I don’t know if these continuing episodes of the Perils of Pauline are just there to sell newspapers or whether there is more to it and the US might really default on its debt but this is where we are right now. From The Washington Post:
A campaign to persuade House Republicans to lift the federal debt limit collapsed in humiliating failure Tuesday, leaving Washington careering toward a critical deadline just two days away, with no clear plan for avoiding a government default.
Senate leaders quickly moved to pick up the pieces, saying they were “optimistic” that they could reach agreement to advance an alternative proposal that would raise the debt limit through Feb. 7 and end a government shutdown, now in its third week.
But it was unclear whether a deal struck by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could pass the Senate before the Treasury Department exhausts its borrowing power Thursday.
So far as principle goes, the imperative of getting the US budget under control seems straightforward enough. But the politics for the President and the Democrats, looking forward to the elections 12 months from now, are much less certain. And with the possibility that the President – being a Bill Ayres protege and all – would actually prefer to harm the US than help it to prosper, what will happen and how it will unfold remains a mystery.
But at some stage either spending is going to start tapering off or the debt limit will not be increased is a certainty. Whether this is the moment is the question, and with the President adamant about maintaining the level of spending – and therefore allowing debt to keep on rising – who knows? This may be the moment we find out what happens if the US is even technically able to default on its debt and then what happens if it does. Stay tuned.