Monday, October 12, 2015

The Latest Debt Ceiling Showdown

Okay, now I know the answer.  The debt ceiling will be breached on or about November 5.  John Boehner intends to step down by the end of October.  That gives him time to raise the debt ceiling if he is willing to do it.  Indeed, it has occurred to me that that may be the real reason he is stepping down -- to avert a debt ceiling breach.  But if so, then he shows no signs of acting on it.  And this time the debt ceiling is set to expire before government shutdown, so there is no possibility of the two things being conflated in the public mind.  How scared should we be?

Reactions have ranged from a complacent yawn that Boehner will somehow get through this (this has been the reaction of the stock market so far) to panic.  I don't have any idea.  So far there had not been widespread alarm over a debt ceiling breach.  Does this mean that Boehner has something up his sleeve and will get it passed before he steps down?  Or is this complacency dangerous.  Does it mean that without time for the tension to build, the alarm to sound, and people to get a real idea of what a debt ceiling breach would entail, there will not be sufficient pressure to avoid one?  I have no idea.

But I know what Congress's priorities should be.  Raise the debt ceiling.  Just do it.  Let everything else take care of itself.  Don't worry about a future government shutdown.  Don't worry about Planned Parenthood.  And definitely don't worry about the Export-Import Bank.  Just head off disaster and leave the rest to the future.


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