Yglesias: Use debt crisis to 'punish our enemies' 

In the heat of the 2010 campaign, President Obama famously uttered the line, "We're gonna punish our enemies and we're gonna reward our friends." It looked so bad that he had to apologize later, but this isn't unfamiliar territory for a Chicago politician.

One would less expect to see such rhetoric from a "think tank" blogger, but here is a darkly amusing post from Matt Yglesias on how to deal with the debt ceiling issue. He labels it as a "hostage rescue" strategy, but the real idea is to take a lot more hostages. The idea is that in the event Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, there...

...isn’t a sudden “shutdown.” Nor is is true that we have to default on obligations to our bondholders. Rather, it means that government outlays are now limited by the quantity of inbound tax revenue. But for a while, the people administering the federal government (to wit Barack Obama and Timothy Geithner) will be able to selectively stiff people. So the right strategy is to start stiffing people Republicans care about. When bills to defense contractors come due, don’t pay them. Explain they’ll get 100 percent of what they’re owed when the debt ceiling is raised. Don’t make some farm payments. Stop sending Medicare reimbursements. Make the doctors & hospitals, the farmers and defense contractors, and the currently elderly bear the inconvenient for a few weeks of uncertain payment schedules. And explain to the American people that the circle of people who need to be inconvenienced will necessarily grow week after week until congress gives in.

I'm sure this suggestion is tongue-in-cheek. The doctors' strike against Medicare that would result from this would, all by itself, bring an end Obama's presidency. Then again, the Obama administration has already shown it has no qualms about depriving people of their property in other contexts, and without congressional approval. I hate to see someone give them more ideas on how to do it.

About The Author

David Freddoso

David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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