As the big debt ceiling deadline nears, it is becoming increasingly clear that our government is not up to the task of writing a bill that will raise the debt limit and allow the government to function as normal. I am completely persuaded that not raising the debt limit will have disastrous consequences. I am also convinced that President Obama unilaterally raising the debt limit may forestall total disaster, but it won’t save the credibility of the United States government.
We have raised the debt ceiling dozens of times, and the fact that we cannot do so now underscores the fact that the federal government is now completely dysfunctional. Make no mistake — this dysfunction is the fault of the Republicans. For a bill to pass, it has to have the support of Republicans in the House of Representatives and Democrats in the Senate and of course a signature from the President. The House Republicans have chosen to ignore this fact and instead take hostages.
Tonight, it looks like their plan blew up in their face. In the next 72 hours or so, a few dozen Republicans are going to have to decide whether to hold firm with their caucus and destroy the economy, or vote for a bill that Democrats in the House will support. I honestly can’t predict which path they will choose.
Update: This Paul Krugman column makes the case that the media’s failure to clearly point out that the entire debt crisis is the result of Republican attempts to extort policy concessions from the President by threatening the credit line of the US government is a big part of the problem. How are voters supposed to hold politicians accountable if the media is not accurately reporting the degree to which they are complicit in creating our problems?