Republicans are mistaken if they think they can again play games with the debt ceiling

Too many Republican lawmakers apparently don’t see the firm resolve President Obama is prepared to display on the issue of the federal debt ceiling.

Ezra Klein EXPLAINS:

Republicans have convinced themselves that they’ll have the upper hand if they let the country topple fully or mostly over the cliff and then restart negotiations with a debt default looming in the background. They figure that although Obama really is willing to let the country go over the cliff, he’s not willing to let the country default and spark a global financial crisis. They are willing to do that, or they believe they can more credibly say they are, and that gives them leverage. 

This increasingly influential theory is weakening [House Speaker John] Boehner’s hand, as it’s giving House Republicans who don’t want to cut a deal a way to argue that they just need to stand firm now and they’ll get a better deal later.


Whatever House Republicans might think, the White House is all steel when it comes to the debt ceiling…The Obama administration is utterly steadfast on this point: They will not suffer a repeat of 2011, when they conducted negotiations over whether the United States should default. If Republicans go over the cliff and try to open up talks for raising the debt ceiling, the White House will not hold a meeting, they will not return a phone call, they will not look at the e-mails. They will move to an entirely public strategy, rallying voters and the business community against the GOP’s repeated brinksmanship…

They’re almost religious about this: They believe they owe it to future generations to break the back of the idea that minority parties can and should play Russian roulette with the economy…

They want the bomb defused, not delayed. And so they’re insisting on a long-term fix in any deal, proposing to, in effect, take responsibility for raising the debt ceiling away from Congress and hand it over to the president. Their proposal is clear: It functionally eliminates the debt ceiling forever. The White House does not believe that lifting the debt ceiling for a year, or even two years, is a reasonable compromise against “forever.” 



  1. Call their bluff. After the economy goes back into the tank because of rising unemployment and the Obama tax increases, people’s opinions will change.

    I don’t care what current polls say, there is only so long you can be king of the hill, and place blame on someone else. The Democrats refusal to compromise will eventually do them in.

  2. Neftali: Explain, please, how a modest tax increase on incomes above $250,000 (but not on the first $250,000) is going to send the economy back into the tank.

    The CBO reported last month that extending the Bush tax cuts only for people making under $250,000, which is Obama’s plan, would boost employment by 1.6 million. How is that bad for the economy?

    And if the added revenues from higher rates on the rich are used to reduce deficits, which is exactly the object of fiscal-cliff negotiations, that would further aid the economy.

  3. I guess I should have been more specific. A modest tax increase on the rich will not hurt the economy. I also saw that CBO report.

    I was referring to the infamous fiscal cliff, in which taxes on everyone would go up combined with spending cuts. That would hurt the economy as also stated by the CBO.

  4. I love it when someone points too the CBO as being the truth giver. I remeber when the CBO said Obamacare would only cost about $900 Billion, but that has now been revised upward to $2.7 Trillion. I guess Pat has forgotten that the CBO can only predict 10 years out and can only consider the information given to them by Congress and nothing more.

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