Today in Legislating as a Pointless Beckettian Exercise

by evanmcmurry

Hey, who missed the debate over whether Obama can/should invoke the Fourteenth Amendment to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling? It’s rock-and-hard-place politics, as it gets Obama out of the jam while handing his critics, who believe him to be a sinister usurper to begin with, a blaring example of the president snatching power of the purse for the executive, and all to continue Bush’s his reckless spending. The other option is default.

But to add to the frustrating waste of the shutdown—Republicans don’t even know what they want from it anymore, and ObamaCare rolled out on Tuesday even as the effort to defund it shuttered unrelated portions of the federal government—the debt ceiling is an especially pointless little twig of a law: “The debt ceiling is the fiscal equivalent of the human appendix—a law with no discoverable purpose,” writes Henry J. Aaron of the Brookings Institution. (Except that appendices ultimately get removed…)

We’re going through all this for literally nothing.