Sen. Barrasso: "No One's Talking About Defaulting On Our Debt"

April 25, 2011 2:03 pm ET — Kate Conway

Despite the significant budgetary concessions Democrats recently made in order to strike a deal with the GOP to avoid a government shutdown, Republicans are now determined to hold the debt ceiling hostage for additional spending cuts and a disastrous balanced budget amendment. This morning on Fox News, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) interrupted his spring break to echo his colleagues' talking points.

When host Alison Camerota pressed him to explain Republicans' willingness to risk the default that could come from a failure to raise the debt ceiling, Barrasso brushed aside such concerns as "scare tactics," then continued: "No one's talking about defaulting on our debt, but I am talking about voting against raising the debt ceiling."

BARRASSO: Well, first of all you see a lot of scare tactics. You see them from the Secretary of the Treasury. No one's talking about defaulting on our debt, but I am talking about voting against raising the debt ceiling. This is a government under this administration, spends too much, borrows too much, grows bigger every day, and we have to get the spending under control.


Barrasso and other congressional Republicans may not be talking about defaulting (because, after all, admitting that there are catastrophic consequences to your misguided political agenda doesn't win you any votes) but a lot of other people are talking about it: particularly economists and other people who approach the economy from a nonpartisan perspective. And those people say unequivocally that failing to raise the debt ceiling could cause us to default, which has some pretty severe and long-lasting negative outcomes.

Those same people are talking about another consequence of the GOP's actions: Even if we ultimately raise the debt ceiling and avoid default, the Republican games are wreaking havoc on the credibility of American financial system. By just approaching default, we could "undercut the market's confidence in the U.S. government," possibly ending the world's confidence in our currency and harming our economic recovery.

Republicans' refusal to talk about the consequences of their actions won't prevent economists' warnings about the effects on the economy and America's credibility from coming true. And that's not "scare tactics," it's just scary.