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President Obama on Debt Ceiling: “If Not Now, When?”


A full transcript of President Obama’s press conference on the debt ceiling is here, and an excerpt is below. The bottom line, though, is that Republicans are completely incapable of reaching an even semi-serious compromise, one in which both sides give something, because they are terrified of/controlled by the extremists in their party. That’s why John Boehner, who had wanted to cut a big deal with President Obama, was forced to back down. It’s also why the ambitious, cutthroat, unprincipled Eric Cantor is happy right now, as he sees a path to move up in rank. Meanwhile, the country’s solvency, economy, prosperity, future all hang in the balance, while Republicans like Eric Cantor stick to their rigid, taxes-are-evil, my-way-or-the-highway approach. Wonderful, eh?

I will not sign a 30-day or a 60-day or a 90-day extension.  That is just not an acceptable approach.  And if we think it’s going to be hard — if we think it’s hard now, imagine how these guys are going to be thinking six months from now in the middle of election season where they’re all up.  It’s not going to get easier.  It’s going to get harder.  So we might as well do it now — pull off the Band-Aid; eat our peas.  (Laughter.)  Now is the time to do it.  If not now, when?

We keep on talking about this stuff and we have these high-minded pronouncements about how we’ve got to get control of the deficit and how we owe it to our children and our grandchildren. Well, let’s step up.  Let’s do it.  I’m prepared to do it.  I’m prepared to take on significant heat from my party to get something done.  And I expect the other side should be willing to do the same thing — if they mean what they say that this is important.

I believe that’s known as “calling their bluff.” So, now what happens?

  • aznew

    I think Obama has set this up politically about as well as he could have, for himself, personally, for Democrats, generally.

    But the next step seem to me to lie with financial markets. So far, the bond and stock markets are completely discounting the potential for the debt ceiling not being raised. It remains to be seen what the GOP will do once the bond market begins to turn, especially since Obama has nicely set them up as the fall guy.

  • Teddy Goodson

    “closing tax loopholes for corporations.” These employ the dreaded word “taxes,” and plays right into the framing by Republicans (“tax bad” “no tax hike for Americans”). Call them instead corporation entitlements and entitlements of the very rich. This puts an entirely different spin on them… and calls them what they really are. See how Republicans can squirm out of putting those entitlements on ye table. (I sent an e-mail to whitehouse.gov suggesting this… it seems to me to be an obvious public relations approach, and puts the Big Money into the same entitlement bind as us little folk).