Did that the other night.
If you don’t think it’s possible for our government to screw up this bad, realize…if they do so…they will do so to cheers.
A recent Gallup Poll found that only 19 percent of adult Americans support raising the debt ceiling, while 47 percent are opposed and another 34 percent have no opinion. Ominously, by a three-to-one margin, independents oppose increasing the government’s borrowing ability.
Instead, the issue has been left to the Treasury Department, which put out a well-argued fact sheetwarning that default “would precipitate a self-inflicted financial crisis more severe than the one from which we are now recovering.” White House press secretary Jay Carney veers from calling a failure to act “calamitous” to blandly expressing optimism about an eventual deficit deal.
The Obama White House, in short, is treating this year’s debt-ceiling fight as if it were just another installment of the familiar legislative game of finding a majority of responsible adults. Their logic is that at the last minute enough Republicans will yield to pressure from the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups to find a formula to prevent the government from defaulting. After the populist posturing and deficit dramatics, the assumption is that the establishment will prevail because that is how it always works in American politics.
But two months before the Treasury Department exhausts the last of its borrowing authority (the current drop-dead date is August 2), there are ominous signs that this elite consensus just might fall apart.
This is why the unthinkable is possible….because the unthinking find it plausible. The public response to raising the debt limit is tied to the debt. They think it’s the same thing. They, well, collectively “we” think that not raising the limit somehow keeps up from going further into debt. Republicans have taken on this utterly irresponsible view to use a bludgeon to try and get more spending cuts and avoid talking about taxes.
Much like what happened when the Republicans refused to deal with reality of a financial sector rotten to the core, the stock market reacted.
Here’s the thing about markets and politics…they don’t work the same way. Politics has big showdowns and ultimatums and obvious winners and losers. Markets are much more fluid and changing. Politicians (mainly Republicans at this point) see that August 2nd deadline as something of an “election day”, a big event where they get to magnanimously make an obvious decision. The Markets see August 2nd like a “unless you get treatment you will be dead by August 2nd” kind of thing.
They have repeatedly warned Boehner on this, but he doesn’t seem to be listening. The disconnect and jitters in the market (which are resonating throughout the land) have real world effects. When they start making bets that…you know…maybe the Tea Party is that stupid…it makes it slightly more likely we’ll head that way.
When you factor in the idea that many Republicans are realizing the only way they can win in 2012 is if the economy sucks, horribly…and they just might be cynical enough to push it that way, well, it’s going to make for a curious summer.