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If Debt Ceiling Is No Big Deal Why Is it Leverage?

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) says breaking the debt ceiling “would bring stability to the world markets.”

A new tactic among Republicans who are trying to avoid blame for possibly hitting the debt ceiling is to pretend the debt ceiling is no big deal.

You have several Republican saying that the negative impact would be small like Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) who said, “I’m not as concerned as the president is on the debt ceiling, because the only people buying our bonds right now is the Federal Reserve. So it’s like scaring ourselves.”

There are even have a few Congressional Republicans trying to make the strange case that breaking the debt ceiling would actual help the country. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) said “I think, personally, it would bring stability to the world markets.”

What bothers me less than how wrong they are about the financial issues involved, is the fact it means their entire strategy lacks any internal consistency. Refusing to raise the debt limit can give you significant leverage, but only if the debt limit is very important. If it is not a big deal you can’t justify making a big demand over it.

If the debt limit doesn’t matter that much then there is no way Obama will undermine his signature health care law to deal with it, so the whole strategy is also not going to work.

The government is not facing an intractable political disagreement. It is facing a party that can’t even make logical sense of its own actions. It is tough to see a solution when Republicans can’t even explain why they think their plans have a chance of working — or can even agree on what their demands actually are.

Photo by Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons license

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at