...how does one start a Whole New Congress Movement? We could start with rallies in or marches to the public squares of major cities all asking people to commit to throw their Senators and Representatives out of office in the next election.

We need to throw a scare into our Senators and Representatives.

Tags: Congressmen, Senators

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None of which I am aware, though I'll confess I cannot name all of my cousins. I'm not very well connected with my kin beyond my immediate family.

You'll likely be even less likely to connect with this one, he's a ranting theist on another site, with a monosyllabic vocabulary.

I noticed. If I have a repressed alter ego emerging after I think I've gone to sleep, Joe is probably it. Deep down I just ache to love God and country, and to use small words spelled incorrectly.

The only Feenstra of my own blood I know to visibly speak of religion is my uncle George, whom I believe to be a chaplain these days. From what I know of him though, George is articulate, thoughtful, and civil.

The looming debt crisis could dwarf the recession we are still recovering from, according to a BusinessWeek article:

Most of the voting public blames the GOP for the current debacle. How many years would pass before they'd ever control Congress or the Presidency again? Could the Republican Party even survive at all with the blame for a global depression on their shoulders? I doubt it.

So what's the endgame? I foresee two scenarios depending on just how stupid the Republicans are.

Scenario One: The "Stupid" GOP: The GOP blinks right before it pulls the trigger. The House puts the debt ceiling to a vote, passes the increase, and backs off. They limp into the 2014 elections with half their asses chewed off, but survive.

Scenario Two: The "Extra Stupid GOP: The GOP pulls the trigger and defaults, falsely confident the country will blame Obama (or both parties equally) for the resulting destruction. Wall Street, completely freaked out by the sight of Republicans shooting their hostages, abandons the GOP and sides with Obama and the Democrats. Obama, backed by powerful new friends with deep pockets, ignores the debt ceiling and continues to issue credit on behalf of the US. The Republicans challenge this legally, but are swept out of power by an enraged voting public while it drags through the courts. The new Democratic House votes to increase the limit and the crisis is resolved.

I'm betting on scenario one. The Republicans are stupid, but they're not that stupid.

Scenario Two: The "Extra Stupid GOP: The GOP pulls the trigger and defaults, falsely confident the country will blame Obama (or both parties equally) for the resulting destruction.

The last Presidential election showed that the GOP is in LaLa Land when it comes to understanding the electorate. They believed until the last minute that their "message" would crush Obama. Carl Rove probably still wonders how they lost.

Scenario Three: the Tea Party: The GOP tries backing off from disaster joining with the Democrats in trying to get our government back on track. The Tea Party, who want a smaller government no matter what the costs, sabotages the effort so they can maintain the shutdown. The US defaults and Tea Party quietly celebrates then jockeys for more power. The Republicans try to shift blame to the Dems but lose seats to some Dems and to Tea Partiers who continue to hoodwink the GOP, swindle the public and deform our government into what they want.

The Republicans need to jettison the Tea Party right now and get back to work.

Scenario Three: the Tea Party: The GOP tries backing off from disaster joining with the Democrats in trying to get our government back on track. The Tea Party, who want a smaller government no matter what the costs, sabotages the effort so they can maintain the shutdown.

Scenario Three resembles Scenario Two: The "Extra Stupid" GOP: "The GOP pulls the trigger and defaults, falsely confident the country will blame Obama (or both parties equally) for the resulting destruction."

Look at the list of Tea Party members below and note the party affiliation across the board. Tea Party Republicans are Republicans: same party, same agenda.

Don't pretend like the Tea Party is a separate political party. They're not. They're just extra stupid Republicans.

List of Politicians Affiliated with the Tea Party Movement (source)

Alabama
Robert Aderholt, Republican U.S. Representative from Alabama's 4th congressional district (1997–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.

Arizona
Trent Franks, Republican U.S. Representative from Arizona's 2nd congressional district and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
John Shadegg, Republican U.S. Representative from Arizona's 3rd congressional district (1995–2011) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
David Schweikert, Republican U.S. Representative from Arizona's 6th congressional district (2013-present) and Arizona's 5th congressional district (2011-2013)
Paul Gosar, Republican U.S. Representative from Arizona's 4th congressional district (2011-present)
Matt Salmon, Republican U.S. Representative from Arizona's 5th congressional district (2013-present)

California
Jeff Denham, Republican U.S. Representative from California's 19th congressional district (2011–present). In January 2011, Matthew Mosk of ABC News wrote that Denham had campaigned in 2010 "under the Tea Party banner".
Wally Herger, Republican U.S. Representative from California's 2nd congressional district (1987–2013) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Tom McClintock, Republican U.S. Representative from California's 4th congressional district (2009–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Gary Miller, Republican U.S. Representative from California's 41st (1999–2003) and 42nd (2003–present) congressional districts and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Ed Royce, Republican U.S. Representative from California's 39th (1993–2003 and 2013-present) and 40th (2003–January 2013) congressional districts and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.

Colorado
Cory Gardner, Republican U.S. Representative from Colorado's 4th congressional district (2011–present). In September 2010, Dan Amira of New York listed Young as one of "dozens of tea-party-associated House of Representatives candidates".
Doug Lamborn, Republican U.S. Representative from Colorado's 5th congressional district (2007–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.

Florida
Sandy Adams, Republican U.S. Representative from Florida's 24th congressional district (2011–2013) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus. Adams' 2012 re-election campaign has received the endorsement of the Central Florida Tea Party.
Gus Bilirakis, Republican U.S. Representative from Florida's 9th congressional district (2007–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Dean Cannon, Republican state representative (2004–present) and speaker of the state House of Representatives (2010–present). Cannon expressed support for the tea party movement in June 2010.
Ander Crenshaw, Republican U.S. Representative from Florida's 4th congressional district (2001–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Rich Nugent, Republican U.S. Representative from Florida's 5th congressional district (2011–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Dennis Ross, Republican U.S. Representative from Florida's 12th congressional district (2011–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Steve Southerland, Republican U.S. Representative from Florida's 2nd congressional district (2011–present) and the founder of Bay Patriots, a group aligned with the tea party.
Cliff Stearns, Republican U.S. Representative from Florida's 6th congressional district (1989–2013) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Allen West, former Republican U.S. Representative from Florida's 22nd congressional district (2011–2013) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus during his time in Congress.[26] West's 2012 re-election campaign has received the endorsement of FreedomWorks. He lost his re-election bid in 2012 to Patrick Murphy.
Ted Yoho, Republican U.S. Representative from Florida's 3rd congressional district (2013-present)
Connie Mack, Republican U.S. Representative from Florida's 19th congressional district (2005-2013), Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2012
Trey Radel, Republican U.S. Representative from Florida's 19th congressional district (2013-present)

Georgia
Paul Broun, Republican U.S. Representative from Georgia's 10th congressional district (2007–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus. Broun was re-elected in November 2012.
Herman Cain, 2012 presidential candidate. Cain gave the tea party response to President Barack Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address.
Phil Gingrey, Republican U.S. Representative from Georgia's 11th congressional district (2003–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Tom Price, Republican U.S. Representative from Georgia's 6th congressional district (2005–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus. In April 2011, Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones described Price as "the tea party's favorite doctor in the House during the health care fight".
Lynn Westmoreland, Republican U.S. Representative from Georgia's 8th (2005–07) and 3rd (2007–present) congressional districts and a member of the Tea Party Caucus. In December 2011, Justin Sink of The Hill described Westmoreland as a "Tea Party favorite".

Idaho
Raul Labrador, Republican U.S. Representative from Idaho's 1st congressional district (2011-present)

Illinois
Randy Hultgren, Republican U.S. Representative from Illinois's 14th congressional district (2011–present). In January 2012, Edward McClelland of NBC Chicago wrote that Hultgren "aligns with the Tea Party".
Joe Walsh, Republican U.S. Representative from Illinois's 8th congressional district (2011–2013) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus. Walsh's 2012 re-election campaign has received the endorsement of FreedomWorks. Walsh has since been defeated by Tammy Duckworth.

Indiana
Dan Burton, Republican U.S. Representative from Indiana's 6th (1983–2003) and 5th (2003–present) congressional districts and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Mike Pence, Republican U.S. Representative from Indiana's 2nd (2001–03) and 6th (2003–2013) congressional districts and a member of the Tea Party Caucus. In May 2011, Michael Muskal of the Los Angeles Times described Pence, who is running for Governor of Indiana in 2012, as "a 'tea party' favorite".[39] In November 2012 Pence was elected governor.
Todd Young, Republican U.S. Representative from Indiana's 9th congressional district (2011–present). In September 2010, Dan Amira of New York listed Young as one of "dozens of tea-party-associated House of Representatives candidates",[16] and Young's campaign received the endorsement of FreedomWorks.[40]

Iowa
Steve King, Republican U.S. Representative from Iowa's 5th congressional district (2003–present) and a founding member of the Tea Party Caucus.[41] King's 2012 re-election campaign has received the endorsement of FreedomWorks.[27] King was re-elected in November 2012.

Kansas
Tim Huelskamp, Republican U.S. Representative from Kansas's 1st congressional district (2011–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.[33]
Lynn Jenkins, Republican U.S. Representative from Kansas's 2nd congressional district (2009–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.[11]
Jerry Moran, Republican U.S. Senator (2011–present) and a member of the Senate Tea Party Caucus.[42]

Kentucky
Rand Paul, Republican U.S. Senator (2011–present) and an inaugural member of the Senate Tea Party Caucus. Paul gave the tea party response to President Barack Obama's 2013 State of the Union Address.
Thomas Massie, Republican U.S. Representative (2012-present) from Kentucky's 4th congressional district.

Louisiana
Rodney Alexander, Republican U.S. Representative from Louisiana's 5th congressional district (2003–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Bill Cassidy, Republican U.S. Representative from Louisiana's 6th congressional district (2009–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
John Fleming, Republican U.S. Representative from Louisiana's 4th congressional district (2009–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Jeff Landry, Republican U.S. Representative from Louisiana's 3rd congressional district (2011–2013) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus. Landry's successful 2010 Republican primary campaign against Hunt Downer received the endorsement of the Tea Party of Louisiana, while his 2012 primary campaign against fellow U.S. Representative Charles Boustany has received the endorsement of FreedomWorks. Landry lost the runoff to Boustany in a 61% to 39% rout on December 8, 2012.
Steve Scalise, Republican U.S. Representative from Louisiana's 1st congressional district (2008–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
David Vitter, Republican U.S. Senator (2005–present). In April 2010, David Weigel of The Washington Post wrote that Vitter, during his re-election campaign, ran as " a living, breathing representation of the tea party movement.

Maryland
Roscoe Bartlett, Republican U.S. Representative from Maryland's 6th congressional district (1993–2013) and was a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Andrew Harris, Republican U.S. Representative from Maryland's 1st congressional district (2011–present). Harris successfully challenged incumbent Democrat Frank Kratovil in 2010, receiving the endorsement of FreedomWorks.

Michigan
Justin Amash, Republican U.S. Representative from Michigan's 3rd congressional district (2011–present). In May 2012, Susan Davis of USA Today described Amash as "Tea Party-aligned".
Mike Bishop, Republican state senator (2003–11) and majority leader. In February 2010 Bishop endorsed the beliefs and ideals of tea party groups.
Pete Hoekstra, Republican U.S. Representative from Michigan's 2nd congressional district (1993–2011) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Tim Walberg, Republican U.S. Representative from Michigan's 7th congressional district (2007–09, 2011–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Kerry Bentivolio, Republican U.S. Representative from Michigan's 11th congressional district (2013-present)

Minnesota
Michele Bachmann, Republican U.S. Representative from Minnesota's 6th congressional district (2007–present) and founder of the Tea Party Caucus. Bachmann ran for president in 2012, receiving the support of the Tea Party Express. Bachmann delivered the tea party response to President Barack Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address.[56] She has also been called the "Queen of the Tea Party".

Mississippi
Phil Bryant, Republican Governor of Mississippi (2012–present). In March 2012 the Central Mississippi Tea Party dubbed Bryant "the first tea party governor."
Steven Palazzo, Republican U.S. Representative from Mississippi's 4th congressional district (2011–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus. In September 2011, George Altman of gulflive.com described Palazzo as "[2010's] tea party darling".

Missouri
Vicky Hartzler, Republican U.S. Representative from Missouri's 4th congressional district (2011–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Allen Icet, Republican state representative. In April 2010, Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Beacon listed Icet as one of a number of Republicans who "have sought to promote their Tea Party ties."
Billy Long, Republican U.S. Representative from Missouri's 7th congressional district (2011–present). In September 2011, Frank Morris of National Public Radio described Long as "a Tea Party stalwart".
Blaine Luetkemeyer, Republican U.S. Representative from Missouri's 9th congressional district (2009–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Tom Schweich, Republican State Auditor (2011–present). In April 2010, Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Beacon listed Schweich as one of a number of Republicans who "have sought to promote their Tea Party ties."

Montana
Denny Rehberg, Republican U.S. Representative from Montana's At-large congressional district (2001–2013) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Derek Skees, Republican state representative. In October 2010, Skees said he "was in the Tea Party before it was cool".

Nebraska

Adrian Smith, Republican U.S. Representative from Nebraska's 3rd congressional district and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.

New Hampshire

Charles Bass, Republican U.S. Representative from New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district (1995–2007, 2011–2013). In October 2010, Christopher Rowland of The Boston Globe wrote that Bass, in his 2010 campaign, sought "to firm up his conservative credentials with an embrace of the Tea Party movement."

New Mexico

Gary Johnson, Republican Governor of New Mexico (1995–2003) and 2012 Libertarian Party presidential nominee. In April 2011, David Weigel of Slate wrote that Johnson "was the Tea Party more than a decade before the idea occurred to Rick Santelli."

North Carolina

Richard Burr, Republican U.S. Senator (2005–present). In November 2010, Mary C. Curtis of Politics Daily wrote that Burr had "embraced" the tea party in his 2010 re-election campaign.
Howard Coble, Republican U.S. Representative from North Carolina's 6th congressional district (1985–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Virginia Foxx, Republican U.S. Representative from North Carolina's 5th congressional district (2005–present). In April 2012, Katrina Trinko of National Review described Foxx as a "tea-party congresswoman".
Sue Myrick, Republican U.S. Representative from North Carolina's 9th congressional district (1995–2013) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.

North Dakota

Gary Emineth, former chair of the North Dakota Republican Party and a founding member of the North Dakota Tea Party Caucus.
Duane Sand, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2000 and 2012 and for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2004 and 2008. Sand was a founding member of the North Dakota Tea Party Caucus.

Ohio

John Kasich, Republican Governor of Ohio (2011–present). In January 2010, Kasich said "I think I was in the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party."

Oklahoma

Tom Coburn, Republican U.S. Senator (2005–present). In July 2011, Jennifer Steinhauer of The New York Times described Coburn as "a Tea Partier long before the movement even had a name".
James Lankford, Republican U.S. Representative from Oklahoma's 5th congressional district (2011–present). In June 2012, Tanya Snyder of Streetsblog Capitol Hill described Lankford as "a Tea Party Republican".

Pennsylvania

Mike Kelly, Republican U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania's 3rd congressional district (2011–present). Kelly was a co-founder of the tea party movement in his area.
Sam Rohrer, Republican state representative (1993–2010). In February 2012, Jon Delano of CBS Pittsburgh wrote that "Rohrer ran for Governor as the conservative Tea Party Republican" in 2010.
Pat Toomey, Republican U.S. Senator (2011–present). In October 2011, Peter Schroeder of The Hill described Toomey as "the de facto Tea Party voice on Congress's 'supercommittee'".

Rhode Island

John Robitaille, Republican nominee for Governor of Rhode Island in 2010. Robitaille, in response to the question "do you consider yourself somebody who embodies the ideals of the [tea party] movement?", responded in October 2010 "I do, I do."

South Carolina

Jim DeMint, Republican U.S. Senator (2005–2012) and the founder of the Senate's Tea Party Caucus. In January 2012, Jim Davenport of The Huffington Post described DeMint as "a dean of the influential and well-funded tea party movement".
Jeff Duncan, Republican U.S. Representative from South Carolina's 3rd congressional district (2011–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Trey Gowdy, Republican U.S. Representative from South Carolina's 4th congressional district (2011–present). In July 2011, Kara Brandeisky of The New Republic described Gowdy as a "Tea Party congressman".
Nikki Haley, Republican Governor of South Carolina (2011–present). Haley was elected in 2010 with tea party support, and in her 2012 book Can't Is Not an Option wrote "one of the main reasons that the Tea Party and I are such a natural fit is that they understand the importance of putting principles before politics".
Mick Mulvaney, Republican U.S. Representative from South Carolina's 5th congressional district (2011–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus. Mulvaney successfully challenged Democratic incumbent John Spratt in 2010, receiving the backing of the tea party.
Mark Sanford, Republican Governor of South Carolina (2003–11) and U.S. Representative from South Carolina's 1st congressional district (2013-present). Sanford has described himself as "Tea Party before the Tea Party was cool".
Tim Scott, Republican U.S. Representative from South Carolina's 1st congressional district (2011–2012), U.S. Senator from South Carolina (2012-present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Joe Wilson, Republican U.S. Representative from South Carolina's 2nd congressional district (2011-present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus. In November 2009 Wilson spoke at tea party events at Ford Mansion in Morristown, New Jersey and at Capitol Hill.
Tom Davis (South Carolina politician)

Tennessee

Diane Black, Republican U.S. Representative from Tennessee's 6th congressional district (2011–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Scott DesJarlais, Republican U.S. Representative from Tennessee's 4th congressional district (2011–present). In December 2011, Chris Carroll of the Chattanooga Times Free Press wrote that DesJarlais "went full tea party" in his 2010 campaign.
Stephen Fincher, Republican U.S. Representative from Tennessee's 8th congressional district (2011–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Phil Roe, Republican U.S. Representative from Tennessee's 1st congressional district (2009–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.

Texas

Joe Barton, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 6th congressional district (1985–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus. Barton described himself in October 2010 as having been "Tea Party when Tea Party wasn't cool."
Michael Burgess, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 26th congressional district (2003–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Quico Canseco, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 23rd congressional district (2011–present). In his 2010 campaign, Canseco allied himself with the tea party.
John Carter, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 31st congressional district (2003–present), the secretary of the House Republican Conference and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
John Culberson, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 7th congressional district (2001–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Ted Cruz, Republican U.S. Senator (2013-present). Michelle Cottle of the Daily Beast says that Cruz is "the delight of the Tea Party anti-establishment conservatives"
David Dewhurst, Republican Lieutenant Governor of Texas (2003–present). In April 2012 Gary Scharrer of the Houston Chronicle wrote that Dewhurst "emphasizes that he embraced the core principles of the Tea Party, before that movement gained momentum".
Blake Farenthold, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 27th congressional district (2011–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Louie Gohmert, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 1st congressional district (2005–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Ralph Hall, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 4th congressional district (1981–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Kenny Marchant, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 24th congressional district (2005–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Debra Medina, Republican candidate for Governor of Texas in 2010. In January 2011 Richard Dunham of the Houston Chronicle described Medina as "the original Texas Tea Party leader."
Randy Neugebauer, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 19th congressional district (2003–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Ron Paul, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 22nd (1976–77, 1979–85) and 14th (1997–2013) congressional districts and 1988, 2008 and 2012 presidential candidate. In November 2010, Joshua Green of The Atlantic described Paul as the tea party's "intellectual godfather".
Ted Poe, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 2nd congressional district (2005–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Pete Sessions, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 5th (1997–2003) and 32nd (2003–present) congressional districts, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Lamar Smith, Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 21st congressional district (1987–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.

Utah

Rob Bishop, Republican U.S. Representative from Utah's 1st congressional district (2003–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus. Bishop has appeared at Tea Party rallies in Utah.
Jason Chaffetz, Republican U.S. Representative from Utah's 3rd congressional district (2009–present). In August 2011, Amy Walter of ABC News described Chaffetz as "a rising star in the Tea Party movement".
Mike Lee, Republican U.S. Senator (2011–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.[116]

Virginia

Eric Cantor, Republican U.S. Representative from Virginia's 7th congressional district (2001–present) and House Majority Leader (2011–present). In October 2011, Daniel Stone of Newsweek described Cantor as "the Republican leadership's tether to the Tea Party".

Washington

Kirby Wilbur, chair of the Washington State Republican Party (2011–present). In January 2011, Kasie Hunt of Politico described Wilbur as "tea party-affiliated".

West Virginia

Bill Maloney, Republican nominee for Governor of West Virginia in 2011. In May 2011, David Catanese of Politico described Maloney's victory in the gubernatorial primary as "the most substantial signal to date that the tea party movement continues to resonate six months after its historical midterm victories."
David McKinley, Republican U.S. Representative from West Virginia's 1st congressional district (2011–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.

Wyoming

Cynthia Lummis, Republican U.S. Representative from Wyoming's At-large congressional district (2009–present) and a founding member of the Tea Party Caucus.

Holy crap, dude!

I find it sort of amusing that the list does not include the Tea Party jerks from my state.

 

There is a part of me that really wants the Tea Party to be separate because while their superficial intentions sound admirable (reducing a bloated government), their actions are almost always abysmally stupid IMO. If they are (or can be) separate(d) from the GOP then there is hope for the Republican party.

Our system is already broken enough with just 2 major parties - I can't quite imagine what comes next. I hope the rise of more political parties but of late things just keep getting worse politically. Obama seemed to be a step up but then he didn't reverse a lot of the police state crap Bush put in place.

Aside from the fact that I live here, I don't want America to fail. But at this rate, I'm not sure how it can possibly not fail. So, yeah I clutch at straws sometimes.

I was surprised to discover that my birth state of Ohio (which has plenty of rural congressional districts) has but one Tea Party Representative.

So here's what has me scratching my head.

It's a default ONLY if the United States government fails to service the loans that have been made to it right?  In other words if it stops paying interest on them (and whatever principal the holders of the T-bills expect, which I imagine isn't much.)

So if the debt ceiling is not raised, isn't it theoretically possible to avoid a default by cutting other spending drastically?  (Not that this wouldn't be far more indiscriminate and obnoxious than what's going on now--I imagine even the social security checks might stop.)  Basically the government would have to cut spending enough to avoid having to borrow further money and still make the interest payments on the federal debt--or in other words, it would have to balance the not-a-budget Right Now.

What am I missing here?  Why does a failure to authorize the government to borrow more money than it already has, necessarily entail a default on its existing debt?
I know analogies are necessarily suspect, but why is this any different from a guy bumping up against his credit limit and having to reduce how fast he spends money.. so that he can manage to make the minimum payment on the credit card anyway.  (Now whether that's feasible given his expenses is another story.)

There are a couple possible end runs Obama could pull out of his sleeve:

If Congress fails to resolve this debt crisis by Aug. 2, one tack President Obama could take is to simply declare the debt ceiling unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. It’d be politically contentious, it’d set all sorts of dicey executive-power precedents, and the markets might judge it harshly. But plenty of legal types think the White House could get away with it.

But failing that, Obama could always just solve the crisis with a pair of magical platinum coins. Sure, that sounds preposterous, but Yale’s Jack Balkin argues that this is actually a perfectly legal strategy. Here’s the logic: Under law, there’s a limit to how much paper money the United States can circulate at any one time, and there are rules that limit how many gold, silver and copper coins the Treasury can mint. But the Treasury is explicitly allowed to mint however many platinum coins it wants and can assign them whatever value it pleases.

So the Mint makes a pair of trillion-dollar platinum coins. The president orders the coins to be deposited at the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve moves this money into Treasury’s accounts. And just like that, Treasury suddenly has an extra $2 trillion to pay off its obligations in the near term without issuing new debt. If the Fed was worried about all that newly created money being pumped into circulation, it could always counteract the inflationary effects by selling off the $2 trillion in securities it owns from quantitative easing (thereby taking an equivalent amount of money back out of the economy). Problem solved. Right?  (source)

Though very interesting, this doesn't really address the substance of my question.

Those terabuck coins would be interesting to see (though no doubt behind a shit ton of bulletproof glass).  Of course the government could simply demonetize them if they are stolen.

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