Republicans must think the debt
ceiling doesn't really exist
Some—though not all—Republican freshman are still saying that the debt-limit isn't a big deal
and that the administration isn't telling the truth when it claims otherwise:
Freshmen said he [Timothy Geithner] has been warning of an impending debt ceiling deadline for months, issuing at least four dates by which the debt ceiling needed to be raised. Two of those deadlines have since passed. The next, just before the House takes its August recess, raised some eyebrows in the conference.
“He pushed it to the day before we go to recess. If you can’t see a political thing there, ‘Oh, we happen to be OK until just before we go away,’” Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said Wednesday. “It makes me wonder if that’s a real date.”
Other members of the deeply conservative class described the suspicion the date changes have engendered with the freshmen.
“We all have to be mindful that there is somewhat of a Chicken Little aura about Secretary Geithner. If he’s going to describe economic catastrophes in specific dates, then he needs to be accurate when he does that,” says freshman Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama. ...
Oklahoma Rep. James Lankford, a freshman on the Budget Committee, had another children’s tale reference to describe how some in his class view the secretary. ... “There’s a story I heard when I was a little kid about a little boy who cried wolf,” he said. “It seems to ring true in this conversation. At some point, you’ve cried wolf too many times. The reality is in that story, the wolf does come someday, but we don’t know when to trust you.”
If this is honestly what Republicans believe—that there is some magical way that the government can avoid defaulting on its fiscal obligations once we run out of money—then they should prove it. They should put forward a plan that shows how government will be able to continue to meet its obligations after August 2 without an increase in the debt limit. If they can't do that—and they can't—then they should raise it. But whatever ends up happening, whether they force us into default or they come to grips with reality, the one thing that is perfectly clear is that the decision is theirs and theirs alone.