Paul Krugman has been supporting the platinum coin option as an end-run around Republican debt-ceiling terrorism, so he's dismayed by the latest news:
If I'd spent the past five years living in a monastery or something, I would take the Treasury Department's declaration that the coin option is out as a sign that there's some other plan ready to go. Maybe 14th Amendment, maybe moral obligation coupons or some other form of scrip, something.I think Obama has really, really decided he's not going to negotiate over this. No, seriously: he means it this time. I think he's persuaded that Republicans will be blamed in the event of a crisis. So I think he'll dig in his heels for much, much longer than anyone expects. I think we'll come very close to the brink. In the end, I think the Republicans won't get the set of concessions they expect to wrest from him.
And maybe there is a plan.
But as we all know, the last debt ceiling confrontation crept up on the White House because Obama refused to believe that Republicans would actually threaten to provoke default. Is the WH being realistic this time, or does it still rely on the sanity of crazies?
... is there a plan, or will it just be another case of tough talk followed by a tail-between-the-legs retreat?
As I said, if we didn't have some history here I might be confident that the administration knows what it's doing. But we do have that history, and you have to fear the worst.
But I think that, once Republicans have figured out that he's not joking, some negotiating channel will open up. Maybe Joe Biden will be involved.
And yes, the deal won't be as nasty as the Republicans thought they could make it. No, it won't be a horrible Grand Bargain. But there'll be a deal, and parts of it will make us lefties furious.
That's Obama now. He's a better negotiator than he used to be, but he lets up on the pressure near the end (kind of the way he let up on Romney in the first debate). So he'll do better than he did the last time this happened, but he'll still give us reasons to grumble.