What’s Worse Than Tax Hikes and an Austerity Crisis?

elections republicans democrats“It would be a self-inflicted wound on the economy,” said the President in his Monday press conference. “It would slow down our growth, might tip us into recession. And ironically it would probably increase our deficit. So to even entertain the idea of this happening, of the United States of America not paying its bills, is irresponsible. It’s absurd. As the Speaker said two years ago, it would be, and I’m quoting Speaker Boehner now, ‘a financial disaster, not only for us, but for the worldwide economy.'”

Ostensibly, that means agreement between two parties that are bitterly divided over fiscal issues. But the fiscal cliff tax deal apparently left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths, and GOP leaders have been cited as saying that they are willing to hold a the debt ceiling hostage in order to win spending cut concessions from Democrats.

Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) wrote in a Houston Chronicle op-ed: “The coming deadlines will be the next flashpoints in our ongoing fight to bring fiscal sanity to Washington. It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain. President Obama needs to take note of this reality and put forward a plan to avoid it immediately.”

Again, the plan that GOP members are seeking is substantial, comprehensive spending reform. For reference, here’s a look at America’s total public debt as a percent of GDP. Who could blame fiscal conservatives for wanting to slam the breaks of spending?

Debt as Percent of GDP