I had a horrible thought tonight. It’s possible for Barack Obama to give the government an extra $2.67 trillion in debt limit space, while doing something that Republicans would not really be able to criticize him for doing.
Namely, breaking the Social Security lockbox and repudiating the IOUs the government wrote to itself.
Obama could say that the lockbox is a myth, that Social Security doesn’t really have a $2T surplus, that in reality that money was spent long ago. Sadly, he’d be right. Obama could announce that he’s repudiating the IOUs in order to free up debt limit space, and thereafter any underfunding of Social Security would be covered by the general fund.
Then Obama would have his debt limit space to get him through past the 2012 election, would annoy a lot of people about Social Security that either aren’t likely to vote for him anyways (old people) or wouldn’t think of voting for a Republican anyways (hard Left). In short, it wouldn’t significantly damage his election chances.
I can’t see Obama being this imaginative and daring, but I could be mistaken.