It is remarkable that people in Congress and elsewhere do not look to brilliant heavyweight minds such as these for legal and economic guidance, rather than to lightweight extremist demagogues in their midst.
Becker writes, inter alia:
"Conservatives who have supported a debt ceiling to reduce deficits are really usually mainly concerned about the size of government. However, government size depends not on deficits, but rather fundamentally on the level of government spending. Since deficits can be reduced either by cutting spending or raising taxes, both liberals and conservatives can agree on the value of reducing deficits while strongly disagreeing on how to reduce them. Liberals want to raise taxes to cut deficits, while conservatives want to limit many kinds of government spending in order to reduce the size of the government.Posner writes, inter alia:
To the extent that debt ceilings mainly induce tax increases to slow the growth in debt, a focus on debt ceilings and deficits does not help rein in the size of government. Moreover, the substantial growth in federal spending during the past 50 years under both Democratic and Republican control of Congress and the presidency strongly suggests that the many debt ceilings during this period did little to reduce the size of government. The numerous deficits over this period even suggest that the ceiling has accomplished little, if anything, in reducing deficits.
For those worried about the growth of government, there is no substitute for a focus on the scale of government spending. Having debt ceilings may not be completely innocuous because they may detract from that focus."
"So a debt ceiling is unlikely to reduce the size of government. But it is pernicious, in inviting political tactics that could well be thought to violate the Constitution, or at least the spirit of the Constitution. Republicans want to destroy, or in the short run greatly weaken, Obama’s health care law (“Obamacare”), even though it resembles a health care reform proposed by President Nixon and successfully championed by Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts. The Republican preoccupation with Obamacare is thus rather surprising, but may reflect a fear that when once Obamacare is debugged and up and running it will prove popular, which will boost the Democrats. Yet the Republicans are not in a position to repeal or even amend the law by constitutionally authorized means, because repeal or amendment would require a majority vote in both houses of Congress (actually a two-thirds vote in both houses, for given a lesser majority Obama could veto a repeal or amendment without fear of being overridden). The intention, which is contrary to the structure of the federal legislative process ordained by the Constitution, is to coerce Congress to repeal (or by amendments to defang) Obamacare by threatening to precipitate an economic crisis by refusing to vote for an increase in the debt ceiling. If the tactic succeeded, it would mean that a minority in Congress had succeeded in amending a federal statute."So, essentially, they agree. Using the debt ceiling to try to reduce the size of government is a waste of time. A WASTE OF TIME.
Of course, the minority in Congress has no chance of winning, so that the entire farce of the Republican extremist led extortion-based government shutdown is either simply political "posturing", which has backfired against them, or worse, intentional destabilization of the government, for which those responsible should be criminally punished for "conspiring against rights" outside of their normal and legal House duties, which could then be regarded as a criminal violation of 18 USC § 241 - Conspiracy Against Rights.