The Washington Merry-go-round


And here we go again. The United States government will run out of the authority to borrow money in Mid-October. And the one question on everyone’s mind, although nobody will phrase it as bluntly as I am, is: Do some Republicans want to make sure 35 million or so people will remain uninsured badly enough to risk destroying the full faith and credit of the United States and plunging us back into recession?

I’m not joking.

Republicans are demanding significant new spending cuts in exchange for increasing the nation’s $16.7 trillion debt limit, with some GOP lawmakers insisting on a delay or the scrapping of President Obama’s signature health-care law.

Obama, meanwhile, says he will not negotiate on the debt limit, the government’s legal cap on borrowing.

With the two sides far apart, there is no clear path to resolving the differences. Not raising the limit would ultimately lead to a default, undermining the nation’s credit.

It is worth keeping in mind that this would not be a fight about authorizing new spending. It would be a fight over whether or not the Executive branch could borrow the money for spending already mandated by Congress in the previous budget bills/continuing resolutions. Which is sort of like my saying that my spending is so far out of control that I’m going to stop paying my credit card bills. Money lenders don’t tend to react to that very well. Go figure.

 

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