"Get your ass in line," said Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) to a caucus of Republican legislators. The speaker has become increasingly frustrated in recent days as the fabled debt ceiling looms ever closer and many Republicans in Congress refuse to support the bills that he and President Obama have hammered out in their private talks. It's no wonder he's mad -- Boehner is clearly dealing with personal insecurities over the size of his spending cuts. Just this past Tuesday he came under fire for trying to sell the Republicans a bill that would have cut a whopping one billion dollars from the roughly four trillion-dollar 2012 proposed budget. Yes, that's around 0.025%.
But while Congressional Republicans laugh at Boehner's tiny package of cuts, one has to wonder if even they understand the full gravity of the situation. As yet another nonsense proposal heads for a vote, rhetoric abounds regarding a 'default' if the debt ceiling is not raised. This default, of course, is every bit as mythological as the deep cuts Democrats imagine Boehner has proposed. In reality, federal revenues vastly exceed the cost of servicing the outstanding debt. A failure to raise the debt ceiling will not produce a default on the existing debt; it will only mean the government cannot go even deeper into debt.
Faux economists and sensationalist journalists imagine that failure to raise the debt ceiling would lower the government's credit rating. Nothing could be further from the truth. As long as creditors know the government is going deeper and deeper into debt every day, they are sure to be skeptical of its faith and credit. If instead the government stops going deeper into debt, confidence that the existing debt will be paid off would go up, not down!
House Republicans should remember that they were elected to fix the country's fiscal situation, not sell out to the President and the left-wing Democrats who added five trillion to the national debt since Obama took office. Do not put a higher burden on future generations; do not raise the debt ceiling.