Think Progress: FLASHBACK – In 1983, Reagan Warned Of ‘Incalculable Damage’ If Debt Ceiling Wasn’t Raised

Well I thought that if The Gipper said you gotta do it, then his worshipers would do as he said in the past…

Think Progress

As of today, the United States has officially hit its legal borrowing limit, bumping into the statutory debt ceiling. The Treasury Department has some options at its disposal for delaying default, but those will be exhausted around August 2.

For months, Republicans have been claiming that they will refuse to raise the debt ceiling — and thus risk the widespread economic consequences of the U.S. eventually defaulting on its debt — unless several conditions are met, including cuts to Medicare and Social Security. In fact, some Republicans have said that they think that default wouldn’t be so bad. “The case has not been made that this is an absolute necessity,” said Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI).

However, Republicans poo-pooing the necessity of raising the debt ceiling might want to look to conservative icon Ronald Reagan. In 1983, Reagan warned that the consequences of failing to raise the nation’s borrowing limit “are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate”:

The full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect of default — by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result. The risks, the costs, the disruptions, and the incalculable damage lead me to but one conclusion: the Senate must pass this legislation before the Congress adjourns.

In a 1987 radio address, Reagan also said, “Congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinksmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the Federal deficit would soar.”

Several key Republican leaders, including Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) have admitted that failing to raise the debt ceiling is simply not an option, with Boehner saying that it would be a “disaster,” while Ryan called it “unworkable.” But the GOP continues to play games, inching the U.S. ever closer to the scenario that Reagan explicitly warned against.

2 comments

  1. Reagan started it with his trickle down economy. Bill Clinton got us out of the mess, only loony tunes Bush blow the whole enchilada right out the window.

    Remember: when Bush was in charge, the Republicans voted to raise the debt ceiling not once, but six times.

    So the Republicans who don’t want to raise it, well those are the Tea Party jokers.

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  2. For all their professed devotion to him, the fact is that Ronald Reagan couldn’t even be nominated by the Right today.

    Only a few Ron Paul supporters have been willing to admit that, that I’ve seen. These days, he’d be called a RINO. Not only were his policies only a little bit stupid, he was friends with lots of Democrats.

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