Knowing the consequences of failure, but not caring

KNOWING THE CONSEQUENCES OF FAILURE, BUT NOT CARING…. Rep. Phil Roe (R) of Tennessee explained yesterday that he’s well aware of the potential consequences if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling.

In the very near future, to avoid defaulting on debt, this Congress will be asked to raise the debt ceiling. A failure to do so could result in the nation defaulting on its debts to investors, a sure path to economic catastrophe.

That wouldn’t be especially interesting, except Roe, just two days earlier, explained that he will reject any effort to extend the debt limit unless far-right budget demands are met. As Matt Finkelstein put it, “In other words, Roe is aware that exceeding the debt limit would be disastrous, but he’s calculated that winning a political battle is more important than acting responsibly.”

Of all the Republican positions on the issue, this strikes me as the most painfully ridiculous. There are plenty of right-wing lawmakers who simply ignore reality, and argue sincerely that default wouldn’t be that big a deal, and they don’t much care either way about the full faith and credit of the United States. This is blisteringly dumb, but I can at least understand the thinking — they don’t fear the threat because they don’t believe the threat. Fine.

But Roe is in a very different place. Indeed, he’s not the only one. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) recently said failing to raise the debt limit “would be a financial disaster, not only for us, but for the worldwide economy.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said failure to raise the debt limit would lead to “financial collapse and calamity throughout the world.”

And both Boehner and Graham nevertheless proceeded to argue they would play with fire anyway.

The blissfully ignorant at least have a good excuse — like children, they’re too uninformed to appreciate the seriousness of the danger. But that excuse doesn’t exist for those who fully understand how devastating the consequences of their actions may be, but simply don’t care.

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