The GOP’s absurd ultimatum
Congressional Republicans warn that if the federal government doesn’t make deep spending cuts soon, international investors will start to worry that the U.S. can’t pay its bills. Therefore…unless the Democrats agree to more spending cuts, the Republicans say they will vote against raising the debt ceiling, which would insure that the government couldn’t pay about a third of its bills. This makes no sense at all. Either we shouldn’t be worried about reassuring the bond market (and there are good reasons to think we should be less worried), or we should do everything necessary to make sure the federal government doesn’t go into default. If the mere fear of X has serious repercussions, then X itself is likely to have repercussions at least as serious. The Republicans’ willingness to use the debt ceiling as a hostage in budget negotiations proves a lack of seriousness or sincerity. It’s like threatening to shoot a sick person unless a doctor agrees to see him.