In an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball Monday evening, tenther Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) admitted that he is using the threat of a catastrophic default to extort the nation into rewriting the Constitution to force a permanent era of conservative governance:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: How many days do you think we have, on the outside, to get this debt ceiling through before we have a problem? How many days?
LEE: I don’t know, maybe ten days.
MATTHEWS: Okay, in ten days you want to change the United States Constitution by two-thirds vote in both houses? That’s what you’re demanding.
LEE: Yes. If possible we can’t change the Constitution just in Congress but we can submit it to the states. Let the states fight it out.
MATTHEWS: And you think you’re being reasonable by saying you want a two-thirds vote in the House, which is Republican, and in the Senate which is Democrat. You want the Democratic Senate, by a two-thirds vote, to pass a constitutional amendment or you want the house to come down?
LEE: Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying and I’ve been saying this for six months.
It’s important to note just what Lee wants the American people to swallow before he’ll agree not to set off an economic crisis that could cost millions of people their jobs. Lee’s proposed amendment makes it functionally impossible to raise taxes by imposing a two-thirds supermajority requirement — a provision closely modeled after the California anti-tax amendment that blew up that state’s finances. It would also require America to return to 1966 spending levels — spending cuts that are so steep they would have made every single one of Ronald Reagan’s budgets unconstitutional.
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If Lee’s proposed cuts were imposed across the federal budget, every single senior would lose one quarter of their Social Security and Medicare benefits, and that’s just the beginning. Because Lee wants to write these draconian cuts into the Constitution, We the People will lose our power to overrule these cuts by electing different leaders.
So Lee wants to rewrite our Constitution to that the American people must always live under conservative governance, regardless of who they elect, and he’s got a simple plan to force his colleagues in Congress to make this happen. That’s a mighty nice economy we’ve got here, it would be a shame if Mike Lee had to break it.