Washington Examiner editor calls for Biden to 'demonstrate good faith' on debt ceiling

May 11, 2023

Editor-in-Chief of the Washington Examiner Hugo Gurdon called on Wednesday in an op-ed for President Joe Biden to "demonstrate good faith" on the debt ceiling, citing the drastic negative consequences of default and of continued overspending.

Gurdon laid out the scenario of what would happen if Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)'s dangerous game of chicken with U.S. debt is allowed to lead to default.

"Let’s start by stipulating that U.S. debt default would be a disaster," he wrote.

He explained, "It would tank the economy, crush stock prices, and wipe out trillions of dollars of retirement savings; it would jack up interest rates so mortgages, credit card debt, and all borrowing would cost much more; it would kill hundreds of thousands of businesses and put millions of people out of work; and it would hand China a gift in its long-standing campaign to oust the dollar as the world’s reserve currency."

The disconnect

Those consequences are the macro-level ones, he said. At the micro level, people might not get their Social Security, welfare, and food stamp payments, which would immediately put tens of millions of people at risk of homelessness and food insecurity.

"If Biden and the Democrats recognize that it would be a calamity for the United States to abrogate its financial obligations, why are they refusing to take the one obvious and available course to avert that imminent danger?" he said. "They reject any and all negotiation. They arrogantly tout their overarching seriousness in contrast to their opponents, they present the danger of default as second to none, yet they treat it as less important than winning a short-term political victory and forcing GOP capitulation."

McCarthy said he understands that his bill linking debt ceiling increases to spending cuts may not pass muster with Democrats without changes and is prepared to negotiate, but Biden is insisting that the debt ceiling be raised without spending cuts first, and then he will consider spending cuts.

If McCarthy does this, there's every chance Biden will renege on his promise to cut spending, even to return the $80 billion in unspent COVID-19 funds to the budget for use on other existing priorities.

"Dubious promises"

"Biden says if Republicans hike the debt ceiling without any strings attached, he will negotiate on spending cuts in the budget process," Gurdon wrote. "If that promise is more than a hollow shell game, the president is implying that he is willing to cut some spending. If that is so, why not do so now when the nation’s fiscal credibility is hanging by a thread?"

"Biden refuses utterly to offer anything but dubious promises," he added. "He balks at demonstrating good faith."

Biden is gambling that he can get everything he wants without giving up anything.

"Why would anyone believe him when he says he’ll negotiate seriously later as long as he’s given everything he demands now?" he concluded.

While this is true, it's unlikely that McCarthy would let the nation default on its debt if Biden doesn't budge.

Default could happen any time between June and September, so it's time for someone to swerve off the road before the whole country does.

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