Over the past few weeks, several Republicans have followed the Tea Party’s lead in declaring that they will vote against any increase in the national debt ceiling. Today, on Meet the Press, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) drew a thick line in the sand, declaring, “I’m not going to vote for a debt ceiling increase unless we go back to 2008 spending levels, cutting the discretionary spending.”
On ABC’s This Week, conservative columnist George Will responded to Republican opposition to raising the national debt ceiling and the threat it poses to the fiscal solvency of the nation:
I know of no other developed nation that has a debt ceiling. This is a purely recurring symbolic vote to make people feel good by voting against it.
The trouble is it’s suicidal if you should happen to miscalculate and have all kinds of people voting against it as a symbolic vote and turn out to be a majority. Because if the United States defaults on its sovereign debt, the markets will be — well, it will be stimulating.
Will’s analysis echoed remarks made earlier by Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, on ABC’s This Week. “The debt ceiling is not something to toy with,” stated Goolsbee. “If we get to the point where you’ve damaged the full faith and credit of the United States, that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity.” Goolsbee also noted that the impact of blocking a debt ceiling raise on the economy would be “catastrophic” and would bring on “a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008.”