Even though President Obama has denied that he's considering the possibility of ignoring the debt ceiling based on a friendly reading of the fourteenth amendment, the speculation about using such a last-ditch tactic won't go away. Yesterday, South Carolina's James Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House, urged Obama to invoke the fourteenth amendment if Congress fails to reach an agreement on the debt ceiling. And today, Michele Bachmann (who, indefensibly, has vowed not to vote to raise the debt ceiling under any conditions) chimed in about the dangers of invoking the fourteenth amendment, as she understands it:
"Congress has the power to lay and collect taxes. It's Congress that does the spending. The president is prohibited to do that. If he had the power to do that he would effectively be a dictator. There would be no reason for Congress to even come into Washington, D.C. He would be making the spending decisions. He would be making the taxing decisions."
Oh ... what? Proponents of the fourteenth amendment strategy would merely have Obama ignore the debt ceiling so that the federal government can spend the money that Congress has already authorized it to spend, in the exact way that Congress authorized the federal government to spend it. When did anyone propose giving Obama the power to unilaterally collect taxes? Is Michele Bachmann paying attention to the debt-ceiling debate at all, or did she just memorize some talking points a few months ago and then tune out?