James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Does Pelosi want a debt ceiling crisis?

June 27, 2011

After watching Nancy Pelosi on Sunday, Jonathan Chait speculates that she just might:

Think through what happens if the government defaults on its debt. You have an economic crisis. People get mad at House Republicans, which helps Obama, but the economy also teeters, which ultimately hurts Obama but does not hurt House Democrats very much. Indeed, a default crisis would seem to increase the chances of the 2012 elections producing a Republican president and a Democratic House. I suspect Pelosi knows that.

Granted, this is a highly cynical view of Pelosi. But I would guess many members of Congress care more about keeping their seat and expanding their influence vs.  a member of their party winning the White House. And if the economy has to suffer in the process, so be it.  I will also add that GOP leaders on Capitol Hill think a debt crisis would definitely hurt the party — just like a government shutdown — not to mention the economy.

Already the media is framing Eric Cantor’s departure from the budget talks as a case of Rs putting the interests of the rich and oil companies ahead of that of the average American. And the White House seems to think playing the populist, class-warfare card is a winning strategy. So it seems that both Pelosi and Obama want to push this to the wall.

Comments

I’ve heard speculation that the administration will, as Aug 2 draws near, send seniors a letter telling them their Social Security checks are in peril. The theory is the outrage will be so great that the Republicans will cave and lose the senior vote in the process. My own reaction is to get a job and urge all my friends to do the same until we drive the unemployment through the roof. As usual Republicans are running scared and as usual the Democrats are over confident.

Posted by Hoosierman | Report as abusive
 

Without a doubt the Debt will have to be paid since it is an already existing debt…tying our obligations to right wing social re-engineering is totally irresponsible, and without increase taxes for the wealthy and corporations the blame for this action will totally fall on Republicans immature, irresponsible behavior…we can do social re-engineering without holding the economy hostage as Republicans are doing…Democrats never risk not paying our debt to pass left wing social reengineering programs

Posted by mahilena | Report as abusive
 

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