Letter: Debt-ceiling geography
I expect the Tea Party Republicans in Congress to force a partial shutdown of the U.S. government by failing to address the debt ceiling debate as adults. I also expect President Obama to retreat from some core Democratic principles in order to prevent the shutdown.
Mr. President, the Republicans’ refusing to let you pay their bills will hand you unprecedented powers in your capacity as chief executive. You will have to juggle funds, trying to reconcile the gap between what Congress appropriated and what they actually allow to be spent. Part of that discretionary power contains certain geographical elements, and I suggest you use it to maximum advantage.
At 12:01 a.m. on the day the debt ceiling is reached, you must announce – as a necessary expenditure reduction – the gradual elimination of federal presence from states whose congressional delegations declined to raise the debt ceiling. You might consider closing customs stations along the Gulf and Southern Atlantic coasts and at selected airports. You could cut back FAA manpower, forcing dramatic reductions in airport traffic. One wonders what spring break looks like with virtually no passengers coming through Florida airports. Would squeals of outrage follow the Pentagon’s announcement of Fort Benning’s gradual phaseout in favor of bases in more friendly states? Ditto Parris Island?
The Republicans will demand a price for their votes to raise the debt ceiling. Let the price be pain. If the extremists who control the Republican party really want to go bare knuckle, let their states take the first left jab to the nose and see how it feels.