On Tuesday, Speaker of the House John Boehner effectively threw down the debt-ceiling gauntlet, letting it be known that any increase in the federal government’s borrowing limit will have to be accompanied by spending cuts and reforms of greater value. Democrats were immediately up in arms, decrying the GOP’s ‘brinkmanship drama,’ ‘partisan agenda,’ ‘irresponsibility,’ blah blah blah. On the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid lamented that ‘Republican obstructionism is a truth almost universally acknowledged,’ or something. The WaPo editors summed up Democrats’ feelings on the matter pretty well:
It’s not often that a senior political figure announces an intention to behave irresponsibly and risk inflicting great harm on the U.S. economy. It’s even rarer that the politician, having already behaved irresponsibly and inflicted harm on the U.S. economy, announces his intention to do so again. …
“Yes, allowing America to default would be irresponsible,” Mr. Boehner said. “But it would be more irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling without taking dramatic steps to reduce spending and reform the budget process.” Actually, no. It would be more irresponsible to risk — again — the United States’ credit rating.
…Then came last summer’s debacle. The country moved closer to the edge of default than anyone had thought imaginable. The U.S. credit rating was downgraded for the first time in history, and the resulting uncertainty and lack of confidence dragged down the economy. …
So it is appalling that Mr. Boehner would be willing to repeat this dangerous episode, this time at potentially even greater risk. The Treasury is on target to hit the debt limit by early next year. …Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner warned that another round of brinkmanship would be irresponsible and expressed hope that Congress will act without “the drama and the pain and the damage they caused the country last July.”
Oh hey, here’s Secretary Geithner now:
Because look at how much damage it caused the country last August. I mean, it was terribly damaging for the country. And the idea you can govern effectively at this time in American history — you know, we’re fighting wars. We’ve got a major financial crisis in Europe. We have all of these challenges for the rest of the country with political politicians threatening to default if we don’t adopt a partisan political agenda. It’s deeply irresponsible. There’s no basis for it.
Wow. Want to know what else is “deeply irresponsible” and inflicts severe “economic damage”? Spending a trillion more dollars than we collect in a single year, racking up a more than 100 percent debt-to-GDP ratio, and showing zero political will to do anything even approaching balancing the budget (or, you know, just passing a budget). The Democrats are hyping this up like it’s all just some big political stunt without real material meaning, instead of sending us down a road of crippling debt and economic stagnation for generations to come. It takes two to tango, but of course, Republicans are the irresponsible ones for wanting to address why our credit status is even an issue.
I can’t express my incredulity, however, nearly as eloquently as this man probably can in his sleep — take us out, Sen. Rubio: