Hardball: A Way Through the Debt Mess

The New York Times OP-ED, Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Way Through the Debt Mess, by Joseph A. Califano Jr.

Mr. Califano offers a possible way though the current standstill in the U.S. budget  and debt ceiling process.   He tells the story of President Lyndon Johnson’s response to a similar problems in 1967 and 1968, the years of “The Great Society” and the Vietnam War.  President Johnson “knew a litle hardball, combined with some well-placed promises, could save the (budget and debt ceiling) bill.”  The bill raised the debt limit and taxes, and cut spending after a lot of manuvering.

This is a fascinating, timely article by “Mr. A. Califano Jr., who was a special assistant for domestic affairs to President Lyndon B. Johnson, (and) is the founder and chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia (University).”

Of course, hardball is a sports term derived from American major league baseball where the ball used is hard as compared to the softer ball in the game of softball, the assumption being that hardball is tougher.

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