RSS
Could defaulting on the federal debt really be... no big deal?
Some Republicans argue that failing to raise the debt ceiling wouldn't be as catastrophic as many economists fear
 
Some Republicans question just how bad it would be if the U.S. defaulted on its debt, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reportedly backed them on Sunday, saying: "I understand the doubts."
Some Republicans question just how bad it would be if the U.S. defaulted on its debt, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reportedly backed them on Sunday, saying: "I understand the doubts."
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The clock is ticking.... If Congress doesn't raise the $14.3 trillion limit on federal borrowing by early August, the U.S. will run out of money and default on some of its financial obligations. Both the Obama administration and many economists warn that failing to raise the debt ceiling by the deadline could be "catastrophic," but a growing number of Republicans are skeptical. "I don’t think it’s going to have an adverse impact on the economy for the days or weeks or perhaps even months that this would continue," says Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). Other GOPers say a default could actually be beneficial, by forcing politicians to make difficult decisions. Are the GOP "default deniers" right?

The real catastrophe would be failing to corral spending: Defaulting on our debt due to a technicality wouldn't be "the end of the world," says billionaire money manager Stanley Druckenmiller, as quoted by The Wall Street Journal. If it takes a couple of extra days or weeks to prevent a future full-blown debt crisis like the one in Greece, the markets will understand. It's more important that we deal with "the real problem": Washington's out-of-control spending.
"What if the U.S. Treasury defaults?"

The GOP needs to "get sane": The Obama administration's position is backed by "pretty much every economist on both sides of the aisle," as well as "Wall Street and the business community," says Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. Republicans will have to "swallow hard" and do the right thing by raising the debt ceiling before the deadline. "But I’m going to predict right now that it won’t happen until the absolutely last possible minute. Because, you know, that’s how we do things here."
"Will Republicans get sane on the debt ceiling?"

This battle will only hurt the Tea Party: House Speaker John Boehner may take this fight "down to the wire," says Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, under pressure from the Tea Partiers. But when the deadline comes, the "adults" in the GOP will vote to raise the debt ceiling, rather than commit political "suicide" by letting the U.S. default on its debts. Ultimately, "there's only so much idiocy that even Republicans can put up with," so the GOP establishment will "throw the Tea Partiers under the bus if it looks like they're seriously screwing things up."
"Throwing the Tea Party under the bus"

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week