Saturday, September 14, 2013

Another debt ceiling crisis coming up?

While we worry about Syria and other such matters ...

... we should not lose sight of the very strong possibility that the near future the Congressional Republicans, not content with doing everything they can to sabotage the economic recovery, will once again threaten to send the US government into default and disrupt the world economy by using a manufactured crisis over the debt ceiling for purposes of crude and irresponsible political extortion.  (This would be one more installment in a long-running series that might be titled "Why the US Republican Party Has Become a Threat to the Republic" ... or perhaps, more mildly, " Let's Face It, The Republicans Are the Problem".)  As Paul Krugman noted recently:
So, are we going to have a crisis over the debt ceiling again? Everyone seems to assume that we won’t, that Republicans have learned their lesson, and that they’ll huff and puff before slinking away into the shadows. But there’s a problem: the GOP leadership has been telling the base to chill on the idea of shutting down the government to defund Obamacare, that they’ll use the debt limit instead. And so far nobody seems to have been willing to admit that this won’t work either. [....]
Lately I have seen some analyses suggesting that the Congressional Republicans will indeed pull back from the brink this time around, and maybe those analyses will turn out to be correct. On the other hand, there are also plausible reasons to think that such predictions might turn out to be wishful thinking, especially considering the extent to which the House Republican caucus, in particular, is increasingly dominated by its most deranged and extremist Tea Party elements. Stay tuned ...

—Jeff Weintraub