Josh Marshall asks a question:
Dumbfounded | Talking Points Memo: There are many things I do not understand about the progress of this so-called debt negotiation. But of many here's one that perplexes me the most. If Hill Republicans will not allow the government to continue borrowing money beyond the current statutory debt limit, I think there's probably a decent constitutional argument that the president must shut down parts of the government and many government payments before defaulting on the country's debt obligations.... [T]he most logical places to start are with Social Security payments and Medicare reimbursements. Stuff like cutting Social Security checks in half starting the following week.... So why the adamant refusal to put this in front of the public? It seems quite clear to me that if what was coming in early August was an immediate 50% cut in Social Security payments and/or a similar cut in salaries to members of the military and a lot else that the tenor of this whole conversation would be quite different.
And if this all sounds hyperbolic, where exactly do you think the money is going to come from if there's no deal?
I don't understand it either. Back when he was in a similar situation in early 1996, Robert Rubin told Newt Gingrich that unless the debt ceiling was raised the March Social Security checks would not go out.