I've got a new piece up at The Daily Beast. Here's how it starts:
Can anyone other than doctrinaire Democrats and members of his immediate family keep a straight face when President Barack Obama insists that he is “prepared to negotiate on anything” while simultaneously saying that “until we make sure that Congress allows Treasury to pay for things that Congress itself already authorized, we are not going to engage in a series of negotiations”?
Or when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announces that the government “cannot be put in a position of having to choose which commitments it should meet,” as if picking between, say, paying interest payments to avoid default and buying half a billion dollars worth of useless cargo planes is a contemporary version of Sophie’s Choice.
However much House Republicans may have Mr. Belvedered themselves when it comes to the government shutdown, they are absolutely right to insist that any increase in the amount of money the government can borrow today should be tied to firm commitments to spend less in the future. Think sequester, which promises to cut just somewhere between 1 percent and 2 percent of overall annual spending, on steroids. And the future should be defined as “the day after the debt-limit increase goes into effect.”