It's happened before: In 1985, Treasury Secretary James Baker had more than one such plan, and his use of them prevented economic disaster.
As an aside, this is fundamentally the reason why parliamentary democracy is better. The incentives for obstruction to get your way are just too great in our system. The more polarized the public gets the worse the incentives because politicians pay a price for being the ones to blink with their base but pay little to no price from the base for refusing to compromise (it's the other side's fault for being unreasonable).
In a two party system there isn't any option for the moderates to get fed up with both sides productively so I fear for the future.
I think your argument is wrong in assuming the democrats could have passed a debt ceiling increase during the lame duck. Going back to articles from the time it seems like they didn't believe they could get Manchin and all 50 other Democratic Senate votes onboard ( https://www.politico.com/news/2022/11/16/lame-duck-debt-ceiling-deal-00067123 ).
I expect that it's as simple as this. There was a good chance trying to raise the debt ceiling in the lame duck would fail (Manchin and the progressives would have irreconcilable demands) and thus trying to pass it then would only have made the Dems look bad and given up on other priorities. And if the Dems tried and failed to increase the limit it's harder to call the republicans names for refusing to raise it.
Yes Republicans are hypocrites, when it comes to raising the debt ceiling. And, I think (rightly) they don’t believe, without a looming threat, Democrats will agree to cut anything, ever. Still: is requiring “ able body” people without dependents, to seek part time employment really beyond the pail? I mean don’t we at some point have to rein this Government in? Even a little?
One weird trick could just be a donation campaign. AFAIK there’s no limit on how much money an individual can give the government. This may be a Mayo Clinic thought but maybe it’s rational for certain large organizations and high net worth individuals to make a big publicity campaign around giving the treasury some 10-30 billion to “by time” or to “save America”. Personally it’s interesting to consider what my individual willingness to pay is to avert a U.S. default…
Gimmicks: In 1983, Congress passed (Reagan signed) law raising Social Security taxes to cover boomers's future retirement payments. Created a surplus; that was OK as surplus was needed. But it wasn't set aside. Instead, Congress spent surplus with a "gimmick", replacing SS monies with special nonmarketable Treasury bonds to be repaid...someday, never? In this way, Federal government could spend & spend without raising income or corporate taxes. But today, thanks to the gimmick, Social Security actuaries are issuing warnings about the system running out of money in the next decade. That's not 100% true; the problem is those bonds need to be repaid in order to pay out benefits. Details:
Josh, isn't the other remarkable thing about the 1985 debt ceiling crisis that Bob Dole was criticizing the Reagan administration? That is simply unimaginable now.
Really? You think kicking the can down the road a month or two is a good idea? Why?
I love the idea of Chuck Schumer slamming Yellen for her “tremble” letters. Different time!