Josh Dorner on Think Progress:
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union yesterday, RNC Chairman Michael Steele …told host Candy Crowley the GOP is “not going to compromise on raising the debt ceiling” — something that will almost certainly lead to a government shutdown and economic catastrophe.
Mike Lee, candidate for U.S. Senate from Utah, in an interview with National Public Radio:
LEE: Our current debt is a little shy of $14 trillion. And I don‘t want it to increase 1 cent above the current debt limit. And I will vote against that.
NPR: Even if it leads to a government default or a shutdown?
LEE: It‘s an inconvenience. It would be frustrating to many, many people. And it‘s not a great thing. And yet, at the same time, it‘s not something that we can rule out. It may be absolutely necessary.
The U.S. debt ceiling was first enacted in 1917. It has been increased by Congress about a hundred times, usually without any controversy at all. The limit was increased to $14.3 trillion on February 12, 2010. In February 2011, another vote to raise the ceiling is expected.
According to the Center for American Progress, failure to raise the debt ceiling would result in “the immediate cessation of more than 40 percent of all federal government activities (excluding only interest payments on the national debt), including Social Security, military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, homeland security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance.”
Suddenly pulling trillions of dollars in public spending out of the economy, as well as inducing a worldwide financial panic and a run on U.S. sovereign debt would “almost certainly result in a severe drop in economic growth and employment” and could potentially “take us into a Second Great Depression.”
Elections have consequences. If the Republicans take over the House and possibly the Senate, they are threatening to shut down the government like Newt Gingrich did twice in 1995. Meanwhile, they refuse to consider letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire on schedule, as planned. Those tax cuts are the principal long-term cause of federal deficits [Thanks to Steve in comments for pointing out the error in the original version].