Is August [he meant October] 17 the date? Well, it's the first date the Treasury Department has given us, but when we were in this discussion in 2011, they gave us a series of dates that were about five and six months different from when they first said it.This is wrong and crazy on many levels, but like all good wingnut fantasies, there's a kernel of truth: Predicting the debt limit deadline is an inherently imprecise exercise. In fact, that's exactly what Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Congress when he informed them that Oct. 17 was an estimate:
They always first in this administration have given us a political date when they would like to have a vote on the debt ceiling, then later it turns out what the real date is. The only way to fix this is for Congress and the press to demand complete transparency on the numbers. How much GM stock do you have? How much cash do you have? When do you really need to borrow more money.
Mr. Lew warned in his letter that a single day’s net expenditures could be as high as $60 billion. After that mid-October deadline, money going out might overwhelm money coming in plus cash on hand. The Treasury could miss or be forced to delay paying some of its bills.In other words, there's nothing magic about Oct. 17 that guarantees it would be the day of Armageddon. Instead, it's the day when Treasury believes its cash position will be so low that Armageddon becomes a very real possibility. We might be just fine for a few days, but if Congress doesn't raise the debt limit the thing we know is that eventually we'd not be able to pay our bills.
Maybe Norquist's theory would make a tiny bit of sense if Obama were the one trying to use the debt limit as leverage, but all he's doing is asking Congress to raise it so that the government can pay the bills it's already racked up. it's the Republicans who claim the debt limit gives them leverage. Especially in light of the government shutdown, Obama has got no rational incentive to invent a crisis here.
It's not hard to see that this is one of the most implausible and illogical Obama conspiracy theories yet, but given the general level of craziness on the right, it's a pretty good bet that before long, every wingnut in America will accept it as the gospel truth.