View the counterpoint here.
Consider the current political system. Anyone not cynical about the lack of willingness within Congress to work together and work constructively to solve problems has not seen the news in years. The current attitude toward politics is disappointment, quickly approaching anger. To gain a full appreciation of just how destructive politics and, more specifically, politicians can be—one needs to look no further than the current “debate” regarding the debt ceiling. Politicians (in this case, Republicans) have turned what should be a non-partisan, no-problem issue into a partisan grudge match to the possible detriment of everyday Americans. Those who oppose Congress following through with their obligations with regard to the debt ceiling display a fundamental lack of understanding of how government spending works. There is rich irony in the fact that our “fiscally responsible” friends are opposing taking the monetarily necessary action and actually paying the bills. Consider the following quotation:
Unfortunately, Congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the federal deficit would soar. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility — two things that set us apart from much of the world.
Those are not the words of President Obama, nor any other contemporary democrat. It may surprise some to discover those words were spoken to the American public from the mouth of conservative legend and borderline republican demi-god Ronald Reagan. In this case, The Gipper was spot on; defaulting on our bills and responsibilities helps no one and hurts everyone. It is hard to take Congressional Republicans seriously when they voted to raise the debt ceiling eighteen times during President Reagan’s term and twelve times since 2002. What contemporary republicans fail to acknowledge is the real effects a prolonged debt ceiling struggle will have on American families and small businesses.
A default would be catastrophic. This would hurt families across America because it would be harder to get loans through skyrocketing interest rates. It would diminish confidence in the market. In a time when Americans are weary about the economy as a whole—putting America on the brink of default is adding insult to injury. With this situation, we have to fear uncertainty rather than just fear. Many of the reasons the republicans list for not raising the debt ceiling display a further ignorance of the problem. They want to stop irresponsible spending—but this money is not being spent with the raising of the debt ceiling; it has already been spent. They want to defund Obamacare. This goal is unfeasible; considering that to do that one would need to get a bill through a democratic senate and a democratic president.
So what should the Republicans do? They should vote to raise the debt ceiling and admit to wrongdoing, hopefully to salvage some shred of credibility. Then they should help to address the problem of overspending (which is definitely a problem) in a real and responsible way. Bring a real plan and actual be fiscally responsible. But do not push America toward fiscal ruin because they cannot think of any other way to try to accomplish their goals.