"We're looking for adult behavior here and seeing none"

Contradicting GOP lawmakers who have suggested a US default would not lead to economic disaster, a bipartisan group of budget officials warned on Tuesday that even a brief lapse in payments could trigger a crisis. Among them were Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former CBO director under President Bush and a frequently cited Republican economic advisor.

Robert Reischauer, CBO director under Presidents Bush Sr. and Clinton, said while he could envision a scenario in which a sudden plunge in the stock market shocked both parties into compromising on a deal, it was too unstable and dangerous an approach to trifle with.

“Do I advocate that? No,” he said. “Do I think that’s risky? Yes. But we’re looking for adult behavior here and seeing none. “