“The debt ceiling does not equal default,” says Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.). “We can continue to refinance the principal all the time. As long as you pay the interest, you’re fine, you have plenty of money on an annualized basis.”
For me, that begs the question:
If hitting the debt ceiling does not cause any consequences that are ultimately very bad for the country, why do you still consider it a bargaining chip?
If we take the GOP's argument at face value, and agree that hitting the debt ceiling is not an issue, then why did the GOP threaten to block raising it at all?
Essentially, the GOP have been blocking raising the debt ceiling, demanding cuts to earned benefits such as Social Security and Medicare in return. But if hitting the debt ceiling is no big deal, then why agree to their terms and cut them?
To borrow from the hostage analogy - they've essentially taken a gun to the country's/economy's head, and then removed all of the bullets. What incentive is there to negotiate then?
Are the GOP essentially taking the teeth out of their own bite?
Obviously, they want it both ways: They want to keep the threat of holding the debt ceiling hostage in return for cutting Soc. Sec/Medicare/etc, but they also want to remove the wind from Obama's sails, by saying hitting the debt ceiling is not as dire as Obama says.
But if it's true that hitting the debt ceiling would not cause default, indeed, not cause any sort of negative consequence, then the debt ceiling is not worth a thing, and the GOP should just vote to raise it. That's not what they're doing.
If we take a moment to stop and think about what the GOP are saying, invariably, what they say is nonsense.
Unfortunately, the kind of people who allow the GOP to hold power are not the same kind of people who tend to stop and think.
Edit: I realize hitting the debt ceiling amounts to more than just defaulting on our borrowing obligations, i.e. government shut down. However, a government shutdown implies all the debts we've continued to accrue piling up even more, which means, ultimately, default sooner or later. Therefore, the only two outcomes of hitting the debt ceiling are raising the debt ceiling, or default.
"On the one hand, Republicans argue that the president will have to negotiate over the debt ceiling, as the consequences of holding back will be disastrous. On the other hand, they argue that breaching the debt ceiling really wouldn’t be that bad."
The defining quality of the GOP: Having their cake and eating it too.