There was no hope once the politicians and media were fully on board with the “default” meme. There was never any possibility of a debt default. The government has plenty of money to cover debt service, which requires less than 10% of average monthly tax revenues. It could also have rolled over any bonds which came due. The only thing it could not have done was issue new debt in excess of the limit. True default was never a risk (not that it would have been the end of the world, anyway; the US has defaulted before). But when even the Wall Street Journal adopted that language (their article today about the congressional deal on “reopening” the government and increasing the debt ceiling began with “A potentially crippling U.S. debt default was averted late Wednesday…” there was no hope left. We all knew that the Republicans would cave. They always do. But they were not able to extract a single concession from Obama and Reid. Truly pitiful.
Coincidentally, this afternoon I attended a speech given by Robert Guest, US editor for The Economist magazine. Before launching into what was actually a rather interesting talk he treated us to a diatribe about the pending “default”, comparing the Congress to a bunch of petulant teenagers (OK, that’s actually not too far off the mark). Nothing he said was correct. Quelle surprise.
– Samizdata commenter ‘Laird’