Patrick Caldwell

Patrick Caldwell is a writing fellow at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

The List of Supporters for Ignoring the Debt Ceiling Grows

Bill Clinton offered his take Tuesday for how he would solve the debt ceiling: Oder the Treasury to keep issuing debt under the 14th Amendment, which states: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned." Some have interpreted this Civil War-era language to mean the debt ceiling is unconstitutional, and that it is within Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's power to continue issuing debt to cover the funds Congress has already appropriated. President Obama has dismissed the idea so far. Clinton, however, thinks it is clearly within constitutional bounds and said he would evoke the 14th Amendment justification “without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me.” That pronouncement comes on the heels of a suggestion from Moody's -- who has threatened to downgrade the U.S.'s triple-A status if no deal is struck by...

Every Major Credit Agency Prepares to Downgrade U.S.

Just in case Moody's and S&P didn't frighten you enough, Fitch credit agency has added itself to the list of groups planning to downgrade the United State's triple-A rating if the debt ceiling is not raised by August 2. Per The Hill : First, the rating would be placed on Credit Watch Negative -- a move already adopted by fellow rater Standard & Poor's. Two days after the deadline, the Treasury has a $90 billion bond due to mature. If the government does not pay in full that bond, Fitch would immediately knock the rating down several notches to B-plus -- the highest possible rating for a nation in default. If additional payments were missed, the agency would lower the rating on that bond to 'RD' -- meaning a "default is imminent or inevitable" -- and then lower all other Treasury debt to B-plus. Despite warnings, a segment of Republican politicians insist no harm will come if August 2 goes without raising the debt ceiling. Serious presidential contender Michele Bachmann used...

Time Running Out for Debt-Ceiling Deal

August 2 looms large as congressional leaders continued to scramble over the weekend, hoping to find a solution to the months-long negotiation. The Washington Post reports that talks are centered around a proposal from Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell to cut spending by $1.5 trillion over the next ten years without any increases to revenue. They'll need to work quickly. The Treasury Department set August 2nd as the deadline for when the government can no longer rearrange its finances to pay all of its obligations (the federal debt limit was actually reached on May 16 -- Timothy Geithner has just drawn funds from government pension funds to cover costs in the meantime). President Obama countered his own appointee and said that a compromise is needed by July 22, the end of this week. Pushing the deal until the final night puts the nation's fiscal stability at risk and would spook investors, encouraging credit agencies to downgrade the United State's triple-A rating. A deal reached on July...

Obama Dumps Policy for Politics

There is a brief respite today after the flurry of White House summits between President Obama and leaders from Congress. The two sides spent the week negotiating a way to bridge the impasse on raising the debt ceiling that, if not resolved by Aug 2, threatens to permanently alter the United State's credit standing. Obama went before reporters this morning for his second press conference of the week. His preferred solution remains the proposal developed at the White House for a large deficit reduction of $4. "We have a unique opportunity to do something big," he said. Obama boasted his willingness to challenge the objections from members of his own party, something Obama's plan certainly inspires. The proposed deficit reduction would reduce outlays in Social Security, raise the age of entry for Medicare, and impose draconian cuts across the board on discretionary spending. It should be a dream deal for the Republicans to accept, however Obama is asking for a pittance in tax increases...

Iowa Caucuses Force 2012ers Against Same-Sex Marriage

The leading figure in Iowa's conservative movement is set to unveil a pledge that would pigeonhole the 2012 Republican presidential candidates into defined positions on a host of social issues. It will include a 14-point list of pledges ranging from the personal (staying faithful to one's spouse) to broader policy (keeping the size of the government small), but the heavy emphasis is on forcing the candidates to codify their opposition to same-sex marriage. Most of the candidates vying to win the Iowa caucuses will likely sign the new pledge. It's author, Bob Vander Plaats , is a thrice-failed gubernatorial candidate who turned himself into the conservative kingmaker of the 2012 Iowa caucuses by leading a campaign to oust three state Supreme Court justices from the bench last fall due to their unanimous 2009 decision that struck down Iowa's ban on same-sex marriage. The Hill listed Vander Plaats as one of the 10 most coveted endorsements for the presidential candidates, right alongside...

Pages