But being a tea partier means never having to make sense. The last time Republicans threatened to blow up the economy, we lost an estimated 900,000 jobs because of the uncertainty.
Bill Clinton previously suggested that Obama could avoid default by invoking the 14th Amendment, which says the validity of the public debt shall not be questioned, but Obama has said that he would not do that.
The problem could also be solved by letting the full House vote on raising the debt ceiling. Instead, Boehner is insisting on following the so-called Hastert rule, which says that no legislation will be introduced if a Republican majority is not behind it. So he is giving a veto to the 40 craziest people in the House, with predictable results.
Tom Maertens served as National Security Council director for nonproliferation and homeland defense under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and as deputy coordinator for counterterrorism in the State Department during and after 9/11.