Remember last January, when the President said he wouldn’t negotiate with hostage-takers—like the Republican representatives who demanded spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling? His argument, as I understood it, was that:
- A failure to raise the debt ceiling would be unambiguously bad policy.
- It is irresponsible to threaten to implement a bad policy just to gain concessions on the spending front.
It’s an argument I expect we’ll hear again, next time the debt ceiling comes up.
And what’s the President up to in the meantime? He’s demanding a new round of spending increases in exchange for corporate tax reform. Now, since pretty much every sentient being in the Universe agrees that we’re long overdue for corporate tax reform (and in particular for lower rates), I think it’s fair to characterize the President’s position as a threat to retain a bad corporate tax policy just to gain concessions on the spending front.
It was Richard Nixon who famously demanded to be judged by a double standard with the claim that “When the President does it, that means it is not illegal”. Perhaps President Obama would like to amend that to say “When the President does it, that means it is not irresponsible”. Not everyone will agree.