Sunday, June 26, 2011

President Obama to Meet With Republican Leaders; No One Can Say Why

Meetings May Have No Agenda

As discussed earlier the Republican leadership has terminated talks with Democrats, led by Vice President Joe Biden, over extending the limit on the debt ceiling..Absence of  an agreement may prevent the U. S. Government from spending money past early August.  Republicans said that Mr. Obama needed to get personally involved.

Exactly what there is to talk about is unclear. Republicans are adamant about not passing any legislation which contains tax increases.  House Speaker John Boehner said

The president and his party may want a debt limit increase that includes tax hikes, but such a proposal cannot pass the House,”

And while most politicians talk in code phrases or spin, this clear statement is about as correct a statement that will be issued by a politician.  It is not even certain that an increase in the debt ceiling that does not have any tax or revenue increases can pass the House.

So in meeting with the Republicans it is not clear what Mr. Obama hopes to accomplish.  He cannot negotiate tax increases as part of the legislation, and so the only question would appear to be how much of a spending decrease he will accept.  However, it is also not clear that a large spending cut without tax increases on wealthy Americans can pass the Senate.

Mr. Obama has been put into the position whereby his only option, if he want to remain a viable candidate for re-election is to face off against the Republicans and allow a debt ceiling deadline to pass, along with all that portends.  Unlike other defining moments of his Presidency, the debt ceiling bill will be the defining moment.  Of course, what it may define is Mr. Obama as a one term President.

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