We hit the debt ceiling at the turn of the year and the only way the Treasury is paying obligations now is through accounting gimmicks. The Republicans are screaming about spending and are only willing to raise the limit if accompanied by spending cuts. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and the Democrats want spending cuts and the debt ceiling increase to be done separately. There are elements of truth in both approaches. At the core, these are two separate issues. The debt ceiling concerns whether the government will honor obligations it has already made, not future spending. At the same time, we must get serious about deficit reduction and one of the ways to do that is through spending cuts. The specter of default may serve as a motivational force to make the cuts we need as well as provide an opportunity to further reform our tax code to increase revenue. On principle, I agree with Mr. Obama and many Democratic leaders who would deal with these issues separately. However, while I appreciate the tougher stance they have taken as opposed to capitulating to the Republicans at every turn like they did during Mr. Obama's first term, they must take care to avoid turning into the obstructionist Republicans they oppose. I hope leaders from both sides of the aisle will realize the decimating consequences default would have on the American economy and negotiate a solution in good faith. If we default, the American economy would be severely damaged. We would lose our creditworthiness and would, when the crisis was eventually resolved, face higher interest rates. We would immediately lose two-fifths of Federal spending. That would set the economy on a downward spiral. The multiplier effect of that spending would be removed and would cause fiscal chaos in private business. The stock market would tank and we'd have massive job losses which would make the recent recession look like a walk in the park. The economy would shrink, and tax revenues would fall, further worsening the problem. We need to have good faith bi-partisan compromise on this. It may well need to be a limited deal, such as reducing cost-of-living increases in Social Security and cutting certain redundant defense programs in exchange for one year's worth limit increase. Ideally, revenue enhancement would be on the table as well. Perhaps we could cap certain deductions. I have more confidence a deal could be worked in the Senate and then pass the House later, as we did with the fiscal cliff, than House Speaker John Boehner being flexible enough to develop a deal. All things considered, the most important thing we do is make certain all outstanding liabilities are covered. If mid-Feburary rolls around and there still isn't a resolution, the President and the Treasury Department should take all lawful measures to avert default. I'm skeptical of the Fourteenth Amendment option, but I see no reason why the platinum coin option would be unlawful. There's an inflationary risk with it but the Federal Reserve can act to mitigate that. Would minting a trillion dollar platinum coin be crazy? Sure; but not nearly as crazy as the government failing to pay its bills and causing a financial collapse.