The Dow fell nearly 200 points on Wednesday, as Washington continued to engage in debt-limit dramatics. But the markets' apparent fear that Washington will fail to reach a deal to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by next week — and preserve the nation's AAA credit rating — may not persuade lawmakers. In fact, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) conceded to radio host Laura Ingraham Wednesday that Tea Party-aligned members of his caucus may actually welcome fiscal havoc: They "believe that if we get past August 2 and we have enough chaos, we could force the Senate and the White House" into caving even further. The House will vote late Thursday on Boehner's plan to slash spending and raise the debt ceiling, and it's not clear that the speaker can deliver the votes of a House majority. Are some rogue Republicans really willing to risk cratering the economy for partisan gain?
Yes. The GOP is full of "economic suicide bombers": "Republicans are out of their gourds," says John Cole at Balloon Juice. "They think they can burn the entire system down and out of the ashes will form Conservatopia." There's no negotiating with these people. "We're dealing with maniacs and true believers" willing to destroy our economy, deluded that they're a crusading, Ayn Rand-esque "vanguard of the Galtitariat."
"Look, I told you"
No. Tea Partiers are just trying to avoid Democrats' "trap": True conservatives must kill Boehner's latest plan now, says Erick Erickson at RedState, and push for even more spending cuts. If the House okays Boehner's plan, the Senate will gut it, pack it with Reid's own lousy ideas, and send it back to the House — daring "Boehner to kill his very own proposal." That's a lose-lose situation: If Republicans refuse to pass the revised Boehner plan, they get tagged as "unwilling to compromise" and blamed for any potential default; if Republicans pass the modified Boehner plan — which doesn't cut enough to appease the markets — "they'll still get blamed for us losing our credit rating."
"Our Admiral Ackbar moment — It is a trap"
Sadly, this is all a problem of our own creation: Washington's "unbelievably contrived… nonsense" has left us facing a looming catastrophe, says Kat Huff at Sky Dancing. These "very determined, crazy freshmen congressmen," who seem to crave economic chaos, really don't "have a clue about government or economics" and are infecting the markets with uncertainty about America's willingness, rather than its ability, to meet its financial obligations. Wall Street and the ratings agencies don't "care how we pay our bills. They only care that we do it." And "we are not broke." Plenty of willing lenders will still gladly invest in the U.S.
"Captains of contrived chaos"