Risking ‘the first default in history caused purely by insanity’

RISKING ‘THE FIRST DEFAULT IN HISTORY CAUSED PURELY BY INSANITY’…. In mid-November, after the dust had settled from the midterm elections, incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) acknowledged that he’s well aware of the fact that his chamber is going to have to extend the federal debt limit. He noted that’s already “made it pretty clear” to his own caucus that Republicans are “going to have to deal with it as adults.”

Boehner added, “Whether we like it or not, the federal government has obligations and we have obligations on our part.”

Dealing with the debt limit “as adults” doesn’t appear to be going well. This morning, two right-wing lawmakers — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Rep.-elect Mike Kelly (R-Minn.) — reiterated their opposition to raising the debt limit on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Soon after, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that failing to raise the debt ceiling “would be very bad for the position of the United States in the world at large.” Graham, however, quickly followed that by saying he’s prepared to hold the debt limit hostage “until a plan is in place” for the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges that meets his satisfaction.

So much for dealing with this “as adults.”

Austan Goolsbee, chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, doesn’t sound pleased with the direction of Republican rhetoric.

The chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers said today it would “insanity” for Congress to refuse to lift the nation’s debt ceiling, and that inaction would be “catastrophic” for the nation’s financial recovery.

“This is not a game,” CEA chairman Austan Goolsbee told Jake Tapper on ABC’s This Week. “The debt ceiling is not something to toy with.”

Goolsbee added, “If we get to the point where you’ve damaged the full faith and credit of the United States, that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity…. There would be no reason for us to default, other than that would be some kind of game.”

No doubt aware that global markets might pay attention to the U.S. political discourse, and may not fully appreciate the stupidity and recklessness of Republican tactics, Goolsbee went on to say, “We shouldn’t even be discussing that. People will get the wrong idea. The United States is not in danger of default…. We do not have problems such as that. This would be lumping us in with a series of countries through history that I don’t think we would want to be lumped in with.”

Goolsbee also said, “I don’t see why anybody’s talking about playing chicken with the debt ceiling.” If only more congressional Republicans had the wisdom and maturity to think the same way.