BOEHNER SEES THE RISK, BUT DOESN’T CARE…. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) explained yesterday on CNN that his Republican colleagues are “playing with fire” with threats over the debt ceiling. The GOP’s tactics, he added, “could lead to terrible, terrible problems.”

Oddly enough, House Speaker John Boehner agrees, but appears willing to accept catastrophic consequences anyway.

The possibility of the U.S. defaulting on its debt due to congressional inaction isn’t on the table, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday.

Boehner said it would mean “financial disaster” for the global economy if Congress were unable to come to a deal to raise the debt ceiling this spring.

“That would be a financial disaster, not only for us, but for the worldwide economy,” Boehner said on “Fox News Sunday” of the risk of default. “I don’t think it’s a question that’s even on the table.”

Pat Garofalo has the video of the Speaker’s comments.

The response sounded quite encouraging. There are plenty of Republican members who seem entirely oblivious to the dangers associated with failure on the debt limit, but Boehner apparently isn’t one of them. He knows what has to be done, he realizes the consequences of failure, and he wants to avoid the looming disaster.

But Boehner couldn’t leave well enough alone. In the same Fox News interview, the House Speaker added his caucus might very well defeat a debt-limit vote, inviting catastrophe, unless the White House agrees to Republican hostage demands and accepts “significant reductions in spending.”

Boehner didn’t specify what “significant” means or what spending he wants to cut — the Speaker isn’t really a “details guy” — but offered the vague warning anyway. Give Republicans what they want, or they’ll wreak havoc on the global economy, on purpose.

It seems like this keeps coming up. A few weeks ago, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said failure to raise the debt limit would lead to “financial collapse and calamity throughout the world.” In the very next breath, Graham said he and his GOP colleagues would deliberately invite this calamitous fate unless Democrats agreed to slash spending, taking money out of the economy in the midst of a fragile recovery.

In many respects, this is the worst, and least defensible, of the various GOP positions on the issue.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.