011 - 21:57

      I suspect many who voted GOP in 2010 aren’t opposed to tax increases; people tend not to vote on particular issues, but moods. People aren’t always well informed either. That’s why you can have swings like from 2006/08 to 2010; it’s not that the public had a massive change of mind!

      • #31 by classicliberal2 on August 1, 2011 - 09:48

        2010 also featured a big drop in Democratic turnout–the “enthusiasm gap” at work. It’s going to be a major factor in 2012, as well. The only reason I didn’t write Obama off as a one-termer from almost immediately after his administration began is because it’s tough to imagine a Republican who could win the primaries who can beat him. Still, Republicans had a huge advantage in merely being the Other Guys in 2010–the only available means to express discontent. That factor should never be underestimated.

        Even without a party breakdown, it stands to reason, with the numbers as high as they are, that a big chunk of the Republican base would support taxes.

        There was certainly no shift to the right in public sentiment in 2010. There never is, regardless of who wins the elections. Americans are overwhelmingly liberal. That’s where their instincts are.

  16. #32 by Ron Rouintree on August 1, 2011 - 17:12

    This is the tension. I was amused by the Tea Party folks who were against big government, taxes, spending etc. etc. and with just as much vigor said keep you hands off my medicaid and social security. We tend to quote the segment of the poll that supports our particular position.
    Perhaps the President has a point….a balanced approach just might work. Cut defense, cut domestic programs, let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire, reform the tax code, reform medicare and social security, then split the savings between paying down the deficit and further stimulus to provide jobs, rebulding our infrastructure and avoid what I believe will be a second dip and possible depression. Without balance, we are set up for another 1929 which I think could be right around the corner.

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